Muslim family attacked on train

Four teenage girls were arrested after a couple travelling on a tram with their baby were allegedly racially abused.

The alleged incident took place on the Metrolink service between Rochdale and Oldham.

A video of the altercation, which happened on June 12, has been viewed more than one million times since being posted on Facebook.

A group of about six girls are said to have got on the tram at the Shaw and Crompton station before the incident unfolded.

They are alleged to have made comments about the woman’s head covering.

It is alleged when her husband intervened they became verbally abusive.

In a statement Greater Manchester Police said: “Police investigating the racial abuse of a man and woman on a tram have made a number of arrests.

“At around 3.30pm on Friday June 12, the two victims and their young child were travelling on the Metrolink between Shaw and Manchester when they were racially abused by a group of teenage girls.

“Following enquiries by officers, 4 girls aged between 16 and 18 have been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Further enquiries are ongoing in an effort to identify and arrest the other offenders.”

Teenager injured in Islamophobic attack outside Coventry mosque

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Muslim teen was Islamophobically assaulted as he left a Coventry mosque following Ramadan Tarawih [night] prayers on June 21.

Police have launched an investigation after an 18-year-old, who doesn’t want to be named was attacked between 11.45pm and midnight in Eagle Street, Foleshill.

He was left with a nasty black eye in the assault but escaped without serious injury.

It is believed the same attackers may have targeted the nearby the Masjid-e-Zeenat-ul Islam Mosque, in Stoney Stanton Road, and thrown stones at the windows before attacking the teenager.

The victim’s father, Qudir Hussain, of Foleshill, said he was sure that attackers were motivated by race.

“I’m really angry,” he told Coventry Times. “They went from one place to the other, they were clearly looking for trouble. Apparently they were throwing things at the windows and shouting out racist abuse. My son has a black eye. I did tell him to be careful and that he maybe shouldn’t go out.”

The teenager had left the Jamia Mosque during evening prayers, shortly before the attack.

His group separated before he was targeted further down Eagle Street.

He was approached by four men who called him a P*** before they attacked him from behind. It’s believed some of the group were in a dark coloured Toyota car.

Hussain, 45, said: “They threatened him. They said they will cut him up, chop him into little bits. He wasn’t looking for trouble, it came to him. I just want everyone to be aware that this sort of thing is going on.”

The area outside the mosque and the surrounding roads are covered by CCTV.

Evening prayers at the Jamia Mosque begins at around 11pm and end at 12.30am. It’s believed the area outside the mosque would have been busy at the time.

A spokesman for West Midlands confirmed that, “Door to door inquiries took place the following morning while the 18-year-old has been interviewed by police.”

Lifetime ban for Islamophobic Headteacher

Nadine Osman

An Islamophobic Headteacher who branded teachers in her Ilford school as “f***ing Muslims”, called a colleague a “Polish slapper” and asked a pupil with special needs if he “liked touching women’s breasts” has been banned from the profession for life on June 12.

Anupe Hanch, 49, was found guilty of misconduct in May after being accused of racist and other discriminatory behaviour while she was headteacher of Gearies Junior School in Barkingside between 2005 and 2012.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership found Hanch guilty of unacceptable professional conduct at work which resulted the ban.

The panel published its report on June 12, in which it details 11 witness accounts of the former-headmistress’ bullying behaviour towards teachers and pupils.

When looking through CVs from Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), Hanch told a colleague that “if we have any more Muslims around here, it’s going to start looking like Al-Jazeera,” the report said.

The report also revealed in 2010 she said of Muslim colleagues taking leave for Eid: “I’m not going to be like those f***ing Muslims taking a day off for Eid.”

Hanch denied the accusation, saying that such words went against everything she believed in.

The teacher tried to encourage staff and pupils not to take off religious holidays.

Witnesses described how Hanch regularly treated her colleagues with disrespect and intimidation, and that she shouted and used swear words. In the report, the panel said there was nothing to suggest Hanch’s actions were not deliberate.

The report also stated that she shouted at a child with special educational needs: “Do you want to become a paedophile” and asked them “do you like touching women’s breasts?”

In another incident, a witness told the panel how she referred to two mothers of school pupils as “bitches”. She told another witness that a member of staff looked like “a Polish slapper.”

Hanch, who is also a parish councillor in Epping Forest, locked the assistant head in her office for three hours between 4pm and 7pm in 2010 for “no reason.”

One witness told the panel that when she asked for time off to volunteer at the London Olympics, Hanch said “I’m going to have to break down 5,000 years of Islam to get through to her.”

Judge Paul Heathcote ruled that: “in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against her, I have decided that Mrs Anupe Hanch shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of her eligibility to teach.”

