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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Mail on Sunday exposed in bribing students to spy on Muslims


    by SajiniW on 9th March, 2006 at 11:29 pm    

    Most people would doubtless be aware of Associated Newspaper’s history of scapegoating minorities. The Jews, Africans, Carribeans, Asians, gypsies, asylum seekers… the list is endless.

    Now it wants students to spy on fellow Muslim students to “go undercover” and find Islamic extremism on campus. Well that would do great things to build trust wouldn’t it?

    The London Student newspaper reports today:

    The [Mail on Sunday] promised student journalists £100 per meeting to pose as Muslims and secretly record meetings of student Islamic societies to see if any radical organisations were recruiting there. The offer came in an email from junior reporter Sophie Borland, who graduated from UCL in 2004.

    Alas, Borland isn’t the only one in a Turkish bath. The Mail on Sunday’s education correspondent Glen Owen has been noted to have specifically targeted Imperial College’s Muslim students and Queen Mary’s World Revival Society.

    The newspaper viewed the campaign by Imperial students against a ban on wearing the niqaab at the college as a particularly good opportunity. They want anything:

    Owen said: “I think it’s probably bound to become the focus of rebellion and no-one’s actually done that yet so it would be a very good story if we could find any indication that they’re thinking of taking militant action or civil disobedience or any of that sort of stuff.”

    Alas, for the Mail on Sunday, the campaign against the veil ban at Imperial was a peaceful protest without incident and with no extremist elements present.

    Queen Mary’s World Revival Society president Rezaul Rana:

    “This is further proof that sections of the media are fanning the flames of Islamophobia. At a time when relations are bitter in some areas, sensationalist and polemicist journalists are chasing false and juicy stories hoping for a quick buck. At a time when Muslims are being depicted as the ‘enemy within’, what the media ought to focus on is to remove the misconceptions and prejudices about Muslims, who live here and continue to contribute to British society immensely.”

    When our friend Sophie Borland was told that the newspaper would be exposing its tactics, she said “My advice to you would not be to criticise them and to co-operate with them. That’s all I’m saying, it’s all well and good being worthy, but…” Those national newspaper journalists - full of high standards.

    The NUS president Kat Fletcher calls it “essentially a bribe to spy on their fellow students”.

    It is extremely sad that a Sunday newspaper would seek to undo this hard work and divide the student population at a time when we need to continue to work together.”

    The University of London Union is now considering banning the sale of sister paper Daily Mail from its shops in protest at the newspaper’s tactics. ULU shops do not open on Sundays, and so do not stock copies of The Mail on Sunday.

    London Student is the fortnightly paper for the 120,000 students of the University of London, and is available in campuses across the University.



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    86 Comments below   |  

    1. Don — on 9th March, 2006 at 11:50 pm  

      ‘…and no-one’s actually done that yet so it would be a very good story if we could …’

      Surely the Mail’s central philosophy?

    2. Bikhair — on 9th March, 2006 at 11:53 pm  

      Pee Peeps,

      This same kind of situation happened at a university in my state. Apparently students were offered money to spy on thier liberal professors.

      The Daily Mail doesnt have to pay me to sit with the Salafis brothers. Let them come, be exposed to the truth and on the day of judgement will have no excuse for their rejection of the truth. Insha’Allah.

    3. zen — on 9th March, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

      No doubt if it was a set up to oust a “national socialist” (thats “nazi” to you kids) you would be in favour off it.

      I think the 40% of british muslims that want sharia law introduced in the UK need outing as quickly as possible.

      http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18202663-23109,00.html

      Maybe if you lot stood up for freedom and stopped belly aching over the “great satan” we could count on you too.

    4. Ian — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:12 am  

      ‘Scapegoating’ only happens when the group is vilified for the wrongdoings, real or perceived, of individuals from that group. It remains to be seen whether the Mail would in this instance scapegoat Muslims en masse for the cretinous behaviour of a few, not that I have much faith in the Mail.

      If the recordings are accurate, then there should be nothing wrong with presenting the truth. The danger is that it ends up being presented with the whole truth.

      If there are bullies and potential murderers in these Islamic societies, sure, let’s hear about them. But I suspect that if there are they keep their cards close to their chests.

    5. Ian — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:14 am  

      Clearly, presented as the whole truth.

    6. Ian — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:19 am  

      Rezaul Rana really winds me up: “Muslims, who live here and continue to contribute to British society immensely.”

      Who cares whether they contribute immensely? That’s pandering to a BNP worldview. I couldn’t care less who contributes immensely to British society. It’s not a pissing contest.

      Muslims, who live here. End of story. They’re here, and that’s all the justification they need. By Rana’s logic, we’d have a right to get rid of the unproductive Muslims in our ranks.

    7. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 1:29 am  

      No doubt if it was a set up to oust a “national socialist” (thats “nazi” to you kids) you would be in favour off it.

      Interesting analogy there zen. So how do you suggest we go about it? Maybe we could start evesdropping on every white person at university to see who holds nazi views, who holds sexist views… who wants to smoke some weed…. you think that might work?

      Even better, why haven’t you suggested yet that British Muslims wear some sort of bands to mark them out? I mean we ethnics all have the same skin colour and all you know…

    8. jamal — on 10th March, 2006 at 1:32 am  

      Actually, they can pay me if they want.

      The next time i meet up with some muslim students, I could report back to the Mail about our discussion of Quran and Sunnah.

