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Alaturka Gazetesi

Nigeria: Outrage after law school bars headscarf

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigerian Muslims and civil rights activists are outraged after the country's law school barred a Muslim student from a call to the bar ceremony after she refused to remove her head covering on religious grounds.

The controversy has seized local social media, as activists questioned the decision of the Nigerian Law School, citing a recent Appeals Court ruling which upheld the right of Muslim women to wear the head covering anywhere.

Abdulsalam Fridaus Amasa said she was denied entry into the hall in the Nigerian capital, Abuja on Thursday “simply because I insisted on wearing my hijab ” or headscarf.

“I broke no law by insisting on wearing my hijab as a Muslim lady, ” she said on Friday in a statement seen by Anadolu Agency.

She also confirmed the incident to Anadolu Agency in a phone interview.

Ahmad Adetola-Kazeem, an activist and Muslim lawyer, blasted the law school's decision.

“The action of the law school is null and void based on the provisions of the Constitution such as sections 38 and 42, which allow freedom of religion, freedom to exhibit one's religious views, and freedom from discrimination on the ground of one's religious orientation, ” Adetola-Kazeem said in a phone interview.

“What happened yesterday was sheer discrimination against the Muslim student based on her religion. ”

-'No law school rule barring headscarves'

He added that the school had no legislation or rules barring wearing Muslim headscarves.

“We have asked this question over the years but nobody has produced any regulation of the law school that bars headscarves, ” he said, adding that the action effectively barred Amasa from practicing law in Nigeria.

“We’re taking steps to address this issue. The Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria is meeting on it. We are definitely not going to let it go like that, ” he said, insisting that the court of appeals ruling was binding on “all institutions in Nigeria, including the law school “.

Kayode Ogundamisi, a fiery London-based Nigerian activist, criticized the law school in a post that has gone viral on social media.

“#EndDiscriminationAgainstHijab the oyinbos [whites] who dashed you wig and gown are beginning to recognise diverse faith-based dress codes in different professions. Call the lady to bar. Interesting how Twitter HUMAN LIES activists went blind on this,” he wrote on Twitter.

Officials at the law school declined to comment.

“I don't have any reaction or independent opinion on the development now. We are meeting on it, ” Ukekwe Chinedu, spokesman for the prestigious school, told Anadolu Agency on Friday morning.

Headscarves have become controversial in Nigeria, as public schools and some institutions repeatedly bar Muslim women from using it, provoking legal cases that have been decided in favor of the latter.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal by the Lagos state government of an appeals court ruling upholding the right to wear headscarves in public schools.

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Politika

UK: McDonald's asks Muslim woman to remove headscarf

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Fast-food chain McDonald’s apologized after a video surfaced Friday on Twitter of a 19-year-old Muslim student being refused entry because of her headscarf.

The video, posted by a friend of the woman who preferred to remain anonymous, shows a security guard asking her to remove her hijab.

She refused and used her phone to film the incident, which took place at a north London branch of the restaurant on Seven Sisters Road in Holloway district.

The short clip shows the security guard repeatedly asking her to remove the headscarf after blocking her from entering the restaurant.

She asks the guard why she cannot enter the McDonald’s, but he says “it’s just a matter of taking it off.”

The video continues with her response.

“It’s not just a matter of taking it off. I wear this for religious reasons and I’m not ashamed of it, and I will stand in line and I will get the food I want because this isn’t OK,” she says.

‘It’s finally happening to me, like it has to so many hijabis,” she told The Guardian newspaper.

“It didn’t feel real because I had seen so many videos like this, and it was finally happening to me in real life. I was in so much disbelief.

“The friend I was with was shocked and scared and said it was a risky situation. When it was over, I finally realized how these situations can become dangerous. This is not a one-off thing,” she said.

“I will never walk into a McDonald’s again.”

McDonald’s “does not have a policy in place which restricts or prevents anyone wearing a hijab, or any other religious dress, from entering one of its restaurants,” a spokeswoman for the chain said.

“We welcome customers of all faiths and would like to apologize to the customer, as this situation should not have taken place,” she said.

“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are addressing this with the individuals involved. ”

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Canadian students offering hijab kits to victims

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) – A Canadian university has launched a program to provide replacement hijab kits to women who are attacked and have their head coverings ripped off, the groups told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

The program is a joint effort by the student union of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group.

In an email to Anadolu Agency, the two groups said the idea sprang from discussions concerning the attack on a mosque in Quebec City in January, when six Muslims at prayer were shot to death by a student from Laval University.

The Dalhousie student union and the research group said many students expressed concern for their safety after the attack.

The hope is the kits will raise awareness of the violence against Muslims and encourage victims to feel more comfortable and report the crimes.

“In recognizing the increased incidents of violence towards women of colour on campuses across the country, we’ve created these kits so that anyone who has their headdresses targeted can quickly get access to a replacement,” according to a joint statement on the groups’ website. “Kits include fabric and pins, along with bystander tips and important numbers for reporting such crimes.”

Dalhousie Student Union President Amina Abawajy said various people have told her of incidents in which hijabs were targeted but victims have been reticent to tell officials of the attacks.

