30th December, 2005

Why Bangalore?

by Rohin at 3:48 am    

Pickled Politics was one of the first blogs to react to the Delhi blasts, but I thought I’d wait a little before talking about the Bangalore shooting, which took place on Wednesday, so that I might be able to collect some more information.

A college professor was killed by a gunman (gunmen?) who has escaped capture; four were injured. Bangalore has not been targetted in this manner before and the Indian Institute of Science, the location of the shooting, and the city have been taken by surprise. But warning signs were there.

Initial thoughts to explain the target of Bangalore centred around Lashkar-e-Toiba group, responsible for numerous previous attacks or less well known Bangladesh-based terror groups. Some thought the fact that notorious gangster Abu Salem’s arrival in BLR to face polygraph tests and questioning about his involvement in the 1993 Bombay blasts may be related, but authorities soon denied this.

Yesterday Karnataka’s chief minister, N. Dharam Singh, confirmed that the attacks were the work of terrorists, chiefly due to the discovery of sophisticated munitions found; an AK-57, AK-47 casings, an empty automatic magazine and four unexploded grenades were recovered from the scene.

It was subsequently revealed that the government of Karnataka received a warning of a terrorist attack, from the Intelligence Bureau, which had been monitoring LeT operatives in New Delhi. They also considered Jamat-e-Mujaheeddin a threat. However, no information obtained would have been useful in preventing the attack.

But why Bangalore and why the IISc?

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26th December, 2005

The Politics of the Wave

by Rohin at 7:17 pm    

TWELVE months have passed since the sea claimed 250,000 lives in south Asia and east Africa. Services have been held across the world, including many returning to the coastline where their loved ones were lost. As they look out at the peaceful Indian Ocean (left), it is hard to believe a year has already passed.

DesiPundit points visitors to the The World Wide Help Blog which is observing Disaster Remembrance Week to mark a year when nature’s fury wrought havoc around the world. Famine across Africa, Katrina, the Kashmir Quake and the aftermath of the tsunami led to what became known as ‘donor fatigue’. It is also worth bearing in mind today marks the second anniversary of the Bam quake in Iran, which claimed 30,000 and soon slipped from the world’s news.

Many have suggested that we can show our thanks for being safe in our homes by ending this traumatic year with a donation. I shan’t advise you what to do with your money as there are many good causes out there in need of support. However, a brief mention for Tim Worstall, who is running a smart campaign at his blog. Check it out – NO money is needed, just clicks. Google does the rest.

Over the course of this week, I shall be running a series of tsunami-related articles on my personal blog, most of which fall outside PP’s remit. However I thought I’d start by discussing the role of politics since the great wave.

When I worked in tsunami-hit areas around Sri Lanka’s coastline earlier this year, I quickly learnt the politics of the tsunami. Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh in Indonesia represent the two worst-affected regions of Asia and both have been marred by civil conflict for many years. In the past, lax government efforts in the face of natural disaster have precipitated major turning points in the histories of several countries. For example, when East Pakistan was ravaged by a cyclone in 1970, the appalling response of the Pakistani government contributed significantly to the death of 300,000. Some estimates put it as high as 500,000. Either way, the chapter galvanised East Pakistani politics and brought Independence for Bangladesh soon after.

Inside, I take a closer look at how the political climates of Indonesia and Sri Lanka have affected rebuilding lives.

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24th December, 2005

Merry Christmas all!

by Sunny at 10:45 pm    

Merry Christmas and happy new years everyone! Tis the season to party and shop till you drop. Over and out.

Filed under: Uncategorized

“So how do you feel as a British Muslim”

by Ahmad at 10:39 pm    

With the glare firmly on Muslims, media organisations constantly ask the above question. I’m tempted to say – “I feel with my hands thanks!”. What next? “How do you Muslims eat, drink and breathe?”

And the classic line: “Are you British first or Muslim?”

