Muslim couple at the centre of racist train rant want charges laid

The couple were travelling on a train at around 1.

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40pm on Wednesday when an elderly woman started verbally abusing the Muslim woman for her headscarf.

The elderly woman can be heard mentioning the Sydney siege, the Kenyan university massacre before accusing the Muslim woman of being an ISIS supporter. 

The couple, Khalida Hafeez and Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti, want the woman charged.

Mr Bhatti told the ABC they had spoken with NSW Police, but he remained frustrated.

“It’s frustrating that the lady generalised that all Muslims are,” he said.

“… She starts swearing and she says that you rape girls and things like that. If I am here and it’s my understanding that Australia is a free country, it’s equal for everyone.

“If someone with white skin can travel easily without any harm and concern, why don’t I?”

The racist tirade was recorded and uploaded to Facebook by Sydney woman, 23-year-old Stacey Eden.

“She wears it (her headscarf) because she wants to be modest with her body, not because of people like you who are going to sit there and disrespect her,” Eden is heard saying in the video.

“That is a minority of people. Not a majority… Have some respect.”

So i sat there for a good 10 minutes before i started recording this, while i listened to this woman bad mouth muslims…

Posted by Stacey Eden on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The video has been viewed more than 631,000 times and has made local and international headlines. 

The husband of the woman, Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti, shared the video on his Facebook page, thanking Ms Eden for supporting them. 

“This video was not recorded by me. But that is what happened to us on sydney train, God bless Stacey Eden who support us.”

In a statement, the Islamophobia Register Australia group said they were disappointed but not surprised by the woman’s remarks, but praised Eden’s actions, calling her part of “Team Humanity”.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said it was important for the public to stand up against racism. 

“One of the most powerful things that anyone can do is to send a message that abuse is not acceptable,” Dr Soutphommasane told the ABC. “When people abuse others and that is met by silence it can embolden them to do it again.

“It’s always disappointing to see people being subjected to harassment or abuse in public places,” he said.

“It’s important that everyone who lives here or visits here receives a fair go and is treated the decency and respect.”

Many on social media have thanked Ms Eden for standing up to the elderly woman.

Fifi Flower commented on Facebook, “Thank you Stacey for speaking up. Thank you thank you thank you. I am muslim but don’t wear a headscarf and am scared that if one day I decide to, I too will be attacked. It’s good to know that people still stand up for others. Nowadays most people try to keep out of arguments that don’t directly involve them. We need more people like you.”

Imsharif Doleh wrote, “Thank you for defending her … I know we need a lot of people like you around.”

Geoff Cartridge commented, “What a fantastic and courageous lady. You are a true Australian. I feel sorry for the abused couple. No one should be subjected to this rubbish.”

#ThankyouStaceyEden #LetsRideTogether #SayNoToIslamophobia @IslamophobiaReg pic.twitter广西桑拿,/FU454kHHwW

— Mariam Veiszadeh (@MariamVeiszadeh) April 16, 2015

@MariamVeiszadeh Well done Stacey, for showing courage, compassion and tolerance… All good Australian values… #goodaussievalues

— Nurse Whitebeard (@nursewhitebeard) April 16, 2015

You’re amazing for standing up to a bully, who was racially abusing a Muslim family on the train! Much love! xxx #ThankYouStaceyEden

— ASY (@chaandbeti) April 16, 2015

FINA publishes members’ compensation following IOC lead

Switzerland-based FINA said top officers, including the president, were volunteers and took no salary but did receive a $400 (266 pounds) per diem when travelling in business class this year.

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“In answer to the IOC President Thomas Bach and Agenda 2020’s call for transparency, FINA…states that the President, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer and the Bureau Members do not receive any kind of indemnity,” it said.

“They are considered volunteers and do not receive a salary. Until Dec 31, 2014 they received $300 per diem for the days of travel for FINA business and from Jan 1 $400 per diem. The travel expenses are covered in business class,” FINA said in the statement.

