I’m not a terrorist, honest guv!


by Sunny
31st January, 2006 at 3:46 am    

Who knew sporting a beard could become such a political statement? On the right is Rajesh Thind (a friend), sporting a full beard and looking a bit suspicious with that rucksack because we know only terrorists want to carry them (specially brown ones). And all in the name of good television.

On Thursday you can catch ‘Travels With My Beard‘ on BBC Three, with Rajesh showing how things changed after he grew a stubble post-7/7. In an interview he said: “There were quite a few worried faces at White City for a lot of the time when we were making the film, especially just before going to Beirut to confront Omar Bakri Mohammed with a mannequin.” It should be worth watching for that alone.


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  1. Pounce — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:19 am  

    So let me get this straight in the name of art, the BBC paid for a Asian guy to grow a beard and travel on the underground wearing a rucksack. Yup F-ing smart. (The fact that 53 died because of idiots who did just that last July ) I wonder how many people got really worried after that little stunt. But hey don’t worry. This governments going to vote today so we don’t upset the religion of peace anymore. Imagine the anger from the BBC never mind the MCB if we decided to start emulating the people who died at the Haij the other month. Now that really would be insensitive.

  2. El Cid — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:47 am  

    Get a grip

  3. chavez — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:53 am  

    Think Tony Blair will take up an invitation to the Holo-hoax conference?

    http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5537

  4. StrangelyPsychedelique — on 31st January, 2006 at 9:01 am  

    Yep its the brown guy with the rucksack to look out for!

    Not the pissed off-with-the-West-because-they-let-his-family-get-run-down-by-Russian-tanks (whiteboy) Chechen with a briefcase full O nasties sitting next to him.

    Thats the thing about the West – everything needs to be rationalised and made logical – including terrorism…which is why ppl seem to be SO surprised when terrorists suceeed…

  5. sonia — on 31st January, 2006 at 11:14 am  

    oh phooey Pounce, give it a rest. Can’t you try and see things from ‘another’ perspective. never mind what it is! and who’s emulating ‘the people who died’…

    And if you want to go ahead and say something about the Saudi Arabian authorities who should be held morally responsible for allowing dangerous conditions at the Hajj – then go right ahead. Someone should!

  6. Col. Mustafa — on 31st January, 2006 at 11:50 am  

    I grow abit of beard every now and again.
    I definitely notice a change in the way people look at me.
    Growing abit of stuble or a small beard has turned into the terrorist look as i call it.

    I only grow it here and there cos i want a change; hair grows and i look slightly different.
    Less approachable, but also rugged.
    There are times when your on a train or the station surrounded by people kind of staring at you on and off, only because of some slight hair growth.
    I find that i feel like shouting in those circumstances; i mean shouting/screaming at the top of my voice whilst running around in a frenzy maybe repeating something like ” NO DISASSEMBLE – NO DISASSEMBLE – JOHNNY 5 ALIVEE”.
    But i refrain from doing so; as its just people curious to know whether im going to blow them up or not.
    The question is, why aren’t they running? Why stare people? Run; run for your fucking lives.

    Just read a book people and don’t look up; best way.

  7. El Cid — on 31st January, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    I know what you mean good Colonel. I have stubble half of the time and look a bit swarthy. I could be like one of dem fair-headed Syrians I saw on Spooks once, na’ata meeen?

    These programmes are good for raising awareness. Still, it’s only human to not want to die and to fret about potential killers. In the immediate aftermath of 7/7, we all understood that — Moslem, Asian or non-Asian. But in the long run it becomes faintly ridiculous.

  8. Sunny — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    Heh, what hogwash Pounce, you certainly come up with some bizarre rubbish. You’re not Bikhair’s husband by any chance are you?

  9. Rohin — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    I supported Pounce’s right to an opinion w/r racism in the media, but this comment in nonsense. Specifically:

    “Asian guy to grow a beard and travel on the underground wearing a rucksack. Yup F-ing smart. (The fact that 53 died because of idiots who did just that last July )”

    No, 53 people died because the 3 Asian and 1 black men carried BOMBS. Not because they were Asian and wearing rucksacks. Cos I do that all the time and I haven’t killed anyone.

    The programme (I presume) is just exploring the suspicion that Asians with beards and bags get from others since 7/7. It’s not trying to scare anyone for fuck’s sake. Lastly – I agree with El Cid, it’s human to be nervous about terrorism – I’m not angry with anyone who gives me dodgy looks, I’m angry with the bombers for creating this climate. In the weeks after 7/7, it was mental, I was really on the receiving end of things.