Non-Muslim name secures job interview

Trisha Vekaria

A teacher has accused a East London school of discrimination after he says he was only offered a job interview after changing his Muslim name to an Anglo one.

When applying for the second time to a RE position at Langdon Academy, Hamid Mahmood changed his name to Harry Mason on his CV wandering if his “race or religion had anything to do with the constant rejections”.

Mahmood, being unsuccessful with a previous application to the same school in 2014, applied for the exact same role in 2015 with a different ethnicity. The successful response proved his “fears of discrimination were true”.

A spokesperson for Langdon Academy, rejected Mahmood’s allegations insisting they have “a proud record of equal opportunities recruitment….“During 2014-15 we recruited more staff of Islamic faith than any other religious domination, including both new appointments to our Senior Leadership Team. The head of our Religious Education is also an Asian Muslim.”

However, Mahmood says, “before I applied last year, I called them up and they seemed very positive about the application, but then when I applied I didn’t hear back. I’m also sure that nobody else was hired because they re-advertised the job a month later in April. So, when the same position came up this year in May, I decided to apply again but this time I changed my name to Harry Mason and took out any reference to Islam.”

Mahmood changed his name and removed a reference to the Institute of Islamic Education in his application for the teaching post, but made no other changes to the CV he had applied with from the previous year. Despite having a first class Master’s degree and a distinction in his teaching qualification, he said he had been turned down from thirty teaching posts in the last year. He states “at the end of the day, it looks like my degree didn’t matter because it was really based on ethnicity and faith and this is something I am really saddened by.”

However, the school’s official statement states “These two, apparently different, candidates have never applied for a post in the same recruitment round.”
“Clearly, there are a number of variables that influence which candidates are shortlisted and which are not. Principally, and obviously, one of these is the quality of other applications received.”

Countless studies have supported Mahmood allegation of name-based discrimination in employment application processes.

In 2010, Claire Adida from the University of California, San Diego sent three fictitious resumes to employers in France with the same qualifications and experiences, only the names and small details about their background were different.

She found “Aurélie Ménard” and “Marie Diouf”, the names being typically French and Christian, received more positive responses than “Khadija Diouf”, a name strongly suggesting a Muslim background. For every 100 callbacks “Marie” received, “Khadija” received 38 callbacks. Her research showed that a Muslim candidate is 2.5 times less likely to get a job interview than a Christian or non-religious candidate in the French labour market, particularly in the Senegalese community.

More recently, in June 2014 University of Connecticut professor Michael Wallace led sociological studies where researchers sent 3200 resumes in South Connecticut. He found that CV’s with religious mentions received 29% fewer email responses and 33% fewer phone calls than identical CVs with no religious references. Muslims received the most discrimination with 38% fewer emails and 54% fewer phone calls.

Comedians sue for right to advertise in New York subway

Elham Asaad Buaras

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) unfairly pulled an advert posters from underground stations across New York for a film about Muslims because it confused the humour in the posters for political statements banned under a new policy, the filmmakers charge in two new lawsuits filed on June 25.

The MTA is accused of ­reneging on a $15,000 deal to plaster movie posters on walls in 140 underground stations across New York.

The Muslims are Coming! by Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah is billed as a lighthearted look at the culture of the religion.

The adverts used what the studio calls “satirical and tongue-in-cheek” statements such as “The Ugly Truth About Muslims: Muslims have great frittata recipes” and “Those Terrorists are All Nutjobs,” with the word “nutjobs” substituted for the crossed-off “Muslim” because it was “more accurate.”

According to the studio, the film carries a message that “American Muslims are ordinary people,” and that the MTA had no compelling reason to ban it.

When the posters didn’t go up on the scheduled date in April, the filmmakers called the MTA but didn’t hear back for several days, and then were told the ads would violate a new policy that bans ads that are “political in nature.”

The filmmakers countered that there is nothing political about funny movie posters. One of the ads says, “Muslims! They invented coffee, the toothbrush and algebra…Oh wait, sorry about the algebra. That’s a year of class you’ll never get back.”

Another said: “Beware! The Muslims are coming! And they shall strike with hugs so fierce that you’ll end up calling your grandmother and telling her you love her!”

“We make a living as comedians and thought it was important to use our craft to talk about our community,” said Dean Obeidallah. “These ads are positive and our goal is to make people laugh while they simultaneously learn a little bit about Muslims. I think the people of New York will appreciate these ads and hope the court will grant us permission to run them.”

The studio also said the MTA had approved the ads in March, but withdrew that approval last month in light of its April 29 ad ban.

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the agency had not been served with the complaint, and he declined to comment further.

“Our lawsuit will travel through the legal system slower than the G train,” the filmmakers wrote. “But at least it’s moving.”

