Monday, March 30, 2015

UK & Europe

mo farah fabian roncero

The Guardian — The Spaniard who lost his European half-marathon record to Mo Farah on Sunday has said that what Farah had broken “is the record for Somalia”.

Fabian Roncero, who held the European record for 13.1 miles before Farah broke it by 20 seconds in winning the Lisbon half-marathon in 59min 32sec, also claimed none of Farah’s European records from the 1500m to the half-marathon should be considered valid.

“Although the official lists say that Mo Farah now holds the half-marathon record, for me the 800m European record holder remains Sebastian Coe, the 1500m Fermín Cacho, the 5,000m Dieter Baumann and 10,000m António Pinto,” Roncero said.

“For me, an athlete who was born in Kenya is Kenyan and one born in Somalia is Somali forever, and that is the opinion of the people with whom I speak,” he said. “Besides, I am convinced that 95% of athletes still feel nationalised by their country of origin.”

Farah, the double Olympic and world 5,000m and 10,000m champion, was born in Somalia but moved to Britain aged eight to join his father, who was born in Britain. Only last month he admitted his anger at remarks allegedly made by his team-mate Andy Vernon at the European Championships in Zurich doubting his nationality and said “I love competing for my country”.

The 44-year-old Roncero, who trains young athletes in Cantabria in Spain, stressed he thought Farah was a great athlete and African runners were superior to European distance runners. However he maintains his European record should stand.

“I have nothing against Africans,” he told the Spanish newspaper Marca. “On the contrary, I consider them superior to European runners but with respect to the records, I say what I feel and I will never lie. Farah is a great athlete but for me the records in Europe are what make European athletes.”

BBC

Double Olympic champion Mo Farah has won the Lisbon half marathon in a new European record time, becoming the first Briton to break 60 minutes.

The 31-year-old won the 13.1-mile race in 59 minutes, 32 seconds, to knock 20 seconds off the record set 14 years ago by Spain’s Fabian Roncero.

Farah, also world champion at 5,000m and 10,000m, beat Kenya’s Micah Kogo.

The world record of 58:23 was set by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in the 2010 edition of the Lisbon race.

Farah’s only world record is the two-mile indoor mark he set at the Birmingham Grand Prix last month.

He clocked a time of one hour exactly in winning 2014′s Great North Run, becoming the first British man to win the North East’s famous half marathon for 29 years.

Kenya’s Kogo, the 10,000m bronze medallist from the Beijing Olympics in 2008, was one of six men lining up against Farah to have already run under 60 minutes for the distance.

There was also British success in the wheelchair races for David Weir and Shelly Woods who continued their preparations for next month’s London Marathon, which also doubles as the IPC World Championships.

Ms Harriet Mathews

Ms Harriet MathewsMs Harriet Mathews OBE has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Somalia.

Ms Harriet Mathews OBE has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Somalia in succession to Mr Neil Wigan, who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Ms Mathews will take up her appointment during June 2015.

Ms Mathews joined the FCO in 1997 and most recently headed the Ebola Task Force. Ms Mathews is an Africa specialist and has held three other positions related to Africa, including the Head of East and West Africa Department. Ms Mathews has also been Head of Energy in the Foreign Office and has worked in Brazil, Israel and Afghanistan. She was awarded the OBE in 2005 for her work on West Africa.

On her appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ms Mathews has said,

I am delighted to have been appointed as British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia. I look forward to working to deepen the strong relationship between our two countries. The United Kingdom has been instrumental in helping to bring peace and security back to Somalia, and it is a great privilege to be able to contribute personally to this process.

CURRICULUM VITAE

Full name Harriet Mathews OBE
2014 FCO, Head of Ebola Task Force
2012 – 2014 FCO, Head of East & West Africa Department
2009 – 2011 FCO, Head Energy, Climate Change and Energy Department
2008 – 2009 FCO, Head, Rule of Law Afghanistan
2005 – 2008 Tel Aviv, Head of Political and Press Section
2003 – 2005 FCO, Head of West Africa Section, Africa Directorate
2003 FCO, Press Officer, Press Office
1999 – 2002 Brasilia, Second Secretary
1997 – 1998 FCO, Desk Officer for Central Africa, Africa Directorate
1997 Joined FCO

london somali

Local Guardian

london somali

This is the heartbreaking scene outside Tooting TK Maxx tonight as a homeless woman insists on spending the night where she and her son lived for nine months.

Emergency services were called to the bench on Monday and the Somali woman was hospitalized after suffering from cold.

The next day the bench was removed when Wandsworth Council decided it was in the best interest of the family who had made the bench their home.

Then just after 3pm today the woman, thought to be in her 60s, returned to the bench to find it is no longer there.

Reporter Ellie Cambridge went to visit the woman tonight and offered her fruit and biscuits. However, the offer was rebuffed.

The woman is now huddled up on a chair, using an umbrella to shelter her from the rain.

She is wrapped up in blankets, alone, on the exact spot where the bench once stood.

Residents expressed their shock at the bench’s removal, with many criticising it as a short-term solution to the family’s problems.

The mother and son centred their lives around the public bench outside TK Maxx, in Tooting High Street.

It is understood the woman’s son is in hospital.

Tooting MP Sadiq Khan recently called for checks on the family to be increased and added: “Going forward, my priority is to make sure the family have all of the support they need in the long term, and I will continue to work with the council and the police to help seek a solution sooner rather than later.”

Teen jailed for ‘Shining’ axe murder in Hayes

London24

The three teenagers were found guilty of killing Paul Thrower with an axe at a block of flats in Hayes (Picture: Metropolitan Police)
The three teenagers were found guilty of killing Paul Thrower with an axe at a block of flats in Hayes (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Three 18-year-olds have been jailed for their part in a “wicked and unnecessary” axe and knife attack reminiscent of The Shining. An unnamed 17-year-old was cleared of involvement.

The court heard how victim Paul Thrower had been drinking and became very angry when his girlfriend Geraldine Roberts told him the youths swore, spat and threw a drink at her earlier that day.

