Tabloids lie about Muslims (again) PCC does nothing


by Sunny
19th November, 2010 at 3:09 pm    

In late October the Daily Mail ran with this story:

Cafe owner ordered to remove extractor fan because neighbour claimed ‘smell of frying bacon offends Muslims’
A hard-working cafe owner has been ordered to tear down an extractor fan – because the smell of her frying bacon ‘offends’ Muslims. Planning bosses acted against Beverley Akciecek, 49, after being told her next-door neighbour’s Muslim friends had felt ‘physically sick’ due to the ‘foul odour’.

Councillors at Stockport Council in Greater Manchester say the smell from the fan is ‘unacceptable on the grounds of residential amenity’.

You can predict the I’m outraged! These Muslims are taking over! comments. Given that the Telegraph has also become a tabloid rag, it followed up with a re-write of the same story. As did the Metro.

The article was dissected by Tabloid Watch, which pointed out:

But then it becomes clear that the complaints about the smell coming from the cafe’s extractor fan were not from random passing Muslims. Indeed, the planning application details appear to show that there was just one official complaint – and that was from the person who lives next door to the cafe:

Notice he says the smell makes him ‘physically sick’, not his Muslim friends, as the Mail claimed in the second paragraph. And yes, he does mention his ‘Muslim friends’ couldn’t ‘stand the smell’. But using the term ‘Muslim friends’ strongly implies he’s not actually Muslim himself – if he was, it’s likely the Mail would have mentioned it somewhere.

But of course that’s not how the Daily Mail and Telegraph wanted the narrative to be. They wanted it to be about Nasty Muslims Banning Our Way of Life.

Anyway, after the Tabloid Watch blog went up, three people decided to complain to the Press Complaints Commission.

The PCC has now cleared the Mail, on the grounds that, “readers would not be misled as to the circumstances surrounding the refusal for planning permission.”

As Roy Greenslade points out – that is not the impression one gets from reading the comments in the article, which are aimed squarely at Muslims. Not only does the PCC downplay the importance of the misleading headline, but assumes people will actually read between the lines and get what the real story is. They don’t.
But there is one comment on the original DM article worth highlighting:

I am the neighbour who complained! Well done DM for asking for my comments on the matter, but if you had there would be No Story To Print! This vent is affecting my children’s health and that is why the council denied planning!

Yes, I have some Muslim friends who it offended, but nothing was said about my English friends who avoid my house within opening hours of the shop!

Shame on you Daily Mail. You have stirred up lots of racial tension in my area now, so for you its ‘mission accomplished.’

Mission accomplished indeed. It’s worth noting these incidents of mainstream bigotry go largely unremarked in our media culture except one or two small places.


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  1. smileandsubvert

    Muslim bashing in the media http://bit.ly/a1tQ0g


  2. earwicga

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: Tabloids lie about Muslims (again) PCC does nothing http://bit.ly/aOFKCc




  1. James — on 19th November, 2010 at 3:31 pm  

    It is mildy idiotic for him to mention his muslim friends. There was no need at all as the complaint was strong enough without invoking the religion of his friends.

    In fact I would go further. By using his religious friends as a reason it is unacceptable – the complainant is exaggerating in exactly the same way that the Daily Mail does.

  2. Arif — on 19th November, 2010 at 5:30 pm  

    I am not asking this question rhetorically, but I’d genuinely like PP regulars’ views on what Muslims can do about the regular drip drip drip of anti-Muslim stories in the mass media? What can be done against the routine selection for stories with a Muslim angle and a negative portrayal? Or about the misunderstanding and negative emotions they spread?

    I don’t think this is an issue which will go away. Waiting for the construction of new bogeymen or moving the focus on to feeding other media prejudices instead (the Irish, black males, Jews, gay people, Catholics, asylum-seekers) is playing the same game.

    Once representations take hold, how best to challenge their constant reinforcement in the mass media?

  3. LibertyPhile — on 19th November, 2010 at 5:42 pm  

    Very interesting. The press sometimes exaggerates, even misleads. What a surprise!

    What about the multitude of Muslim stories that are actually correct, or very largely correct?

    See here: http://libertyphilewhy.blogspot.com/2010/11/this-is-why-part-2.html

    Over 200 stories in just a few months starting with: “Ofsted praises Islamic schools which oppose Western lifestyle”

  4. Sarah AB — on 19th November, 2010 at 5:54 pm  

    One of the issues which I’ve noticed being flagged excessively is halal food – eg here. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313303/Britain-goes-halal—tells-public.html
    I’m not saying the issue shouldn’t be discussed at all but it seems to be blown out of all proportion. It is legal, just as other farming methods which are suboptimal from an animal welfare point of view are legal, but you wouldn’t get a shock story about non free range eggs used in school meals.

  5. anon — on 19th November, 2010 at 7:11 pm  

    “4. Sarah AB — on 19th November, 2010 at 5:54 pm
    One of the issues which I’ve noticed being flagged excessively is halal food – eg here. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313303/Britain-goes-halal—tells-public.html
    I’m not saying the issue shouldn’t be discussed at all but it seems to be blown out of all proportion. It is legal, just as other farming methods which are suboptimal from an animal welfare point of view are legal, but you wouldn’t get a shock story about non free range eggs used in school meals.”

    There are no exemptions to ‘The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995′ on religious or any other grounds enabling the sale of non free range eggs as there is for Halal.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1995/731/schedule/12/made

    However there was and is mass outcry by the public over the cruelty inflicted on battery hens; so much so that several supermarkets such as Sainsburys now only sell free range even in their ‘basics’ range.

    To imply that similar protestations about Halal, particularly as it has become mainstream and unidentified in our supermarkets and not solely produced for the consumption of the religiously observant, are based on bigotry is pathetic.

  6. LibertyPhile — on 19th November, 2010 at 7:51 pm  

    Before he vacated the Mayor of London slot Ken Livingstone commissioned a study “The search for common ground: Muslims, non-Muslims and the UK media”.

    See: http://libertyphilesurveys.blogspot.com/2010/01/common-ground-or-not.html

    He says in the forward:

    “…. The rise of Islamophobia in Europe and the negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media harm community relations in London. … One of the most startling findings of this report is that in one typical week over 90 per cent of the media articles that referred to Islam and Muslims were negative. “

    What he doesn’t say is that newspapers such as the Guardian and Independent carried nearly as high of percentage (about 85%) of so-called “negative” stories as the rest of the press (90%+).

    (Let me add, that I am of the opinion that the Guardian (CiF) and the Independent (e.g., Robert Fisk) go out of their way to publicise the Muslim/Islamic viewpoint, and if there are any “positive” Muslim stories they would publish them! I know, believe it or not, that not everyone will agree with this)

    When will Muslims realise that press coverage is a pretty good reflection of reality.

  7. Sunny — on 19th November, 2010 at 8:13 pm  

    When will Muslims realise that press coverage is a pretty good reflection of reality.

    That everyone should make up stories about them?

  8. fester — on 19th November, 2010 at 8:53 pm  
  9. riaz — on 19th November, 2010 at 8:59 pm  

    Libertyphile

    When will Muslims realise that press coverage is a pretty good reflection of reality.

    When we become unthinking, uncritical blind media sheep like you

  10. LibertyPhile — on 19th November, 2010 at 9:05 pm  

    Who makes up stories about them? Very few!

    The unfortunate fact is that most of the stories are true and accurately reflect an issue between Muslims and everyone else.

    This is the point I am making.

    Just go through the stories (well over 200) linked to in the reference I gave above, and tell me how many were “made up” or misrepresent what happened or what was said.

  11. LibertyPhile — on 19th November, 2010 at 9:18 pm  

    “uncritical blind media sheep like you”

    Hmmm. What does that mean? Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, the Guardian, the Independent, the BBC, even Pickled Politics [ http://thelibertyphile.blogspot.com/2010/10/school-that-forces-women-to-wear-niqab.html ],

    to name just a few have all got it wrong?

  12. Larry — on 19th November, 2010 at 9:35 pm  

    If the Telegraph is now a tabloid, what’s the Guardian?

    A children’s book?