Sikh pensioner assaulted for looking like a Muslim

Elham Asaad Buaras

An 82-year-old Sikh man who was brutally assaulted outside a Gurudwara in 2013 is still awaiting justice with a third delay in sentencing of the accused who reportedly mistook him to be a Muslim.

Piara Singh was attacked outside his home in Fresno, California.His lungs and head were badly damaged and he was left bleeding in front of Gurudawara. Members of Sikh community say that they are still waiting for closure in the case due to third delay in sentencing.

His attacker, Gilbert Garcia Jr, 31, was initially charged with attempted murder but admitted elder abuse and hate crime in February of this year. Community Advocate Ike Grewal said, “Sikhs have been attacked all over the US after 9/11 and this is not acceptable because we have been mistaken as radicals when we are not,” Grewal said.

Singh’s nephew, Charanjit Sihota said that police told him that they found Garcia hiding behind a tree in a neighbour’s garden and that, as he was under arrest he shouted that he hated “those people” and wanted to bomb their places of worship.

Heroic Samaritan assaulted for defending Muslim women

Nadine Osman

A heroic Australian traveler was assaulted after defending three Muslim women who were subject to a vile Islamophobic verbal assault on a packed Melbourne train, Australia.

36 year-old Jason Cias was commuting home on the train on May 15, when he witnessed two men targeting the women who were wearing headscarves.

The train had pulled out of Melbourne Central station about 3.15pm when the unprovoked abuse began after one of the younger women sat next to the tradesmen.

One of them made reference to her headscarf, saying, “You shouldn’t be wearing that shit in Australia’,” Cias said.

Cias said the woman tried to put the men in their place, asking them what their problem was, and it sparked a heated exchange.

He said the older of the women appeared to try to calm the situation in Arabic, which was met with yet another barb from the men.

“The comment was, ‘You shouldn’t be speaking that shit in Australia’,” Cias said.

The women got off the train at North Melbourne and it was when one of the men called after them “I’ll f—ing smash ya” that Cias stepped in.

“I said to the guy, ‘Mate, they’re women’. The implication there was you don’t threaten people, particularly women,” he said.

Cias said he was told to mind his own business before one of the men stood over him and punched him to his left cheek.

“Even though the guy stood up and was acting aggressively, I didn’t expect to get punched. After that I walked towards him and grabbed his collar and held him at arm’s length and told him I would be laying charges,” he said.

The men moved to another carriage when another commuter intervened and separated them. Cias got off the train at Kensington with two witnesses, including Katie Parker, 28, who captured part of the assault on video and rang police.

“It was awful to witness that sort of violence in the middle of the day… Jason just said one sentence calmly and the attacker was really aggressive at the drop of a hat for no logical reason,” Parker said.

Cias, who suffered bruising and swelling but no long-term injuries, said he would change only one thing about what he did.

“I would have liked to have said something earlier. That’s probably my only thing…but I certainly wouldn’t change what I did, I don’t agree with that behaviour,” he said.

“Whether it’s Islamic women or whoever, it’s just not right they can abuse people like that. No one should be doing that to anyone regardless of race or gender or religious creed.”

German police officer force-feeds Muslim with rotten pork

Nadine Osman

German prosecutors are investigating a police officer who allegedly abused two refugees, strangling an Afghan man and forcing a Moroccan to eat rotten pork off the floor.

The police officer has been accused of bragging about the brutal assaults in text messages and photos he sent via instant messaging service WhatsApp to his colleagues in the western city of Hanover.

Human rights group Pro Asyl condemned the alleged incidents, first reported by public broadcaster NDR, for their “appalling level of racism and inhumanity” and demanded a probe into how many “accomplices in police uniform” knew of the violence.

Prosecutors are investigating the officer, who has been suspended, on charges of physical assault and illegal weapons possession and have searched his home and work place.

In the first alleged case, in March last year, the officer had bragged in a text message about beating, strangling and sticking his fingers up the nose of a 29-year-old Afghan man whose feet were cuffed after he was detained for not carrying ID papers.

The officer later bragged about the assault over WhatsApp and sent several photos and messages to his colleagues saying: “It was funny…squealed like a pig… It was a present from Allah.”

In the second case, months later, the officer allegedly targeted a 19-year-old Moroccan man, who had been detained for travelling on a train without a ticket, carrying a small amount of marijuana.

NDR reported that the policeman bragged about how he assaulted and then humiliated the man by forcing him to eat minced rotten pork off the floor.

A photo allegedly sent by the officer shows a handcuffed man lying on the floor, wincing in pain, and apparently restrained by at least two officers.

