Robert Spencer – Banned in the UK

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Robert Spencer is the Islamophobic founder of blog site Jihad Watch, described by Wikipedia as ‘one of the main homes of the counter jihad movement on the net’ but described by pretty much everybody else as a radical hate site promoting discrimination and prejudice toward Muslims.

Spencer has fostered an academic career off the back of Islamophobic hate. He is the author of several books, most with controversial titles like “Religion of Peace – Why Christianity is and Islam isn’t.” His books have been met with widespread criticism outside the echo chamber of far right fascist mentality and have been banned in several countries including Pakistan and Malaysia.

The Boston Globe described him as a man who ‘depicts Islam as an inherantly violent religion.’

Stanford University students recently protested Spencer’s appointment to speak at their University.

PayPal temporarily banned the Jihad Watch account (and are currently conducting a ‘thorough review’ to decide if it should be permanently banned.)

I asked Spencer if he wanted to make a comment on the article I was putting together and he told me that the Resisting Hate agenda of equality was enabling Jihad mass murder

In 2013 Spencer and his colleague Pamela Geller were refused entry to the UK on the basis that (then home secretary) Theresa May believed their speech would not be ‘conducive to the common good.’ This decision was upheld in the Court of Appeal who confirmed:  This was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit.

Some of the best information on Robert Spencer can be found on Loonwatch who regularly keep their readers updated with information about Spencer’s on and offline hate antics.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Why the Far Right are wrong about Sexual Assault Statistics

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This is probably the toughest and most hard hitting article I have ever or ever will write. But it needs to be written.

There is a lot of exposure within the media, not just over here in the UK, but also across the ocean in the USA regarding the inhuman crimes of rape, child grooming and sexual abuse.

There isn’t a word to justifiably describe how sickening these crimes are. When I hear about incidents that involve the abuse, harm and sexual exploitation of children it tests my blood pressure beyond measure. It gets me angry to the point where I’d actually like to collide my fist in the mouth of the vile disgusting specimens who prey on innocent children.

We all feel the same about it, it disgusts us all (and just writing about it is getting me wound up) But it is an issue that really needs to be spoken about. We can’t brush it under the carpet any longer and we cannot go on pretending crimes against children are not becoming an increasingly worrying problem in modern society.

I recognise there is paedophilia in every race and religion. I don’t view any religion or race as having a monopoly on paedophiles or rapists. Doing so would make me a racist and a xenophobic moron. Anyone who fails to see it occurs in all religions and races seriously needs to take their blinkers off.

I will be mentioning real names of convicted criminals for sexual assault crimes, alive or dead – they are being named to substantiate my points, but also to highlight the issue that the far right consistently and incorrectly claim Muslims are the main offenders when it comes to sexual assaults and paedophilia.

Firstly, let’s talk about US Serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. These murderers rose to notoriety for their crimes of sexually assaulting their victims and killing them. Both were white men of no religious persuasion. (Both eventually got their just desserts, when Bundy was electrocuted by the state and Gacy was sentenced to death by lethal injection.)

Then we turn to Fred and Rose West, killers on the UK side of the Atlantic. They raped and killed young females in their care, including members of their own family.

Again, both white and I couldn’t find any evidence to suggest that they were followers of any religion. (Fred West committed suicide in prison and Rose West is currently serving a life sentence for her crimes.)

I will also mention the Moors murderers (but I won’t mention their names. I believe their names should be lost in time. It is their victims who deserve to be remembered – not their killers.) Neither of the Moors murderers were religious. Both were Caucasian.

All these evil figures were white, all carried out sexual assaults and all killed their victims. Do we see the Far Right mentioning these creatures? No we do not. The far right only publicise sex crimes and crimes against children when the perpetrators are Asian, Muslim or Black. They only discuss these obscene acts when it serves to push their biased agenda toward minority groups.

Even respected British institution the BBC has not escaped evil in its midst. Jimmy Saville was a notorious paedophile who used his fame to molest his victims and used his fame to cover his tracks. It was said that people were aware of his crimes, but nothing could be proven at the time. There was also supposition that he was part of a paedophile ring which included others who were employed by the BBC at the time.

Even Westminster had a paedophile ring, which was covered up at the highest level during that time. The exposure in Westminster was the reason I have lost all trust for political parties. I do not support any party as a result of the cover up of Westminster.