“I don’t believe those have been reported to security (and) we were hearing of a lot of concerns, specifically from Muslim women wearing the hijab, so we responded by creating this emergency kit,” she told Canadian media.

The groups said U.S. President Donald Trump is helping to stoke the violence.

Trump has tried to invoke travel bans against Muslim countries and has been critical of Islam and immigration.

“Rhetoric like that coming from the White House is proving to incite violence and bigotry in physical ways, so we need to address it by having a physical and purposeful response,” the statement said.

While the school union has not heard of any kits yet being used, as of Tuesday, 20 kits have been requested and distributed on campus and to community groups.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

UK: Hijab-wearing primary girls to be questioned

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Britain’s primary school inspectors will question girls who wear the Muslim headscarf at school, the head of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and the chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, said.

She explained the move was to tackle situations in which wearing a hijab “could be interpreted as sexualisation” of school children.

Spielman’s announcement came as a recommendation to inspectors but the directive was not yet updated in the official handbook for inspectors. They are advised to record pupils’ responses to questions such as why they wear the hijab to school.

“While respecting parents’ choice to bring up their children according to their cultural norms, creating an environment where primary school children are expected to wear the hijab could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls,” Spielman said.

“In seeking to address these concerns, and in line with our current practice in terms of assessing whether the school promotes equality for their children, inspectors will talk to girls who wear such garments to ascertain why they do so in the school,” she added.

Spielman met various anti-hijab campaigners after a survey by British newspaper Sunday Times suggested that nearly a fifth of 800 state primary schools, in 11 regions of England list the hijab as part of their uniform policy, mostly as an optional item.

However, the Muslim Council of Britain secretary-general, Harun Khan, responded to the move.

“It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf,” he said.

“It sends a clear message to all British women who adopt this that they are second-class citizens, that while they are free to wear the headscarf, the establishment would prefer that they do not,” Khan said.

“It is disappointing that this is becoming policy without even engaging with a diverse set of mainstream Muslim voices on the topic,” he added.

Khan urged “any parent or member of the public who has a concern about fundamentalist groups influencing school policy, or breaching equality law to make a complaint to the school.”

“If schools do not act on these complaints they can be made to Ofsted directly,” he said.

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Bilim Teknoloji

Apple unveils hijab-wearing emoji

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – Apple on Monday previewed more than one dozen new emojis, including one that appears to be a woman wearing a hijab.

The emojis were unveiled to celebrate World Emoji Day and will be released on Apple devices later this year, the company said.

The new slate of emojis include several entries that make the icons more diverse; along with the woman wearing a headscarf, there is a woman breastfeeding and a man meditating in what appears to be the traditional yoga lotus pose.

Other additions are less political — Apple revealed a dinosaur, zebra, elf, zombie, genie, sandwich and coconut emoji. New smiley face emoji include one with stars for eyes and another with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear detonation exploding its head.

“The new emoji make it easier for users to express themselves with greater diversity, additional animals and creatures, new smiley faces and more,” Apple said in a statement.

The standards for all emojis is set by the Unicode Consortium, which dictates the characters available for computer programing.

Unicode announced in May its next version would include 69 new emojis. What Apple unveiled Monday was its interpretation of several that will be available for its iPhones, Apple Watches and Macbooks in the coming months.

Facebook also celebrated World Emoji Day and revealed the most used emoji on the platform is the laughing with tears emoji.

The smiley face emoji with hearts for eyes came in second place, followed by the winking and kissing smiley face.

The U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, U.K., Spain, France, Italy and Germany are the nations where emojis are used the most on Facebook.

The company said that 5 billion emoji are sent worldwide via Facebook Messenger each day.

Categories
Bilim Teknoloji

Apple unveils hijab-wearing emoji

By Barry Eitel

SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – Apple on Monday previewed more than one dozen new emojis, including one that appears to be a woman wearing a hijab.

The emojis were unveiled to celebrate World Emoji Day and will be released on Apple devices later this year, the company said.

The new slate of emojis include several entries that make the icons more diverse; along with the woman wearing a headscarf, there is a woman breastfeeding and a man meditating in what appears to be the traditional yoga lotus pose.

Other additions are less political — Apple revealed a dinosaur, zebra, elf, zombie, genie, sandwich and coconut emoji. New smiley face emoji include one with stars for eyes and another with a mushroom cloud from a nuclear detonation exploding its head.

“The new emoji make it easier for users to express themselves with greater diversity, additional animals and creatures, new smiley faces and more,” Apple said in a statement.

The standards for all emojis is set by the Unicode Consortium, which dictates the characters available for computer programing.

Unicode announced in May its next version would include 69 new emojis. What Apple unveiled Monday was its interpretation of several that will be available for its iPhones, Apple Watches and Macbooks in the coming months.

Facebook also celebrated World Emoji Day and revealed the most used emoji on the platform is the laughing with tears emoji.

The smiley face emoji with hearts for eyes came in second place, followed by the winking and kissing smiley face.

The U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, U.K., Spain, France, Italy and Germany are the nations where emojis are used the most on Facebook.

