Archive for the multicultural britain Category
Christians do not have a right to wear a cross or crucifix openly at work, the Government is to argue in a landmark court case.
In a highly significant move, ministers will fight a case at the European Court of Human Rights in which two British women will seek to establish their right to display the cross.
It is the first time that the Government has been forced to state whether it backs the right of Christians to wear the symbol at work.
A document seen by The Sunday Telegraph discloses that ministers will argue that because it is not a “requirement” of the Christian faith, employers can ban the wearing of the cross and sack workers who insist on doing so.
The Government’s position received an angry response last night from prominent figures including Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
He accused ministers and the courts of “dictating” to Christians and said it was another example of Christianity becoming sidelined in official life.
The Government’s refusal to say that Christians have a right to display the symbol of their faith at work emerged after its plans to legalise same-sex marriages were attacked by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.
A poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph shows that the country is split on the issue.
Overall, 45 per cent of voters support moves to allow gay marriage, with 36 per cent against, while 19 per cent say they do not know.
However, the Prime Minister is out of step with his own party.
Exactly half of Conservative voters oppose same-sex marriage in principle and only 35 per cent back it.
There is no public appetite to change the law urgently, with more than three quarters of people polled saying it was wrong to fast-track the plan before 2015 and only 14 per cent saying it was right.
The Strasbourg case hinges on whether human rights laws protect the right to wear a cross or crucifix at work under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
The Christian women bringing the case, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, claim that they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the symbols.
They want the European Court to rule that this breached their human right to manifest their religion.
The Government’s official response states that wearing the cross is not a “requirement of the faith” and therefore does not fall under the remit of Article 9.
Lawyers for the two women claim that the Government is setting the bar too high and that “manifesting” religion includes doing things that are not a “requirement of the faith”, and that they are therefore protected by human rights.
They say that Christians are given less protection than members of other religions who have been granted special status for garments or symbols such as the Sikh turban and kara bracelet, or the Muslim hijab.
Last year it emerged that Mrs Eweida, a British Airways worker, and Mrs Chaplin, a nurse, had taken their fight to the European Court in Strasbourg after both faced disciplinary action for wearing a cross at work.
Mrs Eweida’s case dates from 2006 when she was suspended for refusing to take off the cross which her employers claimed breached BA’s uniform code.
The 61 year-old, from Twickenham, is a Coptic Christian who argued that BA allowed members of other faiths to wear religious garments and symbols.
BA later changed its uniform policy but Mrs Eweida lost her challenge against an earlier employment tribunal decision at the Court of Appeal and in May 2010 was refused permission to go to the Supreme Court.
Mrs Chaplin, 56, from Exeter, was barred from working on wards by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust after she refused to hide the cross she wore on a necklace chain, ending 31 years of nursing.
The Government claims the two women’s application to the Strasbourg court is “manifestly ill-founded”.
Its response states: “The Government submit that… the applicants’ wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was not a manifestation of their religion or belief within the meaning of Article 9, and…the restriction on the applicants’ wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was not an ‘interference’ with their rights protected by Article 9.”
The response, prepared by the Foreign Office, adds: “In neither case is there any suggestion that the wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith, still less one that is regarded (including by the applicants themselves) as a requirement of the faith.”
The Government has also set out its intention to oppose cases brought by two other Christians, including a former registrar who objected to conducting civil partnership ceremonies for homosexual couples.
Lillian Ladele, who worked as a registrar for Islington council in north London for 17 years, said she was forced to resign in 2007 after being disciplined, and claimed she had been harassed over her beliefs.
Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor, was sacked by Relate for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.
Christian groups described the Government’s stance as “extraordinary”.
Lord Carey said: “The reasoning is based on a wholly inappropriate judgment of matters of theology and worship about which they can claim no expertise.
“The irony is that when governments and courts dictate to Christians that the cross is a matter of insignificance, it becomes an even more important symbol and expression of our faith.”
The Strasbourg cases brought by Mrs Chaplin and Mr McFarlane are supported by the Christian Legal Centre which has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister.
Judges in Strasbourg will next decide whether all four cases will progress to full hearings.
If they proceed, the cases will test how religious rights are balanced against equality laws designed to prohibit discrimination.
Andrea Williams, the director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is extraordinary that a Conservative government should argue that the wearing of a is not a generally recognised practice of the Christian faith.
“In recent months the courts have refused to recognise the wearing of a cross, belief in marriage between a man and a woman and Sundays as a day of worship as ‘core’ expressions of the Christian faith.
“What next? Will our courts overrule the Ten Commandments?”
