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  • 15th March, 2007

    Legal turmoil in Pakistan

    by Fe'reeha at 10:04 am    

    In an unprecedented event (even for Pakistan) President General Musharraf has removed the nation’s chief justice for “misuse of authority”.

    Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has removed the Islamic nation’s chief justice for “misuse of authority,” a minister and state media reported on Friday. Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, chief judge of the Supreme Court had served in the post since 2005.

    Prominent lawyers and former judges expressed surprise over the move, that underlined the power of the executive - dominated by military ruler Musharraf - over the judiciary. [Khaleej Times]

    Yesterday there was a riot by the country’s lawyers.

    Continue Reading...

    Discussion on Muslim magazines

    by Sunny at 4:41 am    

    The Guardian’s Riazat Butt presented another edition of Islamophonic, their weekly Muslim podcast, yesterday. It covers British Muslim magazines, with a focus on Emel. There’s also a discussion between myself and Sarfraz Manzoor on the content of these magazines. Sarfraz turned out to be more outspoken than I expected. Heh.

    Filed under: Media,Religion
    14th March, 2007

    Will the Guardian now become a ‘liberal voice’?

    by Sunny at 3:31 am    

    The reigns of the Guardian’s comment section have finally been handed over from Seumas Milne to Georgina Henry, the Media Guardian reported yesterday. The question now is: how will this affect the paper? Will its editorial policy change because that has important implications.

    Last week the Guardian announced further integration of its resources in a move towards a ‘digital future’. The article quoted its own managing director Tim Brooks as saying the paper had “global ambitions” to become the “world’s leading liberal voice”.

    Hold on a second. Leading liberal voice? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fiercely loyal Guardian reader: one of those mythical regulars you have to take outside and shoot to stop them from buying the paper. But this is false advertising.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media,Race politics
    13th March, 2007

    Where is the Hindu Forum’s evidence?

    by Sunny at 4:27 am    

    The South Asia Solidarity group have sent an open letter to Sir Ian Blair regarding recent reports of ‘forced conversions’ that Savita covered earlier.

    *****
    Dear Ian Blair,

    As academics teaching at British universities, we are disturbed by your recent announcement reported in the Daily Mail (22 February), Metro (23 February) and elsewhere, that the police and universities are working together to target extremist Muslims who force vulnerable teenage Hindu and Sikh girls to convert to Islam.

    Your statements appear to have been made on the basis of claims by the Hindu Forum of Britain who have not presented any evidence that such forced conversions‚ are taking place. In fact the notion of forced conversions‚ of young Hindu women to Islam is part of an arsenal of myths propagated by right-wing Hindu supremacist organisations in India and used to incite violence against minorities. For example, inflammatory leaflets referring to such conversions‚ were in circulation before the massacres of the Muslim minority in Gujarat exactly five years ago which left approximately 2,000 dead and over 200,000 displaced.

    In our view, it is highly irresponsible to treat such allegations at face value or as representative of the views of Hindus in general. While we would condemn any type of pressure on young women to conform to religious beliefs or practices (whether of their own community or another) we can only see statements such as yours as contributing to the further stigmatising of the Muslim community as a whole and as a pretext for further assaults on civil liberties in Britain.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr Kalpana Wilson, SOAS, University of London, Dr Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton, Dr Subir Sinha SOAS, University of London, Dr Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick, University of London, Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, University of Central Lancashire, Dr Manali Desai, University of Kent, Dr Pritam Singh Oxford Brookes University, Dr Sharad Chari, London School of Economics, Dr Navtej Purewal, University of Manchester, Dr Virinder Kalra, University of Manchester.
    *******

    I’ve been extremely busy so haven’t been to fully explain the dirty scheming going on. The MCB have now issued a press release. Worthwhile reading is Awaaz SAW’s report on the conference that started all this.

    12th March, 2007

    The Iraq dossier uncovered

    by Sunny at 5:35 pm    

    I should have plugged this last week. Chris Ames has launched a new website comprehensively uncovering many of the lies behind the government’s Iraq “dossier” a few years ago. He recently pointed out in the New Statesman:

    Since Andrew Gilligan first reported David Kelly’s allegation that government spin-doctors had sexed-up the dossier and inserted a false claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes, the government’s defence has relied on another false claim. This is that the dossier was written by Scarlett and/or the JIC. In particular, the government has claimed that a draft Scarlett produced on 10 September 2002 was both the first full draft and the first to include the 45 minutes. I believe the Williams draft, produced a day earlier on 9 September, will prove all this to be untrue.