      For £100 a pop id give them the gory details about how we planned to pray, carried out the act of prayer, discussed how we would strike terror into a few halal chicken burgers, and topped it all off by agreeing that muslims are equal with all other human beings and that unity with others was paramount.

    9. jamal — on 10th March, 2006 at 1:36 am  

      “I think the 40% of british muslims that want sharia law introduced in the UK need outing as quickly as possible.”

      Approximatly 500 people took part in the poll, so your point is quite insignificant in the wider perspective. But then i suppose its a case of small points for small minds, eh Zen?

    10. Sid D H Arthur — on 10th March, 2006 at 1:38 am  

      Hey they could pay me. I’d report back that they stay home on weekends, eat dodgy takeaways from Kebabish, watch DVDs, keep bad personal hygiene and post crap on blogs. There’s some bad apples amongst them student types, I’ll tell you.

    11. bob — on 10th March, 2006 at 6:05 am  

      I genuinely can’t see what the problem is here. Islamist extremism is a real problem in the world. The Mail haven’t made that up. The Mail is just investigating leads about possible extremism in London campuses. And they’re paying their sources. This is standard practice in British journalism. Muslims aren’t being persecuted by this. Mazher Mahmood regularly poses as a “fake sheikh” for the News of the World and they pay out huge sums of money. Despite this the still win at the British Newspaper Awards. The Mail’s chequebook journalism is relatively tame in comparison.
      “Abusing students’ freedom” & “fanning the flames of Islamophobia”? The students still have their freedom regardless of the Mail’s investigative tactics. The term Islamophobia has been thrown about wily-nily until it’s now meaningless. The liberal feminist journalist, Polly Toynbee was shortlisted for “Islamophobe of the year”. By diluting the term Islamophobe they’re damaging genuine victims of abuse. Articles of outrage like this are don’t help mainstream Muslims because it just makes them look like wingers which most of them aren’t.
      By banning the Mail from ULU shops they’re removing the opportunity for students to decide themselves which newspaper they want to read, though I can’t imagine why anyone would read a DMGTplc paper anyway. London Student should look for some real news.

    12. Tilling — on 10th March, 2006 at 7:32 am  

      Ah - banning newspapers. That’s the way to show your commitment to freedom.

      “Fanning the flames of Islamaphobia” - puh-lease!

    13. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 9:19 am  

      Oh the horror! Someone to eavesdrop on Muslim gatherings! Can’t think why this would be! Completely unjustified!

      Well 1 in 4 British Muslims have sympathy with the 7/7 attackers.

      “The absence of hard data on 7/7 is striking,” Shamit Saggar, a political science professor at the University of Sussex, said at the conference at the Royal United Services Institute think tank. “The only way we can explain that is as a significant circle of tacit support existing in that community.”

      Problem with intelligence on 7/7

      How dare the British media investigate such claims! Anyway what is there to hide? FFS. Lets all capitulate in paroxysms of denial and political corectness!

      But maybe Sunny has a point. In fairness, white people should be invesitgated for signs of nazism seeing as 0.7% of the electorate nationally voted for the BNP!

    14. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 9:26 am  

      There’s some bad apples amongst them student types, I’ll tell you.

      Well I personoally met 5 Bin Laden supporters when I was at uni. But hey, lets look at the bright side. At least they don’t vote Tory!

    15. Chris — on 10th March, 2006 at 9:46 am  

      Jamal

      Sorry - you need to brush up on your stats.
      Assuming a Muslim population of 2m (is that right?) and a sample size of 500, you can be 99% confident that the 40% estimate of support for Sharia Law is correct within a range of plus/minus (in round numbers) 5%.
      So best case is that “only” 35% support it…

    16. raz — on 10th March, 2006 at 10:41 am  

      First we had the recent news that a majority of British Muslims accepted the state of Israel.

      Now we have news that a majority of British Muslims reject Sharia law.

      This is truly excellent news. The forces of moderation are winning.

    17. Jim — on 10th March, 2006 at 10:41 am  

      Chris

      Surely that is conditional on good sample selection?

    18. Chris — on 10th March, 2006 at 10:58 am  

      Jim - Of course - “good” meaning random.
      Is there any reason to believe it wasn’t?
      Was survey conducted by reputable firm?
      Jamal’s point however was that it was too small - not true.

      Raz - if 40% (or 35%) of non-Muslim whites thought Islam should be proscribed, would that be “good news”?

    19. raz — on 10th March, 2006 at 11:11 am  

      Jim, another problem with this survey was that there was no definition of Sharia Law given, which means we don’t atcually know what it is these Muslims were wanting to have introduced.

      Chris, if a majority of British white non-Muslims think Islam is ok, then that would be excellent news for Muslims in this country.

    20. Chris — on 10th March, 2006 at 11:57 am  

      Well this 2002 survey was very good news then.

      http://www.isb.org.uk/iaw/docs/SurveyIAW2002.pdf

      As was this one - published after 7/7and 21/7.

      http://www.mori.com/polls/2005/pdf/bbc050809.pdf

    21. raz — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

      I agree. Despite the BNP, despite 7/7, it seems the majority of British people, Muslim and non-Muslim, are rejecting the ideology of hate and embracing a united community. Excellent news.