Growing anger among Christians will be highlighted today by Delia Smith, the television chef and practising Roman Catholic, who will issue a Lent appeal on behalf the Church’s charity, Cafod, accusing “militant neo-atheists and devout secularists” of “busting a gut to drive us off the radar and try to convince us that we hardly exist”.
ICM Research interviewed an online sample of 2,001 adults between March 7 and March 9. Interviews were conducted across the country and results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
Jacqueline Woodhouse sentenced to 21 weeks in jail for racial abuse of Central line passengers which was posted on YouTube
A drunk woman who racially abused fellow tube travellers in a tirade that was posted online has been jailed for 21 weeks.
Jacqueline Woodhouse, 42, from Romford in Essex, launched an expletive-laden rant at passengers on the Central line, telling those seated near her: “I used to live in England and now I live in the United Nations.”
A seven-minute video of the verbal assault was uploaded to YouTube and viewed more than 200,000 times.
District judge Michael Snow told Westminster magistrates court, central London: “Anyone viewing it would feel a deep sense of shame that our citizens could be subject to such behaviour and may, as a consequence, believe that it secretly represents the views of other white people.”
The judge told Woodhouse she would serve half her sentence behind bars and banned her for five years from using the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway network while drunk.
He recounted how Woodhouse drunkenly boarded the Tube at about 11pm on 23 January. “The train was packed with people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds,” he said. “The people included children.
“She became loud, foul-mouthed and aggressive. She targeted her behaviour at those who weren’t white.
“She directed it at those who were close to her, on occasions directly into their faces. She threatened violence against more than one person and it took place over a prolonged period.”
He said her “grossly offensive” language reflected her hostility to her fellow passengers.
While one traveller was left so shocked by her racist aggression that he no longer felt he could interact with white people on the tube, another, of Pakistani descent, felt victimised because of his “cultural background” and was left wishing he could afford a car to avoid having to take the Underground, he said.
Rejecting suggestions by Woodhouse’s legal team that she felt “deeply ashamed” of her actions, the judge added: “I find that assertion very difficult to believe.
“She initially pleaded not guilty. She changed her plea to guilty one day before her trial. By this time, she had victimised the witnesses twice over by causing them the inevitable worry of having to give evidence and coming into contact with her again.”
Woodhouse was fined following a similar offence on the DLR in December 2008. In the video of her latest foul-mouthed outburst, filmed by businessman Galbant Juttla, Woodhouse shouts in a thick Essex accent: “All fucking foreign fucking shitheads.”
The former secretary, who has since lost her job and now claims benefits, turns to other passengers and asks: “Where do you come from? Where do you come from? Where do you come from?
“All over the world, fucking jokers. Fucking country’s a fucking joke.
“I would like to know if any of you are illegal? I am sure like 30% of you are. Fucking jokers taking the fucking piss.”
Claire Campbell, prosecuting, said Woodhouse began her stream of abuse after a retirement party when she was feeling a little “worse for wear”. She had drunk an unknown quantity of champagne.
Woodhouse sat with her head bowed as CCTV footage of the prolonged rant between St Paul’s and Mile End stations was played to the court.
In it she could be seen turning to the Pakistani man sitting next to her, who is singing his national anthem.
“You can fucking sing my fucking dear friend. I hope they fucking catch up with you and shove you off. I will punch you in the face, you are a fucking joke. Pakistani fucking losers. Ninety percent of you are fucking illegal. I wouldn’t mind if you loved our country.”
She then turns on Juttla, 47, who assures her he would rather be listening to his music than to her ramblings.
“Oh look, he’s filming, hello. Hello government,” she says, leaning into the camera. “Why don’t you tell me where you’re from?”
Juttla, from Ilford, Essex, replies: “I am British.” She then gets her phone out of her handbag and looks as if she is filming him too. “Watch what you are saying,” Juttla warns her.
She replies: “I used to live in England and now I live in the United Nations.”
Juttla decided to film Woodhouse – who previously worked for the Department for Transport – when she started berating a black woman named Judy Russell, the court was told.
She stumbled over Russell as she boarded the carriage and proceeded to hurl insults, shouting: “You Africans take our council flats.”
Juttla, a single father of two, was travelling back from the funeral of a close family friend that day. He watched Woodhouse sit down between two Asian men before she lambasted those around her.
The video shows Juttla telling Woodhouse to keep her mouth shut and that she has had too much to drink.
She becomes extremely agitated and starts screaming, saying: “It’s not your country anyway so what’s your problem? It’s been overtaken by people like you.”
