Aggregator

Maryland schools avoid recognising Muslim holiday by renaming others

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 November, 2014 - 15:30
  • Largest school district removes Christian and Jewish names from holidays
  • Muslims had requested recognition of Eid al-Adha

Marylands largest school district has voted to strip religious labels from holidays on next years school calendar after Muslims sought recognition of a holy day.

The stripped labels include Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas, and the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

Continue reading...

Caroline Fourest fined €6000 for defaming young Muslim victim of racist attack

Loon Watch - 12 November, 2014 - 14:26

Rabia-B.-2

Islamophobe Caroline Fourest claims to be a “Feminist” but it appears her feminism is of the Neo-colonialist variety.

via. IslamophobiaWatch

Saphir News has reported that Caroline Fourest – the French “left-wing” Islamophobe who wrote Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan – has been successfully sued for defamation over comments she made in June last year on the radio station France Culture.

Fourest was responding to the attacks on two Muslim women in Argenteuil, one of whom lost her baby after being kicked in the stomach by her assailants. This followed an earlier incident in which a 17-year-old woman named Rabia Bentot (pictured) was punched and kicked by racists, who also tore off her headscarf while shouting “dirty Arab” and “dirty Muslim”

Instead of Fourest declaring her outrage at the assaults, and her solidarity with the victims, this self-styled feminist expressed scepticism about the women’s accounts.

Fourest claimed that Rabia Bentot was being manipulated by her father and by the Coordination contre le Racisme et l’Islamophobie, assisted by what Fourest described as the “communalist” website Oumma.com, and she suggested that the story of an attack might well have been fabricated. Even if an assault did take place, Fourest asserted, the police had not excluded the possibility that Rabia was the victim of violence by her own family, who could have beaten her up as punishment for living too free a lifestyle.

Needless to say, Fourest offered no evidence whatsoever to back up these disgraceful slurs.

The Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France comments that for someone who claims to be a feminist Fourest is very selective in her indignation, especially when it comes to Muslim women who wear hijab. The CCIF notes that trying to discredit the testimony of women victims of violence is a well-known phenomenon, and has been vigorously denounced by feminist organisations.

Rabia Bentot sued Fourest for defamation, and last week the Grand Instance Court in Paris ruled in Rabia’s favour. Fourest was fined €6000, half of which was to be paid in damages with the remainder to cover the plaintiff’s legal costs. Fourest has announced that she will be appealing the verdict.

 

In-your-face racism is back (but victim blaming never went away)

Indigo Jo Blogs - 11 November, 2014 - 22:40

Picture of an old-style red London bus, with the number 9 on the front, under some leafless winter trees in a London streetA few people I know yesterday tweeted an article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the mainstream media’s favourite “Muslim” and authority on all things Asian, which claimed that “in-your-face racism” had returned and that she was spat at on the number 9 bus the other day (although it appears to have missed and landed on the back of her seat), and that few people were doing anything to fight it, unlike in the 80s and 90s. Towards the end, which the people retweeting it did not seem to notice, she turns to blame the people she spends much of her media career railing against: Muslims.

Some of what she says about racism being on the rise and that racists often claim that “they’re not allowed to talk about race” are true, although the reason there is less activism at all levels in society is because a lot of that work has been done, including laws banning racial discrimination and setting up government bodies to monitor different types of discrimination. When these groups were all bundled into one under the last Labour government (the Equalities Commission), the person appointed to head it was a middle-class Black man with an English name — a safe and acceptable minority; nothing foreign-sounding or unusual-looking — who had started telling the Establishment what it wanted to hear. But it’s all scene-setting for delivering her real point: that it’s all the Muslims’ fault:

I blame the minorities, too, for the vulnerable state we are in. Islamicist separatism and now Isis terrorism have turned good people off diversity. The anti-white prejudices within some Asian families are mortifying. Grooming gangs have destroyed young girls and also cohesion and mutual trust between the brown and white Britons.

What has “turned people off” is the press repeatedly bringing their attention to obscure activities of small groups of Muslims or individuals, and putting pictures of women in niqaab next to many of them. While a small number of British Muslims have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS, the majority of prominent Muslims here have consistently opposed them, and appealed for the western hostages they have held to be released. Nobody knows or cares about the fact that Asian families sometimes harbour prejudices against whites, because they will not randomly attack white people in the street, unlike when it’s whites who are racist, and their prejudices may have something to do with living or trying to raise children (or being raised) surrounded by white racists. Us converts have to deal with that more than most white Brits; many of us have been refused marriages on grounds of “cultural compatibility” and other excuses. Yet most of us do not become racists.