Paul Thrower was murdered after he confronted three teenagers over their anti-social behaviour (Picture: Metropolitan Police)
Paul Thrower was murdered after he confronted three teenagers over their anti-social behaviour (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

When he confronted them, Zakariya Subeir and Kiro Halliburton shut themselves into a bin chute on a first-floor communal balcony at St Dunstan’s Close.

As the furious 46-year-old hammered with his fists on the glass partition, the 17-year-old found an axe in a shed and Mahdi Osman passed it up to Subeir, who had managed to get onto the roof of the adjoining porch.

Osman, told the court he only handed over the weapon to help his friends barricade themselves into the balcony – not to attack Mr Thrower.

But when he smashed the reinforced glass and began to crawl through the gap, Subeir hit him twice on the head and once on the shoulder with the axe, then Halliburton stabbed him repeatedly in the back with a knife.

Halliburton said he delivered the fatal stab to the chest after Mr Thrower grabbed the axe from Subeir, who then ran off.

He told jurors that Mr Thrower had the axe in one hand and him in the other and he did not know what else to do.

The victim emerged from the bin chute covered in blood, staggering, holding the axe before he collapsed and died from a stab to the heart.

All four teenagers fled the scene, because they felt they would not be believed.

Halliburton shaved off his plaits and fled to Leeds in Yorkshire. When he was apprehended, he gave a false name. Subeir flew to Somalia, via Dubai, but came back about three weeks later and was arrested on the plane at Heathrow airport. The 17-year-old and Osman went to ground and were arrested five days after the incident. All four denied murder.

Halliburton, who delivered the fatal knife wound, was found guilty of murder while Subeir and Mahdi Osman, were found not guilty of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

Sentencing Halliburton to be a minimum of 16 years in prison, Judge John Bevan told him: “I accept Paul Thrower’s behaviour was outlandish but he was provoked by you and others. I accept that his behaviour and that of Geraldine Roberts was inflammatory, drunken and pathetic.”

But he added: “This was a wicked and unnecessary crime – a ranting inebriate being no match for a knife and axe being wielded by young and fit teenagers.”

“The carrying of knives has become endemic among some teenagers in parts of London and it is assumed to aid power and respect to the carrier. That is a delusion. It is the resort of a coward.

“You are a dangerous young man, aggressive when carrying a knife and lacked the courage to tell anything like the truth about this.”

The judge went on to sentence Subeir to eight years in a young offenders’ institution with an extended licence period of a further four years, and Osman to five-and-a-half years for his lesser role.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was cleared of involvement in the killing.

All four denied murder and expressed remorse for killing Mr Thrower. The court heard that Halliburton had two previous convictions of possessing a knife or bladed weapon in 2012.

tooting

Local Guardian

tooting

The mother and son had centred their lives around the bench outside TK Maxx, in Tooting High Street, since April this year.

Witnesses reported seeing them yesterday (Monday) morning but said the pair had disappeared by the evening.

Images taken today reveal the bench has now been pulled up and the holes have been filled.

We understand this action has been taken by Transport for London and we have gone to them for an explanation.

A spokesman from Wandsworth Council said: “Both mother and son are safe and well and being cared for at the moment.

“We will continue to offer them our full support and continue trying to persuade them to accept our offer of a proper roof over their heads.”

Serious concerns were raised about the pair, who huddled under sleeping bags every night on the busy high street.

They had multiple suitcases around them and a deck chair. They used plastic sheeting to keep them dry and umbrellas to protect them from both the sun and rain.

Tens of thousands of cars drove past them each day, as well as shoppers.

Locals from both the Somali community and others stopped to offer them help, food and accommodation.

However, they refused help and offers of accommodation from the council.

In the summer the Wandsworth Guardian approached the pair, with a lady fluent in both English and Somali, to try to talk to them.

However, attempts to engage were rebuffed.

Wandsworth Council repeatedly tried to engage with the pair and said it was concerned for their welfare.

Frydenlund, a middle-class residential area on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, is home to a number of men who fought for the radical Islamic State group in Syria.

New York Times

Frydenlund, a middle-class residential area on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, is home to a number of men who fought for the radical Islamic State group in Syria.
Frydenlund, a middle-class residential area on the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark, is home to a number of men who fought for the radical Islamic State group in Syria.

AARHUS, Denmark — In many parts of Europe, he would be in jail. But here in this nation’s second biggest city, the young man, a 21-year-old of Turkish descent who spent 13 months in Syria fighting in the name of Islam, passes his days playing soccer, working out at the gym and waiting anxiously to see if he has secured a place to study engineering at a well-regarded local university.

“I feel at home. I have no problems here,” said the former jihadi warrior, who spoke on the condition that he be identified only as Osman.

Since his return to this tranquil port city from the battlefields of Syria, he has been part of a pioneering program that treats onetime fighters not as criminals or potential terrorists but as wayward youths who deserve a second chance.

The program, closely watched by authorities around Europe, involves counseling, help with readmission to school, meetings with parents and other outreach efforts. It was developed in 2007 to deal with far-right extremists linked to an Aarhus soccer club.

Now, with alarm over European jihadis on the rise, it has been redeployed to address one of Europe’s most hotly debated issues: How to deal with hundreds of young Muslims who have gone to fight in Syria and returned home.

In much of Europe, the answer has been to lock them up, or at least put them under investigation by prosecutors. Denmark, with the second-highest number of foreign fighters per capita, has gone in the other direction, shunning punishment in favor of rehabilitation.

“We cannot afford not to include them back in our society and make sure that their path of radicalization is changed, so they can be an active part of our society,” said Jacob Bundsgard, the mayor of Aarhus.

According to the police, 31 Aarhus Muslims, all of them younger than 30, have traveled since late 2012 to Syria to support forces battling the government of Bashar Assad, but only one of them went this year.

“What we are doing seems to be working,” said Jorgen Ilum, the chief of police for the region.

While proud of the results so far, some caution the real test will come if more hardened fighters who have stayed in Syria and joined the Islamic State militant group start coming home.

“If they have returned to Denmark already, they are not real extremists,” Ilum said.

Mohammed, a 25-year-old resident of Somali descent who asked to be identified only by his first name, illustrates how counseling can dissuade at least some young Muslims from extremism.

