Quebec Judge To Apologize For Ordering Woman To Remove Hijab In Court

“I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding,” the Judge said.

Quebec Court Judge Eliana Marengo, who had told Rania El-Alloul that her case would be heard on condition that her hijab be removed in February 2015, is ready to apologize for her order. The province’s judicial council stated that the judge will offer a letter of apology to El-Alloul which will be made public, in exchange for the dropping of disciplinary complaints launched against Marengo as a result of her comments. The news comes as a settlement agreement is finalized between the parties.

A five-year legal battle between Marengo and El-Alloul started when El-Alloul appeared in court in order to retrieve her impounded car.  “In my opinion, you are not suitably dressed,” Marengo told El-Alloul at the time. “Decorum is important. Hats and sunglasses, for example are not allowed. And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either.” 

Marengo continued, “I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.”

El-Alloul, who described the experience as humiliating, refused to remove her hijab. “I felt that I had to choose between my sincerely held beliefs and my fundamental right to be heard by a court on an application that was important to me,” she said.

After hiring renown Canadian human rights and constitutional lawyer Julius Grey, El-Alloul and Grey filed a motion to have the Quebec Superior Court issue a statement clarifying that religious attire is permitted in courts. In October 2018, after the case was appealed, Quebec’s Court of Appeal ruled that Marengo’s order for El-Alloul to remove her hijab was a violation of her fundamental rights. The decision stated that citizens who appear in front of the courts should be allowed to have access to justice while exhibiting their freedom of religious expression.

The appeal panel, composed of three judges, stated that courts are indeed spaces of religious neutrality, within limits. “This does not mean, however, that judges may rely on the neutrality of the courts alone as a justification for preventing litigants from accessing a courtroom simply because they are expressing sincerely held religious beliefs” the appeal panel stated.

Additionally, numerous complaints were filed with the Conseil de la magistrature, the body that hears complaints against judges within the province. A committee was formed to investigate Marengo’s conduct in 2016. Marengo attempted to halt the investigations by filing appeals both with the Court of Appeal, and later with the Supreme Court of Canada who refused to hear her case. The Court of Appeal stated that continuation of the investigation was necessary, as it is “the only possible avenue for an enlightened justice.”

READ MORE: Kansas City Gun Range Denies Muslim Woman Entry Because Of Her Hijab

Dozens Killed, Thousands Of Casualties From Explosion In Lebanon’s Capital Beirut

A massive explosion rocked the city of Beirut, killing at least 73, thousands left wounded, ripping apart the buildings throughout the city and flattening most of the port.

A huge explosion in a port warehouse district near the center of Beirut, killed at least 73 and injured over 3700 others, releasing shockwaves across the Lebanese capital in the evening hours of Tuesday, shattering windows, causing apartment balconies to collapse, and causing widespread damage to everything in between the shockwaves.

In the developing story, the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Reportedly, the warehouse situated in the port was loaded with highly explosive 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate which was on the way to Africa when they exploded, Lebanon General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim said.

Officials expect the death toll to rise sharply as emergency workers dig through rubble across the city to rescue people and remove the dead. It was the most powerful blast to hit the Lebanese capital in years, making the ground tremble.

 

Map made by Al Jazeera

 

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that those responsible for the explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in the Beirut port area would pay the price, and called for a day of mourning on Wednesday.

Countries like Iran, UK, Saudi Arabia, offered their support and solidarity with Lebanese people. France, Turkey and Qatar sent medical aid and field hospitals to support medical response.

This comes at a time where Lebanon is suffering from an economic crisis while battling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Thousands of Lebanese people reportedly lost their savings overnight while prices for basic goods have inflated. The country is also experiencing higher COVID-19 rates. 

This is a developing story, updates to follow;

In the meantime anyone who wants to help the Lebanese people suffering they can donate through the below mentioned links. As the country is going through a deep economical crisis, donating in US Dollars would be of great assistance.