  13. anon — on 19th November, 2010 at 9:48 pm  

    IMHO This site is just like the The Daily Mail and equally guilty of race baiting.
    A Prime example is the piece on here alleging a bus driver had thrown girls off his bus for wearing the veil – a story that turned out to be untrue yet even when that fact was pointed out to the OP no retraction or apology to the accused bus driver was forthcoming.

    Another is the reporting on PP of a KFC that stopped selling bacon (to indulge members of a certain religion) and had received a number of complaints from disgruntled regulars.
    A story dismissed on here solely because there happened to be another KFC six miles away selling bacon and the implication being that as such any complaints were based on bigotry – However the OP on PP failed to mention that ‘the other KFC’ was located over six miles away (13 mile round trip) in an isolated highway services area in the middle of nowhere.

  14. Sarah AB — on 19th November, 2010 at 10:05 pm  

    anon – I don’t object to people asking for products to be labelled, but I do wonder how often animal welfare makes tabloid front page news – how great a proportion of animal welfare stories in tabloids are focused on halal slaughter. I certainly don’t think everyone who objects to halal or kosher slaughter is bigoted – but I don’t see why it’s so massively worse to eat halal food than it is to eat other animal products which cause unnecessary suffering. Although we can see which eggs are free range or not we don’t, I assume, normally check whether school meals use free range eggs or cheaper ones.

  15. Larry — on 19th November, 2010 at 10:12 pm  

    SarahAB,

    Some people object to it – myself included – because it’s yet another sign of this alien culture taking over. The very fact that it’s a religion dictating how animals are killed makes it harder to swallow. (The concept, not the food.)

  16. anon — on 19th November, 2010 at 10:28 pm  

    ‘but I do wonder how often animal welfare makes tabloid front page news – how great a proportion of animal welfare stories in tabloids are focused on halal slaughter’

    Piggy bank made with real piglet causes outrage among animal …?
    Daily Mail – 11 hours ago

    By Daily Mail Reporter The phrase ‘piggy bank’ has been taken to new and controversial lengths to the distress of animal welfare groups after an Irish …

    Daily Mail
    ?Landlady avoids jail despite leaving five pets to die in appalling …?
    Daily Mail – 5 hours ago

    By Daily Mail Reporter These horrifying pictures show an animal house of horror in … the property when he became concerned for the welfare of the animals. …

    Daily Mail

    Halal meat served in schools, hospitals and pubs: Vets say Islamic …?
    Daily Mail – Danny Penman – 11 Nov 2010

    It was ostensibly a cost-cutting measure, but animal welfare groups fear it was to … The abattoir that the Daily Mail filmed inside is not used for Asda …

    Daily Mail

    Caged mountain bear forced to drink coca-cola for public’s …?
    Daily Mail – 2 Nov 2010

    By Daily Mail Reporter Shocking footage has appeared showing a dying … has been branded ‘a disgrace’ by The International Fund for Animal Welfare. …

    Daily Mail

    Fleet Street Bundy Rum ad furore a croc?
    Sydney Morning Herald – Cameron Atfield – 11 Nov 2010

    Late last week, Britain’s Daily Mail reported the spirit’s latest advertising … had created a “furore” and led to complaints by animal welfare group PETA. …

    Hunt for ‘Cat Killer’ after 33 pets are poisoned with antifreeze?
    Daily Mail – 10 Nov 2010

    By Daily Mail Reporter A serial cat killer is being hunted after at least 33 pets … six-month prison sentence and a £20000 fine under the Animal Welfare Act.

    Daily Mail

    Newspaper review?
    BBC News – 6 days ago

    The Daily Mail says rickets – the childhood disease caused by vitamin D deficiency – is … abandonment of Labour initiatives to protect animal welfare. …

    Desperate for Food, Wild Bears Dig Up Graves?
    The REAL TRUTH – 3 days ago

    … thought was wearing a fur coat leaning over a grave,” the Daily Mail reported. … The director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare told the …

    Skinny police dog taken to vet after distraught public complains …?
    Daily Mail – 12 Nov 2010

    By Mail Foreign Service This poor skin-and-bones creature may look in need of rescuing by animal welfare team but don’t call the police. …

    Daily Mail

    Stag kill in England stirs hunting debate?
    Bikya Masr – 31 Oct 2010

    He was considered to be the largest wild animal living on British Isles. … British culture that should be consigned to history”, he told the Daily Mail. …

  17. anon — on 19th November, 2010 at 11:43 pm  

    Sarah AB. I guess slaughter by religious methods
    is massively worse because animals slaughtered without pre-stunning suffer severe pain and distress and those which aren’t usually don’t.

    Without being stunned first it takes a calf 120 seconds to lose consciousness – stick your hand in the fire and start counting – one… two…

    If you had a pet that needed to be killed, assuming you had no other options, which method would you choose for its demise – stunned or not?

  18. Andy H — on 20th November, 2010 at 12:30 am  

    There are, I think, plenty of cases where political correctness goes way too far – those examples of posters for carol services being moved to less prominent places, “bans” on piggy banks etc. – and many of them are genuine.

    But what you inevitably find is that no-one, Muslim or otherwise, has actually complained about the conduct in question: rather, some jobsworth is paid £30,000 pa to sit around dreaming up ways that minorities might be offended, and then go round pre-emptively stamping out such behaviour. The usual round of “winterval” stories is pretty much cut from the same cloth.

    It’s profoundly depressing, but it’s the fault of the system, not any one ethnic or religious group.

  19. Sunny — on 20th November, 2010 at 3:05 am  

    The very fact that it’s a religion dictating how animals are killed makes it harder to swallow. (The concept, not the food.)

    You don’t really give a fuck how your animals are killed – you just eat them anyway. This attempt to get outraged over it just makes people look like bigots.

    to name just a few have all got it wrong?

    Yes there are examples of a few idiots. And what. I could spend all day throwing up examples of white racism. Doesn’t mean I think all whites are like that or it reflects mainstream opinion.

  20. boyo — on 20th November, 2010 at 3:10 am  

    @17 agreed. There’s no one reason – surely PP is as much to blame as anyone for fetishising is it cos I’s Muslim. Look at the amount of posts here – almost as many as HP. Including this one!

    The fact is people like talking about Muslims and Muslims like talking about themselves – Islam is not a modest, unassuming faith after all. It is often all encompassing and invasive. Almost by definition it does not aspire to assimilate Western values (seeing them for what they are, even if Westerners in their arrogance cannot recognise them themselves), and is indeed the only serious counter-hegemony currently on the planet. It also has a growing number of adherents in the UK – on the road to 10 per cent, from next to nothing in 50 years.

    Given this, it’s hardly surprising there’s a lot of chatter, and much of it “negative”. However, I wonder if a similar analysis were done in an islamic country, say Pakistan, Jordan or Iran, how often Western values (or Westerners themselves) would be subject to negative comment?

  21. boyo — on 20th November, 2010 at 3:19 am  

    Ah well, seeing as my insomnia will not abate, I did a quick google and came up with this Gallup poll.

    “The image that dominates respondents’ negative perceptions of the West is clear-cut: the immoral lifestyles, a weakening of family structure, a decline in social courtesy, and the loss of traditional deference to elders in Western nations. Over half of those interviewed in Jordan, Lebanon, and Kuwait mention these types of negative social influences as the aspect of the West they most resent, as do large numbers of Pakistanis and Iranians.”

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/5422/islamic-views-western-culture.aspx

    What this really teaches us of course is that we’re united by our common human tendency to think we’re all better than the next bloke. Or blogger.

  22. Sarah AB — on 20th November, 2010 at 8:17 am  

    boyo – that’s an interesting quote – but there’s a difference between countries in the ME being sniffy about the West and the number of negative stories about BRITISH Muslims in the UK – stories which may be distorted (like the one about bacon fat) or simply given a disproportionate amount of space – and be expressed in rather inflammatory terms. (For example the Mail story I linked to above includes this: “Other practices which may be undertaken for religious reasons, such as polygamy or the stoning of adulterers, are not permitted in the UK.” ) It’s probably the case that some other sections of the media sometimes take the opposite path and gloss over some negative stories about Islamism – but I think that makes things worse rather than balancing out, and the readerships are probably different in any case.

  23. boyo — on 20th November, 2010 at 9:27 am  

    I’m not sure that was my point Sarah AB, and you may be conflating two different things by your ref to “BRITISH Muslims”. It’s not British Hindus or Jews that attract so much attention, as we all know. I would suggest that this is a consequence of the factors I talk about above.