    22. soru — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:02 pm  

      Jim, another problem with this survey was that there was no definition of Sharia Law given, which means we don’t atcually know what it is these Muslims were wanting to have introduced.

    23. soru — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:03 pm  

      I don’t think that is so much a problem with the survey, as with alarmist interpretations of the survey.

      Israel has sharia law, after all. I suspect mentioning that fact as often as possible is the best way to drop support for it on all sides.

    24. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 12:51 pm  

      I don’t think that is so much a problem with the survey, as with alarmist interpretations of the survey.

      You’re right. Those islamophobes might be incited to draw a satirical cartoon, or some other atrocity.

      Israel has sharia law

      Wtf?

    25. leon — on 10th March, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

      I think Jamal got it right in post 8…this is a fucked practice by a vile newspaper. Utterly fucking cuntish of them…

    26. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

      Have you converted to Islam leon, ala Yvonne Ridley?

    27. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      Its a bit early in the day to be off your face j0nz.

    28. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      Any comment on my point #13 or #14 Sid?

      Why do one in four British Muslims have sympathy with these 7/7 sucide bombers? Perhaps you could enlighten. Do yourself have sympathy? Perhaps you’d be in a position to say why 40% want to implement the anti-thesis to equal rights, human rights, religious freedom, freedom of expression??? Do you want Sharia, Sid?

    29. Siddhartha Singh Muslim — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

      However I answer your accusations it looks like you’ve already made your conclusions, j0nz old bean.

    30. leon — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

      “Have you converted to Islam leon, ala Yvonne Ridley?”

      No, why do you ask? Jamal made a very good post about what he’d do. Very apt given the vile bullshit the Mail is trying to stir up.

    31. soru — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

      j0nz: wtf?

      In matters of personal status such as marriage, divorce and, to some extent, maintenance, guardianship and the adoption of minors, jurisdiction is vested in the judicial institutions of the respective religious communities: the Rabbinical court, the Muslim religious courts (Shari’a courts), the religious courts of the Druze and the juridical institutions of the 10 recognized Christian communities in Israel.

      not many people know that.

    32. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

      j0nz, that .7% makes it 800,000 card carrying nazis, and many more with sympathies for them. So with like a million nazis in this country, I’d be a bit less jingoistic if I was you.

      So one in four Muslims feels that they understand that the 7/7 bombings happened because of the Iraq war. Well hardly rocket-science is it? Or is there something obvious that your brain can’t comprehend.

      What concerns me to a certain degree is the total acceptance of this practice:

      Look, there are some Muslim terrorists (not that all are of course, we’d never be caugt being that openly bigoted) - so its perfectly justified that we watch these Muslims constantly to catch out the troublemakers.

      Who cares about their privacy and civil rights when I have my paranoia to stoke up?

      You’re either a libertarian j0nz - concerned about freedom of speech and civil rights j0nz - or you’re a bigot in a suit like Nick Griffin. Do you feel that these great freedoms regarding expression and civil rights should only apply to those who you designate?

      What’s it going to be? Let’s have some consistency in your stance please.

    33. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

      I don’t think Jamal really made a point as such, but as he can construct a sentence without swearing, and with more than two sentences, I’d rather to listen to Jamal to you any day ;)

      No, Sid, I haven’t made my conclusions. I’m actually much more reasonable than you think (well except when someone riles me).

    34. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

      Ah the irony of pointing faults out in others. The first ’sentence’ should say ‘post’ or something akin…

    35. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

      I really think a million British nazis is an over exaggeration to say the least! Lest not forget, a lot of people have fallen for the new sugar-coated BNP image.

      So one in four Muslims feels that they understand that the 7/7 bombings happened because of the Iraq war.

      No, they had sympathy with the suicide bombers. Saddam has killed more Muslims in Iraq than the allied forces. But let’s not let facts get in the way. 74% of Iraqis think the decision to remove Saddam was right. And they’re Muslim. But sod them, eh?

      Soru, that hardly constitues Sharia law seeing as it is such a narrow focus. When was somebody last stoned to death in Israel under Sharia? Though admittedly I didn’t realise that Sharia was used at all, so thanks for the info.

      And Sunny, everybody has freedom to expression, as I keep saying, Muslims are free to express sympathy with terrorists. And they have the right. But I find it alien, and abhorrent, and in contradiction to liberal democracy. Though we know it’s not just 1 in 4 Muslims. Many on the left have expressed their sympathy with terrorists.

    36. Chaminda Jayanetti — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

      hi

      perhaps it’s not the done thing for me to comment on this, but i thought i’d make two points:

      1. note Glen Owen’s comments about Imperial in the article. He refers to ‘revealing’ if students are saying ‘we need to withdraw co-operation from the university’. is that really exposing terror plots in the public interest?

      2. if you spoke to a load of people at your uni who were openly espousing bin Laden, perhaps notify the students’ union? They are better equipped to look into such matters responsibly than the Mail on Sunday.

      Of course extremism is an issue, but our view is that there are ways to deal with it and ways not to.

      regards

      Chaminda Jayanetti
      News Editor
      London Student

    37. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

      I really think a million British nazis is an over exaggeration to say the least! Lest not forget, a lot of people have fallen for the new sugar-coated BNP image.

      That’s to be expected as an answer from you J0nz. You’re willing to accept nuances from white people, specially those who actively vote for a fascist organisation (not just sit at home and express support for them, but to you some British Muslims saying they understand why the London bombings happened is akin to them being suicide bombers themselves. Do I detect a hint of double-standards? I think so.

