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A Muslim man was left hospitalised after a vicious and sustained assault in Portsmouth.
The attack happened on the evening of January 29.
A relative, speaking to Tell MAMA on his behalf, stated that he was waiting for a friend when a woman approached him for money and then lured him into a nearby park where two men were waiting for him, with weapons on hand.
One man, armed with a baseball bat, hit the Muslim several times across the head, as the second perpetrator, who had a knife, attempted to stab the man in the neck.
He managed to block the knife with his right hand but sustained damage to the nerves and tendons.
After fleeing the scene he was able to get assistance from a police officer but not members of the public, according to his relative.
The unprovoked nature of the attack has led the man to believe that the motivation was racial or religious hatred.
The police did make several arrests relating to the attack a day later as the investigation continues.
Tell MAMA continues to liaise with the family and the police on their behalf.
In the past few days, he has had his stitches removed, and he continues to attend regular physiotherapy sessions.
Acts of such extreme violence are rare but remain shocking. More broadly, however, the number of physical attacks reported to Tell MAMA in 2016 rose by 62 per cent, with 120 verified reports, up from the 74 verified reports in the previous year.
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“We believe that tackling extremism within our own community and working with other groups is an essential part of tackling anti-Muslim hate crime. It is through partnerships like this and an enduring empathy around the human rights of others, which can help build alliances and stronger social cohesion.
Our approach so far has been not to highlight divisions. This is contrary to groups whom Ware investigates in the programme entitled, “Who Speaks for British Muslims”.
The programme explains how some groups play on a divisive approach targeted at British Muslim communities. But this agenda of tackling anti-Muslim hate and protecting social cohesion is too important to be left to those who would divide the community and ignore intolerance. This is why we chose to speak out and take part in the Dispatches documentary.
We will continue to fight for an inclusive approach to Islam, based on pluralism and where dissent is part of the cornerstone of healthy communities. We also know that colleagues in other programmes of work that we have set up, will continue to diligently tackle anti-Muslim hatred as they have done for over 6 years now. This means that we will continue to speak up where we see this approach being abused.
Faith Matters believe we have a better, more positive and, vitally, more effective approach to tackling anti-Muslim hatred than has traditionally been taken by some other organisations in this field. At the heart of our approach is a belief in universal human rights.
As a result, our approach is completely inclusive. We work with LGBT organisations, feminist campaigns, those tackling antisemitism, and groups tackling bigotry wherever it is found. We work with people of all faiths and none to tackle extremism in all its forms. We challenge intolerance within our own communities. We don’t pander to win support, but always go back to our founding principle of universal rights. We believe this approach strengthens our ability to combat anti-Muslim hatred.
We build alliances through the consistency of our approach. It is by building on this strong community of human rights allies; challenging communities when it does not adopt this approach and consistently arguing that anti-Muslim hatred has the same root causes as homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, racism and all other hatred-driven intolerances that we make our case.
We hope this explains why the decision was made to engage with the Dispatches programme entitled, “Who Speaks for British Muslims”.”
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Three people were killed in southwestern France on Friday when a gunman held up a car, opened fire on police and then took hostages in a supermarket, screaming “Allahu Akbar”.
Police later stormed the supermarket in the small town of Trebes and Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Twitter that the attacker had been killed.
A source at the Interior Ministry said two had died at the hostage-taking in Trebes. “It is a provisional assessment as it could unfortunately get worse. Three people are wounded, including one of them seriously,” the source said.
Later, a police union official said the attacker had also killed one person with a bullet in the head in the nearby historic town of Carcassonne before the hostage-taking.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the incident appeared to be a terrorist attack and security forces were securing the area.
Eric Menassi, the mayor of Trebes, told BFM TV that the hostage-taker was now alone with one police officer in the supermarket and all other hostages were free.
The station reported that the hostage-taker has claimed allegiance to Islamic State and that he has demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam – the prime surviving suspect in the Islamic State attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in 2015.
A 45-year-old lieutenant-colonel swapped himself in exchange for one of the hostages, a source close to the investigation said later, confirming information first published by Le Figaro newspaper.
