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    Default Bigotry and Intolerance Towards Muslim Women

    THE TURBAN EFFECT:

    THE INFLUENCE OF MUSLIM HEADGEAR AND INDUCED AFFECT ON AGGRESSIVE RESPONSES IN THE SHOOTER BIAS PARADIGM
    -

    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2008

    Does Islamic appearance increase aggressive tendencies, and what role does affect play in such responses? In a computer game, participants made rapid decisions to shoot at armed people, some of whom wore Islamic head dress.

    We predicted and found a significant bias for participants to shoot more at Muslim targets. We also predicted and found that positive mood selectively increased aggressive tendencies towards Muslims, consistent with affect-cognition theories that predict a more top-down, stereotypical processing style in positive mood.

    In contrast, induced anger increased the propensity to shoot at all targets. The relevance of these results for our understanding of real-life negative reactions towards Muslims is discussed, and the influence of affective states on rapid aggressive responses is considered.




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    TWO RECENT STUDIES CONDUCTED IN TWO VERY DIFFERENT SETTINGS REVEAL
    A DISTURBING ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS AMONG STUDENTS -


    Tom Jacobs, Miller-McCune.com, 11/17/08

    The election of the United States' first African American president has been welcomed as evidence the nation is belatedly moving beyond bigotry. But two new studies suggest that at least one unconscious prejudice -- a fear or dislike of Muslims -- remains very much alive.

    "Islamophobia," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Wednesday at a two-day United Nations interfaith dialogue, "has emerged as a new term for an old and terrible form of prejudice."

    When rumors began circulating during the recent presidential election that Barack Obama was a Muslim, observers from former Secretary of State Colin Powell to comedian Jon Stewart responded by asking, "Why would it matter if he was?" But whoever was circulating that misinformation was playing into a widely held prejudice -- one that has infected even the minds of sophisticated, educated Westerners. At least, that's the conclusion of two recently published studies, which detected anti-Muslim bias in two very different settings.

    The first is "The Turban Effect," published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by a team from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. It suggests that simply noticing someone is a Muslim increases aggressive tendencies on the part of non-Muslim Westerners.

    Psychologists Christian Unkelbach, Joseph Forgas and Tom Denson modified a pre-existing computer game in which participants are instructed to shoot at subjects carrying weapons, but hold their fire when they spot someone who is unarmed. The target subjects were of both genders and a variety of races, but, most importantly for this study, some were given a Muslim appearance -- that is, they wore a turban or the hijab.

    The 66 university students who played the game -- 35 of them female -- were significantly more likely to shoot at Muslim targets. The targets who received the highest number of hits were Muslim-looking, non-Caucasian males; the fewest hits were for non-Muslim, Caucasian females.

    "Interestingly, this effect could be demonstrated with otherwise liberal and tolerant Australian undergraduates, who would be most unlikely to espouse negative stereotypes about Muslims," the authors conclude.

    The mood of the participants did influence the outcome, but not in the way you might expect. For students who felt angry, there was "an overall increase in shooting responses but not any selective increase in shooting at Muslims." However, those reporting a positive mood exhibited "a significant selective bias against Muslims."

    This seemingly odd result confirms recent theories that positive affect tends to trigger a more spontaneous style of processing information, which in turn increases the influence of stereotypes. In other words, if you're happy and you know it, it's more likely your latent bigoted beliefs will rise to the surface.

    The second study, just published in the journal Medical Decision Making, looked at American medical students and how prejudice plays into the way they evaluate patients.

    A University of Missouri research team led by psychologist Jamie Arndt divided the doctors-in-training into two groups. Members of the first group were asked to answer questions about their own mortality.
    All the medical students -- 29 women and 18 men -- were then asked to inspect fictitious emergency room admittance forms for patients complaining of chest pains. The forms included the subject's name, race and religion -- either Christian or Muslim -- along with a rundown of symptoms, including the level of pain they reported feeling. The students then assessed the heart-attack risk of each patient.

    "The results indicate that when medical students are reminded of their own mortality, they render higher cardiac risk assessments for a Christian patient and lower risk assessments for a Muslim patient," the researchers concluded. In other words, the Christian patients on average were judged to be in more serious risk of heart attack despite the reported symptoms being identical.

    "These patterns are in accord with many previous findings that concerns with death motivate people to cling more tenaciously to their cultural beliefs, to like people who support those beliefs and to disparage those who even subtly threaten such beliefs," the authors write.

    Given the fact that "medical providers may frequently be confronted with explicit reminders of death," the study has "potentially grave implications," the researchers add. It is, in any event, another reminder that people are often ignorant of their own biases.

    http://www.alternet.org/rights/107384/is_the_%22turban_effect%22_the_new_bradley_effect/








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    No burkas in Netherlands
    By: Floris Blom

    Since 2000, the loathing of Islam has grown alarmingly in the Netherlands. We suspected it, but it is now shown in a report that the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published Tuesday.



    According to the ECRI, which performs research for the Council of Europe, Muslims in the Netherlands is increasingly the victim of racist violence and discrimination. This would be the result of 09/11 and the attack on Theo van Gogh. The commission speaks of an alarming polarization between the majority and Muslim minorities. The Moroccan and Turkish communities would be particularly badly affected by stigma and prejudice.

    And right now, the government last Friday decided that the wearing of burkas (as well as a niqaab, I suppose) is prohibited for civil servants and in schools. Minister Ter Horst hoping that municipalities and provinces will also ban burkas for their officials. A wear burkas in the streets continue to be permitted, there is no general ban on face covering clothing. This is not feasible, it is inconsistent with the Constitution and with European rules on freedom of religion.

    Should we even this partial ban burkas as a manifestation of xenophobia rooted discrimination? The government has not answered the call for a total ban burkas in public space. Such a ban demanded the Lower House in December 2005, at the initiative of Geert Wilders. That Wilders has unmasked himself as a fighter for freedom, despite the name of his party.

    With such discrimination has partially ban burkas my opinion, nothing to do. Therefore surprised me the face of Minister Vogelaar (PvdA), following the Cabinet decision. She said: "Boerkaverbod's call for people to fear. For many people it's become a symbol of radicalization."