  24. boyo — on 20th November, 2010 at 9:37 am  

    I would add, that were similar proportions of Westerners to occupy the same space in the Muslim societies referred to above, given the evidence of mutual suspicion etc, there would presumably be similar difficulties. Certainly I think we can see that in the experiences of Christians in Pakistan and the West Bank, Copts in Egypt, and non-Muslims in indonesia?

    I don’t think this is whatabouterist as such, as my point is to illustrate that this is not an isolated issue but a broader question of compatibility. Islam generates anxiety in the UK, not necessarily because of terrorism (Irish people did not suffer the same degree of scrutiny) but by its determination to be different? The same presumably would apply to Westerners in Islamic countries.

  25. Larry — on 20th November, 2010 at 9:57 am  

    Sunny,

    I’m assuming you are 1) slightly browner than me, and 2) muslim.

    I’m assuming, because you have a massive chip on your shoulder about waaaaaaaaaaycism.

    When are you lefties going to understand that Islam is not a race.

  26. Sarah AB — on 20th November, 2010 at 10:20 am  

    Thanks boyo – I do think some of this hyper awareness of difference is media generated though – leading to suspicion – maybe becoming a kind of self fulfilling prophecy.

    Larry – Sunny is a Sikh – or at least, that’s his background. I’m pretty sure he’s not a Muslim!

  27. anon — on 20th November, 2010 at 11:19 am  

    Sarah AB — on 20th November, 2010 at 8:17 am

    “and be expressed in rather inflammatory terms. (For example the Mail story I linked to above includes this: “Other practices which may be undertaken for religious reasons, such as polygamy or the stoning of adulterers, are not permitted in the UK.” )”

    The full quote from the Daily Mail:

    “Joanna Lumley, said in a statement: ‘Other practices which may be undertaken for religious reasons, such as polygamy or the stoning of adulterers, are not permitted in the UK.
    ‘Religious freedom does not override other moral considerations and the suffering caused by this form of slaughter is so severe that it cannot be allowed to prevent action to be taken. Consumers can do their bit by boycotting places that persist in selling meat from unstunned animals.’”

    Oh and didn’t your parents teach you that it was bad manners to ignore people.

  28. Sarah AB — on 20th November, 2010 at 12:09 pm  

    anon – I wasn’t consciously ignoring you, but sorry anyway. Going back to an earlier point, I agree with you (if the facts are right because the whole story was a bit murky) about the bus driver story. I don’t think it’s sinister though if a KFC stops selling bacon for commercial reasons. I’m an atheist and I think there is a perfectly logical, animal welfare basis for outlawing ritual slaughter. And of course I’d rather a pet was put to death painlessly. But there is also an animal welfare case for improving the lot of animals who suffer because a) people can make more money by squashing them into small spaces b) people want to develop unnecessary products which require animal testing c) people want to eat products which are based on treating animals cruelly – boiling lobsters alive, keeping calves in the dark, force feeding geese. I don’t have any objections to principled people expressing concern about halal slaughter as part of some kind of vaguely consistent profile of support for animal welfare. But I think some people latch on to this cause for different reasons. It’s a bit like criticism of Israel – its actions may merit criticisms but there seems to be an inordinate amount of hostile coverage in the media.

  29. anon — on 20th November, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

    “(if the facts are right because the whole story was a bit murky)”

    Exactly how was the whole story a bit murky?

  30. johng — on 20th November, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    I thought the hilariously idiotic comment about Fisk representing the ‘Islamic point of view’ was proof in any were needed of the kind of demented bigotry associated with this issue. I do think one feature of blog discussions like this is that the more obviously racist individuals (who seem to just regurgitate EDL/BNP soundbites) don’t represent much beyond their own crackpot world view. They are however given confidence by the more generalised anti-Muslim bigotry coming from mainstream sources. I say this because I think its important not to imagine that these loons represent anything statistically significant, not because Islamophobia is not a serious problem.

  31. Spittoon hate fest — on 20th November, 2010 at 3:07 pm  

    Wow there is a real PP hate fest going on at Spittoon:

    Harith, a regular poster on here , has just posted this article:

    Fickle Politics and the Fear of a Hindutva Planet
    http://www.spittoon.org/archives/8157

    And there’s yet another attack on earcwiga:

    Earwicga and the pieties of the Left
    http://www.spittoon.org/archives/8149

  32. damon — on 20th November, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

    From boyo @20

    The fact is people like talking about Muslims and Muslims like talking about themselves – Islam is not a modest, unassuming faith after all. It is often all encompassing and invasive.

    Hmmmm, that’s one way way of looking at it. And provocative too. You can get called islamophobic for saying such things.

    The bacon cooking smells story is quite scurrilous, but it may be that what boyo says that is the reason so many of these stories are generated.
    That islam’s ”growing footprint” (if one can say that) alarms people. Wathching soft headed people like Yvonne Ridley and Lauren Booth explaining to some GPU like event about how they reverted to Islam, just makes you want to blow raspberries at them.

    I remember Darcus Howe did some documentary about multi-cultural Britain several years ago, and when with some muslim guys before friday prayers in Birmingham, he remarked that he felt that with so many muslims converging on the mosque – with beards and islamic dress, he said to one of the guys, that it felt overwhelming, and even alienating.
    It’s so easy to find negative stories.
    Trying to find a clip of the Darcus Howe documentary, I came across this from 2003. Is it alarmist nonsense?

    Pakistani gangs are targeting us, say fearful black youths
    Thirty years after Afro-Caribbeans in Walsall successfully fought off white skinhead thugs, their children face a fresh wave of attacks – this time from Asians

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1448727/Pakistani-gangs-are-targeting-us-say-fearful-black-youths.html

    Maybe it’s nothing too much, just a bit of teenage gang stuff. And that the Daily Telegraph just loves to stir.

    This was the bit of the documentary that I remember:

    Last weekend, Darcus Howe, the black journalist and broadcaster, returned to Walsall to film a programme about the town, 20 years after he worked and lived there. He told how he was confronted by a group of angry Pakistani youths, who threatened to attack him.

    “They told me of their violent hostility to West Indians and threatened to break my legs,” he said. “Pakistani nationalism is their stock-in trade. ‘We are Muslims’, they said, ‘and nobody likes us ‘.”

    Obviously, situations like this have to have an eye kept on them, and managed. I remember from the documentary, well before 7/7, that these teenage lads hanging about on street corners in Walsall, thought it funny to have Osama bin Laden’s picture on their mobile phones.

    Edited. I found the clip.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE7Xng1FEz0&feature=related

  33. LibertyPhile — on 20th November, 2010 at 5:41 pm  

    (a) Fisk is sympathetic towards the people of the Middle East and their view of the world, and he and his newspaper are balanced in reporting on Muslims, and (b) the Guardian (the other “anti-establishment” newspaper) regularly gives a forum to Muslims like Tariq Ramadan and Inayat Bunglawala (it is irrelevant whether you agree or not with these two).

    The point is that even these two publications produce the same proportion of negative Muslim stories as the rest of the media! That is “statistically” significant

    The fact is the media are a good reflection of reality. A large number of Muslims do and say a lot of things that the rest of the world doesn’t agree with.

    Hiding behind the occasional unfair report and sweeping accusations of islamophobia won’t wash.

  34. KB Player — on 20th November, 2010 at 5:56 pm  

    Wathching soft headed people like Yvonne Ridley and Lauren Booth explaining to some GPU like event about how they reverted to Islam, just makes you want to blow raspberries at them.

    Watching those two clowns open their gobs on anything at all makes me want to blow raspberries at them. I imagine in the higher intellectual echelons of Islam distinguished scholars groaning at the crap converts they get these days.

  35. dave bones — on 20th November, 2010 at 8:27 pm  

    @Damon- interesting darkus Howe clip. I like that guy. What say you? :-)

    @KB Player- what is wrong with people reverting to Islam?

    On the subject of The Daily Mail and tabloids I think this is the only thing I have ever read by Richard Littlejohn that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

  36. KB Player — on 20th November, 2010 at 9:33 pm  

    @davebones

    Nothing wrong with “people” reverting to Islam or undergoing any religious conversion but lots wrong with those two theocracy supporting dickheads, Ridley and Booth.

