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August 23, 2000

Britain berated by UN and British NGOs on religious discrimination

For the second time in four years, the British Government has come under heavy criticism from the UN Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for failing to address religious discrimination, reports this Friday's The Muslim News. In Geneva, the Government also came under fire from the British NGOs. In an unprecedented joint submission to the CERD, both Muslim and non-Muslim organisations expressed their concern about religious discrimination and incitement to religious hatred in their Joint Report.

The Government defended it position by saying that there were "considerable difficulties in defining religion" and that it had commissioned research on the issue. However, The Muslim News, in its editorial argues that the Government has to move beyond this and "implementation of legislation is long overdue as reported instances of religious discrimination are on the increase". The Muslim News alone receives details of cases every month.

The paper further argues that the lack of provision of legal redress for religious discrimination "could be said to be the reason behind the highest unemployment rate amongst the Muslim community".

Islamophobia rife in prisons

The Muslim News reports that Imams visiting Muslim inmates in HM Prisons face institutionalised racism and Islamophobia. The paper also reports on racism and Islamophobia experienced by Muslim inmates.

The Muslim News quotes an example published by Professor Wilson and Professor B Spalek in the Howard Journal of the treated meted out on Muslim inmates. An imam told Wilson and Spalek: "An officer kept disturbing an inmate within his cell whilst he was praying. He kept coming back, kept coming back. When I approached him, he said that he thought that the inmate was playing a game with him by not wanting to respond when he was calling his name."

There are 4,302 (7% of prison population) Muslim inmates (May 2000) of which 111 are female prisoners.

Three-year old Muslim kid brain of 10-year-old

Three-year-old Yasin Owen is a gifted child. "In fact he is gifted to such an extent that he is able to understand most things suitable for 8 – 10 year-olds," reports The Muslim News. Little Yasin’s speciality is Biology.

"He’ll wake me up at the oddest of times," says his mother, Laila, "and ask me things like, ‘how do flowers have babies and how do they eat if they don’t have teeth? When it rains, where do butterflies go?’".

Yasin also loves Geometry and Shapes. On this subject and many others, he is at least two years ahead of his age group.

For further information contact us on 020 7608 2822 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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