    Comment:

    The minister says that for people it has become a symbol of radicalization. Someone should ask this dimwit who made the people think like that? It was their own media that used (and uses) words like 'radical, fundamentalist, militant, hard-liner when talking about any Muslim but uses the words like "orthodox" or "ultra-orthodox" for Israeli Jews who are abusing the local citizens for not following their version of Judaism.

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    Wearing of burkha banned in rural college
    Sudipto Mondal

    If we step into college with the burkha on, they start scolding us: student


    PANJA VILLAGE/SULLIA TALUK: Muslim girls of the Government Composite Pre-University College here have been banned from wearing the burkha by local Hindutva outfits and the Bharatiya Janata Party-affiliated Akhil Bharathiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

    According to Lakshmisha Gobbalathadka, the self-proclaimed architect of the ban, the idea was first proposed to the college authorities at his behest by a few students affiliated to the ABVP in early January this year.

    First step

    “Four of my boys spoke to the college principal and demanded that Muslim girls should be banned from wearing burkhas in classrooms,” said Mr. Gobbalathadka, who is also the district convener of a fringe outfit called Hindu Jagarana Vedike.

    Avoiding trouble

    “We agreed immediately. We did not want any trouble,” said a college official. But soon the demands began to grow.

    Emboldened by the support the boys of his group received from a section of students, they went on to extend the burkha ban across the entire 28-acre campus.

    Formalised

    Once the ban was formalised by the college authorities, groups of boys took it upon themselves to impose it. “Every day, the boys sit at the tea stall near the college gate. If we take even one step into the college gate with the burkha on, they start scolding us,” said a 16-year-old class 10 student.

    Violence on campus

    Meanwhile, another controversy broke out on the campus after the ABVP alleged that a Muslim boy had made a proposal of marriage to a Hindu girl.

    Beaten up

    “Our boys beat up the Muslim boy on February 28,” claimed Mr. Gobbalathadka.

    At the college’s development committee meeting on January 29, a large group of students, led by Mr. Gobbalathadka, barged in demanding that Muslim girls should stop wearing the burkha even on their way to and from the college.

    The demand created a furore dividing committee members, according to college principal, Balasubramaniam. Soon, hundreds of activists entered the venue and physically attacked Muslim committee members and Hindus who opposed their demands. Following the incident, Mr. Gobbalathadka and his followers were arrested and remanded in judicial custody.

    Growing support

    “Many others have been inspired by the success we have had here. Soon, this campaign will spread to all government colleges in the region,” Mr. Gobbalathadka told The Hindu.

    He added that the garment would soon be banned from public spaces in the entire village of Panja.

    ‘How can they?’

    Said Panja gram panchayat president Rafique, who sustained injuries during the January 29 violence, said: “Some may feel that the burkha is a symbol of oppression of women. Even if that is true, a resistance to the garment should come from within the community. How can we tolerate somebody using force to ban the burkha?”

    Reacting to the issue, Deputy Director of Public Instruction C. Chame Gowda told The Hindu, “The college authorities might have agreed to the ban under pressure. But there is no law that prevents the burkha. Everybody has the right to practice their religious beliefs as long as it does not inconvenience others.”

    Concerned

    Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj expressed concern over the developments and said he was still inquiring into the issue. “The rule of law and the Constitution will prevail,” he said.



    Comments:

    You find all these made up stories about Muslims (Talibans) forcing women to wear the burkha and taking the law in their own hand, yet here this news of Hindu extremists is ignored by the media. These Hindu extremists have taken the law in their own hand forced a ban on the burkha. They banned in the class, then on campus, then going to and from the campus, and next they will bann it anywhere in the public place.

    Where is the news on these Hindua fundamentalist radical millitant extremists?!!!

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    Hijab debate lifts veil on limits of Norway's tolerance

    By Valeria Criscione Valeria CriscioneFri Mar 20

    OSLO – Norway's biggest headache right now is not the financial crisis. Rather, the predominantly Christian nation is plagued by a religious dilemma over the right of a Muslim woman to wear a hijab as part of her police uniform.

    As the controversy has escalated, the country has seen the physical collapse of the justice minister, the public burning of a hijab, and a substantial rise in the popularity of Norway's anti-immigrant opposition party just six months before general elections.

    This is odd for a country known for religious tolerance, generous international development aid, and peace efforts worldwide. But the controversy highlights the latent fears of a nonpluralistic society, where 91 percent belong to the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Norway.

    The dilemma began last fall when a Norwegian Muslim woman petitioned for permission to wear her hijab, the traditional head covering for Muslim women, as part of her police uniform. Norway's justice ministry originally decided in February to allow it, but revoked the permission a few weeks later after loud criticism from the police union, which argued it breached the neutrality of the uniform.

    "A change of uniform regulations, with an allowance for covering hair, has never been a goal in itself. It has always been thought of as a possible means to increase the recruitment of police from minority groups in society," said Justice Minister Knut Storberget, in defense of his decision to revoke the initial permission.

    Amid the heightened media attention and political backlash from his flip-flopping, the minister collapsed and subsequently announced a two-week sick leave, which was then extended.

    The hijab debacle comes on the back of the minister's other religious-related political defeat over a now-defunct blasphemy law. Mr. Storberget initially tried to replace the law with a new paragraph that would have protected individuals from defamatory religious statements. But after much political opposition, the law was repealed and no paragraph introduced.

    This has provided political fodder for the opposition Progress Party, which has stoked fears among Norwegians over "sneak Islamization." Progress Party leader Siv Jensen spoke out strongly at the party's national meeting last month against granting special permission for special groups. She pointed specifically to the case of a largely Muslim neighborhood in Malmö, which she claimed had been partly overrun by Islamic law.

    A March poll by Norstat for Norway's national broadcasting station NRK showed that Progress Party soared 8.5 percentage points to 30.1 percent in the polls from a month earlier. Three government coalition partners, Labor, Socialist Left, and Center Party, all lost ground.

    The center-left coalition holds 87 out of 169 parliamentary seats, while the Progress party holds 38 seats, the second largest after Labor. A continuing shift to the right could pose a threat to reelection chances in September for Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's Labor prime minister.

    "If they continue to spin these irrational fears, I'm afraid it could lead to a lot of commotion," said Thorbjřrn Jagland, Norway's parliamentary leader and former Labor prime minister, during a highly-attended religious debate in Oslo this week.

