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


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

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

Beyond Burqas: The Issues Facing British Muslim Women We Should Really Be Talking About : Global Citizen

“I’m a Muslim woman who chooses to wear the niqab — and every day I have to plan ahead. ‘Am I going to be attacked today or am I going to be abused today?’” added Shamin, from the West Midlands. “But it’s my right to be wearing it.”

Under the hashtag #MyHijabMyChoice, women have been calling to be left to make their own, personal decision about whether or not they wear a veil, without the interference of politicians.

In total, there are around  2.7 million Muslim people in the UK. While there are no official estimates of the number of women who wear veils, it’sreportedly very few. In France, for example, which has a larger Muslim population than the UK, it’s no more than a couple of thousand women.

But this debate about burqas stretches significantly further. Against a background of Brexit, which has already divided the nation, it’s become about migration, integration, and Islamophobia — with some raising concerns that it has the potential to encourage violence.


Source: Beyond Burqas: The Issues Facing British Muslim Women We Should Really Be Talking About : Global Citizen

How on earth have we let Trump get away with hiding his tax returns? – The Washington Post

The Treasury Department has issued a set of proposed regulationsclarifying who can and can’t take advantage of the “pass-through” loophole that Republicans included in the tax cut they passed last year, which, in ordinary circumstances, would be a story of interest only to a relatively small number of tax nerds.

But in this case, it is of special interest to President Trump, which is why it is yet another reminder that the American public absolutely, positively needs to see his tax returns.

These new regulations make it clear once again that the Republican tax bill is going to shower millions of dollars on the president. The problem is that we don’t know exactly how much.

In a way, you have to give some credit to Trump for outside-the-box thinking. Every presidential nominee for half a century made their tax returns public, because to avoid having a corrupt president, at a minimum we’d need to know how much income they had and where it was coming from. But Trump simply refused, offering up transparently phony excuses about how he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. No one else would have had the unmitigated gall, but Trump correctly surmised that whatever criticism he’d get for stonewalling, it wouldn’t be as bad for him as what would happen if the public actually got to see his returns.

Eventually, everyone stopped asking, despite the fact that there has never in U.S. history been a president for whom it was more important that we know the details of his finances. That’s not only because Trump was a spectacularly corrupt businessman. And it’s not only because, unlike presidents before him, he refused to divest himself of his holdings, offering a plethora of opportunities for people to shove money into his pockets while he serves in the Oval Office. It’s also because, unlike previous presidents, Trump’s income comes from an incredibly complex web of companies that are impossible for outside observers to completely understand.


Source: How on earth have we let Trump get away with hiding his tax returns? – The Washington Post

Judge orders plane carrying deported mother and child turned around, blocks more removals : NBC News

In a federal courtroom in Washington on Thursday, a judge heard about something the Trump administration had just done that clearly angered him. The government, he learned, had deported an immigrant mother and daughter who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit the judge was hearing over asylum restrictions.

So the judge did something highly unusual: He demanded the administration turn around the plane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States. And he ordered the government to stop removing plaintiffs in the case from the country who are seeking protection from gang and domestic violence.

The U.S. district judge, Emmet Sullivan, of the District of Columbia, was presiding over a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Gender and Refugee Studies on Tuesday. He had earlier been assured by the government in open court that no plaintiffs in the suit would be deported before midnight Friday.

The plaintiffs on the plane are identified in the lawsuit as Carmen and her minor daughter J.A.C.F., although Carmen is a pseudonym, an attorney said.

The plane was not able to turn around en route, but a Department of Homeland Security official told NBC News that the mother and daughter did not disembark in El Salvador Thursday evening and were being brought to the United States.

“Carmen and her daughter are right now somewhere in the air between Texas and El Salvador,” ACLU’s lead attorney in the case Jennifer Chang Newell told NBC News just after the hearing.


Source: Judge orders plane carrying deported mother and child turned around, blocks more removals : NBC News

Supreme Court ruling ‘risks bringing in euthanasia by the back door’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

Disabled campaigners have warned that a Supreme Court ruling has removed a vital safeguard that protected the lives of brain-damaged patients who have been left unconscious.

The Supreme Court ruled this week that families and doctors will no longer have to seek a court order if they agree to end the life of a patient with a “prolonged disorder of consciousness” (PDOC)* by withdrawing food and fluids.

The court had been hearing the case of a man, Y, who never regained consciousness after a heart attack left him severely brain-damaged and in a permanent vegetative state (PVS).

Y had to be kept alive with water and liquid nutrition, but his family and doctors agreed that it was in his best interests for this to be withdrawn so he could be left to die.

The NHS trust that was treating him sought a declaration from the courts that they could do so without an order from the Court of Protection.

This was granted by the high court, but the official solicitor appealed to the Supreme Court, which this week unanimously dismissed the appeal.

