Gaza Under Attack

The deaths of innocent have risen to a new peak as Israel continues to bomb Gaza, Palestine. The justification given by Israel is that they are targeting Hamas – a group in Palestine who are labelled as terrorists.
The ongoing conflict is spilling innocent blood, yet there seems no sign of ceasefire or peace. Many across the world have been protesting, especially across Europe where people are standing in solidarity with the people of Palestine to put pressure on their Governments to stop funding Israel; which is leading to the brutal deaths of hundreds of innocent people. The funding given to Israel by the US has risen over the years: In 2010 they were funded $2.775 billion, in 2011 it was $3 billion, in 2012 it was 3.07 billion and 3.15 billion between 2013 until 2018. This has infuriated many as they their money that goes towards taxes is used to spill innocent blood.
The protests are ongoing, and many have reminded the government and the world that it has been a 10 year anniversary of apartheid wall been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice (9th June). Facts like these were read to remind the communities that what is happening is Palestine in is illegal. History is repeating itself with the apartheid been present, diving people and causing war.
There are several ways in which you can stand up for the people of Palestine:
You can donate to help the innocent lives of the Palestinians here:
http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/palestine/
https://humanappeal.org.uk/donate?gclid=CJO-jIf5u78CFSvjwgodEmUAvQ
You can also use the #GazaUnderAttack #PrayForPalestine etc to raise awareness of the conflict.
You can also join the protests in your local area to show that we are united and we are standing with Palestine. Here is a link to some around the world:

http://samidoun.ca/2014/07/take-action-protests-around-the-world-respond-to-assault-on-palestine/

“You don’t have to be Muslim to stand up for Palestine, you have to be human”
Also if you want more detail on the conflict that has been ongoing for decades, please leave a comment and I will make future blog posts on the topic.

Omar Khadr – An Injustice

So I haven’t posted on my blog for a very long time, and I feel I should explain why. So here it is, the reason is that I heard a story, a story so heart breaking and traumatising that I didn’t not want to write it unless I could do it justice.. with that thought, I have not been able to sit down and write a coherent story and portray it in the way that it should be portrayed. I feel like it is a great injustice if I do not share the story of a man called Omar Khadr. In the world full of injustices, we should all try to make things right, with the varied power we have as individuals. Although this is very late, I feel I should write it anyway. So this is the story of Omar Khadr.

Earlier on this year in March, Dennis Edney the lawyer of Omar Khadr told his heart breaking story at the University of Birkbeck. At the age of 15 whilst living in Afghanistan with his family, Omar was caught in a situation with no fault of his own. He was caught in a battlefield, and Omar was a child at the age of 15 when he was a victim of a war crime when he was shot in the back by a US soldier. Omar was the captured and detained at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay prisons for a decade.

Omar was falsely accused of throwing a grenade approximately 80 feet, while he was shot in the back and brutally injure, which resulted in a death of a US solider. There has been no evidence to prove that Omar was behind the death of the soldier to this day, yet he was still convicted and detained for a decade.

Dennis spoke about when he first spoke to Omar; he spoke about how he was tortured, hung on a wall in a crucifix position. At this point Omar was still very young. He was brutally and inhumanely tortured until he agreed to plead guilty of a crime he did not commit. Where is the justice, the humanity that no child should be convicted of a war crime especially when he was victim of the same crime? This capture of the child was illegal, because he should have been identified as a child and should have been protected by international law. There was no law to protect Omar and unfortunately the torture did not stop there in Bagram.

Omar was transported to Guantanamo Bay where he spent over a decade, (the treatment and cruelty of detainees that takes place in Guantanamo Bay has been mentioned in my other article). After 8 years of been detained Omar took “get-out-of-Guantanamo plea deal” which consisted of him pleading guilty to five post facto charges. This was the only way out for Omar and he decided to get out of the hell that was Guantanamo. He would plead guilty and then be kept imprisoned in a Canadian prison. Omar is now 27 and still imprisoned in the Canadian prison.

To add reality to the word torture, here is a list of just a few forms of torture used on Omar since he was detained – These have led to many injuries to Omar that he suffers with:

  • Prolong sleep deprivation
  • Beating
  • Suspension from his wrists while his wounds were fresh
  • Threats of gang rape
  • Hooding
  • Intimidation by dogs
  • Forced nakedness

 

As Dennis Edney continued to speak, and tell the story of an innocent child detained, tortured and treated less than an animal the room was silent. Many shed tears at the injustice and brutality. Dennis Edney has been working to free Omar since he was child (over 10 years). He has been working for free and to cover the costs of courts and any other expenses he has paid from his own finances. Dennis Edney is a true hero.

“It’s not naive to believe we can make change” – Dennis Edney (March 2014)

To help you can MAKE A DONATION WHICH COULD STOP THE TORTURE OF THIS INNOCENT MAN:

  • 2) By Cheque, you can send to:
    Free Omar Khadr Now Committee
    P.O. Box 57112
    RPO East Hastings Street
    Vancouver, V5K 1Z0
    B.C. Canada
    (Please enclose your email address)
  • 3) By Bank Deposit/Interac e-transfer:
    Free Omar Khadr Now Committee
    VanCity Credit Union, Branch 13
    Account number: 531590
    freeomarkhadrnow@gmail.com

Obama’s Empty Promises

Barak Obama made a vow to the public at beginning of his presidency that he will close Guantanamo Bay, yet the detention camp remains open five years later.

