August 1. Nearly 900 Syrians in Britain were arrested in 2015 for crimes including rape and child abuse, police statistics revealed. The British government has pledged to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by the end of 2020. “The government seems not to have vetted those it has invited into the country,” said MEP Ray Finch. The disclosure came after Northumbria Police and the BBC were accused of covering up allegations that a gang of Syrians sexually assaulted two teenage girls in a park in Newcastle.
August 1. Male refugees settling in Britain must receive formal training on how to treat women, a senior Labour MP said. Thangam Debbonaire, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, called for a “refugee integration strategy” so that men “understand what is expected of them.” She said it could help prevent sexual harassment and issues “including genital mutilation.”
August 2. Jane Collins, MEP for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), launched a petition calling for the BBC to stop using the term “honor killing.” The petition says the term “cultural murder” should be used instead. It states:
“To use the term ‘honor killing’ when describing the murder of a family member — overwhelmingly females — due to the perpetrators’ belief that they have brought ‘shame’ on a family normalizes murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction.
“Murder is murder, whether it be for cultural excuses or others. The term ‘honor killing’ is a euphemism for a brutal murder based on cultural beliefs which have no place in Britain or anywhere else in the world.”
August 3. Zakaria Bulhan, a 19-year-old Norwegian man of Somali descent, stabbed to death an American woman in London’s Russell Square. He also wounded five others. Police dismissed terror as a possible motive for the attack, which they blamed on mental health problems. But HeatStreet, a news and opinion website, revealed that Bulhan had uploaded books advocating violent jihad on social media sites.
August 4. A public swimming pool in Luton announced gender-segregated sessions for “cultural reasons.” The move will give men exclusive access to the larger 50-meter pool, while women will have to use the smaller 20-meter pool. The gender-segregated sessions are named ‘Alhamdulillahswimming,’ an Arabic phrase which means “Praise be to Allah.” UKIP MEP Jane Collins said the decision to have segregated times for swimming was “a step backwards for community relations and gender equality.” She added:
“The leisure center said this is for cultural reasons and I think we all know that means for the Muslim community. This kind of behavior, pandering to one group, harms community relations and creates tension. Under English law we have equality between men and women. This is not the same in cultures that believe in Sharia Law.”
August 5. Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood may be allowed to seek asylum in Britain, according to new guidance from the Home Office. The document states that high profile or politically active members
“may be able to show that they are at risk of persecution, including of being held in detention, where they may be at risk of ill-treatment, trial also without due process and disproportionate punishment…. In such cases, a grant of asylum will be appropriate.”
The new guidance contradicts previous government policy. In December 2015, then Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would “refuse visas to members and associates of the Muslim Brotherhood who are on record as having made extremist comments.”
August 5. Stephen Bennett, a 39-year-old father of seven from Manchester, was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for posting “grossly offensive” anti-Muslim comments on Facebook. One of the offending comments: “Don’t come over to this country and treat it like your own. Britain first.” He was arrested under the Malicious Communications Act. The judge said Bennett, whose mother-in-law and sister-in-law are Muslims, was guilty of “running the risk of stirring up racial hatred.” He described it as “conduct capable of playing into the hands of the enemies of this country.”
August 6. British MPs face a six-year alcohol ban when the Palace of Westminster, which has dozens of bars and restaurants, undergoes a multi-billion-pound refurbishment beginning in 2020. They will move to an office building operating under Islamic Sharia law. Their new home, Richmond House, is one of three government buildings which switched ownership from British taxpayers to Middle Eastern investors in 2014 to finance a £200 million Islamic bond scheme — as part of an effort to make the UK a global hub for Islamic finance. Critics say the scheme effectively imposes Sharia law onto government premises.
August 8. Lisa Duffy, a candidate to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), called for a ban on Muslim women wearing a veil in public buildings, shopping centers and on buses and trains. She also demanded that Islamic faith schools be closed to combat radicalization, as well as a “complete and comprehensive ban” on Sharia courts in the UK. She said the veil is “a symbol of aggressive separatism that can only foster extremism” and claimed that it is often “forced on women by men who view them as their property.”
August 8. Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative MEP and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Intergroup Group on Animal Welfare, called for all halal meat offered for sale in the UK to be clearly labeled as such. He wrote:
“The halal market is worth £2.6 billion in Britain alone, and the export market is also growing particularly in the Middle East. Most of us eat halal meat unwittingly on a daily basis, since it is sold in most major outlets, including big brand-name supermarkets, without being labelled as such.”
August 9. Tanveer Ahmed, a 32-year-old taxi driver from Bradford, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the “barbaric, premeditated” murder of a shopkeeper in Glasgow. Ahmed admitted to repeatedly stabbing Asad Shah to death outside his shop in March 2016 in a sectarian attack motivated by hatred of Shah’s religious views.
Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, confessed to attacking Shah, who belonged to the Ahmadi branch of Islam, which believes Mohammed was not the final Muslim prophet. As he was led from the dock, Ahmed raised a clenched fist and shouted in Arabic: “Praise for the Prophet Mohammed, there is only one Prophet.” His cry was repeated by supporters in the public gallery.
August 11. ITV News reported that Kadiza Sultana, one of three British schoolgirls who left their homes in east London to join the Islamic State, was killed by a Russian airstrike in Raqqa, Syria. Sultana had been living in Syria after leaving her home in February 2015 to join IS. She had travelled with her friends Amira Base and Shamima Begum, both of whom are believed to still be in Raqqa. “Sultana had become disillusioned with life in the medieval terror state and was making plans to flee back to Britain,” ITV said.
August 11. Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in British society, according to a report by the Women and Equalities Committee of the House of Commons. Figures suggest they are three times more likely to be unemployed job-seekers than women generally, and twice as likely to be economically inactive.
The report also found that jobless rates in the Muslim community run at more than double the rate of the general population (12.8% against 5.4%). It called for a change in law that would force companies to introduce “name blind” applications to reduce “unconscious bias” against Muslim and other minority candidates.
August 12. Voter fraud has been deliberately overlooked in Muslim communities because of “political correctness,” according to a government report. Sir Eric Pickles, author of the report, warned that election fraud was commonplace “especially in communities of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background” but it has been ignored because of “over-sensitivities about ethnicity and religion.”
The investigation began after a scandal in Tower Hamlets, London, where Mayor Lutfur Rahman was removed and his election declared void after he was found by a court to have committed electoral fraud, including vote-rigging. Pickles said never again in Britain should people be told they will “burn in hell” if they do not back a particular candidate. He added: “Electoral malpractice is far more common than just one isolated London borough thanks to the state’s collective state of denial.”