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  • 16th June, 2006

    Security panic and loyalty tests

    by Sunny at 3:02 pm    

    From Sid:

    Naeem Mohaiemen, US artist and human rights activist, will be giving two lectures today and tomorrow (7.30pm) on: Post 9/11 Security Panic and Loyalty Tests and the Hawthorn Effect on Activist Films, for the Performance Studies International Conference. He will be showing excerpts from two of his documentary films Fear of Flying and Muslims or Heretics, an examination of the anti-Ahmadiyya attacks in Bangladesh and its causes.

    Worth supporting because anti-Ahmadiyya attacks have long been supressed in the media.

    Filed under: Events
    15th June, 2006

    MCB funding from the Home Office

    by Sunny at 4:06 pm    

    It seems someone recently submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for: “All correspondence with the Muslim Council of Britain in the Home Office policy areas of ‘communities’, ‘security’ and ‘police’ in the last five years.” See here.

    I haven’t seen any media reports about this yet, though it could be for two documentaries that are being made on the MCB. But I did find this:

    Letters between the home office and a high-profile muslim group reveal that the government has given at least £150,000 to it. The muslim council of Britain (MCB), led at the time by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, received the grant after asking the government for £500,000, according to correspondence disclosed under the freedom of information act (FOIA). The financial relationship between the group and the home office is bound to raise questions – especially among muslims – about the MCB’s independence from the government.

    In February last year, a policy advisor at the home office’s ‘cohesion and faith’s unit’ (CFU) sent a letter to the MCB’s treasurer Dr Akber Mohamedali offering the group a grant of £148,160 for the financial year ending the following March.

    The home office set out a series of terms and conditions for the grant, including: “MCB will contribute to policy development work by attending meetings, submitting ideas, debating issues, etc, which may need to be on a strictly confidential basis.”

    The released correspondence shows that, since being offered the £150,000 grant, the MCB has sought more funding from the home office.

    But you can find this all out for yourself, because I’ve gotten hold of the documents and they can be downloaded from here. (2.7MB zip file). If you find anything juicy (haven’t had time due to article deadlines) do let me know.

    A similar request for the Sikh Federation and the Hindu Forum may be a good idea too…

    Filed under: Muslim,Organisations

    Martrydom in Tamil kingdom

    by Sunny at 10:19 am    

    Update: I didn’t know at the time of posting that 60 people have died in SL because of a landmine bomb on a school bus. Truely sad.

    BBC Online has an article on the culture of discipline, death and martyrdom amongst the Tamil Tigers and their fight for “liberation”. There is some talk about how everyone carries a little cyanide capsule with them because death is better than capture.

    “We need to bite into the glass so that it will cut the skin on the inside of our mouth.” His calm, detached explanation is unsettling.

    “Then the cyanide goes into the bloodstream. We’ll be feeling a fizzing at the back of our mouth after about seven seconds and then we die.”

    They are led by the reclusive Velupillai Prabhakaran, accused of building an organisation around a personality cult. He is called the great leader and his picture is everywhere in rebel held areas.

    Anyone who wants to join the suicide Black Tiger squad has to write him a letter of application. Before they carry out their suicide missions they are granted a meal with him. Religion is banned, as is alcohol and smoking. By claiming to be the sole representatives of the Tamil people, he has steeped the entire culture into one of self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

    Many Tamils see the Tigers as a necessary evil. Time and again I have heard this view expressed: “I don’t agree with them totally, but as a Tamil we would have been wiped out without them putting our cause on the map.”

    The last paragraph is interesting in the way it can relate to every murderous organisation, whether state sanctioned or some religious nutters.

    My view is however that tolerating “necessary evil” is a bad idea. You either forge a path with the right ideals from the beginning or you will forever be enveloped in evil. Hence I don’t buy any ideology that says suicide bombers are necessary to make the people’s voices heard. The violence ends up being so central to the struggle that it takes over and finds justification even if the goal has been achieved. Just say no kids.

    Filed under: South Asia,Sri Lanka
    14th June, 2006

    On Islamic banking

    by Sunny at 8:09 pm    

    Lloyds TSB has joined the Islamic Banking market:

    Lloyds TSB is bidding for Britain’s 2 million Muslims by making sharia-compliant current accounts and mortgages available from any branch nationwide.

    Today’s announcement came the day after Gordon Brown addressed the Islamic finance and trade conference to promote Britain as a centre for Islamic finance.