    Chris also wrote an article for comment is free explaining more. Feel free to browse the website - iraqdossier.com. Hope he keeps plugging away at it and not let the government get away with pulling wool over our eyes.

    Update: Sorry, no idea yet why PP keeps going down.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Pakistan debates legalising alcohol

    by Fe'reeha at 5:28 pm    

    The recent news that Islamic Republic of Pakistan has won the distinction of producing the Muslim world’s first 20-year-old Malt Whisky is interesting for two reasons.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Pakistan,South Asia

    Speaking at City Circle later this week

    by Sunny at 12:45 am    

    City Circle invites you to a thought-provoking discussion on Friday, 16th March, “Independent Voices: Challenging the Myth of Monolithic Communities”, about internal criticism among “marginalised” or “minority” communities and how these communities should be more widely perceived.

    If there is a myth of a community monolith, whose interests does it serve? Politicians who want to outsource responsibility for dealing with diverse citizens by dealing with individual “community leaders” responsible for their own flock, expected to regulate themselves and their own problems. Or maybe “community leaders” benefit by promoting themselves and their own views by making everyone follow one particular line, and who may enact measures to silence or marginalise dissenting voices within their own communities. Or do those outside these communities who seek to stereotype and stigmatise communities by saying they are all the same benefit most by this arrangement?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs,Events
    10th March, 2007

    It’s the spring-is-just-around-the-corner weekend open thread!

    by Katy at 1:05 pm    

    It’s all good. My work frenzy has temporarily eased, I made a fantastic fish pie last night and the magnolia blossom is out in force. And I have spent most of the morning lying around half-heartedly surfing the Web and reading a book called Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, which I would so far describe as unfathomable, but strangely intriguing. Tonight I am going to my best friend’s birthday celebrations and tomorrow I shall be going to see Soul II Soul.

    (I bet everyone who reads that sentence immediately finds themselves singing “Back to life… back to reality” under their breath.)

    And the other good news is that if you are a blogger who writes funny stuff you could get one of your funny posts published in a book AND do something for Comic Relief at the same time. Mike at Troubled Diva and Anna at little.red.boat are putting together a paperback anthology of funny UK blog posts for charity. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 14th March. If you are a UK blogger who has written a funny post, click here for more details.

    Anyway, let the Open Thread fun begin. Good news and funny stuff only, please. The usual rules of Open Threadness apply. No politics, nastiness, bitching, sniping, whingeing, whining, Islamophobia, racism, antisemitism or cruelty to animals. This is a happy, non-violent, non-aggressive thread, and anyone who ignores those basic tenets of human kindness will be severely chastised. I thank you.

    Sunny adds: This superb Observer Woman makes me spit blog deserves a plug too.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    9th March, 2007

    Racist connotations redux

    by Sunny at 9:49 pm    

    Racism isn’t always as overt as someone saying “black / Asian people are inferior” or “all white people all supremacists”, as I alluded to below. I was going to explain this more fully but Malcolm Gladwell has already done so better here in defining a racist (via Da Fink). In other words it is also very much about context and the implication of what you’re saying.

    For example, commentators who make events into a ‘Muslim issue’ when the religion of the pratagonist has nothing to do with it are being xenophobic. Good examples are the Paris riots of 2005 when people such as Mark Steyn, Rod Liddle and Melanie Phillips dubbed it ‘Eurabia’; when the dad got barred from swimming; when bloggers (including LGF and JihadWatch) were trying to find the religion of the killer in Salt Lake city. In other words they are simply attempts to associate negative events with a religion / community so as to smear by association.

    Now. Here’s the headline on MPAC’s website: Zionist Tory MP Sacked Over ‘Black Bastard’ Comments. Not only has Zionism got nothing to do with this case but we’re not informed of Mercer’s views on I/P because they don’t apply in this context! Asghar Bukhari and his anti-semitic chums use ‘Zionist’ not only as a slur but also without any context, only in a crass attempt to associate Patrick Mercer’s casual racism with Zionism. The hypocrisy is of course that when others do it these imbeciles start foaming at the mouth.

