Subway staff told Muslim woman to ‘ignore’ anti-Muslim abuse

Staff at a branch of the sandwich chain Subway in west London told a Muslim woman to just ‘ignore’ the racial abuse directed at her by a fellow customer.

The incident which occurred on February 14, began when the woman, who wears the hijab, was paying for her food when a man approached the counter and muttered ‘no Muslims’ at her several times.

The abuse continued as he said ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘You have a bomb in your bag’. Fearing for her safety, the woman called for her friends to stand with her but it did not deter him from abusing them.

He then said: “Get out of this country, get out of this shop,” and told her not to ‘look’ at him as she was a ‘dirty’ Muslim. Other comments directed at her included a reference to ‘dirty’ halal meat.

No staff member attempted to stop the abuse directed at the woman and her friends, suggesting that she just ‘ignore it’, and he was then able to purchase his food without any hindrance, according to the woman when she spoke to Tell MAMA.

The abuse left her fearful due to the unprovoked nature of the incident.

She described the perpetrator as being a white male in his 50s or 60s who spoke with a ‘European’ accent.

Tell MAMA reported the incident to the police on behalf of the woman and we will be raising this case further with the company.

We have approached Subway for comment.

You can get advice through our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

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Categories: hate crime, Hate Speech, Hijab, Metropolitan Police, News

Britain is facing serious far-right terrorism threat, top UK officer

Britain faces a new and significant threat from organised far-right terrorism, the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said on Monday as he revealed police had foiled four plots by right-wing extremists in the last year.

“The right-wing terrorist threat is more significant and more challenging than perhaps public debate gives it credit for,” Mark Rowley, London’s Assistant Commissioner, told reporters.

Britain has been a prime target for homegrown and foreign Islamist militants since the 2001 attacks on the United States. But Rowley said until the last two years, far-right activity was limited to unpleasant protests and hate crimes, with serious incidents limited to the actions of isolated individuals.

The full transcript of the speech made by AC Mark Rowley can be read HERE

The MI5 domestic spy agency are now involved in investigating the far-right and he warned that British groups were seeking links with international extremists.

“It’s a significant part of the terrorist threat. Right-wing terrorism wasn’t previously organised here,” Rowley said.

“There are many Western countries that have extreme right-wing challenges and in quite a number of those the groups we are worried about here are making connections with them and networking,” he said, declining to give further details because it was a new, live intelligence phenomenon.

Last year, there were five deadly militants attacks in Britain including one carried out by a man who drove a van into worshippers leaving a London mosque after developing a hatred of Muslims by reading extreme right-wing material online.

The previous year, a Nazi-obsessed loner murdered lawmaker Jo Cox in a frenzied street attack a week before the referendum on the European Union. Since then, Britain has banned National Action and two other spin-off groups, the first extremist right-wing organisations to be outlawed since the 1940s.


“For the best part of 18 months in the UK we have a homegrown, white supremacist, neo-Nazi terrorist organisation that is pursuing all the ambitions of any other terrorist organisation committed to violence,” Rowley said.

“That should be a matter of great concern for all of us.”

Since the first of the 2017 deadly attacks last March, Rowley said police had foiled 10 Islamist conspiracies and four far-right plots, although he said he could not provide details of these as they were subject to ongoing court cases.

To show the overall scale of the threat Britain faced, he said there were 600 terrorism investigations currently ongoing involving more than 3,000 suspects.

Over the last three years, terrorism arrests had doubled while in the same period some 2,000 people have been referred to the government’s counter-radicalisation Prevent programme, with a third of these over far-right concerns, he said.

Rowley, who next month steps down from the role he took on in 2014, said Islamist and far-right extremists were a toxic combination, feeding off each other and pursuing the same agenda of division, fear and hatred.

He reiterated British concern about extremists’ use of the internet and said he expected technology and internet firms would react to a mixture of persuasion and regulation as the banking sector had done.

He also said it was important that an agreement struck with the European Union for when Britain leaves the bloc in 2019 did not damage relations with their European colleagues.