    Some 500 people lined up around the block to hear Mr. Jagland, religious professor Torkel Brekke, the bishop of the Church of Norway, and leader of Norway's Muslim Student Society discuss why religion is suddenly a hot topic.

    The panelists discussed the recent media focus surrounding the hijab debate and blasphemy paragraph, the provocation caused by the burning of a hijab on International Women's Day on March 8 by a Norwegian Muslim woman in protest of the garment, and fears among "religious nationalists" and "secular intellectuals" toward Norway's Muslim minority.

    "We could very well live with the mosques because they stayed in them. But when this began to affect our cultural values, then it became a conflict, and then it became politicized," Jagland told the crowd. "But Islam is not a threat to Norway."

    "I don't see Norway as a tolerant society at all, partly based on these debates and how they react to people coming to Norway," said Professor Brekke, from the University of Oslo. "It's tolerant in that you can practice any religion, but you have large sections of Norwegian society that react strongly to alien cultures."

    Immigrants make up 9.7 percent of Norway's 4.8 million inhabitants. Norway has granted permission to about one-fourth of the 328,000 immigrants who arrived from non-Nordic countries between 1990 and 2007 to stay as refugees. The largest immigrant population is Polish, who are traditionally Catholic, followed by Pakistani. Islam accounts for 20 percent of the 9 percent of the population belonging to religious communities outside the Church of Norway.

    Sweden has a more liberal policy in accepting refugees than Norway and allows hijabs in its police uniform, as does Britain. France has banned the use of hijabs and other ostensible religious items in its state schools since 2004.

    The religious debate has overshadowed the economic one in Norway, which has been relatively shielded from the financial crisis thanks to its vast petroleum resources as the world's third largest gas exporter.

    Norway has a large budget surplus to help fund its financial stimulus packages and relatively mild unemployment – 3 percent, compared to 8.1 percent in the US. Moreover, it has invested its oil revenues in a $329 billion Government Pension Fund.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20090320/wl_csm/onorway_1

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    So they only support "freedom of speech" when they are expressing their hatred for Islam?

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    The Fear of Hijab: Nothing strikes fear in the Western psyche like a piece of cloth on a woman's head
    by Naheed Mustafa

    In September 1994, 13-year-old Emilie Ouimet was sent home from Montreal (Quebec, Canada)'s Louis Riel High School because her Hijab did not conform to the school's dress code.

    Two months later, a second Quebec girl, 15-year-old Dania Baali, was told she would have to transfer to another school from College Regina Assumpta if she wanted to observe Hijab.

    It is incredible to know nothing strikes fear in the hearts of Western man like a piece of cloth on a woman's head.

    THE HIJAB IS PERCEIVED AS A RADICAL STATEMENT

    To some, she is making a radical statement about her violent political ideas.

    To others, she is the symbol of absolute subjugation and is in dire need of rescue.

    For them, having such women as part of the North American landscape is frightening.

    She is “the veiled woman,” belonging in a foreign place, an actor on an exotic stage.

    We are seen as poisoning this “free and democratic” culture with our “weak and submissive ways.”

    Thus, various school boards in Quebec have decided that rooting out the unwanted influence at the earliest point possible is the best way to avoid contaminating their haute culture.

    THE FEAR OF HIJAB IS LEGITIMATE

    I have often wondered why a woman in Hijab participating freely in this society is perceived as so threatening.

    I have always thought that fear of such women was unfounded. After all, her wearing Hijab has nothing to do with anyone else-it only has to do with her commitment to Allah.
    But now I realize the fear is legitimate.

    Muslim women are a threat.

    HIJAB SENDS A MESSAGE OF ACCEPTANCE AND REJECTION

    A woman who covers herself out of the love of Allah is not just stating something about what she accepts but she is also saying something about what she rejects.

    Any woman who refuses to play the gender games that are so basic to all societies is going to be pushed out.

    Women have always been expected to play some kind of role in every society.

    In North America, a great part of this role revolves around sex and the aura of sexuality. Any relationship involving men and women has some kind of sexual undertone.

    When a woman covers herself she is rejecting that role, she is saying sex will have nothing to do with her public life. It is the fact that she has taken out of the discussion her physical self that people find so upsetting.

    A WOMAN IN HIJAB: MORE THAN “JUST A WOMAN”

    A female doctor, writer, electrician or plumber may be appreciated in the work environment for her skill, but is still basically seen as “just a woman.”

    But put her in Hijab so that what makes her a woman cannot be appraised and all of a sudden you are dealing with a person.

    It is a radical idea not liked by many.

    SHE IS REJECTING THE POLITICS OF GENDER

    This person is not only rejecting preset gender roles but also the associated politics of gender.

    She is therefore rejecting the basic social structure which also means she is seen to be rejecting the political system and its tied economic setup.

    So educators in Quebec should feel threatened.
    Emilie and Dania are more than just two girls whose headgear does not conform to school dress code. They are representatives of something bigger, of a different way of life and of living.

    It took me some time to come to this conclusion.

    HIJAB: AN ACT OF FAITH

    I had always seen Hijab as a private matter between myself and Allah.

    I chose to wear Hijab because I felt my Iman (faith) had to be translated into action and if Allah asks me to cover, then I should.

    If I could not act out my faith then what was the point of saying I had any faith?

    But, unfortunately, those around me did not see my wearing Hijab as a personal act of worship.

    Rather, they saw it as a personal attack on them. I wore Hijab and that automatically meant I disapproved of everything they did.

    I found the hostility difficult to understand. Just because my head was covered, people were unable to relate to me.

    I had a newfound freedom and a greater sense of confidence in myself as a Muslim but most others saw me as a throwback.

    WOMEN'S PROGRESS STILL TIED TO APPEARANCE


    Progressiveness for women is unfortunately still defined by how much they are willing to reveal.

    The more power women seem to gain, the more compelled they are to take off their clothes.

    This paradox is at the root of the confusion faced by North American women.

    They are supposed to be strong, independent and assertive yet, at the same time, they are made slaves to an ideal physical image which cannot be achieved by the vast majority of women.
    This duality is a marketable commodity.

    Take the fashion industry for example; the latest from Paris says “glamor” is the hottest look of the season with its glossy lipsticks, slip dresses, and spiked heels.