Prior to me writing this article, I carried out extensive research to make sure this piece is as accurate as possible. Several sources of information who kindly assisted me have asked me to keep their names confidential. I will respect this.

One source of information informed me:

Many people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds have been caught. It was not all one sided, it’s very clear it [child abuse] is happening in every ethnic background. There isn’t an ethnic group where more child groomers have been caught than any other. Nor has there been a huge statistic for a person or persons, who identifies as religious being caught for child grooming.”

I have searched through Government statistics, which are available publicly, and found that the highest number of prisoners serving time for sexual assault are white prisoners. With Asian prisoners making up a small number of the prisoners serving time for sexual assaults.

I have seen very few people on the far right refer to or quote these statistics. The truth is convieniently forgotten in favour of pushing a hate agenda to claim that the majority of sex crimes and cases of child abuse are the fault of Muslims or ethnic minority groups.

The statistics I have seen (publicly accessible information) show it is white prisoners who make up the highest number of convicted sexual offenders. These statistics do not take into account religion so it would be wrong to make assumptions based on the primary faith of the offenders. However the statistics do take into account ethnic groups, gender and type of offense so they help to establish a picture that contradicts the far right claims that the majority of child abuse is conducted by ‘Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs’

I would like to share three personal accounts – people I have known personally – who have been convicted for paedophilia related crimes. Three people I thoroughly despise as a result for what they did, three people I never want to see again. To protect their family and victims who are innocent, I will not be naming their names. But for peace of mind I will confirm that the first two are both behind bars and the third is banned from the teaching profession.

Person A: This man was a white male, a few years older than myself. We both went to the same school and lived in the same street. At the time, we were friends. We went over each other’s houses and played video games together. He was not a religious person and he didn’t have any personal religious beliefs.

He had an older brother and a younger brother. During my later years in school, I found out this person who I saw as a friend was… raping their youngest brother. It horrified me when I found out, I was disgusted I was friends with something so evil. I had never suspected that this person, whom I saw as a friend, would be capable of something as atrocious as this crime they were finally convicted for. They didn’t meet the profile of someone I would ever have suspected of being a paedophile.

As soon as I found out what they did to their youngest brother, I never wanted to see that person again. I never even acknowledged their existence until now.  As soon as I found out what they did – they lost the right to be my friend.

Last I heard, the youngest brother was taken into care as a result of what their brother done to them. No doubt scarred for life by the trauma of the abuse he suffered.

Person B: This person I was never friends with. I just knew who she was. This one was so sickening I refused to believe it at first. This person was a scruffy cow with a face like a ferret. A benefit scrounger (as opposed to a genuine benefit claimant) who was simply too lazy to work.

She was convicted of child abuse. The worst of it being that her abuse was toward her own biological children. From what I read in the papers, she and her boyfriend were involved in making indecent images. The images involved were all Category A – the most serious category.

Person C: This person was my Science teacher in school. An individual in a position of trust and authority. They were caught having an inappropriate relationship with another student. They abused their position of trust to prey on a person of school age. Legal age or not, the teacher had a responsibility to ensure no kind of relationship should happen. They had a duty of care. In my eyes and the eyes of the law the teacher was nothing more than a sex offender. They lost their job and were banned from teaching as a result.

All three cases I have described included white people who were not of a religious character. Sexual assault and child grooming is happening in every religion and race. The far right won’t acknowledge this, but I sure as hell will.

If the far right want to try combat child grooming then fair enough, we need to recognise it is a problem and we need to do everything we can to combat it. I support this. What I do not support is the refusal to believe sexual abuse is a universal problem and not one related to a specific group or community.

The far right obsession with using sexual abuse to besmirch and smear the faith of Islam is exploiting innocent victims to further religious hatred and intolerance. Underpinning this is racism – the far right deny they are racists but their preoccupation with the crimes of young Asian men clearly indicates that this is a race issue.

Islam bears the brunt of most of the far right prejudice. But all the research I have done shows the far right are wrong about their claims saying Islam promotes rape and paedophilia. They take isolated verses from the Qur’an out of context to build up a disjointed argument but fail to take into account the most important source of reference they have access to – Muslims themselves. I have never met a practising Muslim who believes sex crime is endorsed by his/her faith.