  10. Vikrant — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

    In the weeks after 7/7, it was mental, I was really on the receiving end of things.

    Dear me Rohin…. you live in London! Trust me its even worse waay up North in the midlands.

  11. Rohin — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    Sure Vikrant. Did you get cuffed and questioned for almost an hour?

  12. Vikrant — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    No.

    Now werent you telling me the other day that you could pass for a gora? Metpol shouldnt bother ya in that case…

  13. Siddharth — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

    I read somewhere, very probably in the execrable Evening (Below) Standard, an article about what some “Brownians” had to resort to, in order to deflect the palpable animosity and passive violence projected from fellow travellers. One that made me laugh was a young guy who started carrying a bottle of wine around to give the overt message that, being a wine drinker, he was unlikely to be Muslim and, therefore, safe. Jeez, I had to laugh. What a sorry state of affairs.

    It would be interesting to know if other Brownians felt compelled to do anything similar and if so, what.

  14. Rohin — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

    Nah I can’t really, unless I’m particularly anaemic. Anyway you’ve seen my pic, I look something like an underfed Arab.

    I’m sure I told the story somewhere before, but I was loitering at Liverpool Street Station as I was going to meet my girlfriend and she was tied up in the office (shut up). Police were everywhere, so was my stubble. Hence they closed on me. To be honest I didn’t have THAT much stubble. I was reading a medical textbook, this one in fact, so perhaps they thought it was the Koran. Who knows? And I had a bag.

    Irrespective I’m so used to be stopped by the police I’m pretty lippy. So they led me off to one side for a good 40 minutes. Maybe not so long, but it felt like ages. I want more police and I respect their job immensely, but on an individual basis, I hate the police, sorry to say. I’ve been searched more times than I remember. I guess I just look shifty.

  15. Col. Mustafa — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

    The Brazillian dude was quite fair skinned too; but thats the tyoe of people they were suspecting.
    People that looked like they could be from the middle east.
    Dark or fair, as long as you looked like a terrorist in thier eyes.

    My mate got stopped and searched and he is white.
    Hes got a slight tan and started growing abit of a beard.
    Thay let him go after they figured out what his name was.

  16. Rohin — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Sid are you sure you didn’t read that on here? I said that I took to carrying a six pack of Stella so that no one thought I was Muslim. My friends thought it was “a very smart idea”. I suddenly had an excuse to drink a wife beater at all hours. This was the day after the above story.

  17. Vikrant — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    I look something like an underfed Arab.

    underfed Arab or not, you sure are every neigbourhood BNP chav’s version of a helpless Asian!!! ;)

  18. Vikrant — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:47 pm  

    Well…. i guess cause of my age, they kinda overlook me.

  19. Siddharth — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    Don’t think so Rohin. I certainly wasn’t reading this blog as early as July 8th. Supping on a can of beer seems a little more sensible than brandishing a bottle of wine.

    Back in 1971 in erstwhile East Pakistan, the Pakistani army made men flash their dicks to see if they were circumcised. If not, Hindu – and therefore – off to a mass grave with you.

  20. Col. Mustafa — on 31st January, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    In the morning Rohin, you were carrying a pack of stella.
    People are gonna think your fucking crazy anyway; downing a stella at 8 in the morning.

    You probably weren’t doing that in the morning though.

    I remember hearing about people carrying around backpacks that had “Im not a terrorist” written all over it in big bold letters.

    I just found no eye contact to be the best solution; but ocassionally giving the person staring at me a dirty, nasty, vile ridiculously OTT look.

  21. Jay Singh — on 31st January, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    Even though it can be argued that behind it lies a rather cowardly impulse, I have to say I found the t-shirts saying DONT FREAK I’M SIKH to be very funny – in a spontaneous comedy kind of way – very impressive, they started appearing just a few days after the bombs and were quite an ice-breaker. They are still for sale.

    I suggest that Hindus create a t-shirt saying

    DONT WORRY ABOUT WHAT I MIGHT DO
    ITS NOT WHAT YOU’RE THINKING
    I’M A HINDU!

    Moderate muslims could have one saying:

    DONT WORRY AND DONT BE LATE
    I’M A MUSLIM BUT I’M MODERATE!

    White people (Greeks, Brazilians) who look brown can have one saying:

    NO NEED TO BE IN FRIGHT!
    I’M NOT ONE OF THEM, I’M WHITE!

  22. Vikrant — on 31st January, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    Jay… wha’ about Sikh lads who cut hair.