“Whatever the arrangements, we need something that provides at least a good a platform for cooperation as we have today,” he said.

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Categories: Assistant Commissioner, CAGE, counter-extremism, Far Right groups, Met, Neo-Nazi, News, Prevent, threats

SUPER SALAH Liverpool’s Egyptian goal machine Mo Salah is breaking down religious barriers

HE is the Liverpool striker who has already netted 31 goals in his first season at the club.

But Egyptian ace Mo Salah has also inspired a hilarious fans’ chant which is helping to dismantle racial prejudice in the football world.

Fans have been filmed, in both the stadium and pubs, singing: “If he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too.”

The chant — to the tune of Dodgy’s 1996 hit Good Enough — also has the line: “He’s sitting in the mosque, that’s where I want to be.”

The striker, who bagged his latest goal in Saturday’s 4-1 win over West Ham, responded to the chant on Twitter this week by posting three “heart-eye” emojis after someone uploaded a video of fans singing it.

Click here for more details.

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Categories: Press articles on matters of faith

Closure of the Holy Sepulchre is a Dark Day for All

The Holy Sepulchre holds a sacred meaning for Muslims as well as Christians. Many Jerusalemite Muslims light candles and revere both Mary and Jesus, in part hoping that they maybe blessed in some way by these holy figures. This is highlighted through this tweet from Ghanem Nuseibeh, whose family members were entrusted with the keys to the Holy Sepulchre, as a Jerusalemite Muslim family. They have symbolically held the keys to the Holy Sepulchre for generations.

A recent bill by lawmaker Rachel Azaria, who sponsored the legislation, would mean that the State could expropriate land in Jerusalem sold by churches to private real estate firms in recent years. This has caused concern since the Church is a major landowner in Jerusalem and opens up racial and religious fault lines as every inch of Jerusalem is historically contested and with ramifications globally for faith communities.

Such a move is even more startling since the closure of the Sepulchre places a focus on the bill and does nothing for the image of the State in the eyes of many Christians. In fact, it can be regarded as a retrograde move, playing on sensitivities at a time when the US Embassy move to Jerusalem has already inflamed tensions in some communities. More than ever, stable and calm heads are needed rather than inflammatory pieces of legislation and moves that irritate the fragile balance and peace that is within Jerusalem.

Further posts by Nuseibeh also reflect a change in the position of liberal and progressive Palestinian voices, which need to be heard if there is to be any form of peace in the future.

The Holy Sepulchre is a symbol of hope at a time when darkness seems to be taking over parts of the global political landscape. The longer is remains closed, the longer the damage to the reputation of Israel and in the eyes of both Christians and Muslims. No doubt, many Jews will also see this as a retrograde move by the State of Israel. However, we want to highlight the comments made by Nuseibeh:

“Israel’s action against churches harms Israel as much as the churches. Someone should tell Israeli politicians not to over-rely on Trump. They need Arab, Christian and Muslim (s), more than American Evangelicals”.


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Categories: Christians, Ghanem Nuseibeh, Israel, Jerusalemite, Keys, Opinions, Palestinians, Rachel Azaria

Church leaders shut Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre in land, tax protest

Church leaders in Jerusalem shut the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday in protest at a new Israeli tax policy and a proposed land expropriation law which they called an unprecedented attack on Christians in the Holy Land.

Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian church leaders said the holy site, a popular stop for pilgrims and where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, would remain closed until further notice.

After the protest move, an Israeli cabinet committee delayed by a week its scheduled consideration on Sunday of a bill that would allow the state to expropriate land in Jerusalem sold by churches to private real estate firms in recent years.

The stated aim of the bill is to protect homeowners against the possibility that private companies will not extend their leases of land on which their houses or apartments stand.

The churches are major property owners in the city. They say such a law would make it harder for them to find buyers for church-owned land – sales that help to cover operating costs of their religious institutions.

“This abhorrent bill … if approved, would make the expropriation of the lands of churches possible,” said the statement by Theophilos III, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Francesco Patton, the Custos of the Holy Land, and Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Rachel Azaria, the lawmaker who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement she agreed to delay the committee’s discussion by a week so that “we could work with the churches” to try to resolve the dispute.

