Brock Turner: Convicted Rapist

Brock Turner: Convicted Rapist

I stand completely horrified and at a loss of words at the recent decision made in prosecuting “aspiring athlete” Brock Turner, a student at Stanford University, who raped a student whilst she was unconscious. His conviction was an embarrassing six month sentence in prison, of which he may only serve half. 3 months in prison for raping a girl because she wasn’t conscious to stop him.

I’ve read multiple reports justifying the (lack of) conviction of the rapist, Turner, with one being it’s legally not classified as “rape” as she was unconscious and therefore couldn’t NOT give consent… The absurdity of this makes my head hurt. If this is the case, serious changes ought to be made to the legal system whereby we concentrate on the legal definition of “rape” to include denying a woman the right to consent. What’s furthermore worrying is the fact that this is being used as an excuse to justify such a ridiculously lenient sentence. Yes, Turner had no prior criminal convictions, and he may have had good character references but the fact remains, he is still and always will be a rapist now. Another justification by the Judge, Aaron Persky, for a short sentence was because prison would severely impact the rapist¹. Judge, I think that’s what we’re all hoping for –  a severe impact on a rapist who took the choice of consent from a girl so he could engage in sexual intercourse with her.

The real issue at the forefront of most minds is the correlation between race and prison sentence, and the privilege that comes with being wealthy and white in America. Apparently, it puts you above the law. Aaron Persky, and Dan Turner, father of Brock Turner, have both set out the example that rape is okay – if you’re white. A girl will now face the rest of her life knowing that justice has not been served for a crime against her; that her right to say no was stripped from her, and the perpetrator shall not pay the price, because he’s too delicate. We must ask ourselves what would be different had the athlete been black, Middle Eastern or South Asian? A tougher prison sentence, for one. No remorse, either, I imagine. Judge Persky has brushed a rape of an unconscious woman under the carpet by labelling it as a “drunken mistake” which suffices as mitigating circumstances and thus results in virtually no prison time. What an abhorrent example this sets for our generation, and the future.

I do not care that Brock Turner was an aspiring athlete. That’ll never change what he’s done to his victim; she may never recover from his attack. Turner’s father wrote a letter to the judge which sickened majority of the population; he showed an utter disregard for his son’s attack and instead attempted to draw significant attention to Turner’s character. It’s concerning to see someone show almost no remorse for his son’s actions in comparison to the apparent trauma his son is now enduring. You cannot blame “party culture” for Turner’s rape, either; it was Brock Turner’s choice to commit a sexual attack on a vulnerable woman. He took advantage of her and he must serve his time accordingly.

A further chilling aspect to the Stanford Rape Case is the Turners’ quick decision to hire private investigators and the most expensive lawyers in order to save Turner’s reputation. For a rapist to take the stand and claim he believed his victim was “enjoying” being raped by him, and his desperate attempt to appear “confused” instead of a rapist makes us all shudder in simultaneous disgust and disbelief. Dan Turner even commented on Twitter, saying his son now suffers from “anxiety and depression.” That’s the least he deserves for this crime. There appears to be not a single expression of remorse or guilt by the rapist; a girl can now no longer live her life the way she planned because her future was snatched from her by a boy who will serve only three months in prison for it.

It’s horrifying that cases such as this are common worldwide; I can only pray the victim finds peace within herself and with life. However, I hope she takes some solace in knowing that men and women worldwide are publicly condemning the conviction. She represents the countless victims of sexual assault and rape, who’ve been silenced by the justice system. We are with you, and we will always fight for you. Henceforth, this case will be defined and dominated by people worldwide fighting for justice for people who have suffered at the hands of rapists and sexual predators. We have no interest in Brock Turner’s life pre-rape: by God’s grace, he’ll be stripped of all his privileges and future aspirations.

We all want justice – for you.

The victim’s statement can be found here: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/stanford-rape-case-brock-turner-victims-statement-a7074246.html

Sources:

¹http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/06/father-stanford-university-student-brock-turner-sexual-assault-statement

Featured image: http://www.vox.com/2016/6/10/11904740/brock-turner-stanford-assault-pastor-letter

Terrorism Ignored

Britain First Target Muslim Elected Officials Including Sadiq Khan In ‘Direct Action Campaign’

Britain First (even the name makes me cackle a little) have decided to launch a campaign against Muslim “elected officials” in their attempt to ban Islam in the United Kingdom.

Firstly, BF have “intelligence” which confirms our Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is a terrorist. Secondly, they have threatened to target these elected officials through “militant direct action.” What I fail to understand is why they want to ban one religion; surely, if they wanted Britain to become a Christian country, they’d eradicate all other religions, too? This is my first example of the comical irony that is Britain First.

A political party have declared they are going to attack elected officials because they’re all either related to or are extremists. They are calling on the general public to come together to attack. They encourage people to confront Muslims on the street. They’re inciting racial hatred. Now, anyone with half a brain will know that Britain First stands for nothing more than racist bigotry, but what frustrates me is that no one takes the threats as seriously as they would if a Muslim community would say such things.

