31st August, 2006

I’d like to see that in a Bollywood flick

by Al-Hack at 7:35 pm    

Filed under: Humour

The first match

by Sunny at 3:52 pm    

This, from the first One Day International between England and Pakistan, abandoned due to rain. Just as well really because England were looking to get thrashed.

More pictures from here.

Filed under: Sports

Politics? No way maaan, let’s ‘ave some fun!

by Leon at 12:39 pm    

Sunny has kindly taken the reins off the heavy political opining and suggested we lighten up a bit for a day or so. Great idea!

This thread is dedicated to that end; a kind mash up of the open weekend thread and a ‘tell us what you’ve found on the net’ thread. Go wild, post up your musings (Kismet Hardy stand ready!), your random babblings or any cool websites/blogs you’ve come across.

One condition; NO POLITICS!

Your time is now folks, use it well. ;)

Filed under: Culture,Humour,The World
30th August, 2006

Chavez supports Syria against US

by Leon at 4:42 pm    

Oh dear. Chavez, angling for his UN Security Council seat, is really scraping the barrel with this lot:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has pledged to stand by Syria in opposition to what he said was US “imperialist aggression” in the Middle East. He said he and Syria would strive to build a world free of US domination.

“We have decided to be free. We want to co-operate to build a new world where states’ and people’s self-determination are respected,” Mr Chavez said after meeting President Assad.

“Imperialism’s concern is to control the world, but we will not let them despite the pressure and aggression,” he said. [Via BBC News]

This doesn’t really track with the reality of countries like Syria or China. So there you have it. The reverse of Blair and Bush is Chavez and some of the most authoritarian regimes on the planet. Great set of choices we have isn’t it?

Muslim Jewish interaction

by Sunny at 4:11 pm    

I’m a bit snowed under with work right now so it’s difficult to write anything original; hence the regurgitation of news and blogs. Pickled Politics’ one year anniversary is coming up and I’m preparing a series of articles towards our goal – to have a more informed discourse regarding current affairs.

Meanwhile, some interesting posts. Thabet points towards a rabbi defending shariah. He makes some good points on that article, as well as this one regarding the forced conversion of those Fox News journalists.

From there I ended up at Tariq Nelson, who points to Kashif, who is embarassed to find that lots of previously held assumptions about passages in the Jewish Talmud turned out to be false. Dodgy Jewish articles indeed. He was inspired by Umar Lee, who was uncomfortable at an anti-Israel meeting where he argued for peace but the lefties clearly don’t want to hear it:

I see no bright future when you have the Pro-Israel side lining up to vilify all Arabs and Muslims and cheerleading for Israel like an arrogant Yankees fan and you have the pro-Palestinian side sitting like the old hopeless Red Sox fans cheering the team on no matter what. Does anyone care about truth? Not many, from what I have seen, and most of those who do aren’t the voices you will hear the loudest (and aren’t Muslim with few exceptions).

At least he tried. The sooner everyone realises an alliance with the racist extreme left (and extreme right) will get us all nowhere the better.

Also worth reading on Iraq: Mash on Donald Rumsfeld’s moral confusion and the silliness of our own ministers and army generals, at Curious Hamster.

New details in airline plot

by Sunny at 12:30 am    

The Guardian is reporting that a New York Times article with new details from the recent plot to blow up airlines is not visible to British web users because of legal issues. See here.

So I did the obvious thing and used an anonymiser to get the article.

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Current affairs
29th August, 2006

Censoring on behalf of Muslims

by Sunny at 2:11 pm    

A Bangladeshi-British photographer is complaining that her work has been censored by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. A documentary work made in Bangladesh by Syra Miah and shown as part of the museum’s Art and Islam exhibitions was removed because it contained an image of a semi-naked woman.

The museum said it had been advised some days after the show opened to the public on July 8 that the image could offend a Muslim audience. However, Ms Miah, 29, rejected the suggestion. The image had not been mentioned by visitors in the museum’s comments book, on its website, or indeed by her own family, “who are very conservative”, she said. [The Guardian]

Another example of annoying liberals who censor on our behalf. Tasneem Khalil, who alerted me about this, says:

In a nutshell, it looks like exploring new faces and tendencies of “Muslim art”, what should have been the primary focus of the exhibitors, is trashed, while they are instead fuelling the myth of a Muslim society’s intolerance towards nudity. That, one must confirm, is intolerance and idiotic patronizing, at its worst.