More than 240 people have been killed in France in attacks since 2015 by assailants who pledged allegiance to, or were inspired by, Islamic State.
First the gunman held up a car, killing one person and wounding another. Then he fired one police officers in Carcassone, wounding an officer in the shoulder before heading to Trebes about 8 km (5 miles) to the east, where two more died in the Super-U supermarket.
Menassi also told LCI TV that the man had entered the shop in Trebes screaming “Allahu Akbar, (God is greatest) I’ll kill you all”.
Carole, who was shopping at the supermarket, described how people had taken refuge in a cold room.
“A man shouted and fired several times. I saw a cold room door, I asked people to come and take shelter,” she told Franceinfo radio. “We were ten, and we stayed an hour. There were more gunshots and we went out the back door.”
French investigators believe they have identified the hostage-taker. The man is known to the intelligence services and flagged in a database of radicalised Islamist militants, Franceinfo reported.
Police in helmets and body armour took up positions around the Super-U supermarket.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said counter-terrorism prosecutors were investigating the incident but did not comment on the possible Islamic State allegiance.
Earlier, the Interior Ministry had said security forces were carrying out an operation at a supermarket in southern France. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb was on his way.
The UNSA police union also said on Twitter a police operation was underway after an individual had earlier shot at four officers in the Carcassone region, wounding one of them.
Graphic of Attacks in Western Europe
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A Muslim woman was hit in the face with a plastic bottle in an unprovoked attack near a major London train station.
The anti-Muslim attack happened on the afternoon of March 7.
Speaking to Tell MAMA, the woman, who wears the hijab, agreed to have this incident shared publicly and anonymously to raise awareness and encourage the reporting of incidents.
She described how the perpetrator had first blocked her path and then hit her in the face with a plastic bottle.
Despite the attack occurring near a supermarket no member of the public attempted to intervene or assist the woman.
The shock of the attack had left her frozen as the man then barged into her. He soon left the scene.
She described the perpetrator as being a black male in his twenties.
The Metropolitan Police are investigating the attack, and she praised their prompt and thorough support in the matter.
The number of assaults reported to Tell MAMA in 2016 rose by 62 per cent, with 120 verified reports, up from the 74 verified reports in the previous year.
Our previous annual report also found that a lack of intervention from members of the public during incidents can compound the deeper psychological impact that a hate crime can have on a person, compared to equivalent non-aggravated offences.
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Saudi Arabia is revamping its education curriculum to eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence and will dismiss anyone working in the sector who sympathises with the banned group, the education minister said.
Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the promises made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under plans to modernise the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.
The education ministry is working to “combat extremist ideologies by reviewing school curricula and books to ensure they do not reflect the banned Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda,” Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Isa said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
It would “ban such books from schools and universities and remove those who sympathise with the group or its ideology from their posts,” he added.
In September, a large Saudi public university announced it would dismiss employees suspected of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, adding to concerns that the government is clamping down on its critics in academia and beyond.
Earlier this month, Crown Prince Mohammed told CBS in an interview that Saudi schools have been “invaded” by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated by Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organisation along with other militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.
The young crown prince has already taken some steps to loosen Saudi Arabia’s ultra-strict social restrictions, scaling back the role of religious morality police, permitting public concerts and announcing plans to allow women to drive.
The ruling Al Saud family has always regarded Islamist groups as a major internal threat to its rule over a country where appeals to religious sentiment resonate deeply and an al Qaeda campaign a decade ago killed hundreds.
Since the kingdom’s founding, the Al Saud have enjoyed a close alliance with clerics of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Islam who have espoused a political philosophy that demands obedience to the ruler.
By contrast the Brotherhood advances an active political doctrine urging revolutionary action.
A political Islamist organisation founded in Egypt nearly a century ago, the Muslim Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism and reform through elections, and its adherents span the region, holding elected office in Arab countries from Tunisia to Jordan.
Brotherhood members fleeing repression in Egypt, Syria and Iraq half a century ago took shelter in Saudi Arabia, some taking up roles in the kingdom’s education system and helping to establish the Sahwa or “Awakening” movement which agitated in the 1990s for democracy.
The Sahwa mostly fizzled, with some activists arrested and others coaxed into conformity, though admirers and its appeal lingered.
