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Belarus Sentences Student to Jail After her Arrest on Diverted RyanAir Flight in 2021

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Russian law student Sofia Sapega has been sentenced to 6 years in jail by a Belarus court for “deliberate acts aimed at inciting social enmity and discord on the basis of social affiliation committed by a group of persons, which had grave consequences”. Sapega and her partner Roman Protasevich were arrested in last year’s RyanAir flight diversion which drew worldwide condemnation as a plot by the Belarus government to apprehend the couple. The court also found Sapega guilty of illegally collecting and distributing information on an unnamed person without consent. 

Last May, a RyanAir flight from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, due to claims of a bomb threat. Sofia Sapega and Roman Protasevich had been traveling together on the flight and once the plane landed in Minsk both were arrested by Belarusian authorities. Several governments and organizations have questioned the authenticity of the bomb threat and some have even accused Belarus of hijacking the plane to apprehend Sapega and Protasevich. 

Since the arrest, Protasevich has appeared multiple times on Belarus state-controlled media. In one video Protasevich says he “confessed” to organizing “mass riots in Minsk” however his family and supporters believe the admission was forced. Protasevich was one of several activists campaigning in exile against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko, also known as ‘Europe’s last dictator’ has held power in Minsk for 27 years. After the last election, which many believe was rigged, Lukashenko exiled or detained several opposition forces. 

Belarus’s actions are a direct threat to free speech and if other nations do not step up to defend Sapega and Protasevich then other authoritarian governments are sure to be built using the same oppressive tactics as Minsk. Attacks on journalists have increased in recent years as media becomes a larger force for swaying public opinion. If governments are allowed to bully news platforms into only publishing pro-regime reports then journalism as a whole will become distorted. Rather than producing honest investigative news articles, journalists will be pressured into becoming propaganda puppets for the government. If we do not speak up for free speech rights in Belarus now, the authoritarian tactics of Lukashenko’s government could spread to plague the rest of the world. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Saira is a Muslim American with a passion for writing, economics, and justice.  With a background as a UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelors in economics allows her to quantitatively analyze critical developments from around the globe as well as their long term impacts on financial systems and social welfare. She is dedicated to reporting in an investigative, honest and compassionate manner to give voice to those who need it most.

Economics

World Food Programme suspends food assistance to 1.7 million in South Sudan

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Conflict combined with poor weather in South Sudan has led to 7.74 million people facing a hunger crisis.

Despite the country facing food insecurity, the World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended food assistance to 1.7 million people in South Sudan. They require $426 million to be able to feed 6 million people in South Sudan throughout 2022. At the start of 2022, the WFP projected that it would be able to assist 6.2 million people in the country but has failed at achieving this target. This suspension of funding comes at one of the worst times for South Sudan, a newly independent country which not only has been facing internal conflicts for many years but also faced three years of flooding, a localised drought and like the rest of the world, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring global food prices. Therefore, not only is food not available in the country, but it also comes at a much higher price making the country food insecure. This cut also comes at a time where South Sudan is facing lean season, which is the season between planting crops and harvesting them. During this season, food is already scarce.

The suspension of aid by the WFP is due to a funding shortage of $426 million. It is important to note that the primary source of WFP’s funding comes from governments around the world. This funding is entirely voluntary, meaning that the countries have the freedom to cut anytime they wish.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a human rights group recently ruled that the world’s 10 most neglected crises are all in Africa with South Sudan being the 4th most neglected crisis. The Secretary General of the NRC, Jan Egeland said “The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the immense gap between what is possible when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for millions of people suffering in silence within these crises on the African continent that the world has chosen to ignore,”

The hunger crisis the people of South Sudan face is not new, rather food insecurity has been a challenge for years now. In 2017, South Sudan faced a famine and now another famine is predicted by the WFP this year if funding is not organised. Furthermore, South Sudan has recently been facing unrest which has only intensified the issue, leading to brutal violence upon civilians, including targeted attacks, gender-based violence, kidnappings and murders. This has led to nearly 2.3 million people fleeing to neighbouring countries whilst 1.87 million people remain internally displaced. Displacement continues to exacerbate the hunger crisis in South Sudan as many rely on food from their own land, something which is not possible during displacement. Internal conflict has thus meant that people have had to rely heavily on food assistance.

