Recent News from ACT! for America


 
ACT! for America editor's note: Even before the ruling, one event organisers' security tried to physically remove members of the audience who would not comply. Female students have been forced to sit in the rear, were banned from speaking at events, and were forced to write their questions down while the men were able to ask their questions of the speaker directly. Research has shown that 46 events explicitly promoted gender segregation and 180 radical imams have spoken at UK universities in just the short period between March 2012 - March 2013.

By Channel 4




Campaigners are targeting Universities UK (UUK) offices in Tavistock Square, London, after the organisation published a report last month saying universities could segregate by gender during talks from external speakers.

In the report, UUK claimed that universities faced a complex balance of promoting freedom of speech without breaking equality and discrimination laws.

The report presented some hypothetical case studies which come up on campuses, including whether a speaker from an ultra-orthodox religious group requests an audience is segregated by gender.

 

Chris Moos, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, who is attending the protest, told Channel 4 News: "What we want to achieve is for Universities UK to immediately rescind their guidelines condoning gender segregation, and issue guidelines that clearly lay out that any kind of segregation, whether under racist, cultural, religious, nationalistic or sexist pretences, is wrong and has no place in the public space."

Erin Marie Saltman, research project officer at Quilliam and PhD researcher at UCL (University College London), told Channel 4 News: "This is a bigger issue of racism of lower expectations, of avoidance.

"There is a fear of offending the Muslim community but there are a lot of modern Muslims that would never allow gender segregation."

 

In a statement, UUK said: "The guidance was approved by senior legal counsel as properly reflecting the law. It is not prescriptive. Universities are independent institutions and will make decisions on a case by case basis.

"The guidance does not promote gender segregation. It includes a hypothetical case study involving an external speaker talking about his orthodox religious faith who had requested segregated seating areas for men and women.

"The case study considered the facts, the relevant law and the questions that the university should ask, and concluded that if neither women nor men were disadvantaged and a non-segregated seating area also provided, a university could decide it is appropriate to agree to the request.

"It is very hard to see any university agreeing to a request for segregation that was not voluntary and did not have the broad support of those attending. As the guidance explains, there may be many other reasons why a university might refuse a request for segregation."
 



'Enforced'

Jo Attwooll, policy adviser at the organisation, added: "The case studies themselves have been designed around some of the bigger issues that people highlighted.

"In relation to segregation there have been a few publicised cases where segregation has either been requested or has actually happened.

“There was a recent one at UCL where the speaker wanted there to be enforced segregation.

"What that case demonstrated was the need to be clear when you're making external speaker bookings around what the environment will be for that speaker to be given a platform. In that case it only became apparent when the speaker turned up that was what the speaker wanted and the university then took very strong action."

 

According to the protest Facebook group, the demo has been organised after 8,000 people signed a petition against the guidelines.

Maryam Namazie, spokesperson of One Law for All and Fitnah, Movement for Women’s Liberation, said: "Today, International Human Rights Day, we rally outside of the office of Universities UK to condemn their endorsement of segregation of the sexes.

"Their new guidance to universities on external speakers states that the segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as both men and women are segregated side by side rather than women being made to sit in the back.

"Would racial apartheid have been non-discriminatory if white and black people had been segregated in the same manner? In fact that is the very argument the apartheid regime of South Africa used when faced with criticism: separate but equal."

'Widespread'

Earlier this year, a student equality group claimed that preaching by extremists and discrimination through segregation at student events has become a "widespread" trend at many UK universities.

Student Rights, which carried out the research, found that radical imams spoke at 180 events at universities including Cardiff and UCL between March 2012 and March 2013.

Segregated seating for men and women was promoted or implied at more than a quarter of the events, at 21 separate institutions.

Among the events highlighted in the Student Rights report was a gender-segregated event at UCL on 9 March.

Segregation policy

The lecture, Islam vs Atheism, was organised by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), and pitted writer Hamza Tzortzis against Prof Laurence Krauss in a debate.

The IERA suggested a sexual segregation policy, and it was enforced at the event.