Not only are the questions leading and have a slant, they are as pathetic as asking a 5 year old if they love Daddy or Chips!

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22nd December, 2005

Being a romeo is risky business in India

by Sunny at 11:06 am    

I have a short and slightly embarassing incident to relate. About ten years ago I was on holiday in India, enthusiastically exchanging saliva with my then girlfriend at a secluded area of a park. The ideal place of choice for a new generation.

A bloody policeman spotted us and decided that arresting us was the best course of action under the pretence of ‘soliciting sex’. Wtf! I was persuaded by my gf that paying him off was a more sensible path of action than trying to use his stick to beat him. Anyway, we both escaped unscathed, though I was a bit poorer.

So why I am I relating this silly story? Well it happens all over India, but now the young populace has decided to protest courtesy of a TV sting that caught some unsavoury action in practice…

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21st December, 2005

Iran wins Arab Elections. “Mission Accomplished!”

by Rohin at 3:28 pm    

It wasn’t that long ago that PP was discussing Iran. As many have been predicting since The War on Terrorâ„¢ started to go astray, Iran is now frequently uttered in the same breath as Iraq.

The Iraqi election results should be available at the start of January, but already early returns (which represent 95% of the ballots cast) demonstrate what many had hoped against; the big winners are the Shia and Sunni religious parties, including good ol’ Muqtada al-Sadr, who aren’t all that interested in ‘bringing democracy to the Middle East’. At least not the democracy America has promised Iraq and the world.

The Asia Times Online says:

“the Shi’ite religious coalition [and] the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), not only held together, but also can be expected to dominate the new 275-member National Assembly for the next four years.

More importantly, the “secular” candidates who were believed to enjoy links with the US security agencies would seem to have been routed. Former premier Iyad Allawi’s prospects of leading the new government seem virtually nil. And Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Accord suffered a shattering defeat.” [Link]

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Tiger Taliban

by Rohin at 3:25 pm    

I’ve linked the Asia Times in my next post. When I was perusing the site, their top story caught my attention. As of now, I can’t find a great deal more to substantiate these claims.

Apparently the Taliban-led anti-US resistance, who now reside between Pakistan and Afghanistan, have grown close to the LTTE, or Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. The article claims that al-Qaeda (wait a second, I thought we were talking about the Taliban?) deemed the US Cole attack a failure and as a direct result, sent a team to enjoy the Jaffna gin and Colombo casinos and pick up maritime expertise from those salty sea dogs, the LTTE. More inside.

In other news, the latest issue of Britain’s leading Asian fashion magazine, Asiana, has just come out. Now just take a look at what sits atop their hot-or-not column. That’s right baby, Pickled Politics is HOT. The issue promises its readers the 50 hottest eligible brown bachelors in the UK, but has committed a grave judgement error in the selection of one particularly geeky, malnourished PP staff writer ;)

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20th December, 2005

Bangladesh celebrates independence

by Al-Hack at 12:08 am    

A bit belatedly we cast an eye towards Bangladesh which celebrated its 34th year of liberation this week.

On December 16, 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces surrendered to the joint command of Indian Army and Bangladeshi freedom fighters in Dhaka after a nine-month bloody war for independence of the country. Bangladesh boldly said no to Pakistan, which was formed on the basis of religion and still married to it. Bangladeshis gave their blood to the cause of democracy and secularism, to be free from oppression and to have a separate identity for the Bengali culture that is thousands of years old.

But the victory against the Pakistanis did come with a price. The Bangladeshis will not forget that between March 25 and December 16, 1971 estimated 3 million Bengalees were killed by Pakistani Army and their collaborators, 200,000 women raped and 10 million were displaced. This was the worst genocide after the second world war.

A short history lesson there by Rezwan, rounding up what Bangladeshi bloggers are saying about it now. Read it dammit.

Filed under: South Asia
19th December, 2005

Like a bowlful of jelly!

by Rohin at 2:46 pm    

“Of course Santa Claus is Indian. Think about it yaar, big beard, fat belly, bad suit – INDIAN!”