As for grooming gangs, the majority of those who abuse women and girls are white men, as whites are the majority of the population and men are the (vast) majority of sex criminals. That the majority of men participating in a particular type of gang are Asian does not mean most Asians are involved in or sympathise with them, any more than the majority of Sicilians are involved in or sympathise with Cosa Nostra. It does not give whites at large the right to become bigots.

Alibhai-Brown is trying to point the finger of blame downwards, at a weaker group of people (Asians and particularly Muslims) rather than upwards, to the press that foster bigotry (and also pays her wages) and to the white population, in much the same way that when a group of children are punished because one or two act up, they are more likely to turn on that child than on their teachers. I know of a lady who complains that people give her dirty looks because she is a black woman with a child, and assume she is a “baby mama”, but she blames other black women for being baby mamas, not whites for being racist. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is not really fighting racism, but just to persuade those with the power not to confuse the good Asians with the bad ones, i.e. the practising Muslims she despises, and rails against in her other newspaper articles and TV appearances (where she lectures people who were born here about “British values”, which she makes up as she goes along). So, anyone tempted to hold her up as a fighter against racism should understand that she defines racism quite narrowly, and that her solution is that all the “bad Muslims” should give up what makes them different, except for the cuisine and the prayer (when it’s convenient).

Possibly Related Posts:


France: Attack On Strasbourg Mosque Condemned

Loon Watch - 11 November, 2014 - 20:23

Strasbourg_Mosque_France

i24News

A fire at the entrance to the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg was quickly extinguished overnight Saturday. The attack, which took place at the entrance to one of the main mosques in France caused only minor cosmetic damage.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has decried the arson attack and has vowed to pursue those responsible for this “odious act,” an official statement said Monday.

The statement continued on to say that Cazeneuve “reaffirms his commitment to protect the places of worship of all religions from such outrageous acts and attacks which target them, and also to fight against all expressions of hatred and intolerance,” adding that “such acts went against the core values of the French Republic.”

The president of the Grand Mosque, Ali El Jarroudi condemned “with the greatest firmness this odious act” and said that a complaint had been lodged with the police, adding that there were images of an individual lighting the fires which he had handed to the police..

In a statement to AFP, Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, said that he feels “anger and disgust at those who want to create tensions between communities.”

The Mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries, expressed his “outrage” against “acts which, as isolated they are, affect the serenity of cohabitation between religions and tradition of understanding and ‘openness’ of the city.

The President of the Union of mosques in France (UMF), Mohammed Moussaoui, also condemned “in the strongest force” the attack, calling on the “Muslims of France to be vigilant and calm in the face of these acts.”

The incident did not disrupt the Great Mosque musical program which took place Sunday which included hosting the London Zemel Choir, a Jewish choir chosen as part of a religious music festival which took place in Strasbourg.

(with AFP)

Food and drink manufacturers have no plans to ditch halal certification

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 November, 2014 - 07:16

Peak body says boycott campaign directed at brands with halal certified products is misinformation

The peak body for Australian food and drink manufacturers says its members have no plans to ditch halal certification despite threats of a boycott and other sabotage by anti-Islam campaigners.

High-profile brands such as Cadburys, Sanitarium, Byron Bay Cookies, Four N Twenty and Kelloggs have been targeted for having their products certified for Islamic dietary requirements.

Continue reading...

21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 3

Muslim Matters - 11 November, 2014 - 05:00

Part 1 | Part 2 

Law of Addition: Leaders Add Value by Serving Others

image

The Law of Addition emphasizes the practice of Servant Leadership, or the concept that the leader is there to serve the people and not the opposite. The Prophet was truly a servant of the people who added value to everyone's life that he came across. Whether it was a ruler that he was inviting to Tawheed, a companion the he was teaching and developing, an old lady whose bags he was carrying, a sick member of the community that he was visiting, or one of the many children in the community that he was raising, he added great value to everyone's life around him. The most incredible fact is that some 1400 years later he is still adding value to hundreds of millions of people worldwide on a daily basis.

