Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

The number of Muslim MPs elected to the British parliament is expected to more than double at next week’s general election, and could reach up to a dozen or more.

The election is set to see the first Muslim women members of the House of Commons and the first Muslim MPs representing the Conservative Party.

In addition, Britain’s parliament is also likely to include its first Iraqi Kurd and first Bengali, while there is the possibility also of Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob becoming the first hijab-wearing MP, as already reported by IRNA.

Muslim candidates of various political persuasions are involved in a spectrum of intriguing contests for parliamentary seats around the country in part due to a record 146 MPs stepping down.

Labour has no less than seven Muslims, including three women, defending seats, the Conservatives one and another selected to capture the party’s number one target seat in Gillingham and Rainham, in eastern England.

A Muslim MP is also certain to be elected in Bethnal Green and Bow in East London, the most populous Muslim constituency, where uniquely no less than five Muslim candidates from different parties are vying for the seat vacated by anti-war Respect MP George Galloway.

Altogether a record of around 80 Muslim candidates are standing in the elections and according to the Muslim News, up to 15, or at least double the four, who were all Labour and all male, elected at the last election in 2005.

The elections are the closest for decades with so many uncertain factors and analysis also suggest that Britain’s two million Muslim population will play a decisive influence in the outcome.


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The BBC has learned that large numbers of women who come to Britain from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh say they have been abused by their in-laws.

Many are deported when their marriages break down, because they could not prove the abuse took place. Police say the incidents are not being reported because of family pressures, and fear.

This woman who did not want to be identified has told of her experience of domestic abuse. See the video here.

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The Muslim prison population in England and Wales has sharply increased in recent years. The BBC’s Ushma Mistry hears from former inmates and prison officers who claim gangs of Muslim prisoners are an increasingly powerful force.

“Muslims run it. Muslims run the prisons and there’s nothing the screws can do about it. For a Muslim you’d say it’s good but for a non-Muslim, it’s very, very bad,” a former inmate called Jay says.

‘Jay’ has spent many years inside various prisons in the South of England. It is a claim which is backed by former prison officers and other inmates.

Jay, 24, is a Muslim and has been in and out of prison for most of his life. He openly admits to helping to convert non-Muslim inmates to Islam and has meted out violence against anyone who dares to “disrespect” his religion.

He first went to prison when he was 15 and said there were hardly any Muslims inmates back then.

“At the beginning not many knew about Islam. There weren’t many converts. The mosque was empty, but nowadays jails are run mostly by the Muslims,” he said.

“There are certain brothers that convert purely on the basis that they read Islam and they want to believe in something that does good for them. Then other people because they want to be looked after.

“I’ve been in jail five times and on my last occasion, I’ve seen jails being run by Muslim inmates.

“Muslim prayers on a Friday are very, very busy. In some prisons there’s no space. In one jail I was in, they do the prayers in two sessions because there’s no space.”

Muslims represent 12% (9,795) of the prison population in England and Wales, according to the latest available figures from 2008. This has risen by 50% over five years.

In some high security prisons, the figures are well above average.

In 2008, Muslim prisoners accounted for a third (34%) of prisoners in HMP Whitemoor, in March, Cambridgeshire, and about a quarter (24%) of inmates in HMP Long Lartin, in Evesham, Worcestershire.

Speaking anonymously, a former prison officer, who worked at HMP Long Lartin, told the Donal MacIntyre programme about cases where non-Muslim prisoners were seriously assaulted and intimidated for refusing to abide by unofficial rules imposed by Muslim gangs, about eating pork or listening to Western music.

“Muslim gangs was something I was very concerned about – the situation changed where underworld gangsters who used to keep discipline and order were no longer in charge in the prison,” she said.

“The younger guys, who were being forced to convert, were doing it more for protection from a Muslim gang rather than follow the faith – most of them weren’t interested in the faith.

“I knew one lad quite well who was approached by the radical Muslims, and he changed. He just seemed very frightened all the time.

“He used to be forced to pray at certain times and I know for a fact they would be woken in the middle of the night to pray.

“He even grew a long beard even though he didn’t want to. I asked him why he grew the beard and he said ‘It’s survival miss, survival'”.

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Up to three-quarters of poultry sold as halal in the UK is falsely labelled, an industry group has warned.

The majority of halal-labelled poultry and a small amount of beef and lamb were slaughtered by machine rather than an individual, Naved Syed, of the English Beef and Lamb Executive Halal Steering Group, told The Grocer magazine.

The meat was being passed off as halal because the slaughter method was not usually printed on labels.

Mr Syed said: “If you told Muslims it was done by a machine they wouldn’t buy it. Practically all imams in this country have said that machine killing is not halal. Otherwise there’s no difference between halal and non-halal.”

The UK does not have a single standard for halal slaughter. Many Muslim countries have outlawed the practice after the internationally-recognised Malaysian Halal Standard MS 1500 removed machine slaughtering as an acceptable practice last year.

The Birmingham Council of Mosques said last week that it did not accept machine slaughter.

Mr Syed said his organisation was carrying out consumer research into attitudes towards halal production.

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A total of 201 people were arrested on suspicion of terrorism last year, Home Office figures showed today. Of those, 66 were eventually charged, 17 under terror laws.

In the year ending September 2009 there were 200.444 people stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, down 12% on the previous year.

The number of terrorism arrests is slightly up on last year, when 178 arrests were made. There have been 1,759 terrorism arrests since September 11 2001, the figures show.

For the year ending September 11 2009, of the 66 people charged, 17 (26%) were charged under terrorism legislation while seven (11%) were charged with terrorism-related offences.

The most common charge under terror laws since 2001 is possession of an article for terrorism purposes (30%) and fundraising (14%).

The charge rate of 33% is just above that for indictable offences, which is 29%.

Some 15% of those stopped classified themselves as Asian or Asian-British and 10% said they were black or black British.

The arrest rate resulting from searches under Section 44, which must take place within a designated area, was just 0.5%, with 965 people detained.

The Metropolitan Police also made 1,896 stop and searches under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows an officer to stop a person they suspect to be a terrorist.

One in five of those stopped identified themselves as being Asian.

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A Muslim woman was barred from boarding a flight to Pakistan after refusing to go through a new ‘naked’ full-body scanner at Manchester Airport on religious grounds.

Her companion also declined to be scanned for ‘medical reasons’.

The women were travelling together to Islamabad when they were selected to pass through the controversial security screen after checking-in at terminal two at the airport.

Both told airport staff they were not willing to be scanned. They were warned they would not be allowed to board the Pakistan International Airlines flight if they refused.

The pair decided they would rather forfeit their £400 tickets and left the airport with their luggage.

They are the first passengers to refuse to pass through one of the £80,000 scanners, introduced at Heathrow and Manchester airports on February 5.

The X-ray machines allow security staff to see a ‘naked’ image of passengers to show up hidden weapons and explosives.

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A teenage boy suffered from a fractured jaw after he was attacked in Rochdale town centre.

At 1:30pm on Saturday 23 January 2010, the 15-year-old was punched by a boy outside Fishwick’s. The offender was with a group of around six or seven other boys at the time of the attack.

He is described as Asian, 5ft 10ins, with a slim build and around 15-16 years old. He has black, cropped hair, with a fringe. The rest of the group were white and around 15-16 years old.

Detective Constable Janice Cruttwell said: “This appears to be a completely unprovoked attack on a young boy.

“The offender was probably showing off in front of his friends, but there is nothing clever about attacking an innocent boy on his own.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure he doesn’t get away with it. ”

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