The curve ball often thrown to those who point to the incidents of child abuse within Islam is the number of Catholic priests who have hit the headlines for their abuse of young boys. From 2001-2010, the Holy See (governing body of the Catholic church) had allegations which involved around 3,000 priests suspected of child sex abuse, the youngest children supposedly being only three years old. It is as ridiculous to use this example to suggest Christianity endorses sex crime as it is to point to the Rotherham and Rochdale grooming gangs as ‘evidence’ that Islam endorses sex crimes.

We cannot use the acts of the minority to make generalisations about the beliefs of the majority.

The truth is, rape, paedophilia, sex crimes are happening in all religions and ethnic groups. It happens to men, women and children. Equally Men, women and even children can be guilty of these crimes themselves. Until the far right accept sex crimes are not the responsibility of one group but every group we will never be able to effectively track and tackle such sickening crimes.

If there any abuse victims out there reading this, I hope you find the strength and courage to overcome the terrible things that have happened to you. Never be ashamed for what happened, if anyone tries to say it’s your fault – they’re wrong. You didn’t ask for it to happen, you didn’t deserve it and I hope you get the closure you need to overcome what happened and put it behind you. If you need support or help, there are organisations out there who devote their time to help you. I have linked some key support groups below.

Don’t be a victim and please don’t suffer in silence.

Support Links

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/

https://mind.org.uk/

http://thesurvivorstrust.org/

 

 

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The Army Made Me A Muslim

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Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you.

This is the story of how I, a British Army soldier, became a Muslim.

It was set in motion when I joined the Army in 2005. At the time, even in training, they pushed us to hate Muslims and Arabs, they fed us lies. Me being curious I looked into it. I found what they were saying to be lies, but they pushed hard on “ragheads should die”, “they are dirty” etc etc. Anyway, I was deployed to Iraq in May 2006, I was only just 18. It was tough. There was much mistreatment of locals, which, regardless of faith, was wrong.

It came to a head for me in July 2006, after a three day long battle in which we came close to being overrun and captured by insurgents. We managed to drive them back. We also captured one insurgent, a local man named Hakim. Being youngest I was tasked with guarding him. I cuffed him and sat him in a building and saw a man in fear. I got our interpreter and told him not to worry.

I asked him about family and just tried to relax him. I knew we would hand him over to the Iraqi forces and he’d be released after a week. I asked why he was fighting. He explained that it’s more complicated than we westerners believe. Some of the people didn’t want to fight, but if you didn’t you were risking your and your family’s lives.

About an hour later my platoon sergeant came storming in. He pointed his rifle at the prisoner, saying the raghead should die, he could’ve killed us. I could see he was serious. An argument ensued, me saying basically “he’s just a guy leave him be, do your job”. The Sergeant threatened me with charges. He then raised his rifle, getting ready to shoot Hakim, and at that point I fired a shot through the roof and said “Stop or I will shoot you. He is a prisoner, a human being, fuck off out of here!”. Well this just made me the ‘chogi lover’ for the next 3 months. Prisoners were mistreated, beaten and tormented. If you defended them you then were a marked man. I was on guard a lot, first into buildings in a raid, first man in a patrol, all for protecting a man. Senior officers said I did the correct thing but I must understand that it has consequences. When I enlisted I swore an oath to uphold the laws of the crown and international treaties. My allegiance was to the Queen, not the government. I took that oath seriously then, as I do now.

My father was a soldier too, and fought in the Aden emergency in 1967. Before I went he gave me this advice which I still use today.

“Remember son, the man shooting at you is shooting because he has been taught something from birth. If he only knows one side you can’t blame him for shooting at you. It’s his belief, we don’t agree but that doesn’t make him a bad man. He has his orders like you do. We are told we are right and we never question it, they do the same so we can’t criticise. When they stop shooting you stop, because at the end of the day he’s a son of someone, if you can get away with not injuring him do it.”

My dad is very old fashioned, believes in honesty and honour. You capture someone you show them you don’t want to hurt them. But no, they battered and demoralised them, and wondered why they hated us.

Unfortunately something happened in Iraq that caused me to have a breakdown and I was discharged from the Army in 2007. We were on patrol in a Warrior armoured personnel carrier. The driver stopped as he saw wires coming out of some rubble. At this time it was always my job to check due to my actions. My friend had had enough of my punishment, which he saw as unfair, and he told me “No, its fine, I’ll go it’s probably nothing as usual”, so he opened the door and climbed out. I followed and covered him then bang he just disappeared into nothing. I was blown against the Warrior, it tipped over. I woke up in an ambulance. Two soldiers died by that roadside bomb, one of them should have been me, but my friend died instead.