There is a saying that has been attributed to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (although I have yet to find an authentic source) that summarizes who he was beautifully. “The believer is like a light rain, everywhere he goes he brings benefit.” In other words, if we want to be like the Prophet, then we should strive to be people that make a positive impact and add value everywhere we go.

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • To whom did you add value to today?
  • Who can you intentionally add value to every single day? Think of the people that you have influence over…imagine them in your mind right now and think about how you can add value to them day in and day out.

The post 21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 3 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Repatriating The Yellow Dogs: what happened to Iran's rock stars slain in New York?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 November, 2014 - 05:00

The band left their homeland to pursue their artistic dream, but it came to an end in tragedy in a New York neighbourhood. Their families then faced a fight to bring their bodies back

On a bright and cold morning on 16 November 2013, a funeral procession left Brooklyn for John F Kennedy airport. A hearse carried the body of Soroush Farazmand. Behind him in a black mini van was the body of his brother Arash, who was taller.

NoorudDean Abu Ibrahim, a Brooklyn funeral director was driving the mini van. The brothers were being flown back to Tehran for burial.

Continue reading...

Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Accelerated

Loon Watch - 11 November, 2014 - 02:45

A camp for Rohingya, an ethnic minority, on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State. Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, are accused of being Bangladeshi migrants and face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Buddhist majority. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes or the country to escape bloodshed. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

A camp for Rohingya, an ethnic minority, on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State. Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, are accused of being Bangladeshi migrants and face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Buddhist majority. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes or the country to escape bloodshed. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

There is a lot of suffering across the world but the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar is one of the worst cases of state sanctioned brutality and persecution anywhere. Over the past two years, the Rohingya have been visited by one attack after another:

Massacres such as Buddhists killing 9 Muslim pilgrims, 36 school children and their teachers butchered in front of local police. Myanmar saw the near complete destruction of the Muslim quarter in the city of Kyaukpyu. Human rights groups have reported on the systematic killing and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, where the Rohingya Muslim population is herded into concentration campsMosques, Muslim homes, and orphanages across torched in arson attacks. Numerous  internet sites are replete with Islamophobic dehumanization messages about Islam and Muslims spread by the extremist movement ‘969.’ Myanmar is where the “symbol of Democracy,” the Noble Peace Prize winning Suu Kyi not only says she won’t speak out for the persecuted Rohingya but denies their existence. Myanmar’s government has given official backing to the violent, extremist 969 movement. Ministers in the Myanmar government have backed discriminatory legislation that would limit Rohingya women to two children. Local officials have severely restricted humanitarian aid to Rohingya concentration camps and the rest of Rakhine State, where tuberculosis, waterborne illnesses and malnutrition are endemic.

While Obama has made some mealy-mouthed criticisms of the Myanmar government, not much has changed on the ground, and the desire/need for US companies to invest in Myanmar continues apace. When money is involved morality usually goes out the window.

Recently, the New York Times’ Jane Perlez had a heartbreaking report on the worsening ethnic cleansing situation. The title of their article: Myanmar Policy’s Message to Muslims: Get Out

SITTWE, Myanmar — The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.

The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.

The crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to Myanmar next week. The administration considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia but is worried that renewed conflict between Buddhist extremists, who are given a free hand by the government, and the Rohingya could derail the already rocky transition from military rule to democratic reform.

Mr. Obama called President Thein Sein of Myanmar last week, urging him to address the “tensions and humanitarian situation in Rakhine State,” the White House said.

In his most public appeal to the government yet, Mr. Obama asked the Myanmar leader to revise the anti-Rohingya policies, specifically the resettlement plan. Myanmar must “support the civil and political rights of the Rohingya population,” he said.

The Rohingya have faced discrimination for decades. They have been denied citizenship and evicted from their homes, their land has been confiscated, and they have been attacked by the military. After one such attack in 1978, some 200,000 fled to Bangladesh.

The latest flare-up began with an outbreak of sectarian rioting in 2012, in which hundreds of Rohingya were killed and dozens of their villages burned to the ground by radical Buddhists. Since then, close to 100,000 have fled the country, and more than 100,000 have been confined to squalid camps, forbidden to leave.

As conditions in the camps have deteriorated, international pressure has mounted on the government to find a humane solution. Instead, the government appears to be accelerating a strategy that human rights groups have described as ethnic cleansing.