    Women object saying that fashion designers are expecting them to dress like prostitutes at the office.

    They loathe the fact that the female body is used for selling everything from cosmetics to clothing to cars.

    Yet when Muslim women cover themselves up and protest the very same thing, they are conversely regarded as being oppressed.

    TERMINAL CONFUSION ABOUT WOMEN'S FREEDOM

    The confusion is terminal. While some fight against what they see as objectifying women, others feel the ideal way to ultimate freedom for women is the right to got barechested in public.

    The rationale seems to be that once our bodies are desexualized then it will be safer for us to go out on the streets.

    We just have to give up our dignity, our modesty and our privacy.

    And it is in the midst of all this confusion that women in Hijab have arrived. Their unwillingness to play into the hands of either side has earned them scorn.

    HIJAB HAS BECOME A POLITICAL STATEMENT

    Hijab is fundamentally part of worship but, right or wrong, it has become a political statement as well.

    We may only be expressing our commitment to our Deen (religion) but Hijab is seen to symbolize a rejection of the West.

    THE MISTAKE OF THE SECULARISTS

    This perceived rejection has affected liberal secularists so profoundly that they are willing to push aside their own basic principle of individual freedom to stave of the “oppressive” influences of Islam.

    It would be a wise person indeed who would realize that it is the very culture secularists are trying to preserve that has led people to search for something else.

    And for those who are truthful to themselves, they will see that Emilie and Dania have it figured out.

    This article was originally published in The Message-Canada in January 1995 and has been reprinted with the permission of the author.

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    Behind Burqa, Student Gets An Education In Bigotry [at Bacon Academy]

    Comments Directed At Muslims


    by Tracy Gordon Fox
    The Hartford Courant
    March 12, 2007


    COLCHESTER -- Caitlin Dean was raised not to discriminate against others because of their race or religion. But as a white suburban teen of Italian and Irish descent, she often wondered what it would be like to be the target of such abuse.

    She found out "behind the burqa."

    The 15-year-old freshman volunteered with a few other students to wear traditional Muslim clothing to school for an entire day in February after a Middle Eastern Studies teacher at Bacon Academy announced that she was looking for students to promote her class by wearing the garb. Caitlin covered her slender frame and short brown hair with a periwinkle burqa, which concealed her face.

    The hateful and abusive comments she endured that day horrified teachers, the teen and many of her classmates. The remarks underscored a persistent animosity toward American Muslims
    that is driven largely by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But they also opened up an important dialogue that could help teenagers in Colchester and across the state view the Muslim culture differently.

    "Hey, we rape your women!" one upperclassman said as he passed Caitlin in the hallway.

    "I hope all of your people die," another sniped.

    "You're probably going to kill us all" and "Why do they let people like this in the country?" were other remarks she heard on Feb. 1.

    Caitlin's observations that day did not surprise those who work for the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which arrived in the state about three years ago in response to hate crimes and prejudice against Muslims.

    Caitlin wrote down 50 comments and names she was called. She did not respond because "I am a freshman. I like to avoid making waves."

    But when she saw a friend and a teacher who knew that Caitlin was the person under the burqa, she broke down in a classroom.

    "I started crying," Caitlin said. "There is way too much prejudice."

    The lack of understanding of Islam and of the many of the cultures that contribute to a worldwide population of more than 1 billion Muslims is something Rabia Chaudry, a spokeswoman for CAIR, planned to raise with the state Department of Education when she meets with officials in a few weeks.

    Now she plans to use Colchester as a positive example in terms of discussing prejudice and raising awareness of the Muslim culture.
    "I think what this teacher has done is exactly what schools should be doing," Chaudry said.

    None of the students were singled out for discipline because no formal complaints were made.

    "It's unacceptable," Superintendent Karen Loiselle said. "It's imperative students who are victims of those comments report them immediately and it will be taken very seriously.

    In this case, it has opened an important conversation."

    Chaudry agreed and said her group would like to send representatives to meet with students in Colchester and other communities, to hold town meetings to talk about their feelings about Muslims, the war and terrorism.

    At Bacon Academy, the experience has already made a difference. Teacher Angie Parkinson, who had only 12 students enrolled in her Middle Eastern Studies classes for next year, now has 48.

    A partial list of the comments to Caitlin - some were not printable - appeared in the student newspaper, the Bacon Courier, along with a front-page story headlined, "Some at Bacon Fail the Test of Tolerance."
    Caitlin called it "The Girl Behind the Burqa."

    In the days that followed, teachers and students at Bacon Academy discussed tolerance of other cultures. There was already a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school with some openly gay members, a save Darfur group and a diversity committee.

    Chris Anderson, a senior at Bacon who also wore some of the traditional Muslim clothing to school and also was the target of ethnic slurs, said educators are not trying hard enough to expose students to other cultures. He criticized school leaders for replacing world studies in middle school with more American history.

    "The prejudice displayed at Bacon Academy is proof enough that education about world cultures cannot be ignored," he said. "The misunderstood are feared and hated."

    CAIR is dedicated to promoting better understanding of Islam and Muslims through public education and interfaith cooperation and to defend American Muslims' civil and human rights, according to its website.

    Chaudry said she is not surprised to hear how some students reacted to the burqas and other Middle Eastern outfits.

    "I wear a regular head scarf and I get those reactions in public as well. I think people are confusing terrorists with Muslims," she said. "They don't understand the distinction because they don't understand the religion."

    Parkinson, who has traveled to the Middle East and wants to participate in a teacher exchange with Saudi Arabia, said she is on a mission to have other cultures, particularly those in the Middle East, better represented in school curriculums.

    "That happens to be my personal crusade," she said. "And I think we should start it sooner. It should be taught in elementary school.

    "My fear of this hatred of Islam is that it will become synonymous with patriotism," Parkinson said. "We are a nation of immigrants. Some of the most disturbing comments were, `This is America. Go home.'"

    In her class, Parkinson spends weeks explaining the history of the Middle East before she broaches the Iraq war.

    "It takes weeks and weeks to understand the background," Parkinson said.

    There are plenty of examples of other incidents around the state that have not led to productive discussions, including a Muslim boy in New Haven County who was beaten up and called Osama Bin Laden, Chaudry said.