  23. Jay Singh — on 31st January, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

    Well they are still Sikh, arent they?

  24. RDRR — on 31st January, 2006 at 3:39 pm  

    Sorry, I’ve read this twice and the same thing comes to mind.

    If you’re on the street and you see a big bloke, with full on beard cant see his eyes and ‘looking a bit suspicious’ after recent events and the current trend of sensationalist news (which this in some this tries to make light of)… you’d look worried whatever race/ religion/ ethnic background you are from!

    What i suggest is all asians grown a beard even the women and lets change these views dammit!

    Oh the woes of the easily influenced society we live in!

  25. Jay Singh — on 31st January, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    If everyone went around wearing false beards – it would have some comedy value as well. Like comedy Groucho Marx glasses and moustache with a cigar.

    The suicide bombers won’t be dressed up like that anyway – and you won’t be able to tell what race they are. I reckon the next batch of bombers may even be white converts. The bombers will work around expectations.

  26. Cinnamon — on 31st January, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

    The dude who made this film is simply too cool to actually do some journualistic work =)

    He had a great topic there, and an entire hour on the BBC to look his best, and what does he do? Waste it on kiddie MTV style stuff asking coppers if he looks dodgy inna cap, and visiting Bakri for even dodgier entertainment value. What a muppet! :-D

    Meanwhile, people still are afraid when they take the tubes, gyms and bars in the citiy are making a fortune as people find reasons to avoid the rush hour, and the fear hangs around poisoning the atmosphere for everyone, like some nasty fart that lingers.

    What a waste of a good opportunity :(

    And Col Mustafa, you can laugh that people cringe at your looks, but how would you feel you’re in a carriage at night and a gaggle of guys with shaven heads, combat trousers and doc martens boots arrives?

    I know quite a few white blokes who don’t have any hair left naturally, and who are always very concerned not to look like a skinhead and fuss over their attire, because they are worried about intimidating people (and being mistaken for a skinhead is also not much fun…!)

    So, if you look like an archetype of a classic baddie when you’re wearing a beard or have lost your hair, etc, consider improving the chances of having a successful social life and choose a less alarming fashion to pose in ;)

  27. Sunny — on 31st January, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

    I think you can only comment on the programme once you’ve seen it. I might be biased in that he’s a mate, but he’s trying to raise some interesting points though an entertaining way of looking at things.

  28. Col. Mustafa — on 31st January, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

    “And Col Mustafa, you can laugh that people cringe at your looks, but how would you feel you’re in a carriage at night and a gaggle of guys with shaven heads, combat trousers and doc martens boots arrives?”

    If your gonna compare what i wrote to what your saying then you should say how would you feel if one skinhead walked into a carriage.
    And im not getting into any carriages at night time.

    If one skinhead walked into a carriage, i wouldn’t give a flying fuck, infact even if 3 walked in i wouldn’t care.
    If it was 4 skinheads however, then i might have to jump out the window.

    If your gonna compare, do it properly.

  29. Jay Singh — on 31st January, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

    Cinnamon

    I really don’t think you understand what some people are saying. Sure, the guy who made the programme has exaggerated everything. But as Rohin has said, brown people are getting pulled over, stared at, treated like lepers, who are just going about their business waiting to meet their girlfriends. Not looking dodgy about anything. And the man who had 20 bullets put in his head was BRAZILIAN for goodness sake.

  30. raz — on 31st January, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

    Actually I make a point of having stubble and wearing a backpack when I go on the tube these days. Guarantees me a seat in rush hour, no matter how packed the carriage :)

  31. Cinnamon — on 31st January, 2006 at 6:14 pm  

    Sunny,

    We have a few million people who 2x per day are worried about dying or being maimed to a sucidebomber. So, you’re talking about something that is very much in the public’s mind, and it also will have a knock-on effect of the general mood of the populace.

    Reducing this to comedy is just not something I’m even prepared to consider, and his advertising blurb didn’t contain anything I remotely would find a useful beginning point towards solving the problem. (sorry). I would prefer a more mature and result oriented approach, and one of the avenues I’d explore would be to talk to the specialists — behavioural psychologists will probably have a lot to contribute here.

    Another thing that would also be interesting is to explore why some people like dress to depress & oppress and why it is that they enjoy trolling on forums and tube trains :) :):)

  32. Col. Mustafa — on 31st January, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    The 12 pictures published by the Danish paper is causing quite a stir.
    Death threats all over the joint.

    Comedy is one of the best forms of making people see things abit clearer.