For many Rohingya, the new policy, called the Rakhine Action Plan, represents a kind of final humiliation, said Mohamed Saeed, a community organizer in a camp on the edge of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.

“People really fear this plan,” he said. “Our community is getting less and less. This is where they want us — out.”

Many Rohingya came to Myanmar in the 19th century when the British ruled all of what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. But the government’s demand for proof of residence since 1948 is too onerous for many, who either do not have the paperwork or fall short of the six-decade requirement, human rights advocates say.

Those who can prove their residence qualify only for naturalized citizenship, which carries fewer rights than full citizenship and can be revoked. Moreover, they would be classified as “Bengali,” rather than Rohingya, suggesting that they are immigrants from Bangladesh and leaving open the possibility of deportation.

Under the plan, those Rohingya who cannot meet the standards for naturalized citizenship or refuse to accept the Bengali designation would be placed in camps before being deported.

Human Rights Watch described the plan as “nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness.”

The government asked the United Nations refugee agency to participate in the resettlement, but the agency refused, a spokesman said.

The Rakhine Action Plan is but one element of a host of policies and tactics aimed at marginalizing the Rohingya. This year, in line with the government’s position that they are foreigners, the Rohingya were prevented from participating in the national census.

Legislation introduced in Parliament two months ago, and expected to pass, would bar Rohingya from voting in next year’s election. Parliament is also considering a bill that would ban interfaith marriage, a measure human rights advocates say is designed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment.

The policies come on top of an increasingly dire situation in Rohingya camps and villages. In the camps around Sittwe, where about 140,000 Rohingya live, health services are virtually nonexistent.

The main medical provider, Doctors Without Borders, the international nonprofit group, was chased out six months ago and has not been able to return.

In the villages around Maungdaw, a Rohingya-dominated town near the border with Bangladesh, there has been a sudden increase in the arrests of young Rohingya men and boys, United Nations officials and human rights advocates said.

The Border Guard Police arrested more than 100 Rohingya on charges of holding illegal gatherings and over refusals to participate in the action plan. Chris Lewa, the director of the Arakan Project, said the arrests were part of a campaign to force the men to leave the country.

For many, the high-risk boat trips to Thailand en route to Malaysia, a Muslim country that quietly tolerates the refugees, begin at a gray sandy beach at Ohn Taw Shi, a fishing village fringed by coconut trees on the outskirts of a camp for the displaced.

On a recent day, a froth of waves lapped the shore, a few open wooden boats lay untended, waiting for use at night. The police slept in the afternoon heat in a wooden shack about 500 yards away.

A smuggler, Chan Thet Maung, a cellphone hooked to his pants and earplugs dangling from his neck, said that when the wooden boats were filled with Rohingya, they sailed north for about five hours to connect with larger vessels. There, in waters off the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, multideck boats sometimes idle for days or weeks, manned by armed and often brutal crews, waiting for a full complement of passengers bound for Thailand, the United Nations refugee agency said in an internal report.

The annual smuggling season, which begins in early October when the monsoon season ends, got off to a fast start, the smuggler said. The police wanted $2,000 — $100 for each of the 20 passengers — for a recent boatload, but the smugglers had offered slightly less, he said.

The trip was aborted, but another attempt would be made soon, he said.

Local officials abet the smuggling trips, according to Matthew Smith, the director of Fortify Rights, an organization that studies ethnic groups in Myanmar.

“The regional trafficking and smuggling begins with the complicity of Myanmar authorities,” he said. “We’ve documented Myanmar police and armed forces taking payments as high as seven million kyat in return for a boat’s passage to sea.” Seven million kyat is about $7,000.

In some cases, the Myanmar Navy escorted boats filled with fleeing Rohingya and operated by criminal gangs out to international waters, Mr. Smith said.

Read the rest of the article…

Also Read:

Atrocities against Rohingya: Money Extortion and Arbitrary Imprisonment

Phil Cleary's Victorian election bid driven by 'obsession' with political diversity

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 November, 2014 - 01:08

The former independent federal MPs progressive Voice for the West party to speak up for people west of the Yarra

The family violence campaigner, sports commentator and former independent federal MP, Phil Cleary, says his obsession with a need for diversity in politics prompted him to stand for Victorias upper house at this months state election.

His party, Voice for the West, was about speaking up for people west of the Yarra at a time when the Coalition and Labor had been focusing on marginal seats such as Bentleigh, Carrum, Mordialloc and Frankston, he said.

