Author Archives: uzmakhan18

The Indian Variant likely to be declared ‘Variant of Concern’

The Indian Variant (B.1.617) that was first detected within the UK on the 22nd February 2021, is likely to be considered a ‘Variant of Concern’ according to reports.

Currently, The Indian Variant has over 400 cases across the UK, and makes up 10% of Covid cases in London and despite numbers being relatively low, its status as ‘Variant under Investigation’ is highly likely to be changed on Friday

If changed to a ‘Variant of Concern’, a response from PHE (Public Health England) would suggest ordering surge testing, similar to the South African variant.

The strain – B1.617.2 – is one of three related variants first seen in India which have been detected in the UK and designated “under investigation” by PHE.

The other two are the B1.617.1 and B1.617.3.

The most recent data by PHE, confirm 193 cases of the B1617.1 variant, up by 61 since the last update on April 21.

The B1.617.2 variant shows 202 cases, and the B1.617.3 variant shows just five cases.

According to internal documents from PHE, dated to May 5 and seen by The Guardian, the ongoing risk to public health from the variant subtype B1617.2 is “high”.

Dr Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, told The Guardian that “at the current doubling rate (B1617.2) could easily become dominant in London by the end of May or early June”.

Want to read more global COVID-19 news? Check out our interactive map.

Featured image: Photo by Giacomo Carra on Unsplash

The Forgotten Students

It’s already been just over a year since the unprecedented pandemic transformed the lives of everyone. Throughout this time period, students from primary schools to college have received endless amounts of information and support. But what about university students?

Gizdem Albayrak, a University of Westminster student, details about tuition fees, mental fees and whether the government has neglected university students.

Stop the OBSESSION with hijabs

The hijab is a religious veil worn by the women of Islam to preserve their modesty. It’s what defines, liberates and empowers them as strong women and plays a key part to the Islamic culture.

Yet, in Western countries, it’s considered oppressive and ‘backwards.’

The West seem to have an obsessive relationship with the hijab, whereby hijab bans have risen in prominence in countries across Europe such as France, Belgium and Bulgaria.

However, In the last couple of days, we have also seen a rise in supposed ‘liberation’ of Muslim women within the UK.

Pimlico Academy in Westminster, Central London sought to ban colourful hijabs and natural hair in their new uniform policy. One that disproportionately affects two communities- Muslims and Black youth. 

The Muslim Council of Britain identified: ‘Muslims form 4.8% of the population of England and Wales’ whereby ‘76% of the Muslim population live in four regions: London, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber.’ 

‘Muslims make up 12.4% of London’s population, with an increase of 405,000 between 2001 and 2011.’

Pimlico School in Westminster, Central London. Credits:

Pupils from the school have since, protested against this ‘racist’ uniform policy with many teachers threatening resignation as well as passing a vote of no-confidence for the headteacher.

Moreover, The French Senate has voted in favour of banning the hijab in public spaces for minors (under 18), wearing a burkini ( a modest swimsuit) as well as those wearing hijabs that attend school trips. This is just one of many hurdles that many French Muslim women face that affects the way they are perceived in society.

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

“The French government’s denial and rejection of the term Islamophobia and the evocation of an arguably much more vague idea of ‘Islamism’ functions to demonise and otherise French Muslimness on multiple levels,” says East-Daas.

The irony behind these situations is that despite assuming hijab bans provide any good or rescue Muslim women, they are instead doing very much the opposite- oppressing them.

Discrimination against Muslim women with hijabs infiltrate throughout society whereby a study found that, ‘18% of Muslim women were unable to find a job when wearing a hijab (and in one case, the niqab) but once removed, they all found employment.’

If it isn’t forcing women to remove the hijab, its attacking those wearing it. The majority of anti-muslim attacks tend to happen to the women who wear a religious garment. 

According to MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) verified data, ‘attacks on Muslim women accounted for 58% of all incidents reported to it. Of those, 80% were visually identifiable (wearing hijab, Niqab or other clothing associated with Islam).’

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Women in some Muslim majority countries such as Iran are forced to wear the hijab yet in the West, they are being forced to remove it. It appears that the problem isn’t the hijab or the women, its men in these governments with a desire to dictate what a woman can or can’t wear.

Either way, stop obsessing.