In further remarks, she tells passengers: “I’ll have you arrested because you don’t live here”, and “I hope you are not claiming benefits.”
She handed herself in to police after the footage began to circulate and appeared on the Sun website.
Woodhouse told officers she could not remember the rant but recognised herself in the video.
She pleaded guilty to one count of causing racially aggravated “harassment, alarm or distress” by using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour”.
Rebecca Lee, defending, said Woodhouse had been promoted to become PA for a partner at the accountancy firm where she worked the day before she launched her stream of abuse.
“She is dismayed and, I should say, not only for those who were present but also because she has friends and family members who are black and Asian and she knows they would have been shocked hearing those words coming from her,” the lawyer said.
“She maintains she would never have dreamt of saying those words had she not been significantly affected by alcohol, having gone to a leaving party after work on that particular evening.”
Lee suggested a fear of terrorist activity and her views on immigration could have fuelled Woodhouse’s actions. But she recognised this was “no justification” for her behaviour.
“She is ashamed of what happened and wishes she could turn the clock back but of course she can’t,” Lee added. “She is on jobseeker’s allowance, having lost her employment.”
Woodhouse, who was said to be in a “loving” relationship with her partner of 12 years, was supported in court by one of her sisters and a niece.
The publicity and attention to her case was said to have taken a “considerable toll” on her mental health and she was prescribed medication for depression.
She appeared to show no emotion as she was led from the dock.
Outside court, Juttla recalled his horror at the rant. “I was pretty shocked, and I don’t want to go through anything like this again,” he said. “I was born in this country, and I don’t accept any of this behaviour.
“For a third party to say ‘You are on benefits, you are unemployed, you are not British’ … I don’t accept it.
“I think the judge probably made the right decision – she got the order for five years, and she’s got 21 weeks. Hopefully she’ll learn from that.”
In December 2008, Woodhouse verbally abused a male passenger while on a train to Stratford. She asked whether he had paid taxes, adding: “I have had enough of it. Why don’t they go back to where they come from?”
This is what happens to British people who speak out about the mess our country is in.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO IMMIGRANTS WHO ATTACK BRITISH PEOPLE.
Muslim women not used to drinking walk free after attack on woman
A gang of Somalian women who repeatedly kicked a young woman in the head walked free from court after a judge heard they were “not used to being drunk” because they were Muslim.
The four women – three sisters and their cousin – were told the charge of actual bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of five years, against 22-year-old care worker Rhea Page would normally land them in custody.
However, the judge handed the women suspended sentences after hearing that they were not used to alcohol because their religion does not allow it.
Miss Page said Ambaro Maxamed, 24, Ayan Maxamed, 28, and Hibo Maxamed, 24, and their 28-year-old cousin Ifrah Nur screamed “Kill the white slag” while kicking her in the head as she lay motionless on the ground.
The support worker from Leicester was left “black and blue” with bruises and needed hospital treatment following the attack which came as she walked to a taxi rank with her boyfriend.
Miss Page was left so traumatised by the attack that she lost her job due to repeated absences with stress and flashbacks.
She had been walking home with her boyfriend after a night out when the drunken women attacked her, knocking her to the ground and taking turns to kick her in the head.
She said: “I had gone for a drink after work and then I met my boyfriend for a couple more before heading home.
“We didn’t want to stay out too late so we went to get a taxi and all of a sudden I heard these women shouting abuse at me.
“We were just minding our own business but they kept shouting ‘white bitch’ and ‘white slag’ at me.
“When I turned around one of them grabbed my hair – she literally wrapped her fingers in my hair – then threw me on the ground. That’s when they started kicking me.
“They were taking turns to kick me in the head and back over and over. I was lying on the ground the whole time, crying and screaming. It was terrifying. I thought they were going to kill me.
“Eventually the police came but it felt like ages. Afterwards I was covered in blood and hair. I had a bald patch on my head where they had yanked my hair out and I was black and blue all over.
“I honestly think they attacked me just because I was white. I can’t think of any other reason.”
She suffered bruises and grazes to her head, back, legs and arms, and had clumps of hair pulled out.
Seventeen months on from the attack, which happened in Leicester city centre, she is still undergoing counselling and suffers from panic attacks and flashbacks.
She attended Leicester Crown Court for the sentencing of her attackers.
The women all admitted actual bodily harm and received suspended sentences.
Miss Page claimed that not jailing the women sent out the wrong message about street violence.
CCTV footage of the assault, which happened on June 18 last year, was shown in court.