Donate to Disaster Relief for Beirut Explosion 

Urgent Blood Needs 

Donate to the Lebanese Red Cross 

 

Muslim Woman Becomes Face Of UK’s National Healthcare System

Dr Farzana Hussain, a British Bangladeshi Muslim, has been recognized for her work as a General Practitioner (GP) in South London.

July 2020 marks 72 years of Britain’s free nationwide healthcare system, the NHS – and to celebrate the occasion, a Muslim doctor graces billboards up and down the country.

Dr Farzana Hussain, a British Bangladeshi Muslim, has been recognized for her work as a General Practitioner (GP) at a medical center in a deprived area of South London. The mother of two has, like medical staff worldwide, been on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Hussain is among twelve National Health Service staff who have been photographed especially for the anniversary by acclaimed British photographer Rankin, known for his portraits of Kate Moss, the Rolling Stones and even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

The NHS pictures can be seen across the country on billboards and in shopping centers, not to mention at the iconic Piccadilly Circus lights in central London – undoubtedly the most famous advertising spot in the UK.

Dr Hussain hasn’t let it go to her head. “It’s difficult to put into words how privileged I feel to be able to go to work every day and make a difference to people’s lives and to help battle this global pandemic.

Now more than ever, it’s important that we see the humanity that makes up our GP practices, community services and hospitals. Every member of staff has their own story, fears and hopes for the future. I think Rankin’s photography brings this out really well.”

You can read her full statement on the official NHS page.

This is a great achievement not just for the Muslim community, but also specifically Muslim women, the hijabi community, the Bengali community and the South Asian community. It is yet another proud moment for Muslims in the UK – earlier in the year a British key worker graced the cover of Vogue –  towards finally achieving the recognition British Muslims deserve. 

READ MORE: British Vogue’s Latest Cover Star Is A Black Hijabi Supermarket Assistant

Black Lives Matter Protests Aren’t Over, And They Won’t Be Anytime Soon

Media may have died down with covering protests, but they're still happening, and they're still relevant.

Black Lives Matter Protests Aren’t Over, And They Won’t Be Anytime Soon

Media may have died down with covering protests, but they’re still happening, and they’re still relevant.

By

Nawal Qadir
Photo of activist Alaa Massri protesting in Florida.

Following George Floyd’s murder in May, cities across America erupted in protests, calling for an end to a system that singles out and brutalizes Black people, indigenous people, and people of color. In the weeks following, these protests garnered multinational media attention, with major news networks constantly reporting on the “dangerous and destructive tactics” of many cities. 

 

 

As the protests continued week after week, however, they fell out of major network news. But even without the constant media attention, protesters are still going, and they’re getting more dangerous for protesters. 

In the recent weeks, videos emerged on social media of protesters in Los Angeles, CA being violently beaten by LAPD, namely one of a man in a wheelchair being thrown to the ground. These types of violent encounters have been shrouding these protests since the beginning, but they’ve increased exponentially since mass media’s attention has been turned in other directions. 

“The LAPD has been rebuked for the same tactics so many times before…that their continued use [of force] ‘indicates an intentional refusal to preserve the constitutional rights’ of protesters,” says a recent LA Times article that investigates the LAPD’s long history of brutality.

But the brutality faced by LA’s protesters pales in comparison to that of Portland, Oregon. 

Portland, like many other American cities, has been protesting every night since May 29, but two weeks ago marked the arrival of federal officers in the city. These officers, sent into the city by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on order of President Trump, have been dressed in camouflage and tactical gear, armed with tear gas, and arresting protesters nightly. 

Protesters have since reported, and recorded videos of, federal agents throwing protesters into unmarked vans, presumably arresting them. 

Portland’s mayor Ted Wheeler has said that the federal agents aren’t welcome in the city, and was recently tear-gassed alongside protesters in a rally Wednesday night. 

Much like Portland’s own mayor demonstrated, the people aren’t backing down. They’ve continued to take to the streets, night after night, with mother’s forming walls around protesting bodies and chanting the words “Feds stay clear. Moms are here.” 

