China Forces Birth Control On Uyghur Women To Suppress Muslim Population, Says New Report

China had initially denied the existence of the detention camps before justifying them as a “necessary measure against terrorism.”

Written by Wali Ahmed & Nawal Qadir

China has allegedly been forcefully subjecting Uyghur women to various birth control methods in an attempt to reduce and eliminate the minority population, according to a report by China specialist Adrian Zenz.  The news comes as Uyghurs continue to be detained in concentration camps in Xinjiang. It is believed that approximately one million Uyghur people, as well as other minority groups, are being held in what China refers to as “re-education” camps.  

China has responded by calling it “fake news,” stating that the allegations are “baseless.” However, China had initially denied the existence of the detention camps before justifying them as a “necessary measure against terrorism.”

Zenz’s report states that since 2016, reproductive autonomy and its associated human rights have continuously been interfered with in Xinjiang. Uyghur women who refuse to abort pregnancies that exceed the quota of two children are threatened to be forced into internment camps. It additionally states that women with fewer than two children were forced to have sterilization surgeries or take intra-uterine devices (IUDs). Formerly detained individuals also say that they were given injections to halt their periods.

However, the Han Chinese population are reportedly spared the various birth control measures forced on Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities.

 

READ MORE: Trump Signs Bill Rebuking China’s Treatment Of Uyghur Muslims

 

An investigation by AP News has found that the humanitarian violations are far more widespread and systemic than previously thought.  The investigation shows that the current treatment of Uyghur Muslims in these camps could amount to “demographic genocide,” meaning that China could successfully and covertly eradicate the Uyghur population in just a few generations.  “This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uyghurs,” Zenz said. “Overall, it is likely that Xinjiang authorities are engaging in the mass sterilization of women with three or more children.”

Joanne Smith Finley, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at Newcastle University goes further, saying ““It’s genocide, full stop.” “It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide – but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide.”

Adrian Zenz’s data suggests that the natural population growth in predominantly Uyghur regions  has fallen by more than 60% between 2015 and 2018, a drop which he describes as “unprecedented” and “ruthless.”

“These findings provide the strongest evidence yet that Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang meet one of the genocide criteria cited in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” says Zenz in his report.

One former Uyghur detainee, Zumret Dawut, was forcibly sterilized along with 200 others. Dawut was put into an internment camp for two months for holding an American visa. She had later returned home but was placed under house arrest, was forced to have gynaecological exams on a monthly basis, and was threatened to be placed in a camp again should she not comply.

“They want to eliminate us, but they can’t kill all of us,” she said. “They’re doing it step by step with policies such as sterilization, imprisonment, separating men and women and making them work as forced laborers.” 

Forced sterilization isn’t a new trend for China, which for a long time had a one-child-per-household policy. However, in recent years, and especially under President Xi Jinping, the sterilization programs have been concentrated in the Uyghur minority areas, turning the countryside region of Xinjiang from one of the fastest growing populations in China to the slowest in just a few years. 

 

The news of forced birth control methods come as an addition to the internment and forced labour in Uyghur detention camps, as well as the separation of Uyghur children from their parents in order to indoctrinate them, practices that have been widely criticized by human rights organizations around the world, and which China continues to deny or defend.

 

Israel Expected To Move Forward With Annexation Plans, Leaving Palestinians Hopeless

Israel plans to annex Palestinian territory as part of its 'peace plan', starting July 1st.

Israel’s expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and subsequent occupation of their land has been an ongoing tragedy since at least 1948. Now with the latest developments in Israel’s policy of expansion and occupation, this historic land is set to  become even more divided. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to bring new annexation proposals of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea before the cabinet from 1 July.

So, what is annexation?

Annexation describes when one state unilaterally (without permission of the other) incorporates  neighboring territory from another state into its borders. Annexation is usually considered illegal according to international law.

No surprise, Prime Minister Netanyahu made things starkly clear, when on May 28 2020  he explained that if his government goes ahead with unilateral annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, thousands of Palestinian residents would be granted neither citizenship nor equal rights. 

