What it’s like to grow up in the UK as a Muslim woman: ‘People would shout terrorist at us on school trips’ – The i – Weekend Reads #56

Boris Johnson’s recent description of Muslim women who wear a burka as looking like ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’ highlighted the Islamophobia experienced by women every day.

Last year saw a record number of anti-Muslim attacks recorded by the monitoring group Tell Mama, with women disproportionately targeted. Two-thirds of the 1,201 verified reports of anti-Muslim abuse were about incidents which happened offline.

The ex-Foreign Secretary’s comments had an immediate impact on women. And in the week after the ‘letterbox’ insults, Tell Mama reported five incidents targeting Muslim women who wear the niqab, compared to no incidents the previous week. i spoke to four people about being confronted with Islamophobia throughout their lives, how the comments about Muslim women have affected them, and what they want to see happen now.


Source: What it’s like to grow up in the UK as a Muslim woman: ‘People would shout terrorist at us on school trips’ – The i – Weekend Reads #56


“Would we not be in a substantially stronger position if Theresa May had simply said the following 6 things to the EU…” | Nye Bevan News

“Excuse me if I’m saying something that has already been said many times by others, but would we not be in a substantially stronger position if Theresa May had simply said to the EU at the time of triggering article 50:

1) We are leaving the EU on 29.03.19
2) We will trade upon WTO rules
3) Customs formalities will apply from that date, be ready, we will be. 
4) We will not require an implementation period as we have 2 years to prepare in any event.
5) We will make no further or additional payments beyond this date.
6) We will not erect a border in NI, whether you do so is up to you.


Source: “Would we not be in a substantially stronger position if Theresa May had simply said the following 6 things to the EU…” | Nye Bevan News

Why Native Americans struggle to protect their sacred places : The Conversation

Forty years ago the U.S. Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act so that Native Americans could practice their faith freely and that access to their sacred sites would be protected. This came after a 500-year-long history of conquest and coercive conversion to Christianity had forced Native Americans from their homelands.

Today, their religious practice is threatened all over again. On Dec. 4, 2017, the Trump administration reduced the Bears Ears National Monument, an area sacred to Native Americans in Utah, by over 1 million acres. Bears Ears Monument is only one example of the conflict over places of religious value. Many other such sacred sites are being viewed as potential areas for development, threatening the free practice of Native American faith.

While Congress created the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to provide “access to sacred sites,” it has been open to interpretation. Native Americans still struggle to protect their sacred lands.

Land-based religions

Native Americans have land-based religions, which means they practice their religion within specific geographic locations. As Joseph Toledo, a Jemez Pueblo tribal leader, says, sacred sites are like churches; they are “places of great healing and magnetism.”

Some of these places, as in the case of Bears Ears National Monument, are within federal public lands. As a Native American scholar, I have visited many of these places and felt their power.

For thousands of years, tribes have used Bears Ears for rituals, ceremonies and collecting medicines used for healing. The different tribes – the Hopi, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe and the Pueblo of Zuni – have worked to protect the land. Together they set up a nongovernmental organization, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition to help conserve the landscape in 2015.


Source: Why Native Americans struggle to protect their sacred places : The Conversation

21 year old with brain tumours declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Department of Work & Pensions | Nye Bevan News

Mum Rita Curtis, 47, said Philip’s tumours were first diagnosed when he was 11 years old and since had three removed and two vents put in his head.

“He was getting these headaches and he had to be taken home from school and would go to bed. He would be vomiting.

He’s had a lot of surgery. As well as the initial biopsy, he’s had three tumours removed and two vents in his head. There’s been five operations over the last couple of years.


I’m paying my mortgage, utilities, and looking after his needs as a carer and I’m on my own.

It’s very stressful because in between working and caring for Philip I’ve got to help him with all the paperwork.


Source: 21 year old with brain tumours declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Department of Work & Pensions | Nye Bevan News

MPs win praise for online abuse proposals | DisabledGo News and Blog

MPs have won praise after calling on the government to ensure disabled people finally secure equality in the protection they are offered by hate crime laws.

Members of the Commons petitions committee said in a new report that it was not right that it was a crime to incite hatred on the grounds of religion or race, but not disability.

The petitions committee was publishing draft recommendations following an inquiry into the online abuse of disabled people, and said it hoped its work would be “a wakeup call” to the government.

It has now launched a consultation on its recommendations before it publishes its final report – the first time a Commons committee has taken such a step – so that disabled people and their allies can respond to its draft proposals.

Among those recommendations is for the government to introduce a new law that would make it a crime to incite hatred against disabled people, a long-standing demand of disability hate crime campaigners.