    You can point out stupidity, ignorance, prejudice, everything through humour.
    And in this day and age people adhere to it more than some serious dude telling them how to act or not to act.

  33. Don — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:08 pm  

    ‘choose a less alarming fashion to pose in ‘

    Yeah, Colonel, try to blend in more. Conform. people might think you’re wierd.

  34. jamal — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    The effect a beard can have these days is amazing. A beard AND a rucksack, now thats just asking to get shot by the police. This will be interesting to watch.

    This is an intresting article about the consequences of wearing a rucksack in London!

  35. Bikhair — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    Pounce,

    “This governments going to vote today so we don’t upset the religion of peace anymore.”

    What is the “religion of peace”? If you are speaking fecetiously about Islam than I should mention that Muslims arent allowed to describe, believe, or teach anything about Islam that was unknown to Prophet Muhammed or his companions. Now if you should run across an ayat, or hadith that describe Islam with those terms than please do me a favor. Until then, Islam is what our Messenger and his Companions understood it to be, not what our intellect has convinced us it is.

    Yeah Boi!!!

  36. Bikhair — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:42 pm  

    Sonia,

    “And if you want to go ahead and say something about the Saudi Arabian authorities who should be held morally responsible for allowing dangerous conditions at the Hajj – then go right ahead. Someone should!”

    Oh please. Anytime someone takes a crap on planet each and the smell happens to be unusually offensive blame Saudi. For your information the people on Hajj have to take some responsibility for the chaos that they created because for those who live in the country, they know that the government have invested alot in making the place safer for pilgrims.

  37. Bikhair — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:44 pm  

    Col. Mustafa,

    (Nice name btw)

    “I grow abit of beard every now and again.”

    You should. I always say that the first thing a man does when he wants to become a woman is shave his beard. All the Prophets and Messengers had beards and they were the best of mankind.

  38. Bikhair — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    Sunny,

    “You’re not Bikhair’s husband by any chance are you?”

    I am insulted! That Pounce guy is a sissy. A crying, probably upset with his parents sissy.

  39. Bikhair — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:54 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    “Moderate muslims could have one saying:

    DONT WORRY AND DONT BE LATE
    I’M A MUSLIM BUT I’M MODERATE!”

    For all those Muslims upon the Quran and the Sunnah, who know their religion and understand what is permissible and forbidden i.e. suicide bombings, etc. and wouldnt, describe themselves as moderate, which is a dubious term generally meaning that I am a Muslim but dont practice my religion which makes me safe, what kinds of shirts should they wear:

    DONT TRIP, I AM A MUSLIM WHO FOLLOWS THE CORRECT PATH. I KNOW JIHAD AND IT ISNT BLOWING MYSELF UP ON A BUS, TRAIN, PLANE, ETC.

    I would be insulted by those kinds of shirts because it is making a statment about Islam that is incorrect.

  40. El Cid — on 31st January, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

    Funny enough, I keep hoping that the police stop me to ask what’s in my ickle rucksack, so that I can say “no probs officer” and show some solidarity with my fellow Londoners, whatever their hue. But they never do.
    I’m curious to know whether one has the option to say: “Don’t worry about the paperwork. It’s cool. I’m clean and have a train to catch.” Or not.
    I dunno to what extent there is racial profiling at work — I have seen white people being stopped, and some of those doing the stopping are brown/black (Community Officers). But I feel left out. Is it coz I is more than 30?
    As for trying to send a signal out to your fellow passengers that you’re ok, there’s nothing to worry about, put the rosary away… well, I like the Stella idea. But didn’t the bus bomber have a a Western Imperialist Big Mac before his martyr’s trip to hell?
    I remember reading another Asian-run blog shortly after 7/7. He suggested carrying a copy of Wired or The Economist would help reassure others of your commuting intent.
    Personally, I would recommend Satanic Verses

  41. El Cid — on 31st January, 2006 at 8:20 pm  

    I also remember getting on a train at Liverpool Street a few weeks after 7/7 and seeing a bearded Asian middle-aged man with a copy of the Koran.
    He was reciting from it, and rocking back and forth. I dunno whether he was making a political statement — I am a free man and can do what I like within the law — or whether he was being spiteful or just winding everyone up. I could see the funny side of it because there was a crush by the doors and space around him. So I sat next to him and said “Hello mate! Good book?” He didn’t smile back though and got off at the next stop.
    Just in case anyone think I’m being a typical Latin macho man, this is wot I wrote when I first got back on the Piccadilly.