    The chancellor said that British banks were “pioneering” Islamic banking. “London now has more banks supplying services under Islamic principles than any other Western financial centre,” Mr Brown said. [via Shuggy]

    I remember talking to a friend who had researched Islamic finance and said the way most modern financial institutions interpret it, including Muslim ones, went against the spirit. Surely the whole point of interest free banking is that you avoid giving rise to massive financial institutions that makes billions on profits every year (like HSBC and Lloyds, ironically)?

    Harry Hutton says it better:

    With an Islamic mortgage, for example, the bank buys the house then “rents” it to you. Some of this “rent” goes towards buying the bank’s share of the house, until eventually you own it. Just like a normal mortgage. But because the bank is technically the owner, you have not, technically, borrowed any money. On paper, you and the bank are both still eligible for heaven.

    You would need to have a pretty low opinion of our creator to think He could be taken in by this type of scheming. If God said no usury, presumably He meant it. If you think you can outwit Him with such a transparent piece of sophistry he will surely lightning you.

    So I’m stumped. Financial institutions in the Middle East do the same; devise financial instruments to avoid calling it “interest”, right? What is going on?

    Filed under: Economics,Religion

    Madeleine Bunting leaving Guardian

    by Sunny at 4:41 pm    

    Oh crap.

    Madeleine Bunting is leaving the Guardian to become director of thinktank Demos. The Guardian columnist and associate editor, who also wrote for the Catholic magazine Tablet, takes up the post on September 4.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Ms Bunting even though she’s been too nice at times to people such as Al-Qaradawi, so I don’t view this with delight.

    Filed under: Media

    In defence of conspiracy theorists

    by Kismet hardy at 3:24 pm    

    Granted, they drive you to tedium during any conversation other than ones made around a sparked joint, but are conspiracy theorists really just a bunch of nutbars spouting paranoid nonsense, or are we actually helping to grease the secret propaganda machine by dismissing them so readily?

    Without wanting to get lost in the folds of CRAP (Claim, reasoning, assumption and proof), let’s get one thing straight first: People believe what makes sense to them. Whether you believe Allah likes to stamp his presence inside aubergines, Jim Morrison swapped his leathers for Pringle jumpers to become David Icke, or that the Saudis packed bombs inside the underpants of known trouble makers then duped them into thinking they were off for a jolly to Disneyland on the 11th of September – every ‘truth’ we accept comes from our own belief structure. This applies to religion, politics, world events, even the gossip you hear about your colleague’s sexuality over a fag break. We believe what we want to believe.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Humour,Media
    13th June, 2006

    Sunny the Islamophobe and “brown sahib”

    by Sunny at 4:10 pm    

    In my comment is free article last week, where I accused Inayat Bunglawala and Faisal Bodi of whining, both came on to respond in the comments. Inayat was civil as usual. Faisal Bodi was quite amusing as always, and typically bereft of any intelligence.

    He starts off with: “I have very little respect for people who designate themselves according to their ethnicity. Unlike religions, or philosphies, they’re not exactly a meaningful basis on which to build an identity or on which to construct your life.” That was his hilarious line of attack. He follows up with rambling posts that include lines such as:

    How do we help police? That’s the wrong question, Sunny. The problems police are facing in dealing with terrorism stem from bad legislation which turns every Muslim into a potential terorrist, just for believing that Palestinians have a right to self-defence or for supporting the violent overthrow of a tyrannical regime.

    And the Guardian pay this imbecile to write article for them? Anyway, that wasn’t the best bit.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Religion

    Outdoors and Free!

    by Leon at 4:09 pm    

    This isn’t a proper post more a public service announcement. On another site I frequent a regular poster has posted a ton of events happening accross London this summer. All are outside and all are free!

    Some dates for the diaries here.

    This weekends entries include:

    Sat 17 June
    Tottenham Carnival
    Bruce Castle Park, Tottenham, N17
    An afternoon of live family entertainment, in the historic grounds of Bruce Castle Park N17 including YESS Soundsystem

    Sat 17 June
    Reclaim the Beach Concrete Boots
    “An evening of pissing about in the Thames!
    Yes, the river Thames… on the washed up beach underneath Festival Pier, outside the Royal Festival Hall, by Waterloo Bridge
    From 9pm-ish till the tide says stop!
    (we said 7pm before, but it would mean everyone drowning!)
    This is obviously a free event, but it is weather permitting.
    Please phone our partyline number 07092 041071 on the day to confirm!!!”