    Many other incidents go unreported, she said. "I think a lot of times, [Muslims] just internalize it and go on."



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    Headscarf travel divides opinion

    03 April 2009

    Travelling on public transport in the capital with photo-ID requires officials to be able to see the passenger, but maybe not elsewhere in the country

    The case of a Muslim woman who was refused travel on a regional Funen bus multiple times because she was wearing a niqab has divided public opinion.

    Amina Farah Suleiman, 41, originally from Somalia, wears a traditional head covering, which only leaves her eyes visible.

    The most recent refusal to let her travel came last week, when, for the fourth time, a bus driver on regional transport company Fynbus stopped her from boarding.

    The driver had taken issue with the woman using a monthly travel pass which features a picture ID. As he could not see the woman’s face to confirm that she was the correct owner of the travel pass he refused her passage.

    While the 3F union has backed the driver’s actions, the head of Fynbus has said that the woman should have been allowed to travel.

    The Muslim Union, which represents 30 Muslim organisations and promotes integration, said that it was natural for the driver to want to confirm the identification of the passenger if she was using a photo travel pass.

    Meanwhile, DR News reports that different rules are adopted at Copenhagen bus company Movia. Claus Hermansen of Movia said that if passengers want to use photo ID travel passes, then they must be willing to show their face. Otherwise they must be willing to buy multi-tickets or pay cash.


    Comment:

    The head of the company says that she should have been allowed to travel yet you see these morons (3F union and Muslim Union) saying no. The bus company is in the business to make money and they got their money when the pass was bought, what does it matter who uses the pass as long as the pass is valid!


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    Muslim woman strip-searched at Chicago’s OHare airport

    By Lawrence Porter - 21 January 2002

    In another example of the growing attacks—ranging from blatant discrimination and state-sanctioned bigotry, to outright physical brutality—faced by people of Arab descent in America, the Chicago, Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an American Muslim student who was singled out and strip-searched at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport because of her ethnic background.

    Samar Kaukab, a 22-year-old Ohio State University student, who is an American citizen of Pakistani descent, charges in her lawsuit that an Illinois National Guardsman and three security personnel subjected her to a degrading, unnecessary and illegal search.

    The suit is believed to be the first in over 100 cases pending of airport discrimination against Muslims since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The lawsuit names the Illinois National Guard and Argenbright Security, Inc., as defendants.

    “We believe this case is about ethnic intimidation and discrimination and that she was searched based on her ethnicity and religion,” Edwin Yohnka of the Chicago office of the ACLU told the WSWS. “This is a violation of her civil rights and it also raises constitutional issues. We believe that when she was asked to take off her hijab it was a violation of her freedom of religious expression. And we believe that singling her out the line was a violation of her 14th amendment rights (the equal protection clause).”

    At a press conference called by the ACLU and attended by Ms. Kaukab, they explained that on November 7, 2001, Kaukab was returning to her Columbus, Ohio home after attending a Volunteers in Service to America (VISA) conference. Kaukab works for VISA, a US government agency that helps low income students. Along with many other coworkers, she checked in her luggage at the airport and proceeded through the security metal detectors when the incident began.

    Despite the fact that the metal detectors did not go off, the ACLU reported, a member of the Illinois National Guard instructed a security guard to search Ms. Kaukab more carefully. The security employee then passed a metal detector over Ms. Kaukab’s body and inside her boots. He continued by patting her upper body and pulling at the straps and hook on her bra.

    At that point, the ACLU states, a crowd began to gather, watching the embarrassing examination by the security team. The guard then began to slowly pass the wand repeatedly around Ms. Kaukab’s head. At no point during this extensive search was there any indication of a metallic or any other prohibited item. Nevertheless, the security guard, abiding by the instruction of the National Guardsman, further demanded that Ms. Kaukab remove her hijab, the traditional headscarf of Muslim women.

    Ms. Kaukab told the press conference, “I explained that my reticence about removing the hijab was not an effort to be uncooperative. It simply reflected my own religious beliefs and practices...I offered to take the hijab off but only in a private area or behind a screen and only if it was in front of a woman.”

    Initially both the security guard and National Guardsman, who continued to demand that Kaukab remove the hijab, rejected the proposal.

    “The security personnel and the National Guardsman were completely insensitive to Ms. Kaukab’s religious beliefs,” stated Lorie Chaiten, a lawyer for the Illinois ACLU. “The search continued to escalate even though Ms. Kaukab passed through the metal detector without incident, and further searches produced no indication of anything being hidden beneath her hijab. The escalating nature of the search was completely unjustified.”

    Ms. Kaukab was then escorted to a small room where she was searched by two female security guards. During the inspection the male security guard walked in, prompting Kaukab to again protest the violation of her privacy and insensitivity to her religious beliefs. Only after her strenuous demands did he leave.

    The search, however, became even more humiliating after his departure. Kaukab removed her hijab, and the female guards combed their fingers through her head and scalp and began to strip the young woman unwillingly of her clothing.

    Yohnka said the two female guards’ search was invasive. “They open her sweater, feel her breasts, and one woman unbuckles her pants and unzips her. Then she sticks her hand down her pants, and padded down her lower abdomen and between her legs over her underwear.”

    “After the incident they just tell her that she can go,” continued Yohnka. “Throughout the ordeal they did not tell her anything, including what they were doing or what to expect.”

    Lorie Chaiten, another ACLU lawyer, emphasized, “Ms. Kaukab was identified and subjected to a humiliating search not because she posed any security threat, but only because her wearing a hijab identified her as a Muslim.” Chaiten said Kaukab was subjected to the subjected to the degrading treatment solely because of her “ethnicity and religion.”

    Ms. Kaukab told the local media in Columbus, “It’s not just a piece of cloth that I wear. It gives me control of the privacy of my body.” The 30-minute ordeal she said was “embarrassing, intrusive and humiliating.”

    The Illinois ACLU Legal Director Harvey Grossman pointed out that the agency is aware or at least 100 cases of Muslim Americans being harassed at airports since September 11. The lawsuit demands that the district court issue an injunction preventing any future unreasonable searches and seizures based on ethnic and religious discrimination.

    The web site of the American Arabic Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has recorded 520 incidents of violence against Arab Americans since September 11. These cases do not include the hundreds of cases of employment discrimination, police searches, and a significant increase in tensions at schools where Arab students have had problems with students, teachers and school administrators.