There have been many attempts for a peace agreement in the country, but so far, all these attempts have failed.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Environment

The world is ageing at a rapid pace and there will be consequences

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World and Aging Hands

There are more old people in the world than there are young people. Both developed and developing countries have to be ready to take the huge burden of the rising population of older people.

According to 2019 data from the UN, the proportion of people aged 60 and over will be 1 in 6 by the year 2050. However, a more recent observation by the WHO shows that the world might reach these statistics much sooner; that is, by 2030. And by 2050, the population of over 60 will double to almost 2.1 billion people.

This demographic change has already occurred in some developed countries. In Japan, the median age is 48 years old, and this makes Japan’s population the oldest in the world. By 2060, there will be one elderly person for each person of working age.

Similarly, there are already more people aged 60 and over in Europe and North America than young people under the age of 15. Germany is another example. It is predicted that by 2050 the population of the income-generating population will fall from 55 million to less than 40 million.

The change is greatest in developed countries because of low mortality rates as well as low fertility rates. This means new children are not being born while the healthcare of the country is improving, so people and children live longer.

The data for the population of the world in 2020 already shows that the population aged 65 and older is 727 million, whereas the population under 5 is 677 million.

There are many consequences of this change. The biggest is the increase in the dependent population, which will affect the economy of the country. Most people over the age of 60 are retired, so they depend on pensions while the younger income-generating population is responsible for providing the money through taxes. The taxes will need to increase to meet the demands of the older generation. Not only that, the government has to spend more money on the older generation who don’t earn on their own rather than invest in developing the country.

There will also be a rise in chronic illnesses which will affect the allocation of healthcare facilities as right now there is more focus on infectious diseases. Since there will be an increase in the older generation, there will be even less informal care from the remaining younger family members. Elderly abuse is already an issue, but there will be a rise in this form of abuse as well.

Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said, “There will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65, and that makes it very difficult to sustain global society.”

Adding, “Think of all the profound social and economic consequences for a society with more grandparents than grandchildren.”

For many reasons, in America, most women are staying child-free or having children later in life. The biggest reason is the expense required to raise children. Since 2007, the birth rate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28%, shows data.

Similarly, in England and Wales, the percentage of women in their 30s without children rose from 18% in 1975 to 50% in 2020.

Unless more work is done to replace the population and prevent population shrinkage by encouraging people to have more children, the economies of many countries need to prepare for a boost from the older population.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Women's Issues

10 Successful Muslim Women Who Wear The Hijab

For centuries, successful Muslim women have pioneered systems and institutions while wearing the hijab, and they still do so today.

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The Hijab, or the Muslim head covering is always met with hostility and scrutiny. Oppression and illiteracy is what it represents, according to the common stereotype against it. But successful Muslim women around the world are smashing those tropes!  

For centuries, successful Muslim women have pioneered systems and institutions while practicing their faith-prescribed veils. For example, the first ever university was built by a Hijab wearing woman, Fatima al-Fihri, in Fez, Morocco.

For many successful Muslim women the Hijab isn’t an obstacle in their paths, but it is the veil which keeps them safe as they break the proverbial glass ceiling. In fact, many Hijabi Muslim women who have made it to the height of their success continue to speak passionately about protecting the rights of Muslim women everywhere who choose to wear it in schools and workplaces. 

Here are 10 of those women changing the world.

Nusrat Sharif, Pfizer Senior Scientist

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Muslim Hijabi scientist, Nusrat Sharif, works as a Senior Scientist at Pfizer 

Towards the end of 2020, after the height of the pandemic, the release of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine seemed to be just the light we needed to return back to a normal life. Working with Pfizer as an inflammation & immunology specialist, a Muslim Hijabi scientist, Nusrat Sharif, serves as a Senior Scientist. 

In aiding the world with her research, her Hijab has never caused her to perform less successfully than her peers — nor has her performance ever declined because of her choice to wear a Hijab.

In a one-on-one interview with AnalystNews, Sharif, who topped her class in her PhD program, said: “I think the Hijab empowers me everyday to be a strong leader”.

Upon moving to the United States from India, Sharif went to visit many university campuses to decide on her higher education. She recalls one of the male students on campus yelling to her as she took a tour: “Take off your Hijab!” She says that in the heat of the moment, the only response that registered in her mind was to yell back was: “Never!”

She knew there and then that if people would try to make the Hijab a challenge for her, she would conquer it.

