A reply to Yahya Birt


by Sunny
28th November, 2006 at 8:52 am    

On his own blog, preferring to eschew the high profile platform of Comment is Free (I did ask him), Yahya Birt has written a much more substantive, intelligent and considered reply to the NGN manifesto.

It is worth reading in full because he understands many of the points we make. But I’ll concentrate here on his criticisms (which have been condensed – read their full explanations on his site) and provide an answer from my own perspective rather than claiming to speak on behalf of others.

1) The first objection is to do with ‘priorities’, as Gary Younge puts it, which in turn dictate what sorts of alliances matter in building this coalition. And the key gap in this document is that it does not place the ramifications of the ‘war on terror’ for issues of race and faith squarely at the centre of its analysis.

He says, given the ‘war on terror’ and the accompanying assault on our civil liberties, our priority should be focused on that and hence we should temporarily tolerate building alliances with groups that preach intolerance (from the Muslim communities). It’s about strategy.

The problem isn’t that I (or others) are unaware of the issues, the point is how we choose to tackle those issues.

Yahya will notice that none of the groups involved have been able to build broad coalitions with other minority groups to acknowledge that an assault on the civil liberties of a minority group (Muslims in this case) affects us all. Most of these alliances have not only been limited but also focused exclusively on Muslims exclusively without using broader language.

The MCB and its friends have been spectacularly unsuccessful at reaching out to other minority and majority groups for two reasons: firstly Britons generally don’t believe the MCB really cares for them and secondly because it continues to pander to people who insult them (Al-Qaradawi, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, Dr Mohammed Naseem, Hizb ut-Tahrir). Who is willing to believe these people actually believe in freedom of speech/expression and civil liberties? Not many apart going by how pitiful the current crop of these alliances are.

So if the MCB is serious about challenging the assault on Muslim civil liberties it not only needs to build broader bridges than simply hanging around the 1990 Trust, but also show it is serious about challenging intolerance from within its ranks. As things stand it hinders this cause rather than makes it stronger. Only by being completely anti-prejudice can this broad alliance be built.

2) But the manifesto doesn’t mention the other big free speech issues of the moment. The first is the exploitation by the British National Party of a legal loophole that prohibits incitement to racial hatred but not (until the law comes into force next year) incitement to religious hatred. The second is the anti-terrorist legislation criminalising the ‘glorification of terrorism’

There are several reasons for this. Firstly the MCB itself gives out confused signals on FoS and makes people believe that Muslims are a bigger threat to FoS than the govt itself. It gets involved in silly controversies and gives the impression legislation will solve everything (it won’t – the RRA hasn’t gotten many convictions over the last 30 years). So while I am committed to the idea that we need to tackle the BNP’s attempts to incited hatred against Muslims: tackling it means getting non-Muslims to accept this a new form of racism and believe that British Muslims absolutely believe in FoS. Except the MCB is clearly not helping here.

Secondly, to deal with the ‘glorification of terror’ bill also means it has to show a committment to isolating intolerant and bigoted people from within its ranks. But it is not doing that and so most Britons will happily accept this legislation because they see it as the only way of clamping down on extremists such as Abu Hamza / Omar Barkri and Hizb ut-Tahrir. You cannot just tackle the problem, you also have to tackle its origins, no?

3) My third objection relates to the demand, echoing Ruth Kelly’s speech last month, that those deemed non-progressive faith groups should be denied public monies.

Yahya’s point here is: some of these groups are intolerant but they also do good work. Maybe we can continue funding them in the hope they can be weaned off that intolerance. I don’t think this applies for a few reasons.

Firstly, to carry that across the board you may end up funding groups such as the VHP (UK) or even far-right groups that want to help alienated white youths. On what ground do we object then?

Secondly, weaning these people off intolerance requires that people from within those communities object when people such as Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and Al-Qaradawi are invited over. But this doesn’t happen because the media (especially the Islam Channel) is rather supportive, as are groups such as the MCB, MPAC, MAB etc. Anyone who dares to criticise within is marginalised and criticised for being an ‘uncle Tom’. So the hope that such groups can be slowly weaned off intolerant ideas rarely happens.

Our point is that taking a firm stand against all prejudice is the only way to get these organisations to reform, and/or encourage more progressive groups to expand and take their place instead. Otherwise we keep perpetuating intolerance.

4) The manifesto is making general demands about how religious conservatives ought to conduct their politics – they shouldn’t ally themselves with progressives even on fundamental human rights issues or foreign policy,

I don’t believe we are dictating how religious conservatives conduct their policies – only that the government should not fund anything or anyone that is intolerant towards minority (and majority) groups. Would you be happy to see funding go towards right-wing groups such as the BNP?


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  1. Chairwoman — on 28th November, 2006 at 10:30 am  

    Is Yahya Birt the son of John Birt?

  2. Chris — on 28th November, 2006 at 11:06 am  

    Very sensible replies!
    I see Salma Yaqoob is having *another* go at you on CiF.

    Though on freedom of speech, I seem to recall you rather tied yourself in knots over the MoToons… :-)

  3. El Cid — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:12 pm  

    good stuff!

  4. Jagdeep — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:17 pm  

    Yeah, good reply. The point he makes about the group in the east end reducing school absenteeism by campaigning amongst Bengali families not to take their children to Bangladesh and interrupt their education is a good one by a group making a difference, but the point is, shouldnt they be doing that anyway? Should they depend on government funding them, to be doing that in the first place?

  5. Sid — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:18 pm  

    Chairwoman, yes he is. Yahya junior is Yahya Birt’s son.

  6. Chairwoman — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    Interesting. My late husband and John Birt were in the same class at school (and I have the school photo to prove it), so two boys educated by extremely strict Christian Brothers end up with a Jewish daughter and a Muslim son.

  7. Sid — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    Yahya echoes a point by Gary Younge – and that is the MCB and other “community” groups may not have been elected by the people, but they’ve been given “anointed” status by New Labour. Their point is that the NGN trains its fire power at the wrong target. For them, its the government, not the MCB, who are to blame for lending them credibility. But thats only partly right, IMO.

    What neither Birt or Younge allow themselves to admit is that these groups seek to rehabilitate extremist elements, either home grown or imported (as in DH Sayeedi) under the aegis of community “relation-building”.