    Referring to the Kaukab case, Yohnka told the WSWS, “When something like this happens, you always hope that this will bring about a change. You hope that it will lead to reforms and put in place the training needed in airports around the country.”

    “One of the reasons that case has developed,” continued Yohnka, “is because she had the courage to come forward and file this suit.”



    Comments:

    Thanks to the new scanners deployed at the airports everyone is automatically strip searched since the scanner itself is a strip search machine and shows everything clearly to the viewing people. Not only are you strip searched electronically but your scanned pictures could be end up on some websites!



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    Hijab Banned in Bulgaria Schools

    The Bulgarian government approved Thursday, March 26, a draft bill banning hijab and other religious symbols in schools.

    "We express our disagreement and bitterness with this decision," Hussein Hafazov of the Chief Mufti office told Reuters.

    "It completely damages the rights as well as the responsibilities of Muslim women."

    The bill calls for banning hijab and other religious symbols in schools. It still needs to be approved by parliament.

    Bulgaria is the latest European country to ban the Muslim headscarf.

    France banned the Muslim veil in public places in 2004, with several European countries following suit.

    Hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, not a symbol that shows ones religious affiliation.

    Tension
    The Chief Mufti warned that the bill would increase community tensions in the Balkan country.

    He said there had been arson attacks on mosques and other Muslim buildings and girls had already been forbidden from wearing hijab in some schools.

    Bulgaria is the only EU state where Muslims are not recent immigrants but a centuries-old local community.

    Muslims, who make up 12 percent of Bulgaria's 7.8 million population, have lived with Christians in relative harmony for centuries.

    Mostly ethnic Turkish descendants of the Ottoman Empire's reach into Europe, they live beside Christians in a culture known as "komshuluk", or neighborly relations.

    Mosques and Islamic schools are common sights in Bulgaria.

    The ethnic-Turkish MRF party has also become a powerful political force, participating in the last two governments.

    End Item/ 129


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    Niqabs don’t stop women, people do

    By Rahla Khan Saudi Gazette

    IT was with a sickening, all-too-familiar pang that I read the story, “Woman wearing veil asked to leave Italian museum”, about a niqab-wearing Muslim woman who was asked to leave Venice’s Ca’ Rezzonico museum, which houses 18th-century Venetian art, because she refused to take off her niqab while in the building. I also wear the niqab. And there have been many times when I was deliberately excluded and denied entry into places and positions because of the niqab.

    It strikes me as hugely ironic that this niqabo-phobia (for want of a better word) thrives in the West, the self-styled champion of personal choice and human liberty. Does anyone else see the dichotomy and the glaring hypocrisy?

    Tony Blair called the niqab “a mark of separation” and the judicial system of his country promptly came down hard over a British woman, Ayesha Azmi, who wanted to work in a public school while wearing a veil, dismissing her with a paltry compensation for “damages.”

    French Minister Fadela Amara called the niqab “a prison”, “a straitjacket” while justifying the denial of a French citizenship to Faiza Silmi, a Moroccan woman married to a French citizen, on the grounds that her veil is not conducive to integration in French society and her “radical” practice of Islam was incompatible with French values like equality of the sexes.

    Does anyone else see who’s doing the straitjacketing, who is preventing these women from integrating in society? Each time these women move out of their comfort zone to participate in society, who is turning them away? It is not the niqab which is preventing these women, it is people.

    In the case of the Muslim woman, who was turned away at the Italian museum, it was an “overzealous” security guard who felt threatened by her veiled presence, although she was with her husband and children and had previously cleared security when she entered the building.

    People often invoke the bogey of “security concerns” to justify their opposition of niqab-wearing women and their presence in public places.

    I can only direct these people to the words of historian and political commentator Timothy Garton, who wrote at the height of the Jack Straw-niqab controversy (when the British MP said he would ask veiled women constituency members coming to his office to take off their veils to foster “better communication”): “The most tiresome argument in this whole debate is that the niqab makes white, middle-class English people feel “uncomfortable” or “threatened”. Well, I want to say, what a load of whingeing wusses.

    Threatened by drunken football hooligans or muggers - that I can understand. But threatened by a woman quietly going about her business in a veil? As for uncomfortable: myself, I feel uncomfortable with a certain kind of pink-faced Englishman wearing crimson braces, a white-cuffed pinstriped shirt and a bow tie. Their clothing is a fair predictor of the views that will come out of their mouths. But I don’t ask them to take off their braces.

    [...]Why shouldn’t they (wear veils in public places)? What skin is it off your nose? As our society becomes more diverse, we will have to become more tolerant of diversity. We need to make a triage between the fundamentals of a free society on which we cannot compromise, matters that are properly the subject of intercommunal negotiation, and third-order issues best left to time and the quiet tides of social adaptation. Free speech belongs in the first category; the veil in the last.”

    Having been at the receiving end of senseless partisanship and prejudice so often, I don’t believe the situation for veiled women is going to get better in the West. All I can hope for, is for more people to see who is being unreasonable and stubborn in such a scenario. It’s not who they think.




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    Bus firm accused of thinly-veiled racism

    A WOMAN wearing a Muslim headscarf was told by a bus driver to take off her "mask" because it was against the law to wear it on board.

    Australian-born mother of two Khadijah Ouararhni-Grech was wearing the pink floral headscarf known as a niqab when she tried to board the HillsBus vehicle at Merrylands Rd, Greystanes.

    "As I was stepping on to the bus, the driver said: 'You can't get on the bus wearing your mask'," Ms Ouararhni-Grech told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

    After politely telling him that the niqab was not a mask, he insisted, saying: "Sorry, it is the law."

    She said a number of passengers witnessed the incident.

    "I told him it wasn't the law and he said 'You have to show me your face'," she said.

    "There were others present, there was a lady with a baby who was also disgusted about the discrimination that was brought upon me.

    "I was just going to visit my mum. I was born here in Parramatta. I'm Maltese and I'm Muslim because I choose to be Muslim.

    "I said to him 'There's no difference between me and that lady sitting there who chooses to not wear what I'm wearing'."

    After a heated discussion that lasted more than five minutes, the driver allowed Ms Ouararhni-Grech to travel on the bus.