Sharif described her interview process with Pfizer, saying, “He [the director] was so impressed that a Muslim woman in a Hijab came so far.” She then had the opportunity to explain to him the true meaning of her religious garment.

Sharif had been working at Pfizer for some time, when she had an encounter with a new colleague who was an Arab Muslim woman. The woman told Sharif: “You can’t survive in a corporate world in purdah (veiling)”. The stereotypes around Hijabs not only impact societal perception of Muslim women, but the perception of Muslim women about themselves.

Sharif realised that not only did her Hijab dispel myths for non-Muslims, but it could also re-empower Muslim women who feel distraught when they have to pick between two identities (corporate vs religious). Her identity shows that you can be both, but more importantly, be great at both.

About the nature of the French Hijab ban, she says it has the opposite effect on trying to create equality in society. She also says forcing the Hijab makes no sense either. “Extremists on both sides are not good. Muslim women should have the freedom to decide that they want to do.”

Khola Hübsch, Journalist

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Khola Hübsch on a German political talk show

A common misconception about the Hijab is that it prevents Muslim women from being free to communicate and make public appearances. But for Khola Hübsch, a German journalist, her Hijab actually helped her succeed in her career. The Hijab never got in the way of her success — in fact, she is most often known as the face of Muslim women in Germany, and that could be accredited to how her Hijab has made her visible.

For her, the Hijab never impeded on the quality of her education either. Khola feels that in many instances, her choice to wear a Hijab was guided by her Islamic faith. For some women, it is not just about opportunities, but the freedom to practice their faith. Keeping that choice for Muslim women is essential.

Munazza Alam, Astronomer

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Munazza Alam giving a presentation for National Geographic Education

One such example is a National Geographic Young Explorer, and renowned astronomer, Munazza Alam. The Harvard Graduate has worked on projects like the observation of atmosphere on exoplanets. It means she gets to work closely with large teams, and advanced equipment like the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the world’s most versatile telescopes. 

In an interview, while commenting on her Hijab, Alam says, “I have operated telescopes at national observatories, presented at conferences, and met with Nobel Prize winners in my full purdah [veiling] in venues all over the world.

“I do not shake hands with men and I have found this practice to be especially effective for setting a physical boundary from the start with the non-related men I meet. I have met some people who believe that doing purdah or refusing handshakes might disadvantage women from opportunities in their careers, but I have not found this to be the case in my experience. I have never felt that doing purdah has hindered my ability to be a professional scientist in any way. In fact, many people have told me that they admire my courage and respect me more for doing purdah even though it sets me apart in professional settings.”

Throughout her education and practice, the Hijab has served as a mark that sets her apart from her colleagues, and is something she is admired for, thanks to the acceptance of those around her.

“We live in a world today in which society is moving toward being more inclusive of people from all different backgrounds, which includes Muslim representation in STEM and other fields. Moreover, we have a right to dress in our purdah as Muslim women and discrimination against it is illegal. We should not be afraid to show the world who we are.” 

The challenges she faces don’t come from the Hijab itself, but by bullying and discrimination because she chooses to wear it. Alam shared with Carnegie Science that, “Once I visited an institute to give a research seminar and at the end of the talk, I was approached by a faculty member who harassed me about my headscarf.” The situation was later settled, with the woman understanding why her reaction was uncalled for. But the Hijab itself never became a factor that dimmed the light of Munazza Alam.

Nusrat Haq, Lawyer

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Purdah has always been a part of my outward image”

Muslim women have also successfully ventured deep into the field of law, proving that their Hijab does not get in the way of pursuing prestigious fields. Oxford alumni, Nusrat Haq graduated with a degree in law and now practices Corporate Law in Melbourne, Australia. While sharing her thoughts in an interview, Haq said that, “At the end of the day, purdah [veiling] doesn’t hold you back from anything in my view.”

“Having started purdah in my early teens, it feels as though purdah has always been a part of my outward image. Perhaps that brings with it a sense of confidence in wearing purdah, but I consider the ease with which I view purdah to be another one of the more fortunate aspects of my life.

Personally, I see purdah as one of the easiest forms of religious compliance. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s just the ease that comes with it. At university, I just put on my niqab and coat and run out of the door to the library or lectures!”

For most successful Muslim women, the support that they receive in their decision to wear the Hijab, from their peers and colleagues is ultimately what helps them on the journey of success.