He said he never planned to fight in Syria but did intend to abandon his studies and move to Pakistan after falling in with a group of young radicals who offered friendship and comfort after the death of his mother and a dispute with his high school principal.

Together, he said, they watched videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born jihadi preacher killed in 2011 in Yemen by a drone attack, and convinced one another that “you can never be a good Muslim in Denmark, where you will always be a stranger, and must move to a Muslim country to get respect.”

After the police, tipped off about the group’s growing radicalism, visited his house, Mohammed agreed to accept counseling and, he said, slowly came to see that “I can be a good Muslim, maybe even a better Muslim, in this society.”

Mr. Immigrant 2014, Aadan Ibrahim. Image: Mikko Kuusisalo / Yle

YLE Uutiset

Mr. Immigrant 2014, Aadan Ibrahim. Image: Mikko Kuusisalo / Yle
Mr. Immigrant 2014, Aadan Ibrahim. Image: Mikko Kuusisalo / Yle

Somali-born Aadan Ibrahim has been selected the 2014 Immigrant Man of the Year – an award distributed by the Finnish Refugee Council. The 1,000-euro prize was established in 2012 to reward deserving migrant men and to highlight the diverse immigrant community, according to the Council. The group has presented an award for Immigrant Woman of the Year since 1998.

The 2014 recipient of the Immigrant Man of the Year award – also known as the Mr. Immigrant award by the Finnish Refugee Council – was selected on the basis of his positive impact on society. The 29 year-old Somali native Aadan Ibrahim was singled out by the organisation for his work helping immigrant youth. The Vantaa resident works with the R3 association, a support group for young migrants.

“By presenting this award to Ibrahim we want to remind others that even migrants with the most difficult backgrounds are working hard to participate in building our society,” said FRC head Annu Lehtinen.

Ibrahim arrived in Finland from Somalia in 1996 to escape political unrest. He was alone in Finland except for his then twenty year-old sister who had settled in Finland a few years earlier. After graduating as a youth counselor he went into the army and later began working with young immigrants in Vantaa.

He described the work of R3 as essential, noting that workers in official channels don’t always have the time to help young adults wrestling with an assortment of different problems. The organisation also hosts “inspirational evenings” for its members, where young people can hear success stories told by other immigrants.

“I’m always energised when we can help someone who faces discrimination to get a job or a place to live,” Ibrahim explained.

Poor economy undermining integration efforts

Ibrahim said that he’s most troubled by the twin problems of unemployment and homelessness facing migrant youth.

“The economic situation has also affected integration and we can see it in the lack of housing. We need to find new solutions and tactics. For example in Vantaa we have had positive experiences with shared accommodation,” he remarked.

He also condemned the limited availability of Finnish-language courses for young migrants.

“It can’t be that you have to wait a year to get into a language course. At the same time (that they’re waiting) young people receive benefits and this makes them passive,” he warned.

Ibrahim advised newcomers to Finland to get out and about in their local communities as an important means of integrating into Finnish society.

“Get to know your neighbours,” he counseled both natives and non-Finns.

As the new face representing migrants in Finland, Ibrahim will spend the next year speaking about the status of his peers. He’s also looking forward to exciting developments in his personal life, as he awaits a decision by Finnish immigration authorities on his application to have his wife and infant child join him in Finland.

“It may come in the New Year,” he said optimistically.

bristol LAST SEVEN OFFENDERS JAILED FOR SEX CRIMES AGAINST YOUNG GIRLS

Bristol Post

bristol LAST SEVEN OFFENDERS JAILED FOR SEX CRIMES AGAINST YOUNG GIRLS

THE final offenders caught by Operation Brooke have been jailed, bringing their prison sentences to more than 100 years. In all, 13 Somali men have been jailed for committing 31 sex crimes against seven vulnerable girls in Bristol. The victims were aged between 13 and 17 when they were preyed upon and used by the men as sexual objects.
Sentencing the final seven defendants at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Lambert said: “You have brought deep shame on your families, along with all the damage you have done to your victims and their families. You were all brought up to know what proper standards of behaviour are.”

All of the men will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register, some for life and some for 10 years.

In December 2012, Target and Starns both raped the same 13-year-old girl at the Premier Inn hotel on St James Barton roundabout after organising what the judge described as a “sex party”.

Starns booked the room and Target brought the girl, who had already been raped at a flat in Barton Hill that night.

Judge Lambert described Target and Starns as “merciless”.

To Target, he said: “The repeated humiliation of a small, 13-year-old girl was completed in a rough, callous and very nasty manner.”

Condemning what Starns did, Judge Lambert said: “You behaved without humanity and with no pity whatsoever. You took what you wanted and you left her openly humiliated.”

During the second, eight-week trial, it emerged that Deeq effectively had a relationship with the girl.

She became infatuated with him and ended up consenting to horrific acts, which, due to her age, she could not consent to in the eyes of the law.

Deeq told lies about his “tradition” and “culture” to persuade her to have sex with his younger brother Omar and two other men under a bridge near B&Q off Muller Road.

Judge Lambert told Deeq: “You preyed on her affection for you in a highly cynical and calculated way.”

All of the defendants were of previous good character before these offences, other than Kamal who committed a sexual offence when he was 14.

Target was jailed for five years after the first Operation Brooke trial, for being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin, but his new 11-year sentence will effectively replace that.

Mitigating for Starns, Anna Midgley said: “He was barely more than a child at the time this offence was committed, at 18 years old.”

A jury took eight days to find the defendants guilty of the charges they were sentenced for.

The offenders did not operate as a gang in the traditional sense, but knew each other in smaller groups.

In June, more than 70 years’ of prison sentences were imposed by Judge Michael Roach on the other six offenders.

As well as sexual exploitation, they had also used a 16-year-old victim’s flat off Stapleton Road, Easton, from which to cut and deal cocaine and heroin.

Speaking after Friday’s sentencing, DI Gary Stephens said: “We are very happy with the sentences, but our thoughts are with the victims. Hopefully, with the ongoing support they are receiving from ourselves and other agencies, they will be able to move forward in their lives.”