    HillsBus, Sydney's largest private bus company, has confirmed it is investigating Tuesday's incident. It is yet to contact Ms Ouararhni-Grech.

    "At HillsBus we take complaints seriously and we value our record of customer service," a spokesperson said yesterday.

    "We received the complaint on Tuesday and an internal inquiry is now under way.

    "Until the matter is investigated it would obviously not be appropriate to offer further public commentary."

    The HillsBus driver in question was yesterday approached by The Daily Telegraph for an explanation but denied the incident took place.

    Ms Ouararhni-Grech said she wanted the bus company to improve driver education, rather than punish the driver. "I'd just like to change his attitude, I just want him to be educated on the subject," she said.

    "I'd be more than happy to go to the company with my sheikh and educate these people about what this exactly is and our beliefs and the reason why."

    A HillsBus source said drivers had the power to deny passengers access to a bus if they believed they were intoxicated or could pose a threat to other passengers.

    Drivers are also trained to search around and under their vehicles and how to evacuate a vehicle quickly if the need arises.



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    Hijab in Michigan Courts


    6/17/2009


    (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called for clarification of a new administrative rule adopted by Michigan’s Supreme Court that, if broadly interpreted, might allow judges to demand that witnesses remove religious head coverings during testimony in their courtrooms.

    SEE: State Court: Judges Can Dictate Witnesses' Attire - http://www.freep.com/article/20090617/NEWS06/90617030/1008/NEWS06

    The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that forced removal of religiously-mandated attire such as an Islamic headscarf, or hijab, would violate the constitutional right to religious freedom and would contradict President Obama’s recent statement in support of the right to wear hijab.

    In his address to the Muslim world earlier this month in Cairo, President Obama stated: “[F]reedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion…That is why the US government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.”

    “Michigan residents of all faiths need clarification as to whether they will be forced to remove their religious attire in order to appear in a state court,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter.

    He said the newly-adopted rule, if interpreted broadly, could also be used against Jews, Sikhs, Christians, and members of other faiths who wear religious head coverings.

    The new rule, which was adopted in response to a case involving a Muslim woman, states: “The court shall exercise reasonable control over the appearance of parties and witnesses so as to (1) ensure that the demeanor of such persons may be observed and assessed by the fact-finder, and (2) to ensure the accurate identification of such persons.”

    Two Michigan Supreme Court judges opposed the new rule, saying there should be an exception for religious attire.

    SEE: Civil Rights Commission Opposes Proposed Court Rule on Courtroom Attire

    Walid added that CAIR has consistently defended the right of Muslim women to wear headscarves in the workplace, in schools, in courtrooms, and as customers in public venues such as banks. CAIR chapters in Oklahoma and Minnesota recently helped block proposed legislation that would have prohibited wearing hijab in driver’s license photographs.

    SEE: Okla. Muslim Takes Driver’s License Photo with Hijab

    SEE ALSO: Credit Union Regrets Muslim Woman's Treatment

    CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.





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    Oregon Bill Reinforces Ban on Muslim, Sikh, Jewish Teachers
    7/16/2009

    (WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/16/09) - A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today joined America’s Sikh community in expressing concerns about legislation awaiting the governor’s signature in Oregon that purports to broaden religious freedom, but would prohibit teachers from wearing religiously-mandated attire such as an Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

    The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said a section of the “Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act” states:

    “No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher. A school district, education service district or public charter school does not commit an unlawful employment practice under ORS chapter 659A by reason of prohibiting a teacher from wearing religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher.”

    SEE: Sikhs Protest School Exemption in Oregon Religious Freedom Bill (Oregonian)

    National Sikh Organization Rejects 'Gaping Hole' in Oregon Discrimination Bills
    The End of an Era to Keep Religious Identity Out of Public Schools

    “This legislation forces Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and others to choose between their faith and entering the teaching profession,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Those who wear religiously-mandated attire are not proselytizing; they are practicing their faith, a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Concerns about religious neutrality in schools can be adequately addressed through professional codes of conduct.”

    He said the legislation also raises the question of whether a Christian or Jewish teacher wearing a prominent cross or Star of David would face removal from his or her teaching position.

    “Would this legislation prohibit a Mennonite teacher from wearing a bonnet?” asked Hooper. “Who will determine what is religious attire and what is a personal fashion choice.”

    He said a Muslim teacher who is a cancer survivor might be prohibited from wearing a scarf following hair loss from chemotherapy.

    Hooper added that the Oregon legislation contradicts President Obama's recent statement in support of the right to wear hijab.

    In his June address to Muslims worldwide, President Obama stated: "[F]reedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion...That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it."




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    Good News: Oklahoma Anti-Hijab Bill Dismissed

    (OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 4/7/09) - The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today commended state senators for dismissing a controversial bill (HB 1645) that would have prohibited Islamic head scarves, or hijabs, on driver’s licenses photographs and photo IDs.

    For background, see:
    Oklahoma Muslims Asked to Challenge Anti-Hijab Legislation

    The
    State Senate Sub-Committee on Transportation dropped the bill last week after recognizing it did not have the backing of constituents who believed it violated First Amendment rights. The Senate Judiciary Committee also dropped the billafter realizing that the Department of Public Safety currently has a policy that allows for religious exemptions on driver’s licenses photographs.

    Federal and military IDs also allow a religious exemption.

    SEE: CAIR-OK: Religious Headcovering Bill (Video)

    “We thank Oklahoma lawmakers for their leadership and courage in standing up for religious pluralism and the First Amendment. We appreciate their recognition of the contributions that all faiths make to the great state of Oklahoma and we look forward to continuing to work together for all Oklahomans,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. He added that some 600 letters opposing the draft legislation were sent to lawmakers by Oklahomans of all faiths.

    SEE: CAIR-OK: Ignorance is the Enemy (Tulsa World)

    Hashmi said many people believe the bill was introduced in reaction to CAIR-OK's successful resolution of a dispute over a Muslim woman's right to wear hijab in her driver’s license photo.

    SEE: Muslim Woman Takes Driver's Photo with Head Scarf (Video)

    According to a 2004 CAIR review, most states - with the exception of Georgia, Kentucky and New Hampshire - have addressed religious accommodation concerns. Five states - Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, and Maine - recognize some religious practices, while the other 42 states have adopted more inclusive approaches to religious accommodation policies.