      Saddam has killed more Muslims in Iraq than the allied forces.
      Are we including all those who died as a result of international sanctions?

      But I find it alien, and abhorrent, and in contradiction to liberal democracy.
      I didn’t say I don’t find ot abhorrent either. But you either have consistent standards in applying freedom of speech and expression, and civil liberties - or you don’t.

      After all, that is what you keep saying around the Danish cartoons thingy right? There is no compromise on freedom of speech? Does that only apply to those you’d like it to?

    38. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

      I think we are getting away from the point.

      What is wrong with a newspaper sending undercover reporters to listen in on what is going on?

      The BBC did this to the police and succesfully uncovered racism in the ranks. Was that wrong?

      The BBC sent undercover reporters in to uncover the bile at BNP meetings. Was this wrong?

      If people at these meetings are promulgating radical views that they wish to keep private what is wrong with publicising them?

      Surely if it is OK for the BBC then its OK for the mail, much as we dislike it.

      Eh??

    39. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

      Of course extremism is an issue, but our view is that there are ways to deal with it and ways not to.

      I think what you are trying to say is if we find this embarassing we would like to cover it up. Thats OK because we are a nice bunch of lefties- not like the police or BNP.

    40. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

      After all, that is what you keep saying around the Danish cartoons thingy right? There is no compromise on freedom of speech? Does that only apply to those you’d like it to?

      Sure no compromise on freedom of speech. So lets hear what really goes on then.

    41. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

      Stephen, I think the whole furore here in a nutshell is that it’s ‘racist’ to assume that radical views will be made vocal at a large group of Muslims, even though reality points to the contrary. We know the majority of Muslims are peace loving etc etc. It’s really not the peace loving Muslims that bother us non-Muslims.

      To draw an analogy, I wouldn’t find any offence if MPAC wanted to uncover the Zionist conspiracy at any Christian meetings. I doubt whether the Christians would oppose this at all, well unless there was a grain of truth in the matter!

      Why the defensiveness, Sunny, et al? What’s the big deal? White people, as you keep banging on about, are held to the highest level of scrutiny. Why not brown people?

    42. leon — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:14 pm  

      “I don’t think Jamal really made a point as such, but as he can construct a sentence without swearing, and with more than two sentences, I’d rather to listen to Jamal to you any day”

      Really? Then why the fuck waste time with asking me questions? You don’t think people have a right to be angry with all the shit that’s going on in our country??

    43. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

      Sure no compromise on freedom of speech. So lets hear what really goes on then

      The words ‘nail’ and ‘head’ spring to mind.

    44. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:16 pm  

      Leon school finishes in 15 mins. Run along now.

    45. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:18 pm  

      jonZ
      Whilst I essentially agree with you- I think you are a bit too chippy about this. I certainly don’t prejudge what the Mail would find as you seem to.

    46. j0nz — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

      Well I like a bit o sauce wi me chips to be honest. I’m saying why are people being defensive about Mail reporters. Why the fear?! Why the outrage? What have they to hide?

      MPAC are willing to come and monitor me for Zionist activities. I really wouldn’t be offended.

    47. leon — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

      “Leon school finishes in 15 mins. Run along now.”

      Conceding defeat already? Damn, just as I was starting to enjoy mself!:P

    48. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

      The BBC did this to the police and succesfully uncovered racism in the ranks. Was that wrong?

      The BBC sent undercover reporters in to uncover the bile at BNP meetings. Was this wrong?

      If people at these meetings are promulgating radical views that they wish to keep private what is wrong with publicising them?

      Surely if it is OK for the BBC then its OK for the mail, much as we dislike it.

      If I remember correctly Stephen - the police, and even David Blunkett complained to the BBC before the programme even went out, to say that its actions were wrong. And the comparison with the BNP is wrong simply because you’re automatically assuming all Muslim socities are like that.

      Send MoS reporters to Al-Muhajiroun or Hizb ut Tarhrir meetings! Do I care? Not in the slightest… they’re fascists and need to be exposed, just like the BNP.

      This action has a two fold impact.

      First - it breeds even more paranoia. Muslim students thinking that all non-Muslims are out to “catch them out”, and secondly I don’t doubt at all the MoS will aim to mis-construe some of what it hears. Just read the article - they want to know anything about “disobedience”. There is already an assumption that peaceful, civil disobedience is not possible… in fact they’d love to pounce on anything that indicates any hint of violence.

      On a general level - it is this “you’re not a criminal are you, so what you got to hide” sort of reasoning. I assume then you’re happy with govt geometric passports, having a national ID and all that… having everyone read what you write etc because, well… you have nothing to hide right?

      You could respond by saying - no, this only applies to Muslims because some of them are terrorists. At which point it becomes obvious you don’t really believe in democracy or equal civil liberties….. or do you?

    49. soru — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

      Soru, that hardly constitues Sharia law seeing as it is such a narrow focus. When was somebody last stoned to death in Israel under Sharia?

      Stoning is actually a punishment specific to adultery, which is a ‘personal status’ issue and so within the scope of the Israeli law, though obviously Israeli shari’a courts never hand out that sentence, and if they did it would be overruled on human rights grounds or something, and certainly never carried out.