  37. Arif — on 20th November, 2010 at 9:53 pm  

    If I am interpreting the above correctly, I see the following perspectives:

    1. There is no smoke without fire – this or that story may have a bigoted slant, but the reason such bigotry makes sense to journalists/readers is because there is some larger truth it reflects – most such stories are true (and implicitly merit the level of attention they get in the media).

    2. Muslims are different from other stigmatised groups because they actively insist on their oppostition to the mainstream and therefore (perhaps inadvertantly) invite their stigmatisation.

    3. Muslims are being unfairly singled out sometimes, as can be seen by the fact that their choices are criticised on a selective basis (ie concern for animal rights which is limited to concern over halal and not extended to the same extent by those particular people to other animal welfare issues).

    4. There is oversensitivity by well-meaning politically correct liberals which gives Muslims a bad press.

    5. The perspective I was expressing, that the British media picks up on a variety of stereotypes and moral panics at different times, and to some extent the fear feeds on itself.

    I think boyo’s point was particularly useful in bringing out how some Muslims mirror the western media in their own deployment of narratives of fear and difference and that they feed the media as much as the media feed those Muslims.

    I find it very difficult to get through to people once they are committed to such narratives on either side.

    That feels like a dangerous situation to me, because each side feels the best way to protect itself is to play up the sense of threat in order to mobilise more people.

    How can those of us committed to peaceful coexistence mobilise effectively or counter this mutual mobilisation of the afraid effectively?

  38. damon — on 20th November, 2010 at 10:14 pm  

    Dave Bones, I like Darcus Howe as a person, but I think he has a tendency to ham things up and be a bit of a drama queen.

  39. anon — on 21st November, 2010 at 12:58 am  

    Sarah AB — on 20th November, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    “But there is also an animal welfare case for improving the lot of animals who suffer because a) people can make more money by squashing them into small spaces b) people want to develop unnecessary products which require animal testing c) people want to eat products which are based on treating animals cruelly – boiling lobsters alive, keeping calves in the dark, force feeding geese.”

    There are cases for all those issues and they are all being widely made and coverd extensively in the media including The Daily Mail.

    a) Veal crates were banned in the UK in 1990 – Sow stalls are now illegal in the UK – Battery Cages will be banned in The UK (and EU) from 2012 although in the UK Public pressure has already forced supermarkets to stock only free range eggs.

    b) In the UK animal testing for cosmetics is banned and Non-cosmetic animal testing is heavily regulated by the government. No animal experiments can be conducted unless it can be proven that there is no realistic alternative and there must be a potential benefit to mankind. Testing on animals also requires three Home Office licences – for the institution, the scientist and the project. Safety tests on products such as detergents, shampoo etc accounts for less than 20% of all animal testing in the UK and is a legal requirement.
    And you could hardly say the press and public are keeping quiet about animal testing nor do they remain silent about the activities of animal rights organisations such as the ALF.

    c) Are lobsters sentient? Isn’t boiling a lobster akin to pouring boiling water on woodlice? – Veal crates were banned in the UK in 1990 – foie gras production has been illegal in the UK since 2000, imported foie gras is the subject of several consumer boycott campaigns and its sale has been banned in many council buildings.

  40. anon — on 21st November, 2010 at 1:01 am  

    What does this Sonny think he achieves by endlessly C&Peeing or rewriting critiques of the Daily Mail that have already received coverage in the Guardian, Tabloid Watch and elswhere?

    Perhaps his time would be better spent breaking stories of bigotry that the Guardian etc avoid like the plague.

    This one for example appearing on MPAC UK under the banner of ‘ANALYSIS’… a tale of Master-Chef, the recession and “ZOMG ISRAELI JEWS ARE STEALING BRITISH JOBS”

    http://www.mpacuk.org/story/181110/guest-post-israeli-goods-and-british-jobs.html#comments

    For those on PP who can’t be arsed clicking on links…

    “I’ve recently started watching cooking programs such as MasterChef and enjoy fine dining.

    I love the special recipes made using Medjoul Date and Jaffa Oranges and even tried making some of them at home. I’m also aware that as an amateur chef, I have to make sure that I get top quality products to make my meal for the family “perfect”.

    For these products, I either go to Sainsbury’s, or the local market. However, due to poor labelling I buy some of my ingredients from Sainsbury’s.

    With the British economy in recession I saw first hand how it is to be a household that has to live off savings and hardly any income. It is truly distressing that as a middle-class worker, I find poor labelling at Sainsbury’s, and Tesco – that sell tens of billions pounds worth of goods with huge growth year on year. However, the jobs introduced in that area are not profound, nor do they trickle down to different industries as much.

    We have huge farms in Kent that produce excellent herbs such as Basil, and were labelled perfectly to show the name of the grower. After a few months, Sainsbury started to mix it up and now I see a lot of herbs coming from Israel. There is a huge carbon footprint, impact on British jobs, and on the taxes collected with these imports. I goes beyond me to try to understand why we have such goods whereas being a very good amateur cook, the local produce is better, helps the UK economy, and keeps British jobs safe.

    Waitrose and Sainsbury’s may open up a new store, hire 20-30 people, but at the same time help increase the number of people employed in Israel at the cost of British jobs. I suspect that this has to do more with the moral of support of the Israel-Palestinina issue rather than trying to provide high-quality goods.

    We are British, and we will not bow down to foreign influences.”

  41. Sarah AB — on 21st November, 2010 at 8:13 am  

    anon – thanks for the animal rights info – but it is still my impression just from occasional random scanning of tabloid headlines that there is a disproportionate amount of attention paid to Muslims – that includes focusing on trivial issues (such as ‘Muslim toilets’ being built in a shopping centre) or excessive attention paid to nasty but fringe figures such as Anjem Choudhary.

    The MPACK story is bonkers.

    Which leads me on to a suggestion for Arif who asked right at the beginning of the thread

    “Once representations take hold, how best to challenge their constant reinforcement in the mass media?”

    Harry’s Place sometimes links to pieces on the CST blog

    http://www.thecst.org.uk/blog/

    or offers coverage of their reports – and I have also heard one of their spokesmen on the radio. I think they come over very well – I only tend to look at their stuff when someone else links to it but it’s my impression that they are good at conveying info about antisemitism in a moderate and calm way. They seem to distance themselves from other less moderate voices who are also concerned about antisemitism – Melanie Phillips say.

    So I think Muslims might follow the CST as a model – a blog which doesn’t allow comments which reported on anti muslim bigotry in a careful way which was cautious about its targets – and which drew up annual reports on media coverage. It would get more attention than the CST I expect.

  42. Sarah AB — on 21st November, 2010 at 8:16 am  

    Looking again at that Israel story – it reads like something from a BNP site.

  43. Boyo — on 21st November, 2010 at 9:20 am  

    @36 How can those of us committed to peaceful coexistence mobilise effectively or counter this mutual mobilisation of the afraid effectively?

    Well, that’s the question we all wish we knew the answer to, but it’s also a very revealing answer, split in to two clauses.

    “Those of us committed to mutual co-existence… ” Unpacking this leads to many contradictions. For a start I think the good news for all of us is that people, no matter what their creed or culture, are fundamentally good and want simply to get on with their lives.

    It is only ever a minority that causes genuine friction. Sadly it is only also a minority who are inclined to actively do something for mutual co-existence, the majority think (rightly perhaps) why should they? Engaging in work, school, local politics, etc is their contribution, and perhaps that is good enough?

    “counter this mutual mobilisation of the afraid” I’m afraid it is beholden on any immigrant group to make an effort to reach out to the host population and reassure them. That may not be fair, but human nature is not fair – we’re only animals after all, and people fear difference.

    I think this is where multiculturalism went wrong – it encouraged people to celebrate their difference, which may be a very nice thing to aspire to, but is essentially driven by utopianism, ignoring the basic grim, tribal nature of humanity.

    What they should have preached was – reassure, promote, befriend, and then be different. Muslims are the most different so naturally generate the most fear. And, as the survey above indicates, fear is not a one-way street – almost by definition their way exists in contradiction to Western values, so there is naturally an element of superiority and contempt. But this is not the West’s fault.