Blunkett backs Brum power

by Leon at 12:50 pm    

It is always disconcerting when a “shameless authoritarian” like David Blunkett comes out with a generally agreeable idea. Take his latest attempt to get himself back in the headlines (yes I am that cynical when it comes to him) for instance.

Continue Reading...
28th August, 2006

Violent pro-war Buddhists

by Sunny at 10:17 am    

No really, they do actually exist. A Sri Lankan peace rally in which “saffron-clad Buddhists monks and Catholic priests and nuns in white [were] joined by Muslim and Hindu leaders” was disrupted by angry pro-war Buddhist monks.
Fistfights ensued. A tragic-comedy perhaps? [via Akram's Razor]

Filed under: Sri Lanka
27th August, 2006

Parallel media worlds

by Sunny at 10:00 pm    

Amidst all the talk of “terror on an unimaginable scale”, “beards of terror” and “terror of terrors to beat all terrors”, the media industry has been asking whether young Muslims have been alienated by the mainstream media and turning to what documentary filmmaker Navid Akhtar called the “digital ghetto”.

The central premise to this idea is that young Muslims are turning to the likes of PTV Prime, Islam Channel, Q-News magazine, Zee TV, Eastern Eye and other “ethnic media” for their consumption, creating parallel worlds where they pay very little attention to the national conversation.

I briefly examine the issues involved, tying in with an article I’ve written for tomorrow’s Guardian paper.

Continue Reading...

Wiring up villages

by Sunny at 8:06 pm    

It looks like the Dalai Lama and his exiled Tibetan followers may be hooked up to wireless internet earlier than most of us Britons if they have their way. Soon followed by forwarded email jokes, complaints about spam email selling v!agra and arguments over email netiquette of course. Dharamsala, a hill-station where he resides in the state of Himachal Pradesh, is hosting the AirJaldi summit in October.

The AirJaldi Summit will address some of the ways that wireless solutions can be used to provide affordable Internet access in rural communities. The conference will focus on the advantages that wireless networks can provide, by enhancing the quality of education, governance and health-care, increasing economic development, and promoting cultural exchange. Special emphasis will be placed on identifying best practices for rapidly increasing connectivity for regions most in need. [via Sharif]

And it’s not even that expensive to attend. Our US comrade Taz points to United Villages a similar initiative to wire up villages in India and Cambodia.

Filed under: Events,South Asia
26th August, 2006

It’s the weekend all hail the-spider-conqueror thread!

by Katy at 5:28 pm    

Last week I told you that a Very Large Spider had made its presence known, much to the chagrin of the Chairwoman, only to make its escape into the Da Vinci Code-like catacombs beneath Chateau Newton, not to be seen again. Who can tell what varied, exciting, sometimes-tragic-sometimes-comic adventures it might have enjoyed in the gloomy depths beneath sunny Barnet in the last seven days? Not I. All I can tell you is that it suddenly reappeared directly over my head in the sitting room this afternoon.

I have to say that the Chairwoman was not wrong. It really was one of the largest spiders I had ever seen, and this might explain why, when it suddenly lost its grip on the ceiling and descended kamikaze-like towards my head, I screamed, ran out of the room and jumped up and down on the spot in the dining room making squeaky noises instead of tracking its trajectory. By the time I had crept back into the sitting room it had disappeared again. (more…)

Filed under: Current affairs
25th August, 2006

The new TWA offence

by Sunny at 6:00 pm    

TWA being Travelling While Asian of course. It isn’t surprising to find some journalists trying to imply that the two Asian men who got pulled off the plane from Malaga did it deliberately. After all, who really wants to go along with the narrative that some of those passengers may have been paranoid racist. They were wearing heavy clothes! And now they’re being paid for TV appearances! Guilty! And now this:

The Dutch ambassador to India has expressed regret for the arrest of 12 passengers whose India-bound plane was diverted to Amsterdam after their behavior triggered fears of a hijacking, a government minister said on Friday.

The 12 men, all Muslims, were, however, cleared of any wrongdoing and released and their families said they were victims of racial discrimination. The men were arrested on Wednesday from a U.S. Northwest Airlines flight that was turned back to Amsterdam after they apparently behaved suspiciously. [via SM]

Readers, who presumably call themselves progressive, tell us how all this is to be expected and will improve conditions and castigate us for ‘racial snobbery’ over the Malaga incident. How amusing. A few points.