FINA said its office currently employed 32 people, including 11 part-time staff, but did not say how many days of travel had been registered for the previous year.

Swimming is one of the most popular sports of the Olympics.

Agenda 2020 is the IOC’s reform plan to make the Games more attractive.

The IOC earlier this month published its own compensation policy for the first time following a proposal from its ethics commission to increase transparency within the organisation.

The IOC president, who also does not get a salary, is paid a flat annual amount of 225,000 euros (149,785 pounds) to cover his expenses.

IOC Executive Board members and commission heads get $900 per day with standard IOC members $450 a day. An annual administrative support of $7,000 is added for each member, while travel and accommodation is covered by the IOC.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA and its European confederation UEFA have staunchly refused to publish the salaries and bonuses of top staff including under-fire FIFA President Sepp Blatter, also an IOC member.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

Greece throws open immigration detention centres

Greece’s left-wing government, elected in January, is releasing detainees from immigration centres and allowing them to move freely around the country.

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The government says they were being held in horrendous conditions, and their continued incarceration is unaffordable.

(Transcript from World News Radio – click on audio tab to listen to this item)

Like other European countries on the Mediterranean, Greece has seen a huge increase in the number of people trying to enter the EU in boats from Africa.

Many also enter Greece on land via its porous eastern borderlands.

Those detected by Greek authorities are usually locked up in one of seven detention centres.

In all, around 3,500 people are in detention, including children.

Greece has already faced a one million euro fine from the E-U over the squalid state of those centres, and the government has now taken the step of releasing people into communities.

Greece’s immigration minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou says it was not just the EU fine that prompted the mass release.

“The people that were there, were living an indescribable barbarity,” she said.

“The centres did not meet basic needs, and moreover most of those that were being held were being held illegally.”

The government has not set up any alternative provision for the people once they’re released.

But Ms Christodoulopoulou argues the government has little choice because holding them for indefinite periods is illegal.

“It’s true the infrastructure does not exist but it’s not the fault of those being held, and nor can they face this agony for the rest of their lives,” she said.

Greece’s economic woes are well-chronicled.

The debt crisis smashed the nation’s finances and left scant funds in the budget to tackle immigration issues.

Greece initially turned to the EU for funding, but that stream has now dried up.

Greek immigration officials are now seeking abandoned hotels and state residential buildings to house the former detainees.

Many have nowhere to go once they are released and gather in city squares with their belongings.

Pakistani migrant Ramzan Nazeer Ahmet was held in the Amygdaleza detention centre outside Athens before his recent release.

Like many others, he doesn’t have the proper documentation to find a job.

The 25-year-old says conditions in the detention centre are deplorable, the rooms would flood and the food is inadequate.

“This was like a prison, this was not a centre, at centres you can go outside, you can play ball, this was like a prison,” he said.

“Each room had four people in it and the door was locked.”

Ramzan Ahmet also alleges he was beaten by guards.

“I just want a decent life,” he said.

“If police said I had to stay in there for 18 months then that was fine, if police said I had to stay for two years that was fine, but no one said anything about being beaten up.

“I don’t like to be beaten, I don’t want free food if you have to get beaten up.”

The former conservative government of Antonis Samaras launched a sweep operation in 2012, arresting thousands of undocumented immigrants and sending them to detention centres.

In the last few years the situation has aided the extreme far-right in Greece to rise to third in the most recent general elections.

Residents in Athens and other cities, fearing crime and disease, have complained about uncontrolled migrant ghettos forming in neighbourhoods.

The United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner’s European representative Jan Jarab has met Greek officials during a visit to Athens at the end of March and toured the Amygdaleza detention camp.

He says the UN supports the government’s moves to release the migrants but demanded it be coupled with an assistance program.

“It is not just to replace detention by destitution, by leaving persons destitute in the streets,” he said.

“There has to be facilities of a non-prison type character and it is clear that to create all this will require a kind of redirection of government’s energies, redirection of government financing. So, we are ready to accompany the Greek government in this process.”

