Apr 272018
 

Mary Hassell,

a coroner who operated a “cab rank” system for burials, has been told by the High Court to drop her policy and release the bodies of Jews and Muslims first.

Marie van der Zyl,

president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Ms Hassell must “consider her position”.

Judges said the “equality protocol” policy introduced by Mary Hassell, the senior coroner for inner north London, was “discriminatory” and “incapable of rational justification”.

The protocol said that “no death will be prioritised in any way over any other because of the religion of the deceased or family, either by the coroner’s officers or coroners.”

This meant cases were assessed and bodies released for burial by the coroner’s office in order of when they were received, taking no account of any religious requirements.

Ms Hassell introduced the policy at the end of October last year, prompting protests from Jewish and Muslim groups, whose beliefs require a funeral to take place as soon as possible after death.

She told the court that she was concerned about the “negative impact that prioritisation of one sector of the community above others has had upon the families of those other deceased”.

She also relied on guidance issued in 2014 by the Chief Coroner which said “the law does not allow the Coroner to give priority to any one person over another”.

But in a judgment released on Friday Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Whipple said her understanding of the law was “misguided” and the guidance was incorrect.

“What on its face looks like a general policy which applies to everyone equally may in fact have an unequal impact on a minority.

“In other words, to treat everyone in the same way is not necessarily to treat them equally.

“Uniformity is not the same thing as equality,” they said.

They ruled that the policy was unlawful and said she should introduce a new one.

Religious groups welcomed the ruling.

Rabbi Asher Gratt, speaking on behalf of the Adath Yisroel Burial Society, a charity which arranges burials for Orthodox Jewish people in north London, and which originally brought the case, said: “This legal victory will bring immense relief for grieving families to bury their loved ones with respect and dignity, preventing further unnecessary anguish at the darkest moment of their lives.”

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Ms Hassell must “consider her position”.

“She has previously said that she does not believe that using her discretion to order cases, which she needs to do to uphold the religious freedom of the diverse communities she is meant to serve, is ‘fair’.

“If she cannot carry out this basic function of her role, she must vacate her position.”

A statement issued by Ms Hassell’s office said that she would implement a new policy following a consultation process.

The Chief Coroner is also expected to issue new guidance reflecting the ruling.

“In future, instead of considering no family for prioritisation, the Senior Coroner will consider every family for prioritisation.

“In deciding the order of priority, she will take into account all relevant considerations, including the special needs of each individual family,” the statement said.

 Posted by at 12:57 pm
Apr 252018
 

Controversial German rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang,

alongside BMG label head Hartwig Masuch, face accusations of illegal hate speech in the wake of the controversy, which has led the German music association to scrape its Echo music awards.

The German music association is scrapping its top music honor, the Echo Awards, following a scandal involving one of this year’s Echo winners.

At the 2018 Echos two weeks ago, gangsta rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang won best rap album. But the duo came under fire for lyrics in which they compared themselves to Holocaust survivors, saying their muscles are “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners” and lines such as “I’m doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov.” They have since apologized, but have been dropped by their label, BMG.

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 Posted by at 4:40 pm
Apr 152018
 

Big businesses have joined growing criticism in Germany over the awarding of an annual music prize to a pair of rappers accused of antisemitic lyrics, with Airbus chief executive Tom Enders adding his condemnation of the decision.

German executive Enders told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper he was shocked by what he considered widespread ambivalence about the Echo award given to rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang

on Thursday, which coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day. The rappers deny they are antisemitic.

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 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Mar 112018
 
Last week, current Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan—a well-known anti-Semite—gave a speech where he said “the powerful Jews are my enemy” and that he had “pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through.” Other previous Farrakhan highlights include saying the Jews were behind 9/11 and calling Adolf Hitler a “very great man.”
That alone is a story. But it doesn’t end there.
Soon after the speech, news broke that Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory was in attendance; she even received a shout out from Farrakhan during his address and posted about the event on social media. Meanwhile, Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour has collaborated with the Nation of Islam in the past, and Carmen Perez defended Farrakhan in the past, telling Amelia Harnish in January that there are “no perfect leaders” and that people need to understand Farrakhan’s contributions to Black and Brown circles.

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 Posted by at 5:38 pm

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