1) Where is the evidence racial profiling will work? Examples of El Al or football hooligans don’t work folks. It has never worked in relation to young black youth. Funny that Joseph Harker was castigated for profiling a few months ago but now apparently it’s ok.

2) Islam is not a race. Thus racial profiling will not work. So far it has led to two young guys, airline pilots, whole families and 12 men being taken off, all out of paranoia. I’m happy to ramp up airport security but not about mob rule.

3) All this does is create even more antagonism through police harassment. No doubt Ruth Kelly will then unveil another commission to promote cohesion while giving a green light to racial profiling.

Filed under: Civil liberties

Umpire offers resignation for cash

by Sunny at 4:37 pm    

How utterly bizarre and hilarious:

Darrell Hair, the umpire at the centre of the ball-tampering controversy, offered to resign from the International Cricket Council’s elite umpiring panel if he was paid $500,000.

Hair was the umpire who accused Pakistan of ball-tampering at The Oval last Sunday. He and his fellow umpire Billy Doctrove first penalised Pakistan five runs for ball-tampering and then judged they had forfeited the match by failing to halt a sit-in protest when play was due to resume.

Inzi may have behaved like a school kid but I still don’t see the need for a disciplinary hearing. [hat tip: Sahil]

Filed under: Humour,Sports

Elsewhere…

by Sunny at 2:47 am    

The government yesterday launched another lame attempt to engineer Britons into shiny happy people. The Commission for Integration and Cohesion has been told to come up with with proposals for tackling extremism and improving community relations by June 2007. It includes chairman Darra Singh, who seemed to have no clue about direction when interviewed (fwd 5 min), and Ramesh Kallidai of the Hindu Forum. Just great. Anyway, I’ve written an article for comment is free deriding it.

Later today I’ll be on Radio 4′s The Message at 1:30pm discussing how the media covers ethnic minority issues and whether there is a “digital ghetto“.

Filed under: Current affairs,Media
24th August, 2006

Leadership troubles

by Sunny at 4:53 pm    

Ehsan Masood has written another highly sensible article (the man doesn’t stop) for the Sept edition of Prospect magazine.

One of the problems we face in the search for better community relations is our insistence on sticking to the idea of the “community leader.” In a modern democracy, the idea that there is such a thing as a community leader and that he has the ability to prevent extremism among “his people” continues to be an important plank of government policy. But it needs rethinking.

A man definitely after our own heart. Politicians and media please take note: this also applies to Hindu and Sikh groups.
[Hat tip: David T in the comments]

Racial Divisions on Reality TV

by SajiniW at 4:32 pm    

Boob jobs, hair extensions, promo girls and a wacky Paki poof – whoever said reality TV had to be representative?

The days of Perfect Pete and his cast of admirers are all but over – their shine has been tarnished by the twenty “castaways” about to take part in the 13th season of US ‘Survivor’.

In response to public demand for more ‘representative’ programming, the CBS production team decided to categorise the contestants according to their ethnicity, turning ‘criticism into creativity’.

The contestants will be segregated into four “tribes” of blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos when the hit programme returns on 14 September.

Whether the experimental nature of this competitive programme will bring the best out in the ‘tribes’ remains to be seen. ‘The premise of Survivor is not a friendly contest and it’s tempting in that setting to nurture stereotypes”.

I’m not sure whether I agree with the words of La Raza (Latino Civil Rights Organisation). Many successful teams and companies, let alone social groups are ethnically similar, according to surveys such as these – so what exactly are we afraid of when putting this out on air?

Filed under: Current affairs
23rd August, 2006

My temple is bigger than yours

by Sunny at 8:35 pm    


A picture of the largest Hindu temple in Europe, opening in the West Midlands from today with a five-day religious festival. The design is based on one of the holiest sites in the Hindu world, the Tirupati-Tirumala Temple in India.
BBC News story 1 and story 2. More pictures.

Filed under: Religion

What has happened to the Labour Muslim vote?

by Leon at 4:35 pm    

Interesting insight into polling Muslim voters; mainly because it casts doubt on all those headline grabbing polls about what Muslims in the UK think etc. I’ve always been suspect of polling, the choice of wording, the current climate and the way the data is collated can all distort factual outcomes.