Asked whether she faced and difficulties because of the hijab, she said:

“No, I haven’t faced any challenges at work or work events due to purdah and I’d echo my comments from your earlier question. There is so much awareness and training given to people at work these days, hiring and senior managers in particular, that I think it’s easier than ever for Muslim women to participate in the workforce and work events. It’s well understood that, ultimately, it’s to the employer’s benefit to ensure an inclusive workplace.”

Ayesha Noor Rashid, Entrepreneur

For some successful Muslim women, like Ayesha Noor Rashid, the Hijab is not just a tool of self-empowerment, but also a way to empower others. Rashid runs a small business, Equal Entrance, where she sells scarves, among other apparel, with quotes meant to give the wearer a boost of empowerment.

She says about the Hijab ban in France that, “Muslim women will either be forced to let go of their values or will gradually vanish away behind the closed doors of their homes.” But as a Hijabi herself, she believes Muslim women breaking the barriers is important because “representation matters.” To change the outlook of a whole new generation, Hijabi women must not be afraid of rising to the top because of what society makes them believe.

Amnah Khan, Bone Cancer Researcher

Amnah Khan, a bone cancer researcher, has had experiences with the Hijab where she feels as though the Hijab never got in her way. She has pioneered a method of bone cancer treatment that aims to use products found in insects to age the cancer cells and allow them to die naturally. 

Khan says that the results are promising, for a future where bone cancer becomes easier to treat once identified. Her motivation for her work comes from Islam itself, and while adorning the veil, she has been met with many great opportunities, thanks to how accepting everyone around her has been.

Ilhan Omar, Politician

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Ilhan Omar is the first Hijabi woman in the U.S Congress. Credit: Fibonacci Blue

Breaking through barriers as the first Hijabi woman in the United States congress, Ilhan Omar says that her Hijab allows her to be a representation for her faith. In an interview with Vogue Arabia, she said, “To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty, and resistance.” To her, it is a celebration, not a form of oppression.

For women of all walks of life, and for Muslim women whose choices are often taken control of by society, Omar says, “We are deserving and we don’t need permission or an invitation to exist and to step into our power.”

Maria Mensah, Construction Designer Manager

Muslim women not only breakthrough in the maths, sciences and laws, but they’ve also made a mark in construction. From the Islamic Golden Age, Queen Amina of Zaria is known for building the fortified walls that protected her country (current day Nigeria) from danger. 

Maria Mensah pursues another field of construction — creative design — that allows her to bring uniqueness to urban buildings, while wearing the Hijab. Mensah has always felt as though her Hijab added to her recognisability in the industry, helping propel her forward instead of drag her back.

She says: “At University, I had the room to grow based on the Islamic principles I wanted to live by but had found difficult to adopt earlier. I also saw University as a test run to the ‘adult’ world and I am glad that I made the decision to go with it. Wearing the hijab was a constant reminder that I am an Ahmadi Muslim and therefore needed to behave like it. It helped me a lot to navigate the university social life and have fun while sticking to my principles.”

Her latest project is working on the Marylebone Square in London, England.

Raffia Arshad, Court Judge

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The first Hijab-wearing judge in the United Kingdom – Credit: St. Mary’s Family Law Chambers

Raffia Arshad made headlines when she became the first Hijab-wearing judge in the United Kingdom. That barrier she broke was for all the Hijabi women who society has convinced that their Hijab could not allow them to attain success.

She says, “I decided that I was going to wear my headscarf because for me it’s so important to accept the person for who they are and if I had to become a different person to pursue my profession, it’s not something I wanted.” There is nothing Hijabi women need to change about themselves, but instead it is society that needs to change its perceptions on them.

Amani Al Hosani, Nuclear Scientist

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Photo Credit: Dean Calma / IAEA

A United Arab Emirates nuclear scientist, Amani Al Hosani, achieved everything that she did while wearing the Hijab. But her status as a Hijabi never stood in the way of her status as an asset for her nation. 

Her slogan to dream big carried her to great heights, and the Hijab always served as her rope forward and never as something that tied her down. 

In a society that is quickly evolving, successful Muslim women have pioneered many advancements themselves. But one thing that is leaving society stuck in the past is the judgment it is so quick to pass on women who choose to have control over what they wear.

The Hijab, to successful Muslim women globally, is a symbol of their commitment to their God and to their religion.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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I am a student from Ontario, Canada, and an aspiring journalist. I enjoy reading, writing and learning about the world around us - the issues with it and how we can make it a better place.

