Al Jazeera

‘Folk devils’: Anti-Muslim prejudice still rife 10 years on from London bombings

“I was preparing myself for death. I was thinking, ‘This is it. Today is the day that I die’.”

londonbus

An image of the bomb-shattered bus shown to the court during an inquest into the 2005 attacks.

A loud bang, human bodies tossed around as an explosion-shattered train jerks to a halt deep underground, black smoke, darkness and the sound of screaming. Those are Sajda Mughal’s memories of the morning commute to her London office 10 years ago on July 7, 2005.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Conservatives accused of ‘political war’ on Muslims in bid for votes

London, United Kingdom – The British government has been accused of declaring “political war” on the country’s Muslim minority over tough new counter-extremism measures that include the launch of a unit to appraise and potentially blacklist Islamic organisations and community leaders, and further proposals that would give authorities powers to shut down mosques and silence preachers who fail to adhere to “British values”.

16492897366_424f4793b0_k

Theresa May, pictured during a visit to a mosque in London in February. [Daniel Leal-Olivas / i-Images]

Critics also suggested that Theresa May, the home secretary, was using Muslims as a “political punchbag” in a bid to shore up right-wing support for the governing Conservative Party just six weeks before British voters go to the polls in a closely fought general election.

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

British banks accused of discrimination against Muslims

London, UK – Some Islamic charities in the UK have considered moving their financial affairs abroad amid concerns that they could be frozen out of the British banking system after several Muslim organisations and individuals linked to them had their accounts closed without explanation.

HSBC faces calls for a boycott after closing the accounts of some Muslim customers.

HSBC faces calls for a boycott after closing the accounts of some Muslim customers.

HSBC, the UK’s largest bank, faced accusations of prejudice against Muslims after sending letters last week to a London mosque, a Gaza-focused aid charity, and the leader of a prominent Islamic think tank notifying them that they were outside the bank’s “risk appetite” and giving them two months to withdraw their money.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Report sheds light on sharp rise in anti-Muslim hate crime

London, UK – The number of reported instances of anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK has risen sharply since the murder of a British soldier in London last year, with women wearing traditional Islamic dress most likely to be the victims of abuse and street attacks, according to a new study.

But researchers believe that a widespread lack of trust in the police in Muslim communities and endemic under-reporting of hate crime masks the true scale of the problem, with most Islamophobic incidents, ranging from online trolling to verbal abuse and extreme violence, going unlogged and unpunished.

The publication of the report also comes amid concerns expressed by some Muslims about their safety on British streets following the murder of a female Saudi Arabian student in Colchester last month. Police say the attack may have been religiously motivated because the victim was wearing an abaya.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

British Muslims complain of ‘Trojan Horse’ witch-hunt

London, England — The UK government is facing accusations of demonising Muslims and playing politics with children’s futures over its tough response to reports of an alleged Islamist plot, dubbed ‘Trojan Horse’, to take over schools in the English city of Birmingham.

Michael Wilshaw, the UK's top schools inspector, said Park View was doing "fantastically well" on a visit  to the school in 2012 [http://www.pvet.co.uk/]

Michael Wilshaw, the UK’s top schools inspector, said Park View was doing “fantastically well” on a visit to the school in 2012 [http://www.pvet.co.uk/]

Representatives of Muslim organisations and communities affected by the controversy, which was triggered by what is now widely regarded as a discredited leaked document, warned that the government was fuelling Islamophobia following publication this week of a series of critical reports into the schools under scrutiny.

Continue reading

Standard