Click for the larger version

Come Christmas Day, I would far rather be nursing an eggnog-induced heart attack than blogging. Hence I thought I’d get festive little early and give you some background on everyone’s favourite alcoholic mince pie thief. You see, he’s from Asia! Well…Asia Minor.

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Filed under: Culture,Religion

Why Bolivia has suddenly become important

by Sunny at 9:42 am    

The US government and media have been anxiously watching the Bolivian elections for some obvious reasons. Unfortunately for them, Evo Morales, a former coca farmer and the country’s first indigenous Indian President, won the election yesterday.

The news is ‘unfortunate’ for the US administration because Morales has promised to be a “nightmare” for them. Heh, another one to add to the list. I believe this piece of news is important for a few reasons.

Evo Morales has become great friends with Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and Fidel Castro (Cuba) – both hated by the U.S. government – and wants more control over the country’s massive natural gas reserves.

More significantly, Latin America has moved sharply to the left of politics in its recent elections, to the dismay of America, in rebellion against the failed economic polices pushed on to them in the 90s by the World Bank and the IMF with the USA’s blessings.

Privatisation of state companies at cheap prices, laying of thousands of workers in the name of efficiency, letting multinationals exploit national resources, currency and capital flows instability, and being crippled by high debt payments (back to the IMF/World Bank) brought Argentina to its knees a few years ago and threatens many others. The Latin Americans now want greater control and stability over their own economies.

On a broader level it is the slow death of American neo-classical economic theory pushed by Reagan and Thatcher, that by privatisation and letting free-markets reign supreme, wealth would “trickle-down” to the poor. All Latin America got (and Africa is waking up to) was instability and more poverty.

It also reflect a big blind-spot many western economists have: failing to understand that economic policies that may work in one country may fail miserably in another depending on circumstances.

Hugo Chavez (and soon Evo Morales) is hated by the right and some on the left, but he has the popular support of his people. With America’s unfortunate indifference to the impact of the economic policies they prescribe to others, they are losing neighbours and friends fast.

18th December, 2005

Are the Conservatives finally developing sense?

by Sunny at 6:31 am    

I’m not spending half my time on holiday reading British newspapers honest, (though they’re better than even the LA Times), but I couldn’t help this one.

Will David Cameron’s succession to the Tory party mean they will become more friendly towards ethnic minorities, I asked earlier this month, saying he showed plenty of promise going by what he said prior to the election. I may now be proved right.

CameronIn his first interview published in the Observer today, Cameron says he wants to “change the face of the party, with more women and more representatives from black and ethnic minority communities”. On immigration he says:

The principles that the Conservative Party should apply are very clear: we think immigration is very good for Britain; we think that there are clear benefits in a modern economy from having both emigration and immigration, but that net immigration has to have a very careful regard to good community relations and the fair provision of public services.

DC has done three things here: avoided the rubbish and inflammatory rhetoric of his predecessors, laid out the truth on immigration (that it’s a net benefit to the economy), and makes the one distinction most “commentators” fail to do – between immigration and asylum seekers.

I’m passionately committed to giving people who are being tortured and persecuted asylum, and that means not just letting them in, but taking them to our hearts, and feeding and clothing and schooling them.

Bravo! Even the bloody Labour party refused to be so bold during the election last year.

How all this translates into action will have to be seen. His cabinet is unfortunately full of has-beens (IDS, Hague) who had no clue about what to do with immigration/asylum and just peddled the standard rhetoric.

You may ask, why the big interest? Let me explain. Firstly I believe this country has a moral responsibility like any other to try and provide for those avoiding persecution. Specially from the countries we invade. Note that other European countries and the developed world take far more asylum seekers than the UK. India and Pakistan particularly.