Continue reading...

Nigeria suicide blast in Potsikum school kills dozens

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 November, 2014 - 23:34
Boko Haram militants suspected of being behind attack during a high school assembly which has killed at least 48 students

A suicide bomber disguised in a school uniform set off a backpack full of explosives during an assembly at a high school in Nigeria on Monday, killing at least 48 students and wounding 79 others.

It was the latest attack by suspected Boko Haram militants who kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls earlier this year.

Continue reading...

Claire Dyer is free

Indigo Jo Blogs - 10 November, 2014 - 23:08

Claire Dyer, a young white woman with glasses and multiple missing teeth wearing a blue and white striped T-shirt, holding a heart-shaped card with the slogan "There's no place like home".Today Claire Dyer and her family found out that she had been released from her sectioning under the Mental Health Act, and will not have to return to the medium-secure unit to which she was sent on 1st August. Claire Dyer is a 20-year-old autistic woman who had been in an NHS learning disability unit in Swansea who had earlier fought off an attempt to transfer her to St Andrew’s hospital in Northampton; the unit she spent more than two months in was near Brighton, which was even further from her home than Northampton. She had been on extended leave from the hospital for the past three weeks and was due to return for an MHA tribunal this Wednesday. This will now not be necessary.

Someone on one of the Facebook groups where these issues are discussed asked what the Brighton unit did differently. I responded that it was not Brighton that did something differently but the unit in Swansea that she had come from: it was they who misused the Mental Health Act for their own convenience, to try and transfer her to Northampton and later to Brighton without Claire or her family having the ability to prevent it. The Brighton unit management just did their jobs: they must have quickly identified Claire as someone whose condition was nothing like those of their normal clientele, who were women with serious mental illnesses or personality disorders, some of them sent there on hospital orders after convictions for serious offences including manslaughter. The unit also must have known that there was publicity surrounding Claire’s case and that her family and supporters were connected to other prominent campaigners who had had to fight the system on behalf of their autistic sons and daughters, some of whom had died, and that the unit and its corporate owners would have faced a blaze of hostile publicity if the same had happened to Claire.

Nobody should be under the illusion that this unit is any model of good practice, despite a good CQC report (following a dreadful one a year earlier); local mental health outreach teams avoid placing people there, as it is expensive and there have been safeguarding concerns. In the first month after she arrived, Claire was only allowed to see her family in the unit’s visiting room, and only for two hours at a time. While Claire was used to talking to her family over FaceTime before going there (which was essential as her sister is deaf), her iPad was taken away and, despite promising that Skype was available for these purposes, it took weeks to set up. The loom bands that were her main hobby before being moved were taken away as a supposed precaution against self-harm; she was not allowed crayons in her room unless she ate them. She was not allowed outdoors for several weeks; she was given grounds leave, but on the first occasion this was not passed on and so she did not get it; on other occasions it was cancelled because of meltdowns. After about a month there, she was allowed out with her family, but this too (including the first one) was sometimes cancelled for the same reason (and the family had to travel for five hours each way to see her). It was after these trips out began that the staff came to realise that the stories they had been told, among other things that she was not safe at home.

I would like to see a thorough investigation of the decisions that led to Claire being sent away. The family have not named the unit in Swansea or its responsible clinician, but the authorities know who he is. It was he who sectioned Claire in September 2013 and then told the family that he intended to move her to Northampton a couple of weeks later. He also told the family that if Claire were released from the section at the tribunal earlier this year, she could not stay at the unit at a time when the family felt that Claire could not live at home (as she had done for five weeks in early 2013 after an earlier care home placement broke down); he claimed that she should remain under section as she behaves better when on section than off it. He continued to allow Claire out with her family almost every day, and home for weekends, as he had done since imposing the section, and did so even after deciding that Claire needed a medium-secure unit — this is unheard-of, and entirely inconsistent.