The occupied Palestinian territories have been under Israeli military control since 1967, making it the longest ongoing occupation in modern history. The segmented territories include Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Gaza Strip is a small coastal area bordering Egypt to the south, and the West Bank is the kidney bean-shaped area that lies west of the banks of the Jordan River, from where it gets its name. A total of 5 million people occupy these areas.

 

Photo - Al Jazeera

 

The Illegal Israeli Settlements:

Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built on Palestinian land. There are between 600,000 – 750,000 Israeli settlers living in at least 250 settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem; almost half of these settlements are not officially recognized by the state but have been established regardless

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to the area it occupies.

In 2019, the Trump administration declared that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land were “not necessarily illegal,” a substantial break from decades of US foreign policy.

 

Photo - Al Jazeera

 

The latest annexation plans to be confirmed by the Israeli prime minister would pose a serious threat to the Palestinians. The annexation of the Jordan Valley would completely surround the Palestinians with Israeli borders.  Currently, Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley receive 18 times more water on average than Palestinian residents in the West Bank; most Palestinian farmers are not connected to the water grid and have to rely on buying water from tankers. Annexation would mean that Palestinians would be physically cut off from the Jordan River, forcing Palestinians to be without a vital water source. This annexation would also pave the way for more settlements to be built; currently, any new  construction in the West Bank requires the approval of Israel’s defense minister and prime minister which can take months or even years. Following annexation, Israel would consider the Jordan Valley part of its territory and so any construction would become a domestic matter and wouldn’t require such approval.  

 

Photo - Al Jazeera

 

Palestinian views on this annexation plans:

The Palestinian leadership, along with almost 50 experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, say that annexation would formalize a system of “apartheid” in the West Bank – two peoples ruled by one state in the same space with unequal rights. Now, in a bid to increase international pressure to avert annexation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian Authority is no longer bound by agreements with Israel and the US, including on security. Some also fear that suspension of such agreements, if fully delivered, could result in  a collapse of the PA and potentially lead to chaos in the West Bank. Amid the bitter divisions in Palestinian politics, the militant group Hamas – the main rival of President Abbas’ Fatah movement – could try to capitalize and is warning of a confrontation with Israel. Abbas said annexation would amount to the “destruction” of a future Palestinian state, and suggests accepting current plans make the PA “a bunch of traitors – that we will not be.”

Annexation will make things worse: short-term risks include the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, a crisis in Israel’s relations with Jordan and Egypt with its de facto allies in the Gulf, and, above all, a resurgence of violence that could make the last intifada look mild. It will also destabilize an already volatile region, offering rich opportunities for Iran and Hezbollah, the Islamist militant party in Lebanon, to further exploit and destabilize the region.

And as usual the Palestinian people will suffer directly. Annexation will lead to massive expropriation – the taking of private property by the state – automatic in some cases, of Palestinian land and property, the subsequent expulsion of individuals, families and entire communities from the annexed territories, in addition to the above listed socio-political threats. And the situation in blockaded Gaza, home to two million Palestinians, will undoubtedly worsen.

If annexation of any territory goes ahead it will flagrantly breach international law and countless UN resolutions, and  cannot be ignored. Israel should and must face sanctions. Worst of all,  it will signal the failure of what for decades has been rightly seen as the only possible solution to the world’s most divisive conflict – two sovereign states for the two peoples who inhabit the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river. And that suggests a future without hope for the Palestinians.

READ MORE: Israeli Forces Kill Young Palestinian Man At A Checkpoint In Occupied West Bank

What The Heck Is Going On With Lindsay Lohan?

The Mean Girls star has been getting herself into some interesting situations.

Iconic celebrity and actress Lindsay Lohan has recently been popping up in the world of Muslim news for a strange array of interactions. From ghosting the crew of Ramy in the middle of filming season two, and supposedly dating the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Lohan has been getting herself into some interesting situations.