The churches’ protest was also aimed at the recent cancellation by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality of a tax exemption it has granted to church-owned commercial properties in the city.

“This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe,” the church leaders said.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said on Twitter it was illogical to expect that church-owned commercial property, including hotels and retail businesses, would continue to enjoy tax-exempt status.

“Let me make it clear: we are not talking about houses of worship, who will still be exempt from property tax, according to law,” he wrote.

Outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, pilgrims voiced their disappointment at finding its doors shut.

“I am very upset. It’s my first time here and I made a big effort to get here and now I find it closed,” said Marine Domenech from Lille, France.

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Categories: church, Holy Land, Israeli tax policy, Jerusalem, News, Nir Barakat, Rachel Azaria

“France first”, far right’s Marechal-Le Pen says in comeback speech

France should follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s lead and fight for “France first”, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, seen as a potential leader of France’s far right, told U.S conservatives on Thursday in her first public appearance in months.

The 28-year-old former lawmaker, granddaughter of National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen and niece of party leader Marine Le Pen, temporarily withdrew from politics after her aunt’s presidential election defeat last May.

But she has long been viewed in France as a possible future leader of the National Front, and the fact that she was a keynote speaker at a conference that both Trump and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence were addressing was widely commented on in French media as posing a challenge for Marine Le Pen.

“I’m not offended when I hear President Donald Trump say ‘America first’. In fact, I want America first for the American people, I want Britain first for the British people and I want France first for the French people,” she said.

“I came here today to tell you there is a youth ready for this fight in Europe today,” she told thousands of activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

Marechal-Le Pen, who is more socially conservative and economically liberal than her aunt, did not say if or when she was planning to return to an active role in French politics, instead mentioning her plans to open a management and political science school, which she said should train tomorrow’s leaders.

But the reception for Marechal-Le Pen, who has been praised by right-wing U.S. media such as Breitbart, was in contrast to her aunt’s visit to Trump Tower in New York in January last year, during the French presidential campaign.

Marine Le Pen, who has long aimed to burnish her credentials with foreign appearances, did not meet either Trump or anyone from his team during that visit and was photographed having coffee in a public area of the building.

While Le Pen has over the past months softened her anti-EU, anti-euro comments, Marechal-Le Pen lambasted the bloc, which she said was “slowly killing” ancient nations.

Blaming immigration and political correctness, she said in a speech delivered in English: “France is in the process of passing the eldest daughter of the Catholic church to the little niece of Islam.”

Marine Le Pen is hoping that a National Front congress mid-March will help her reassert her authority.

But in the complicated Le Pen family, whose rows have made French headlines for years, another possible problem for her is her father, who she expelled from the party but who said he would gate-crash the congress.

Meanwhile her niece told the activists: “Let us build on what you have achieved here so that on both sides of the Atlantic, conservatism may prevail.”

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Categories: Breitbart, Donald Trump, France, France First, News

French PM vows to combat ‘slow-burn’ threat of radical Islam

France’s prime minister on Friday announced steps including prison isolation zones and more stringent licensing rules for faith-based schools to combat what he called a slow-burning threat from Islamist radicalisation.

In a traditionally Catholic country that is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, President Emmanuel Macron has already imposed tougher legislation after attacks by Islamist militants killed more than 230 people in the past three years.

But he is under pressure to address voter fears of broader radicalisation at mosques manned by radical preachers and prisons that offer fertile ground for proselytisers of a hardline Islam at odds with France’s secular foundations.

Among the measures promised by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe were the creation of isolation zones for Islamist militants in France’s prisons and more scrutiny on the licensing of faith-based schools that opt out of the state-funded system.

“We cannot ignore this slow-burn process,” he told a news conference in Lille, northern France.

“Islamist radicalisation is a threat to our society, and not just when it leads to violence. It’s a challenge every time the law of the state is respected only if compatible with religious tenets.”