    Younge and Yahya’s mistake is to level the responsibility of these errors upon the ‘anointer’. But this is only partly true. Surely the burden of blame rests on these groups rather than cack-handed policies pushed by the government.

    Other than that Yahya’s article was excellent, as expected.

  8. Chairwoman — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    Sid – Logically you are, of course, correct. But unfortunately, in real terms, once these organisations have acquired the ‘blessing’ of the government, they appear to have carte blanch to pursue their agendas.

  9. Sid — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:46 pm  

    Chairwoman, that’s my point of course. :-)
    And that, by accident or intent, is Yahya and Younge’s blind spot.

  10. Chairwoman — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

    Sorry, Sid, guilty of careless reading :-)

    I would guess accident by the first (the enthusiasm of the convert) and design by the second. Younge’s dogmatic attitude, which he shares with the majority of his Guardian confreres, was one of the reasons I stopped reading the newspaper I had taken all my adult life.

  11. Refresh — on 28th November, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    Interesting – Sid and Chairwoman

    My concern has been that the MCB and others failed miserably in recognising the politics that Blair is playing.

    There was no annointing – it was find someone or something to pin it on.

    Some of you might recall there were some ‘serious’ money spent trying to understand how things were within the muslim communities – at the post invasion stage of Iraq. It was a duplicitous affair.

    That ‘consultation’, from all accounts was amongst a pretty broad range of organisations. With some serious proposals – and you may recall virtually none of the recommendations were implemented. Almost all of them buried.

    But the £150k consultation CONTRACT given to the MCB has been the basis of much pathetic whining.

    So we should wonder where this has come from and where its intended to go.

  12. Chairwoman — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:08 pm  

    Refresh – I don’t disagree with you either. Unfortunately our, and this goes across the board, religious groups do display a pathetic degree of naivity, and also will grab any public funds offered to them, because without them they simply can’t function.

    But, and it’s a biggy, they then appear to have been annointed, and that’s where the problems begin.

    Anyway, I hope you’ll agree that, in reality, the government doesn’t actually give a damn how things are within the Muslim, or any other, community. It’s like an absentee parent who wants to be seen a a good one without any of the real responsibility.

    When all else fails, throw money at it.

  13. Sid — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:14 pm  

    I think everyone’s in agreement on the absentee parent analogy.

  14. El Cid — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    To be fair to Blair, his annointing was a belated attempt to engage post 9/11 in a climate of general ignorance stoked by decades of mutual disinterest between establishment and majority Britain and “muslim” Britain. Yeah, I guess the absentee parent anology can reasonably be applied. Still, it’s surely a sign of progress that we can now move towards a more sophisticated dialogue that recognises the heterogeneity of each and every component of multicultural Britain (I’m beginning to sound like Soumayah).
    Was it a necessary or unavoidable if crude first step? I reckon so.

  15. Chairwoman — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

    I will be as fair to Blair, as he has been to the country!

  16. Sid — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    yeah, fair schmair!

  17. El Cid — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

    oh, ok then

  18. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

    The problem I have with your comparison of the BNP and groups that claim to represent various faith communities, Sunny, is that potentially these faith groups can be reformed, whereas the BNP’s whole raison d’etre as a group is to agitate for a change to the make up of the country’s population. The failings of the MCB and other groups that you so rightly point out can be addressed, vigorously. I mean, these aspects of these organisations aren’t widely publicly known, so by making them so known you force these organisations to justify themselves and pressurize them into becoming more open and democratic and willing to engage with other groups and the community as a whole: threatening to withold funding is certainly a good way of doing so. There’s something to be said about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I mean, are you claiming that any group set up to represent, say Muslims, or Hindus, will a priori be deeply prejudiced, insular and corrupt?

  19. Refresh — on 28th November, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

    I will be asking everyone to be fair – when he’s put on trial at the Hague.

  20. Sid — on 28th November, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    I’ll drink to that!

  21. Refresh — on 28th November, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

    Sunny,

    I’ve now read Yahya’s blog. And very impressive it is too.

    I am more worried that you will sink the ship that you have launched.

    There are many pointers and contributions, from those you see as your critics, which are positive.

    I would suggest that you ponder over them and stop shooting from the hip.

    Unless of course everything you’ve articulated is set in stone.

  22. ZinZin — on 28th November, 2006 at 5:31 pm  

    Anas am i reading you write as you seem to be saying that religious groups with a literalist interpretation of their holy books are able to reform themselves.

  23. Sunny — on 28th November, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    The problem I have with your comparison of the BNP and groups that claim to represent various faith communities

    I haven’t compared any of the major faith organisations with the BNP. I think Hizb ut-Tahrir comes the closest ideologically. And frankly their raison d’etre as a group also remains the same – demanding segregation.

  24. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    I was referring to this part of your original post, Sunny:

    Yahya’s point here is: some of these groups are intolerant but they also do good work. Maybe we can continue funding them in the hope they can be weaned off that intolerance. I don’t think this applies for a few reasons.

    Firstly, to carry that across the board you may end up funding groups such as the VHP (UK) or even far-right groups that want to help alienated white youths. On what ground do we object then?

    Z-Z, yes, I think so. If enough Muslims, or Hindus, or Sikhs start to voice concerns at the actions of the groups that are supposedly representing them — that is if they begin to feel ever more pressure from the communities they claim to represent — then I feel that these groups will be forced to alter their behaviour, or risk becoming entirely redundant. And maybe that will happen if more people like Sunny are given the opportunity to publicly offer valid criticisms of these groups.

  25. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:01 pm  

    I think a lot of the problems regarding the problem of insufficient representation of different communities arises from a lack of serious grassroots activism, and this helps provide an opening for self-appointed/self-annointed community leaders/groups. So that at root it’s an issue of democratic deficit: those in charge will quite happily do whatever it takes to be seen to have done something, real change comes from below (as we’ve seen with the Universal Sufferage Movements, and the move towards greater social justice). The white working class seems especially demotivated and demoralised, and it’s no coincidence that this correlates with the dearth of any viable socialist working class movement. That’s why I’m sceptical about the NGN’s intense preoccupation with these community groups.