The officer has been suspended over physical assault and possession of illegal weapons as investigation continues.

Supreme Court rules against Abercrombie in hijab case

Nadine Osman

On June 1, the US Supreme Court ruled against Abercrombie & Fitch, 8-1, deciding that the retailer’s failure to accommodate a job applicant who wore a hijab violated her civil rights.

Abercrombie declined to hire Samantha Elauf in 2008 because her hijab violated the company’s “look policy,” which at the time prohibited employees from wearing head coverings. Elauf was never informed of the “look policy.” Elauf filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC filed suit against Abercrombie, prompting the retailer to deny its policy was discriminatory because its ban prohibited all types of headgear and therefore was not based on religion.

Abercrombie has since changed its “look policy” to allow for headgear, including hijabs.

Abercrombie also argued that it was up to Elauf to request accommodation. Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers must provide “reasonable accommodation without undue hardship.” The question before the court was whether the employer bore responsibility to provide that accommodation even when the prospective employee – did not ask for one. The high court ruled that it did, reversing a decision from the Tenth Circuit.

This was not the first time Abercrombie stood accused of discriminating against Muslims in its hiring practices. In September 2013 the retailer agreed to $71,000 in settlements after the EEOC filed two religious discrimination lawsuits. One of those lawsuits concerned a Muslim teenager fired from her stockroom job after she refused to remove her hijab. The other involved an 18-year-old job applicant allegedly denied an “impact associate” position after her interviewer asked about her hijab.

The Elauf case was a significant win for religious advocacy groups. In December, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, recommending that it overturn the Tenth Circuit’s ruling on the grounds that “it places unreasonable burdens on individual job candidates and employees who outwardly display their religion through dress and grooming practices.”

A court ruling in favor of Abercrombie would have also had implications for pregnancy and disability requests, since it would have freed employers from the obligation to accommodate pregnant or disabled workers unless asked explicitly asked to do so.

Misconceptions about Muslims ‘rife’ in UK

Hamed Chapman

Many young people have negative attitudes towards immigration, believing that Muslims are “taking over” the country and foreign-born workers are “stealing jobs”, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by Show Racism The Red Card, suggests that misconceptions about migration and other cultures are rife, fuelled by distorted views about the numbers of immigrants living in the UK.

It found that more than a third (35%) of the almost 6,000 pupils questioned believed that “Muslims are taking over England” and that more than one in four (28%) that jobs being taken by foreign workers might stop them reaching their goals.

The research, part of a two-year programme of work by the charity designed to combat the influence of far-right groups on young people, surveyed 10 to 16-year-olds in 60 schools across England who took part in anti-racism workshops between April 2012 and April 2014.

It found that youngsters overestimated the number of foreign-born people living in the UK, suggesting that around 47% were born overseas. In reality, 2011 census data indicates that the actual figure is around 13%, the charity said.

Of the 3,362 youngsters who answered the survey between April and November 2012, nearly half (49%) had agreed that migration to the UK is out of control or not being managed properly.

And of the 2,638 who were polled between November 2012 and April last year, even more (60%) believed it was true that “asylum seekers and immigrants are stealing our jobs”.

The study did find that when asked how they would describe what it means to be British to someone from another country, many of the answers young people gave were positive, highlighting areas such as the NHS, the education system, freedom of thought and even the weather.

It also reveals that many youngsters have concerns about the future, with 35% of all of those surveyed saying they do not think they will achieve their potential at school, and 40% saying they do not believe they will have enough, or earn enough money in the future.

Over two in five (43%) think that there is a lack of work opportunities, the study found, while “jobs” was the most used phrase by young people when asked about the negative aspects of living in a multicultural country.

“This data provides an evidence base which supports our experience in recent years working with young people throughout the UK; the presence of fears and misconceptions about issues of immigration, Islamophobia and ‘Britishness’,” said Chief Executive Ged Grebby of Show Racism The Red Card.

“Through Show Racism The Red Card’s work in schools we have found that there is a large amount of negativity when young people are asked questions about ‘immigration’ or ‘Muslims’. This survey shows that this is fuelled by a totally distorted view of the number of immigrants and Muslims in the UK.”

“It is only once we acknowledge the existence of these attitudes and identify the influences at work that we can deliver the right kind of educational interventions to help build the capacity to resist racist ideas and attitudes among young people.”


Muslim mother assaulted during school run

Elham Asaad Buaras

Police are investigating after a group of women allegedly ripped off a Muslim mother’s hijab during an Islamophobic attack as she went to collect her children from school in Croydon.

The young mum was allegedly set upon by three women “for wearing a headscarf” as she walked towards private Islamic primary school Al-Khair in south London.

She was going to collect her two young children on June 4 when a number of women started “shouting and hurling abuse”.