Sentencing, Judge Robert Brown said: “This was ugly and reflects very badly on all four of you. Those who knock someone to the floor and kick them in the head can expect to go inside, but I’m going to suspend the sentence.”
He said he accepted the women may have felt they were the victims of unreasonable force from Miss Page’s partner Lewis Moore, 23, who tried desperately to defend her from the attack.
During the hearing, James Bide-Thomas, prosecuting, said Ambaro Maxamed, who started the violence, had called Miss Page a “white bitch” during the incident.
However, the women, who are all Somalian Muslims, were not charged with racial aggravation.
Nur, who joined in the attack after initially acting as a peacemaker, said it was in fact the victim’s partner who had been racially abusive, but Mr Bide-Thomas said that was not accepted by the prosecution.
Gary Short, defending Ambaro Maxamed, said the attack was down to alcohol.
He said: “Although Miss Page’s partner used violence, it doesn’t justify their behaviour.
“They’re Somalian Muslims and alcohol or drugs isn’t something they’re used to.”
As well as the suspended sentence, Hibo Maxamed, who needs dialysis three times a week for a kidney complaint, received a four-month curfew between 9pm and 6am.
The others were ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Innocent mum’s horror ordeal: Three years sleeping on floor of filthy jail… because ex tried to smuggle drugs in family’s suitcasesPosted in America, multicultural britain with tags Birkenhead, British Consulate, cocaine, drugs, Laguna Mar hotel, Paul Makin, San Antonio jail, Venezuela on May 27, 2012 by britishloyalist
All through her years in a filthy South American jail, Laura Webb dreamt of the day she would see her four young children again.
It was that hope which kept her alive while she struggled through 36 brutal months for a crime she did not commit.
But the reunion when it came was bittersweet. Laura was finally freed just a few weeks ago.
And her two youngest children didn’t know who she was… as they were too young to remember her.
All four children were torn from their mother’s arms at an airport in Venezuela after £1.2million of cocaine was found in the family’s suitcases.
Laura had been duped by her ex-husband Paul Makin, who had selfishly used her and the children to smuggle drugs into Britain.
The terrified children spent two weeks in an overcrowded orphanage before they were brought home by a relative.
Laura, 34, would spend the next three years in fear for her life while trying to sleep on the concrete floors of one of the world’s most notorious jails.
Her two youngest children would forget her face. But, slowly and gently, she is getting to know them again.
“Seeing them for the first time was such an emotional experience,” she says.
“The babies had grown so much. I knelt down in front of them both and said: ‘hi, it’s mummy.’ They looked back at me a little blankly.
“It was so hard, but I knew they had been too young to remember me so I had prepared myself for it.
“I asked if I could have a hug and they both put their arms around my neck. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming.
“I stood up and turned to the older two. They had huge smiles.
“They said: ‘Hi mum’, and threw their arms around me. We hung on to each other for what seemed like an eternity.
“The little ones are getting to know me more and more. It’s heartbreaking. I hope and pray that one day things will be different.
“There were moments over the last three years when I didn’t think I would ever make it home to them.
“They kept me going. I thought of them every minute of every day. They saved my life.”
Speaking of her hellish ordeal for the first time this week, Laura recalled how she was persuaded by ex-husband Paul, 34, to go on a week’s holiday with him and the children in February 2009.
He’s the father of the two youngest children. The older two are Laura’s from a earlier relationship.
“The kids had never been on holiday, let alone abroad,” says Laura. “They were so excited, so I agreed.”
A few nights before they were due to leave, bus driver Paul delivered three new matching suitcases to Laura’s house in Birkenhead, Wirral.
“We didn’t have any of our own,” says Laura. “Paul said he’d take care of it.”
The older two helped fill them with shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops for the beach.
At the Laguna Mar hotel on the holiday island of Margarita, Laura and ex-soldier Paul had separate rooms and the children stayed with her.
“They absolutely loved it,” she says. “The older two were in and out of the pool all day and I was with the babies in the shade. Paul did his own thing.
“There were some days when I didn’t see him at all.
“He often left the hotel and didn’t come back for several hours. I didn’t know what he was doing and I didn’t really care.”
On the day they left, Paul loaded their four cases on to the coach which took them to the airport.
“We joined lots of other families in the queue to check in,” says Laura.
“I could see everyone’s cases being searched on a table by uniformed customs officials.
“When it was finally our turn, I lifted my case up on to the table and smiled at the officer. He opened it, had a look inside, then closed it and handed it back.
“Then Paul lifted the first of the other three cases on to the table. The guard opened it, looked inside, and then suddenly stopped.