Anyway, Anthony Wells has this to say…

Continue Reading...

The boys from Malaga

by Sunny at 1:20 pm    

Sohail Ashraf and Khurram Zeb, both 22, who were pulled off flight 613 to Malaga recently, have given an interview to the Daily Mirror.

Sohail – who was marched off the Monarch flight to Manchester at gunpoint – said: “My first reaction was to laugh when I was told why we had been taken off the plane. Then I realised they were deadly serious.”

Despite their ordeal, the pair do not blame the paranoid passengers. Forgiving Sohail said yesterday: “These are nervous times and I can understand why people are so panicked.

“All I would say is, ‘Don’t be paranoid. Don’t judge every book by its cover’. We might be Asian, but we’re two ordinary lads who wanted a bit of fun.”

I’m glad that they’re behaving with more maturity than the other passengers.

Filed under: Civil liberties

The game should go on

by Fe'reeha at 2:28 am    

Pakistan spoils their cricket stars like over-protective mothers. However, when emotions run so high, there is time to infuse some sense, in particular when they can endanger political sensibility.

I am against the decision to return late to the ground. I believe that the Australian umpire’s attitude was objectionable and his behaviour would have infuriated anyone in the team’s place.

However, it was sad to see Pakistani cricket players acting like a bunch of school boys upset with a strict teacher.

Continue Reading...
22nd August, 2006

A rational reponse?

by Sunny at 10:24 am    

People are pretty rational beings. Or at least, they generally behave in rational ways to how they are treated. You repeat something enough times, they will start to believe it. Tell them immigrants are taking their houses and jobs, they will become intolerant.

Blow up people on the tubes, they will react with suspicion towards Muslims. Lie and cover up previous ‘terrorist plots’ and they will react with suspicion at the next one. Lie about why you went to war and they will not support your foreign policy. Constantly play up “imminent terror” and people will start getting suspicious of coloured folks on planes.

So it should come as absolutely no surprise that Labour is losing support on its policies.

Continue Reading...

New in-flight entertainment options

by Sunny at 3:58 am    

Inflight entertainment
[from BBDO]

Filed under: Humour
21st August, 2006

We fully reject police profiling

by Sunny at 2:40 pm    

“The reality is that profiling in one form or another has always existed in policing and football hooligans are only one example. I have no doubt that the Home Secretary predicted negative knee-jerkism at the slightest hint of profiling, but it is a sad state of affairs that this has come from a high ranking police officer at such a sensitive time.

“In dismissing profiling before making a dispassionate analysis of the evidence – good and bad, positive and negative – I fear Mr Dizaei is displaying the same mindset as his colleague Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur: blissful ignorance.”

He continued: “Cheap, sensationalist soundbites about creating an offence of ‘travelling whilst Asian’ are only likely to inflame moderate Muslim opinion and thus play into the hands of the terrorist. Yes, this is a difficult and emotive debate. But it is a debate we must have.”

Yes, let’s have a debate. These are the opinions of Police Federation’s vice-chairman Alan Gordon. He, let me start off by saying, is an idiot.

Continue Reading...
20th August, 2006

Paranoia in the skies

by Sunny at 9:20 pm    

Patrick Mercer, the Tory Homeland Security spokesman, said last night: “This is a victory for terrorists. These people on the flight have been terrorised into behaving irrationally.

“For those unfortunate two men to be victimised because of the colour of their skin is just nonsense.”

Nonsense, yes, but not surprising. News of Mutiny on Flight 613 is a state of affairs our government has not helped by constantly screaming about ‘criticial alert’ and ‘imminent danger’ and all sorts of other paranoid language past any point of reasonable restaint.

Phrases valiantly used after 7/7 – “We are not afraid” or “Fuck you Osama I’m going by London Transport” ring hollow now. Labour is intent on breaking the people’s spirit and make them into paranoid freaks. As Guido points out:

Depressingly most people support even more authoritarian policies including extending detention without trial, softened into compliance as day after day the news media and the government project the sense of a nation under continuous attack. During these days of heightened terror alerts it is probably not popular to recommend reading Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, but it is certainly the right time to remember what we are fighting to defend.

Filed under: Civil liberties
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