They allegedly asked if she was hot in the headscarf – before yanking it off and punching her.

The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They pulled my headscarf off and started punching and kicking me.

“One was dragging my head down while the others were hitting me. They were being so racist and using derogatory terms.”

She said she was left with whiplash and chunks of hair missing, but suffered no significant physical harm and the London Ambulance Service was not called.

The alleged attack in Derby Road, close to the school, only stopped when another parent jumped in, according to police.

Officers were called to the scene at about 3pm. Two women, aged 18 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of assault and a racially aggravated public order offence.

They were taken to a police station before being bailed to return at a later date. Officers continue to investigate, Scotland Yard said.

Quizzed by The Muslim News on why the women were arrested under racially aggravated offence and not religiously aggravated, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said, “This is the initial charge” adding it could be changed should they be charged later.

We don’t hire Muslims, Mumbai-based company tells candidate

Elham Asaad Buaras
Zeshan Ali Khan, posted a screenshot of an email he received the previous day from Hare Krishna Exports Ltd, on his Facebook page

A Mumbai-based diamond company is being investigated for discrimination after it explicitly informed a Muslim MBA graduate that his job application is being rejected on the grounds of his faith.

The storm erupted on May 20 after Zeshan Ali Khan, posted a screenshot of an email he received the previous day from Hare Krishna Exports Ltd, on his Facebook page.
The email simply read; “Thanks for your application. We regret to inform you that we hire only non-Muslim candidates” .

We don’t hire MuslimsThe viral reaction to Khan’s facebook page prompted, the company to issue a statement regretting “any hurt caused” by the incident as well as a denied it discriminates against Muslim candidates.

Savji Dholakia, founder and chair of HKE, contended that the “erroneous email” was “a mistake” committed by a junior trainee, Dipika Tike, who joined the “firm’s HR team only two months ago” and was not aware of the company’s culture. “She did not realise the gravity of her blunder,” said Dholakia. “There is no official policy or rule in the company that prevents people of a particular caste or religion from getting employment. We had no intention of appearing biased or hurting sentiments,” he said.

The company’s apology to Khan was accompanied by a job offer, an offer Khan says he rejected due to the company’s inadequate explanation which he says merely demoted the incident to “ a clerical error” by newly employed junior trainee.

In an interview with The Muslim News the 22 year old said journalists had since uncovered that contrary to company’s claim Tike “was working with the firm for the last 4 years and holds a senior post”.

According to the screenshot of Tike’s LinkdIn profile which has since disappeared, Tike worked with the Gammon group as an HR executive and Manager-HR and admin with Muez-Hest India Ltd.

Tike came to HKE with 4 years of experience and joined the firm with as ‘Human Resources Generalist’. Her job description at the firm was “recruitment, employee engagement, MIS, etc.” The page did not mention HR trainee under any field of expertise.

“I have been informed that the company is just trying to make the poor lady a scapegoat by pressurizing her to take the blame on herself. Also I have been told that she approached the Bombay High Court for anticipatory bail.”

Khan said he initially laughed when he read the email, “I thought it might be some stupid joke but when I discovered that my friends who applied with me were called for an interview the next day, I was shocked and disgusted. I realized that this is unacceptable.”

“My friends final round of interview was taken by the aforesaid trainee which proves she was a senior manager however my friends refused to accept their offer letter and as solidarity decided to walk out. ”

Khan case of religious discrimination has been taken by India’s National Commission for Minorities.

School governors urge parents to reconsider mosque visit after ‘guns and violence’ fears

Elham Asaad Buaras

Parents who withdraw their children from a RE trip to a mosque over fears they would witness “guns and violence” have been asked to reconsider the decision by governors from Lostwithiel School.

The governors correspondence – ahead of the trip due on May 7 – comes as Muslims in Cornwall revealed they are becoming targets of Islamophobic abuse due to concerns over the ISIS.

According to media reports 10 parents refused permission for their children to take part in the trip. The visit trip, which is part of the curriculum, will include Exeter Cathedral, followed by a tour of the mosque, where pupils will “observe a congregational prayer and be able to ask questions.”

One parent told the school they had “grave concerns” about the safety of children due to news coverage of ISIS.

Education Secretary of the Cornwall Islamic Community Centre, Mostofa Abdul Rahman, said that local Muslims had noticed a change in attitudes towards their faith in recent months.

Mosques in Cornwall have been defaced with graffiti and community members have become concerned about the amount of misinformation about Islam circulating among local people.

“There are definitely some changes. The police come to the mosque quite often and ask people if they’ve suffered because of this,” said Mr Rahman. “From what people hear in the news, that’s what they’re expecting [Muslims] to think. This will bring their children into thinking that way too. There will be a big problem later on.”