Back home I’d been reading about Palestine and could see the injustice, so I booked a flight to Jordan. I travelled to Palestine with no plan, i just wanted to help. I was still Christian at this point. I ended up staying with locals helping rebuild homes or connecting water back up. I saw how the Israeli Defence Force treated the Palestinians. It just can’t be described.

By 2009 I was back in UK, but no longer drank or ate pork. However I live in a very remote, rural area and there was no mosque at this time. I didn’t know who to talk to so I just carried on with life. I’d read about Islam and the Qur’and it just helped me be at peace. In 2016 an advert appeared in my local paper about an open doors day at a mosque in a nearby town. I literally drove to the mosque and went in and introduced myself. For 3 months they educated me, made sure i was certain and in October 2016 I took my Shahada.

This is a short version of a very long story, but basically the British Army’s instilling of hatred of Islam and Arabs led me to question it. It makes me wonder why others don’t. Because of it they led me to Islam, and I thank them for it, but technically it should never have happened.

 

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Sikh Youth UK

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Fringe Sikh nationalist organisation Sikh Youth UK came to prominence in 2015 in Birmingham, following the demise of the EDL’s Sikh Division. Campaigning against mixed marriages in Gurdwaras, SYUK were actively promoted via the EDL’s Sikh Division’s Official Facebook page.

Sharing the same hardline prejudice against Islam and Muslims as the EDL Sikh Division, Sikh Youth UK began to campaign against supposed targeting of Sikh teenagers by predatory Muslim-background CSE gangs. To promote this biased agenda alt-right film maker Holly Henderson produced a controversial anti-Muslim video with a hate inciting vigilante narrative entitled “Misused Trust”. This video, was endorsed by SYUK but condemned by the highly respected Sikh anti-racism group Sikhs Against The EDL who believed the video responsible for further damaging relations between community groups.

Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley Lennon) returned to far right politics after being released from jail and linked up with far right Rebel Media to promote Holly’s bigoted video. Robinson exploited the Sikh community’s lack of awareness as to the true and extreme nature of Sikh Youth UK and played on the stereotype of friction between Muslims and Sikhs to encourage individuals to enter Gurdwaras to preach hatred and intolerance against Muslims. These actions of hate speech were denounced by  Sikhs Against The EDL who believe that invoking prejudice goes against the universal tenets of the faith.

This article offers more insight into the worrying attitudes of the Sikh Youth UK.

To be clear, Resisting Hate fully support both Sikh and Muslim communities. It is extremist organisations like SYUK we oppose.

 

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Veiling The Face – The Right To The Choice

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The chosen attire of a small minority of Muslim ladies has been in the news a lot this week, mainly because (before crashing and burning in the local council elections) the UKIP party made the abolition of the burka (full face and body cover) and niqab (the face veil) a key objective in their manifesto.

Leaving aside the fact that with only a month to go until the General Election most of us would prefer to see an agenda with items of more wide spread relevance than ladies’ clothing being raised by our political parties, the discussion around Muslim ladies’ dress has been given extensive press coverage which has led to a lot of discussion in public forums and social media.

A lot of the discussion has rehashed old ground – with the usual objections to the covering of the face being trotted out, sometimes with good intent, sometimes with an underlying agenda of Islamophobia. It is worth considering the merit of some of these objections in detail when considering why the face veil continues to provoke such strong debate.

Integration

Denigrators of the niqab claim that covering the face displays an unwillingness to integrate with the wider community. The veil is perceived to be a barrier that prevents social interaction.

It is my view that a barrier is only a barrier if people allow it to become one. I have lived and worked in communities where we have all, Muslims and non Muslims alike, chosen not to let the fact that some women wear the niqab be a barrier to our interactions and communication. By welcoming engagement with ladies who choose to cover, in exactly the same way we would interact with any other member of the community, the face veil presented no obstacle to friendly interaction and community integration.

Female subjugation

For some the face veil represents the subjugation of women and is seen as a barrier to female rights and freedoms.

If the face veil was a mandatory code of dress imposed by men on women then I would agree. But what the critics fail to take account of is the fact that (in the main – I am not denying there are some exceptions of coercion) covering the face is a choice made by women for themselves.