    Racism in the army shock

    by Sunny at 4:33 am    

    My brother was an officer in the British Army until recently. He once told me the trick when marching, doing exercises or simply following orders was to be ‘the grey man’, i.e. blending into the background in the hope no one noticed your mistakes. Except if you were brown or black you stood out like a sore thumb and every mistake was remembered the next time. My brother also has a full beard and turban so blending in wasn’t so easy.

    The news that Tory front-bencher Patrick Mercer MP was sacked by David Cameron yesterday not long after he made some pretty offensive remarks when talking about racism within the Army. You can read what he said in full from here. I’ll come back to his remarks in a minute, but first the reaction.

    Both Daniel Finkelstein and Iain Dale explain why he had to go. Short answer: you cannot afford to annoy ethnic minorities. Unsurprisingly a good proportion of commenters at Iain Dale and Conservative Home called it an over-reaction and say it’s political correctness gone mad (so what’s new?). But to say Mercer was merely being ‘robust’ in his views, or this is an over-reaction, is dishonest.

    For a start he said: “I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours.” Well isn’t that nice? He might as well have used Ron Atkinson’s famous last words and said ‘they were lazy thick niggers’ because that’s what he is implying. Not only are ethnic minority officers in the Army lazy but they also use their race as cover! The cheek! No racial stereotyping of course.

    In addition he’s implying it’s perfectly acceptable to refer to black servicemen as ‘niggers’ or abuse them as ‘black bastards’ just because it happens all the time and because they refer to redtops as ‘ginger bastards’. But what exactly is bad about having red hair? Nothing. But by being black, according to Mercer, means you’re likely to be using your race as a cover for your laziness.

    It is a disgusting stereotyping and an insult to any ethnic minorities who join the armed forces. If he wasn’t racist he’d be trying to stop using racially derogatory terms, not perpetuate them further by saying they are acceptable and used regularly. And the idea that the Army is completely colour blind is also rubbish. Patrick Mercer MP is a prime example of why the forces needs an anti-racism trade union.

    I would rather the Tories fired racists because they found the comments wrong in themselves not simply because they anticipate a backlash from ethnic minority groups. Doing so for political reasons alone is just dishonest and patronising.

    And lastly, the second half of this article sheds more light on why foreign soldiers in the British army wanted to set up an anti-racism trade union. Anyone who doesn’t believe it happens only has to read up on how the Gurkhas have been treated.
    Update: cross-posted to comment is free.
    Update 2: Benedict White and Garry Smith have contrasting views.

    Filed under: Race politics
    8th March, 2007

    And…. we’re back!

    by Sunny at 11:36 pm    

    Sorry about that, I messed up something on my end making it difficult to access pages, and the hosting company had some issues too with their server so the site was slow. It should be sorted now and I’m making some changes to speed up the website.

    Filed under: Blog

    John Reid’s continuing stupidity

    by Sunny at 2:44 pm    

    What is it about Labour politicians that once they become the home office minister they lose their brains? I mean, literally, whatever evidence of intelligence they possessed is junked and they start rabbiting Daily Mail propaganda.

    Mr Reid told the BBC: “It is unfair that foreigners come to this country illegitimately and steal our benefits, steal our services like the NHS and undermine the minimum wage by working. Year on year, we are going to make it even more difficult for them to do that.”

    Criticism of his comments was led by Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham and a candidate for Labour’s deputy leadership. He said: “The race to the bottom of the labour market is leaving migrant workers more vulnerable to exploitation. Any suggestion we should get migrants, who benefit our economy, to leave the country by treating them worse is simply alarming.”.

    For a supposed liberal-progressive government Reid is an embarassment, rather like most of his predecessors in the post. The reality that underpins most of our migrant labour is of course very different, and despite knowing this he keeps following the Sun / Mail agenda to the gutter. When will this government grow some balls independent of the Tabloids?