Rahman welcomed teachers’ efforts to help pupils understand the religion.

“The parents have to really learn a bit more about Islam themselves, from the right sources, before they make a decision. I have been trying all my life to clear this nonsense up.”

In a statement Chair of the governors at Lostwithiel school, Kat Smith, said: “The visit to the mosque will provide an insight for pupils into the nature of British Islam, help them understand how Islam is presented in the media and that groups like Isis are not a true reflection of the Islam followed by the vast majority of Muslims in Britain

French mayor illegally counts Muslim children

Nadine Osman

A Mayor in France has been accused of racism and acting illegally on May 5 after using the names of school children in his southern French town to decide how many were Muslim.

Under France’s strict secularism laws, the Government does not keep statistics on people’s religion or ethnicity.

Robert Menard: French mayor questioned by police over claims files were kept on Muslim school children

However, Mayor of Béziers, Robert Ménard, said his administration had used lists of pupils’ names to decide how many were Muslim, and claimed the figure came to 64.6 percent.

“Sorry to say this, but the town hall has, class by class, the names of the children,” said Menard, a 62-year-old former journalist who was elected in 2014 representing the Arise Republic movement, has always been backed by the far-right National Front.

“I know I don’t have the right to do it. Sorry to say it, but the first names tell us their religion. To say otherwise is to deny the evidence”.He added that there were schools where the “majority of mothers don’t speak French”.

His comments brought condemnation from the Socialist Government, with Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, tweeting “shame on the mayor”. “The Republic does not make any distinction between its children,” Valls said before adding that the scandal shows “the reality of the far-right”.

President François Hollande said the list was “against all the values of the Republic”.

Education Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said she had called for a judicial investigation, saying Menard’s statements were “profoundly anti-Republican”.

Head of Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France, Abdallah Zekri, said he was “scandalised and sickened by these comments”. “Moreover, you can be called Mohammed without being a practising Muslim,” he added.

However, the town hall of Béziers denied that there was any list of children’s names or that any effort had been made to identify which were Muslim. “The town hall of Béziers does not have, and has never had, files on its children,” it said in a statement. Police raided the town hall to gather evidence.

Danish school fined for forcing Muslim student to taste pork

Nadine Osman

A Danish court has ordered a culinary school to pay around $6,000 in damages to a Muslim student after she was required to taste pork as part of her studies.

The 24-year-old student, who is of Libyan descent, attended the Holstebro Culinary School, named after the town where it’s located.

The student was told she must taste the food she cooks and as she refused, she was asked to only taste, but not to swallow the pork dishes.

The woman recorded the conversation with school officials and later presented the tape as evidence in court.

It appeared that the student was informed that pork and wine would be in the recipes, but she was only informed that trying prepared dishes was compulsory after the course began.

The woman insisted that she was being discriminated against on religious grounds and filed a complaint against the school to the Equal Treatment Board.

The board upheld her claim and ordered the school to pay the student $75,000 in moral damages.

The culinary school challenged the verdict in the Danish High Court, saying that the woman hadn’t graduated as she missed classes too often.

The High Court upheld the lower court’s decision, but ordered the school to pay a smaller sum in compensation.

French girl kicked out of class due to long skirt

Elham Asaad Buaras

A 15-year-old Muslim girl was banned from her class twice in the French town of Charleville-Mezieres for wearing a skirt that was too long and therefore supposedly a conspicuous display of religion.

France’s state secularism has led to very strict laws prohibiting students from wearing overtly religious symbols in institutions of education. The law came into effect on September 2 2004.

The student, identified as Sarah, already apparently removed her headscarf before entering the school, in accordance with French law. But her long skirt was deemed a “provocation,” and potential act of protest.

“The girl was not excluded, she was asked to come back with a neutral outfit,” said a school official. The news sparked an outcry on social media, with commentators remarking on the hypocrisy and bigotry lurking beneath Sarah’s treatment.

On Twitter, the hashtag #JePorteMaJuppeCommeJeVeux [I wear my skirt as I like] trended.

Public reaction to the news that a school was banned from her class France for wearing a skirt that was too long

Critics of France’s secularist laws in schools say they often thinly conceal a widespread bias against Muslims and immigrants in French society. Studies have revealed how Muslims face systematic discrimination on the basis of their race, creed and culture.

Sarah said her skirt was “nothing special, it’s very simple, there’s nothing conspicuous. There is no religious sign whatsoever.”

Anti-Islamophobia group Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF) say they are “appalled” by the incident. The group says last year its legal department has “dealt with almost a hundred” of similar cases.