    Sun 18 June
    West London Green Festival
    Parsons Green, SW3
    Live music throughout the afternoon from the pedal powered stage, children’s activities, vegetarian and organic food, showcase technology, arts and crafts and community campaigns.

    Sun 18 June
    Celebrating Sanctuary 2006
    Bernie Spain Gardens, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 (adjacent to Oxo Tower Wharf)
    The Annual Free Festival Celebrating the Art and Culture of London’s Refugee Communities. Part of Refugee week

    Filed under: Culture,Events

    Surprise surprise!

    by Al-Hack at 9:24 am    

    Own up. Who was actually surprised the two brothers from Forest Gate were let go without charge?

    Police have defended the raid and said inquiries are ongoing.

    Officers are continuing their search for chemical materials elsewhere after finding nothing at the house in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate, since the operation on 2 June.

    While Melanie Phillips is desperately trying to cover her tracks, Sir Ian Blair’s competence is being questioned for the 1044th time. In the last 10 days. The Guardian has some helpful stats showing why if you’d bet on the pair being terrorists then you would have been cleaned out:

    According to the Home Office, up to 30 September 2005, 895 people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000; of those 23 have been convicted of terrorism offences.

    To those baying for blood, everyone is a potential terrorist. Better lock ‘em all up just in case. Even when…

    Mrs Mohammed said: “They strip-searched my son Jamie, who was 14, and patted down my daughter, who has special needs. She had been scribbling on a piece of junk mail, and it was just squiggles, and they found it and said it was Arabic code. We had a DIY bag with hammers and stuff in it and they said that was bombmaking equipment.”

    Who trains these people? Saudi Arabians?

    Filed under: Civil liberties
    12th June, 2006

    US army in deranged comment shock

    by Al-Hack at 10:38 am    

    Do you laugh or cry?

    The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says.

    Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair. “They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,” he said.

    “They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

    Either this administration’s people are on mind-warping drugs or Michelle Malkin is the new speech writer.

    Words of wisdom by our peers:
    Robert Sharp: “Taking the American analysis of the situation at face value, we must conclude that the ‘warfare’ waged by these prisoners was successful. It is clear a strategy must be developed to protect decent people from similar ‘attacks’”

    PDF: “Damn those evil terrorists, doing themselves in just to spite us,” say the Americans.”

    PaulJ: “Well, there you have it. I mean, how do you win a war against a enemy who kill themselves before you get the chance? Frankly I reckon the US might as well throw in the towel right now…”

    Curious Hamster: “Perhaps more frightening than that though, is the fact that we’re governed by people who appear to have no understanding of the very things they claim to be defending.”

    Forced marriages and forced rape

    by Sunny at 12:02 am    

    Last week the government decided not to criminalise the specific act of forcing someone into a marriage. At present parents can only be prosecuted on charges of kidnap, false imprisonment, physical abuse or rape.

    The more I think about it the more annoyed I get at the continuing stupidity of this government, their cronies and their idiotic advisors. Yes it is an issue fraught with complication and emotion but once again Labour has fallen victim to an army of Asian apologetics who prefer this muddle and like to pretend that the practice of forced marriages “is very rare”. What bullshit. We know its widespread but no one wants to admit it.

    Continue Reading...
    10th June, 2006

    Weekend open barbeque thread

    by Sunny at 1:31 pm    

    …because there is only one activity worth doing this weekend apart from watching football. Bring on the vegetarian burgers in pitta bread…. *drool*

    And if you’ve been missing Rohin (because I certainly haven’t *cough*), he should be back soon as his exams finished this weekend and he should be currently getting absolutely plastered.

    Filed under: Uncategorized
    9th June, 2006

    Stop the whining

    by Sunny at 5:40 pm    

    We have been plagued by incessant whining on the Guardian’s pages and elsewhere for the past week, and to be frank, yours truly is getting rather tired of it.

    Faisal Bodi managed it thrice in one week, which was quite an achievement. First he complains about John Ware’s upcoming Panorama programme. He neatly ignored why Britons have a right to be worried about funding Hamas, or what was factually incorrect with the programme, and instead call it one-sided.

    Continue Reading...