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Women in Saudi Arabia need not wear headcover or the black abaya – the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of Islamic piety – as long as their attire is “decent and respectful”, the kingdom’s reform-minded crown prince said.
With the ascent to power of young Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom has seen an expansion in women’s rights including a decision to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the right to drive cars from this summer.
The changes have been hailed as proof of a new progressive trend towards modernisation in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom, although the gender-segregated nation continues to be criticized for its continued constraints on women.
“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of sharia (Islamic law): that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” Prince Mohammed said in an interview with CBS television aired late on Sunday.
“This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or a black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”
A senior cleric said last month that women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya.
It remains unclear if these statements signal a change in the enforcement of women’s dress code in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has no written legal code to go with the texts making up sharia, and police and judiciary have long enforced a strict dress code requiring Saudi women to wear abayas and in many cases to cover their hair and faces.
But the kingdom has witnessed a cautious new climate of social freedoms with the rise of the 32-year-old crown prince to power after decades of elderly rulers.
Saudi women have started wearing more colourful abayas in recent years, the light blues and pinks in stark contrast with the traditional black. Open abayas over long skirts or jeans are also becoming more common in some parts of the country.
On March 8, a group of women in the Saudi city of Jeddah marked International Women’s Day by exercising one of their newly acquired freedoms: the right to go for a jog, paying no heed to bemused onlookers.
However, activists have blasted the country’s continued guardianship system requiring a male family member to grant permission for a woman to study abroad, travel and other activities.
Last week, a U.N. rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia to end discriminatory practices against women including male guardianship, and give them full access to justice.
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Belgium is taking back control of the Grand Mosque of Brussels by terminating Saudi Arabia’s lease of the building with immediate effect over concerns it promotes radicalism, the government said on Friday.
The announcement is Belgium’s first official confirmation of the move which comes after months of behind the scenes diplomacy to prevent any fall-out with Saudi Arabia, as reported by Reuters in February.
Concerns over Brussels’ biggest mosque, located near the European Union’s headquarters, surfaced after Islamist militants who plotted their assault in Brussels killed 130 people in Paris in 2015, and 32 in the Belgian capital in 2016.
Friday’s decision breaks Saudi Arabia’s unusual 99-year, rent free use of the building, the government said.
“The concession will be terminated immediately … in order to put an end to foreign interference in the way Islam is taught in Belgium,” the Belgian government said in a statement.
Belgium leased the Grand Mosque to Riyadh in 1969, giving Saudi-backed imams access to a growing Muslim immigrant community, mostly from Morocco and Turkey, in return for cheaper oil for its industry.
It has been run by the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL), a missionary society mainly funded by Saudi Arabia. The MWL denies it espouses violence.
Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon tweeted of Friday’s announcement that “in this way we are tackling Salafist, violent extremist influences.”
Riyadh’s quick acceptance of Brussels’ request to relinquish the lease reflects a new readiness by the kingdom to promote a more moderate form of Islam – one of the more ambitious promises made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under plans to transform Saudi Arabia and reduce its reliance on oil.
The handover of the mosque coincides with a new Saudi initiative, not publicly announced but described to Reuters by Western officials, to end support for mosques and religious schools abroad blamed for spreading radical ideas.
Justice Minister Koen Geens said the sprawling complex will instead house the offices of the Muslim Executive of Belgium, an official body which represents Muslim communities across the country.
The mosque will have to register as a place of worship, he said.
Geens and other Belgian leaders couched the move as a way to promote a “European Islam” better aligned with their values – a familiar refrain across Europe following recent Islamic State attacks.
“From now on, the mosque will have to establish a lasting relation with the Belgian authorities, while respecting the laws and the traditions of our country, which convey a tolerant vision of Islam,” Geens said.
In what he described as a way to promote more “diversity and transparency” within the mosque’s Muslim community, he said it should train imams and display a cultural exhibit on “the achievements of the Muslim civilisation”.
This move comes at a time when Islam is being discussed at Governmental levels in various countries. Faith Matters recently highlighted such a discussion in Germany.
