Does a UK University provide safe environment to Muslims?

Britain is proud of being a multicultural society and is also one of the countries that have relatively large Muslim communities – but is it really a nice and loving environment for them or are the negative things Muslims experience much more?

Many of the Muslim students shared that they sometimes are faced with “Islamophobia”, and some of them have felt isolated.

Safia Raja, a student at University of Essex, shared that she loves her religion and she does enjoy practicing it because it brings her peace. “I choose to do things in the religion that are difficult because I believe I am doing it for God, not everything in the religion or in life is suppose to be easy, a lot is a test and struggle so I am happy to go through it for the sake of God”

She also shared that sometimes she feels like she is different and do not belong here because of her ethnicity and religion. But in University she does not feel this much isolated because of the diversity, ISOC and accepting atmosphere and she had never experinced islamophobia on campus or in uni.

“I personally haven’t had many problems with other people and no major ones. But a lot of Muslims have had bad experiences with people and problems practicing their religion in peace. I’ve known people who have got bad islamophobia, mostly other girls who have had their scarves pulled off or been attacked”, added Safia.

This is the reason why some the people, practicing this religion are sometimes ashamed of it or are scared to voice it out if they have problems.

“To the people who are ashamed of their religion I would say they shouldn’t be. I would say to stay strong in faith and Islam, be shoot and grateful for your religion and unapologetic to be Muslim. We will all go through struggles and be tested and we believe God will reward us. It says in the Quran ‘after difficultly comes ease’ and ‘God will not burden a man more than he can bare’. Therefore Muslims need to know life is a test which they will be rewarded for and Islam is a gift.” – shared Safia Raja.

Sharifah Hani Yasmin, a VP International at University of Essex, shared her thoughts about is it safe to practice your own religion in the UK.

“I think when you are living in a country like the UK, where everyone is free to practice whatever religion they want, you have a lot more freedom. You are not pressured to practice if you don’t want to, it is really up to you, whereas if you are in a country that really focuses on that one religion then you are expected to practice it.”

She had had a challenge in being confident when she had to do things. But at the end of the day she just realized that “if you are passionate, feel free to do everything you want to do, as long it is legal of course.”

She had to gain more confidence in order to fully be able to be herself here.

“I joined a lot of societies where I met a lot of people and a lot of them were international students and looking at them being so passionate when doing things it made me realize that there was no difference between them and me. If they could do it I could do it as well. The more you see yourself in others the more you personally feel like you can achieve the same things as them. It was not a quick progress. It took me like 6 months to fully settle in and to feel that I can do everything that I wanted to do.”

Yasmin also shared that she had had Muslim girls come to her and tell her that they had been screamed at most of them by people from the town. They had been told to go back in their own country.

“There was this girl who came to me and told me that she was actually being pushed over by some people in the town. She said she did not do anything except mining her own business and she even heard them laughing about it.”

Some people are scared and don’t want to voice these things up because they think there is nothing that can be done about it but they need to know that there is always things that can be done.

“If you feel like you are being bullied or if you feel like someone is mistreating you because of your religion definitely voice it out. The best thing you can do is to talk to your friends, because they may have had the same experiences. You can always talk to a university member as well. The most important thing to know is that you personally have done nothing wrong. People mistreat you not because of something that you have done but because it is a reflections of their negativity. Never be ashamed of voicing things out because there is always help available.”

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3rd March – National Liberation Day

Freedom is not just a definition. It is a value, wealth but also quality. Quality to be free – that’s the message of the national heroes that reaches us until today. When speaking about freedom in the mind of a Bulgarian arises the date of 3 March.

What happened on this date and why is so important to us?

The date of 3 March marks the date when the Treaty of San Stefano was signed in 1878.

This peace treaty ended the Russo-Turkish war and was signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, which proclaimed Bulgaria as an independent state. It established itself once again as a nation and the country was successfully put back on the world map.

On this day we honor our heroes who died in the war so that we can be free today. Their exploits are bedecked with songs and stories. Monuments and museums were also erected. The cold weather, the heat, the bloody battles at Shipka, the fires in Stara Zagora which has already been burned to the ground more than once, the Valley of the Dead near Pleven will remain in the history and in our national memory forever.

How is Bulgarian Liberation Day celebrated?