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Daily Brief

France’s Highest Administrative Court Upholds Burkini Ban in Grenoble

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  • The city of Grenoble had recently challenged France’s highest administrative court by allowing full body burkinis to be worn at public pools. Burkinis are typically worn by Muslim women to maintain modesty while they swim. In France, burkinis have often been a point of extreme debate in the country as France’s secular values outlaw anything that violates the country’s belief in the separation of religion and state. 
  • Grenoble challenged the ban on burkini, stating that it violated the principle of neutrality in public services. Shortly after, the policy was suspended and the matter was referred to the Council of State for a decision. The Council of State has officially ruled that Grenoble cannot allow burkinis to be worn in public as that would then allow for “selective exceptions to the rules to satisfy religious demands.”
  • Furthermore, the ban on burkinis was linked back to hygiene concerns. The court stated that burkinis violate “the common rule, enacted for reasons of hygiene and safety, of wearing bathing suits close to the body.” 
  • French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin took to Twitter to label the ruling as a “victory” for “seperatism, for secularism, and beyond, for the whole Republic”. Others have criticized the ruling for not allowing women the right to dress as they please.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Samar is a UC San Diego graduate with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. In addition to her passion for research and writing in relation to current events, she also utilizes her skills in areas such as digital marketing. Furthermore, she is deeply interested in positions that involve oral communication skills such as leadership roles and public speaking.

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Women's Issues

“My Hijab instils British values in schools”

Wearing my hijab as a school teaches educates my students about British values and other cultures and religions.

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Hijab wearing teacher

As a secondary school science teacher who wears the hijab, I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of schools – including a state all-girls school, a Catholic all-boys school and a state mixed school. In every school environment I have worked in, I have always been met with respect by both colleagues and students.

Anyone who has worked in a school environment will know that pupils are always intrigued to know more about the personal lives of the teachers around them. This often helps foster a positive relationship in the classroom, and helps students feel comfortable and confident in class. I have been asked numerous questions about my age, my education, my marriage, and (being a visible, hijab-wearing teacher) my faith. I tend not to shy away from questions about my faith. I see it as an opportunity to teach students about the realities of Islam (which are misconstrued in the media). 

The school I currently work at, in Surrey in the UK, has pupils from a predominantly white working-class background. Some of these pupils have never had the opportunity to openly ask Muslims questions about their faith. Since working here I have been asked questions such as: 

“Why do you wear a scarf miss?”

“Do you wear the scarf at home?”

“Why do Muslims pray five times a day?”

“Miss, are you doing Ramadan?”

And my personal favourite was from a student who had picked up the word “Mashallah” (an Arabic word indicating praise or approval which means ‘as Allah willed’) from TikTok and asked me what it means.

Children, by nature, are curious about the world around them. As teachers, we are here to develop that curiosity and understanding. This job is not limited to the subject we teach. If we have a look at the National Curriculum Framework in England (for KS1-KS4), one of the key aims of the curriculum is to provide “pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated citizens”. The Department for Education has also highlighted the importance of promoting British values within schools, which states that all schools “have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

Giving my non-Muslim students a safe space to ask me various questions about my faith and personal life allows them to see that, despite being a hijab-wearing teacher, they can relate to aspects of my life, which shows that I am not that different to them. This helps build a bridge between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, develops social integration and fosters those British values (of respect and tolerance) within students.

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The hijab has a positive impact of society and helps foster tolerance and understanding

Having a hijab-wearing teacher also has another positive impact on Muslim students within schools.

The girls’ school that I worked at was a very diverse school in London, which had a large proportion of young Muslim girls. It was evident that being represented within the teaching staff, and having a teacher “like them” had a powerful impact on confidence, motivation, and (as a result) attainment. I noticed the ‘shy’ girls coming out of their shells, and starting to raise their hand more in class. It was also evident that they felt more confident talking about their culture and faith around non-Muslims. This phenomena exists across the globe, with the Center for American Progress reporting that an increase in diversity amongst the public school teaching force enhances student performance amongst students of the same background.