  26. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:03 pm  

    Let me rephrase that first sentence:

    I think a lot of the difficulties relating to the problem of insufficient representation of different communities arise from a lack of serious grassroots activism, and this helps provide an opening for self-appointed/self-annointed community leaders/groups.

  27. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

    Sorry that should be self-appointed/government-annointed

  28. ZinZin — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Anas the MCB and MAB have no legitimacy amongst British Muslims 45 and 1% respectively.

    “If enough Muslims, or Hindus, or Sikhs start to voice concerns at the actions of the groups that are supposedly representing them — that is if they begin to feel ever more pressure from the communities they claim to represent — then I feel that these groups will be forced to alter their behaviour, or risk becoming entirely redundant.”

    The Homer Simpson position if you are part of an angry mob maybe you can steer it in the right direction. DOH!

  29. ZinZin — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:25 pm  

    Sorry that should be 4% support for the MCB. DOH!

  30. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:40 pm  

    You got a reference/URL for those figures, ZZ? Sunny was giving out similar numbers but I forget whether he gave a link or not.

  31. Refresh — on 28th November, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    ZinZin

    The same can be said for any venture inc. NGN

    “The Homer Simpson position if you are part of an angry mob maybe you can steer it in the right direction. DOH!”

  32. ZinZin — on 28th November, 2006 at 8:00 pm  
  33. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 8:16 pm  

    Weird, cause on page 40 of that report, it gives as 11% the percentage of Muslims who say MCB represents them politically (I think the 4% figure represents the percentage of respondents who prompted to mention an organisation that represnted them gave that as a response, whereas the 11% represents the number of people who chose the MCB from out of a number of options). Not great, still — but then only 19% said their MP represented them. Like I said, it’s a democracy deficit at the grassroots level.

  34. Anas — on 28th November, 2006 at 8:22 pm  

    Sorry maybe should correct post #18:

    I mean, these aspects of these organisations aren’t widely publicly known, so by making them so known you force these organisations to justify themselves and pressurize them into becoming more open and democratic and willing to engage with other groups and the community as a whole: encouraging the government to threaten to withold future funding is certainly a good way of doing so.

  35. ZinZin — on 28th November, 2006 at 8:32 pm  

    Still pushing the Homer Simpson solution.

  36. Sunny — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:57 am  

    and pressurize them into becoming more open and democratic and willing to engage with other groups and the community as a whole,

    How do you suggest this happens Anas, when every question or application of pressure is made into an ‘attack on the community’? You don’t think there are liberal Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus trying this behind the scenes? If anything, things have gotten worse over the last few years.

    Every question that people pose is framed by others as ‘feeding into the neocon agenda’, which funnily enough people like Anarcho Akbar (Julaybib) are now accusing me of. Yes, I’m really loving the neo-con agenda aren’t I?

  37. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 2:25 am  

    Sunny

    I have not read the comment directly from Anarcho Akbar but taking it as you put it (“‘feeding into the neocon agenda’”) – is he really inaccurate? Feeding into doesn’t necessarily mean that you are pursuing their agenda.

    More I hear and read about ‘The Manifesto’ – mostly from you – the more I am convinced its going the same way as its Euston sister.

    As for the liberal Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus trying it behind the scenses – that is fine and its part of the nature of groups and campaigns. And that is how it should be. Personally I’d say to them – get on with it. And whilst they are at it – come online and challenge the bigotry that is on open display both here and on CiF. And if they really have the stomach for it – pay a visit to HP.

    Who knows, perhaps they are keeping their powder dry.

  38. soru — on 29th November, 2006 at 9:27 am  

    refresh – is there any public disagreement with your political views and tactics that you would ever refer to without using the word ‘bigotry’?

    From here, it looks rather like a case of groupthink. There is a group, and everyone inside the group is, at heart, good. Outside that group, in the ‘outgroup’, there are some bad people, in this case bigots. Consequently, by expressing dissent or disagreement, you are moving yourself from the ingroup to the outgroup, making a conscious decision to associate yourself with the bad people, the bigots.

  39. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:20 am  

    Soru, there is intolerance (and bigotry) by some on here which goes unchallenged. The alternative is it becomes accepted because it will feed into a some good someday? And on CiF there is a well tuned gang that comes out – whenever there is a possibility of a fight-off between Sunny and anyone else who might have a view and be muslim.

    In the same vein as you ask the question – do I not see you in that crowd pretty regularly?

    So what is this ingroup Soru?

  40. soru — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:02 am  

    For the sake of the argument, assume I am a thoroughly evil person, in the pay of some sinister agency, with a hobby of eating babies.

    Any accusation you hurl at me, just assume I am a thousand times more evil than that.

    That said, are you open to discussion, or do you want to close it off? Do you already know the all the answers, already think that everything is in place for an umcomplicated and inevitable victory of the good people?

  41. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:09 am  

    soru – you don’t look Jewish :-)

  42. Jagdeep — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:28 am  

    refresh – is there any public disagreement with your political views and tactics that you would ever refer to without using the word ‘bigotry’?

    No he cannot do that without calling people bigots — like that hysteric Julaybib, two peas in a pod. Calling them bigots back to them every time they come online to parody their block-headed pant-wetting may help to highlight their mendacity, but then it just gets into puerile name calling.

  43. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:30 am  

    What a peculiar line you take.

    Lets assume you are evil – by the way I don’t think you could be possibly that bad. That I usually reserve for those with the power over life and death. The obvious ones would be Saddam, Blair, Bush, bin Laden, Sharon etc.

    I would spend my energy trying to persuade you of the error of your ways.

    I do take people on face value, and hope to persuade them to tackle iniquity as it arises. I also expect a dialogue.

    This was exactly my view of the NF, you may have seen some of my comments regarding them sometime over the last year.

    People are a product of their environment and can and do change, through interaction with others and change of environment – groupthink comes about through ignorance and lack of self-awareness.

  44. Jagdeep — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:32 am  

    Refresh you are such a bigot.

  45. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:41 am  

    Jagdeep – explain yourself.

    “Refresh you are such a bigot. ”

    Dig out the evidence.

    There is no bigotry on display here? Not on CiF?

  46. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:43 am  

    Jagdeep – do you want NGN to succeed?