Philippe also promised better screening of people hired as coaches sports centres.

The scale of the challenge was highlighted by a report for the Interior Ministry.

The report by a senior civil servant warned that sectarian sentiment or behaviour was rising in parts of France, notably in poor urban areas where Muslims more openly resented or challenged obligations of secular public life.

He cited examples of young Muslim girls being kept away from school swimming, sculpture classes and choir activities frowned upon by some of the country’s estimated 5 million Muslims.

The report also highlighted fears about the number of young people being taken out of secular state-funded schools to teach them at home or put them in strictly faith-based schools.

Philippe said some 74,000 pupils entered schools outside of state system last year, calling the trend worrying if small compared with 12 million in education. The report said the number concerned had doubled in five years.

Such opt-out schools need licensing and that would be made tougher by law shortly, Philippe said.

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Categories: Emmanuel Macron, Islamic Schools, News, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe

Second Austrian far-right group has anti-Semitic songbook – newspaper

A second Austrian student fraternity has a songbook containing anti-Semitic lyrics making fun of the Holocaust and insulting Jews, a newspaper said on Tuesday, three weeks after it exposed a similar case that forced a far-right politician to quit.

The earlier case reported by Falter prompted the resignation of a prominent member of the anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO), which became the junior partner in conservative Chancellor Christian Kurz’s government in December following elections.

Austria is the only western European country to have a far-right party in government.

Last month, left-wing weekly Falter reported on anti-Semitic lyrics in a songbook published by a student fraternity in Lower Austria, the province surrounding Vienna. That fraternity’s deputy leader was the FPO’s top candidate in an election for the regional parliament there, Udo Landbauer.

Landbauer eventually stepped down over the affair. After initially refusing to sack him, the party later said it was setting up a committee of historians that would examine its past and that of right-wing fraternities like Landbauer’s, which are often close to the FPO but not formally part of it.

On Tuesday, Falter reported that another fraternity, Bruna Sudetia based in Vienna, had a similar songbook, and that the head of that group is on the staff of FPO Infrastructure Minister Norbert Hofer.

The staffer, Herwig Goetschober, who works on social media, was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for Hofer said Goetschober was sick but denied knowing of the lyrics published by Falter, adding that his songbook had a different content and layout.

“He has no knowledge of this other songbook. He also does not know who produced it,” the spokesman said.

The FPO says it has abandoned its neo-Nazi past and rejects anti-Semitism. It now focuses its criticism on Islam and even openly courts Jewish voters.

But the main group representing Austria’s tiny Jewish community, the IKG, says the FPO has done too little to address the long-standing anti-Semitism within its ranks. It sees fraternities as a breeding ground for the problem.

The IKG has also questioned whether the FPO’s historical commission will get to the bottom of anti-Semitism within fraternities. Many senior political party figures belong to a fraternity but the FPO has said it cannot force those organisations to cooperate with the commission.

“If it is true that the FPO cannot control the fraternities, then that probably confirms that fraternity members control the FPO,” IKG chief Oskar Deutsch told ORF radio at the weekend.

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Categories: anti-Semitism, Austria, Falter, Far Right groups, Holocaust, Jews, Neo-Nazi, News

British Sikhs, Solidarity and the Network of Sikh Organisations

It is with sadness that we read about the statement made by the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) about the support and solidarity that was being shown with Sikhs who are attacked because of their identity as Sikhs and because of racism. It is also clear that some Sikhs are attacked on the perception that they are Muslims, which does not detract from the fact that this creates fear within Sikh communities and impacts on families.

The reference made in the statement is to a project that took place 10 years ago – the Cohesive Communities project. The subsequent report is listed here and with clear references to explore issues of division between Sikh and Muslim communities and therefore deeply conflicting social narratives. These issues are even listed in the project overview and the Cohesive Communities report did not list some of the troubling discussions that took place which were confidential. The discussions caused facilitators to feel saddened that two communities with so much in common, were at polar opposites of the social divide.