It is a clear case of double standards if we fight for the rights of women but then try to deny women those rights when they choose to exercise them. Anybody who is really serious about standing up for the rights of women should be equally as vehement toward defending their rights to the burka as they would be the bikini. Those who base their objection to the face veil on the argument that women cannot think for themselves and are doing the bidding of men who impose the veil upon them are actually insulting women and doing women’s rights no favours at all.

We have moved a long way from the ankle flashing scandals of Victorian times as we have become more enlightened and comfortable with the natural state of the human body.  It is very positive that women no longer feel they must cover themselves to meet the expectations of society. But equally we must guard against stigmatising women who do choose to cover themselves. We cannot congratulate ourselves on our liberal attitudes toward how women choose to dress if we are still going to judge them if they make a choice we don’t agree with.

Security

I think it is important to be clear that people who worry about the security implications of face covering garments are not necessarily implying Muslim ladies as a collective are of criminal mind but rather that an individual of any faith, colour or gender could use the concealing garments to disguise their identity and break the law.

However this argument could apply to many different articles of clothing, none of which are receiving the relentlessly negative publicity that niqab wearing ladies have been exposed to. The balaclava argument is a bit trite as is the beekeeper argument (we are unlikely to see these on the bus or tube) but a lot of people do wear hoodies and neck scarves pulled up to cover their faces and these pose exactly the same security threat (or non-security threat, depending on your view) as the niqab. This also raises the question as to why it is always religious dress that attracts censure?

Against British Values

Some individuals claim they find the covering of the face offensive and that they believe it to be against British values.

I am British and yet I have no idea what traditional British values the face veil is supposed to be offending.  For me, being British means being inclusive and embracing all views, cultures and ways of life. I can think of nothing more British than allowing an individual to go about his/her business without comment or judgement. It is prejudice, not the face veil that goes against true British values.

The face veil may not be what you choose to wear. It isn’t what I choose to wear. But we live in a free society where people are free to make choices for themselves. Once we start believing we have the right to dictate to women we undermine the efforts of every woman who has ever fought for those hard won rights we enjoy today. You may not always like the choices people make but, if you enjoy living in that free society, you need to defend their right to make them.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Robinson and Mcloughlan’s ‘Quran’

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If you wanted to read a layman’s guide to the Quran chances are you would expect that guide to be written by a knowledgable Muslim scholar or Imam, somebody with a good understanding and personal experience of the faith.

You would perhaps be as sceptical as we are to hear of a book entitled ‘Muhammad’s Koran’ written not by a practising Muslim but by a duo of non Islam practising individuals, known publicly for their Islamophobic views.  The publicity claim that with this book you can “understand the Quran in minutes not months,” does nothing to enhance the credibility of this dubious piece.

Peter McCloughlin is the author of “Easy Meat.” The intro to his book on Amazon reads:  Peter McLoughlin spent years believing the Leftist narrative, namely it was ‘a racist myth’ that organised Muslim groups in Britain and the Netherlands (‘grooming gangs’) were luring white schoolgirls into a life of prostitution. This sets the tone for what is essentially a long, self indulgent whine about Muslims in the UK.

We thought this review summed it up the best:

Tommy Robinson, ex leader of the EDL has been written about by us here and here. He has been arrested on numerous occasions for ‘threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour’ (and other crimes including mortgage fraud) and his association with Pegida UK is indicative of his personal antipathy toward the religion of Islam.

If ever two wannabe authors were more likely to bungle a discussion on the Quran it is these two.

We can’t work out from the Amazon site if this book has actually been released or not. It only has 2 reviews (one of which acknowledges they haven’t actually read the book) but the site says it is out of print and we couldn’t find an option to buy for the kindle (not that we actually planned to buy this xenophobic bilge lol). However should you come across it be warned, this will be Robinson and McCloughlin’s usual biased Muslim hating rubbish and about as academic as an Enid Blyton book.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Halal and Kosher – Facts not Prejudice

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Not being a reader of the Daily Mail their article on the subject of Halal slaughter published on the 24 October would have normally gone unnoticed. However when it was brought to my attention on Twitter I decided to have a closer look at some of the claims made by the Mail and explore some of the facts behind the hate rhetoric that the paper publishes in place of news.

In researching this article I didn’t want to base my viewpoint solely on the usual academic publications and news articles so I have spent the last two days watching actual abattoir footage demonstrating the three different techniques of pre stun slaughter, no stun slaughter and post stun slaughter. This isn’t an ivory tower approach, I have watched these animals being killed for myself.

