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

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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.

FROM LAST JULY WHEN DWP STOPPED HIS MONEY I’VE HAD TO SUPPORT HIM ON MY PART-TIME NIGHT WORKER’S PAY.

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

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

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

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

DWP refuses to pay £125 to discover number of disabled people in full-time jobs | DisabledGo News and Blog


Ministers are refusing to commission work that would cost just £125 and would show how many disabled people are in full-time paid employment, and how that number has changed under successive Tory-led governments.

Ministers, including the current work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, have repeatedly boasted of how their policies have led to an increase of hundreds of thousands of disabled people in work, including a rise of nearly 600,000 between April 2013 and June 2017.

But those claims are based on figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which includes in its measure of “employment” people who are in part-time work, are self-employed, and those in government-supported training and employment programmes.

This means there are no published government figures that show how many disabled people are in full-time paid employment, and how that number has risen or fallen under successive governments since 2010.

To try to find those statistics, Disability News Service (DNS) submitted a freedom of information request to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), asking for figures for each of the last 10 years for how many disabled people were in full-time, paid jobs.

DWP replied that “this information is not held by the department” and suggested that DNS approach ONS instead.

 

Source: DWP refuses to pay £125 to discover number of disabled people in full-time jobs | DisabledGo News and Blog

I was sanctioned after missing a Universal Credit appointment due to seizures


This is truly like it is for the DWP are following the common theme of ‘one size fits all’.

Yes, there are people who are work shy, people who will not work no matter what is put before them, but are these people caught by sanctions, I fear not. This is because they are Ace in manipulating the system and will continue in this vein for ever. It is these people the 1% or 2% who should be made to work, but they never will, for what employer is really going to take on someone who has no intention of working, it will not be worth their while.

The the DWP system is doing is penalising the people who want to work, but their disability, their health is causing them to fail to abide by the ‘one size fits all’ process.

How can anyone attend an interview when they are in a hospital bed trying to recover from an aspect of the manner of their health.

The DWP process needs to be flexible to take account of the mitigating circumstances, but this they will not do as this will take time and money which has not been included in the system process.

As I said before they are penalising people who want to work, but have problems due to their conditions, unlike those who do not have problems, except their total dedication of not wishing to work, these are the lazy, but again the system has no process to find these people as again it will take time and money.

The systems major flaw it that it does not understand what it is trying to change and is as much unwilling to do so as those who are unwilling to work.

The system needs to comply with equality, which does not mean treating everybody the same, but treating people as individuals, but again this take time and money.

The Government also needs to have the willingness to do this, but do they understand individualism or more to the point do they really want to understand. I feel the latter, so until the attitudes of the Government or more likely the Civil Servants, who really govern the UK then the system will stay the same.

Penalise those who are willing, while supporting those who are not willing to work, completely the opposite of what they say they are doing.

But if the Government is Blind, then no matter how much they say they are listening (opening their eyes) they will never see, that is giving them the benefit of the doubt as I feel they will never understand, because they are unwilling to do so.

So those that want to work, but their conditions restrict them will always be penalised, while those who are totally unwilling to work will not.

Govt Newspeak

I was sanctioned after missing a Universal Credit appointment due to seizures. The DWP should help job-seekers like me, not penalise them
Luke O’Donnell says he managed to find a job without the help of the Job Centre

Luke O'Donnell was sanctioned for missing a work-related benefits appointment due to seizures.

Luke O’Donnell, 24, was sanctioned by the DWP for missing a work-related appointment for Job Seeker’s Allowance earlier this year due to seizures. After i reported his story, the DWP to reviewed its sanction decision. The penalties were then revoked after a review of the evidence.

By Luke O’Donnell

They said Universal Credit would make things more simple. Having fallen foul of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) trigger-happy use of sanctions, I can say that this is not the case.

I have epilepsy and missed a Job Centre appointment in November after having seizures.

I missed a second meeting in January after being in a status epilepticus, which left me in a hospital…

View original post 1,049 more words

Saudi women can drive, but are their voices being heard? : The Conversation


Earlier this summer, Saudi Arabia lifted the decades-long ban on women’s driving. The move is part of a series of reforms that the country has been implementing. In April the kingdom loosened male guardianship laws – under which women need the permission of a male guardian to work, travel or marry. And in 2015, women were granted the right to vote and run for elections. The reforms serve to revamp the image of Saudi Arabia in the international arena.

More recently, however, in a diplomatic spat, Canada has criticized Saudi Arabia for human rights violations. Saudi officials have responded by cutting all economic and diplomatic ties, withdrawing investments and stopping flights. One of the main issues for the Canadians is the arrest by Saudi authorities of two prominent women’s rights activists. Tweets by Canadian diplomats called on the kingdom to release the activists. Saudi Arabia arrested several women’s rights activists in weeks prior and following the lifting the ban on women’s driving.

As a scholar of gender politics in Middle Eastern societies, I argue that all this goes to show that the kingdom is extending limited reforms to women to represent itself as modern but is adamant on not opening space for more voices.

Women, nationalism and modernization

 

Source: Saudi women can drive, but are their voices being heard? : The Conversation

DWP figures provide fresh evidence to explain PIP claim rejections | DisabledGo News and Blog


New figures show that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants are questioning only a tiny proportion of the benefit assessment reports written by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.

Campaigners have been trying for months to secure evidence that would explain why such a high proportion of personal independence payment (PIP) claims that are taken to appeal are successful.

Figures from social security tribunals show the proportion of claimants who won their PIP appeals rose by seven percentage points in a year, from 64 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 71 per cent in the same period of 2017-18.

The new figures, secured by Disability News Service (DNS) through a freedom of information request, may help to explain why so many appeals are successful.

Some researchers have suggested that DWP decision-makers are accepting too many PIP assessment reports prepared by Atos and Capita without subjecting them to proper scrutiny, despite increasing evidence of incompetence and dishonesty by the Atos and Capita healthcare professionals who write them.

DNS has previously spoken to a DWP civil servant working on the PIP “frontline”, who has said that DWP case managers have strict targets for the number of PIP claims they need to process every day and are quizzed by their superiors if they miss their weekly targets.

He has said they are “instructed to act on the assessor’s report, given that they are the medical experts”.

The new figures, provided by DWP following the DNS freedom of information request, appear to confirm concerns that DWP decision-makers are letting many substandard and misleading reports slip through the net.

DNS had asked DWP how many of its decisions on PIP eligibility were made without any attempt to seek further advice or clarification from Atos and Capita, discuss or resolve problems with them, or even return the report to be completely rewritten.

 

Source: DWP figures provide fresh evidence to explain PIP claim rejections | DisabledGo News and Blog