      According to wikipedia, 5 islamic countries have stoning to death as a punishment in theory: some carry out sentences, some don’t. Does that mean all the others are wrong when they say they follow shari’a?

      Even if you think they are, if you want to understand what someone said, you need to know the definitions of the words they were using, not the ones you would have been using if you were the one saying that.

      As should go without saying, I’m against any version of shari’a in the UK, just as I would be against bringing back the 1950s divorce, licensing, vice, etc laws, especially for a self-selected subset of the population. Would the 0.7% who filled in ‘Jedi’ in the census form have to follow the jedi code?

      soru

    50. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 3:58 pm  

      If I remember correctly Stephen - the police, and even David Blunkett complained to the BBC before the programme even went out, to say that its actions were wrong.

      Uhu and I disagree with that. By your answer I infer that you do too.

      in fact they’d love to pounce on anything that indicates any hint of violence.
      Im sure they would that is investigative journalism. You may implicitly distrust the mail to accurately report the balance of views. I would agree with that.

      You could respond by saying - no, this only applies to Muslims because some of them are terrorists. At which point it becomes obvious you don’t really believe in democracy or equal civil liberties….. or do you?

      I really don’t understand you’re reasoning here. I’m not saying that there are special rules in this case-you are. im saying this is what papers do to everyone and you are arguing that its different ….or are you?????

    51. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 4:31 pm  

      By your answer I infer that you do too
      Of course I do… but my point is it didn’t stop the Met and govt from complaining, which shows that using the freedom to spy argument is not applied all that consistently as is inferred.

      You may implicitly distrust the mail to accurately report the balance of views. I would agree with that.

      Exactly. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of spying on students who may spout perfectly legitimate views under a liberal democracy, yet are then demonised to serve an agenda. Hell I’m all for Hizbies too scared to say anything because they’re worried about who is listening, but I would not want this as a template to treat the entire Muslim community. It should be the work of intelligence communities to gather evidence.

      im saying this is what papers do to everyone and you are arguing that its different

      When was the last time you heard of a paper bribing a group to spy on an entire community denominated by race or religion, to hunt out “the extremists”?

    52. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 5:07 pm  

      When was the last time you heard of a paper bribing a group to spy on an entire community denominated by race or religion, to hunt out “the extremists”?

      Bribing is a loaded word. They are paying people to do investigative journalism.

      The Police, BNP, prince harry, government special advisors, nurses/cleaners in hospitals, undercover supply teachers have all been filmed undercover recently.

      BUT thiscase is special apparently because these are islamic student groups. You seem to think that if this Islamic student group is being investigated then this is spying on an entire community. Im sure I’ve heard you say not to mistake these groups as being representative of an entire community before (if not then sorry).

      In the end all your arguments are just special pleading- it’s alright for them but this is different because uuhhh …it’s uhhh victimisation or something.

    53. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

      In each case the media was under fire for violating the special privileges of people working there when filming there. Panorama came into heavy fire for that NHS programme too. In fact if I remember correctly the NHS found out who it was and got rid of them. So its hardly right to say there is widespread acceptance of spying on people.

      Secondly, there are two problems here:
      1) When spying on people from a particular profession, what is being attacked isn’t those people or that profession, but how things are run. After all, no one is questioning whether nurses should exist.

      This sort of leading investigation not only creates more moral panic when incidents will be blown out of proportion (the MoS will want a return for its money after all), but it will also lead people (like j0nz) to ask stuff like - do we really want Muslims in this country… etc etc.

      2) In every case that this is normalised (and I’m opposed to spying on whole communitities generally), we start accepting a police state that spies on its citizens, and then retorts by saying - well what do you have to hide - after a sufficient moral panic is created.

      J0nz plays down BNP nazis because they’re not a threat to him… while he plays up Islamic extremism because… well.. he’s paranoid. Muslims do the exact opposite… they think extremists are a small minority of crackpots, while they should be legitimately be allowed to express anger towards Israel or Kashmir for example. They on the other hand are stressed out about the BNP in the fear that they’re going down the route of being demonished and ultimately treated like the Jews were.

      I’d rather people just calm the fuck down. But these actions by people like the MoS don’t do that. It doesn’t build confiedence, it breaks down society further.

    54. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 5:43 pm  

      In each case the media was under fire for violating the special privileges of people working there when filming there

      Yes and in each case the program went ahead because most people were glad to know what hospital toilets were really like.

      This sort of leading investigation not only creates more moral panic when incidents will be blown out of proportion (the MoS will want a return for its money after all), but it will also lead people (like j0nz) to ask stuff like - do we really want Muslims in this country… etc etc.

      I think jonz has made up his mind-dont you? Again you’re not saying why it different just that you might be embarassed by this.

      In every case that this is normalised (and I’m opposed to spying on whole communitities generally), we start accepting a police state that spies on its citizens, and then retorts by saying - well what do you have to hide - after a sufficient moral panic is created.

      Yeah here we go again… spying on an Islamic student group isn’t the same as phone tapping all muslims or putting a hidden camera in their DVD player. Its exactly the same as all the cases above. A student meeting isn’t all muslims, and doesn’t represent all muslims. The Mail although unpleasant wasn’t a wing of the secret police last time I looked and to imply that they question the “existence” of muslims is just hyperbole.

      I’d rather people just calm the fuck down. But these actions by people like the MoS don’t do that. It doesn’t build confiedence, it breaks down society further.