CCIF spokeswoman, Elsa Ray, told The Muslim News, “Muslims girls are being bullied at school by the teachers or the head of the school because they wear long skirts or blouse and as they are Muslims and – for most of them – wear the hijab outside the school, the school considers their clothes as ‘Islamic’ and ‘ostentatious’.”

“The hysteria on this matter shows how much France does not understand the concept of laïcité, and worse, use it as a weapon to exclude and harass Muslims.”

She added Muslim girls, “already make a great effort to remove their headscarf before entering school, now they want to forbid them to wear whatever they want to wear because they are Muslims. How far France will go? ”

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch said France is “carrying secularism too far.”

Planned terror attacks on Muslims in Germany

Elham Asaad Buaras

German police have arrested three men and a woman suspected of setting up a new right-wing extremist group, the Old School Society, with the aim of carrying out bomb attacks on mosques, Salafist Muslims and shelters for asylum-seekers.

Andreas H, 56, Markus W, 39, Denise Vanessa, 22, and Olaf Germanauthorities, 47, were held on terrorism charges.

The four are also accused of having procured explosives during raids on homes in Saxony and four other states.

“Investigations show the group’s goal was to carry out attacks in Germany in small groups against notable Salafists, mosques and asylum-seekers’ shelters,” announced the public prosecutors’ office on May 6.

“To this end, from what we know so far the four people detained obtained explosives for possible terrorist attacks by the group,” said prosecutors, adding that it was not yet clear whether they “already had specific targets or dates in mind”.

German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said the Old School Society appeared to be a newly-formed group.

“We are very glad that it hopefully has been nipped in the bud – everything else will be shown by the investigation,” de Maiziere said.

Right-wing extremists have been a renewed focus for German intelligence agencies after it came to light that eo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground, allegedly killed eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

It is also believed to be behind two bombings and 15 bank robberies.

Two members committed suicide after a bank robbery and a third suspect, Beate Zschaepe, is now on trial.

Figures released by the interior ministry exposed a high increase of 22.9 per cent in violent crimes by right-wing extremists in 2014 to 1,029 – including 175 attacks on refugee homes, three times the number in 2013.

“Increasingly, asylum seekers and refugee homes are being targeted. This development is worrisome and must be stopped,” de Maiziere said in presenting the report

UKIP candidates caught spouting anti-Muslim hate at rally

Elham Asaad Buaras

Magnus Nielsen and Anne Marie-Waters speaking at a rally in Westminster organised by MARIAS

Two of UKIP’s London candidates have been caught on film spouting Islamophobic hate at a far-right rally on April 11.

The Mirror newspaper released the footage showing Magnus Nielsen and Anne Marie-Waters speaking at a rally in Westminster organised by Mothers Against Radical Islam And Sharia (MARIAS) .

Nielsen, who was standing in Hampstead and Kilburn, tells the audience Britain is “at war with Islam”.

Waters, who hopes to become MP for Lewisham East, was also filmed telling an undercover reporter “a lot of people need to be deported” and “many mosques need to be closed down”.

The revelations come just hours after UKIP policy chief Suzanne Evans claimed the party “was not anti-¬immigration” at its manifesto launch.

UKIP bans its members from being formally involved with far right wing organisations and has claimed it is not a party of racists.

MARIAS leader Toni Bugle recorded a video message to online followers days before, which said: “I don’t care what you are, I don’t care if you’re Britain First, I don’t care if you’re English Defence League, I don’t even care if you’re National Front.”

Nielsen said: “This country has been at war with Islam since Islam was created 1,300 years ago.

“In fact, Islam has been the enemy of every democratic and free society ever since. And it’s gaining strength.

“And it’s not just a question of burning people or cutting their heads off, it’s an insidious movement to infiltrate all the organs of government.”

In further footage, Nielsen told The Mirror reporter of his plans should he overturn Labour’s majority of just 42.

He said: “I’d use the position, one of the primary things I’d do, I’d fight this situation, let the Muslims know they have to fight all the way along the line.”

Waters pointed towards Downing Street as she told the crowd: “Use your vote wisely on the 7th of May and tell them, remind that lot over there your vote is still bigger than the Muslim vote.”

She told the undercover reporter should she be elected MP she would work to ensure, “immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely, that is just the way it is. A lot of people need to be deported. Many mosques need to be closed down. It really has to get tough”.

UKIP has yet to respond.

Maher accused of Islamophobia for comparing Zayn Malik to terrorist

Elham Asaad Buaras

American political satirist, Bill Maher, has been criticised for Islamophobically comparing the former band member Zayn Malik to the Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

During his Real Time show the comedian was discussing the 22 year-old’s exit from the One Direction when he likened him to Tsarnaev.