The first draft of the so-called LB Bill, named after Connor “Laughing Boy” Sparrowhawk who died due to staff negligence in an NHS learning disability unit in Oxford in July 2013, was published last week; you can view the full text, explanatory notes and two easy-read books on the LB Bill website. The eighth clause of the draft Bill removes people with autism and other learning disabilities from the scope of the Mental Health Act unless they also had a diagnosis of a recognised mental illness; any detention would have to be done under the Mental Capacity Act. This is because there have been numerous incidents of machinations involving the MHA being used to transfer learning disabled people to places far away from their families against their wishes or their best interests. It places far too much power in the hands of psychiatrists; it takes only two of them to make the decision and it takes a lot more effort and time to challenge it, and sometimes the tribunal can outlive the section, as it did in Claire’s case, and the patient is back to square one. An autistic person usually does not need a highly secure environment; they need a familiar environment with consistency and support. It is an extremely common mistake to confuse an autistic person’s behaviour in the unnatural and stressful environment of a locked unit with their behaviour when in familiar surroundings and without stress. The conflicting laws which allow clinicians to abuse their power must be reformed.

As for Claire, she will be at home for the foreseeable future; support is being put in place and a long-term placement in the area looked at, although there is no date set for this. As someone who has been on a section 3, she is entitled to aftercare under section 117 of the MHA, which is more than she would have had before being placed on section; but the same was true before she was sent to Brighton. It was entirely unnecessary. There are so many young people with autism in the UK who are still suffering in unsuitable or badly-run units and hospitals, and it seems even prisons, often hundreds of miles from home, some of whose conditions are deteriorating and some who have been attacked and abused, as was reported on Channel 4 News last week. Learning disability and mental health are united in being underfunded, “Cinderella” specialities that can be cut and people moved from pillar to post without attracting much protest, as may have been anticipated by the management who transferred women’s beds to male use in Lancashire last month. But they are separate, and an autistic crisis should not get someone stuck in the mental health system.

Possibly Related Posts:


Man Who Targeted Calgary Skyscraper Pleads Guilty To Explosives Offences

Loon Watch - 10 November, 2014 - 20:58

n-BANTREL-TOWER-large570

It seems like he had a grudge against the government but you can bet your bottom dollar this would’ve been treated as terrorism if he were Muslim, if not by the authorities then a sizable chunk of the population.

CBC

A Calgary man who once worked in military intelligence has pleaded guilty to firearms and explosives charges, after police found evidence suggesting he was planning an attack on a downtown Calgary skyscraper that houses a Veteran Affairs Canada office.

The 45-year-old man, who can only be referred to as GG under a court-ordered publication ban, had undergone a preliminary psychiatric exam and was fit to stand trial, but pleaded guilty Thursday in a Calgary courtroom. He will be sentenced in the new year.

Crown prosecutor Doug Simpson told CBC News that a terrorism charge was considered but never laid.

GG was arrested last January after he was found with weapons, explosives and detailed building plans, apparently targeting the Veterans Affairs office on the seventh floor of the Bantrel Tower, at 700 Sixth Avenue S.W.

According to court documents, GG joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2008, and had been working in military intelligence, but three years later, he went on long-term disability.

For at least a year before his arrest last January, GG had been at odds with Veterans Affairs over compensation for health-care costs, after he claimed he received an H1N1 flu shot while in the military that he alleged led to him being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

RCMP were called by GG’s wife, whose name also can’t be released under the publication ban, on Jan. 8, 2014, at 5:47 p.m. after she suspected that her husband was possibly suicidal.

She told police that GG was a former member of the military and that he had taken a rifle with him when he left their home.

After a search of several hours, police found GG on his parents’ acreage near Springbank just west of Calgary. He was sleeping in a utility trailer and dressed in camouflage pants. Police found a duffle bag beside him that contained a loaded .40-calibre HK semi-automatic handgun.

GG told officers he intended to commit suicide. He was arrested under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital for treatment.

Guns, explosives found

Officers also found several items inside GG’s car, including a loaded semi-automatic rifle, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, night vision binoculars, gun powder, bear spray and smoke grenades. They also found eight jugs of chemicals — including ammonia, bleach, muriatic acid and chlorine — in two suitcases. Wires from a battery were running in the direction of the suitcases, but were not attached to them.

Police were also unable to identify substances found in smaller containers.

A corporal with the RCMP explosives unit said that as part of his work following GG’s arrest, he constructed a pipe bomb using materials found in GG’s car. The corporal detonated the pipe bomb, and said it would have been extremely dangerous to the public.

In-depth plans

Police also seized several items in GG’s possession, including six videos (Some taken by GG in November and December 2013 at the Bantrel Tower) and a few photographs from his cellphone. A copy of a typed plan and building information on the Bantrel Tower were also found on GG’s laptop.

