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

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

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

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…

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