Kayse Maxamed, ambassador for Somali language group LARGE, said: “The whole community is shocked by what has happened. We condemn these criminals. They are not representative of the Somali community.”

Thirteen Somali Men Guilty Of Running Bristol Child Sex Ring - Bartamaha

BARTAMAHA/The Telegraph

Thirteen Somali Men Guilty Of Running Bristol Child Sex Ring - BartamahaA judge questioned the wisdom of social workers placing a vulnerable teenage girl alone in a flat and almost unsupervised in inner city Bristol – leading to her being raped and prostituted by Somali drug dealers.

Judge Michael Roach spoke out at the end of a two-month trial after hearing how the 16-year-old girl was living alone in the flat off Stapleton Road in Easton with just two hours of supervision a day from care workers.

The girl – whose life was in “chaos” – had been placed there in January last year by social workers from a local authority outside of Bristol.

She had fallen in with the Somali men having gone to buy cannabis from them and it was not long before they were using her flat to sell drugs and also regularly having sex with her, sometimes for money.

Following a two-month trial at Bristol Crown Court this summer six men were convicted of a range of sex and drugs offences.

They were Liban Abdi “Left Back”, Mustapha Farah “Greens”, Arafat Osman “Left Eye”, Idleh Osman “Sniper”, Abdulahi Aden “Trigger” and Mustafa Deria.

Two other men, Said Zakaria “Target” and Mohamed Jama “Magic”, were convicted of drugs charges. A ninth defendant, Gama Mohamed “G” was acquitted of sex charges.

Jailing the men, Judge Roach said: “The offences centre upon the serious sexual abuse or exploitation of a child against the background of drug dealing in the Easton area of Bristol.

“I know that the drug trade in Bristol blights many parts of the city. It ruins the lives of many, not just the users but also their families and their dependants.

“It has been said many times before – and it is true – it is a filthy trade.

“The child who was the subject of the exploitation or abuse was 16 when she came from outside the city to live in the Easton area.

“She was a very troubled girl. The decision was taken to place her in a flat on her own. Save for limited supervision she was left to her own devices without the support of her family and friends.

“She didn’t know Bristol or the city at all. On the evidence she was very isolated. Consequently within a day or two of her arrival she fell prey to these defendants and their associates.

“They took considerable advantage of her.

“I hope there will be an opportunity for the authorities to reconsider their thinking behind such a placement because it has, on any retrospective view, added considerably to the damage of that young person.”

Judge Roach added: “Girls of her age – whatever their experience – need the protection of the law. The treatment of her in my judgement was extremely serious.

The girl’s five-month ordeal ended when police went to the flat on the night of May 17 last year looking for a 14-year-old runaway.

The teenager, known only as Girl B for legal reasons, had gone to the flat because she was the sister of the tenant, identified as Girl A.

When police found Girl B, who was living in a children’s home, she was hiding in a cupboard under the sink in the kitchen, in just her underwear.

“She was very upset, in tears, with her makeup running down her face. Girl B said to the police ‘they made me do stuff’,” prosecutor Anna Vigars said.

“One of the women police officers went to speak to her and she said that one of the men had forced himself on her, he had raped her.”

She was returned to the care of social services and three days later, Girl B spoke to the police about being raped in the bathroom by Trigger.

He was arrested and told police: “Nobody ain’t touched that little girl.” He later said he thought she was 17 and their sexual contact was consensual.

Another teenager, known only as Girl C, was a friend of Girl B and also spent time at the flat. She alleged she had also been raped at the flat by Gama Mohamed.

A fourth girl – Girl D – did not wish to speak to the police and did not know any of the other victims. But Trigger admitted possessing indecent images of children after police found naked photographs of 16-year-old Girl D on his phone.

After police smashed the sex ring, Girl A described to detectives one occasion where she had sex with a man who later refused to pay.

“Sometimes I’d just be like I couldn’t even be bothered to fight or argue for it because it’s hard to tell them at the end of the day ‘No I don’t want to do it’ but half the time I did, because it was obviously just being close to someone,” she told officers.

“Half the time I didn’t really want it for the money, I just wanted someone to be there, do you know what I mean? Even though I know they were using me for sex and that, sometimes it’s just nice to be close to someone, do you know what I mean?”

The Bristol case comes after allegations, convictions and resignations over organised child abuse and exploitation across English towns and cities including Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.

Bristol Somali prostitution - Bartamaha.com

GUARDIAN

Bristol Somali prostitution - Bartamaha.com

Thirteen men, all of Somali origin, have been found guilty of the systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable schoolgirls and teenagers in Bristol.
The victims, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers – often for money – and assaulted in homes, parks and a hotel.

One of the girls was raped at the age of 13 on the same night by three different men, including a stranger, and thought her life would be in danger if she went to the police.

Another girl was sexually exploited after a local authority outside Bristol set her up alone in a flat at the age of 16 in a deprived inner-city neighbourhood although she had been described as having the emotional development of a three-year-old.

Within hours of arriving, she was spotted by drug dealers who set up a base in her new home and forced her to work as a prostitute. The abuse continued for months even after she told care workers about what was happening; the girl’s 14-year-old sister was subsequently raped during a visit.

A serious case review will look at the case and examine whether more should have been done to protect the girls. Ten girls have so far come forward but a dedicated major crime team continues to look into allegations of child exploitation in the force area and detectives fear there could be many other victims.

Caught on camera: Jusuf Abdirizak, 20, aka Starns, is seen on CCTV cameras at the Premier Inn in Bristol checks in to a room where he and Said Zakaria, 22, raped a 13-year-old schoolgirl
Caught on camera: Jusuf Abdirizak, 20, aka Starns, is seen on CCTV cameras at the Premier Inn in Bristol checks in to a room where he and Said Zakaria, 22, raped a 13-year-old schoolgirl

The case will once again focus attention on the scandal of groups of young men from minority ethnic communities who prey on vulnerable girls in inner-city communities – and the ability of agencies to spot such abuse.