  47. Jagdeep — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:49 am  

    Refresh, I’m parodying you. I don’t care about CiF, I do not interact there and I have no control over the posts there. So why you ask me about that place, I don’t know. Calling you a bigot is to show how blockheaded and foolish you are occasionally. To be honest, I don’t want to get wrapped up in a style of debate like that, it’s really lame. But it is your style.

  48. Sid — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

    Refresh

    I posted this in the thread to Gary Younge’s CiF article on the NGN. I think it applies here:

    Hizbut Tahrir, as the manifesto suggests, is also a docking station if you like for Far Left organisations to garner political power on the back of Muslim politics. The Hizbut Tahrir has been singled out not because it is Muslim, if that is the perception. That in itself is the self-perpuating mindgame that “identity-politics” means for Muslims, which we must avoid. The manipulation by left wing outfits involves fanning the flames of racial victimisation and religious supremacist tendencies in exchange for votes. And the conduit into the Muslim community for this kind of exploitation has a myriad of forms, but Hizbut Tahrir is definitely the most explicit manifestation of it.

  49. Jagdeep — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    Refresh, I don’t want to act belligerently with anyone. So I will extend my hand to you and say that I understand how at times the white squall of ignorant comments can feed into a sensibility of attack, and I probably feel the same about some things like that too. But in this instance, in this feeding of comment and argument from this position, into a paranoid meat grinder of ‘neocon’ agenda, slapping the word ‘bigot’ at people like a custard pie, is not debating in good faith, especially when done hysterically, with nothing more than slander and insult as your game — identify your kulaks then wipe them out, right?

    As an Asian cousin of yours (I assume you’re Asian) I understand where you’re coming from to a certain extent, because I can have feelings of defensivness at times too, and so I am awre of how easy it is for groups, sloganeers, ‘activists’ to prey on these instincts and fears.

    But this is not the Harry’s Place or the Daily Express message board. Your refusal to acknowledge this is a discredit to you. You cannot keep that up without getting an equally blockheaded response, especially when you seem to refuse to engage with the arguments being made on any level other than a kind of reflexive paranoia and slander.

    In friendship….

    Jagdeep

  50. Sid — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:23 pm  

    nice one Jagdeep.

  51. Jai — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    Good message by Jagdeep in post #49. Thoughtful, friendly, considerate and constructive.

    I love how Jay Singh mysteriously disappears, and then shortly afterwards Jagdeep arises on the scene as an avenging angel, like Galvatron reborn from Megatron (shut up, I read that stuff back when I was a teenager), or the hero in a Bollywood film re-appearing in the last third of the movie only to find that his heroine is now married to the other lead actor because she thought her amour had died after being pushed off a cliff by the villain.

  52. Jagdeep — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:40 pm  

    Jai, thanks for the compliment, but you keep derailing threads with this Jay Singh character, and it’s making me scratch my head. It’s a little spooky…

  53. Kismet Hardy — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:44 pm  

    Jay and Jai are just celebrating multiple identies, like sunny urged

    Lot of people don’t know this but my other aliases are JoNz, Arif and Belinda Cockbox

  54. Sid — on 29th November, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Oh Jaisus!

  55. Leon — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

    like Galvatron reborn from Megatron (shut up, I read that stuff back when I was a teenager)

    You got any to lend?!:D

  56. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    Jagdeep that’s your view – and perhaps this will continue.

    A hand offered in friendship is always good.

    The nature of debate on here is such that – its rare for any conclusion (or closure if you like).

    Is there no bigotry on here? And is there no pre-conceived ideas being projected onto muslims – yes here?

    Do you not presume to know what I think and what I would say? Do you not also assume that I am with one party or another? Do I not have an identity of my own?

    As for the debate on the NGN, I would rather people engage with the argument than have to deal with juvenile behaviour. Read the whole ‘Reply to Samouya….’ debacle.

    Although I do happen to respect juveniles too.

    And if you are Jay, a belated welcome back. I did wonder where you got to.

    BTW I believe you quoted OrwellsGhost – I think you should also read further down on that CiF thread and see his later response.

  57. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    Jagdeep, what is a kulak? You’ve mentioned it before.

  58. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:12 pm  

    You don’t think there are liberal Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus trying this behind the scenes?

    Well it’s the behind the scenes thing I’m suggesting you rethink.

  59. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:17 pm  

    Refresh – there’s bigotry everywhere and in everyone. We have to look at it and see if we can work with and overcome it, or rail against it and defeat it.

    People find concensus through argument, concession and concilliation. Sorry I’m reciting the same old mantra, but it’s the single most important thing I have learned in my 61 years, but had I realised it sooner than I did, my whole life would have been improved.

  60. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    Anas – Behind the scenes leads to great performances front of house.

  61. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    How can I disagree? That is the reason I contribute on here.

    I will encourage the positive where I see it and challenge it where I do not.

  62. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

    Well, Chairwoman, it obviously hasn’t worked in this case, at least not so far.

  63. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

    Good man!

  64. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

    The way forward is to hold up the supporters of the NGN manifesto to its aims.

    On one or two of the CiF threads, the phrase that sticks with me is the Salma-Sunny; the Samouya-Sunny and Inayat-Sunny thing are ‘rats-in-sack’.

    What a poor way to carry on.

  65. soru — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulak

    ‘The peasantry was tentatively divided into three broad categories: bednyaks, or poor peasants, seredniaks, or medium-prosperity ones, and kulaks, the rich farmers.’

    ‘Many historians consider the great famine a result of the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class”, which complicates the estimation of death tolls. A wide range of death tolls has been suggested, from as many as 60 million suggested by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to as few as 700 thousand by Soviet news sources’.

    Kulaks, and Stalin’s UN veto, are the reason the UN convention on genocide omits ‘social class’ from the list of groups of people it is forbidden to try and wipe out.

  66. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    Anas – we must hope that it will. A friend of mine who was educated by Jesuits was taught that the thing that angers G-d most is despair. Obviously I am not privy to the vagueries of the Almighty’s psyche, but I can see how it would.

  67. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

    Nah, I’m not despairing, I’m just saying bring everything out into the open, give a little more airing to the questionable aspects of these organisations. I know we all have faith in those backroom boys/girls, but their strivings have obviously been inadequate up till now.

  68. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:31 pm  

    is like ‘rats-in-a-sack’.