Secondly, paranoid attacks (based on speculation not facts) on immigrants/asylum seekers leads to more xenophobia and general ill-will towards all non-whites. If a person thinks their country is being overrun by immigrants (most think 25% of the UK is non-white when it’s only 7.9%), they probably won’t make the distinction between an immigrant or a British-born Asian/African. There are many studies to show the media bias and attacks on immigrants has lead to more racism but I can’t find them now.

Lastly, the Conservative Party is finally moving towards its natural position on this issue: pro-immigration / pro-market. It’s always struck me as amusing that when the economic benefits of controlled immigration are clear, the right-wing political party has traditionally opposed it. It shows their guts rule over their brains, but maybe the Conservatives are finally developing sense.

Though, it would be wise to read Neil Harding’s comment on this made previously.

17th December, 2005

Leaving the comfort zone

by Sunny at 10:18 am    

The world can be a bizarre place sometimes, not always turning out the way you want it to. At such times I’ve always felt better in re-thinking my thoughts and stances than stubbornly hang on to it or pretend it never happened. Others may not always follow this strategy.

Iraqis protested against Al-Jazeera on Thursday for broadcasting a talk-show clip implying the Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani should stay out of politics. Al-Jaz has always been seen as being biased towards Hussain and the insurgents. Most Arabs may of course prefer to ignore that, as they would the fact that their Iraqi bretheren seemed to have embraced democracy with gusto that no one expected.

Those of us against the war have a duty to support Iraqi democracy because it now rests on their will, whatever the original intentions of the idiotic monkey popularly known as George Bush. Providing he doesn’t fuck things up further with more bad intelligence. Those who believed him the first time only have themselves to blame, and those who now slavishly lap up his rubbish may make it again. Many hurdles are still left.

Meanwhile everyone prefers to ignore the bigger problems of environmental degradation and unequal world trade because thinking change there means giving up comforts we are used to. Better to bury our head in the sand and let our politicians host more useless conferences that achieve nothing (while the USA keeps throwing tantrums).

This practise is quite familiar to the Muslim Council of Britain, which apparently stands against oppression worldwide but says very little about the Iranian President’s recent anti-semitism. Too close for comfort maybe. Of course it would help if the Israel administration wasn’t so two-faced about the Palestinians it “accidentally” kills and flouting UN directives, but then trying to get both sides to see sense is a thankless task.

The writers at Harry’s Place faced a similar dilemma yesterday when they admirably interpreted the Australian race riots through a straightforward set of principles, but found not everyone saw it that way. That victim mentality rears its ugly head again.

Everytime there is a problem, people retreat to what they feel safe with. We ignore the Lebanese gangs striving for local turf; Palestinians who want a simple life; women in Australia and Iraq who have become spoils of war between macho men with beer bottles and bombs; police that wants greater power over our lives; and lastly, as my rich uncle in L.A. says, “people who are being dumbed down by the elite through this media”.

I learnt today: if you want enlightenment, first you have to travel. And finally, my apologies for not staying away for too long.

Filed under: The World
16th December, 2005

Iranian President in need of slap

by Al-Hack at 8:41 am    

Siddartha at Golmal Press puts it like this:

When MPACuk makes horrendous racist and anti-Semitic statements in the UK, Muslim Brits should know that at some point they stop speaking on behalf of Muslims and, instead, on behalf of and paying lip service to European ultra-right wing movements. So when Ahmadinejad spouts anti-Semitic garbage, Muslims especially should know that it, and the subsequent political fallout is part of some fucked up political dance of his own making.

Ain’t that putting it nicely? I say the brotha needs a slap. Or get laid. But I prefer the first option. Oh, and well said.

Filed under: Religion,The World

Playing the victim card in Aussieland

by Al-Hack at 8:17 am    

In the comments section of my previous post on the Australian race riots, Kate points to two articles;
1) The Age profiles Alan Jones, Sydney’s highest-rating breakfast radio host, who claims to have “lead the charge” using his show. On air he read out the infamous text message: “Come to Cronulla this weekend to take revenge. This Sunday every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support the Leb and wog bashing day …” There is much more – read the article.