Men and women had separate entrances - although couples were allowed to enter together - and segregated seating. Organisers' security tried to physically remove members of the audience who would not comply, Student Rights said.

A UCL spokesman said that the institution does not permit segregation at meetings and the university has a "clear policy" of allowing speakers on campus freely, as long as they remain within the law.

[source]

 
 

Asylum seeker Mohammad Salem Nazari to appear in court charged with sex attacks in Olympic Park Aquatic Centre





AN Afghan asylum seeker who has been in Australia for less than six months has had his bridging visa revoked after being accused of groping a group of teenage girls at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

Mohammad Salem Nazari, 33, is accused of indecently assaulting seven girls in the Rapid River Ride whirlpool at the popular swimming pool in a 25-minute period after 4pm on Sunday.

Nazari, who was living in a Parramatta unit and is from the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan, is the 31st asylum seeker facing criminal charges to have his bridging visa cancelled under tough new rules announced by the Coalition government in October.

The girls reported the alleged groping to pool security and after police reviewed CCTV footage, Nazari was arrested and taken to Auburn Police Station.

Nazari is facing five counts of indecent assault of a person under 16 years of age for five girls, two aged 14 and three 15, which carries a maximum 10-year jail term.

He also faces two counts of assault with an act of indecency for two 18-year-olds, which carries a five-year maximum term.

His Legal Aid lawyer Peter Allport told Burwood Local Court yesterday his client spoke no English and required a Dari interpreter. Dari is a Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, one of the country's two official languages.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow so an interpreter could be present and Nazari was refused bail.

Immigration staff interviewed Nazari yesterday while he was in custody. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office confirmed Nazari's visa had been cancelled and court papers said he was the "subject of an immigration hold" should he be granted bail.

This would mean if he is granted bail by the court he would go into immigration detention while the case is heard as he has no visa to live in the community.

[source]

ACT! update: Nazari is accused of grabbing the girls around the waist, touching their thighs, bottoms and breasts over a span of 25 minutes. He is now claiming it was an "accident" because he is a poor swimmer.


 



A 400 y/o oak, which is possibly the oldest in Syria, may also be in danger.

Radical Islam is not just a threat to people but to the dogs and cats they kill (many of which were people's pets or blind assistance dogs), the historic trees they cut down, the grave sites they destroy, the schools, churches, and religious buildings they burn down, the old books, scrolls, & artifacts they destroy, the archeological sites they tear up, and the ancient temples they blow up. They have even been discussing how to destroy the pyramids.

 


by Naharnet Newsdesk

"Jihadists cut down a 150-year-old oak tree in Atme, on Syria's border with Turkey, after they accused locals of worshiping it, a pro-jihadist source said.

"Thank God almighty, the tree... aged more than 150 years has been removed, after people were worshiping it instead of God," said the source on Thursday via his Twitter account named "our call is our jihad."

He also posted pictures of a man in a black mask using an electric saw to cut down the tree. A black al-Qaida-style flag bearing the Islamic profession of faith had been planted on top of the tree.

The jihadist sympathizer used the hashtag used by supporters of the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the tree had been cut down, adding that it stood next to an ancient shrine in Atme.

After jihadists took over the shrine and prevented people from going to pray there, prayers were held by the tree instead.

The reports came hours after ISIL took over the town of Atme in northwestern Syria's Idlib on Thursday, according to the Observatory and a local rebel source.

ISIL "have taken over Atme... They have set up checkpoints across the town," said Abu Leila, a rebel from Idlib who was angered by the capture.

He saw it as a strategic loss for mainstream opposition fighters, many of who have been at loggerheads with the jihadists.

"Atme was oxygen for the (rebel) Free Syrian Army" fighting to topple Syria's President Bashar Assad, he told Agence France Presse.

The rebels had been using Atme "as an entry point for everything from weapons to food, and as an exit point for the wounded" into Turkey's hospitals, said Abu Leila."

[source]

 
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) sits down with RFE/RL's Akbar Ayazi in Kabul on November 26.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) sits down with RFE/RL's Akbar Ayazi in Kabul on November 26

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he has two demands before he'll sign a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States and that he'll approve the document as soon as those demands are met -- despite saying earlier he would wait until his country's presidential election is completed in April 2014. RFE/RL's Akbar Ayazi sat down with Karzai in Kabul for an exclusive interview to discuss the Afghan president's views.