      Yes investigative journalism is often destructive- but many groups have to put up with it. Please please think carefully before claiming an ethnic exclusion.

    55. raz — on 10th March, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

      “ethnic exclusion”

      Do you consider Muslims to be a race?

    56. Don — on 10th March, 2006 at 6:12 pm  

      I think we have drifted into ‘investigative journalists’ from the Mail’s self-defined ’student journalists’ from the more likely ‘bribing students to spy on fellow students’.

      Way back when, I remember it being disclosed that BOSS was paying students at my old Uni to spy on S.A. students. I appreciate the distinction (even I don’t equate The Mail with BOSS) but the effect on the student body was seriously deleterious.

      In the states, as Bikhair pointed out, liberal (or suspected liberal) professors regularly have their lectures taped to be picked over by extreme conservative groups, with real repercussions for their careers or academic freedom, or both.

      A university

      Investigate by all means - the BBC examples are pertinent - but do it properly, not in such a way as to sow mistrust between students at the exact time when young people should be exchanging ideas, even dumb ones, fervidly and freely. Especially not just for a cheap, meaningless story.

      Apparently in war zones some ‘photographers’ are in the habit of handing out disposable cameras to kids and paying a few bucks to those who manage to get a few worthwhile shots without being killed. Compare that with, say, Tim Page. Then compare what the Mail is doing with proper investigative journalism.

      Everyone on this thread has agreed that a problem exists, this is a crappy, counter-productive, catch-penny stunt, not a serious response.

    57. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

      “ethnic exclusion”
      Do you consider Muslims to be a race?

      ethnic- ‘Of or relating to people grouped according to a common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin.’

    58. Indigo Jo Blogs — on 10th March, 2006 at 6:35 pm  

      Snail Trail induced students to spy on Muslims

      Via Pickled Politics, London Student reports that the Mail on Sunday attempted to induce students at London universities to spy on meetings of Muslim student organisations. The offer came in an email from Sophie Borland (UCL graduate, 2004). The London…

    59. raz — on 10th March, 2006 at 6:36 pm  

      “origin” - so this isn’t about what people believe in, but what they were born into. Interesting, so if Muslims are now considered an ethnic group, then the whole ‘Islam is an ideology’ argument starts to fall apart (after all no two Muslims believe the same thing). Maybe time for Muslims to be afforded the same legal protection as Jews and Sikhs.

    60. Stephen — on 10th March, 2006 at 7:38 pm  

      ethnic- ‘Of or relating to people grouped according to a common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin.’

      “origin” - so this isn’t about what people believe in, but what they were born into

      oh FFS… yes that is one word in that definition. There is nothing more tiresome than a straw-man. When someone can’t argue against what you mean they try and invent something else they can have a cheap pop at.

    61. Sunny — on 10th March, 2006 at 8:21 pm  

      Maybe time for Muslims to be afforded the same legal protection as Jews and Sikhs.

      There’s no point going down that road Raz - in fact Jews and Sikhs should not be classed as a race anyway, it falls apart at the slightest investigation.

      I’m going with Don on this… the likely impact of what the Mail wants - since its got a glorious history of demonising minorities - is not going to be pleasant. On that basis I oppose this fully.

      Stephen:
      because most people were glad to know what hospital toilets were really like.
      Rather different to giving the impression (once again in England’s history) that there is an insidious element within their midst.

      I think jonz has made up his mind–dont you?
      He has, but there are plenty others who have yet to.

      spying on an Islamic student group isn’t the same as phone tapping all muslims or putting a hidden camera in their DVD player.

      Isn’t it? Its not one Islamic society known for having dodgy links - it could apply across the country for any Muslim student at university. Would you draw the line then?

      and to imply that they question the “existence” of muslims is just hyperbole.
      I’m not saying they do openly…. but they certainly help provide those thoughts.

      I’m not in favour of censorship, but I don’t support this action either…so I hope the Mail will voluntarily decide that such an action will only spread more fear and resentment, and not really lead to anything.

      It’s this silly assumption that the real baddies are sitting around in class plotting western downfall. Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri were public puppets - so open about their views and ideas that they posed no threat at all. Spying on Muslims is not going to solve anything.

      but many groups have to put up with it
      People from professions do - but people from particular religious, racial, sexual orientaton etc don’t have to… There’s a difference.

    62. raz — on 10th March, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

      “in fact Jews and Sikhs should not be classed as a race anyway”

      That’s the problem - they are. It’s time this double standard was addressed one way or another.

    63. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

      raz

      That’s the problem - they are. It’s time this double standard was addressed one way or another.

      I think that Jews and Sikhs are both essentially non prosletysing religions (although they do accept converts, they are not encouraged). The double standard that has to be addressed is within the Muslim community - how it reconciles its aspirations to global ummahood and as a religion that seeks converts and to spread across race and region, with its sensitivity and desire to be viewed as a race.

      That is the contradiction - Islam as Universal Truth for Humanity (the greatest and overriding one) or Islam as protected status ‘ethnicity’.

      It is not reconcilable because the impulse of the first will always override the second. Islam does not see itself as a race and when it does, it only seeks to avail itself of good intentioned but misguided legislation to prevent discrimination to other communities that do not make the same claims for themselves that Islam does.

    64. Sid D H Arthur — on 11th March, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

      Max
      I think your comment would be more useful if you kept out the generalisations and your broad brush stroke analysis of politics that operate at a community, religious and individual level.