These are just two examples of the continuing protests, but they’ve been happening all over the country – like New York City, who protested even in the middle of pouring rain. While it may seem pointless, given the lack of attention surrounding them, the continued protests despite the increasing danger towards protesters themselves is the people, very loudly, letting government officials know that they won’t stand for small bills of reformed action. People want systemic change and they won’t stop until they get, regardless of media attention.

READ MORE: Who Is Stealing From Whom? Contextualizing The Protests

Car Bomb Attack Kills At Least Five, Wounds 85 in Rebel-Held Syria’s Azaz

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack until as of now. 

Azaz, Syria – An explosive laden car blew up in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern town of Azaz on Sunday, killing at least 5 and injuring around 85 people, including women and children. The incident took place in the village of Siccu. Injured civilians, who were in critical condition, were taken to a hospital on the Turkish side of the border.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack until as of now. 

The Northwestern Syrian town of Azaz has been under the control of rebels backed by Turkey since the state got its control into Syria in 2016. And the YPG/PKK terror organization, which regularly attacks from Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij regions, often targets Jarabulus, Azaz and Afrin.

Attack in Afrin

Earlier on Sunday in another terror attack, 13 people, including children, were injured in Afrin, a northwestern town of Syria, which is controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters. Sunday’s attacks came as parliamentary elections took place in government-held parts of the war-torn country. As in previous elections in Syria, the vote could produce a rubber-stamp body loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents: The missions, Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

READ MORE: Jordanians Call For Change After So-Called Honor Killing Of Ahlam

Jordanians Call For Change After So-Called Honor Killing Of Ahlam

Ahlam was murdered by her father who shortly after, sat down and drank tea beside her body.

Trigger warning: violence, domestic violence

In Jordan, a woman named Ahlam was murdered by her father in what is recognized as an “honor killing.” The attacks began after a dispute unraveled between Ahlam and her father. Her father hit her with a brick and continued the harm as Ahlam attempted to escape. She managed to start running as she was screaming for help, but her father chased her. She passed away after multiple hits to her head. Neighbors tried intervening, however, they were allegedly stopped by Ahlam’s brothers. As her body laid on the ground, Ahlam’s father sipped back on a cup of tea and smoked a cigarette. 

Ahlam had been previously in jail on a charge for misdemeanour by her father who then paid for her bail a month later. Investigations have opened on a report that someone complained of a woman being assaulted. There had been notifications that she was facing abuse at home, and no one stepped in to address the violence. 

Jordanian law allows for criminal indictment reduction under reason of honor; this can be seen in the Jordanian Penal code, Articles 98 and 99. Therefore, the father could reduce his crime under reason of Ahlam bringing dishonor to the family. Many Jordanian women have gone on social media to share that Jordanian laws continue to silence women while using Ahlam’s story as a horrifying example.

 

Jordanians flooded Twitter with anger and sadness. However, there were also comments that supported the murder. Comments such as “If she did something that touches the family’s honor then she deserves it…” escalated the issue. The father is facing the charges at Grand Criminal Court in Amman after Ahlam’s story garnered attention in the media. 

A similar incident occurred in Jordan when a man had killed his 14-year-old daughter after she made a Facebook account in May 2020.

There is a lot of growth to be made in the Jordanian government to address issues for Women’s Rights. A petition was made and began circulating online calling for the end of Articles 98 and 99 which now has more than 35,000 signatures. The translation of the petition urges the abolition of articles 98 and 99 in the Jordanian law. The petition is also asking for the end of Article 52, which gives families the right to waive the right to life of their children.

READ MORE:  OP-ED: Another ‘Honor Killing’ In A Family

Man Arrested In Spain For Murder Of Aya Hachem After ‘Fleeing To Portugal’

Aya Hachem was shot and killed as she walked near Lidl Supermarket in Blackburn on May 17th.

Manchester Evening News reported that a 30-year-old man was arrested in Spain on suspicion of the murder of 19-year-old Aya Hachem on July 4.

The 30-year-old was arrested after a European Arrest Warrant was executed in the holiday resort of Fuengirola.