    Filed under: Race politics

    Stop the clash!

    by Sunny at 5:18 am    

    A group called Avaaz (meaning ‘voice’ in Hindi/Urdu) have created this video and so far gathered 42,000 signatures in support of people asking their political leaders to sort out the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    I agree with their sentiments and believe neither in the ‘clash of civilisations’ nor the ‘civilisation v barbarism’ narratives. But. Although the conflict needs resolving, I hardly think it is the source of world problems. It’s a fight over land! Neo-con unilateralism and Al-Qaeda are far more to blame (though may not equally).

    It should be sorted out because the locals are being shot or blown up, not because arm-chair activists all around the world (who have nothing directly to do with the conflict) carry little icons of the Palestinian (or Hizballah) flag, or carry ‘support Israel or else…’ banners. They are the ones who elevate it to a clash of civilisations narrative. And if these activists really cared about people dying then they’d be more stressed about the dead in Darfur and Iraq (at the same time, not according to their politics).

    That said, the video has a poignant (but obvious) message.

    Filed under: Middle East,The World
    7th March, 2007

    Taking on the BNP

    by Sunny at 6:21 pm    

    A new campaign called Hope Note Hate is being launched later this month to take on the lies that the BNP spread during Local Elections. Lies like the leaflet that said Africans were being paid 50,000 to move into Barking & Dagenham.

    I think this is a worthwhile campaign. There should be a two-pronged attack on the facists: dealing with their lies on the ground, and dealing with the social problems that lead to resentment and move people to vote for the BNP in a protest vote. We know the vast majority of people in this country abhor the racist, anti-semitic and Islamophobic ideas of the party. They just have to convinced that one of the three main parties care for them and be exposed to the real nature of the BNP.
    Support the campaign!

    Filed under: Race politics,The BNP

    Aussie and German Independent Jewish Voices

    by Sunny at 5:54 am    

    Britain’s recently launched Independent Jewish Voices have set off a bit of a chain reaction it seems. Yesterday a group from Australia launched a similar petition.

    In a letter published in The Age yesterday, the group said it was recognising “the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all”. The group’s founding by 120 Jewish Australians, including Peter Singer, Robert Richter, QC, and Eva Cox, of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, follows the creation of a similar body in Britain that has accused the Jewish establishment of supporting Israel above the human rights of Palestinians.

    This new group has expressed similar concern with Australia’s Jewish establishment, saying “it does not represent the full range of Jewish opinion … We feel there is an urgent need to hear alternative voices that should not be silenced by being labelled disloyal or ‘self-hating’ “.

    You can read the petition on their website. In particular note:

    We condemn violence by all parties, whether state sanctioned or not. We believe that Israel’s right to exist must be recognized and that Palestinians’ right to a homeland must also be acknowledged.

    Uncritical allegiance to Israeli government policy does not necessarily serve Israel’s best interests. Our concern for justice and peace in the Middle East is a legitimate opinion and should be met by reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation.

    The Sidney Morning Herald has more. IAJV also link to a new group in Germany making the same call.

    That comprehensively destroys the argument that Zionist Jews don’t care for Muslim lives in Palestine doesn’t it? I agree with every word of that above, including Israel’s right to exist. Oh, and any troll planning to accuse me of fostering anti-semitism need not bother commenting.

    New Statesman socks it to Guido

    by Sunny at 12:37 am    

    This is in the latest edition of the magazine by Kevin Maguire:

    Hilarity in Strangers’ at a pompous threat by the right-wing blogger Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, to sue the former defence minister “Tommy Gun” Watson and assorted lefties. Gossipmonger Staines exposed himself as able to dish it out but not take it back over an approach he once made to the BNP. Worried of Cyberspace claims he wrote seeking common ground to expose fascists rather than to sign up, and has issued OTT legal threats to Tommy Gun and any fellow bloggers reprinting a 20-year-old Grauniad story about his youthful activities. Occasional victims of his site are enjoying the squeals of a hunter who so publicly dislikes to be hunted. [hat tip: Justin McKeating]

    Filed under: Blog,Media
    6th March, 2007

    Idiots from FIFA FA ban hijab

    by Sunny at 1:29 am    

    I cannot imagine what was going through the thick brains of the Football Association FIFA management when they decided to ban women footballers from wearing the hijab. As the old saying goes: when God was handing out brains, did they miss out?