    I was recently in Jordan – one of the most liberal Arab countries – and found it depressing to see how many women were covered up, that actually very few women were visible on the street/ at work, how all them men in the hotel gathered at the windows to watch the women in our tour group at the swimming pool. I didn’t like it, I felt superior, but it was “their” country.

    These mutual contradictions are frankly not solvable – it is hard to think of countries with a mixed population actually happier than ours. India? This is a social experiment that has never actually had a great outcome – the only other example I can think of is the Ottoman empire, and look what happened there.

    The more the difference, the more the minority group is obliged to reassure. The state too could play its part by, rather than ignoring these inconvenient truths, restructuring society in a way that takes away the responsibility to defuse fear from the immigrant group. Recognising this would help – as at least the Caliphate did. In our case, secularising all state institutions (and in particular schools) would be an important start – religion needs to be physically removed from the public realm. It will not remove itself. Irony of ironies, speaking of the Caliphate, Turkey may actually be an exemplar.

  44. damon — on 21st November, 2010 at 3:10 pm  

    There was a programme by that Daily Mail troublemaker Richard Littlejohn a few years ago that is I’m afraid typical of this Muslim bashing. This was a review of it in the Telegraph.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3666435/Last-night-on-television.html

    As much as I think Littlejohn is a toad, and that documentary alarmist and dodgy, there is a body of opinion in Europe who would go along with its main points.
    And this (below) is unfortunately true.

    Like the fact that Littlejohn could walk into a newsagent’s on the Edgware Road in London and find an Arabic translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf openly on sale “alongside the Evening Standards, the AutoTraders and the Milky bars”.

    As you can see on Harry’s Place, regarding Hitler as someone worth reading is not that unusual in the Middle East. The people in Edgware road are from the Middle East. Not British born muslims for the most part, and their culture travels with them.
    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/11/20/syrian-bookshop-window/

    You don’t have to be a supporter of HP to think that there are some shocking attitudes amongst people in the Middle East (including Israel).
    Just as there are some shocking attitudes amongst the Daily Mail readership and people like Littlejohn.

  45. KB Player — on 21st November, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

    The MPACUK are bonkers – semi-literate paranoiacs – but I’ve heard their representatives treated as serious speakers for Muslim affairs on the Beeb.

  46. Niaz — on 21st November, 2010 at 4:35 pm  

    Damon you can walk into any newsagent or bookshop in the country and find rabidly anti- Muslim works ,subscribing to Eurabia theories – what exactly is your point ? That only extremist materials sold by Muslims should be banned not materials which demonise Muslims ?

  47. Arif — on 21st November, 2010 at 5:33 pm  

    Boyo, thanks for the dicussion in #42.

    Like you I think it is very important to think about what is expedient and effective as well as what is fair. However, your discussion shows questions of fairness remain very important. And expediency is not straightforward.

    While we may think other people have exaggerated fears and therefore it is expedient/necessary for us to make exaggerated efforts to assuage them, others may perceive our actions as an ineffective form of appeasement (collaborating with unfairness in order to buy an easier life for a short time).

    You may argue that others have been successful in appeasing the British public, but my view is that those successes seem temporary and may only be apparent due to the current focus on Muslims. I think anti-semitism, homophobia, fear of African Carribean young men, hatred of asylum-seekers have not gone away, and they could return centre stage any time.

    So while appeasement may be successful, my worry is that it leaves the underlying structure of media panics and prejudice unaffected.

    Your suggestion that the State could take some of the responsibility takes me down a very different track to you – to State support for a much more effective press ombudsman: highly resourced to make investigations and powerful in their sanctions and the profile of their work. I’d like the Equality and Human Rights Commission to have a section making investigations too, and passing on complaints to such an ombudsman.

    It won’t surprise you that I don’t think Turkey does very well in its treatment of minorities, and perhaps they could do with celebrating rather than repressing their diversity, so I disagree with you in your final analysis. But I hope we are otherwise on a similar wavelength.

  48. damon — on 21st November, 2010 at 9:40 pm  

    Niaz – who’s talking about banning anything? Not me.
    My point is in relating to the opening post, and giving my thoughts on why there are so many islamophobic views and stories all the time.

    I think there is a difference though between backward political islamophobic books and ideas like that Eurabia one, and ones that support terrorism.
    I’m willing to be told why that’s wrong though.

  49. Niaz — on 21st November, 2010 at 10:13 pm  

    Damon isn’t it obvious why there are so many Islamiphobic stories and views?

    The cold war ended so the right needed to find a new enemy. Also some countries that had natural resources the west wanted to steal were mainly Muslim. It’s not rocket science.

  50. Niaz — on 21st November, 2010 at 10:15 pm  

    Damon books like Eurabia and the slew and drip drip of constant anti Muslim material are as dangerous as the books you mentioned because they lead to genocide.

  51. douglas clark — on 22nd November, 2010 at 1:15 am  

    Arif & Boyo,

    Interesting discussion.

    You will both be aware of the aphorism:

    Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold?

    The overall verse that is taken from is this:

    TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    It is the last two lines that I think make the point.

    That is the problem that both the majority and the muslim communities seem to me to have. ‘Leaderships’, pah!, with frankly the passion that we see here day after day.

    Good people, the folk boyo refers to, become silenced in the white noise that these people project. It becomes dangerous to be reasonable. No, dangerous is probably too strong, socially unacceptable might be nearer the mark.

    It requires more centralist voices to speak out, it seems to me.

  52. boyo — on 22nd November, 2010 at 7:17 am  

    @51 Douglas, well-observed. I’ve heard the poem referred to but don’t know its origin – I’ll google.

    @47 oh absolutely I agree re Turkey (I often wonder why the Kurdish situation is not compared more often with the Palestinians). I only meant as a structural model (maybe the US may have been more politic…)

  53. douglas clark — on 22nd November, 2010 at 10:17 am  

    boyo @ 52,

    Cheers.

    In full, it’s here:

    http://www.online-literature.com/donne/780/

  54. joe90 — on 22nd November, 2010 at 10:32 am  

    I don’t belive the drip drip of anti muslim and the made up anti muslim stories are accidental. We also know how government manipulate and use the media for their own agendas and implementation of policies, so can we say categorically there has not been a wink or green light from the government for this outburst of anti muslim hysteria.

  55. douglas clark — on 22nd November, 2010 at 11:07 am  

    joe90 @ 54,

    I don’t think they are accidental either. However, I don’t think it needs a nod and a wink from government to explain them. It is an attempt, post 7/7, to find a distinction, any distinction whatsoever, between ‘folk like us’ and the sort of folk that did 7/7. To be clear, 7/7 is the equivalent group think to Jones Town and is fortunately no more prevelant in the muslim community than in any other community. What does seem to be the case is that there is a vast literature and polemic claiming that these people, suicide bombers and the like, are martyrs. There may be a parallel to be drawn with the incredible support that the Long Kesh hunger strikers got from the NI Roman Catholic community. I think that that does prey on the more weak willed amongst the muslim community and does explain the higher incidence of outrageous acts……

    Whereas, with 9/11 where the perpetrators were all foreigners, there is no such easy distinction to be made over 7/7. People, journalists included, do not want to have their view of what it is reasonable to do disturbed by what some other folk do do. Hence the casting around for some other form of ‘difference’. Something that distinguishes ‘us’ from ‘them’. The unfortunate consequence of which is to tar and feather a whole community with the views of some deluded fools.

    Once this train starts rolling, it is very difficult to stop.

    Perhaps we need more ‘good news’ stories, like the somali community in the UK raising the ransom for a couple of white bankers.

    (To be completely honest, everyone has their own prejudices, and bankers are one of mine.)

  56. damon — on 22nd November, 2010 at 11:57 am  

    I disagree with joe90, Niaz, and what Douglas said @55.
    It’s not a conspiracy, but it certainly is a situation that fuels itself. Resentment leading to alienation leading to more islamophobic stories.

    Were these storeies from four years ago wrong?

    Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today.

    The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the “feelings and motives” of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.

    Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society, even though 91 per cent still say they feel loyal to Britain.

    That was in the Telegraph. Was it wrong?
    This was the time of the Danish cartoons and the protests over them. Actual countries were very animated about it. Like Turkey, Bosnia and Egypt. Why?
    It was only some stupid cartoons – but it gave the Daily Mail and Islamophobes lots of ammunition.
    There was even a protest march in Dublin. And the Muslim community was only new in Ireland – but it seems that the ones who protested showed that they were going to be as thin skinned and concerned about Palestine etc as everywhere else.
    Which I thought was a pity btw.