Avon and Somerset police have said the case has similarities with large-scale child exploitation cases in places such as Oxford and Rochdale, where men of Asian heritage have been found guilty of abuse, but is keen to emphasise that the offences are relatively recent rather than historical.

Another difference is that this is the first time members of the Somali community have been found guilty of such abuse.

Six of the men, most of whom are in their early 20s, have already begun jail terms for a total of more than 75 years for offences including rape, paying a child for sex and arranging or facilitating payments for the sexual offences of a child. Another seven were this week convicted of offences including rape, causing or inciting child prostitution, sexual acts with children and trafficking.

The lifting of reporting restrictions on Thursday means that the story can be told for the first time.

Some of the offenders were members of a drugs gang, which sold heroin and cocaine in Bristol. Others were well-educated men with good prospects.

Detectives began investigating last year after the 13-year-old was raped by three men on the same night. They realised its wider significance only when they linked it to what was happening at the flat where the girl had been placed by social services.

Outside court, Ch Supt Julian Moss, head of Avon and Somerset police CID, praised the courage of the “very vulnerable” victims who gave evidence.

He added: “We will not rest while there is a risk of just one person being the victim of child sexual exploitation.”

There are nine active investigations into child sexual exploitation in Avon and Somerset. Moss said the force was “alive to the possibility” that the case could be seized on by far-right extremists and lead to hate crime.

Howard Phillips, head of complex casework in the south-west for the Crown Prosecution Service’, said some of the victims had been bought with drugs, drink even meals, trips to clubs and hair extensions. “Child sexual exploitation has a devastating impact on victims, their families and communities,” he added.

The case has caused huge concern in Bristol. Schools have been briefed about it and some teachers at inner-city schools have claimed that it is not uncommon for schoolgirls to boast about being paid for sex. It has sent shockwaves through the Somali community in Bristol.

Muna Abdi, chair of the Bristol Somali Forum, said the men had committed “evil acts” that the Muslim community in Bristol utterly condemned.

In a joint statement the forum and the Somali Resource Centre said the community was “proudly Bristolian British”

It continued: “The Somali community is law-abiding and values law. The shock of this case, like a thunderbolt, has struck at the heart of our proud and law abiding community in a way that is impossible to describe.”

The children’s charity Barnardo’s continues to care for some of the victims. Hugh Sherriffe, the director for Barnardo’s in the south-west and Midlands, said the case was the “tip of the iceberg”, arguing that such abuse was going on across the UK and more efforts needed to be made to stop it.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, giving the unanimous judgment, dismissed an appeal by the Minister for Justice against a High Court decision quashing the refusal.

IrishTimes.com

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, giving the unanimous judgment, dismissed an appeal by the Minister for Justice against a High Court decision quashing the refusal.
Mr Justice Frank Clarke, giving the unanimous judgment, dismissed an appeal by the Minister for Justice against a High Court decision quashing the refusal.

The State is entitled to cite financial costs as a reason for refusing refugees the right to bring family members to live with them in the State, the Supreme Court has ruled.

However, a Somali man whose family reunification application was refused is entitled to bring in his mother and young sister because the refusal was outside the range of proportionate decisions open to the Minister for Justice, the five-judge court also ruled.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, giving the unanimous judgment, dismissed an appeal by the Minister against a High Court decision quashing the refusal. The High Court had found the automatic entitlement of certain family members to reunification under section 18 of the 1996 Refugee Act could not be refused on the basis the people involved would be dependent on the State for financial support.

The High Court also found no lawful or proper proportionality assessment of the “burden of supporting dependants” had taken place. The 29-year-old came as an asylum seeker in 2007 and later sought reunification with members of his family including his wife, daughter, mother and four of his siblings.

Somali Taxi Driver - Bartamaha

YLE Uutiset

Somali Taxi Driver - Bartamaha
Police are investigating the Lieksa taxi driver’s assault as a racially motivated crime. Image: Yle / Lasse Laitinen.

Somali-born Abdi is the first dark-skinned taxi driver ever to be hired in Lieksa, North Karelia. A week ago, after two months on the job, he received death threats and was verbally abused and physically assaulted after his night shift. Police are investigating the incident as a racist crime.

Abdi (full name undisclosed) moved to Finland in 2008. He ended up in North Karelia after first living in Turku and Oulu. He attended school at the Lieksa Christian Community College and currently studies at a vocational school. He started driving a cab two months ago.

That’s when Abdi became the first dark-skinned taxi driver in the history of the town of Lieksa. The new cabby’s arrival immediately ruffled feathers in the taxi drivers’ community.

”Someone called me at once saying ’What the hell, you’ve hired a somali!’” says entrepreneur Pauli Meriläinen, who gave Abdi his job. ”The person on the other end said he wanted to know what was going on.”

Local customers were also baffled by Abdi’s presence behind the wheel.

”Whenever I drive my taxi, the first comment anyone offers is usually that I am a black man driving a cab,” says Abdi himself. ”They ask me where I got my driver’s lisence and so on. There are a lot of racist people here. But I don’t think everyone in Lieksa is the same.”

Insults, death threats and a beating in one night

The first two months of Abdi’s contract went fairly smoothly, not counting the occasional verbal confrontation. But over the second weekend of November, everything changed.

Abdi says he was driving his taxi in the centre of Lieksa on Friday night. His night shift was just beginning, and Friday nights are busy.

Early in the evening a man flagged Abdi down and asked to be driven far away from the centre. Soon Abdi had to bring him back, however, as the man threatened to kill him.

”After I started driving he also kept calling me the N-word the whole way,” Abdi says. ”I turned back and brought him back to the centre, where the man refused to pay for his trip.”

Abdi then called the police and informed them of the incident. His shift continued without incident, until all the restaurants in the centre closed.

In the small hours, Abdi picked up two out-of-town men who were on their way to a remote location. On arriving at the destination one of the men got out, claiming to retrieve cash.

”He got out of the car, stopped at the house door and told me to come and get the money,” Abdi recounts. ”I told him I would not. Then he said if I wouldn’t get out, he would kill me. Finally he came back to the car, grabbed the steering wheel and tried to hit me. He then dragged me out of the car and hit me over the head with an object. There was a lot of blood; he threatened to kill me again, and tried to throw me in the river.”