It’s no surprise that Lohan’s name has been circulating around the Muslim community. Back in 2017, she began making comments about converting to Islam, and since then, multiple news outlets have been keeping tabs on her, including Emirates Woman and Step Feed. Even celebrities have been observing her strange behavior, with Russell Brand making public statements about Lohan’s religious affiliations.

With all of these questions surrounding her commitment to Islam, Comedian Ramy Youssef was looking forward to casting Lohan in the much anticipated second season of his show. After ghosting him, the role was handed to Mia Khalifa.

In an interview with E! News, Youssef explained his experience of contacting Lohan, saying, “We had an idea that it wasn’t just her, but we were interested in this idea of people that you don’t really think are Muslim. We actually cast Lindsay Lohan, because Lindsay had this whole thing about converting to Islam. And so we had cast Lindsay and I talked to her and she was down, and then, you know, like Lindsay does, we just kind of stopped hearing from her.”

Ghosting Youssef is only the start, as it’s rumored that she even has a weird friendship with the infamous Crown Prince of Saudi, Mohammed bin Salman, otherwise known as MBS.

According to an exclusive by Page Six, Lohan and MBS have been getting very close, “flying her around in his jets and showering her with presents — including a gift-wrapped credit card.”

Not only has she developed a strong relationship with the Saudi prince, but she apparently also has ties to UAE royalty. This rumor follows her decision to settle in Dubai in 2014 after facing legal troubles in the United States.

“While Lohan was ready to shed her party-girl image and start anew, many weren’t prepared for the transition. Either way, she knew she wanted a new beginning — and that’s exactly why she went to Dubai, as the focus on pop culture icons doesn’t appear to be as vast,” according to an interview with Showbiz CheatSheet

Her ties with the UAE became apparent when she took over two islands in one of Dubai’s biggest projects: The World. Her decision to wear a hijab during a 2018 London Fashion Show also had the attention of the media.

 

Although many have speculated that she has connections to UAE royals, not much is actually known. What’s more fascinating is that no-one knows where she is either. News outlets have suggested that she still resides in Dubai, but others have reported that she has already made a return to the United States. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Lindsay went live from Oman.

 

So, we have to ask ourselves one more time, what in the world IS going on with Lindsay Lohan? It’s a mystery that probably only she has the answers to. Whatever it is, we’ll be sure to keep a closer look. 

READ MORE: Has Rumi’s Poetry Fallen Prey To ‘Spiritual Colonialism’?

Three Men Indicted On Murder Charges For Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery’s death and trial has reached global attention and is one of the most recent racially-motivated murder cases to fuel anti-racism protests in the US and abroad.

A grand jury in the US state of Georgia has indicted three white men on nine separate counts, including felony murder, in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

“This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond,” District Attorney Joyette Holmes said following the jury’s announcement.

The accused – Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbour William Bryan – were arrested last month in connection to Arbery’s death, following a cell phone video of the shooting being leaked online.

The video had been taken by Mr Bryan who was giving chase to Arbery alongside the McMichaels, and shows Travis McMichael shooting Arbery with his shotgun following a struggle between the two men. Arbery was unarmed. Earlier this month, it was alleged by a state investigator that Travis McMichael was heard saying a racial slur as he stood over Arbery, moments after shooting him dead.

Gregory McMichael has claimed he suspected Arbery of burglary and had attacked his son Travis before being shot.

 

 

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The incident took place on Feb. 23, 2020 in Brunswick’s Satilla Shores, a predominantly white neighbourhood, where Arbery was jogging. After spotting Arbery on their CCTV, the McMichaels armed themselves with a pistol and shotgun pursued him in their pickup truck. 

A testimony from a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent explained how Arbery ended up in a fight with Travis McMichael.

“I believe Mr. Arbery was being pursued, and he ran ‘till he couldn’t run anymore, and it was turn his back to a man with a shotgun or fight with his bare hands against the man with the shotgun. He chose to fight,” Special Agent in Charge Richard Dial said.

William Bryan had followed the McMichaels in his own vehicle soon after. An arrest warrant for Bryan stated that he “utilized his vehicle on multiple occasions” in an illegal attempt to “confine and detain” Arbery in the lead up to his death. 