    I thought Munira Mirza got it better though in a report she did for Policy Exchange called Living Apart Together.

    Inevitably, media coverage of the report Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism, which I co-authored, focused on its more alarming poll statistics. The Guardian correctly reported that “support for sharia law, Islamic schools and wearing the veil in public is significantly stronger among young Muslims than their parents” (More young Muslims back sharia, says poll, January 29).
    However, the research revealed a broad diversity of opinions and experiences within the most intensely scrutinised group in Britain. One of our aims was to get past the sensationalist portrayal of Muslims as “the problem” – either as terrorists or as victims of Islamophobia.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/02/comment.religion

    The trouble is, only a minority of people and journalists are going to get the nuances of Munira Mirza’s opinion. It’s too subtle. Having Zakir Niak wooing the Global Peace and Unity event in 2009 is just too ”sexy” a story to pass up for the ”drip drip drip” writers of Islamophobic stories.
    Or in Ireland, having Dublin as the headquaters of the European Council for Fatwa and Reserch – headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
    Because they are ‘facts on the ground’ as it were. Unfortunate, but reality.

  57. anon — on 22nd November, 2010 at 12:01 pm  

    Sarah-AB

    “anon – thanks for the animal rights info – but it is still my impression just from occasional random scanning of tabloid headlines that there is a disproportionate amount of attention paid to Muslims”

    See post 16 – In the first page of results from a Google search for Daily Mail + Animal Welfare only one Daily Mail article of about a dozen relates to Muslims/Halal. Whether that is an accurate represntation of Daily Mail content I’ve no idea as I don’t read it – but one out of ten articles doesn’t seem particularly excessive to me.
    I expect we would hear more about other forms of religious slaughter that have also been given an exemption from UK animal welfare legislation if they were being increasingly foisted on an unsuspecting public by big businesses, supermarkets, Pub/Restaurant chains, schools etc.

    Actually I think the public/press (particularly those on the Left who are usually the most voiciferous regarding animal rights issues) are more restrained over the whole issue of Halal simply for fear of accusations of Islamophobia.

  58. douglas clark — on 22nd November, 2010 at 12:15 pm  

    damon @ 56,

    Which bit of my post did you disagree with? Coz I’ve read your post twice and I’m none the wiser.

  59. Refresh — on 22nd November, 2010 at 12:37 pm  

    This train is not for stopping. The clue is in Rupert Murdoch’s ADL award acceptance speech delivered in October.

    I am just glad its out in the open.

  60. damon — on 22nd November, 2010 at 2:00 pm  

    Douglas, it was mainly the Jonestown comparrison.
    That’s was much less serious than worldwide Islamism with Saudi Arabia’s deep pockets and it’s Wahhabist missionaries.
    I’ve got some Mormon missionaries just around the corner from me, but you hardly see them and they’re pretty harmless.
    Ian Paisley’s church is just up the road, and even as backward as they can be – or at least have been in the past, they’re not much of a problem these days.

    It’s more than just propaganda that pours forth from the extremists. They do have a base of support.
    I remember Australians being shocked when the found out that Abu Bakar Bashir had visited Australia prior to the Bali Bombs in 2002. He had toured the country giving lectures at mosques.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakar_Bashir

    ”Who was hosting him?” thundered the Ausie radio shock jocks (I was there at the time).
    That led to the police raiding homes in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Which upset some muslims who thought they were getting picked on unfairly.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stop-polabuse/message/11474

  61. douglas clark — on 22nd November, 2010 at 6:51 pm  

    damon,

    Thanks for replying. On the Jonestown thing, it was the psychological state rather than the gross numbers I was trying to get at. That, it seems to me, is the crux of the matter. People are seduced to die – commit suicide – on the back of false promises of a better life in the hereafter.

  62. joe90 — on 22nd November, 2010 at 10:27 pm  

    post #60

    you can bang on about youtube videos or preachers but the root cause of terror is the governments foreign policy.

    http://news.scotsman.com/iraq/We-warned-Iraq-invasion-would.6430135.jp

    I got some mormon missionaries near me too funny thing is they don’t face a threat of daisy cutters or the state of Utah facing the prospect of a NATO invasion.

  63. damon — on 23rd November, 2010 at 11:36 am  

    I don’t agree joe90. What I think is that some muslims need to stop being so insular looking and obsessing on the Ummah and their identity being bound up with people in other countries who happen to share the same religion as them. Muslims in Britain should be equally saddened by seeing tragic news from Cambodia last night about a crush on a bridge and people being trampled and falling into the river, as they are about events in Iraq or Gaza. Lots of us don’t like things that go on in the world – but one shouldn’t take it personally. Be angry with your government, but don’t lose the plot.

    I was watching this programme last light with Steve Coogan, about him playing himself being a resturant critic for the Observer magazine. It’s quite funny and clever. As I was watching it, I thought that this was the kind of thing those British muslims who work themselves up in to an indignant rage about events in the ME should watch from time to time.
    To try to chill and laugh a bit more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up8mh730z9I

  64. Arif — on 23rd November, 2010 at 8:58 pm  

    damon, while I agree with what you say about Muslim identity being a bad thing if it gets in the way of human solidarity, it is not a bad thing to be concerned about what happens to other Muslims in itself. Just as it is fair enough that people in Britain may get more worked up about injustices suffered by other British people – or indeed to get upset about terrorism suffered by people in the US.

    Caring for others is a necessary starting point before you can care for everyone. And there is nothing intrinsically worse in having solidarity with other Muslims than having solidarity with other British people or other Christians etc.

    What matters is the lack of solidarity for people you don’t perceive to be in your in-group. I think that is what turns a claim for justice into special pleading, and makes it possible to support other injustices without being aware of it.

  65. Niaz — on 23rd November, 2010 at 9:18 pm  

    damon

    I don’t agree joe90. What I think is that some muslims need to stop being so insular looking and obsessing on the Ummah and their identity being bound up with people in other countries who happen to share the same religion as them.Muslims in Britain should be equally saddened by seeing tragic news from Cambodia last night about a crush on a bridge and people being trampled and falling into the river, as they are about events in Iraq or Gaza. ”

    And perhaps certain non-Muslims should stop being so obsessed with Muslims eh Damon ?
    You are clearly unaware of, just one example, all the fundraising done by Islamic Relief the UK’s biggest Muslim charity to help the people of Haiti ( a non-Muslim country)

    Lots of us don’t like things that go on in the world – but one shouldn’t

  66. douglas clark — on 23rd November, 2010 at 9:34 pm  

    Niaz,

    Muslims in Britain should be equally saddened by seeing tragic news from Cambodia last night about a crush on a bridge and people being trampled and falling into the river, as they are about events in Iraq or Gaza. Lots of us don’t like things that go on in the world – but one shouldn’t take it personally. Be angry with your government, but don’t lose the plot.

    I think I agree with that. Although I also seem to see the opposite.

    muslim execeptionalism. Which, I’d submit is not exactly healthy.

  67. Niaz — on 23rd November, 2010 at 9:52 pm  

    Douglas no it isn’t . Is anti-Muslim exceptionalism healthy ?

  68. douglas clark — on 23rd November, 2010 at 10:06 pm  

    Niaz,

    I have argued here that anti-muslim, y’know prejudice, is completely wrong. I am sick and fed up with stating the obvious.

    It seems to me that I am sometimes the only person saying that.

    However.

    I have not bought into the idea that pro-islamic exceptionalism is right either.

    For fucks sake Niaz, get a grip.

  69. damon — on 23rd November, 2010 at 10:21 pm  

    Niaz, I have never started one of these threads.
    Maybe you should take your concerns up whith those who do. Unless you think that ‘Gora’ should keep their noses out of issues that shouldn’t concern them.

    I do find your thin skinned suspicious attitude to be part of the problem faced when trying to discuss important issues.

  70. douglas clark — on 23rd November, 2010 at 10:31 pm  

    Niaz,

    Sunny and earwicga and Jai and my chum Rumbold let you and I write here. They do not, except in extremis, censor comment. When they do, they bend over backwards to explain why they had to do it.