The company said that 5 billion emoji are sent worldwide via Facebook Messenger each day.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Muslim women file human rights complaint in Canada

By Barry Ellsworth

RENTON. Ont. (AA) – Three Muslim workers have filed a human rights complaint alleging Islamophobia after they were fired from a maintenance project in western Canada, Canadian media reported Thursday.

Amino Rashid told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that she and two of her colleagues were dismissed from a maintenance project at the Husky Energy facility in Lloydminster, along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, after reporting incidents of harassment from other staff.

Rashid said two male workers told her “there are people who feel uncomfortable” with her wearing a hijab, and the one of the pair told her to take off the “hoodie”, the CBC reported. She told them it was not a hoodie, but a religious headscarf.

Rashid said she reported the incident to management at her employer, Newcart Contracting Ltd. – the firm had been contracted by Husky Energy to do the maintenance work at the Lloydminster facility – but the harassment continued. The two other Muslims were also targeted with remarks a few days later on June 3.

That same day, the three were dismissed.

“I was shocked,” Rashid told the CBC, “because usually in a situation like that you fire the person who was the one who was being the bully. You don’t fire the victim. You don’t fire the person who was trying to stand up for themselves.”

Rashid said that when she was hired, supervisors for both Husky and Newcart said they had no problem with her wearing a hijab.

On Tuesday, the three filed complaints with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, as well as Husky, and when informed of the incident, Husky launched an investigation.

“Given the seriousness of these allegations, we will be investigating with the contractor to ensure all of Husky’s policies and procedures were being followed,” company spokesman Mel Duvall told the CBC. Husky, a large energy company in the Alberta Oilsands, requires all its contractors to follow a workplace diversity policy.

Newcart officials declined direct comment on the situation, but did note that more than 30 percent of its workforce is born outside of Canada.

Reaction on a Facebook page dedicated to the incident was mixed, with some citing safety rules regarding headgear on a work site.

One person wrote: “Safety rules apply to everyone, there’s no religious exceptions. Do Muslims want to be treated equally or are they asking for special privlages (sic) here??”

Another commented: “Not a safety concern: the employer clearly says it’s not an issue.”

Categories
Spor

Basketball rule change allows wearing hijabs

By Doga Kirmizioglu

ANKARA (AA) – Basketball players will be allowed to wear headgear — including the Islamic hijab — in their matches, basketball’s governing body announced Thursday.

The rule change takes effect on Oct. 1, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) said in a written statement after a congress in Hong Kong.

“The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries — which called for the head and/or entire body being covered — were incompatible with FIBA’s previous headgear rule,” it added.

FIBA approved the initiative on Wednesday and the rule was formally ratified during Thursday’s session of the congress.

FIBA had initially banned 18-year-old Noha Berhan, who plays for Stockholm-based amateur league team Huddinge, from wearing a hijab during games in 2016 due to what it called “safety issues”.

But Berhan’s cause, along with other female Muslim players across the world, was taken up in social media, putting pressure on FIBA. The hashtags #BackNoha and #FIBAAllowHijab quickly attracted support.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Chechnya approves law allowing hijab in schools

By Hakan Ceyhan Aydogan

MOSCOW (AA) – The Chechen parliament has approved a law allowing children to wear religious symbols, including the hijab in schools.

The change is expected to contribute to an increase in the effectiveness of educational institutions, according to a statement from the parliament.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday that Moscow does not have a “single” position on hijabs.

Peskov said there was no “standard” approach on the issue, adding: “These topics are regulated in different countries in various ways.”

He added Russia is a multiethnic and secular country.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

UPDATE – Rights group slams EU court’s hijab ruling

UPDATES WITH STATEMENT FROM WOMEN AND DEMOCRACY FOUNDATION, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Atila Altuntas

STOCKHOLM (AA) – A Turkish women’s group Wednesday said the European Court of Justice’s ruling to allow a ban on religious symbols showed Europe had “surrendered to racism and fascism.”

In a statement, the Women and Democracy Foundation (KADEM) said: “We are saddened to see racism, discrimination, Islamophobia, xenophobia and fascism are trending values in Europe.

“We expected the authorities to scorn the hijab ban, rather than approving it.”

The court’s decision Tuesday that banning the wearing of any “political, philosophical or religious symbol” in the workplace did not constitute “direct discrimination” has been described as a direct attack on women wearing the hijab, or headscarf.

KADEM added that women should not be dictated to by employers, governments or the court over what they wear.

“Europe has put its signature on another decision that is against freedom of conscience and religion,” the statement added. “Fundamentally, Europe needs some human rights lessons.”

Earlier, Amnesty International criticized the ruling as giving “greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women — and men — on the grounds of religious belief.”

Amnesty urged nations to condemn the decision.

The judgment came in the cases of two women in France and Belgium, dating back to 2008 and 2003 respectively, who were dismissed for refusing to remove their hijabs at work.

Samira Achbita took action after she was sacked in 2003 as a receptionist at the G4S security company in Belgium.

In the second case, French IT firm Micropole dismissed Asma Bougnaoui in 2008.