We are also saddened to see that tweets that were made in 2012 and subsequently deleted are being used to create an atmosphere of mistrust at a time when communities need to work together and when the NSO statement itself suggests that a minority of participants were unhappy. Such difficult discussions around grooming, forced conversions, historical attacks against Sikhs by Muslim Indian rulers, amongst the many topics discussed at the Corrymeela Centre, are never easy and will bring out a range of emotions.

Given the Cohesive Communities report and what we heard, Faith Matters commissioned a further report to try and untangle and unpack the difficult narratives that were causing division. Hardly the act of an organisation that did not care or chose to reflect one communities’ perspectives. The Adab research report can be found here and details the narratives, history and perspectives coming from Sikh and Muslim communities.

However, we are glad to hear that the NSO (Network of Sikh Organisations) and partners in the Hindu community have a commitment to work with True Vision, which Tell MAMA has. Tell MAMA, which was founded by Faith Matters, has shown that its values are fundamentally based on inclusion and in supporting all communities who suffer hatred, prejudice and racism. Tell MAMA has also, on many occasions – stood against hatred against LGBT, Jewish, Shia and Ahmaddiya communities from a small number within Muslim communities showing that it will fearlessly stand for the rights of all communities and does not pick and choose on issues of human rights. Therefore, it is even more depressing to see that division is being called for at a time when Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and many other communities, should be working together. This on the basis of 4 individuals and on tweets made a decade ago on a project that explored some of the most difficult topics that were causing divisions between Sikhs and Muslims.

We within Faith Matters will continue to stand for the human rights of all communities to be protected. This means that when Sikh communities are attacked, their defence is our defence. When Sikh women or Gurdwaras are attacked, their honour and their integrity is our honour and integrity; and when young white girls in Rotherham are abused, their honour and their well-being is the responsibility of all communities, including ours. These are the core values of Faith Matters and what we stand on.

Finally, we have spoken to the Tell MAMA team and the round table was set up in solidarity with Sikh communities and was set up to share good practice. Support was also offered, though what was expressly stated was that it was for Sikh communities to find solutions within their communities to reduce hate crimes against Sikhs. This was expressly stated on a number of occasions at the meeting. Sadly, if the response for a call for solidarity is a call for division and separationism, then the only people who are strengthened by these actions are those who seek to divide and play off one community against another. In the end, protecting the dignity and safety of Sikhs means protecting the dignity and safety of us all as communities and people. We therefore continue to put out the hand of friendship to all communities and we will always do so. This also includes maintaining our openness to work with any group whose values are based on the defence of pluralism within communities.

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Categories: Ahmaddiya, anti-Semitism, British Sikhs, Corrymeela, Faith Matters, Network of Sikh Organisations, News, Opinions, Shia, Sikh Hate Crimes

Muslim family assaulted by racist couple on London bus

The Metropolitan Police are investigating an anti-Muslim incident on a bus following an unprovoked racist attack on a Muslim family by a man and woman.

It took place on the afternoon of January 27 as the family boarded the 214 bus in central London.

The woman, who wears the hijab, was with her father and her young child when the verbal abuse began which included the false accusation of spitting at the couple, the male perpetrator then made violent threats against her.

As her father, who is in his 60s, stood up, the male punched him, causing his glasses to fall from his face, and leaving a graze on his cheek.

When his daughter intervened, the male perpetrator assaulted her, aiming a punch at her and leaving scratch marks on her arm.

Speaking to Tell MAMA in confidence, the woman described how she felt her hijab tighten during the attack, noting how the female perpetrator was attempting to tear it off.

The female perpetrator would then try, on two more occasions, to tear off her hijab, but failed. It did, however, cause damage to the fabric.

When the woman asked for other passengers to call the police, the perpetrators exited the bus in the Camden area, but not before the woman shouted ‘Go back to your f****** country’, nor did the bus driver intervene during the attack.

She described the perpetrators as being white and in their 30s.

The previous Tell MAMA report found that more than one in ten incidents took place on transport networks.

You can get advice through our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

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Categories: hate crime, Hijab, MET Police, News, public transport, TFL