    Which they don’t have to.

    Very often.

    As far as I know, neither you nor i have been censored. And I have written stuff that I am embarrassed about now.

    In fact, if you want to see censorship you should go elsewhere…

  71. Refresh — on 23rd November, 2010 at 11:05 pm  

    Damon

    Your #63 is a pitiful slur. You clearly have been everywhere and yet learnt and know nothing.

    How dare you suggest that ‘muslims’ do not see and feel for others when tragedy occurs!

    You are an absolute disgrace.

  72. joe90 — on 23rd November, 2010 at 11:35 pm  

    post #63

    Damon you have right to disagree, but i still believe foreign policy is root cause of many of these problems.

    It’s not only muslims that feel for the problems in muslim world even the non muslims are outraged when they see an injustice being committed such as in iraq, palestine etc, this is a normal human reaction if a person has a conscience.

    I think your bit out of step and making an outrageous slur, if accusing the muslim community of being insensitive to disasters which do not affect them such as cambodia. Haiti was struck by earthquake you had charities of all religions helping out including muslim ones and also non religious helping the cause.

    Muslims should chill out?? i think you will find out that many of them are chilled out. If you bother to go out and have discussions with them you you might be surprised, they not all burning poppies and american flags in their spare time as them red tops would have you believe.

  73. damon — on 24th November, 2010 at 1:01 am  

    Refresh are you telling me that muslims worldwide follow events in South America like they do things that involve muslims?
    I’d hazard a guess that the men who sit in the cafes of Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan, sipping their tea whilst watching the news on Al Jazeera, might be hard pressed to even name many of the countries of latin America. Do you think they would know who the Karen people are?
    And your words in that post are too harsh. Why not ask me to clarify something if it sounded too strong or wasn’t worded well?
    Instead of juumping in with a two footed tackle.

    I’ve been on plenty of marches for things over the years, and one thing you do unfortunately notice is how people turn out mostly only for events that concern them or their community.
    So for example, on the Al Quds demonstration, and the ones against Israel’s attack on Lebanon, London’s African and Caribbean origin communities were noticable by their absence. On anti-apartheid marches years before though, they were at least half the crowd.

    On a march for Darfur I went along to about three years ago, it only seemed to be liberal whites and the Darfurian community. No people of ME or Asian origin hardly at all. In central London. I was looking for the ”Al Quds people” and the Hezbollah flag wavers, but they just didn’t show up. Not interested I presumed.

    Joe90, if you look at my exact words, you’ll see I used words like ”some” and ”those”. They are actually important, as they make what I said a bit different to how you’ve paraphrased me.

    When I told the story of being in the two big Dublin mosques earlier this year and hearing on consecutive weeks (first in one and then the other) that both of them had sermons at friday prayers about the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, and how the Zionist entity was out to distroy it, I was slagged off by a couple of people on PP and called a spy or something. As if I had no business being there. Even though I actually like mosques, churches and temples and religious services.
    But as I said, I was shocked, because here was a mosque full of people mostly new to Ireland, where Arabic seemed to be spoken better than English, and the Imam was talking some paranoid conspiracy crap about ”the Zionists”. Of course that’s a problem. What were they talking about that for in Ireland?

    One reason that particularly Arab muslims obsess on Palestine, is that talking about the politics of their own countries is usually taboo, but Palestine is considered safe and a good distraction.

  74. Niaz — on 24th November, 2010 at 6:12 am  

    Yes yes damon we understand -it’s OK for Irish Americans to be concerned about what happens in Northern Ireland and for diaspora Jews to be concerned about Israel but totally wrong for Muslims to do likewise with events in the Muslim world.

  75. Niaz — on 24th November, 2010 at 6:18 am  

    damon
    “When I told the story of being in the two big Dublin mosques earlier this year and hearing on consecutive weeks (first in one and then the other) that both of them had sermons at friday prayers about the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, and how the Zionist entity was out to distroy it, I was slagged off by a couple of people on PP and called a spy or something. As if I had no business being there. Even though I actually like mosques, churches and temples and religious services.
    But as I said, I was shocked, because here was a mosque full of people mostly new to Ireland, where Arabic seemed to be spoken better than English, and the Imam was talking some paranoid conspiracy crap about ”the Zionists”. Of course that’s a problem. What were they talking about that for in Ireland?”

    So it’s OK for you , a non Muslim , to attend Friday prayers at the mosque but it’s not OK for Muslims to talk about what’s happening to their co religionists around the world . Fvckwit.

  76. douglas clark — on 24th November, 2010 at 7:59 am  

    Niaz,

    I am not usually a fan of damons’ however, neither am I a fan of religions playing games. It is actually about time that mosques in the UK started criticising some of the backward practices in places like Saudi Arabia. Preferably loudly. Lest folk like damon would come to the conclusion that muslims here want to be like muslims there.

    A preacher, of whatever religion, has a position of influence. Unfortunately most of them do not deserve it. You have a responsibility to make up your own mind about issues, not have them fed to you by some sort of franchise of the holy.

    I can see his point, even if you cannot.

  77. Niaz — on 24th November, 2010 at 8:23 am  

    Douglas Clark
    “I am not usually a fan of damons’ however, neither am I a fan of religions playing games. It is actually about time that mosques in the UK started criticising some of the backward practices in places like Saudi Arabia. Preferably loudly. Lest folk like damon would come to the conclusion that muslims here want to be like muslims there.”

    Oh OK Douglas so Muslims in the UK should be held responsible for what Muslims in other countries , who they have no influence over , do because of Muslim hating bigots. Pure bigotry.

    Notice you aren’t demanding the same of say British Hindus and Jews over what extremists amongst their co religionists do in India and Israel. Muslims are an easy target.

  78. douglas clark — on 24th November, 2010 at 8:35 am  

    Niaz,

    No. They obviously shouldn’t. I type a comment here and you take exactly the opposite meaning from it from the one I meant. It is a ridiculously useless skill that you exercise hereabouts.

    What damon said, and I’d agree with, is that muslims here should feel at liberty to criticise pretendy muslim governments elsewhere, which some of their preachers do their very very best to legitimise. Which might have something to do with Saudi Arabia being a cash cow for spreading wahhabism.

    No doubt you will see some sort of racism in this comment too.

    —————————

    If I was aware of Hindus or Jews doing the same thing, believe me, I’d criticise them too. And, frankly, I can’t be arsed with fundamental atheists either.

    The message is ‘think for yourself’. Message ends.

  79. damon — on 24th November, 2010 at 12:17 pm  

    Well Niaz, what does ”go on in the muslim world”?
    Is it a simple narrative of western crusaders exploiting the poor muslims?
    That is an idea that is held too simply and too widely in my opinion. There’s too much emotion and empathy and not enough grown up thinking.
    I’m talking particularly about arabic speaking countries, none of which are democratic I think. And where they can’t talk about politics freely.

    In Morocco and Tunisa where I visited in recent years, and where you end up talking to people (men) in the street all day long it seems, a few times I had people asking me about Iraq, and why Tony Blair did this and George Bush did that, and at least a few times I remember asking about their president or the King.
    ”Why is that picture of President Ben Ali all over the walls and in every shop and cafe?” I remember asking one young man who was keen to talk about Iraq.
    ”Is President Ben Ali a good president? Why don’t you have elections” I asked.
    It was a convesation stopper.

    Of course Arabic speakers are going to be more concerned with what goes on in the region, but what made me laugh a bit was all this concern about a few hundred people in Guantanamo, when their own prisons were full of political prisoners in far worse conditions.
    Obviously (IMO) education and poverty comes into it.
    A country like Morocco has huge rates of unemployment, (and hardly a bookshop to be seen) and when you do get chatting to some friendly guy who invites you to sit and drink tea, it quickly becomes clear that the reason so many people are sitting around at cafe tables all day long is that they are basicly unemployed and only have enough money for tea, coffee and cigarettes. Then they see the tour groups of European tourists, they must seem like strange beings.
    Why wouldn’t they? The women drink alcohol, smoke, wear shorts and skimpy tops, have money and (it seems) independence. I’m not the first person to have mentioned this simultaneous attraction/repulsion that some of these unembloyed guys at the cafe tables must feel towards Europen society and the tourists they see walking around their town.

