‘It is my contention and firm belief that the ECF is an institutionally racist organisation as described in the report to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, namely: The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour, which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping, which disadvantage minority ethnic people.’
Yousuf, Ibraheem & Ieysaa bin-Suhayl had travelled to Austria with the English Chess Federation (ECF) to compete for England at the EU Youth Championships (31st July - 9th August 2012) accompanied by their mother. A fuller background to this story can be viewed here - http://mswithacause.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/child-chess-player-for-england-is.html
Public Appeal made by father - 7th August 2012
During the early stages of the tournament, Sohale wrote to Phil Ehr, Director of Junior Chess and Education of the ECF alerting him of ‘the racist behaviour and treatment of his wife and son’s in Mureck, by other members of the England chess delegation.’ On 7th August, after the situation worsened, Sohale issued a public appeal due to concern for the safety and welfare of his family in Mureck, advising:
‘Unfortunately, other members of the England team have taken a violent dislike to this Muslim contingent.… Matters have been so stressed that my wife has been publically spat at, sworn at and physically abused by members of the English delegation called Watley and Weaver.’ Sohale asked members of the public to email Phil Ehr and ‘support his contention that the Watleys and Weavers be sent home.’
On the evening of making this appeal, ‘the head of delegation, Dave Regis, advised the Muslim family not to return to their hotel because he was worried for their safety in light of physical threats being made against the Muslim family and in particular against 13 year-old Yousuf. The Muslim family had to be escorted back to their hotel by the Austrian police.’ (7th August 2012) http://mswithacause.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/racism-rife-against-muslim-family.html
On 9th August in an email sent to the England Chess delegation team, Phil Ehr acknowledged the weight of the public appeal and issued the following statement:
‘Be aware there is a good deal of public concern of reports attributed to some of you. I have generally replied (or will soon reply) with the following: We are aware of certain allegations in relation to some members of the English delegation in a youth tournament in Austria that ends today. The ECF is taking these extremely seriously. Austrian police are involved to diffuse tensions among the adults. The ECF is not aware of any formal charges. Behaviour such as is alleged brings English chess into disrepute, but there was not sufficient cause to withdraw any of the children from the tournament. ECF officials on the scene and in England are acting to improve the situation.’
Phil Ehr’s response to these legitimate concerns for the safety and welfare of this family demonstrates his incompetence to understand and reasonably respond to an alerted situation of danger in which a mother and her 3 young children found themselves whilst in a foreign country under the care of the ECF.
Yousuf Attacked - 9th August 2012
In a shocking case of alleged child abuse, on Thursday 9th August 2012, Yousuf was allegedly attacked by Brigitte Weaver. Yousuf and Ieysaa had each won both their respective matches. ‘After completing his game Yousuf went to watch his brother Ibraheem play. His path was physically blocked by Brigitte Weaver. As he went to walk around her she assaulted him. She dug her claws into him and pushed him about. He has suffered abrasions, bruising and bleeding.' Following this assault on his child Sohale stated:
‘It is with utter disbelief I inform you that today my son Yousuf has been physically attacked by Brigitte, the mother of Lauren and Tess Weaver in the tournament hall of the EU Youth Chess Championships. Yousuf has suffered bruising, scratches and is bleeding. I trust you all agree that this cowardly, racist attack on a child cannot be condoned under any circumstances. Clearly, the English Chess Federation have completely failed in their duty of care http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?page_id=79. Their failure to heed the request to remove the Whatleys and Weavers has directly resulted in this incident.’ (9th August 2012) http://mswithacause.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/child-chess-player-for-england-is.html
Sohale replied to Phil Ehr’s email dated the 9th August 2012 citing:
"tensions amongst adults" ? Brigitte Weaver attacked Yousuf today, he is battered, bruised, scratched and bleeding. Yousuf is not an adult he is a child. Your response to members of the public, press and other associations is deliberately false and misleading. I warned you this would happen and you are now personally responsible. We are grateful to the Swiss team who have been so hospitable, welcoming, and supportive to my family, while suffering at the hands of racist English scum and witnessing ECF officials tolerating and supporting the said racist scum. They are all still sitting and talking as a friendly group today while my wife has to take Yousuf to hospital. Birds of a feather flock together. I make no distinction between racists and friends of racists, in fact the latter are worse. I consider the ECF to be a racist organisation…’
Demands for an Independent Investigation into Events in Mureck
On 8th August 2012 I reported that ‘Sohale had confirmed that his family are the only ethnic minority team participating for the England team.’ Sohale said, “The ECF should be ashamed of themselves. Chess is a game where ethnic minorities in the UK are disproportionately over represented. The ECF has no diversity policy or training to provide the correct provisions for ethnic minorities. They are completely out of touch in contrast to other sporting organisations in the UK."