    65. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

      Sid

      Of course, I am talking about the top end of Islamic discourse, the way Islam as a religion and ideology perceives itself and has perceived itself, by the thinkers, mullahs and activists, not the bread and butter lives of Muslims who live day to day in Bradford and London and dont have the time or inclination to think in such terms.

      But….

      If Muslims are going to attach themselves to this debate they have to ask themselves - is Islam a race or religion?

      And it should be asked not in reference to Sikhism or Judaism, both of which are different in scope and aspiration, non prosletysing, have no pretensions to global reach or domination, see themselves as one religion amongst many, and are even on shaky ground when talking of them as being ‘races’.

      The question should be asked with full reference to Islamic theology, custom, history, self-perception, action and belief, and that will demonstrate that Islam is not a race.

      This is the contradiction and double standard that has to be addressed far more than any other one regarding how Jews and Sikhs are classified in case law.

    66. Al-Hack — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

      Max Jacob why you trying to confuse the issue ma’ man? What should evangelicalism have to do with whether people of a particular religion are classed as a race? We know there are people of many different ethnicities who are Jews and Sikhs - so the classification is as useful as classifying Muslims as a race. Who sez Muslims should get special treatment or be a race? Not me. There should be no special provisions for anyone. Hindus don’t prosletise either btw.

    67. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:08 pm  

      al Hack

      Scroll up - I was responding to raz’s comment and if you read them properly you will know what I mean.

    68. Al-Hack — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

      Don’t think Raz wanted Muslims to be classed as a race… do you?

    69. Sid D H Arthur — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

      Max
      The generalisations are still coming thick and fast from your direction and no one’s the wiser. If you think that Musims regard themselves as one race then you’re and totally completely wrong.

      You seem to be nudging at some other issue which you haven’t verbalised yet and that is how Muslims in the UK or the west regard themselves as being of the same “community”. But even that does not stand up to examination as there is little cultutral cohesion in Muslim communities.

    70. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

      raz

      in fact Jews and Sikhs should not be classed as a race anyway”

      That’s the problem - they are. It’s time this double standard was addressed one way or another.

      ===========

      raz seems to be saying that this ‘double standard’ needs to be addressed in order to assuage the grief caused by this double standard amongst Muslims one way or another. Either by amending the case law that has recognised Jews and Sikhs as distinct ethnic groups or extending it to the coverage of Muslims. Then, the grief and pain that this causes Muslims will come to an end.

      Right?

    71. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

      Sid D H Arthur

      Read my posts in reference to the thread that raz picked up and you become a little the wiser. If not, I dont think I can help you with your wiser-ness.

    72. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:21 pm  

      Sorry, my comment number 70 was addressed to al-Hack

    73. El Cid — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

      What’s wrong with proseletysing btw? Isn’t that what we sort of try to do by debating? Sorry, I digress.
      I think I know what you’re saying Max Jacob and I sympathise, but isn’t there also a parallel here with shoot-from-the-hip and defensive Jews all-too-readily confusing criticism of Israel with anti-semitism?

    74. El Cid — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

      And Raz, what exactly do you mean by double standards? From where I stand Pakistanis, Somalis, Ivorians, Algerians and other moslem races are already protected in law, whereas black on white or black on brown racism is often not recognised by the courts, or is harder to establish.
      I agree people’s belief systems should be afforded some respect. I wouldn’t piss on a copy of the Q’ran, Bible, Torah, even in the comfort of my own home, for example. However, we live in a secular society and until God’s existence is proven and as long as religion remains a mere question of faith, all religions are legitimate targets of ridicule and scorn. As someone recently said, let God be the final judge.

    75. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 4:48 pm  

      I am happy for Jews and Sikhs to be de-recognised as races or ethnicities as and when that can occur through precedent and case law if it makes Muslims stop grieving about it rather than have Muslims given protection as a race and ethnicity which is the thrust and impulse of the MAB, MCB etc

      But I still wonder at the demands that this grievance arises from and the pain in the soul of Muslims comes about because of this ‘double standard’ which is more of an anomaly than a double standard. And the foot stomping that accompanies it.

    76. squared — on 11th March, 2006 at 7:04 pm  

      I think we are getting away from the point.

      What is wrong with a newspaper sending undercover reporters to listen in on what is going on?

      The BBC did this to the police and succesfully uncovered racism in the ranks. Was that wrong?

      The BBC sent undercover reporters in to uncover the bile at BNP meetings. Was this wrong?

      If people at these meetings are promulgating radical views that they wish to keep private what is wrong with publicising them?

      Surely if it is OK for the BBC then its OK for the mail, much as we dislike it.

      Eh??

      Because they’re fishing for another sensationalist story as opposed to proper undercover reporting. As sunny said, why don’t they go undercover to groups which NEED to be exposed? What’s with all the spying on universities?

      It’s not as though they were tipped off to secret underground terrorist activites - they’re just spying on people for the sake of it.

      I think spying on the police and BNP was probably more to do with the fact that a lot of people thought something was there anyways and just needed proof.

    77. raz — on 11th March, 2006 at 7:09 pm  

      To clarify, I am merely confused as to how Muslims are defined. Sometimes it is as a followers of a belief system, sometimes as an ethnic group. Remember all the ranting about ‘Muslim’ rioters in France? Some people seem to want to pick and choose how they can define Muslims, in order to suit their own agenda.