The plan contained notes by GG that he made during reconnaissance of the Bantrel Tower, and the Crown said the notes referred to a plan made in the fall of 2013 “to attack the office of Veterans Affairs in the Bantrel Tower Building.”

One part of the plan was labelled as a “risk assessment,” while another had the title “Walking around the building with IR camera on identifying.” There are references to steps to be taken on certain floors of the building.

GG also had a copy the Bantrel Tower building specifications, including exits, entrances and office locations.

Read the rest…

Quebec City mosques targeted by anti-Muslim posters

Loon Watch - 10 November, 2014 - 20:40

quebec-city-mosques-anti-muslim

Three Quebec City mosques were targeted by anti-Muslim messages over the weekend. (Radio-Canada)

CBC

Three Quebec City mosques were the target of xenophobic messages over the weekend.

Signs reading “Islam hors de chez moi” — Islam out of my country — were posted on each of the mosques’ front doors.

A mosque in the Limoilou neighbourhood, the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec City in Ste-Foy and the capital city mosque in Quebec City proper were targeted.

A group named Québec Identitaire seemingly has taken credit for the posters.

The group’s name was written on the posters.

Khalil​ Bahji, who has been attending the Limoilou mosque since 2007, said he and his fellow congregation members are saddened by the attack.

He said the members of the surrounding community are also disappointed, adding that they have been supportive in the past.

We thought about moving to another place when our lease was about to end, Bahji told CBC Daybreak on Monday.

He told host Mike Finnerty that a member of the community approached members of the mosque and asked why they wanted to leave and whether the neighbours had done anything to make them feel unwelcome.

“This action doesn’t reflect the real opinion of the people who surround the mosque,” Bahji said.

An administrator at another mosque said they have handed over a security tape to police showing two people putting up signs on their door.

The administrator told Radio-Canada that he believed they were isolated incidents and that he wasn’t worried, shrugging it off as an unfortunate incident of cultural ignorance.

Former Britain First Member, Matthew Lester, Denounces Group And Visits Mosque To Apologise

Loon Watch - 10 November, 2014 - 20:28

Matthew_Lionheart_Britain_First

Some good news, hearts and minds can truly change. Now lets hope he doesn’t go and join the Tommy Robinson Quilliam circus.

via. Huffington Post

A former member of Britain First has denounced the organisation and visited a mosque to apologise to the Muslim community he says they demonise.

Matthew Lester, 25, joined the group six months ago to protest radical preachers such as Anjem Choudry but soon became disillusioned with the group.

He told the Huffington Post: “I thought it was for the people but found out it was more about publicity. Basically it was publicity stunts more than getting anything done and tackling issues.

Read the rest…

Tower Hamlets: lessons of the Lutfur Rahman affair

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 November, 2014 - 15:10

Town Hall failings found by government inspectors arent the biggest problem facing the East End

Every time I go to Tower Hamlets I think of its characterization in those parts of the web where cranks and conspiracy theorists turn each other on with tales of Islamist subversion and alien contamination. I walk down East End streets where, according to those online sages, no white man or woman dares to walk. I purchase ham rolls in neighbourhoods where some would have you believe all must bow before the diktats of sharia.

Such people are, of course, strangers to reality and get their news about Tower Hamlets from the Telegraph. They matter, though, because their feverish fantasies form part of the ugly backdrop against which political debate in Britain presently takes place. This should be kept in mind when weighing the implications of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on aspects of the local councils activities published last week, and when observing the campaigns of Tower Hamlets politicians as next years general election draws near.

Continue reading...

Divine words: what role does language learning play in religious practice?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 November, 2014 - 10:51

For many, developing an understanding of a religion extends to learning its associated language. We spoke to those learning Arabic, Hebrew and classical Tibetan

Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation, Sufi mystic Rumi once said.

Words are, however, a way for the worldly to connect with the divine through prayer and worship. For many, developing a greater understanding of a religion extends not only to studying the theological and philosophical points but to learning another language. We spoke to three people studying Arabic, Hebrew and classical Tibetan about the role languages play in their relationship with religion.

Continue reading...

