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8th June, 2006

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.

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Filed under: Media, Civil liberties
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 ethnicimages.com. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

The Asian ‘brat-pack’

by Sunny at 5:45 pm    

Something a bit more light-hearted for the weekend. Sathnam Sanghera has written a funny article in today’s Financial Times about the British Asian obsession with money, money and boasting about money. He makes a good point.

To find out why so many British Asians in business have egos the size of New Delhi I thought I would talk to Britain’s leading authority on Asian entrepreneurship, Spinder Dhaliwal, a lecturer at the University of Surrey . But while it was reassuring to hear her concede that “there is lots of boasting”, and that “it isn’t the minority that do it either”, I was not satisfied with her explanation that it was all down to “insecurity”.

So I decided to attend the “informal networking evening” after all, for research, and after throwing the subject out for discussion among the uncharacteristically pleasant attendees, I decided there were three central explanations for the phenomenon:
1. Asian culture is incredibly materialistic. …
2. Asians are now so firmly established in business – barely a week passes without the publication of some “Asian rich list” or other…
3. Indian culture remains patriarchal. While boys from birth are never more than two minutes away from fresh chapattis and praise, girls are left in no doubt that they are a burden and will be married off to the first half-sane lad who lollops through the door.

The even funnier thing is this was an event I had organised. Article here. [hat tip: Rakhee]

Filed under: Culture, Humour

Charity, freedom and diversity

by SajiniW at 8:41 am    

Charity, Freedom and Diversity; three perfectly inoffensive states to strive for, much like liberté, egalité and fraternité in France. Our colleagues in the Netherlands have reason to disagree; since these three words have been hijacked by the minority interest party with a difference.

Due to be registered on Wednesday, the Charity, Freedom and Diversity party has vowed to ’shake the Hague’. Formed to fight for the sexual rights of the children and those who wish to love molest them, the party was created as a response to the ’silencing’ of paedophiles after the Marc Detroux scandal in nearby Belgium.

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Melanie Phillips on multi-culturalism

by Sunny at 5:22 am    

I have on various occasions said that ripping apart Melanie Phillips’ arguments is like taking candy from a baby. But so far I’ve had very little to back that up. Yesterday, on the Today programme, Melanie Phillips was brought into a debate against Gautam Malkani, author of the new novel Londonstani, to debate multiculturalism. (listen here)

As she is a pro and has been doing this for quite a while he didn’t stand much of a chance, despite knowing exactly what to say and having superior arguments. Call it stage fright. As he is a mate, this is a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Call it payback.

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Filed under: Media, Race politics
1st June, 2006

MCB to pick a new leader

by Sunny at 6:22 pm    

The Muslim Council of Britain will be electing a new leader this weekend, according to Brian Whitaker. I really, really, really hope it’s not Inayat Bunglawala who replaces him. I would much prefer Ehsan Masood or, even better a woman, Fareena Alam! Though I’m dreaming here of course.

Briain makes a lot of statements in his articles I didn’t agree with, and I pointed that out in response. Make of that what you will.

Update Dr Abdul Bari is elected [thanks, Ismaeel and Blue Desi]

Filed under: Organisations, Muslim

Londonstani versus Londonistan

by Sunny at 12:40 am    

The showdown is here. Who has the better book title and who thought of it first? And will people ever correctly guess which was written by Gautam Malkani and which by Melanie Phillips?

Anyway. Both will be on 8:20am (or so) in the morning on Radio 4’s Today programme battling out their versions of looking at the world. The optimist (GM) versus the pessimist (MP). The badboy from Hounslow versus the badgirl from a mental asylum. I’m clearly going to listen back because I never get up that early. Feel free to dissect.
[interview with GM here]

Filed under: Media
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