Anne Novis, a leading disability hate crime campaigner and chair of Inclusion London, said: “I am thrilled to see the recommendation from this inquiry, which include most of the recommendations we submitted in writing and I gave verbally at the inquiry meeting, and other Deaf and disabled people gave via a testimonies session which Inclusion London helped to organise.”

She said the government had repeatedly failed to listen or respond to “repeated evidence and requests for equity in law on hate crime”.


Source: MPs win praise for online abuse proposals | DisabledGo News and Blog

Government promises £300 million for fully inclusive transport network | DisabledGo News and Blog

The government has pledged £300 million to make the UK’s transport network fully accessible by 2030.  The Department for Transport’s recently published Inclusive Transport Strategy outlines new funding for accessible infrastructure in railways as well as to improve Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations, and announces plans to produce league tables highlighting the operators that provide the best service for disabled people.

DisabledGo welcome this new development. It’s our mission to maximise independence and choice for disabled people in accessing their local area and the places we all want to visit and accessing public transport with confidence is a vital part of making that happen.

We publish accessibility guides to over 500 train stations in the UK and Ireland, which tell you all about the accessibility of platforms, toilets, parking, restaurants, shops and cafes within the stations and lots more.

Click here to view train stations


Source: Government promises £300 million for fully inclusive transport network | DisabledGo News and Blog

UN’s ‘human catastrophe’ rights expert to deliver high-profile UK lecture | DisabledGo News and Blog

The UN expert who told the government that its cuts to disabled people’s support had caused a “human catastrophe” is to visit the UK this autumn to deliver a high-profile lecture on disability rights.

Theresia Degener, the professor of law and disability studies who chairs the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, will deliver the first Caroline Gooding Memorial Lecture at the University of Leeds in October.

Last August, Degener told the UK government’s delegation – during a public examination of its progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe” which was “totally neglecting the vulnerable situation people with disabilities find themselves in”.

She later gave an interview with the BBC – which was not broadcast – in which she warned that the portrayal of disabled people by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits could put them at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”.

The annual lecture was set up as a memorial to the equality consultant and author Caroline Gooding, who played a leading role in securing improvements to disability rights legislation as a member of the Disability Rights Taskforce.

Gooding was later director of legislative change at the Disability Rights Commission throughout its eight years. She died in July 2014.


Source: UN’s ‘human catastrophe’ rights expert to deliver high-profile UK lecture | DisabledGo News and Blog

Adults’ and children’s social care will not escape ‘radical cuts’, council confirms | Community Care

Members of Northamptonshire County Council have approved “radical cuts” to authority spending, which will affect both children’s and adults’ social services.

Gathering yesterday (9 August) for an “extraordinary” full council meeting, members agreed to cost cutting measures laid out by chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin last week.

Per the budget recovery action plan, spending on learning difficulties in adults’ services will be stripped back as the authority looks to downgrade to a “core offer”. Meanwhile, council chiefs will scrutinise the number of referrals and numbers within the children’s care system.

However safeguarding vulnerable children and adults and the “substantial needs of older people” were highlighted as spending priorities.

County council leader Matt Golby, said: “The budget recovery action plan and the approval of our core services demonstrates our commitment to making the difficult but necessary decisions to stabilise our budget.

“We have a clear plan in place for how we are going to do this, and the spending priorities we’ve now agreed as a council will be used to assess all spend in the council and identify where savings can be made.

Reviewing contracts


Source: Adults’ and children’s social care will not escape ‘radical cuts’, council confirms | Community Care

Pesticide may increase autism risk : Medical News Today

A landmark study published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry describes a correlation between pesticide levels in a mother’s blood and autism risk in their infants.

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States.

Though the condition varies between people, symptoms commonly include repetitive behavior, difficulties adapting to change, and trouble in social situations.

Exactly what causes autism and how it develops is still up for debate, but it is widely recognised that there is likely to be interplay between environmental and genetic factors.

Much headway has been made in autism research — but, to date, there are few definitive answers, and there is no cure.

Source: Pesticide may increase autism risk : Medical News Today

DWP forced to admit more than 111,000 benefit deaths

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has been forced to release updated Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) mortality statistics, in response to a Freedom of Information request from disability campaigner Gail Ward.

The shocking statistics reveal that 111,450 ESA claims were closed following the death of claimants between March 2014 to February 2017.

However, the DWP stress that “no causal effect between the benefit and the number of people who died should be assumed from these figures”.


Source: DWP forced to admit more than 111,000 benefit deaths