“He called two other officers over and began talking to them in Spanish. I looked at Paul but he wouldn’t look me in the eye.
“The officers ushered us away from the queue and into an office.
“The suitcase was put on a table and Paul stood in front of it. The officer turned it upside down, emptied everything and flipped it over.
“Suddenly, he had a knife in his hand and just plunged it through the bottom of the case.
“Instantly, a cloud of white powder, like a puff of thin smoke, blew upwards. It was like something out of a film.
“I couldn’t believe it. I cried out, ‘What have you done?’ My mind seemed to connect everything together instinctively. Paul had been in trouble with the police over drugs before.
“I knew it was cocaine. I knew Paul was behind it. I knew he’d used the kids and me to try to get away with it. It all swam into my mind at the same time.”
Laura fainted and came round several minutes later in a different office.
“The children looked terrified,” she says. “They started crying and clinging on to me.
“Deep down, I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong so I presumed nothing was going to happen to us. I thought the children and I would just get on the flight without him.”
Paul admitted the cocaine was his and that he had been trying to smuggle it into Britain.
He told the officers Laura knew nothing of what he’d done and pleaded with them to let her and the children go.
But several hours later, a British Consulate official arrived and explained they were both being held and the children were being placed in temporary care
“I told them ‘no’ and drew the kids to me,” says Laura.
“I squeezed them tight and tried not to cry. But it was too hard. Paul tried to put his arms around us all but I spat at him to get away.
“The older two were either side of me and put both their arms tight around me. They were crying hysterically and their fingers had to be prised open.
“Seconds later, the door had opened and closed and they were gone.
“Paul hadn’t said a word. If I’d had a knife I would have killed him.”
Laura and Paul were locked up in Venezuela’s notorious San Antonio jail to await trial.
“I was the only British woman in there,” says Laura. “The conditions were horrific. As I was led in, I could feel hundreds of eyes on me.
“There was filth everywhere. I was led to a stinking, dark room and told that was where I would sleep.
“It was the size of a living room but 18 women slept inside. There were no beds.
“Everyone slept on the floor. I ended up with a tiny patch up against a filthy sink unit.
“The only shower was an old rubber hosepipe which just trickled cold water. None of the other women I shared with spoke English.
“That first night, I cried the entire time. I thought, ‘My God, I can’t do this. I’m going to die in here.’ I heard rats scuttling about and there was a constant noise of women shouting and arguing.
“I was so scared I didn’t sleep a second.”
After two weeks, Laura was charged with drug trafficking and told her trial would take two years to reach court.
“Paul was in the room with me and we were told at the same time,” says Laura. “I flipped. I attacked him and had to be pulled off by three people.
“The news almost killed me. For weeks I felt lower than I ever thought possible. The first Christmas was horrendous.
“The children were back home in the UK by then, which I was so grateful for. But to not be with them on Christmas Day was heartbreaking.
“A few inmates managed to get hold of mobiles and one let me call them.
“I spoke to the older two and lied that I was fine. I said I would see them soon and wished them a Merry Christmas.
“They were really strong and didn’t cry, but inside I was in agony.
“I managed to call home now and again and speak to my mum and dad but I found it so distressing that I didn’t do it often.
“I just told myself that the children and mum and dad were at home, they’re getting on with life and they’re fine.
“Worrying about them was too upsetting. But I missed the children so badly.”
Somehow Laura settled into a routine, learning a little Spanish as she tried to talk to the other women.
Food was mostly rice and beans and a little meat scavenged from kind guards.
But jail was still a dangerous place.
“I was in fear for my life most days,” says Laura. “I had to be so careful. The wrong look or the wrong word to the wrong person could be fatal.
“I got into an argument with a Jamaican woman over a carton of fruit juice.
“She stabbed me in the arm with a pair of scissors. I had to fight back or I’m sure she would have killed me.
“I made some friends but the language barrier was hard. Mercifully, all the guards were good to us. Mostly, I kept myself to myself and thought of home.”
In July 2009, seven months after being arrested, Paul admitted trying to smuggle 23kg of cocaine and was given an eight-year sentence.
Six months after that, Laura pleaded not guilty but was convicted of being his accomplice and sentenced to four years and six months.
Due to time already served and for good behaviour she was released last month.
“Mum and dad met me at Manchester airport and I fell into their arms,”says Laura. “We were all crying, but this time it was through relief and joy.”
The following day came the long-awaited reunion with her precious children.
“One day I’ll tell them how they got me through all this… and how I owe them my life,” said Laura.