    Niaz, Iserael/Palestine is a rather complex situation, and even if Israel is mostly to blame (which is my opinion), the situation has not been helped by the reaction to the ethnic cleansing that took place with the creation of Israel.
    Thousands of Germans were ethnically cleansed after WW2 and today it’s hardly an issue. Half of Poland was Germany.
    It is my opinion that talking about ”Zionist” plots is a totally inappropriate thing for an Imam to be talking about in a Dublin mosque to a congregation who were made up of people largely new to the country.
    I can think of a dozen more (non religious) subjects for a sermon that might be more suitable.
    Maybe talking about how to mix with Irish work colleagues who invite you to the pub after work. Can you join them and just have non-alcoholic drinks for example? Is it OK to date or flirt with Irish girls?
    What to do when there is no halal food available.
    If that sounds patronising, I would emphasise that the majority of the congregation of several hundreds are quite new to the country, and grew up in Muslim countries. A lot of them young men.

    A Daily Mail hack (or someone from Harry’s Place) could have made a meal of that story if they had witnissed it.

  80. waqar — on 24th November, 2010 at 3:06 pm  

    Damon
    “”Why is that picture of President Ben Ali all over the walls and in every shop and cafe?” I remember asking one young man who was keen to talk about Iraq.
    ”Is President Ben Ali a good president? Why don’t you have elections” I asked.
    It was a convesation stopper.”

    You are an idiot. Tunisia is a (secular) dictatorship, backed by the west, where you get imprisoned for daring to criticise the ruler

  81. joe90 — on 24th November, 2010 at 3:14 pm  

    post #79

    It’s ironic 2 weeks ago US and britian where competing with each other to see who can praise Aung San Suu Kyi of burma the most. At same time these hypocrites have been supporting brutal regimes in egypt and central asia, hosting saudi arabian royalty as guests of honour. How many military juntas has US/UK worked along side??? how many dictators?? When you have such blatant hypocrisy is it any wonder the governments here and across the pond get criticized.

    I don’t live in the muslim world but if i did, i would see the invasion of iraq and afghanistan as another crusade. How else could you see it with the net result being so far many dead, more torture chambers, society in chaos, and billions gone missing.

    But you are correct on one point, the brutal regimes in the middle east are the ones who are mainly responsible for their nations not progressing. But it’s not easy as we have it here, you criticize them in public or make moves for change you will not be seen again, this is how they maintain power through fear and threats of violence to you and your family. You can criticize israel and the US foriegn policy they don’t mind that bit, but if you have a go at the rulers for corruption or nepotism etc its off to the chambers you go.

    If you think the muslim world are in love with their dictators because you see portraits of king this or president that everywhere, then you are sadly mistaken and miss the point completely.

  82. joe90 — on 24th November, 2010 at 3:19 pm  

    back to the topic

    The PCC has now cleared the Mail, on the grounds that, “readers would not be misled as to the circumstances surrounding the refusal for planning permission.”

    If people take a look at the comments section of the telegraph and daily mail you can only conclude 90% of these readers where clearly misled!

    PCC living on another planet obviously.

  83. Sarah AB — on 24th November, 2010 at 4:56 pm  

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/11/23/5000-signatures-for-hope-not-hate-letter/

    I’ve lost track as to whether this has been flagged much here – but in case you missed it you might like to sign the HnH petition.

  84. Fun Fun — on 25th November, 2010 at 2:24 am  

    I think, actually, we may be in the company of Munir – (as well as a JI idiot, Waqar).

    Tunisia may well be a secular dictatorship – but (let us be frank), Waqar’s problem is with its status as a secular state – not its status as a dictatorship. For Waqar, theocracy = good, secular dictatorship = bad.

    God told him so, you know.

    Tosser.

  85. damon — on 25th November, 2010 at 1:27 pm  

    I think you might be right about this waqar character Fun Fun.

    Joe90, of course I know about the tradition of having the president’s or king’s picture all over the place.
    I first noticed it in Turkey in the 80′s when I visited and saw the cult of Ataturk.
    It’s the same with The Dear Leader and most other despotic regiems.

    You’re right about the hypocrisy of the west in making a fuss about Aung San Suu Kyi while supporting middle east dictators. Maybe they just fear democracy that would put the Islamists in power. And anyway, is democracy all it’s cracked up to be? Iraq and Afghanistan are democracies.

    How else could you see it with the net result being so far many dead, more torture chambers, society in chaos, and billions gone missing.

    It really depends on what was intended. I don’t think the US and Britain wanted a sectarian civil war in Iraq. I think that Nato wants a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be critiscised …. and they have often been brutal.
    I think the Americans have behaved apallingly at times in Iraq.

    It would be interesting to see if there could be the same amount of interest in people turning up on demonstartions for democracy in the Middle East.
    Against the Ben Ali’s and the Assad’s.
    Or is it just easier to turn up like this and protest about Israel?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr9AwNSVSGs

    I think it’s this over simplification that goes on that is one of the reasons, for the anger and passion that many muslims (particularly) have, which then ends up as Islamophobic news stories.
    That’s not a justification of them, but I think that is part of the reason why islamophobic stories are constantly in the media.

    I have mentioned before at being a little disturbed to read a free muslim newspaper in Australia, just after the Bali bomb, which rightly had an editorial deploring that attack and (I think) it said how all Australia’s muslims would feel the same about that …. then on another page there was a report on the Chechen attack on the Moscow theatre in which the dead Chechens were refered to as martyrs.

    And I just saw over on Harry’s Place, that they have picked up on this story from The Guardian.

    British-based men of Afghan origin are spending months at a time inAfghanistan fighting Nato forces before returning to the UK, the Guardian has learned. They also send money to the Taliban.

    A Taliban fighter in Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan last month told the Guardian he lived most of the time in east London, but came to Afghanistan for three months of the year for combat.

    “I work as a minicab driver,” said the man, who has the rank of a mid-level Taliban commander. “I make good money there [in the UK], you know. But these people are my friends and my family and it’s my duty to come to fight the jihad with them.”

    “There are many people like me in London,” he added. “We collect money for the jihad all year and come and fight if we can.”

    How do you expect the Daily Mail and the Daily Star will deal with that story?
    It’s unfortunate …. but there you go.

  86. damon — on 26th November, 2010 at 2:59 am  

    Tabloids lie about Muslims (again) PCC does nothing

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/46

    That is in the news again. Different people, but the same story.

    I think we’re stuck in a rut as far as Islamophobia in the media is concerned. Ireland isn’t as bad as Britain for it (I think), but what can one do to counter stories like this in the press?

    EXTREMIST Muslims influenced by al-Qaeda are taking a hold in Ireland and some of these young adults are becoming influential in the country’s universities, the Muslim religious leader of a Dublin mosque has warned.

    http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2010/may/09/al-qaeda-extremists-are-taking-hold-here-claims-mu/

    It’s either true or it’s not. Maybe there is politics and rivalry behind this story, maybe even some Suni – Shia sectarianism, but you can not expect the Irish equivalents of Richard Littlejohn to not have an opinion on it and write about it.

    Another Imam in Ireland said something similar in the Observer in 2007.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jan/14/religion.ireland
    It was suggested that this was sour grapes by that particular Imam from South Africa. Maybe it was, but the sermon about Al Aqsa is something I heard with my own ears, and so you do wonder if what he claimed might be true.

  87. joe90 — on 26th November, 2010 at 12:08 pm  

    post #85

    you will find members of the UK jewish community in what they see as their own holy religious duty and joining the israeli defence force in missions to kill palestinians. Are you equally outraged? because i don’t see equal outrage in our beloved press.

  88. damon — on 27th November, 2010 at 2:30 am  

    Joe90. From the Cageprisoners website.

    Yesterday the Guardian revealed that Afghan men living in the UK were returning to Afghanistan for several months at a time every year to fight against NATO forces there. The manner in which the story was reported was sensational as if it was somewhat surprising that Afghani citizens living abroad would return their homeland to liberate their country from an occupying army. So fundamental a concept is the right of the citizens of a country to resist foreign occupation that it is enshrined in numerous international statutes and treaties and has become a peremptory norm of international law.

    http://www.cageprisoners.com/our-work/opinion-editorial/item/880-from-spy-cameras-to-spy-planes-british-muslims-under-surveillance-again

    It’s pretty shite in my opinion.

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