    SEE: Religious Accommodation in Driver's License Photographs

    CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

    CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-248-5853, E-Mail: rhashmi@cair.com; CAIR-OK Chairperson Lobna Hewedi, E-Mail: lhewedi@cair.com; CAIR-OK Operations Coordinator Tariq Ahmad, E-Mail: tahmad@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

    ------------------------


    Know the law regarding Hijab and Driver's Licenses in your state:

    http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw...ments/LWVJ.pdf

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    Default School bans Muslim mother from parents' evening for wearing veil

    School bans Muslim mother from parents' evening for wearing veil

    04th April 2009

    A mother was barred from a parents' evening at her son's school as she was wearing a veil.

    The 34-year-old was turned away on security and safety grounds after arriving in clothes which covered every part of her body except her eyes.

    The incident in Blackburn follows a furore over comments by the area's MP Jack Straw about women who cover their faces.

    Mr Straw, now Justice Secretary, said in 2006 that veils could make community relations harder as they were a 'visible statement of separation and difference'.

    In the latest controversy last week, the mother of one was furious after being told that visitors' faces should be visible at all times.

    She insisted that her religion should not affect her access to Our Lady and St John Catholic Art College, a mixed school for 11 to 16-year-olds where she was also a pupil. The woman, who lives in Blackburn, said: 'I don't like going to the school anymore because I leave crying.

    'I can understand that people should be identified but I am just a normal person, trying to lead a normal life. Why should how I dress make a difference?'

    Police were called to the school when she refused to remove her niqab or leave the premises.

    Her wearing of the veil prompted a change of school policy after another parents' evening in 2007.

    'I got told not to go into the hall because I was wearing a veil,' said the mother. 'I explained I was willing to take the veil off in front of female teachers but not the male teachers.'

    School rules requiring hoodies and crash helmets be removed to gain entry were amended to include full-face veils after this.

    The woman added: 'This week at parents' evening, I signed in and saw two teachers in the library as I was not allowed in the main hall.

    'Then I was asked by a member of staff whether I was aware of the school's policy on identification. My son enjoys going to the school and has settled in. I am in a strange situation where I can't see how he is progressing or even go to drop him off inside.

    'If I had been told this was their intended policy, then maybe I would not have considered sending my son to the school.'

    Anjum Anwar, head of Woman's Voice, an advice group for Asian woman in Lancashire, has been working with the mother and school to try to find a solution.

    She said: 'We had hoped that the situation would have been resolved.

    'We are saddened to hear this young lady is still not given access to participate in her child's education because of her faith.'

    Headteacher Colette Gillen said it was important for parents to discuss their children's progress with staff.

    She has offered to set up one-to-one meetings between the mother and teachers in her office.

    'While this would be acceptable, the difficulty would be if a number of ladies wearing veils were free to wander the corridors or rooms,' said Mrs Gillen.

    'It would not be feasible to monitor who is who.'

    Mrs Gillen pointed to the Ofsted report rating the school as 'outstanding' for its community cohesion, care and guidance.

    Mr Straw yesterday refused to comment


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    Islamophobe US clinic denies Muslim doctor right to wear hijab




    A medical clinic in Dallas, Texas has sparked controversy after saying a Muslim doctor applying for a job cannot wear her headscarf if hired.

    Dr. Hena Zaki of Plano, Texas said Friday that she was shocked to find a no-hat policy at the CareNow clinic extended to her hijab.

    "He interrupted the interview and said he didn't want me 'to take this the wrong way,'" Zaki said. "Like an FYI."

    The 29-year-old doctor has called for an apology and a change in CareNow's policy.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations has criticized the no-hijab policy, calling it "a blatant violation" of federal law.

    "It's obvious it's a blatant violation," said the council's civil rights manager, Khadija Athman. "It's a very straightforward case of religious accommodation. I cannot see any undue hardship on the part of the employer to accommodate to wear a head scarf."

    CareNow Chairman Tim Miller, however, has refused to apologize, saying in a statement that there is nothing wrong with the policy, which, according to him, 'does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin'.


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    "The prejudice displayed at Bacon Academy is proof enough that education about world cultures cannot be ignored," he said. "The misunderstood are feared and hated."
    I think the name of the school says it all.

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    Clinic Apologizes for Telling Muslim Doctor She Can't Wear Headscarf

    (Fox News, of all places)

    Monday, November 02, 2009
    AP

    Oct. 30: Dr. Hena Zaki applied for a job at a North Texas medical clinic and says officials told her she couldn't wear her traditional headscarf.

    DALLAS — A suburban Dallas medical clinic has apologized to a Muslim doctor for telling her during a job interview that she would not be allowed to wear her headscarf while at work.

    Dr. Hena Zaki of Plano said Friday that she was shocked when officials at CareNow, which operates 22 clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, told her in person and later by e-mail that a no-hat policy extended to her hijab.
    Zaki had been on a tour of a CareNow clinic in Allen, Texas, two weeks ago when she said the regional medical director told her he didn't want her to be surprised about the policy during orientation.

    "He interrupted the interview and said he didn't want me to take this the wrong way," Zaki said. "Like an FYI."

    Zaki demanded an apology and a change in CareNow's policies to accommodate expressions of religious belief — "whether it be a turban or facial hair."

    On Friday, CareNow President Tim Miller told the Associated Press: "I would apologize for any misunderstanding, definitely ... but I don't really feel like there is anything that we did that is wrong and our policy is wrong."

    The next day, as reported by MyFoxDallas/Fort Worth, Miller wrote in a statement:

    "We apologize to Dr. Zaki for the misunderstanding. We will clarify our policy, and will continue our ongoing sensitivity training."

    "Care Now has made religious accommodations for employees in the past," he said, adding that the company is interested in "sitting down with Dr. Zaki and discussing a job."

    CareNow says it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin when making employment decisions. The Civil Rights Act requires companies to make accommodations for employees' religious beliefs.

    Zaki, who's searching for her first job after recently finishing her residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has worn her headscarf since age 14 and said other places she's worked have not had a problem with it.

    "It's not a hat," she said. "It's not sports memorabilia."

    Click here for more from MyFoxDallas/Fort Worth.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


 

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