  69. soru — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    Refresh: don’t you think it is a bit disingenous to call someone who refers to Sunny as a ‘rat in a sack’ a supporter of the NGN?

    I do think you need to get away from the idea that politics is a matter of 100% agreement on one side, and nothing but nastiness outside that group.

  70. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    Actually, maybe Sunny has a point, above. I can see how a well-meaning person might find it difficult to mount criticisms of, say, the MCB in the current hostile, Islamaphobic environment without falling prey to accusations of anti-Muslim prejudice (or if they’re Muslim of selling out). The problem is that it’s inevitable that such criticisms are then going to be exploited by anti-Islam bigots of the variety that is especially rife nowadays (I agree with Refresh above, about that being the case on CiF, and with the Islamist conspiracy theories on yesterday’s Soumaya thread). It’s a precarious position to take: I guess maybe the best thing to do is to make it absolutely clear that you don’t have a hidden agenda and to be scrupulously fair. Maybe it means that your criticisms end up being slightly muted.

  71. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

    Soru, it could be disingenous. But equally its possible that they were referring to the level of debate. The term coined is Ratsackism.

    In any case the two sentences were two separate points.

    As for 100% agreement, that’s exactly my point. Sunny has a problem – he does not need a thread each time someone agrees with the sentiments of NGN, but points out the weaknesses.

    Its the weaknesses that need to be corrected. And if those weaknesses have to potential to drive the ‘well-meaning’ supporters into a cul-de-sac is it not worth addressing?

    Both Samouya and Salma were doing precisely that.

  72. Sahil — on 29th November, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    “The problem is that it’s inevitable that such criticisms are then going to be exploited by anti-Islam bigots of the variety that is especially rife nowadays (I agree with Refresh above, about that being the case on CiF, and with the Islamist conspiracy theories on yesterday’s Soumaya thread).”

    I have sympathy with that Anas. On the freedom of issue bonanza, suddenly everyone was a free speech advocate including people like MP, who lose that urge when talking about ‘British Values’. However I also disagreed with people like Zin Zin, but over time its pretty clear that he/she? has a pretty consistent line on the issue, and I respect that.

    Remember that many Jews also feel that criticism of Israel at times (its certainly true) is simply a swipe at Jews in general. Consistency is the key, and many picklers are pretty consistent in their outlook.

    The NGN is pretty general in the entitlements to all, and what resposibilities are required. People seem happy with the benefits of such a manifesto, yet squeel when they need to sacrifice some of their agendas. That’s just typical politics, and you need to ask yourself, whether the manifesto is true to your values, and thus defend the position. There is simply too much intransigence in most people’s positions, and too much selfishness.

  73. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    Remember that many Jews also feel that criticism of Israel at times (its certainly true) is simply a swipe at Jews in general

    That’s true, but there are vast differences between the two cases. Whatever you think of the MCB or even MPACuk, failing to criticise them because you’re afraid that you’re inadvertently assisting bigots (and given that Islamophobia and anti-Islamic prejudice is a major problem at the moment), doesn’t raise the same moral quandries as failing to criticise the savage and brutal occupation and genocide in Palestine because you’re afraid it will fuel anti-semitism. A better comparison with the Israel case would be with Muslims who are unwilling to criticise those commiting attrocities in Darfur or who support Muslim governments regardless of the extent of human rights abuses they preside over just because they don’t want to be seen to pandering to neo-con/Islamophobic bigots and don’t want to project an image of disunity.

  74. Jai — on 29th November, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

    Jagdeep,

    =>”, but you keep derailing threads with this Jay Singh character, and it’s making me scratch my head. It’s a little spooky…”

    I was just kidding, mang. And if it’s spooky for you, imagine what it’s like for the rest of us here who’ve also noticed the similarities.

    Punjabi Boy (from SM) = Jay Singh = Jagdeep. Wow, the guy’s an internet vigilante, jumping from blog to blog and righting wrongs on discussion forums across the world, defending the weak and the innocent, mercilessly crushing the villanous, all with a soundtrack taken from Prince’s Sign O’ The Times & The Black Album blaring in the background.

    D’you know what would be really funny ? If Sunny announces an impending NGN meeting, and all these Prince fans accidentally misread the invite and turn up wearing New Power Generation t-shirts, waiting for Mayte to arrive on stage and wondering what the hell all those people from HuT are doing there…..

    Leon,

    =>”You got any to lend?!:D”

    I think they’re buried with the rest of my schooldays stuff in the loft somewhere…..

    *************************

    Okay, enough mid-afternoon derailing from me. Carry on, folks.

  75. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

    Post #73 onwards are within the derail zone.

    By the way I assume your description of Jagdeep “righting wrongs” and “defending the weak and the innocent” are entirely tongue-in-cheek.

  76. Jai — on 29th November, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    Refresh,

    =>”Post #73 onwards are within the derail zone.”

    Yes, hence my comment “carry on” (ie. nobody else should derail this further despite my setting a bad example). Just a little light-relief on a late November afternoon where it’s already becoming depressingly dark outside very rapidly. You’re lucky I didn’t write another Arabian Nights-style short story.

    =>”By the way I assume your description of Jagdeep “righting wrongs” and “defending the weak and the innocent” are entirely tongue-in-cheek.”

    Exaggerated, yes. Entirely tongue-in-cheek, no. Jagdeep’s a good guy with an obvious sense of fairness, and generally he does the right thing (most of the time, anyway).

  77. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

    Jagdeep’s a good guy with an obvious sense of fairness, and generally he does the right thing

    *cough*…bullshit..*clearing of throat*

  78. Sunny — on 29th November, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

    I guess maybe the best thing to do is to make it absolutely clear that you don’t have a hidden agenda and to be scrupulously fair. Maybe it means that your criticisms end up being slightly muted.

    How is this possible when the likes of Inayat Bunglwala etc will accuse you of having an agenda anyway? I mean, Refresh is bad enough. I remember a previous incident when Fareena Alam of Q-News got her hands burnt when they were quoted by the Observer saying the MCB should not have an ambiguous position on suicide bombings (in London v Palestine). Guess what – the MCB turned extremely hostile.

    Now assume you were me. Have spent all your time trying to build trust within Asian communities and later on start a site to build trust with the broader white community, and have defended Muslims plenty of times on issues – and still I get accused of feeding into the neo-con agenda.