Prior to his arrest, the man first fled to Portugal using his brother’s passport, before hiding out on the Costa Del Sol with his girlfriend, Spanish police revealed.

Aya Hachem was shot and killed as she walked near Lidl Supermarket in Blackburn on May 17th.

The man is being held on suspicion of murder and the attempted murder of the man police believe was the target of the drive-by shooting that killed Hachem.

A spokesman for Spain’s National Police said on July 8 that, “Police have arrested a fugitive on foot of a European Arrest Warrant in Fuengirola.”

The spokesman added, “Further investigation led to the identification of the vehicle he was using, leading officers to trace the route he took through the South of Spain.”

The man is currently subject to the extradition process so he can be brought back to Lancashire and be charged with the offenses.

READ MORE: Two Men Charged With The Murder Of Aya Hachem

Kansas City Gun Range Denies Muslim Woman Entry Because Of Her Hijab

"Hats, caps, bandanas, or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward.” She was told by the range's manager that keeping her scarf would pose a safety risk.

A Kansas City area gun range is under fire for violating the civil rights of a local Muslim woman by not allowing her into the facility unless she removed her hijab earlier this year.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding the U.S. Department of Justice launch an investigation into the denial of services by Frontier Justice during an incident earlier this year at one of their gun ranges located at 800 NE Jones Industrial Dr in Lee Summit, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.

Rania Barakat shared her experience in a video conference on Facebook Live with CAIR this past Thursday. The incident, which took place on January 1, unfolded after an hour long wait on  a busy New Year’s Day out with her husband, who had used the range in the past with friends. When the couple approached the cashier to pay, they were told by staff that she must remove her hijab in order to use the facilities. 

Barakat stated that she’d shot at other gun ranges in the past without any issue. Frontier Justice employees cited the company’s dress code policy, which is listed on its website, “Hats, caps, bandanas, or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward.” She was told by the range’s manager that keeping her scarf would pose a safety risk. The couple left once it became clear they weren’t going to be let in.

Afterwards, Barakat said she went online to leave a review only to discover that other hijabis in her community had encountered a similar experience at the range, some she even knew personally. 

“The law demands equal access to public accommodations regardless of your race, color, religion and national origin,” said CAIR attorney Zanah Ghalawanji. “Frontier Justice has disregarded and violated the civil rights protections by actively excluding Muslim women who wear the hijab from their business.”

The company, whose website denotes its core values of “Faith, Family and Freedom,” has facilities in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. Their site also makes note of their involvement in Christian education, which leads one to believe they would be more sensitive to issues of religious expression. 

“To have this happen to me personally, it was very sad and, you know, frustrating,” Barakat said. “And I would never want anyone to go through what I went through.”

In Thursday’s conference, Moussa Elbayoumy, chairman of CAIR’s Kansas board, mentioned that the chapter had received other reports around the same time from other hijabis who were also told they had to remove their scarves in order to shoot at the same location. He stated that the range’s policy isn’t based on any legitimate safety concerns, and is deliberately meant to exclude Muslim women.

“Frontier Justice, you know, says they value faith, family and freedom,” Zanah Ghalawanji, a CAIR National attorney said in the conference. “That appears to be their motto, but, however, their actions tell us that they have shown otherwise.”

You can read CAIR’s letter to the Department of Justice in full here or donate to support Barakat’s legal defense via their official fundraiser.

READ MORE: Bangladeshi Tech CEO Fahim Saleh Found Dismembered In New York Apartment

Bangladeshi Tech CEO Fahim Saleh Found Dismembered In New York Apartment

Saleh was last seen on camera getting into the elevator in his apartment building accompanied by a man dressed in all black, who, according to police, is the suspected assailant.

New York, New York – Fahim Saleh, 33-year-old tech entrepreneur, venture capitalist and founder of Gokada and Pathao – ride sharing companies – was found dismembered in his New York apartment on July 14th.

The NYPD confirmed a man had been found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Saleh was last seen on camera footage on the evening of July 12th getting into the elevator in his apartment building accompanied by a man dressed in all black, who, according to police, is the suspected assailant. The elevator in Saleh’s building goes straight into his luxury condo, the source said.

