Al Jazeera

Counter-terrorism in the classroom: Teachers ‘spying on students’

London, United Kingdom – Teachers have claimed that they are being pressured to spy on their own students because of new counter-terrorism laws which they say risk scapegoating Muslim school children and stifling discussion of controversial issues in the classroom.

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

[academyschools.blog.gov.uk]

Delegates attending this week’s conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the UK’s largest union of school staff, voted in favour of a motion criticising the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, known as Prevent, after hearing that teachers were being used as “front-line stormtroopers” to monitor students for signs of extremism.

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Al Jazeera

Muslim voters wield growing influence in UK election

London, United Kingdom – British Muslims are being urged to turn out and vote in greater numbers than ever before in the upcoming UK general election amid claims their say could be decisive in shaping the country’s next government.

Sayeeda Warsi [MEND]

Sayeeda Warsi said the Conservative Party was in danger of making itself irrelevant because of its failure to connect with minorities [MEND]

Turnout among Muslims eligible to vote has traditionally been significantly lower than among the wider population.

But campaigners say they hope a voter registration drive in the run-up to the May 9 ballot and community concerns over Islamophobia, British foreign policy, counter-terrorism measures, and economic and social marginalisation will motivate more people to participate.

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Al Jazeera

Danish Muslims fear ‘road into darkness’ after Copenhagen attacks

Muslim communities in Denmark are bracing themselves for a backlash of discrimination and hate crime in the aftermath of last weekend’s deadly attacks on a free speech debate and a synagogue in Copenhagen.

[Photo: Simon Hooper]

Denmark has been criticised for continuing to tolerate anti-Muslim hate speech in the media and public debate [Photo: Simon Hooper]

Community leaders also warned the country faced a “road into darkness” if politicians allowed anti-Muslim rhetoric stoked by a resurgent far right to undermine fundamental values of tolerance and openness amid a scramble for votes ahead of national elections in September.

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Al Jazeera

Muslim and Jewish neighbours unite against hate in London

London, United Kingdom – Muslims and Jews living in the same North London neighbourhood are making a stand together against hate crime amid concerns of an increased threat to both communities in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck established the Muslim-Jewish Forum in 2000. [Simon Hooper]

Rabbi Herschel Gluck established the Muslim-Jewish Forum in 2000. [Simon Hooper]

Jewish communities in the UK have been on a heightened state of alert since a siege orchestrated by a gunman at a kosher supermarket in the French capital left four hostages dead, with police and Jewish neighbourhood watch groups stepping up security around synagogues and schools.

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Al Jazeera

‘Poppy hijab’ stokes debate over religion and remembrance

London, England — To some it is a symbol of faith and freedom, a celebration of multicultural Britain and even a fashion statement. But for others, it entrenches divisions and plays on the insecurities of an already marginalised community. A ‘poppy hijab’ designed to commemorate their co-religionists who fought for the country is splitting opinion among British Muslims.

[Photo courtesy Rooful Ali/Aliway.co.uk]

Some see the ‘poppy hijab’ as a challenge to extremists; others as a ‘shrouded loyalty test’.  [Photos courtesy Rooful Ali/Aliway.co.uk]

Paper lapel poppies are traditionally worn by many people in the UK in the run up to November 11, the anniversary of the end of World War One, in memory of those who fought and died for Britain in both world wars and subsequent conflicts.

But a poppy-themed headscarf backed by the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) and British Future, an integration think tank, is this year offering Muslim women an additional way to support the campaign.

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Al Jazeera

Muslims in Danish ‘ghetto’ say promises broken as mosque saga rumbles on

Aarhus, Denmark – Muslims living in one of Denmark’s most deprived housing projects say they are being marginalised and made to feel unwelcome in their own community amid fears that their 14-year fight for a mosque could be derailed by political wrangling over an ambitious regeneration plan for the area.

Residents in Gellerup, a suburb of Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, have been campaigning since 2000 for the right to build a mosque in their neighbourhood. They say it would serve not only the needs of a growing Muslim population but also as a “beacon of hope”, a bulwark against extremism and a symbol of their acceptance as Danish citizens.

But their aspirations have been repeatedly stalled by political opposition to the project. Now those behind the latest proposal say that promises made by politicians and city officials that a fresh application to buy land for a mosque would be treated favourably have been broken following objections by right-wing parties on the local council.

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HuffPost Live

Discussing Denmark’s rehab programme for Syrian fighters

I was invited to appear on HuffPost Live’s World Briefing programme on Tuesday to discuss my latest story for Al Jazeera about a scheme in Aarhus, Denmark, that aims to rehabilitate Danish Muslims returning from Syria. Here’s the video:

http://on.aol.com/video/rehab-for-isis–denmark-tries-to-reform-extremist-fighters-518407887

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