Poland, New Player in Islamophobia Game


WARSAW, Apr 8 2017 (IPS) – Ameer Alkhawlany moved to Poland in September 2014 to pursue a Master’s in biology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland’s second largest city. Two years later, the Polish state awarded him a scholarship to complete a PhD in the same faculty.

Pawel Koteja, his professor at the institute, told Polish media that Alkhawlany was “very committed to his scientific research, to which he dedicated a lot of time and effort, and was determined to pursue an academic career.”

According to activists in contact with Alkhawlany, the student had an uneventful life in Poland until last summer, when he was allegedly approached by Poland’s secret services (ABW) with the offer to inform on Muslims residing in Poland. He would have to report back from mosques and actively seek out contact with specific people.

Alkhawlany refused. He said he was an atheist so he didn’t attend religious services and that some of the people he was asked to contact were from non-Arabic speaking countries so he might not have a common language with them.
In July, when the man was allegedly approached by ABW, Krakow was hosting the annual Catholic ‘World Youth Day’, attended by the Pope and an estimated three million people. Polish authorities were tightening security.

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You Can’t Opt Out At Islamophobia


When I travel, passport checks and security don’t phase me, armed police pay me no attention and no matter where I’m going, the worst I’ll face is a bored employee longing to finish their shift. I do as I’m told. Shoes off, electronic devices in the box. I’m polite and don’t cause any disruption. So why shouldn’t it be like this? The point is it should be, but not just for you.

Last year I travelled with my friend in Europe. We went to France, Denmark and Belgium. Admired the art, loved the landmarks and relished the idea of a city as clean as Copenhagen.

As we progressed through the queues, checks and controls, we followed the rules. Our attitude the same, the only difference being the place of birth on our passports. Stepping into the air with the automatic doors sliding closed behind us, he breathed a sigh of relief, ‘Well that’s never been so easy. Is that what it’s like to travel when you’re white?’ and as he joked it hit me. Yes, yes it is.

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Anti-Muslim, Anti-Refugee Rhetoric Poses a Big Threat to Our Communities


Wednesday saw a significant blow to the Trump administration’s attempts to institute a Muslim ban. A Federal Judge in Hawaii struck down a revised travel ban, saying it was driven by “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus” as evidenced by comments made by the administration and Trump himself. As a Somali-American living and working in a large refugee community, this animus has long been apparent and has deeply affected me and those in my community.
Since the launch of his presidential campaign two years ago, Donald Trump seemed to have a particularly virulent animus toward us Somalis. In stops in Minneapolis, and Lewiston, all home to large Somali refugee populations, he referred to Somalis as a “disaster” to the communities they moved to, as a dangerous threat to their neighbors, and as potential terrorists. This was underscored by repeated calls to prevent Muslims from entering the country, warnings of the dangers of Muslim refugees, and denunciations of Islam as an enemy of America.  Many in our community called it hate.
Why does he hate us” was an often repeated question.

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Fuchs to discuss hate on campus during town hall


UF President Kent Fuchs will hold a town hall meeting today at 6 p.m. in Emerson Hall to gauge students’ opinions about racially charged incidents on campus.

At a Board of Trustees meeting Friday, Fuchs spoke of the challenges of defending free speech while denouncing acts of hate on campus. He spent about 10 minutes discussing recent racially charged incidents on campus, such as a noose found in a Weimer Hall classroom and a man with a swastika on his sleeve on Turlington Plaza.

Most recently, anti-Muslim graffiti was found in McCarty Hall B on Thursday, he said.

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Police investigate hate graffiti in northwest Calgary park


Calgary police are looking for suspects in connection with some hate graffiti that was found throughout an off-leash park in Ranchlands.

The messages, containing insults directed towards Jews and Muslims, were discovered by Glen Tinckler, a resident who was walking his dog.

He reported the find to Crime Stoppers and police and wants to make sure the person or people who posted the messages are apprehended.

“We need to be aware of these things because we want to stop this before it gets a foothold like its seeming to in the rest of the world at this time,” Tinckler said.

Lori Simpson, who has lived in the area for 15 years, says she feels disheartened by the hateful messages down the popular path for dog walkers.

“We are a community that cares about each other and often, all summer long, I’ll pick weeds, I’ll pick up bottles, I’ll pick up garbage to keep it nice.”

Police are working to track down who may have sprayed the messages.

Meanwhile, Syrian refugee groups are taking the hateful feelings behind the graffiti very seriously and say it’s hard to believe it happened in Ranchlands.

“It is very disappointing Ranchlands is a community where there are two mosques and both of these mosques have been so good at reaching out to people, whether it is shoveling snow in the winter time, having open houses into the mosques, distributing sweets, pamphlets or anything you can imagine to dispel Islamaphobia,” said Saima Jamal with the Syrian Refugee Support Group.

Jamal said the hateful messages are very twisted and disturbing.

“These frustrations always come during these attacks, because of what’s happening down south with Trump coming into power, the frustrations have doubled or tripled from that.”

Jamal says a conference involving all Muslims and focusing on combating racism is planned in the near future.

US hate crime: Iowa mosque gets threatening note calling Muslims ‘vile’


A leader of the Islamic Center of Des Moines plans to meet with authorities to discuss a threatening note found in the centre’s mail.

Dr Samir Shams, the president of the center, says he found the handwritten note Sunday morning. It said Muslims were a “vile” people and that President Donald Trump would “do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The note was signed only “Americans for a Better Way.”

Shams says Muslims have to take such notes seriously and that he planned to meet yesterday with the FBI.

The Iowa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a news release calling for a hate crime investigation. The council says similar messages have been sent to other mosques in Iowa and elsewhere.

Anti-Islam note leaves community shaken


When Dr. Samir Shams flipped through the mail at the Islamic Center of Des Moines on Sunday morning, he found something disturbing.

The Islamic Center of Des Moines president unfolded a threatening handwritten note calling Muslims “filthy” and “vile” people.

Police in San Jose, Calif., received reports of the same letter being sent to a mosque in November. Similar notes were reportedly sent to other mosques in California, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida that month.

The note was signed only “Americans for a Better Way” and appeared to be written by someone who claims to support President Donald Trump. The note made Holocaust references, saying Trump is “going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” It warned Muslims to “pack your bags and get out of Dodge.”

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