    It’s absurd. It’s rather like me suggesting Refresh’s stance feeds into the Al-Qaeda agenda. That is how much it makes sense. So the point is I just ignore people who become too defensive because after a while they become a liability. They want to tiptoe around so much that no one challenges this intolerance and no coalition is built to challenge prejudice from all communities. Instead people stand around pointing fingers. I’m sorry but I don’t want to do that.

  79. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

    Yes we are lucky indeed.

  80. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 4:49 pm  

    Sunny, I’m not sure we are reading each other correctly.

    Oddly enough I feel exactly the same way as you do.

    “Refresh is bad enough”

    Oh boy – I give up. You are not listening.

    The point about the neo-con agenda was to show you the difference between feeding into it and pursuing it.

    Now the feeding into it – there are acres and acres of anti-muslim hysteria – which now has traction. A lot of it originated from the other side of the Atlantic, and well funded it was too. The material on the other side is seriously bad.

    Because it has traction it needs ever more vigilance and that can be done on the basis of the agenda you’ve outlined. But it must be done.

    As I said upthread, we should hold supporters of the NGN agenda to its values.

  81. Sunny — on 29th November, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

    we should hold supporters of the NGN agenda to its values.

    By all means, do that. But accusations that, when we try and challenge prejudice, is feeding into some neo-con agenda, I won’t really take seriously. Because, as I said above, the opposite is for me to accuse you of feeing the Al-Qaeda agenda by excusing that bigotry. It is a silly line to take.

  82. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

    Hey Sunny I sympathise, I’ve been accused of anti-semitism and racism for my stance on I/P and of legitimising “terrorist discourse” for arguing that FP might just be the central factor in creating terrorists.

    However, in the current climate I think you have to be very careful about how you present these issues. Sometimes you can inadvertently feed into another agenda without perhaps fully realising it — however as Refresh said above this doesn’t mean you share or are sympathetic to this agenda.

    One thing stands out for me, and you probably won’t like my bringing this up, and that’s your dismissal of MPACuk as racist, even though you acknowledge the good work they’re doing. I thought that was a serious accusation to make and one which you couldn’t sufficiently justify when I pushed you on it. I think in that instance, given your aspirations, you should’ve been more measured in your critique.

    Another issue relates to the presentation of your NGN manifesto. When Gary Younge argued that your priorities were slightly askew I think he was making a valid point. You replied that challenging the ingrained racism and bigotry of faith-based organisations and ethnic communities, which had hitherto gone largely unmentioned, was an essential precondition of moving forward with a more inclusive agenda. But I think his criticism still holds: by putting focus on HuT and faith based groups and not explicitly re-iterating that most of the challenges we confront still relate to white racism and the BNP, or that the greatest source of discontent among certain British communities might be British Foreign Policy, you’re sending out a certain message whether intentionally or not.

    Now, this *doesn’t* mean you should forego criticising religiously inspired groups like HuT, or arguing that groups like the MCB or the Hindu Forum should be more representative and inclusive. Just that you should be more appreciative of context.

  83. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

    That was a pretty decent debate (much better than that other one, agreed).
    Kulaks… the term is a metaphor for the upper working class, petty bourgeousie. Normal people with trades, aspirations, savings, and a bit of individualist get up and go. They are notorious as the social cohort which most backed Hitler and Mussolini, and later on Thatcher, but they are also the backbone of any country. They are the sergeants and corporals of an army. And there are lots of them. I read somewhere that 15 percent of all Russian peasants pre WW1 were kulaks.
    The hard left typically hates them, although they wont show it unless they get into power. Having relied on them to help Russia out of its post-WW2 quagmire via Lenin’s New Economic Policy, the kulaks were systematically squeezed to death by his successors Zinoviev, Kamenev, and cuddly Uncle Stalin (“Who cares about the hair when you chop off the head”).
    I guess it works as a metaphor to describe the general intolerance of the hard left, which means it is really closer to the hard right than it is to the liberal centre. Oh, and they are also useless at running the economy. I guess that’s another reason why the kulaks of this world don’t trust them

  84. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

    Now this is getting really silly. And you know you could very easily have my multi-cultural, multi-religion (and none) home raided, children terrorised based on such careless talk.

    Read what I say and don’t take offense so readily. Above all don’t forget your responsibilities.

    When I say hold supporters to its values, then that is what I had expected from you when you launched into Salma, Soumaya.

    And it occurs to me that Yahya Birt was wise not to take your advice and get his article on to CiF; for he too would have been an easy target for the hordes.

  85. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    Anas when you challenge racism you must challenge every form of racism and religious bigotry and dont start telling me that Islamophobia is rife in Britain. I am not buying it.

    Also have you been living under a rock Bukhari was funding Irving’s libel trial against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books.

    “Bukhari contacted the discredited historian, sentenced this year to three years in an Austrian prison for Holocaust denial, after reading his website. He headed his mail to Irving with a quotation attributed to the philosopher John Locke: ‘All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to stand idle.’

    Article continues
    In one email Bukhari tells Irving: ‘You may feel like you are on your own but rest assured many people are with you in your fight for the Truth.’ Bukhari pledges to make a donation of £60 to Irving’s fighting fund and says that he has asked ‘a few of my colleagues to send some in too’. He also offers to send Irving a book, They Dare to Speak Out, by Paul Findley, a former US Senator, who has attacked his country’s close relationship with Israel. Bukhari says Findley ‘has suffered like you in trying to expose certain falsehoods perpetrated by the Jews’.”

    If thats not anti-semitism in your book i will be very concerned.

  86. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

    ZinZin, I for one don’t need you and everyone else to buy it.

    The flipside (for you specifically) would be that anti-semitism does not exist. And yet it does. And is a cause of great suffering for both Jews and Palestinians.

    Come to think of it a combination of anti-semitism and Islamophobia doesn’t leave the Palestinians much to be cheerful about does it?

  87. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:32 pm  

    Anas when you challenge racism you must challenge every form of racism and religious bigotry and dont start telling me that Islamophobia is rife in Britain. I am not buying it.

    a) I’m not denying that you should challenge every form of religious and racist bigotry;
    b)I’m sorry, but Islamophobia is a major problem in Britain (Check it out. Maybe you should do one of those experiments like where the dude blackened himself up with shoe polish in the 50s. Except you could strap on a beard and wear a little cap, and wear “Islamic” style garments.