Kate adds: “….the media in Australia for the most part is weak, reprehensible, and sometimes even inflammatory and racist.”

2) She also points to a Mediawatch expose just a few months ago, catching Channel 7 blatantly twisting the words of young Lebanese Muslims to give the impression “they don’t want to integrate”.

On that subject, to hear Melanie “mad dog” Phillips raving about Muslims attacking “indigenous Aussies” was hilarious. I didn’t know the Aboriginies were involved love? Have the sanity pills run out? In fact, has anyone asked the Aboriginies if the white Australians have “integrated” sufficiently into their society.

Remember, this is about poor, blameless, lovely white women being attacked by horrible Muslims and a culture of political-correctness stopping these people from being dealt with. You gotta feel sorry for the poor, opressed (white) Australians ( /French/whoever). ‘Dark days’(tm), she will tell you. It was only a few decades ago that people were complaining about Jews not integrating and being a problem… oh never mind, I doubt Phillips will get the irony.

For a quick laugh, you can read this thread on Harry’s Place where a bunch of racism apologists whine and bleat about being victims, and how this wasn’t neo-nazi activity but a legitimate reaction against Muslims (so it couldn’t be racist, see). Let’s ignore that most “Lebs” in Aussieland are Christian, and they are, at most, .9% of the population. It’s an invasion dammit, and by not spending all their time drinking beer, they’re out to destroy Aussie life.

15th December, 2005

When family become the enemy

by Al-Hack at 7:21 am    

It isn’t well known enough that most rape and sexual abuse of women happens by people they know, usually family members. What we do know is that most South Asian families would rather sweep it under the carpet than confront rape.

It is worse if the parents are not around to protect their children, as it increasingly looks to be the case in Sri Lanka, where about 600,000 women work abroad as maids.

That is a phenomenal number and the money they send home is worth a lot to the Sri Lankan govt. Sunny posted an article on ‘sending money home‘ before. But it sometimes has disastrous consequences for their children, the BBC’s Dumeetha Luthra reports.

Children left at home can be vulnerable to child abuse, incest and other exploitation.

“The mother leaves the children, sometimes with the father. Sometimes, when the father feels lonely, he will try and make use of the children to satisfy his needs,” warns Neeta Ariayaratna.

She works for a local NGO Sarvodya, which runs a home for young unmarried mothers.

The Sri Lankan government should be doing more to recognise the problem and put provisions in place, but this may be one of those cases where mothers would still rather trust families than a govt run home to take care of their children. Some efforts would not go amiss though, right?

Filed under: Culture,South Asia
14th December, 2005

Race riots down under – who’s the victim?

by Al-Hack at 10:03 am    

You knew it was going to happen right? Sunny goes on holiday – race riots break out. But the race riots that began in Cronulla Beach, and are spreading elsewhere, have evoked a not-so-surprising reaction from the blogosphere which goes something like: “Well sure the violence is despicable but do you know these Arabs have apparently been harassing Australian women for ages and go around in gangs – they sort of deserve it.”

You know how some people say that the London bombings cannot be justified by the war in Iraq? Funny that the same are trying to make excuses for Sydney’s new ugly face. Welcome to the new (white) victim mentality on race.

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13th December, 2005

Rupees for questions, blogger shtyle

by Rohin at 1:21 pm    

Sunny has chosen a great time to piss jet off as I’m working silly hours (hint hint other writers!) I briefly wanted to mention some hilarity in the Brown Blogosphere. I realise some of the gags may be a bit too obscure for those who aren’t followers of the main desi blogs, but it’s pretty amusing nevertheless.