On 12th August Sohale explained: ‘The ECF have not declared what procedures they will be using to investigate this matter or who will be conducting the investigation.’ and clarified:
‘I do not accept that the ECF can carry out a proper investigation into this matter - they appear to have no Diversity Policy, Child Protection Policy, Grievance Policy or a procedure to investigate such matters. Further The ECF's incompetence in this matter has already been proven in that they failed to protect children against adults that the ECF had themselves determined to be a threat to such children and they failed at any time to inform the Austrian police. On each occasion it was my wife who took the decision to call the police.
Phil Ehr, ECF Junior Director, has failed to deny the allegation I put directly to him that he is acquainted with the Weavers. If my allegation is true it casts further doubt on the integrity of any ECF internal investigation and explains why the Weavers and Whatleys were allowed to continue the racial harassment of my family without hindrance or reprimand.
The correct procedure is for an external organisation to carry out an investigation such as a Racial Equality Council or a Diversity Officer and a person with expertise on the matters of child protection. In the absence of this, any investigation will not reveal meaningful conclusions, will not be able to draw any lessons and will not result in sufficient measures being put in place to prevent such incidents from happening again.’
In a response to an earlier article published in Indymedia on 8th August 2012, Jack Rudd a non-Executive Director of the ECF commented publically to inform that, ‘Phil Ehr, the Director of Junior Chess, is taking charge of the Investigation.’
Phil Ehr was regularly alerted and informed of the abusive situation in which the family were in whilst in Austria. Yet he failed in his duty to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety & welfare. As a result of which Yousuf was the victim of child abuse causing him bodily harm. How can Phil Ehr subsequently then be reasonably charged with the duty of investigating his own failures to reasonably act? Clearly even to date, the ECF are unreasonably failing to comprehend this situation with any level of integrity or respect and to take the reasonable necessary steps forward to rectifying this matter.
A comment was also posted in reply to the earlier article by Lawrence Cooper, Director of International Chess at the ECF where he wrote:
'Total fabrication, please remove from your web site.
This entire report is total fabrication. This family are completely unknown to us, none of them are playing in any tournament that we know off and they are not connected to the English Chess Federation in any way.
The ECF rejects all forms of racism and is committed to all people equally.
I can be contacted on 01785 242269 to confirm any part of this.
Lawrence Cooper – Director of International Chess – The English Chess Federation
This comment by Lawrence Cooper was subsequently hidden by Indymedia as it 'breaches their Editorial Guidelines'.
The Austrian Police Investigation into the abuse of a Muslim Child
Sohale confirmed that the:
‘Austrian Police will not be taking any action for the racially aggravated assault inflicted upon Yousuf by Brigitte Weaver. The Austrian Police told my wife that Yousuf's injuries were too minor for them to take any action. They refused to take any witness statements even though there were witnesses present and willing to give statements. Whilst they interviewed Brigitte Weaver in English, they insisted my wife give her statement in German and refused to provide an interpreter. Further they refused to take my wife's statement until she went back to her hotel to get her passport. I believe that the Austrian Police have breached the Human Rights afforded to my family as citizens of Europe and protected by EU legislation.’
The Islamic Human Rights Commission launch a Campaign for Justice for the Family
On Friday 10th August 2012, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) issued a press release confirming they will be 'launching a campaign to see that those responsible for Islamophobia are brought to justice and those that are responsible for dereliction of duty are held responsible.’