Guantanamo Bay is a detention camp, in Cuba (USA). The camp is used to detain suspected terrorists. It was opened under the presidency of George Bush in his attempt undergo ‘The war on terror’. In January of this year, it was the camps 12th anniversary. There are basic statistics that the public needs to be made aware of and they are as follows:

  • 800 men have been imprisoned
  • They have lost over a decade of their life being tortured
  • 9 prisoners have lost their lives.
  • The US Government has spent around $4.7bln. This is around $800 000 extra per prisoner than the US federal prisons.

The detainees are tortured and imprisoned without any evidence; they are abandoned by the justice system which America so proudly stands for. The types of inhumane torturing procedures that the prisoners have to face on a daily basis include water boarding, beatings, extreme temperatures, and making the detainees believe that their families are in danger of death. The US has been internationally criticised for the existence of the Guantanamo Bay camp however it still remains.

The prisoners took a stand by attempting a hunger strike, but in order to keep the prisoners alive for them to face more torture, they were force fed. This takes cruelty to a new level in the camp. The camp that stands for keeping America from being terrorised however inflicts terror on the prisoners on a daily base’s. The force feeding procedure consists of the prisoner being stuffed with a tube up their nose; this tube then travels through to their stomach and carries the food. The tube is over a meter long, and it is painful as it can be seen from the following video clip of Yasiin Bey undergoing the force feeding process. (Youtube clip of Mos Def undergoing the force feeding process in order to show the world what the 45 prisoners of Guantanamo bay that are on hunger strike have to go through on a daily basis – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6ACE-BBPRs).

Yasiin Bey also known as his stage name Mos Def, an actor and a hip hop singer went through the force feeding procedure that the prisoners of the detention camp have to go through, at least twice a day. The procedure was recorded and it shocked the world. In the end, Bey could not go through with the procedure when the tubes were placed inside his nose. He cried and begged for the procedure to stop as any human being would and luckily of him, he was not being held captive so it was stopped.

Obama renewed his vow in 2014. He spoke at his annual State of Union Address “This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.” But is this good enough? Is he five years too late to win the forgiveness for the brutal inhumane acts that have taken place under his presidency? What will happen to the remaining 155 prisoners of the cruelty camp?

Give you opinions below.

Leonardo Dicaprio left Oscar-less once again

This was the forth time Leo was nominated for the Oscars, yet he was unlucky once again. The fans had their hopes up high for Leo and hoped that 2014 would be his year, by winning the most prestige award in the movie industry. Thousands were left to be disappointed, the biggest disappointment was to the star himself.

The star was nominated for his leading role in the recent movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, but was beaten by Mathew McConaughey. Leonardo proved to be a graceful loser, from his practice of over the years perhaps, and gave his rival a big kiss.

Thousands pitied the man for losing once again, and this outrage resolved to ‘Poor Leo’ trending on twitter during the award show.  Although some basked in the glory of Leo’s failure by  making memes such as these.

Image

Oh poor Leo. We sincerely hope that you will an Oscar one day and remember that there is always next year.

Do you think Leonardo deserved to win the Oscar?

Leave comments below.

Beat Procrastination

We all have those days when procrastination takes over. We spend the whole day in our dungeons and spend all day doing a little to nothing; especially when we have assignments/other work to do. Important thing to remember is, you can not sleep your way through your problems and up coming deadlines (sorry to break it to you buddy).

Here are a few simple tips, in order for you to escape the your procrastination demons and get on with things:

1 – Get out of bed (this a small step but it doesn’t come without its difficulties).

2 – Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and get read to kick some ass. Yes Im talking to you, yes you. You can do this!

3 – Make a list of things you need to do. Although you may not be able to get them all completed, you will at least have finished a few (Lists will help you be organised – especially if you’re in a mess and have 101 things to do).

4 – Start with the simplest. If all your tasks are equally painful and require a lot of your time, complete the one task or assignment which has the due date fast approaching. Or the one you find the most interesting.

5 – After finishing the first thing of your list, treat yourself. Have a nap (BUT ONLY A NAP).

6 – Get some food to keep you going and your energy flowing.

7 – Try to do more of the work from your list.

8 – At the end of the day, feel good and proud of yourself. You may have not completed everything but you made a start. Go you.

See I told you, you could do it!

Hijab and its endless controversies.

There is seemingly endless amount of controversy surrounding hijab, a head garment worn by Muslim women. Noor Khan educates many on hijab in the hope to diminish the judgement made on Muslim women.   

I am a Muslim woman who chooses to wear the hijab, as a way to follow my faith and express my beliefs. It is incredibly important part of my daily life. Whilst wanting to travel abroad especially to France I have to consider costs, items to take and all the usual business, but unlike other tourists I have to consider and research whether my hijab, my identity would be accepted. Also, more importantly, if my hijab will be breaking the law.