During a skit in his show, Maher said: “I think after everything we’ve been through, I at least deserve the common respect of being told face to face [that you’d quit One Direction].

“Just tell me two things Zayn. Which one of the band were you?

“And where were you during the Boston marathon?”

At which point, the screen split to show images of Malik and Tsarnaev side by side, while Maher suggested they looked similar.

This is not the first time Malik has been the victim of Islamophobia. In 2012, rightwing American writer Debbie Schlussel accused him of “boyband jihad” when he tweeted Eid Mubarak to his fans. She claimed that the only reason why he was chosen to join One Direction was because “Islam sells in Britain.” And earlier last month she celebrated his departure from One Direction by announcing the band is “now jihad-free”.

That same year, internet trolls and racially abusive messages led him to temporarily disable his Twitter account. In 2013, American rapper Rucka Rucka Ali released the track Zayn Did 9/11, with art that superimposed Malik’s silhouette over an image of the burning Twin Towers, and lyrics that blamed him for the September 11 attacks.

And last year Malik faced a torrent of abuse and death threats for tweeting #FreePalestine.

Fans showed their support for Malik on Twitter using the #RespectForZayn hashtag, with many believing Maher was mocking his faith.

Some fans turned the table on Maher showing tweeting physical similarity between the US talk show host and right wing Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people on July 2011.

This is not the first time Maher has been criticised for his comments about Muslims. In 2014, students at University of California, Berkeley, objected to the comedian giving a speech at the university’s December commencement ceremony after he likened Islam to the Mafia on his show.

Malik’s fans set up a petition calling for Maher to apologise, which reads: “This is not about making Bill Maher a scapegoat and before you disregard this thinking 1D fans are angry because of Zayn Malik, think again. This is about how islamophobia, racism and discrimination of ANY kind is wrong, shouldn’t be ignored and must end.”

It continues: “This is completely unacceptable. Racism should not become normalised especially on national television. Bill Maher and whoever wrote the script, need to be severely disciplined and at least apologise to show that this type of behaviour is never oK.

Millions watch his TV show meaning he has an influence on many people, the fact that people in the audience laughed is proof of his negative influence.”

Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, said Maher’s joke was out of line.

“It shows that he’s really not missing an opportunity to engage in his Islamophobic themes,” Hooper says. “He serves to legitimise Islamophobia in the left which is one of the unfortunate byproducts of his intolerance of Islam and Muslims.”

Maher responded the following week in his show by branding those offended idiots.

“Two weeks ago I did a New Rule on our Internet Overtime segment about someone named Zayn Malik, who I’’d never heard of until that day,” he said. “Well, the P.C. police as usual read way more into that joke than was actually there.”

From there, Maher introduced the segment titled ”Explaining Jokes to Idiots.” During it, he did a play-by-play of the joke in question.

Muslim woman verbally abused on Sydney train defended

Elham Asaad Buaras

An Australian woman received worldwide praise after stepping in to aid a fellow passenger who was being Islamophobically abused.

Stacey Eden said she has been overwhelmed by the positive response to her video of the verbal attack on one of Sydney’s trains on her Facebook.

Unable to contain her anger at the middle-aged woman who had launched a vile verbal assault, the 23-year-old launched her own assault by defending the Muslim woman while filming the encounter on her mobile phone.

She then uploaded the incident on social media on April 15 evening.

It has since attracted almost 80,000 views and praise, including the couple she defended.

In one post on Eden’s Facebook page the victim’s husband thanks Eden adding: “I generally believe that you and many other Australians do respect all religions.”

To which Eden replied: “Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti thank you so much for contacting me.

“I wish I said more to you and your wife yesterday, but as I said when you got off the train, I’m very sorry you had to experience this. Please don’t let one woman’s ignorance change your opinions on Australia or the people who live here.

“I really hope your wife is OK, it must have been very confrontational and upsetting for you and her both. I wish nothing but the best for you both and your child.”

“So I sat there for a good 10 minutes before I started recording this while I listened to this woman bad mouth Muslims and call the lady sitting opposite me an ISIS supporter because she wore a scarf, then she told me to go join ISIS because I was sticking up for her,” Ms Eden from Mascot wrote on Facebook.

She then lists the recent attacks by the ISIS and made reference to the Martin Place siege in an attempt to justify her verbal assault.

But Eden steps in telling her that the killings have nothing to do with her or her husband.

“That is not her doing it,” she says in the video. “That is a minority of people. Not a majority of people OK?

“What’s that got to do with this poor lady? What’s that got to do with her?”

Eden also defended the Muslim woman’s dress “She wears it because she wants to be modest with her body not because of people like you who are going to sit there and disrespect her,” Eden says in the video.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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