Mr Bryan’s lawyer, Kevin Gough, has repeatedly stated that his client was merely a witness. “We’re disappointed that the district attorney chose to indict Mr. Bryan,” he said. “But at the same time we’ve been demanding a speedy trial from day one. The presentation of this case to the grand jury brings us one step closer to our day in court.”

Ahmaud Arbery’s death and trial has reached global attention and is one of the most recent racially-motivated murder cases to fuel anti-racism protests in the US and abroad.

Reacting to the jury’s indictment, Mr Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told NBC Nightly News: “At this point I do believe the case is moving in the right direction.

“This just empowers us to fight. This is just the first steps of it – we still have a long way to go.”

READ MORE: What They Did To Ahmaud Arbery Was A Modern Day Lynching

Israeli Forces Kill Young Palestinian Man At A Checkpoint In Occupied West Bank

Ahmed was on his way to pick his sister and mother up from a salon, as it was his sister's wedding day.

Ahmed Erekat was shot dead by Israeli forces at the West Bank checkpoint this Tuesday on his way to pick up his sister from a salon ahead of her wedding that night. 

The Israeli border police said they shot and killed Ahmed Erekat who they say attempted to run over a female officer at a checkpoint in Abu Dis, a Palestinian village east of Jerusalem.

The Israeli police say the officer was “injured lightly”. 

Palestinian officials reject this account of Ahmed’s death and allegations by the Israeli police that Ahmed Erekat had tried to run over an Israeli officer.

Palestinians and human rights groups have accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force, and in this case, opening fire on a car that merely lost control.

Senior Palestinian Official Hanan Ashrawi says Israel has a “kill first, justify later” policy that they need to be “held accountable for”.

Noura Erakat, a human rights attorney based in the US, is Ahmed’s older cousin. She said in a tweet that the police left Ahmed to bleed for 1.5 hours. 

Palestinian news agency Wafa reports that the director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem confirmed that an Israeli soldier prevented Palestinian medical personnel from approaching Erekat and he was left to bleed.

Erekat’s uncle, Saeb Erekat, said that the police allegation of an attempted car ramming was “impossible”, saying that Ahmed was engaged and due to get married himself very soon.

Noura Erakat said Ahmed was “pressed for time to pick up his sisters, the flowers, and all these other things from Bethlehem, we are 100 percent sure he would never do this. Why would he do this on his sister’s wedding day?”

 

READ MORE: Police Kill 62-Year-Old Ejaz Choudry After Undergoing Schizophrenia Episode In His Apartment

Canada’s Jagmeet Singh Removed From House Of Commons For Calling Out Racism

Singh was putting forward a motion to reduce and prevent systemic racism in the RCMP, Canada’s federal police force.

Canada’s Jagmeet Singh Removed From House Of Commons For Calling Out Racism

Singh was putting forward a motion to reduce and prevent systemic racism in the RCMP, Canada’s federal police force.

By

Nabeeha Asim & Wali Ahmad

Photo - Getty Images / Art - Ameer Al-Khatahtbeh

Canadian New Democratic Party leader and member of parliament Jagmeet Singh was removed from the House of Commons for having unapologetically called Bloc Québécois’s Alain Therrien, also a member of parliament, a racist. Singh’s comment came after Therrien became the sole vote against a motion to combat systemic racism in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) earlier this week.

Addressing the House, Singh highlighted the motion’s four main components, which consists of “reviewing the nearly 10 million dollar a day RCMP budget and increase non police investments in nonviolent intervention, insure that the RCMP is truly accountable to the public, releasing all RCMP incidents of “use-of-force” reports, and immediately launching a full report on the use-of-force by the RCMP including the tactics and the training that is given to them in dealing with the public.”  