“This is a shocking case of racism and Islamophobia and one that should not go unnoticed, the children are so young and should not be subjected to such hate.” Massoud Shadjareh, Chair of the IHRC http://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/press-releases/10241-press-release-muslim-chess-players-victims-of-islamophobia-racism-and-hate-crime
The British Police
Having contacted the British police Sohale explained:
‘The British police will not take any action as the crime took place in a foreign country. I believe the inaction of the British police has undermined their own duty to protect British children on British soil. The police should investigate if only to advise the relevant ministers and MEPs to impress upon the Austrian authorities to properly fulfil their statutory obligations and conduct a thorough enquiry and to advise the local schools and other child related organisations of their inconclusive intelligence about Brigitte Weaver.’
A Father’s call to the ECF
Sohale has requested that the ECF ‘boycotts this tournament in future and all other tournaments until such time as tournaments can give guarantees to the ECF that their procedures and provisions comply with the standards set in British society.’ He believes the Austrian organisers of the tournament to also be institutionally racist.
Ieysaa Wins Bronze for England
A special congratulations to 7 year old Ieysaa bin-Suhayl who won a bronze medal for England at the EU Youth Championships, who his father describes as a ‘wonder child in chess’. Young Ieysaa was leading the tournament on 7th August 2012; during the tournament he started complaining to his mother of stress related symptoms.
Your assistance is needed, please take action:
1. Contact the Commission for Equality & Human Rights and request that they fulfil their statutory obligations asking them to immediately (a) conduct an Independent enquiry into the ECF practices for equality and diversity and (b) Investigate whether the ECF has conducted an unlawful act. Please link these articles to them for further information:
Telephone number - England: 0845 604 6610
2. Contact the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and request he Investigates this matter of alleged racial hatred towards a family and the child abuse of Yousuf –bin Suhayl, aged 13 years, who was allegedly attacked by Brigitte Weaver from Wimbledon at the EU Youth Championship in Mureck on 9th August 2012, in the Tournament Hall causing him bodily harm. Children may be at risk of abuse and the British police have a duty to investigate this.’
The metropolitan police website provides: ‘You can thank us or make a complaint by completing the on-line form below. We cannot respond to you if you do not tell us who you are or how we can contact you, so please take the time to add your personal details.’
3. Contact the ECF and request that (1) those who have failed in a dereliction of duty are immediately suspended from all actions in the ECF pending the result of a full and independent enquiry, including Phil Ehr & Head of Delegation, David Regis (b) the ECF take action against the parents of Weaver and Whatley and at a minimum that these parents are banned from attending future federation events as children may be at risk of abuse, pending the outcome of a full and independent enquiry (c) an external organisation is instructed to carry out an independent investigation of events providing full & frank disclosure of their findings, as requested by Yousuf's father: 'such as a Racial Equality Council or a Diversity Officer and a person with expertise on the matters of child protection. In the absence of this, any investigation will not reveal meaningful conclusions, will not be able to draw any lessons and will not result in sufficient measures being put in place to prevent such incidents from happening again.’
President CJ de Mooi - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive – Andrew Farthing - email@example.com
Non-Executive Chairman, Mike Gunn - firstname.lastname@example.org
Honorary Life Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Corporate Vice Presidents, Honorary Life Members, Life Members - Chris Majer - email@example.com
Full Direct Members, Family Members, Veteran Members, Student Members, Special Members, Members with Disabilities - William Armstrong - firstname.lastname@example.org
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4. Contact Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media, asking for his support and for him to contact (1) the Commission for Equality & Human Rights and request they immediately (a) conduct an Independent enquiry into the ECF practices for equality and diversity and (b) Investigate whether the ECF has conducted an unlawful act. (2) Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and request he Investigates this matter of alleged racial hatred towards a family and the child abuse of Yousuf –bin Suhayl, aged 13 years, who was allegedly attacked by Brigitte Weaver from Wimbledon at the EU Youth Championship in Mureck on 9th August 2012, in the Tournament Hall causing him bodily harm. Children may be at risk of abuse and the British police have a duty to investigate this.
Contact: Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport: 2 Royal Parade, Tilford Road, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6TD;
Telephone: 01428 609 416;
The family would like to express their gratitude and thanks to members of the public for their support during this very difficult time.
Assalamualaikum, peace be upon you.