Chiefs overwhelm Crusaders in Christchurch

The Chiefs have delivered the Crusaders their second brutal lesson of the season, winning 26-9 in Christchurch to take top spot in the Super Rugby standings.

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In a performance just as dominant as the 40-16 triumph when the two powerhouse teams met in Hamilton in round three, the Chiefs lodged a seventh win from nine games to further emphasise their title credentials.

They climb a point ahead of the unbeaten Hurricanes, who have two games in hand and face the NSW Waratahs on Saturday.

The Crusaders suffered their fifth loss from nine games and look set to drop lower than their current eighth place.

Following their loss to the Highlanders in Christchurch last week, the seven-time champions recorded back-to-back home defeats for the first time since 2004.

Laden with experienced All Blacks, they couldn’t argue with the result, outpointed in every department by a Chiefs side who scored three unanswered tries and led 18-6 at halftime.

They did it largely without five-eighth Aaron Cruden, who limped off favouring his left knee in the 19th minute.

The Crusaders lost fullback Israel Dagg before kick-off, ruled out with a calf injury, but it is hard to imagine his presence changing the result.

Victory was based around the Chiefs’ edge at the set piece and some thunderous defence, which prevented the Crusaders getting over the advantage line or winning quick ball.

Coming off a bye, the Chiefs were far brighter on attack, off-loading at will and creating space for dynamic outside backs such as wingers James Lowe and Tim Nanai-Williams.

Flanker Sam Cane shaded All Blacks great Richie McCaw in the battle of the opensides, winning a number of telling ruck turnovers.

Cane was shown a yellow card for a cynical early offence but the Crusaders couldn’t take advantage, with All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter missing three first-half penalty shots before the visitors took control.

Michael Leitch crossed in the 21st minute from close range to put his team 13-3 ahead and the industrious No.8 won a turnover after the halftime hooter had sounded to send Lowe on a 75m burst down the blindside in the game’s decisive moment.

Carter’s third penalty was the Crusaders’ only second half points before reserve No.8 Liam Squire made the game safe for the Chiefs, scoring from a kick return in which Nanai-Williams and fullback Tom Marshall combined brilliantly.

Melbourne mum in Syria is no jihadi: dad

The father of a Melbourne woman who took her two young children to Syria denies she is an Islamic State recruiter.

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Dullel Kassab, 28, took her children to Syria in mid-2014 after learning her husband, Sam, had been killed on the border with Turkey.

Her father, who does not want to be identified, says she is not a recruiter or a jihadi bride.

“That’s false. I haven’t confirmed it. I don’t know … that’s not my information,” he told Seven News on Friday.

Ms Kassab has remarried and has reportedly posted concerning messages on Twitter.

“Jst asked my 4yo wat she wants 2 watch. Muslims killing bad ppl (i.e. #IS vids obv not beheading ones)” (sic) she posted in October.

Ms Kassab’s father said the family just wanted to see the kids again.

“We love them dearly. We want them to come home,” he said.

“We’d love to see them, we’d like to play with them, we miss them.

Ms Kassab’s father said she went to Syria to find out what happened to her husband.

“She had a mission and her mission was to find out about her husband.”

He also said threats of sanctions and imprisonment weren’t conducive to encouraging her to come home.

“We miss the children a lot,” a spokesman for the dead husband’s family told News Corp Australia.

“Their safety and religion has been compromised and we are deeply worried but unable to do anything about it.

“We pray they come back but it does not look good.”

While he does not know Ms Kassab, Palestinian Community Association of Victoria president Imad Sukkar said it was very sad to hear another Australian had joined IS.

Mr Sukkar was not aware of her circumstances but said Muslims, and the broader community, needed to realise the terror group did not represent Islam beliefs.

“We don’t look at these actions as martyrs, it’s not in the book, the Koran or teachings,” he told AAP on Friday.

He said it was up to Islamic leaders to loudly denounce the actions of the group, and those who leave Australia to fight for them.