After Singh had explained the motion, Anthony Rota, speaker of the House of Commons, asked the House for consent to move the motion; in an almost unanimous crowd of “yeses”, however, Singh was shocked to hear one “no” from Therrien, who dismissed the motion with the wave of his hand. Angered, he immediately called Therrien out for being racist. Singh, seen as too emotional, was instantaneously marked down in value by Therrien’s political party for the “altercation.” He was also prompted by Rota and other Bloc Quebecois members of parliament to apologize, which Singh refused to do. Singh was then told to leave the House for the remainder of the proceeding.

Hours later, Singh provided a more detailed account of what had transpired and further described how he felt in light of Therrien’s dissent. “Why can’t we act, why can’t we do something to save peoples lives? We can do something, and why would someone say no to that?” Singh told the media. “I’ll be honest, I got angry, but I’m now sad.”

Reactions by the other party leaders were mixed. Prime Minister of Canada and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau took to the media to defend Singh. “It is not for me to criticize any Canadian, particularly the only racialized leader in the House of Commons, for making other people uncomfortable by calling them out for not recognizing systemic discrimination”, he said. “It remains problematic that the Bloc Québécois refuses to recognize systemic racism in the RCMP and this country.” 

Singh, although touched by the show of support, implied that kind words are not enough. “We need to see action,” he said. “That’s what I’m calling for, concrete action to end the use of force and the brutality and the lives being lost.”

READ MORE: Police Kill 62-Year-Old Ejaz Choudry After Undergoing Schizophrenia Episode In His Apartment

On the other hand, Yves-Francois Blanchet, Leader of Bloc Québécois, demanded a formal apology. Blanchet fears that having no severe consequences associated with Singhs actions will encourage “everybody [to] feel entitled to do the same”, claiming that Therrien’s dismissive hand gesture that resulted in Singh’s exclamation was “open to interpretation” and was not “explicit” enough for everyone to have understood.

Ironically, many Canadians have taken the view that the removal of Singh for his justified reaction to the dissent of a motion that combats systemic racism, is a racist reaction in and of itself. The call for a motion addressing systemic racism in the federal police comes in response to the heightened concerns surrounding racism and police brutality highlighted by the now-global Black Lives Matter movement. Singh highlighted that the creation of the motion was a result of the ongoing protests to fight racism, and that this issue is equally prominent in Canada as it is in the United States. 

The removal of Singh from the House proceeding was essentially a move to silent a person with lived experiences of racism from speaking out about what many find to be a hard-to-accept truth.

This is not the first time that members and candidates of the Bloc Québécois Party have been under fire for racist sentiment. In October 2019, Canadian media outlets uncovered numerous Islamophobic and racist social media posts either created or shared by candidates running for the party. All candidates apologized for their comments, with Blanchet adding his own apologies “to the entire population of Quebec.” Blanchet and the Bloc Québécois Party have previously defended Quebec’s discriminatory provincial Bill 21 removing the right to wear religious symbols – such as the hijab, turban or kippa – in the province’s public service.

Therrien’s implied racist sentiment is not new in federal Canadian politics. In 2017, the House of Commons had passed the Liberal Party’s motion (M-103) condemning Islamophobia and “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” The motion asked that a governmental committee collect data on related hate crimes, and study the various methodologies that could effectively eliminate these issues. Although the motion was passed by a vote of 201-91, Many of those who opposed this motion were worried that it would “result in Sharia law being imposed in Canada” and had decidedly voted against it, despite the motion’s clear intention to combat systemic racism. 

Therrien’s reaction to the NDP’s current motion shares uncanny similarities with reactions to motion M-103. The inability to vote in favor of a governmental action which explicitly aims to reduce and prevent systemic racism or Islamophobia undoubtably implies racist and Islamophobic sentiment. The only difference between then and now is that a racialized political party leader has effectively called out racism in the Canadian government – only to be penalized for it.

Police Kill 62-Year-Old Ejaz Choudry After Undergoing Schizophrenia Episode In His Apartment

“He can’t think straight, he’s schizophrenic, and police are going and killing him because he’s going to kill himself? Where’s the logic in that?”