    And Asghar has discussed the whole Irving situation himself on The MPACuk website.

  88. Sid — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    How can anyone say Islamophobia does not exist when the BNP currently bases its entire manifesto on it? How high do you want the bar to be in regard to Islamophobia? Last month when the entire Labour front bench went on an Islamophobic spree (via the veil issue) the BNP were bewildered that Labour had sequestered it’s appeal.
    Although admittedly, the BNP wouldn’t know the difference between an Asian, a Muslim and a brown person. Its all the same to them – but the rubric is still anti-Muslim. Who can blame their ignorance on poor education when educated middle-class liberals at Harry’s Place are pretty much the same.

  89. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:44 pm  

    Well said Sid.

    Sunny,

    Why is Harry’s Place considered a comrade on Pickled Politics?

  90. soru — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    ‘Islamophobia is a major problem in Britain’

    Not many sensible people would deny that.

    The issue is:

    1. what causes it?

    2. how can it be reduced?

    How does spending political energy and capital defending explicit racists and supporters of violence contribute to that goal?

  91. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

    Soru

    I have a feeling you are going to tell us. Go right ahead.

  92. Leon — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    Jagdeep’s a good guy with an obvious sense of fairness, and generally he does the right thing

    *cough*…bullshit..*clearing of throat*

    Please…Jagdeep is sound. He’s makes some of the most interesting reading on here.

  93. William — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:56 pm  

    Sunny

    “Now assume you were me. Have spent all your time trying to build trust within Asian communities and later on start a site to build trust with the broader white community, and have defended Muslims plenty of times on issues – and still I get accused of feeding into the neo-con agenda.”

    There are multiple multiple examples in this world of where someone proposes a third/alternative/extra way the group/groups they had the closest connection to start calling them the enemy or the near enemy. Almost like an occupational hazard. This sort of thing seem to follow such a pattern so often that the conditions for it must lie somewhere other than the third/alternative/extra way is invalid.

    “Oh you must be one of them then”………..sure???

  94. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:56 pm  
  95. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    Sorry Sid, I don’t buy your machine-gun accusations of Islamaphobia

  96. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:59 pm  

    Moreover, ZinZin didn’t say it didn’t exist, he said wasn’t rife

  97. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 5:59 pm  

    …IT wasn’t rife.

  98. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

    The Runnymede trust invented the term in 1997 and it took 4 years to become part of anti-racist discourses due to 11/9. I would like to know why it used the term in the first place as back in 1997 no-one was interested in Islam at all.

    In favt the first victim of an Islamophobic attack was a sikh so i agree with Sid’s point.

    Although admittedly, the BNP wouldn’t know the difference between an Asian, a Muslim and a brown person. Its all the same to them – but the rubric is still anti-Muslim.

    Although he would argue that i am taking it out of context.

  99. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

    Is it or isn’t it? Does it or doesn’t it? Should I be making plans or wait until there is a consensus?

    ZinZin, that article is a pretty good one – and for its day came across to me as a hopeful sign. Is it still valid?

    In our post 9/11, Iraq debacle world – are things still the same?

  100. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:22 pm  

    Wow, just been to the MPACuk forum. They just had a poll asking whether forum members thought that Sunny Hundal represented him. Surprisingly 12.5% think he does. There’s some hope for the NGN movement yet.

  101. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:28 pm  

    Yes it is valid telling Muslims that they are under attack all the time is unhelpful and a self-fulfilling prophecy. The 7/7 bombers were firm believers in an Islamophobic conspiracy yet did more to promote islamophobia than anyone else in Britain.

    Islamophobia is good for muslim pressure groups and anti-racist organisations as it gives them power, money and legitimacy. However groups such as the MCB, MPACUK and MAB are unhelpful in promoting good community relations as they promote a defensive bunker mentality that does more harm than good.

    “While preaching moderation, the MCB is also good at keeping young Muslims angry.”

    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7980

  102. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:31 pm  

    Anas post #100
    A zionist-neocon plot perhaps?
    I blame the Neo-Zio-Nazis.

  103. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:32 pm  

    Sorry, represented “them”

  104. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:35 pm  

    They’ve infiltrated the MPACuk forums? Shit!

  105. Chairwoman — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:44 pm  

    Yup. We’re everywhere.

    *slips off giant lizard suit*

  106. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    ZinZin what would it take for you to recognise Islamophobia? Is it at the same level as anti-semitism?

    The media coverage of the last few months was quite relentless – did any of that make a contribution to the overall hostility amongst the general public?

  107. Sid — on 29th November, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

    El Cid, you’re right – ZinZin said it’s not rife, and of course I agree. But it’s very alive and kicking.

    I would say the NGN is Harry’s Place ideas without the accompanying freak show of anti-Muslim poison. David T is cool, he’s our friend. But he’s too much of a liberal to slap down the screeching wankers in the HP commentsbox.

  108. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 7:06 pm  

    “The media coverage of the last few months was quite relentless – did any of that make a contribution to the overall hostility amongst the general public?”

    The British public have been very tolerant towards Muslims and quite respectful towards Islam. In fact three years ago i did recognise Islamophobia but when it is used as a smear against the faiths critics it meaning becomes diminished.

    As for the public hostility that came after the Motoons protest rather bizarrely not the 7/7 suicide-murderers. That has been the tipping point for this hostility.

    As for anti-semitism that has been a form of racism and hatred that has existed for two millenia yet islamophobia is nine years old. No-one hates muslims they do have every right to hate islam without being subjected to this ridiculous smear.

  109. Sid — on 29th November, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

    Anas

    You go to the [shudder] MPAC forum?
    But 12% in support of the NGN – that’s agreat sign.

  110. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 7:26 pm  

    Yeah, that’s true Sid.
    Maybe I’m a bit too touchy about the veil. I dunno.

    Sunny,
    I’ve just sent you an email. It could be of interest, although if it detracts from the NGN mission, maybe it’s best to set aside.

  111. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 9:45 pm  

    ZinZin

    The problem I see with your outlook is that Islamophobia has to be in existence for 2 millenia before you’re prepared to acknowledge it.