A joint sting operation (great phrase) set by CobraPost and Aaj Tak has ensnared eleven Indian MPs. They were bribed by a phantom group, comprised of Indian journos-cum-bloggers. I shan’t write too much as it’s a bit off beat for most of our readers, but the reason I bring it to your attention is one of the questions posed, which cracked me right up:

“Is it true that while NRI firms such as India Uncut of USA, Sepia Mutiny of Britain and AnarCap Lib of Netherlands have been allowed to invest in Indian SSIs, the reputed German investment firm Desipundit has been denied permission? If so, the reasons thereof? Is the Union Government of India planning to make automatic the long procedure of permission for SSIs to import new technologies such as Trackbacks, Pingbacks, Blogrolls, Splogs and Hitcounters?” [Link]

Whilst you may not recognise the ‘NRI firms’ (all blogging colleagues of PP), the thought of an Indian MP asking about importing pingbacks and blogrolls is hilarious! Neil Hamilton never made me laugh this much.

And Anna, Sepia Mutiny’s resident looker, takes the blame for her American site being labelled British:

it’s my fault…all my “s/z” and “o/ou” substitutions…they thought we were even closer to pickled politics than we are. ;)

Lastly – following up on our Imperial College piece, the uni have cracked under surprisingly-vocal-for-Imperial student pressure and caved on the hoodie/face cover ban. I wasn’t challenged once when I wore a hoodie there, although I never launched my main plan of sporting a bulky rucksack and beard. What’s odd is that they’ve also recanted their call for ID cards to be shown. What the hell? How is that unreasonable?

11th December, 2005

On the Islam Channel ‘ummah event’ last week

by Sunny at 5:03 am    

Last week the Islam Channel organised a “global unity” event at Excel where Muslims came in their thousands. The BBC covered it here. But was it really how it was made out to be? What was it really like inside? And were reports in the Jewish press justified? One of our (Muslim) readers writes in with comments on the event.

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Filed under: Religion
10th December, 2005

Christmas is coming early

by Sunny at 7:41 pm    

For me anyway. I’m off on holiday early next week to the US of A for a few weeks to visit family, so coverage may be a bit sparse here. I’m sure you should be spending that time with the family anyway. Mine usually have a massive Christmas dinner with plenty of veggie food for some of us non-meat eaters and I will sorely miss that. But hey, I’ll be spending new year’s eve in Las Vegas so I guess that compensates.

However I may end up in Starbucks (ach-thoo!) a few times and read up on news and blog ocassionally. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s hard to stay away for too long from your blog.

On another note, Justin from Chicken Yoghurt has done a round-up of political blogs that have launched in the second half of this year for The Sharpener. Cheers to Jarndyce for recommending us. They unfortunately missed out Cynical Bastard.

PS – While I’m holidaying, please don’t hesitate to send me links to stories you’ve covered or have seen so I can catch up on news and write about it.

PPS – If any silly people try to ban the word ‘Christmas’ over coming weeks, I hope my comrades in crime will be brutal in their piss-taking.

Filed under: Humour

The tide against Al-Qaeda gets stronger

by Sunny at 5:55 am    

Though the rudeboys in suits and self-important clowns continue to scream hysterically about Zionist conspiracies, Muslims around the world are no longer keeping quiet about their anger against religious militancy.

The bombings in Amman, Jordan, which sparked the huge anti-Zarqawi backlash and support for the USA, has inspired plenty of Jordanians to start blogging and get themselves heard, Black Iris reports.

More bombs in Bangladesh (Rewzan has good analysis) prompted leading Muslim clerics in BD to protest and denounce them. “Islam prohibits suicide bombings. These bombers are enemies of Islam,” the chief cleric, Obaidul Haq, told worshippers. Zulfikar Ali is hoping they won’t become the next Afghanistan, Salam Dhaka reckons the ruling BNP may face a rebellion.

In Indonesia, volunteers from the largest Islamic organisation will guard churches across the country on Christmas amid fears of terrorist attacks on those places.

Here, the biggest legitimate apologists for Al-Qaeda are holding a rally today to demonstrate against the government’s upcoming laws on inciting terrorism. Even most politically active Muslims ignore them on the issue, and when HuT get invited on TV to discuss it, they hide. Not surprising that the MAB is sharing a platform with these extremists.