    When you don’t research properly

    by Sunny at 10:30 am    

    I usually try and avoid using PP to take take personal digs at other bloggers, but I couldn’t resist this time, sorry. I really tried, honest.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Humour
    8th June, 2006

    Behind the BNP’s respectable mask

    by Sunny at 6:15 pm    

    It may come as no surprise that while the British National Party’s goons try to display an air of respectability, they hide nasty views behind that facade. During local election night Nick Griffin even told David Dimbleby that he was not racist. Yeah, we believe him even if millions won’t.

    But finding out what BNP party members think in private is more difficult as they have been careful in cultivating a respectable media image of late. Not unlike Hizb ut-Tahrir in that respect.

    But Unity at Ministry of Truth has done a brilliant exposé on the BNP councillor Simon Smith of Great Bridge in Sandwell [via David T]

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP

    A very bad taste in the mouth

    by Sunny at 2:29 am    

    As the police twist and turn and release statements almost in guilt, while the press keep conjuring up desperate excuses to back them up, I become increasingly dis-illusioned with the east London raid, like Sid.

    Every Asian I’ve talked to about the raid has given me that knowing look saying, “they’re gonna find nothing. It is the ricin case all over again”.

    The case stank from the very beginning as the media reports came in.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Civil liberties,Media
    6th June, 2006

    Here we go again…

    by Sunny at 7:41 pm    

    On Sunday meanwhile, in central London, groups of Sikhs peacefully commemorate the anniversary of 1984 and show how mature they have become. Or not.

    India flag

    Taken from Another friend who went said he was constantly harassed by those taking part in the “protest”.

    Filed under: Organisations,Sikh

    Muslims in MI5

    by Shariq at 4:08 pm    

    Muhammed Abdul Bari was interviewed on Radio 5 Live last night. The beginning was rather ho-hum as Dr Bari went over the usual talk over anger in the community and engaging with the youth. However the conversation perked up when Henry Bonsu asked whether Muslims should answer MI5 ads looking to recruit them.

    Not surprisingly Dr Bari tried to evade the question. However Anita Anand sensed she was on to something and repeated it. This was followed by some more evasion and vague references to the community. Eventually on the third time of asking, Dr Bari managed to put together a somewhat coherent answer.

    Continue Reading...

    Misreporting Iran

    by Sunny at 4:20 am    

    If, heaven forbid, a war was declared on Iran, you can be sure that the Daily Torygraph would be its biggest cheerleader. In fact it would probably ask readers to donate money to the war effort. On Sunday Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressed the nation and excerpts of his speech was carried in newspapers.

    I agree with Juan Cole when he says: I should think it is obvious that I loathe Khamenei and his regime, but I suppose I have to say so yet again in today’s wretched intellectual environment. I find Khamenei’s claims that Iran does not abuse human rights to be particularly offensive.

    What is interesting however is what the Ayatollah said but the Telegraph and Times deliberately neglected to mention. As Garry Smith points out:

    In his speech, Khamenei denied that Iran wanted to develop a nuclear bomb. This denial has been ignored by the Times and given short shrift by the Telegraph. Neither reported that Iran’s Supreme Leader called the use of nuclear weapons “against Islamic rules” (again).

    Khamenei also said this: “We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any government.”

    Strangely, the media are even less keen on reporting that. In fact, neither the Times nor the Telegraph bothered to mention it at all.

    After Iraq and the 45 minutes nonsense, would it be too much to expect honest coverage rather than unquestioning acceptance and repetition of government spin? Sadly, it appears that it is.

    BBC has excerpts from the speech.

    5th June, 2006

    Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari

    by Leon at 4:47 pm    

    Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, now President of the MCB stakes his claim on the hearts and minds of young Muslims:

    “One of my first priorities will be to engage young people in our mosques and other institutions as volunteers and trustees. If they have ownership, they feel as if they belong to Britain’s Muslim community. It might be one way to turn them away from extremism.” [Guardian]

    Community leadership at it’s best; get ‘em while they’re young! Various religions try this tactic to shore up growing disillusionment or falling numbers at church/temple/etc.

    I can’t help feel that while his intentions may be good his understanding is misguided. By focusing on a new “problem” with old means the MCB is bound to repeat past mistakes or errors of judgment. They are also looking to marginalise themselves in the long run and help create the very “extremists” they seek to oppose. How? By offering only a conservative framework for British Muslims, they offer no new or relevant alternatives. How can they offer dissent against British foreign policy when they are seen as a mouth piece for pacifying the Muslim community? What will a young Muslim person learn in a Mosque about the realities of life in a modern and diverse country such as ours?