About those sarnies

Indigo Jo Blogs - 10 November, 2014 - 08:19

Front page of the Daily Mail, with the headline "Is there no one left in Britain who can make a sandwich?". Also has a red poppy displayed at the top right, and a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge, a white woman wearing a black hat and coat with a poppy on the lapel.The Daily Mail’s headline today reads “Is there nobody left in Britain who can make a sandwich?” and refers to an Irish-based sandwich making company, Greencore, which is seeking to recruit hundreds of workers from eastern Europe for its new factory in Northampton because it cannot recruit them locally. As is often the case with these stories, however, the story does not match the headline; the firm’s own “human resources” director claimed that the reason was that there was low unemployment in Northampton, although the Daily Mail claims that the rate is 6.8%, and higher in surrounding towns (though I wouldn’t put Luton in that category; it is a good hour’s drive away and is not on the same railway line).

I’ve worked for Greencore; I was driving a fridge truck up and down the M1 over the summer, picking up pallets of sandwiches and other goods from their depot outside Rotherham to be delivered to branches of WH Smith’s at London airports, the Channel Tunnel and various railway stations in the south-east. The pay was good for a class 2 driving job (£10.50 per hour, which is more commonly found in class 1 jobs), although I cannot speak for any of the other staff as I did not ask what they were paid. The issues I had were minor compared with what some of the reports from others who have worked in different plants have said. I was frustrated by the fact that I was expected to negotiate things with the staff or management in Rotherham, such as when the goods were ready by or the arrangement of pallets on the truck, when I was an agency driver and not a Greencore employee. They also attempted to get me to take my break at the Rotherham depot when I was being loaded, but this was never possible as they insisted I help load the truck (I had to know where the different pallets were), and in any case I wanted to use a service station (the nearest of which is five miles away from the depot) as it has proper facilities. The job fell through after I disagreed with the transport manager over start times; he insisted I not come in until 11am on a Sunday (and tried to send me away when I came in before 10am), which would have meant I was late both picking up the goods and going home at the end of the day. He did not factor in traffic delays, which were highly likely as there were two sets of major roadworks on the M1. (The same manager also told me to keep the fridge running, and burning diesel, all the way to Rotherham even though the truck was empty, just in case it did not work when needed or I forgot to turn it on. The truck actually belonged to a fridge truck rental company, Petit Forestier, who would have repaired it in situ or supplied another truck if it broke down.)

Others online quickly searched for reports on what the company was like to work for, and quickly found very negative reports; the company pays a lot of its workers minimum wage or hires cheap agency staff; that there are a lot of foreign workers for the same reason; that they expect staff to work a long period without a break and did not let them leave their work to use the toilet, which had resulted in some people wetting or soiling themselves, that people have their leave cancelled, even in the holiday periods, at short notice and that there are “people suffering from serious stress issues” (see here and here, though you will have to register to see more than one page on the latter). There was also a BBC news report from 2012, in which their union accused the company of exploiting staff at Hull, abolishing certain premium overtime rates (e.g. at bank holidays) and threatening to make staff redundant and replace them with agency workers. If they are paying minumum wage or not much more, it is understandable that people are difficult to find in Northampton because it is within the London commuter belt and so the cost of living is higher than in places like Rotherham. I saw plenty of white British workers at the plants in the north, but mostly foreign workers, even in the office, in London. (I didn’t visit the other plants, like Sittingbourne and Wisbech, so I do not know what goes on there.)

So, the Daily Mail story smacks of lazy journalism, a story intended to demonstrate that Britain is a soft touch for foreign workers, attracting them with better paid jobs than back home with the pay topped up with tax credits and benefits supplied by the public. The truth is that these are subsidies for large companies (usually) who pay poor wages that are not enough to live on, especially in places with inflated costs of living such as in the south-east. The question should be asked as to whether Greencore plans to maintain its factories in places like Hull and Worksop or really intends to transfer its operations southwards and dispose of those pesky unionised workers up north (only time will tell; none of the reports I have seen say that). In that case, there will be a lot of British workers who can make a sandwich, but can’t find a job.

Possibly Related Posts:


Book Review: She Wore Red Trainers

Muslimah Media Watch - 10 November, 2014 - 06:00
I was expecting a review copy of the book She Wore Red Trainers in my mailbox any time. It was early September, the time of year when the kids start school, get busy with homework, enroll in a soccer team, and so on, so it is the time of year when I have no time [Read More...]

Pages

Subscribe to The Revival aggregator