62-year-old Ejaz Ahmed Choudry, who suffered from schizophrenia, was shot and killed by a Peel Region police officer in his apartment in Mississauga, Canada. His family had called a non-emergency line in order for him to be taken to the hospital during a mental-health crisis. 

Police Constable Sarah Patten confirmed that the initial call stated that Mr. Choudry was suffering from a medical condition and had not taken his medication. She further stated that he was alone in his home, was in a “state of crisis” and believed that he was armed with a kitchen knife. As a result, Patten confirmed that the police believed that Mr. Choudry was a danger to himself.

When the police arrived, they removed everyone from the apartment except Mr. Choudry. “When that happened, his daughter started yelling his name, saying ‘Come outside. They want to help you.’” said Khizar Shahzard, a nephew of the victim. Upon hearing his daughter, Choudry opened the door but closed it immediately after seeing the police. Shahzad recalls telling the officers that his uncle is scared of their uniforms and guns. “If you go upstairs with that, he’s going to be scared. He’s having an episode.”

The officers started shouting at him in English from outside the apartment. Choudry, an immigrant from Pakistan, did not speak English. The family says they asked to be allowed to try and calm their uncle down, but the officers refused and told them to remain patient. “Anyone in distress knows that when anyone you know that really cares about you comes and tells you ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay,’ it makes a difference, said Hassan Choudhary, Mr. Choudhry’s nephew. “None of us were able to go up there and say, ‘Uncle, you’re going to be okay.’” 

The Province of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) – which steps in where officers are involved in cases of death or serious injury – stated that Mr. Choudry had locked himself in the unit and the officers were able to communicate with him for a period of time. After communication with Mr. Choudry had stopped, the officers had forcefully entered the unit. 

While officers were trying to access the front door, other officers scaled the balcony. Upon entry, the officers had used a taser and fired plastic projectiles from an anti-riot weapon. When these weapons appeared to have no effect, Mr. Choudry was shot and killed shortly afterwards. The SIU is currently investigating approximately ten officers, and has obtained video footage related to the case.

One video, taken by a bystander and posted on Twitter, shows tactical units entering through the second-floor unit’s balcony, and three officers are shown yelling into the apartment and kicking open the door; gunshots can be heard before all three officers entered.

Mr. Choudry’s death comes during a time of heightened scrutiny of police brutality and systemic racism in North America. “He wasn’t a danger to anyone else. He was by himself in his home where he felt safe,” said Hassan Choudhary, the victim’s nephew. “He can’t think straight, he’s schizophrenic, and [police] are going and killing him because he’s going to kill himself? Where’s the logic in that?” He stated that his uncle would easily be out of breath after taking only a few steps, and was not trying to hurt anyone else.

Mr. Choudhary’s comments highlight the lack of de-escalation tactics used by the police. “It’s clear from everything that the family has already shared, from the eyewitness reports, from the video evidence that we have, that the senseless acts of Peel police yesterday was wildly excessive,” said Ibrahim Hindy, president of the Muslim Council of Peel. 

“There are reports in the news saying they [had tried] to de-escalate the situation. I was there. There was no conversation.” Shahzad said.

The family, along with Mr. Hindy, held a news conference and demanded a public inquiry into the shooting. 

“It’s sad to see that someone that genuine and beautiful is taken from us.” said Mr. Choudhary, who describes his uncle as a bright, caring man who always spent time with his family. 

“What happened yesterday was a crazy event. Something that we never thought we’d ever have to see” said Mr. Choudhary. “It was a tough time because we felt that police, paramedics are there to help you, protect you and serve you. But after yesterday’s episode, it really shows you who’s here to protect and serve you. There’s no one.”

“They keep saying he was a threat to himself, but what did you do? You thought he was a threat to himself, so you’re going to kill him?”

Protests ensued across the Greater Toronto Area as a result of Mr. Chaudry’s death, calling for “Justice for Ejaz” and police reform. Earlier this week, a police officer was suspended amid a video showing the officer pushing a man to the ground in Oakville, Ontario. Mr. Chaudry has also become one of the many recent innocent victims to fall victim to police brutality in Canada. Earlier this year, Campbell D’Andre, a 26 year-old black man was also fatally shot by the Peel Police after experiencing a mental health crisis in his own home.