    Young people are far from stupid. Their frustrations with Britain need a new outlet, one that Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari and the MCB aren’t cut out to facilitate. In the long term they will decide for themselves how they wish to be defined, to be organised and express what they think.

    Profile here and a new Wiki page (courtesy of yours truly!) here, feel free to contribute.

    American troops and the Haditha massacre

    by Sunny at 4:24 am    

    You may have by now heard of the Haditha massacre in Iraq. The Observer reported yesterday:

    The US military is now involved in at least three separate investigations into its own soldiers’ conduct in Iraq that may illegally have led to the deaths of Iraqi civilians. It is widely expected that more incidents will be uncovered. The most serious is the alleged massacre of 24 civilians in the Sunni town of Haditha by a unit of marines. The victims included women and children who were shot after a roadside bomb hit a convoy and killed a US soldier.

    Last week it was revealed that two more incidents have also been under investigation. The first is the death of 11 Iraqis during an American raid near Balad in March. The dead included five children. The second inquiry involves seven US marines and a sailor in the death of an Iraqi civilian near Baghdad in April. It is believed the man was dragged from his home and shot before an AK-47 and a shovel were placed next to his body to make it look like he was an insurgent.

    Continue Reading...
    4th June, 2006

    Late weekend open sulking thread

    by Sunny at 6:57 pm    

    Only so we can stop certain individuals *cough*Kismet hardy*cough* taking over other threads and talking about male genetalia. And Katy Newton encouraging him.

    Filed under: Uncategorized

    Videogames don’t kill people…

    by Sunny at 5:43 pm    

    Sarbloh Warriors is a pioneering Sikh computer game, the first of its kind anywhere. Currently under development, it will combine the latest 3D action technology with the historical setting of 18th century Northern India. Based on true events of the period, a story has been created to take the player back in time, and experience how bands of Sikhs were forced to fight back from the brink of extinction, using typical weaponry of the time against the Imperial forces of Mughal India.

    I was going to post about this game earlier, but a discussion here has prompted the BBC Asian Network to run a discussion tomorrow morning (9am) to ask if such things should be banned.

    Continue Reading...
    3rd June, 2006

    East London raid

    by Al-Hack at 7:12 pm    

    The Guardian: The raid on an east London house in which police shot a man yesterday was carried out because intelligence suggested that a viable chemical or biological weapon could be inside, according to counter-terrorism sources.

    More than 250 officers swooped on the house in the early hours, after a two-month surveillance operation led by MI5. Security sources say the timing of the raid was dictated by fears that an attack on a British target using an unconventional weapon could be staged soon. The shot man and a man believed to be his brother were arrested under the Terrorism Act.

    The Times: A desperate search is under way for a “chemical vest” that a British suicide bomber was ready to deploy in a terror attack on London.

    Police fear that the strike, using a home-made chemical device, was imminent after an informant told MI5 that he had seen the lethal garment at the home of two young men.

    MPAC: If British intelligence is anything to go by, we can only hope the sleeping Muslims of East London will wake up and rise against the tyrrany being perpetrated against our youth in the name of combating terrorism.

    In Canada, CTV reports: In a sweeping raid, police arrested about a dozen men in the Toronto area on terrorism-related charges Friday night, the RCMP announced.

    Intelligence sources allege the men were part of a terrorist cell, close to carrying out attacks on one or more Canadian targets. Police seized chemicals used to make explosives and weapons.

    The suspects are either second-generation Canadians or recently immigrated to Canada with their families.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    2nd June, 2006

    India: HIV Nation

    by SajiniW at 11:15 pm    

    Recent reports from the UNAIDS foundation have estimated that 5.7 million Indians are living with the potentially fatal HIV virus. The statistics were collated at the end of 2005, making India the nation with the greatest number of HIV carriers. It is closely followed by South Africa, where one in ten adult population is infected with the virus.

    The epidemic is unevenly distributed across India, with just six states accounting for 80 per cent of the estimated cases. The epidemic is thought to have spread from high-risk groups, such as sex workers and injecting drug users, to the general population.

    Whilst campaigns to step-up condom use amongst sex-workers has helped, the general reluctance to promote barrier contraception and sex education amongst the general population has slowed down the fight.

    As DrMonkey says, it is irrelevant whether India takes the top spot or not, the real problem is feeling that “promotion of condom use and safe sex will only increase promiscuity.”

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