Sunday, March 17, 2013

Racist graffiti daubed on sign in one of UK's most exclusive communities where villagers are fighting over planned Sikh school
A race row has erupted in one of Britain's wealthiest villages after offensive graffiti was plastered on the site of a proposed Sikh school.  If the Khalsa Secondary Academy is built it would see more than 1,000 people flock into Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, from as far afield as West London.

Tension in the village has grown over the past fortnight with angry locals venting their anger online and at parish council meetings.

Now one racist hooligan has daubed 'NO P*** SCHOOL' and 'DON'T SELL TO P*** SCHOOL' on a sign at the proposed site.  [The graffiti probably used the term "Paki", which is just an abbreviation of "Pakistani" but is considered highly offensive in Britain.  Sikhs are of course neither Pakistanis nor Muslims.  Their home is Panjab State in India and their founder is guru Nanak, not Mohammed. Like  Christianity, Islam and Judaism, Sikhism is monotheistic]

Residents in Stoke Poges have condemned the thugs responsible for the graffiti, claiming their objections to the school have nothing to do with race.

But they feel the Slough Sikh Education Trust (SSET), which is behind the proposed faith school, could be fuelling rumours it is a race issue by circulating images of the graffiti.

Saera Carter, vice chairman of the Stoke Poges Parish Council, said: 'It was discovered at 8:30am in the morning and seven villagers scrubbed it off within the hour.

'As a village we were offended by it. We don't want to offend our Asian neighbours or the SSET as we are a peaceful village.

'Sikhism is a peaceful religion but this is immature and inflammatory behaviour and it wouldn't surprise me if the SSET is turning this into a race issue.'

Stoke Poges is known for the exclusive Stoke Park estate which featured in the James Bond classic Goldfinger. Recent figures ranked Stoke Poges as having the eighth highest concentration of £1 million properties sold in Britain.

It is understood Mr Kandola has also sent the image to Dominic Grieve, the Conservative MP who represents Stoke Poges as part of the Beaconsfield Ward.

Locals have said their opposition to the school is based on the proposed site - the current UK headquarters for Pioneer - being on greenbelt land.

They say Stoke Poges doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with 1,000 people entering the village each day and also fear children will lose their right to free bus travel if the multi-million pound taxpayer-funded school opens on the site.

When 222 parents at the village's primary school were asked if they would send their child to the Khalsa Academy, 93.25 per cent said no.

The chairman of the Slough Sikh Education Trust yesterday has described the racist graffiti as 'unfortunate'.

Nick Kandola said: 'The incident of graffiti at the proposed school site is unfortunate.  'We would much rather things like this weren't happening and, as a Trust, we would prefer to focus on the more important questions of how we can best deliver a new school in this location and serving this community. 'We do not want to draw unnecessary attention to this incident.

'We want to address the more fundamental questions about improving local educational choice and bringing forward an excellent planning proposition.'


University College London bans hard-line Islamic group which tried to segregate men and women at a debate held on university premises

A Muslim group has been banned from a university after segregating men and women during a debate.  Visitors to the event at University College London were told to use men’s or women’s entrances.

Organisers Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) told women to sit at the back, while men and couples were sent to the front. Three people who objected were ordered to leave.

The segregation was halted only when one speaker, US scientist Lawrence Krauss, stormed out.  Ignoring audience jeering, he told an organiser: ‘Either you quit the segregation or I’m not interested.’  He returned when staff allowed men and women to mix.

The public debate on Saturday was on the subject ‘Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?’  Atheist Mr Krauss was joined by another guest, Greek Islamic convert Hamza Andreas Tzortzis.

Audience member Dana Sondergaard wrote on her Facebook page: ‘After watching three people be kicked out of the auditorium ....  Dr Krauss bravely defended his beliefs of gender equality.’

Yesterday, Mr Chagtai told MailOnline: 'In all normal Islamic events people will naturally often separate themselves: men with men and women with women.

'It is de rigueur, in a way that is not too dissimilar to practices in Orthodox Jewish communities.

'The issue that UCL had is that it it can't be enforced.  But because of the limited space of the auditorium, there were a number of ladies who used their free will and didn't want to sit with the opposite sex, so we needed to cater for that.'

He said iERA had been told by UCL that segregation was against their ethos, and had intended 'to stick to what they said in letter and spirit'.

Mr Chagtai said his organisation was now conducting an internal investigation into what happened on the day.  He added: 'We need to take their criticism like this very seriously.  We feel it's the honourable thing to do to see if there was anybody that influenced segregation on the day from our staff.'

Atheist writer Richard Dawkins called the segregation 'sexual apartheid' and called it a 'disgraceful epsiode'.

Writing on his blog, he said: 'University College London is celebrated as an early haven of enlightened free thinking, the first university college in England to have a secular foundation, and the first to admit men and women on equal terms. Heads should roll.

'Isn’t it really about time we decent, nice, liberal people stopped being so pusillanimously terrified of being thought “Islamophobic” and stood up for decent, nice, liberal values?'

UCL's press office issued a statement saying iERA would never again be allowed to hold events on the university's campuses.  It said: 'We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds [but]... it now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting.

'We are still investigating what actually happened at the meeting but, given IERA’s original intentions for a segregated audience we have concluded that their interests are contrary to UCL’s ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises.'


WA: Abuse of Authority:   Vice principal forced middle schooler   to log in to Facebook

An Everett middle school student and her family said that her civil rights were violated after her vice principal forced her to log in to her Facebook account.

The family is now demanding clearer school policies.

Samantha Negrete, 14, was recently called to Vice Principal Bryan Toutant's office at North Middle School.

Toutant was investigating a case of cyberbullying involving one of Negrete's friends, who allegedly posted a photo of another girl on Facebook and made disparaging comments about it.

Negrete told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois that, when she arrived in Toutant's office, he was on his computer, and he told her to log in to her Facebook account.

"I felt like I was made to do it," Negrete said.

The vice principal found what he was looking for, and ever since, Negrete said, she has been teased and bullied herself.

"A lot of people are calling me a snitch and saying, 'Why would you do this? This is all your fault,'" Negrete said.

Connie Becerra, Negrete's mother, said that if the school had called and asked permission, it wouldn't have been a problem.

But, Becerra said, forcing the eighth-grader to show a school authority her Facebook page is comparable to police barging into a home without a search warrant.

"She's being called a snitch now, because she was the information gateway for him to get the information he needed to use against other children," Becerra said.

The issue has fueled the debate about whether schools have the right to see a student's private social media posts.

The Everett School District hasn't decided if the vice principal was right or wrong in this case, but an outside agency is looking into it.

The school district is now taking a close look at its policies and will be tackling the issue with teachers and administrators at a special forum on Friday.

"Principals must respond quickly when they hear about a safety issue," said Mary Waggoner of the Everett School District. "That balance of how they conduct the investigation is uncharted territory for a lot of schools, with the prevalence of social media."

Becerra's family contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about the incident, but they aren't planning any legal action.


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