”I got away at last, got into the taxi and locked all the doors. The whole thing took about 15 minutes,” Abdi says.

Assaults on drivers rare, says Taxi Federation

Police are investigating the assault as a racially motivated crime and as assault and battery, unlawful threatening and misdemeanor fraud. Police also say that investigating the night’s events is difficult, as the taxi did not have a security camera.

”The courts will determine the exact course of events later,” says Antti Arponen from the Eastern Finland police. ”But it is a terribly sad case. For someone to want to work, and for this to happen to them.”

The Finnish Taxi Owners’ Federation says they consider the incident extremely unfortunate. The Federation says that assaults on drivers are very uncommon.

”Yearly there are very few,” communications chief Katja Saksa says. ”We don’t have any hard statistics, but it’s rare alright.”

Abdi says he has decided to stop driving his taxi, at least at night. He says he wants to move away from Lieksa.

”I got a job, and I want to pay taxes,” he says. ”I want to pay for my daily needs myself, with my own money. I want life to go forward. But in Lieksa, I am afraid.”

McDonalds Somali

McDonalds Somali

A McDonald’s manager was arrested and cautioned over a foul-mouthed racist tirade against Somali customers.
The victims of his abuse say he told them to ‘get the f*** out of my restaurant,’ adding: ‘All you f****** Somalians are the same.’
Yasin Farah, 27, and friends went to the restaurant in south east London, for breakfast at 5.30am on Sunday November 2 following a night out.
He said the manager of the restaurant, who is understood to be black and had a West African accent, quickly turned on him and four friends.

Mr Farah, of Penge, said: ‘When it came to us being served the manager jumped on the till and straight away was aggressive with us.

‘He was saying to my friend: “Can you not read, can you not see? What do you want for your breakfast?”

‘I didn’t understand why he was asking if he could read, so I jumped in and starting saying “just let him order his breakfast”.

‘Then he started telling us to get the f*** out of the restaurant. I thought: “How can you talk to a paying customer like that?”‘

At this point things took an even more unpleasant turn.

Mr Farah said: ‘Then all of a sudden he says I am a low-life.

‘He says: “You are a low-life, get out of the restaurant, all you f****** Somalians are all the same”.

‘A lot of his colleagues were coming in, trying to calm him down.

‘The customers were shocked, his response was completely out of proportion.’

‘His actions, his mannerisms, the way he was saying the things he said, made me want to take action.

‘I called the police. At the end of the day he’s the manager, you cannot set that kind of example. No one is allowed to speak to anyone like that in today’s society.’

A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware of the incident and are working with the individual and restaurant team to ensure this never happens again.

‘All are aware of the severity of this and are following internal HR processes.’

A police spokesman said: ‘Police were called to an allegation of racially aggravated harassment at McDonald’s at 5.50am on Sunday November 2.

‘A 41-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of a racially aggravated offence under section four of the Public Order Act. He was subsequently issued with a police caution.’

Daily Mail

Danish Somalis - Bartamaha.com

Danish Somalis - Bartamaha.com

An executive at the Somali Peace and Development organisation has raised concerns about the Foreign Ministry “hijacking” an event organised by the Somali diaspora when the country’s president visits Denmark from November 18-20.

“The Foreign Ministry, and especially its African department, prefers to polarise the active Somali diaspora rather than working with them positively as relevant stakeholders,” contended Abdulkhadir Ga’al, one of the organisers of the event who is a member of the Danish Refugee Council’s Diaspora Programme.

Ga’al, who is also the contact person for the Nomadic Somali Peace and Development organisation, explains it is an important opportunity for members of the diaspora to meet the president and talk to him about Somalia’s current situation.

However, he has growing concerns about the way the Foreign Ministry is handling November’s event. Its role was supposed to be limited to security and facilitation, but Ga’al argues it has taken too much control.

Limited Numbers

“First, the ministry has stated that the participants will be limited to a total of 335 people,” Ga’al told the Weekly Post. And only 205 of those will be in the same room as the president – the rest will watch a live feed next door.

This is much smaller than anticipated – last year, similar events were held in Minneapolis and London that attracted 5,000 visitors each.

“There are 17,000 people from a Somali background in Denmark, and many are intending to attend from neighbouring countries – I would expect at least 1,000 people to be there,” Ga’al estimates.

Although security reasons were given for the restriction, Ga’al is unconvinced as neither London or Minneapolis is considered as secure as Copenhagen.

Further restrictions

“In addition to that, the ministry imposed an online registration system for the Somali diaspora,” Ga’al continued.

“This was completely unfair as it will create exclusion and discrimination amongst the Somali diaspora in Denmark, as there is a high proportion of illiteracy amongst the Somalis. Many are elderly and do not use the internet.”

Nevertheless, the event was fully booked in two days.

Confused over treatment

Ga’al is confused because it appeared the ministry were onboard at a meeting with members of the diaspora in early October.

“We have worked here, paid taxes here and have been educated here, and this is a great opportunity to share some of what we have learnt from living in a Western country with Somalia,” Ga’al explained.

“It seems as if there is no recognition for the work the Somali community does when our concerns are neglected like this.”

Ministry denies claims

The ministry has denied the claims, and it does not recognise the accusation that they have taken over the event.

There is no Somali ambassador located in Denmark, but a number of decisions, including the internet sign-up, were made at the meeting in early October with the approval of Ali said Faqi, the Somali ambassador to the EU, whose remit covers Denmark.

On the webpage, all questions about the event are directed towards the ambassador in Brussels, and the ministry emphasises that the event is being organised by the Somali government and diaspora and that its only role is to provide practical support, which it has done by providing a venue and refreshments free of charge for the event.

The ministry is more heavily involved in other parts of the president’s visit, including the high-level partnership forum, ‘Somalia’s New Deal Compact’, where Denmark’s future relationship with Somalia will be outlined.

Source: The Copenhagen Post

Culture differences mean methods designed to get Somalis into the labour market in Norway do not work
Culture differences mean methods designed to get Somalis into the labour market in Norway do not work
Culture differences mean methods designed to get Somalis into the labour market in Norway do not work

A growing number of Somali immigrants are feeling humiliated by The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), a new report shows.