Furthermore, the West has started to pick and choose what they define as “terrorism.” For example, the War on Gaza; I admit, in the past I have been particularly and unfairly biased towards Palestine fundamentally because as a Muslim, I’m easily influenced if I see fellow Muslims being slaughtered, especially young children. I know that both sides are not innocent and Hamas have done more than their fair share of projecting violence towards Israel. However there are examples of terrorism in Israel’s methods of occupation and war tactics. One is when Israeli forces blocked in and isolated Ni’lin, a village on the West Bank; as a result of this, Palestinians were denied food, water and ate; essentially, they were starving out until they died. This was not aired on the news.

Another example of selective news airing: 300 Syrians were allegedly killed in a massacre orchestrated by the Islamic State in January 2016. It was reported that 85 civilians were confirmed dead, with 50 troops killed, too. This took place over 24 hours; a shocking massacre. This was not aired on the news.

In my previous post, I wrote about bias in the media against Muslims in particular; the Western media, such as the BBC, will only ever report on events which concern them. And they’ll omit significant facts in order to manipulate the masses. During the Paris attacks in November 2015, a worker at the attacked cafe Casa Nostra, Safer, rescued two heavily injured women when the firing began, escorting them to the basement where he ultimately saved their lives. This story was hardly mentioned on social media, and not at all by news broadcasters, however, a month-long analysis of the attacks was aired without any hesitation.

Persecuting citizens due to their religion, race or culture is terrorism, regardless of where it is in the world. The Holocaust was so heavily condemned, so why aren’t these acts of inhumane violence treated the same? The hypocrisy will always astound me. The media and those who believe every single word they hear on the television or on the internet need to open their eyes. Think for yourself, instead of allowing thoughts to be dictated to you.  Think of who is talking to you on the internet, or on TV. We’re intentionally blinded by what others do not want us to know.

A x

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/britain-first-muslim-elected-officials_uk_574352c4e4b0e71ef36d9617

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBritainFirst/videos/1028797760598818/

https://www.facebook.com/Saeed.Amireh/posts/10154288735819447

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/17/dozens-killed-by-islamic-state-in-massacre-in-syrian-city-of-deir-ezzor

http://tribune.com.pk/story/992354/meet-the-muslim-restaurant-worker-who-saved-two-women-during-paris-attacks/

http://www.ibtimes.com/who-lassana-bathily-muslim-immigrant-who-saved-jewish-hyper-cacher-customers-talks-2255256

Does Media Bias Against Muslims Feed Into Radicalisation?

I can’t even say “as of recently” because this is an ongoing issue, and has been for some time: bias against Muslims in the western media. I voiced my opinion on how I, as a Pakistani girl, felt attacked by various, biased, news broadcasters; the above interlinking of anger at the bias and radicalisation was the response I received, from someone who worked in the industry.

Now I’m not exactly well-informed in what goes through one’s mind when they decide to fight for the Jihad but this suggestion of subjective bias in the media being a reason behind  radicalisation is almost hilarious. Instead of accepting responsibility for unfair media coverage, they deflect furthermore blame. The heavy focus on average Muslims fleeing the country to fight for groups like Islamic State places most Muslims under the spotlight and heavy scrutiny. Since 9/11, Muslims have been categorically associated with terrorism. Anyone wearing a hijab, burqa or with brown skin is instantly given an awkward side-glance. People wearing niqabs are racially abused in public. The media’s stance on, or rather, against, Muslims is adding fuel to an increasingly widespread fire.

To create a correlation between Muslims feeling attacked by the media and terrorism is possibly the highest level of ignorance I have ever come across. That’s saying something, what with ignorant, uneducated comments are on the rise with a biased media reporting unfairly on current affairs worldwide, involving terrorism and more specifically, Islamic State. There are a fair few newspapers who incite racial hatred with their headlines and focus on the ethnicity of key figures in a story. For example, the Daily Mail is notoriously well-known for focussing on “Muslim” immigrants or “Muslim youths” being involved in crime, when the ethnicity or faith is not necessary to the crime at all. This representation and blatant categorisation of Muslims being criminals, job-takers and rapists is what is creating an increasing uproar amongst the Muslim communities. This uproar is not radicalisation, it is defiance and anger at being treated unfairly. Poor media coverage of Islam is not turning us into radicals. Let me make that very, very clear.

Broadcasters such as the BBC thrive on sensationalist headlines but go out of their way to attempt to prove their lack of bias; sadly, in doing so, they make themselves look even more stupid. More often than not, I find myself having to write posts like this to justify a Muslim, such as myself, being completely thrown and disgusted by outright bigotry. Sadiq Khan is our new mayor of London; I, for one, voted for him and for many Pakistani Brits across London it is much more than a political achievement. It’s a step forward for us as a multi-cultural community to accept a Pakistani man leading our city, much to the disappointment of Islamophobic bigots.

I do not blame every white person for the acts of the KKK. Should I? Should I label all white citizens of London as racists? No, because I am educated. Reporting on events by drawing attention to their faith first is uneducated. Finally, assuming that terrorists represent Islam and Islamic teachings is uneducated, too.