The power of representation is well known across all sectors of society. There was a particular incident at school where one of my colleagues, who was in charge of creating resources for PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) days, had mistakenly included some false information about arranged marriages and the Islamic Nikah (marriage contract). Upon seeing this, I was able to educate this particular colleague about Islam and remove misconceptions. This led to the colleague asking me to fact-check all the information on Islam she decided to use in her presentations in the future. As a school community, this led to all students and teachers within the school receiving the correct information about Islam and my culture. It is evident that both adults and children reap the benefits of representation.

It would be naïve to assume that Muslims in the workplace do not struggle because of their identity. However, it is only through becoming visible ambassadors of Islam that we can open up avenues to have positive, and educational conversations with those around us. The hijab is my identity as a Muslim woman. Being free to express my identity at work has enabled me to build strong relationships with both pupils and colleagues, which has made me the teacher I am today. We have a responsibility to make sure that all students feel the same confidence regarding their religion, culture, and identity within schools so that they can reach their potential and become ‘educated citizens’ of the future. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Society

Toronto Police Department Apologises for Racism in the Force

The Toronto Police Department, in Ontario, Canada, has issued a report and apology detailing the disproportionate misuse of force against Black people. But many Torontonians are not buying the apology as enough.

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Protest Racism in the Kensington community of Calgary Alberta 2007 scaled

In Canada’s most populated city of Toronto, the Toronto Police Department has released a report that admits Black people are more likely to be victims of undue force by officers. This report was followed up by a press conference in which Toronto Police Chief, James Ramer, issued an apology, saying: “As chief of police and on behalf of the police, I am sorry and I apologise unreservedly.”

The report found that Black people were 2.2 times over-represented in the enforcement actions compared to their population in Toronto. Black people were also 1.6 times more likely to be in a situation where an officer employed force, compared to their actual presence in the population.

Although many see the apology of the Toronto Police Department as a great awakening, others see it as an action done too late, with too little impact.

Just minutes after Chief Ramer wrapped up his press conference, admitting that, “As an organization, we have not done enough to ensure that every person in our city receives fair and unbiased policing”, prominent Black activist Beverly Bain of the ‘No Pride in Policing’ coalition took the stage.

“This has nothing to do with the Black community. In fact, the Black community never asked for an apology, neither did I think you were apologizing to the Black community,” she said. Her words resonated with many, as her widely-shared press conference went viral, as she stated in loud and clear: “Chief Ramer, we do not accept your apology.”

In reality, the systemic discrimination of the Toronto Police Department against Black people has been visible — statistics weren’t needed to prove that it exists. The stories of Black Torontonians should have been and are enough to support the narrative that policing has never been in their favour.

Regis Korchinski-Paquet was a Black woman living in Toronto, when her family called the police to assist with a mental health check. But what came out of it instead, was Regis’ death after falling from the balcony of her apartment building. The police were accused by the family for having a hand in her death, but a report from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Toronto cleared the officers of any blame.

Following this, many Black Torontonians felt as though justice had not been served — and that there was no accountability in this instance against the police force.

Another prominent incident is that of Dafonte Miller, who was beat by an off-duty police officer with a metal pipe, which resulted in him going blind out of one eye. Again, there was a lack of accountability when the officer resigned from the Toronto Police Force, and thus, faced no disciplinary action. The department also took a whole year to release a report as to why the SIU was not involved immediately after the incident was reported.

For Black Torontonians, the issue is not just the over-use of force that the department uses against them, but the way Toronto police officers are protected from the consequences of their crime to the discredit of Black people.

An apology cannot become the solution when there are thousands of cases where violence was employed first. The heart of the issue remains unaddressed: though the apology may clear the conscience of the Toronto Police Department, it is not making policing any safer for Black people in Toronto.

To do that, their concerns must be taken into account. Outside of the Toronto Police Department, Beverly Bain said, “What we have asked for you to do is to stop. To stop brutalizing us, to stop killing us, to stop carding us, to stop continuously stopping us and harassing our children — our Black children, our Black sons, our Black daughters.”

An apology is the bare minimum. Looking at numbers and admitting something is wrong is the bare minimum, when Black people have been shedding light on this for decades. Instead, the Toronto Police Department must contribute something else to this, and that is change; of their training and procedures and their behaviour.

What the country most popular for their apologetic behaviour may not understand is that ‘sorry’ is not a magical enough word for change. Instead, action as more than a word — as a policy — must pave the way.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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I am a student from Ontario, Canada, and an aspiring journalist. I enjoy reading, writing and learning about the world around us - the issues with it and how we can make it a better place.

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