Independent research foundation Fafo’s study (in Norwegian) NAV’s treatment of this group has a negative effect on their trust in institutions and experience of inclusive Norwegian citizenship.

NAV employees have explained that the major problem of getting Somalis into the job market is their lack of education and language skills.

According to some NAV workers, Somali immigrants are particularly demanding and reluctant compared to other groups.

“Many Somalis are lacking very basic training in the form of language, for example. Therefore, they feel that NAVs more work-oriented initiatives are worthless,” Fafo researcher John Horgen Friberg told NRK.

State collapse and civil war has led to that many Somalis lack basic education. It has also worked to diminish their trust in governmental institutions.

This collapse of the Somali state in 1991 led an influx of Somali immigrants to Norway. Some 33,000 emigrated to the Scandinavian country between 1990 to 2013.

Service Director of the Directorate of Labour and Welfare, Bjørn Gudbjørgsrud thinks that the NAV programmes aimed at getting Somalis into the labour market are short-sighted.

“I believe, for example that, the introductory program is too short for parts of this group and that several [Somalis] need more extensive language learning,” he told the Norwegian state broadcaster.

Fafo’s report outlines that it is each municipality’s responsibility to ensure basic education for immigrants. Only then will NAV’s labour market measures be effective in securing employment for immigrants.

At the same time, an earlier report by Fafo showed a great disparity in educational programme offers between different municipalities in Norway.

Somalis face challenges in Oslo, and many immigrants move out of Norway again after a period due to exclusion from the labour market.

The latest report from Fafo further states that NAV’s labour oriented measures will only be effective when individuals already have acquired basic knowledge that can be transferred to the labour market.

Source: The Foreigner

Safia Abdi Haase

Safia Abdi Haase

A Somali-born campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM), Safia Abdi Haase, has become the first immigrant woman to receive Norway’s prestigious order of St Olav.

Ms Haase was given the order at the Royal Palace in Oslo for her work for women and children.

She fled Somalia for Norway with her three daughters in 1992.

She said her campaigning was based on her experiences of domestic abuse and female genital mutilation.

“I have been a victim of all types of violence and my fight against this violence is using my own story,” she told the BBC.

As well as genital mutilation, forced marriage, domestic violence and poverty, she said she had endured trafficking.

“I had to use my own body so that I could come out of Africa to come to Europe to give my three daughters life without violence,” she said.

Ms Haase had no formal education when she arrived in Norway. She put herself through primary and secondary schools, eventually obtaining a university degree in nursing.

Working with Norwegian charity Amathea, she became a passionate campaigner against FGM.

She has helped formulate the Norwegian government’s action plan against FGM and is regarded as an ambassador in the drive to combat violence against women.

She also works on a national board to combat racism and promote understanding between different cultures.

Source: BBC

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 9.37.12 PM

 

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 9.37.12 PMBristol — The family and friends of a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Bristol who is suspected of flying from Britain to join Islamist fighters in Syria have spoken of their shock and confusion.

Police revealed on Monday night that the girl, Yusra Hussien, is believed to be in Turkey having left the UK last week with a 17-year-old London girl and may be trying to reach Syria.

Schoolfriends said she was an A-grade student who had a very bright future and wanted to be a dentist. She vanished from her home last Wednesday after failing to meet her father after school.

Devastated relatives of the schoolgirl, who is of Somali origin, gathered at the family’s terraced home in the Easton area of Bristol. Her mother confirmed her daughter was missing and another woman, who said she was an aunt, added: “We are all really confused.”

Hussien’s father, who is believed to be a youth worker, refused to comment.

Friends at the girl’s inner-city school paid tribute to her. One said: “I have no idea what made her leave. She is a really nice girl.” Another added: “She was very smart. She was always getting As and A*s – that is the kind of student she was.”

A friend who had a lesson with the teenager the day before she went missing said she seemed “completely normal”. “I was sat next to her and she seemed fine,” she said. “She didn’t have any new friends that we knew about, and she was a completely normal girl.”

Speaking on behalf of the family outside their mid-terrace house, friend and journalist Anira Khokhar described the girl as “an intelligent, beautiful young lady who is being missed by her family”, adding: “That is all that matters at the present moment.”

She said: “The family have lost a daughter. Their daughter is missing. The family are a small, tight Somali family. They are very reserved. They have a lot of the Somali community coming to support them in all this.

“It’s all speculation at the moment. All the words flying around the media – jihadist, radicalisation, extremism. There’s no proof at present. It’s an ongoing investigation. We need to all ensure they are a family whose daughter is somewhere they are unaware of and she is in danger.

“The family is very distraught. They have got little kids in there. We have to ensure as a British community we all come together and unite and protect those young kids. The last thing they want to see about their sister is words such as ‘jihadist bride’ or radicalisation or extremism.

“The family needs space just like any other missing person. It doesn’t matter what religion, race you are, there’s a girl that’s missing. The Somali community is a very united community, a very strong community. Let them unite in this time.”

Bristol city councillor Hibaq Jama said: “They [the family] are absolutely devastated. They are distraught. I think it is really important to understand that at the heart of it is a grieving mother and a grieving father who as yet have no idea where their 15-year-old daughter is. The family are urging their daughter to return home.”

The family released a statement through the councillor reading: “Please come back. We miss you very much. You’re not in any trouble. We just want you to be safe and come home as soon as possible.”

Jama added: “What we know about her is that she is an incredibly bright, incredibly articulate, popular, gifted young lady who was admired by, and very much looked up to by, her peers. She was doing very well in school. She was very aspirational, wanting to go on and become a dentist.

“So it has come as a complete shock to the parents – they are devastated – but it has also come as a shock to the community, who are now understandably asking questions about the fact that if she, as a 15-year-old girl from this community, very articulate, very well-accomplished, has disappeared then there are understandably concerns for others as well.”

Avon and Somerset’s assistant chief constable, Louisa Rolfe, said there were indications Hussien may have been radicalised. She said: “We can confirm that a 15-year-old student from Bristol has travelled to Turkey and we understand she may be attempting to make her way to Syria.