I am a Muslim; I am defiant in my faith and beliefs. That doesn’t make me a radical.

Anisah

Thank you, Brandon

Thank you, Brandon

I’ve been following the Humans of New York (HONY) page on Facebook for a couple of years now and I’m still astounded everyday by the stories of strength, survival and resilience around the world. Recently, the founder of HONY and photographer, Brandon, has produced a series on paediatric cancer patients in New York, documenting the lives of cancer sufferers from the perspective of parents and patients.

All around the world and through social media we hear stories of cancer sufferers and their plight against the disease. So much so that the term ‘cancer’ is almost considered to be a taboo; whenever we hear the word we associate it with a death sentence. But what strikes me about these individual stories is the strength of the children who suffer with the disease on a daily basis, and their attitude towards it being nothing but positive. With their childhood almost robbed, they persevere with the determination to fight. Most of them don’t realise they’re sick, they consider themselves to be just the same as other children and that is what’s remarkable about these stories. It makes everything we complain about on a daily basis seem so mundane and minuscule in comparison to the sickness these young children fight everyday.

They’re an inspiration to us all. They show us that life isn’t too short at all, it’s too unpredictable to have a negative attitude towards. We ought to celebrate the good health we have and make the most of what life has to offer us. But we also ought to give the parents credit – those who remain as strong as they possibly can be for their children, because that in itself can only be debilitating, both emotionally and physically.

So thank you, Brandon, for making us realise how precious life is when you’re healthy. It’s something we take for granted all too easily. In the day-to-day rush of working or studying, we forget to appreciate what really matters. Our health, our families and each other. Thank you for giving these remarkable fighters a voice. They are the epitome of bravery. And they renew our faith in the health professionals who save lives everyday with their tireless efforts, as well as with God in His power to heal.

I urge as many of you as possible to donate money towards the MSK cancer centre and other charities; more money for these centres means more research facilities and a higher likelihood of finding cures for the devastating diseases.

And lastly, Brandon, we cannot commend you enough for all you do worldwide, from the refugee crisis in Syria to humanitarian crisis victims to cancer patients.

Brandon’s HONY blog: http://www.humansofnewyork.com

Donation page for the MSK Cancer Centre: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/let-s-help-dr-o-reilly-fight-pediatric-cancer

A x

Featured image: Stanton’s book cover ‘Humans of New York’ on amazon

This Middle Finger’s For You, Charlie

This Middle Finger’s For You, Charlie

I was utterly disgusted to learn that the so called ‘satirical’ magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has implicated all Muslims as terrorists. Not only is this categorisation eerily similar to the persecution of an ethnic minority we’ve one seen before (shoot me, I’ve brought up the Holocaust) but it’s also an entirely ignorant and, in my opinion, racist view of Muslims in general.

If someone called all French citizens undeniably racist, we’d have a serious uprising on our hands. If someone claimed every white person was responsible for the actions of the KKK, we’d have an even bigger uprising on our hands. It’s sickening to watch people stay quiet and quickly turn a blind eye whenever Muslims are being targeted and categorised. Fundamentally, it’s blatant ignorance of the highest degree and considering the Hebdo illustrations have been anything but respectful of Islam as of late, part of me is hardly surprised they stooped to this new low. However, it’s become increasingly concerning that a country has outright condemned all Muslims as being capable of mass murder. The not to subtle call to arms against all believers of Islam in the article is furthermore a worry to peaceful Muslims who naturally condemn any act of violence on humanity.

So, Charlie Hebdo, here’s what you can do instead of pointing the finger and playing the blame game. You can firstly question the government’s effectiveness in preventing terrorists – that is, people who distort and subvert Islam to their advantage in an attempt to justify murder as a form of establishing an Islamic State; NOT ALL MUSLIMS – from breeding in their own country. Secondly, you can stop giving said terrorists another reason to attack you. Inciting racial hatred is not exactly a smart move, considering the reason your country was attacked was because of the content of your magazine.

The world came together to unite against terrorism when Paris was attacked. Muslims came together to condemn the actions against your country. Is this what we get in return for standing in solidarity with you, against terrorism?

Je ne suis pas Charlie.

Anisah x

Featured Image: Independent Magazine

Pray for Pakistan; Pray for the World

Pray for Pakistan; Pray for the World

إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

It’s shocking to realise that suicide bomb attacks are becoming something of a recurrence across the world in our current society.

Yesterday, we learnt of an explosion in Lahore which left over 70 men, women and children dead in a park. My heart breaks for the innocent victims who paid the price for being in what we perceive to be a safe place at the wrong time. The Taliban have since claimed responsibility for the attack, but it begs the question; for what purpose? What message are they attempting to convey by killing families on a holiday weekend?

This deplorable act was clearly meticulously calculated with the intention to cause maximum damage. Nothing screams inhumanity like killing 30 children on a public holiday. It also begs the question: to what incomprehensible extent have these terrorists subverted and distorted Islam for their own gain, in order to find this act of atrocity justifiable?

Pakistan is in my prayers tonight. As is the rest of the world.

The only way we can fight terror is with unity.

A x