Belgian security sources have told Reuters that the Muslim Executive of Belgium is close to the Moroccan government, with which Belgium has strong intelligence ties.
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New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Islam does not belong to Germany and set out hardline immigration policies in an interview published on Friday, as he sought to see off rising far-right challengers.
Seehofer told Bild newspaper he would push through a “master plan for quicker deportations”, in his first major interview since he was sworn into office on Wednesday.
The minister – a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CSU Bavarian allies who are further to the right than her own Christian Democrats (CDU) – said he would also classify more states as ‘safe’ countries of origin, which would make it easier to deport failed asylum seekers.
The statements come after Merkel’s conservatives, and their coalition allies – the Social Democrats – lost ground to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in elections last year.
Seehofer is particularly keen to show his party is tackling immigration ahead of Bavaria’s October regional election, when the AfD is expected to enter that state assembly.
“Islam does not belong to Germany,” Seehofer said, contradicting former German president Christian Wulff who fuelled a debate over immigration in 2010 by saying Islam was part of Germany.
In 2015 Merkel echoed Wulff’s words at a time when anti-immigration campaign group PEGIDA – or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West – was holding marches.
“LIVE WITH US”
“Of course the Muslims living here do belong to Germany,” Seehofer said before going on to say Germany should not give up its own traditions or customs, which had Christianity at their heart.
“My message is: Muslims need to live with us, not next to us or against us,” he said.
The government estimates between 4.4 and 4.7 million Muslims are living in Germany. Many of them have a Turkish background and many of the more than a million migrants who have arrived in the country from the Middle East and elsewhere after Merkel adopted an open-door policy in mid-2015 are also Muslims.
Andre Poggenburg, head of the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony, said Seehofer was copying his party with a view to Bavaria’s October regional election: “Horst Seehofer has taken this message from our manifesto word for word,” he said.
The far-left Linke and Greens condemned Seehofer’s message, and the Social Democrats’ Natascha Kohnen told broadcaster n-tv: “Saying that incites people against each other at a time when we really don’t need that. What we really need is politicians who bring people together.”
In a coalition agreement, Merkel’s CDU/CSU conservative bloc and the Social Democrats agreed they would manage and limit migration to Germany and Europe to avoid a re-run of the 2015 refugee crisis.
They also said they did not expect migration (excluding labour migration) to rise above the range of 180,000 to 220,000 per year.
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Neo-Nazis from the System Resistance Network, a small and relatively new group, have targeted buildings in a diverse area of Cardiff, Wales.
Greg Pycroft tweeted photos of the vandalism, adding that it was a “sad, sorry sight”.
One incendiary poster targets Muslims by linking them to ‘rape gangs’ and uses the racial epithet ‘P*ki’.
Sad, sorry sight on the school run in and around Grange Gardens @grangecardiff. Hopefully @cardiffcouncil will be able to remove everything before kids head home this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/UNUDNlZt8k
— Greg Pycroft (@GregPycroft) March 16, 2018
Swastikas and Nazi slogans sprayed on a building in Grange Gardens in Grangetown, Cardiff. pic.twitter.com/O1KfKNjaZR
— Mike Griffiths (@mrmikegriffiths) March 16, 2018
Alex Cutler tweeted that a System Resistance Network poster appeared on a window for an African restaurant.
— Alex Cutler (@cutleraj95) March 16, 2018
The group has targeted parts of Cardiff before.
It takes inspiration from National Action in its propaganda style, use of graffiti, and in its use of encrypted email services to recruit. It had operated under the previous name Vanguard Britannia which took inspiration from the American neo-Nazi group Vanguard America.
Tell MAMA and Faith Matters have been monitoring their activities since its re-branding.
We are concerned that the group may seek to re-brand itself once again to circumvent any legal or governmental response. Its account on the social-network website Gab have been deleted. The group’s account on Bitchute, a peer-to-peer content sharing platform, have also been removed, as the group’s main website is under redevelopment.
As with other neo-Nazi groups, the System Resistance Network has done propaganda outreach through by giving food to homeless people in an undisclosed location, in a propaganda video published in December 2017, which juxtaposed this outreach work with audio from a speech by Adolf Hitler.
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