“It’s very sad when a life is lost in our community” said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie on Twitter. “I ask the SIU to act quickly. Our goal is to support the vulnerable and ensure these incidents never happen again. The 2021 @PeelPolice budget will be reviewed through a different lens.”

Anyone with information or video evidence of the incident is asked to contact the lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529.

READ MORE: Muslim Woman Forced To Take Mugshot Without Hijab In Florida

Muslim Woman Forced To Take Mugshot Without Hijab In Florida

Alaa Massri protested for Black Lives. The Miami Police Department’s answer: they forced her hijab off for a mugshot.

Alaa Massri, a college student, was protesting in a Black Lives Matter protest in Miami, Florida on June 10th, 2020. As a college student, Massri was a part of the medic team providing aid for protestors who got hurt. During the protest in Miami, she noticed a police car hitting a protestor, and she began rushing to help whoever got hurt. However, immediately she faced a group of cops in riot gear. The police began touching her, unwarrantedly, while she says she respectfully asked them to stop. Their response: arrest her. 

After allegedly zip-tying her, charging her with battery, resisting an officer with violence, and disorderly conduct, they took her to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Facility where they placed her into handcuffs. They proceeded to take off her hijab for her mugshot. After unlawfully taking her picture, her photo was shown on TV across many platforms. And as if taking off her hijab for the mugshot wasn’t enough, they denied her her right to wear it for the seven hours after. 

The Miami Police Department has a history of racism that dates back to its establishment in 1896. Even within the police department, Black officers addressed discrimination and racism to the chief, Jorge Colina. In fact, the infamous “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” phrase Trump used in a Twitter post back in May was coined by Miami police chief Walter E. Headley in 1967

 


 
Massri was going to help a protester who was injured by the police. But, the police arrested Massri unlawfully. She was not told the reason she was arrested. The Miami Police Department did not read her her Miranda rights—a principle that requires all police officers to notify arrested citizens of their rights. Her constitutional right to wear a hijab was stripped. Her constitutional right to freedom of speech was violated. And many of her human rights were violated. 

Alaa Massri is still facing all charges and sits with the traumatizing experience of being emotionally, mentally, and physically violated by the police. Behavior like this from police departments across the United States continue to prove that the policing system needs to be reformed. 

Demand justice by signing her petition here

 

#LetNoorRun: Ohio Bill Protecting Student-Athlete’s Religious Expression Passes

After Ohio state disqualified Noor from a cross country district meet for wearing a hijab, she went to Ohio’s Senate Education Committee for change.

Ohio’s Senate Bill 288, which protects “student religious expression in interscholastic athletics and extracurricular activities”, received unanimous approval from Ohio’s Senate Education Committee. The Bill now awaits Senate approval.

Introduced in February 2020, the Bill prevents any public or non-public school from restricting the wearing of religious apparel while competing in school sports or extracurricular activities. It also prevents them from requiring any type of advanced approval, written waivers or any other permission to wear the religious apparel prior to participating in a sport.

The bill, sponsored by State Senator Theresa Gavarone, was created in response to the controversy caused by the disqualification of runner Noor Alexandria Abukaram, 16, during a cross country race. Abukaram, who began wearing a hijab in 2016, was disqualified from a cross-country race while she was running. Her coach emphasized that she had not applied for a waiver at the district-level allowing her to participate in a hijab as it was considered a violation of proper uniform. 

Abukaram’s testified about her experience and the need for legislative reform at a meeting of the Ohio Senate Education Committee earlier this month. “(Abukaram’s mother) didn’t deem the hijab a uniform change, just as they don’t deem a student wearing a necklace with a cross on it a uniform change. It’s not a uniform, it’s something that I wear because of my religion, it’s a part of me” said Abukaram to the Senate Education Committee.