So what is a Hijab? A hijab is a head covering piece of fabric that Muslim women wear to preserve their beauty. It is part of Islam that the followers of the religion, women and men dress modestly. Fariha, a young woman who chooses to wear hijab talked about what hijab meant to her and her religion: “Hijab is a way to preserve beauty from non-muhram, which means men outside of my family. It’s important to me because it’s modesty and part of my identity.”

Statistics were taken from an article from Huffington Post. The article featured statistics on how Muslim women are abused more than Muslim men because the way they are dressed. It is clear hijab and other Muslim wear can be dangerous to Muslim women. As a result of Islamophobia “Muslim women are more likely to be targets for Islamophobia than men, with 80 percent targeted for wearing the hijab, a new study has found” (Taken from Huffington Post by Jessica Elgot). During a study carried out by The University of Birmingham it was discovered that 58 percent of the Islamophobia victims they spoke to were women. And out of those women victims of Islamophobia, 80 percent had worn religious clothing.

Many young Muslim women who wear the hijab feel that hijab has become part of their identity and to lose the comfort and part of their faith would be cruel. Speaking to Amna, a university student who started wearing hijab at a young age gave an insight into her understanding and perspective of hijab. Amna said how embracing the hijab “just felt natural”. She spoke about hijab affecting her daily life: “It seems so natural and normal to me”. She gave her view on the isolation that some people may think hijab brings for Muslim women, but Amna disagrees: “I honestly don’t feel like there is a barrier at all.” Amna later spoke about how the ban that has been carried out in France would affect her. “I would feel angry. Liberty and freedom of it had been taken away from me, I would feel like an outsider.” Amna made it clear that this hijab ban would rip away her identity and said that “I would feel naked”. It is important that Amna’s story along with many others is heard. Hijab has become the centre point of controversy and it is now time for Muslim women who wear the hijab to speak out.

On the other hand, Shanice who is a Muslim but chooses not to wear the hijab gave her views on the hijab. Shanice spoke strongly about the hijab she felt that it empowers women who wear the hijab. There are many ideas and views from western world, that women who wear hijab are oppressed, Shanice spoke out against this “I have a lot of Muslim friends and they chose to wear it themselves”. She felt that women were free and had the choice, “especially living in the UK”. Shanice later spoke about whether hijab isolated women or if she saw hijabis differently to anyone else. “I respect them” said the young Muslim. “We’re all human beings, hijabis are human beings” She discussed how it came down to respecting each other as one human to the other. Shanice concluded with her future regarding the hijab. “I don’t think I will wear it, that’s just my choice.. It’s not really for me.”

Bilayath is a Muslim man who gave his interpretation on the idea of hijab. Bilayath started with explaining that the “hijab means to cover”. He later gave his opinion of the niqaab which is a full face veil which only reveals the eyes. “The west talk about democracy but they talk about banning niqaab.” He later added that removing the niqaab “for security reasons is understandable” but he felt strongly about how banning the niqaab is injustice to women who choose to wear it. He made his opinion clear: “I don’t think hijab isolates women at all”. To close Bilayath asked a vital and an imperative question: “If women have the right to show their body, surely they would have the right to cover it up? “

Lastly a perspective from the eyes of a non- Muslim was given by Josh, a British young man who attends a multi-cultural university where he is around hijabis during his time at university. Josh spoke about his lack of understanding about the hijab. “I don’t know the meaning of it really. I understand it’s to do with religion but people nowadays don’t bother to really understand, they just judge it.” Josh strongly felt that a ban in any case would not solve the issue and the controversy around the religious wear, he believes that “banning the hijab is not the answer, making people understand why it is worn will fix the discrimination”. Josh finally concluded with how he would feel is a ban like the ban in France was carried out in the UK, “I would be disappointed, I’m proud to say I come from a country that is multicultural and diverse, it would be a shame to persecute one culture and religion as it would just lead to more bans on other cultural clothing such as the cross.” Josh made it clear that he feels that wearing religious wear whether it is the hijab or a cross, is vital for a person’s identity.

In the ‘National’ paper of France, and article was written about the uneasiness and the tension on the ban of the hijab. The ban in France has caused uneasiness within the Muslim people of France, it stops them from participating in daily activities. In the article it is shown how a citizen of France was not allowed to join her daughter on a school trip. The ban has been made law in France, and there is a growing fear amongst the Muslim communities in the UK that this sort of law which takes away the right of thousands of women who choose to wear the hijab might be put in place.

Many would like to believe that racism no longer exists but that is not the case. There is a large number of people who strongly feel that the best way to fight Islamophobia, racism and abuse for being part of a faith that is in the eye of the media continuously, is to educate. Education is a powerful tool, and the public need to understand that Muslim people living in the UK are human beings just like everyone else. I believe, like Josh that understanding a religion or certain aspects of religion will solve the problems regarding racism and regarding the hijab.

A poll on Hijab –