    The other point you make is that only of use to the various groups. Not the BNP? Not now to Blair and his cohort?

    I don’t think I, and millions of others are prepared for 2,000 years.

    With regards the British public, I am heartened by their response, but not so sure about yours.

    Even on the veil issue (which to me was a non-issue veiled in ‘British Values’ in support of one politician’s ambitions) two thirds don’t have a problem.

    With regards the 7/7 and for that matter 9/11 – do you not think that there were serious anxiety amongst muslims as to what had happened and how it was going to play out.

    Some people jumped on the anti-muslim bandwagon for being in denial.

    Do you understand denial?

    Denial is saying it couldn’t possibly have been muslims. Genuine denial is a very positive thing, it says that my faith could not be responsible, because it informs me to act differently. Can you not see the positive aspects of that? To be clearer, it says that whoever did it is not acting on my behalf.

    Equally you should think through and challenge those that now are putting forward the argumen that muslims are killing muslims (in Iraq) – its their fault. Do not let the architects of that bloodbath get away with it. If you should then are you in denial?

    I’ve read some incredible bullshit both here and elsewhere – and it shall remain so for a generation. How do I know? Because Bush and Blair have told us.

  112. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 9:52 pm  

    You’re not immune from talking bollocks either Refresh

  113. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 9:59 pm  

    El Cid, I cannot deny that.

  114. Leon — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    You’re not immune from talking bollocks either Refresh

    Who is?

  115. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    I’ll put my hand up in solidarity with Refresh. I have a tendency to talk bollocks too on the odd occasion.

  116. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:19 pm  

    Prefer solidarity for what I have said.

  117. El Cid — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:26 pm  

    while we’re on the subject of bollocks, apols for my earlier fat-fingered gaffe when I referred to post-WW2 Russia, when I clearly meant post-WW1

  118. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:32 pm  

    oh and that too, Refresh.

  119. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:45 pm  

    Refresh debates on Islamophobia are always emotional yet my refusal to recognise this form of Racism and discrimination is entirely reasonable. Islamophobia conflates race and religion and more specifically criticism of Islam and discrimination against Muslims.

    When Polly Toynbee an anti-racist of many years wins Islamophobe of the year beating Nick Griffin of all people then the term is beyond satire. Toynbee is a liberal and a feminist so naturally she would be against Burkhas/veil/ and sharia law therefore that makes her a racist for opposing Islamic fundamentalists.

    As for denial when young men blow themselves up on the tube in the name of Islam then martyrdom videos of Tanweer and Siddique Khan admitted that they did it in the name of islam and the ummah then the faith will be criticised. Those Muslims who say such things are unislamic are the ones in denial. They are denying that there is a serious problem with the faith and that 11/9 and 7/7 are examples of bad apples in the barrel but when suicide-murders and religiously motivated violence and oppression take place every day then you have to look at the barrel.

  120. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 10:55 pm  

    ZinZin

    I am warming to you.

    But you are rehearsing all that has gone before – and I made a conscious decision not to keep responding on these matters.

    Think again about what I said about denial. Ponder too on the use of extreme military might, and the use of dogs of war beyond the reach of laws and rights.

  121. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:05 pm  

    Refresh buy another dictionary one with all the “d” words.

  122. Anas — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:20 pm  

    I think Zinzin’s views are shocking, but there’s a certain charm to him/her.

  123. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:20 pm  

    “d” words.

    You’ve lost me. What do you mean?

  124. ZinZin — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

    Denial n:-1 denying the truth or existence of a thing
    2 refusal of a request or wish
    3 disavowal of a leader
    Refresh your definition of denial does not exist.

  125. Refresh — on 29th November, 2006 at 11:35 pm  

    Gosh didn’t think we’d have to resort to dictionaries.

    Oh well – you go your way and I’ll go mine. But do not be surprised if either you have to come to my assistance or mine to yours especially in the world you envisage.

    And I will expect assistance no doubt about it. Yes even from you, because that’s the world I want to build.

  126. Sunny — on 30th November, 2006 at 12:28 am  

    You two, Refresh and Zinzin, are simply pointing fingers at each other and accusing each of denial. Albeit in a polite way. And this is what is so depressing about the current spate of debate in Britain, people are not taking an objective view – everyone is playing the victim card.

    And this is why NGN is needed even more. Absolutely we have to challenge institutional racism. But I’ll do that without the “support” of HuT thanks, and I’ll condemn any idiot leftie who turns a blind eye to prejudice from within minority groups because he/she feels pity for them or thinks progressive movements don’t exist within those communities.

    And if that means I get accused by either side of playing to someone else’s agenda, so be it. We’ll be accused of that anyway. All my life I’ve been accused of being anti-sikh/anti-Hindu/anti-Muslim when I’m neither of them. If you sit in the middle people will fling mud at you from either side. That is the way it is. Doesn’t make me any less determined.

    So can the two of you now please stop bickering.

  127. Refresh — on 30th November, 2006 at 12:46 am  

    Sunny,

    Thanks but there was no bickering and no rancour.

    I think I like ZinZin. Equally I think I could get to like Soru. Bear in mind I did get to like a pretty brutish looking skinhead – because he did eventually get to talk about the issue.

    The point I would like to make to you is very simple – why could YOU as the lead protagonist for NGN not have had that dialogue? Or similar?

  128. Jagdeep — on 30th November, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Theres too many people to reply to here I cant be arsed so take your pick from the following responses:

    - Thanks!

    - Cheers!

    - No problem!

    - That’s not me but thanks anyway!

    - Fuck off!

  129. William — on 1st December, 2006 at 12:30 am  

    Sunny

    “If you sit in the middle people will fling mud at you from either side. That is the way it is. Doesn’t make me any less determined.”

    Sometimes the centre is the most difficult position to take. ‘Thich Nhat Hanh’

  130. William — on 1st December, 2006 at 8:19 am  

    for the last comment

    Just in case people don’t know.

    ‘Thich Nhat Hanh’ is a vietnamese Buddhist monk who protested against the vietnam war. He was friends of Martin Luther King who nominated him for the nobel peace prize. He also recently travelled to the U.S. to ask the government to do their best to stop the Iraq war.

  131. Sunny — on 1st December, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

    Yeah, I googled him and read the Wikipedia. Very good stuff, thanks.

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