The terms Halal and Kosher in this context (Halal for Muslims, Kosher for Jews) relate to food which is permissible to eat under the two religions. These do not exclusively relate to the slaughter methods, there are many other dietary laws involved such as the type of animal that can be consumed, how the meat is served/stored and even the diet of the animal itself. However for the purpose of this article it is the slaughter methods I am concerned with.

The two primary requirements of Halal and Kosher slaughter involve the fact that the slaughter must be performed by somebody of the religious faith and that the animal be killed by a single slit to the throat with the body completely drained of blood afterwards. This is usually achieved by the hanging of the carcass so the blood naturally drains away from the animal. Both faiths emphasise the importance of minimising suffering to the animal and advocate the use of a sharp non serrated blade so the animal is killed quickly due to deep severing of the primary arteries. In both Halal and Kosher slaughter there is a religious observation involved in the ritual. Halal slaughter requires that the name of God be spoken before the individual animal is killed and Kosher slaughter requires a blessing to be performed before each session of slaughter takes place.

There is a common sense approach to the religious requirements of both faiths. A carcass that is not properly drained of blood will quickly spoil. Also, historically, the requirement to slit the throat of the animal would have been one of the quickest methods of despatch available to Muslims and Jews and so would have fit with the humanitarian aspects of both faiths. Incidentally the dietary laws in general have many common sense elements. Neither Muslims nor Jews eat the flesh of the pig which in the hot climate of the pre refrigeration era in the Middle East would have been very sensible indeed as pork does not store well and carries a much higher risk of food poisoning.

The Mail headline as usual makes a claim without bothering to explain the actual facts. The statement “The animal must be alive when its throat is cut and be allowed to bleed out” is misleading as it makes no reference to the time spans involved. It takes on average between seven and thirty seconds for a sheep to lose consciousness after having its throat slit. The bleeding out process is completed while the animal is unconscious and the animal will go from unconsciousness to death with no suffering involved.

The “unnecessary agony” is also an example of rhetoric rather than fact. Many animals are stunned with electricity prior to slaughter so are rendered insensible before the throat is cut. The Mail tries to play down pre stun slaughter by stating “In a number of abattoirs the animals are not stunned over fears it is not permissible.” However, statistically in the UK, 88% of the Halal food chain is killed by pre stun methods. (Check the actual Food Standards Agency figures, not what the Mail tells you the FSA statistics are).

Interestingly enough it is Kosher slaughter (which the Mail makes notably little reference to except as a definition in a side paragraph) that does not permit the pre stun prior to the kill. One senses the ever present anti Muslim Daily Mail agenda at work here.

The Mail makes reference to both non stun and pre stun slaughter but fails to mention the third method of slaughter – post stun – or the fact that this method has gained popularity in recent years. This method involves an electric shock being administered to the animal immediately after the throat has been cut. This is acceptable to most Muslims as the objective that the animal be conscious when slaughtered is met. It is also, unlike pre stun slaughter, accepted in the Jewish faith. The post stun method means that the animal is not even aware of pain for the seconds it takes to lose consciousness. To my mind this increasingly popular method of slaughter also shows that both the Muslim and the Jewish religion are willing to look for new ways to be compliant with their faith while also considering the important point of animal welfare.

I am personally committed to the idea that animals should be killed in a humane manner. As I said at the beginning of this article I made the effort to watch significant amounts of footage across all three slaughter methods to determine in my own mind if I believed Halal and Kosher slaughter methods humane or not. The conclusion I reached was that all three methods (pre, post and non stun) when administered correctly by licensed professionals in authorised premises were to my mind acceptable in the sense that unnecessary suffering was not experienced by the animals. The myths I had heard about – in particular the violent death throes of the animals after the throat is cut – were simply that, myths. The footage I saw of the animals writhing around in what admittedly does look like pain is actually down to post death muscle movement. Even with no stun slaughter the animal is dead and beyond pain within seconds.

I find it suspicious that these two religions should receive such bad press for their religious requirements and strongly suspect this is more to do with the attitude of the right wing media toward the faiths themselves than it is a genuine interest in animal welfare. What my research into abattoirs did show me is that there are still a large number (and I’m talking secular abattoirs now as well as ones with a religious focus) where animal welfare is not a priority and where abuse and neglect still go on. This should be the real expose, not the fact that some animals are slaughtered using what I personally witnessed to be humane Halal and Kosher methods of slaughter.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Get Your Burkinis On Ladies!