RFE/RL: Mr. President, you called a consultative Loya Jirga to consider the Bilateral Security Agreement negotiated with the United States. Now that the Jirga has concluded, are you happy with its recommendations and have you achieved what you intended to get from it?

Hamid Karzai: The Afghans now want to conclude an agreement with the United States, and the Loya Jirga has done well in backing it. We consider this agreement to be in the interests of Afghans. But our condition is to ensure the protection of Afghan homes. The Americans should stop attacks against Afghan homes. Another condition is peace in Afghanistan. If we don’t have peace, this agreement will turn into a disaster for Afghanistan instead of a blessing.

RFE/RL: Mr. President, the Loya Jirga has recommended adding 36 new clauses to the draft security agreement. One of the clauses recommends that you sign the agreement before the end of this year. The head of the Loya Jirga [former president Sibghatullah Mojadiddi] also demanded the same from you. So are you going to add these new clauses and sign the agreement before the end of 2013?

Karzai: I have demanded an end to all American attacks against Afghan homes and the beginning of a realistic peace process. Whenever the Americans meet these two demands of mine, I am ready to sign the agreement. And when these two demands are implemented, this agreement is in Afghanistan's interests. On the issue of elections, last night the U.S. national security adviser [Susan Rice] assured me that America is not going to interfere in the elections and that it wants the elections to be conducted on time. In addition, if possible, it wants to see the elections concluded in the first round and even if it goes into a second round [they are committed to back the process.] They have assured me about this. But I will see what happens.

RFE/RL: Are you saying that Susan Rice, the U.S. national security adviser, has assured you the United States will help in holding free and fair elections?

Karzai: I talked to the U.S. national security adviser about this and I explained to her the situation during the previous presidential election. I briefed her about how America and other Western nations interfered in the previous presidential election, how they delayed the election, how they maligned the first round ballot. Keeping in view that experience, and as the president of Afghanistan today, it is my duty not to allow foreigners to either malign Afghanistan's next presidential election or stretch the process so that they can manipulate it. She assured me that this time there will be no interference in our election. So for now, I have her assurance. But I am watching them to see whether they interfere in the election or not. And I will talk about it then.

RFE/RL: In your speech during the Loya Jirga, you demanded an end to operations or attacks against Afghan homes, help with conducting free and fair presidential elections, and support for a meaningful peace process. But it has been reported that in your talks with the U.S. national security adviser, you demanded the freeing of 17 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Is that true? What did you demand?

Karzai: This was a demand made by the jirga. If you look at the 29th clause of their recommendations, it says that America should release all Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Bay immediately and hand them over to Afghanistan. So if the Americans want to implement the recommendations of the Loya Jirga, and one of the clauses that the Loya Jirga has recommended is an immediate signing of the security agreement, then they cannot ignore this other clause that demands the freeing of Afghan prisoners. Such things are not acceptable.

RFE/RL: In your view, why are the Americans insisting on signing this agreement soon?

Karzai: The Americans have their own agenda and their own plans. Whatever is behind their programs or their plans is up to them. But we Afghans need to have our own plans. We showed the Americans that Afghanistan wants friendship and an alliance with them. We are not against them. But in this friendship and alliance with the United States, the Afghans want to protect Afghanistan's interests. We don't want to stand against American interests. But we want to protect our homeland. And what are our homeland's interests? Our interest is to protect the homes of the Afghans from American attacks, night raids, and the unnecessary suffering of our people so that Afghan women and children are not forced to abandon their homes at night because of fears of American bombs and helicopters. You know well that in Afghanistan during the past few years people have taken their women and children to the mountains just to protect them from American attacks at night. It is impossible to have a security agreement with America while our people are still forced to leave their homes because of the fear of American forces. So if America wants to conclude a security agreement with us, America needs to respect the security of Afghan homes and let the Afghan children, men, and women live in their homes in security.

To read more, click here.

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
November 26, 2013

 

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