During the committee hearing, Abukaram also received an apology from Senator Vernon Sykes. “I’d like to apologize to you as a policy maker that a policy was in place that was so insensitive and it harmed you in the way that it did,” Sykes said.

Howie Beigelman, of the Ohio Jewish Communities, also provided written testimony stating that it is not the government’s place to allow the infringement of religious rights and that allowing student athletes to wear religious clothing around their peers provides more benefits than harm. “Such interactions on the field and on the court help disprove stereotypes, educate in a unique way, break down barriers, and build friendships,” Beigelman said.

After Gavarone reached out to Abukaram as the bill was in its drafting stages, the runner also started an advocacy initiative, “Let Noor Run.” The initiative’s goal was to end discrimination in sports, especially based on religious apparel. In an interview with the New York Times, Abukaram made it clear that wearing a hijab while playing a sport is not uncommon, referencing hijab-wearing Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. 

Muhammad, along with U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, also showed support towards the runner’s initiative.

“This bill really just emulates everything I’ve been working towards” said Abukaram at the time the bill was created. “The whole idea is just to make sure this never happens to anyone ever again, whether they’re Muslim or whatever it is that they believe in. They shouldn’t have to stop playing sports because of their beliefs.”

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right and civil liberty in this country” said Gavarone added. “My hope is that through this legislation and Noor’s story we will be able to ensure that no one, regardless of religious affiliation, has to choose between playing a sport or their religious beliefs.”

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UN Removes Saudi Arabia From ‘Blacklist Of Warring Parties’ For War Crimes In Yemen

This controversial decision comes after a Houthi rebel airstrike killed 13 civilians on Monday, which included four children.

The UN’s decision to remove Saudi Arabia “from a blacklist of warring parties” responsible for the countless deaths of Yemini children has been met with severe backlash according to reports by The New Arab

This controversial decision comes after a Houthi rebel airstrike killed 13 civilians on Monday, which included four children.

“Saudi Arabia was responsible for the deaths and injuries of 222 children in Yemen in 2019, the rebel Houthi movement for 313, and forces allied to the UN-recognised Yemen government responsible for 96 casualties,” according to Reuters

The Saudi-led coalition, which also has ties to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would, “be delisted for the violation of killing and maiming, following a sustained significant decrease in killing and maiming due to air strikes,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. 

Saudi’s constant delisting efforts exerted “unexceptable” pressure on the UN, with Riyadh even threatening to cut their funding. However, if the number of child casualties in Yemen continues to rise, Saudi and the UAE would be at risk of re-listing. 

 

 

Although many are aware of the Yemen crisis, some may be unaware of the extent of the situation. Here is a breakdown of what’s going on:

War and Intervention

The Northern Yemen-based group Ansar Allah, better known as Houthi rebel fighters, came in and took full control of the capital, Sanaa, in early 2015. Their control advanced southward from the capital down to the city of Aden. In March of 2015, Yemeni president Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia, and urged for an intervention. Saudi formed its coalition and launched a proxy war against the rebels, which has been going on for about five years, while the Yemeni president remains in Riyadh. 

Comedian and political commentator Hasan Minhaj explained the conflict, where he broke down the entire situation in less than a minute on his show Patriot Act.

“So take three wars, shove them into the Arab world’s poorest country, and that’s the conflict in Yemen.”

The United States has been supplying the Saudi government with weapons since the Obama administration, with the U.K. leading as the second largest arms exporter. 

Devastations

The ongoing war in Yemen has caused major devastations, some of which include:

Increased famine, with a Yemini child dying approximately every 10 minutes. 

A Cholera epidemic.

Worsening the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Multiple Instagram posts have been made in an effort to educate social media users of these extremities:

 

 

 

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A post shared by New Progressive Democrat (@newprogressivedemocrat) on

 

What Can You Do to Help?

Educate and inform others by sharing this article and other Instagram posts raising awareness about the Yemen crisis. 

Write to your MP to end the sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Donate and sign petitions at: https://yemencrisis.carrd

 

READ MORE: Here Is Everything Happening In Yemen Right Now