This day is declared as a national holiday for all Bulgarians. It is traditionally marked by ceremonies across Bulgaria, particularly in those towns and cities which saw the fiercest fighting in the war.

Shipka pass in the Balkan Mountains is at the center of celebrations marking the key battle that took place there. In Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, there will be public cultural shows, street parades church services, wreath of flowers laying at public monuments such as Liberty Monument at Shipka and a military march to honor those who gave their lives in the war for the faith and the liberation of their motherland – Bulgaria.

How is it celebrated in my hometown – Stara Zagora?

This year, on this day – 3 March, we will celebrate 140 years of the liberation of Bulgaria. Thousands of people will come from different parts of the country to watch and participate in the parade. The 300-meter long national flag will be carried to the Memorial Complex “Defenders of Stara Zagora”, accompanied by the military brass band, which will play all along the route.It will be held for the fourth time and is becoming more popular not only in Stara Zagora, but in the whole country.

Whatever we say about the heroes of the Bulgarian Liberation will not be enough. The thought of them giving their lives for the freedom of Bulgaria is reminiscent of the heroism, courage, but also for high virtue and love for Bulgaria.

Even if all these brave patriots are not among us today, they will forever live in our spirit and memory. The Bulgarian people deserve their freedom.

This is why we are proud of this date, we are proud of our heroes, we are proud of our country, we are proud to be Bulgarians.

The right to equal internet access?

The administration of Donald Trump is thirsty for reform but is not quite clear whom they benefit. Computer experts have warned the American President’s repeal of laws guaranteeing free access to the internet is an attack on fundamental human rights.

An example for this is another backdoor draft of the Republican Party. This time, the net neutrality law, passed in the last term of Barack Obama fell under fire.
The law ensures that Internet service providers are not allowed to stop users from accessing certain web content or to control the speed at certain sites for a fee. Network neutrality sounds very complicated but is actually very simple principle – namely, internet providers are obliged to deliver all websites equal access and equal speed network. If this principle is eliminated competition will be killed and monopolies will invade the pitch.

Despite the protests of the citizens and technology companies at their meetings the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the law, leaving control of Internet content in the hands of a few providers. Besides a monopoly on the market withdrawal may lead to a negative effect on the democratic process in the country.
According to most online theorists Network neutrality should be seen as a fundamental human right. But the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Sing, who Donald Trump appointed at the beginning of his mandate, does not think like that. He is a former employee of Verizon, one of the largest providers in the country.

The culmination comes after the revocation procedure. The proposal went through public discussion. The Attorney General of New York launched an investigation, but he said that the commission “does not cooperate.”
Voting in favor of the Pei’s proposal could lead to an overall change in the Internet ecosystem in the United States. Suppliers will have the opportunity to introduce additional fees for access to certain content and slow connection to certain sites or even stop it.

The effect of this will be too great for companies the likes of Facebook or Amazon, but would seriously disadvantage in smaller platforms and content producers.
“Net neutrality is something that we are all used to” – said Simeon Enchev, Bulgarian student in Southhampton and currently studying Computer science with Artificial Intelligence: “Taking that away from the citizens of America is extremely dangerous move, in my opinion. Americans are proud of their democracy and this move of the FCC is a slap in the face for most people.”

Even after the majority voted against the removal of net neutrality, the FCC still proceeded with their decision. The vote of the senate played a bigger role in this decision, which affects the whole country. This proves that the American people have lost their power to take part in such political decisions.

According to Simeon the bigger problem here is not convenience while browsing, but the loss of online anonymity: “The government would be able track and monitor every online activity of the citizens of America and this is what I find especially worrying. The people of America would not be able to browse freely and carelessly. “

“Plenty of places in the world have already declared internet access and the internet itself as a basic human right.” –  shared Spencer Grant, who is an American, currently studying in Bournemouth, UK. In his opinion: “If a country were to block the internet, there’s really no coming back from that.”

“Net neutrality is incredibly important! It is imperative that people maintain the ability to communicate with other people worldwide if we want to stay on the course of steady and exponential technological and cultural progress that we’ve been on for the last couple of decades.”

He also added that without net neutrality, entire generations of people will lose touch with not only other global cultures but the cultures of the internet.
“The internet has to remain neutral, and it is fortunate that most places have realized this in response to the USA’s egregious error in judgment in regards to this issue.”

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