  42. Shaul — on 31st January, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    Sunny: I see you haven’t responded to any of the criticisms you recieved at Harry’s Place for this vile, incoherent analogy:

    “….another silly example. Would any British paper run a joke about Hitler persecuting Jews in Auschwitz? I sincerely doubt it. Why aren’t you getting angry over that?”

    This “liberalism” stuff just doesn’t come too easy to you

    does it?

    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/01/31/not_so_long_ago.php

  43. El Cid — on 31st January, 2006 at 9:24 pm  

    Ouch. That’s not a good analogy, I concede. Still, we all make mistakes and I’ve heard enough from Sunny to indicate that he’s more liberal then me and certainly far more liberal than you. I wouldn’t read anything into it, unless of course you want to use it as smokescreen for your own prejudices and blinkered, desperate outlook.

    SeanT also comes across as a 1970s bigot when he says: By contrast, the Islamofascists and the pre-Enlightenment beardies in other Asian faiths – are having quite an effect on the west’s freedom of speech already. Anyone who says that clearly doesn’t like foreign people and doesn’t have many non-white friends. It is not surprising that Sunny was riled.

    In any case, what has this got to do with this thread?

  44. Col. Mustafa — on 31st January, 2006 at 11:58 pm  

    “You should. I always say that the first thing a man does when he wants to become a woman is shave his beard.”

    Thats brilliant Bikhair.
    Next time i shave ill remember that one. hehe

  45. Sunny — on 1st February, 2006 at 12:00 am  

    Shaul – it was an analogy. I love to see people get riled up when you give examples but they don’t want to consider them because one is too big an issue, and the other isn’t. I stand by the analogy because it was made to make a point about freedom of speech, not to say which was worse (the holocaust or the cartoons). Straining your brain to think outside the box doesn’t come too easy to you does it?

  46. Col. Mustafa — on 1st February, 2006 at 12:08 am  

    “I am a free man and can do what I like within the law — or whether he was being spiteful or just winding everyone up. I could see the funny side of it because there was a crush by the doors and space around him. So I sat next to him and said “Hello mate! Good book?” He didn’t smile back though and got off at the next stop.”

    hehehehehe.

  47. Shaul — on 1st February, 2006 at 12:53 am  

    Suddenly Sunny you just seem too simple to tease. I almost feel tenderness for you.

  48. Sunny — on 1st February, 2006 at 1:18 am  

    Awwww… zionists have feelings too? ;)

  49. Siddharth — on 1st February, 2006 at 1:35 am  

    Sunny,
    if I didn’t know you better I’d think you’re quite enjoying the attention from the burbling troll.

  50. chavez — on 1st February, 2006 at 8:08 am  

    those Leeds bombers were framed, there is no proof any of the four accused were in London on 7/7.

    http://prisonplanet.com/articles/january2006/300106london_bombings.htm

  51. Don — on 1st February, 2006 at 8:41 am  

    chavez,

    There’s proof that bits of them were.

  52. chavez — on 1st February, 2006 at 10:56 am  

    Thanks for the proof Don, you’ve really altered my perception, how could I have thought for one minute Tony Blair and Ian Blair could lie, it’s not like the British establishment would wrongly jail people for IRA crimes.
    I personally think they have been framed, please feel free to enlighten me tho.

  53. bananabrain — on 3rd February, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

    ah, easy now sunny. i’m a zionist too (whatever the feck that actually means anyway, but i’m definitely kind of one) and we definitely have feelings. whether we have brain cells is sometimes harder to establish but a man can dream.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  54. Rohin — on 4th February, 2006 at 1:40 am  

    I saw most of the programme on the re-run in the middle of the night, but joined it late. Meeting Omar Bakri was not that interesting, but when the chap went to Bradford I found it very funny indeed. Overall quite a watchable doc.

    Good timepass.

  55. jockstrap — on 4th February, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

    What was missed out in the film was an area of misunderstanding that exists between an Eastern & Western perspective on ideas to do with the importance or relevance of image.

    In the West surface appearance is all when it comes to making an assessmment about a person, you could argue that the terrorists made a hash of self advertising themselves – I mean cmon, a guy wearing a baseball cap, dark glasses and a rucksack looks like a fashion victim suspicious backpacker – even if he is a genuine tourist…

    In the East this is less important, ie a guy with a beard is not automatically considered suspicious or worthy of mistrust – and that’s an area of cultural perspective which was never fully explored – eg “never trust a man with a beard” is a Western notion, as a beard hides the features as much as dark glasses and renders someone identityless or generic.

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