Lastly, it looks like the rudeboys from MPAC are getting defensive over their Zionist conspiracy bollocks too.

9th December, 2005

Is this too hot for you to handle?

by Sunny at 5:26 am    

“Oh, rosy faced one, are you the personified numen of Respect, Renown or Resplendence, or the Felicitous Lakshmi herself, or oh, curvaceous one, are you a nymphal Apsara, or the numen of Benefactress, or a self-motivated woman, or Rati Devi, the consort of Manmatha, the Love God.

“Your teeth are evenly, smooth and their tips are like jasmine buds, and your whitish broad eyes are spotless, reddish at ends, and pupils are black.

“Your hips are beamy, thighs burly akin to elephant’s trunks, and these two breasts of yours that are ornamented with best jewellery are rotund, rubbing and bumping each other, and they are swinging up and up, their nipples are brawny and jutting out, and they are smoothish like palm-fruits, thus they are covetable for they are beautiful.”

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8th December, 2005

Mossad is coming for you!

by Sunny at 2:43 pm    

David T has been following MPAC’s hysterical rantings since Westminster University banned their “debate” on Zionism.

First the rudeboys were apparently getting death threats, then they blamed a Zionist conspiracy, now its the Israeli secret service Mossad*! Who next? Bets are the Global Illuminati, the Freemasons or Mickey Mouse may also be implicated. Wmin uni has a more sane explanation.

Apparently people at Masjids and Isocs were caught sleeping again. Mpac must have them on CCTV surveillance, it catches them sleeping constantly!
* MPAC have since removed the Mossad article to save face.

Do you hate Islam?

by Al-Hack at 2:03 am    

This is the question the very, very funny Saudi Arabian blogger The Religious Policeman answers on his updated FAQ.

He answers thus:
No, but I detest the people who have hijacked the religion for their own perverted ends, be they Wahabbi fundamentalists or Al Qaeeda terrorists. They don’t represent the vast majority, but are bringing shame on all Muslims. In response to this, Muslims react in one of four ways:

(i) To ignore the problem, to perform their own devotions, but otherwise keep their heads down.

(ii) To deny that there is a problem, or when the problem is obvious, to deny that Muslims are involved, or when it’s obvious that Muslims are involved, to deny that Islam is anything to do with it, or when it’s obvious that Islam is a factor, to say that it’s a “special case”, etc. etc.

(iii) To become apologists. “You need to understand our history / our culture / our being victims of colonization /our persecution etc. etc.”

(iv) To criticize. Again, this makes (i) to (iii) feel very uncomfortable. So internal critics get labelled as “apostates”, “Islamophobes”, “bad Muslims”, “traitors” etc. However, history tells us again and again that (i) to (iii) don’t bring about change; it either comes from internal criticism, or it is forced from outside. And I don’t want to see Islam “reformed” by some neo-conservative Christian fundamentalist “Holy War”.

Filed under: Religion,The World
7th December, 2005

Women in Islam – veils of the mind

by Fe'reeha at 8:22 pm    

One question that I have been asked from everyone about Islam is regarding its message about the role of women.

In fact, it is one question I have often asked myself as a little girl. Coming from a family of three girls which was condoled at male absence by the typical South Asian inquisitors, but raised by a father who never made us feel unequal in any way, I was always dissected by clashing ideas.

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Filed under: Culture,Religion

Will the Tories now become ‘ethnic’ friendly?

by Sunny at 5:10 am    

To the surprise of possibly no one, David Cameron won the Conservative title. What his victory means for the future direction of the country is likely to be discussed to death from here on.

Will a “compassionate Conservative party” mean dropping that nasty anti-immigration agenda and extending a bigger hand to non-white populations and MPs? Others may not think so, but I’m a bit more optimistic, and explain why.

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