“Since she was reported missing by her parents we’ve carried out extensive work to trace her footsteps from the time she left home to her arrival in Istanbul, Turkey. We’re giving every support we can to her family. We want to find out where she is and encourage her to return safely.

“There are indications she may have been radicalised but at the moment our priority is to find her before she crosses the border to Syria and make sure she is safe. We must all be vigilant and ready to spot the signs of radicalisation.”

Her parents reported her missing last Wednesday and Avon and Somerset police said the search involved detectives from the Metropolitan force and its network of international liaison officers.

In Bristol, police will be investigating how any radicalisation took place and trying to find anyone else who might be tempted to head for Syria.

Rolfe added: “Often, young Muslims who go to Syria can be naive and don’t recognise that they are being sucked into joining extremist groups.

“This is not about criminalising these young people. It’s about preventing tragedies.”

An estimated 500 to 600 Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria, and 250 have since returned. Among them are the brothers Nasser and Aseel Muthana, 20 and 17, and their friend Reyaad Khan, also 20, all from Cardiff, just 40 miles down the M4 from Bristol. Nasser and Khan appeared in a terrorist recruitment video.

Source: Guradian

 

British Muslims who practise polygamy

British Muslims who practise polygamy

The Telegraph — It is estimated that as many as 20,000 polygamous Muslim marriages exist in the UK. In a Channel 4 documentary this week, director Masood Khan will delve into the community of British Muslim polygamists to find out “what makes these people tick” and how a religious group is able to put its own practices above UK law.

Khan was drawn to the subject after hearing about women in Britain – mostly well-educated, third- or fourth-generation immigrants or Western converts – who were considering polygamy a “lifestyle choice”, embracing the idea of the part-time husband.

Khan talks about meeting one such career woman: “She was a gobby Northerner who had quite a senior job at the Home Office. She recently got divorced and said, ‘I don’t have time to have a bloke around all the time. I just want to see him maybe twice a week, so it works perfectly if he’s got another wife who can take care of all his cooking and cleaning.’”

Man with many wives-Hasan Philips and his wife NabilahIn 2010, London Mayor Boris Johnson’s then 45-year-old ex-wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen married a Muslim man in secret. In an article for the Evening Standard she explained her approach to polygamy: “I realise that I am unlikely to conceive children [at my age] so we agreed that, so long as he chooses a good partner, then I am happy to live together in an extended family.”

But this intriguing application of Muslim teachings, based on a woman’s desire to maintain her independence and career without sacrificing a personal home life completely, is not the norm. In most polygamous marriages the idea of the dominant male provider and his numerous subordinate spouses prevails.

Khan points out that there is actually a lot of hostility towards polygamy within the Muslim community, adding: “You’ve got to remember that polygamy is practised worldwide by less than five per cent of Muslims.” Those who do support polygamous marriage often quote verse 4:3 of the Koran as an explicit endorsement of the practice: “Marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice to so many then one only.”

The families featured in Khan’s documentary are keen to assert that a man who enters into a polygamous marriage has a duty to provide for his family and treat all his wives justly. So what of Mohammed el Ghannay, the polygamist from Sheffield whose whole family relies on state benefits? He says proudly: “We’ve got three wives, one husband, 11 children: we are a family.” Yet his third wife, 26 years old and caring for three of his children hundreds of miles away in Morocco, is left alone for nine months of the year while Mohammed scrapes together enough money to visit them.

Shaheen Qureshi is a mother of eight also living on benefits after two failed marriages – the first an arranged marriage to her cousin in Pakistan and the second as the co-wife of a Muslim man in Bradford, whom she saw for a total of six months in their 10-year marriage.

She believes most men who pursue polygamy “are probably just going through a midlife crisis, and the Islamic marriage gives them the right to legitimate sex.” Underpinning this blatant inequality between husband and wife is the belief that men and women have different fundamental needs. Qureshi states matter-of-factly: “Men are polygamous by nature. Anybody who says they’re monogamous or they’ve never had an affair or a fling or even looked at somebody – they’re lying.”

khat bristol

khat bristol

Bristol — POLICE in Bristol have made their biggest seizure of the herbal stimulant khat since it became illegal nearly three months ago.

Khat, now a class C drug, was sold and chewed openly in the city at about 30 cafes – known as mafrishes – before the ban came into force on June 24.

Police officers in Easton took to Twitter last week to tell followers they had made their biggest seizure of the drug since the ban – along with a picture of the dried khat in sandwich bags.

Twenty-four bags of the dried substance, with a street value of £250, were seized at a property in Stapleton Road, Easton on Wednesday, but no arrests have been made in relation to the incident.

At the time of khat being made illegal, the Bristol Post spoke to people from the 10,000-strong Somali community who hailed the move as a watershed moment.

But dozens of small businesses which sold the plant were likely to lose out.

Some community leaders also warned that the ban would criminalise Somalis who chewed the amphetamine-like plant.

It was also later reported that the ban was increasing anti-social behaviour in Easton.

Somali community activist, Abdi Mohamed, of the Bristol Somali Media Group, said the closure of khat cafes had forced young users on the street.

Residents complained in July that groups of up to 100 noisy men were congregating on streets near Stapleton Road late into the night.

The problem was at first attributed to the end of the daily dawn-to-dusk fast during Ramadan.

Police stepped up patrols in the area and put up posters asking for respect for neighbours during Ramadan.

But Mr Mohamed told the Bristol Post the antisocial behaviour was not just down to the Muslim month of fasting.

He said: “If you think about it, there were 20 to 30 khat cafes full every evening when the ban was not in place and now they are closed.

“These cafes were not just for people taking khat, they were for people to socialise in, too, and now a lot of people have nowhere to go in the evenings.”

Minutes from a meeting of the Bristol Somali Forum with senior police officers and council officials showed the authorities were warned about a potential problem before the ban in June.

The plant is grown predominantly in Kenya and has been chewed for centuries by members of the Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities.

A police spokesman said anyone caught with the Class C drug could face up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Source: Bristol Post

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