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Islamophobia conference educates

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  • Zafar Khan
    Islamophobia conference educates Written by Zac Smith - Staff Writer Wednesday, 23 March 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 25, 2005
      Islamophobia conference educates
      Written by Zac Smith - Staff Writer
      Wednesday, 23 March 2005


      Last Wednesday, the Muslim Coalition, a coalition of
      six campus-based Muslim organizations, and the York
      Federation of Students teamed up to present "Islam is
      NOT a Bomb and 8 Wives," an event that focused on
      Islamophobia in society and politics, particularly in
      the wake of the US-led war on terror.

      "We're really hoping this becomes an annual awareness
      concert," says Rabia Siddiqui, event organizer and
      outgoing vice-president finance of the YFS.

      "The only images that we see [representing Islam] are
      the most militant ones, those of tyrannical regimes
      and terrorism. We feel that a campaign in an academic
      institution is an excellent way to challenge these
      ideas," she says.

      The well-attended event featured poetry, speakers, a
      cultural exhibit and a performance by Iraqi rapper

      Diana Ralph, a professor at Carleton University and
      coordinator of the campaign Stop Secret Trials in
      Canada, was the first to speak.

      "Islamophobia is the key [type of] racism this
      generation must address," she said.

      She alleged that this new form of racism was being
      used to hold Muslim men in custody without charge,
      violate fundamental human rights and help advance
      politically motivated agendas.

      "The war on terrorism has nothing to do with making
      the world safer," she asserted. "As policy analysts
      have already noted, the ¬Ďanti-terrorist' operations in
      Iraq and Afghanistan have increased the threat of

      Faisal Kutty, a lawyer for the Canadian Muslim
      Liberties Association and member of the Council on
      American Islamic Relations, was also concerned with
      what he says is the proliferation of intelligence
      operations directed against Muslims.

      "Since September 11th [2001], Canadian intelligence
      programs have led to the infiltration and monitoring
      of people and mosques have led to the arrests and
      detentions many of whom are as yet uncharged," he

      Kutty was referring to alleged Canadian Security and
      Intelligence Service operations against Muslims and to
      the five Canadians allegedly being held under Canada's
      post-9/11 ¬Ďanti-terrorist' legislation.

      "Media has a lot to do with the perpetuation of
      Islamophobia," he contended.
      "By virtue of what they pick to choose as representing
      a Muslim, they have the power to either exacerbate
      existing perceptions, or rectify them," he concluded.

      Both speakers complemented each other's positions,
      condemning American and Canadian governments response
      to terror, and voicing concern of the erosion of civil
      liberties here at home.

      "It is the responsibility of all of us to condemn
      Islamophobia and a duty to stand by those who are
      unjustly targeted and persecuted," said Ralph.

      Attacks on Jews and Muslims soar in France


      Jon Henley in Paris
      Tuesday March 22, 2005
      The Guardian

      The number of racist, anti-semitic and xenophobic
      attacks in France soared by nearly 90% last year,
      according to a report presented to the government
      yesterday, reaching the highest level so far recorded.

      The National Consultative Commission on Human Rights
      said in its annual study that 1,565 threats and acts
      of violence against mainly Jewish and Muslim victims
      were registered in 2004, compared with 833 the
      previous year.

      "Manifestations of racism and anti-semitism are
      multiplying dangerously in France and last year
      reached an exceptional and disturbing peak ... not
      seen since [the first national statistics] in 1990,"
      the commission said.

      The report said anti-semitic acts represented more
      than 60% of all the incidents recorded: 970 compared
      with 601 in 2003, mostly committed by people "of
      Arab-Muslim origin". But threats and attacks against
      Muslims, mostly committed by far-right supporters,
      also more than doubled to 595 last year, compared with
      232 in 2003.
      The report also noted that the incidents appeared to
      be getting increasingly violent: 369 "major acts" -
      causing actual physical harm to people or property -
      were reported, an 83% increase on 2003. The number of
      attacks on Jewish and Muslim cemeteries and places of
      worship rose from 46 to 65, and racist and
      anti-semitic violence in schools rose by 20%.

      The study prompted immediate reactions from
      politicians, Jews and anti-racist groups. Dominique de
      Villepin, the interior minister, said France would
      "never give up" combating racism and punishing those
      responsible, while the Jewish umbrella group CRIF said
      anti-semitism was no longer a temporary phenomenon.

      France's Jewish and Muslim communities are the largest
      in western Europe and tensions between the two have
      risen steadily during the past five years, in line
      with increasing Israeli-Palestinian violence.

      But the NCCHR said it now seemed that anti-semitism in
      France was no longer so closely related to events
      outside the country, but was "becoming established at
      a high level, in a continuous and lasting manner". The
      authors said an apparent resurgence of the far-right
      might stem from France's increasingly heated debate on
      immigration and integration, as well as from broader
      concerns, such as the eventual admission of Turkey to
      the EU or the fear of terrorism.

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