      As far as the racial legistlation act goes, I don’t see why some religions should be given protection and not others. If you are going to be fair, either strip the Jews and Sikhs of their current status, or extend it to all.

    78. Max Jacob — on 11th March, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

      raz

      It seems to me that Muslims pick and choose how they want to be treated in order to suit their own agenda as much as non Muslims do.

      If you are going to be fair, either strip the Jews and Sikhs of their current status, or extend it to all.

      First of all, those religions are not ‘protected’. Sikhs and Jews are defined by case law as comprising identifiable ethnic groups. We most certainly should not ‘extend it to all’. None of the theological tenets of Judaism or Sikhism are protected - but I am equally perplexed as to why laws should be repealed or stripped away simply to assuage the grievance of the Muslim lobby. There is no mechanism for parliament to ’strip’ those groups of anything - these are precedents set by the English court system in the case of the Sikhs.

      This is more of an anomaly than a case of ‘double standards’. If and when a legal case a legal point of order arises in which the issue is contended it is up to the courts to consider the situation. If and when that happens I hope the matter can be resolved but it should certainly not be carried out to merely to satisfy the Muslim lobby’s grief and displeasure over this anomaly.

      All things should happen on the basis of due legal process, not on the basis of Muslim grievance culture and sulking.

      This finger pointing and manufacture of grievance seems to me really artificial and unhealthy. The anomaly is something that does not impact on the welfare of Muslims in the UK at all, other than to point their finger give the victimhood dealers something to feel aggrieved by.

    79. raz — on 11th March, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

      “comprising identifiable ethnic groups” - problem is, some people seem to think the same way about Muslims.

      “This finger pointing and manufacture of grievance seems to me really artificial and unhealthy”

      one could say the same about your own attitude towards Muslims. Seems to be a lot of grievance and sulking from you. Very unhealthy :)

    80. soru — on 12th March, 2006 at 12:00 am  

      None of the theological tenets of Judaism or Sikhism are protected

      *cough* motorcycle helmet law *cough*

    81. Sunny — on 12th March, 2006 at 12:39 am  

      That’s nothing to do with the theological tenets. It’s merely that they accepted that a Turban would also be adequate protection like a helmet, for people who refuse to take them off for religious reasons. Sikhism as a set of belliefs is not protected, society is merely making allowances to help people fit in.

      It’s like allowing the hijab as part of the school uniform - it affects no one.

    82. bananabrain — on 13th March, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

      … and israel still doesn’t have “sharia law”. there are religious courts, which are not state institutions and, although halacha (jewish religious law, not israeli state law, which is entirely different and separate) specifies the death penalty for a wide variety of offences, the checks and balances in the system make it virtually impossible to convict in a capital case. there are, in fact, no cases on record for more than 2000 years of this actually occurring. moreover, there’s the small matter that today’s religious courts have no executive power to actually enforce this type of ruling. but then - a quick swipe at israel doesn’t generally demand that we check our facts, does it?

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    83. soru — on 13th March, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

      My point on the existence of shari’a law in israel is not based on any analogy with jewish religious law, just on the literal fact that a system of that name applies to the arab minority. Do you deny that?

    84. bananabrain — on 14th March, 2006 at 1:15 pm  

      you mean, shari’a law applied by muslims to muslims? i dare say it does exist, the same way as it does anywhere muslims live. but what other point are you actually making? i’m afraid i don’t quite get what you’re on about.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    85. soru — on 14th March, 2006 at 9:18 pm  

      Shari’a law is applied by the Israeli state to muslims. From the link I gave before:

      The Muslim religious courts were re-established by legislation in 1961. These courts have exclusive jurisdiction in matters of personal status over all Muslims, including foreign nationals who are subject to the jurisdiction of Shari’a courts under their national law. In fact, the scope of powers of the Shari’a courts is broader than all other religious courts in Israel, a vestige from the Ottoman and Mandatory periods. As organs of the State, the Muslim courts are funded through the Ministry for Religious Affairs; its judges (kadi) are State employees, appointed by the President of the State upon the nomination of a nine-member committee which parallels the selection committee for judges in the rabbinical and civil courts. The terms of office for kadi mirror those of judges in the other court systems, and are similarly aimed at ensuring judicial independence.

      Israel is a formally multicultural society, one where different communities have different legal standings. That’s not that uncommon - other examples are Lebanon and Malaysia. Of countries with such laws, Israel is probably the most democratic and ‘liberal’.

      My point was solely that wanting that kind of legally binding multiculturalism, while not something I would remotely agree with, is not the same as getting into a ‘who can be most mindlessly literal’ competition with Saudi Arabia.

    86. bananabrain — on 15th March, 2006 at 6:43 pm  

      oh, i see - it’s like the ministry of religious affairs and the “official” rabbinate; it’s official for shari’a stuff. and, like the israeli rabbinate, you probably don’t see hide nor hair of it unless you’re doing something religious like getting married or something. however, israeli civil law still applies to arab citizens just as much as it does to jewish citizens. the point is that presumably they have jurisdiction in islamic religious matters (like the waqf does for mosques, cemeteries and so on) but i guess what i’m saying is that you made it sound as if it was like iran or saudi or something, where shari’a law runs everything, not just religious things. it’s not at all like that in israel; it’s a parallel system.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

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