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For any individual who hasn’t spent the last week and a half holidaying in a cave, the issue of France and the burkini ban will have turned up at some point in their newspaper or social media feed. The headline image of four armed French policemen forcing a Muslim lady to remove layers of clothing has raised eyebrows and debates all over the world.

After a fraught few days of controversy the French state council has finally ruled that mayors of individual regions do not have the authority to restrict civil liberties without justifiable cause.

It is surprising that mayors in these coastal French towns ever thought they did have the authority to impose such a dictatorial ban. It was an edict with obvious connotations of religious discrimination and far reaching consequences that went beyond the victimisation of the French Muslim communities to encroach on the rights of the female gender as a whole.

Essentially regions of France were saying that it is the job of the state to police what women choose to wear. It is interesting to notice that no such directives were issued on male dress. It is also ironic in that while attempting to “prevent repression of women” the French were doing precisely that and taking away the choices and freedom of women. This is blatant sexism.

As a garment in itself the burkini is pretty innocuous. It is best described as a slightly more stylised wet suit – or swim wear with a greater body coverage than more conventional swim suits. It is precisely this modesty that seemed to raise the blood pressure of the French mayors. Women in their eyes should evidently be uncovering more of their bodies on the beach. This begs the question whether French mayors see women as individuals and decision makers in their own right or whether they seek to objectify them as commodities for sexual gratification.
The rationale for the ban seemed to boil down to two key points:

  1. The burkini is an affront against French secularism.
  2. The burkini threatens social tensions within communities.

If the burkini ban is to be justified by the concept of enforced secularism then I would strongly question why only the chosen dress of Muslim ladies was being held to account. Surely Christian crosses, Sikh turbans and Jewish Stars of David are equally prominent symbols of a chosen faith? By targeting one faith community and one faith community alone the French were being deliberately discriminatory and divisive. The intention was obvious, they wished to persecute Muslims.

The French attempted to justify the bias toward banning the burkini by making oblique references to terrorism. To the best extent of my knowledge (and I run an anti hate group, I do a fair bit of reading in this area) not one single act of terrorism has been committed by an individual wearing a burkini. Very few acts of terrorism have been carried out by females. It is tenuous in the extreme to try and link a lady’s swimming costume to a terrorist agenda.

The claim that banning the burkini will reduce social tension is equally laughable. Divide a community and you get a divided community. The ban reinforced the dangerous misconception that the Muslim in the street is associated with hate groups like ISIS. This increases social tension between Muslims and non Muslims and does nothing to promote the value of integration between different faith communities. Divisive tactics like this create a climate of fear and mistrust and actually worsen the social tensions that the ban was (supposedly) meant to reduce.

As to why the ban was put into force in the first place I would suggest that it was a poorly executed spin attempt to assure the public that steps are being taken against terrorism. It is far easier (and more enjoyable) for the French police to stroll the beaches asking ladies to remove their clothing than it is to actually get on with the more challenging job of tackling extremist terrorist groups. This was a sop to the public and an insult to those who expect the law to be using its full resources toward promoting the safety of the public.

The ban, in my opinion at least, was also intended to mobilise the far right voters. It was obvious that such targeted discrimination would achieve mass publicity and that this very public furore could then be used to promote the far right agenda of individual politicians. Only days after #burkinigate broke Nicolas Sarkozy went on record saying that if elected he would support a national ban of the burkini across France (he has actually gone even further since and stated he would also ban the hijab from French universities).

The results of the ban, had France not finally come to its senses, could have been extremely far reaching. The growing civil unrest aside, it would have had local implications for families with some mothers unable to visit the beach to supervise their children, safety and security issues on the beaches and an emerging generation of children confused and upset about why their mothers are being treated differently to others.
Once a legal system is allowed to legislate this kind of petty prohibition it sets a precedent for removing even more human rights. It is only a short step from “You must not wear” to “You must wear,” and before we know it we are back in Nazi Germany. This may have started as a Muslim lady issue but it did not end as one. Every single human being, regardless of gender, race or religion has a personal vested interest in standing up to bureaucrats who want to destroy the rights of the people.

Because if you let them take somebody else’s rights away, you can bet your bottom dollar they will come for yours next.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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