When Saleh’s sister went to check on him, found his torso in an area next to the living room, the official said. Other parts of his body were found stuffed into individual bags in the apartment, the source said

Who was Fahim Saleh?

The 33-year old, son of Bangladeshi immigrants, was a tech savvy person who created his first company PrankDial.com while still in high school. He later went on to co-found a ride-sharing company Pathao, which is a popular service in Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2018 he helped found Nigerian motorbike taxi app Gokada. And very recently, he also founded a venture capital firm Adventure Capital which invested in ride-sharing start-ups in countries like Bangladesh and Colombia.

Saleh’s family confirmed his death in a statement.

“The headlines talk about a crime we still cannot fathom,” the statement said. “Fahim is more than what you are reading. He is so much more. His brilliant and innovative mind took everyone who was a part of his world on a journey and he made sure never to leave anyone behind.”

“There are no words or actions to provide any of us comfort except the capture of the person who exhibited nothing short of evil upon our loved one,” the statement continued.

“We need and urge the NYPD and other members of law enforcement to work diligently to get to the bottom of this horrific crime and bring justice for Fahim,” his family said.

Both of the companies were founded by Saleh. His Pathao co-founder Hussein M Elius paid tribute to the passionate tech-entrepreneur.

Saleh’s personal assistant 21-year-old Tyrese Devon Haspil was arrested Friday in connection to the death of the tech-entrepreneur. He allegedly owed Saleh tens of thousands of dollars and was on a repayment plan. 

Haspil was arrested Friday morning outside a building in the city’s SoHo neighborhood,  NYPD Detectives Chief Rodney Harrison said during a news briefing Friday. He is charged with second-degree murder and other charges. Haspil was Saleh’s executive assistant and “handled his finances and personal matters,” Harrison said. “It is also believed that he owed the victim a significant amount of money.”

Reportedly Saleh recently discovered that Haspil — who’d worked for him for five years — stole roughly $90,000 from him. After which he decided to fire Haspil and offer to set up a repayment plan. 

Police told the Times Haspil, dressed in a black three-piece suit, followed Saleh into the key-card secured elevator that led to his seventh-floor apartment and attacked him when the elevator stopped. He disabled Saleh with a taser, and stabbed him several times in the neck and torso.

The horrid killing shocked neighbors and the tech and venture capital worlds, where Fahim Saleh, a founding partner at Adventure Capital, cultivated a reputation as an energetic and creative businessman who specialized in direct investment in developing nations – with his ride-hailing apps in Nigeria and Bangladesh being worth more than hundreds of millions of dollars.

READ MORE: It Empowered Me To Fight Even More: Alaa Massri’s Charges Dropped But She Isn’t Backing Down

Salma Lakhani: Canada Appoints First Muslim Woman Lieutenant-Governor

Salma Lakhani is the first muslim woman to be appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Canada.

The Canadian Liberal government has named Salma Lakhani as the next lieutenant-governor of Alberta, making her the first ever Muslim to hold the position in Canadian history.

Lieutenant-governors are the highest ranking officers in each province. They carry out various official duties, including: swearing in the premier and cabinet, opening each session of the legislative assembly and signing bills into laws.

Ms. Lakhani has lived in Edmonton for more than 40 years and has long served as a community advocate focused on issues including education, health care, immigration, human rights and has “dedicated her life to helping people in need and those who faces obstacles to succeed in our society,” said the Prime Minister’s office in a news release.

Ms. Lakhani obtained an honors degree in clinical biochemistry from the University of Manchester. In 2005, she was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding achievements in the province and in 2012, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal honoring service to Canada. 

“Ms. Lakhani is devoted to supporting people in her community, from new immigrants and young people to women and families,” the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said in a written statement. “As Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, I know she will serve the people of her province and our country well, and continue to be a source of inspiration for all Canadians.”

READ MORE: Raffia Arshad Becomes The UK’s First Hijab-Wearing Judge