Disabled campaigners have raised grave concerns about the judgment.


Source: Supreme Court ruling ‘risks bringing in euthanasia by the back door’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

Britain’s treatment of disabled people reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale | Frances Ryan | Opinion | The Guardian

The first ever Global Disability Summit took place in London last week, with more than 700 delegates from governments, charities and disability organisations around the world.

In a speech last year to herald the event, Penny Mordaunt – the international development secretary and former minister for disabled people – said the summit would showcase Britain’s “commitment to transform the lives of people living with disabilities”. Theresa May was similarly enthusiastic, pledging the summit would be dedicated to “transforming the lives” of disabled people, and showing how “committed” Britain is to ending disability discrimination.

I can’t help but be reminded of a scene in The Handmaid’s Tale in which the rulers of Gilead put on a grand show to impress visiting international delegates; with the bruised handmaids kept hidden, they are free to present their nation’s treatment of women as something to aspire to.


Source: Britain’s treatment of disabled people reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale | Frances Ryan | Opinion | The Guardian

Sheffield’s Labour council has just been ‘shredded’ in a film about the tree saga | The Canary

The ongoing Sheffield tree saga has become a David and Goliath battle. It’s seen a Labour-led council, flanked by a private contractor, fighting against residents and campaigners. Now, a film collective from the city has turned the story into a short documentary.

The tree-felling programme

Labour-led Sheffield City Council and its contractor Amey are chopping down public trees in the city. Local residents aren’t happy because of the environmental impact; the “Thatcherite anti-union” behaviour of the Labour council, and public health concerns. The council argues that the work is necessary to “avoid catastrophic financial consequences”.


Sheffield-based WellRedFilms has put together a short documentary about the saga. Presented by David McClelland and produced by Alan Story, Shredded gives an overview of the situation. It also shows some Labour members are abandoning the party due to the council’s actions.

As former Labour member Danuta Reah says in Shredded:

I left Sheffield Labour Party because their behaviour over the trees made me realise that Sheffield Council is ruled by a small group of people who are not acting in accordance with the principles of the Labour Party, or in the best interests of the people of Sheffield…

With footage from tree felling sites, protests, and a tongue-in-cheek cameo from ‘Jeremy Corbyn’, Shreddedtakes a wry but sobering look at the council’s actions and the implications for the Labour Party more broadly:


Source: Sheffield’s Labour council has just been ‘shredded’ in a film about the tree saga | The Canary

Annual report shows slight increase in complaints about adult social care : Community Care

Complaints about adult social care have increased since last year, according to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Published this week (25 July), the Ombudsman’s Review of Local Government Complaints showed 2602 complaints were made about adult social care between 2017-18. This was slightly higher than the previous year when it received 2555 complaints from the public.

Overall, 17,452 complaints and enquiries about local government were sent to the ombudsman compared to 16,866 the year before.

This year, education and children’s services maintained its position as receiving the most enquiries, recording 3260 complaints; adult social care followed in second.

Uphold rate increases


Source: Annual report shows slight increase in complaints about adult social care : Community Care

My own comment to this article is

This is, however, just the tip of the ‘iceberg’ for there is much unrest or lack of trust in many, if not all of our Local Authorities, with many persons showing or more likely not showing their discontent.

In Sheffield, I am active in many groups, mainly, but not all, involved with learning disabilities and Autism and could guarantee that if I went to a meeting daily, I would come across at least one family at each meeting that were far from happy with Sheffield City Council, but to make a complaint or just query of a council action they would not do, but would voice their feelings in what they consider a ‘safe environment’.

They will not come forth for a number of reasons, they are unaware they can and if they do know, do not know how. for others it is a time consuming process and they are not willing or have the time to do so, In addition they may have complained previously and did not like how they were treated, but effectively the foremost reason, I believe is they are extremely scared of losing the small amount of care they have been granted already, also there will be some who feel their loved one or ones that have a need for care will be picked on for their family daring to complain.

This is also true of why complaints are not made frequently to numerous other organisations, many in health, including GPs and hospitals, care provider agencies, the list is endless.

By complaints not being made, the process for improving services is not being realised.

Complaints should not be feared by anyone, especially the person or persons who are not happy, but perhaps more so with the organisations, who may be reluctant to engage change.

Many profile cases have arisen over the years, the one I always quote, being Mid Staffs, between January 2005 and March 2009 at a Stafford hospital. Not only did the hospital not initially engage with the complaint positively they went out of their way to fight it. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/06/mid-staffs-hospital-scandal-guide. The complainant not only lost her job, but her house, her family and had to leave the areas and I believe had to be given a new identity  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/27/julie-bailey-mid-staffordshire-nhs-whistleblower.

Until there is openness, honesty and transparency and may I add accountability complaints will always never match the number of mistakes, wrong doings, etc that are taking place, but kept under the ‘carpet’.