    It is not only discriminatory, with no useful consequence whatsoever than make it more difficult for Muslim women to join the sport, but I bet it will be reversed soon enough when they come to their senses. Why? Because I bet the Indians (once they wake up from their slumber over the impact of this decision) will soon enough point out that it also discriminates against Sikh men from wearing the turban on the pitch. As Osama Saeed points out, the key passage states:

    A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).

    How the hell is a hijab dangerous to others? This is typical of orientalist thinking - that world football should only be preserved for those following western cultural norms. If the woman (or the man) is in normal uniform, wearing the hijab or turban should have little impact on play. Dimwits.
    [Update: Apologies, I blamed the FA instead of FIFA]

    5th March, 2007

    ‘Sikh-ing his Britishness’

    by Sunny at 3:45 pm    
    chaz singh

    Are people taking this Britishness malarky too far? Heh. “My project was to show I’m a Sikh but I’m a British Sikh, all these pictures are powerful to show my Britishness in Plymouth. This is my way of saying I can blend in anywhere I like but still, as a Sikh I’ll always have that identity,” Chaz Singh told BBC Devon recently.

    He has an exhibition at the Barbican in Plymouth starting today on this. Although it’s interesting he talks of Britishness while playing up English symbolism.

    Filed under: Culture
    4th March, 2007

    Blair to ban forced marriages!

    by Sunny at 3:25 pm    

    This is one TB change of mind I can wholeheartedly support. Was emailed this morning to say Tony Blair has decided to support the ban of forced marriage. Found the exclusive in the Observer today. About bloody time!
    This is the Bill introduced by Lord Lester along with Southall Black Sisters that I covered here. I also wrote for comment is free saying it’s time the govt took action and Galloise Blonde covered the discussion in the House of Lords.

    Just to clarify something: this is a civil remedies bill which means that, “offenders would not go to jail, but victims could sue for damages. Lester’s bill also allows for a third party to bring charges.” The Conservatives favour criminalisation, as does Labour MP Ann Cryer and groups like Karma Nirvana. I’m not yet fully convinced either way despite discussions with people from SBS. Let’s see how this works in action.

    I don’t know if my articles had any impact or not but it was certainly frustrating to see that while there is obvious and widespread support for this bill amongst Asian families, there was very little coverage and discussion of the Bill within the MSM and ethnic media. I think I was the only one to write an article about it since it was introduced!

    Filed under: Sex equality
    3rd March, 2007

    It’s The Style Error Open Thread

    by Clairwil at 4:40 pm    

    Hello,
    Inspired by the post below and the utterly hilarious words ‘white satin bomber jacket’ I have decided to make the main theme of this weeks open thread, style errors. Let’s hear about your past clothes of shame, see your links to incredibly badly dressed people and just to show we’re not all completely catty let’s have your nominations for the world’s best dressed men, women and animals.

    Of course the usual random off topic stuff is still welcome.

    I’m horribly busy at the moment having taken on several new blogging duties (see my own blog) . So my weekend will consist of being glued to the internet and typing with one finger. Well I suppose I’ve always wanted to write.

    On a different matter entirely The Metro are currently a blogging contest. Far be it from me to try and influence the result but if any of you fancy nominating Pickled Politics in the politics category, here’s the link.

    Finally I don’t suppose I’m going to get away without confessing my own style sins. I will own up to wearing jumpsuits, catsuits, knickerbockers, legwarmers in public during the 1980′s.

    As for the 90′s to the present the wounds are still too raw.

    Cheerio

    Sunny adds: Worse than a style error may be the facebook stalker! Hilarious! (via Isheeta)

    2nd March, 2007

    Nirpal Dhaliwal and the white satin bomber jacket

    by Sunny at 3:22 pm    

    You’ve surely made it as a blog when desperate authors try and use you to grind their own axe. Speaking of which, the other day us Picklers got an email from a certain ‘Nirpal Dhaliwal’. I cannot be certain it is the real Nirpal Dhaliwal who wrote Tourism but I have a feeling it is given the contents. Anyway, the email started with…

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Humour

    How not to get raped

    by Sunny at 12:48 pm    

    Again and again, women are told that we can avoid rape if we don’t go out alone, don’t get drunk, carry our car keys as a weapon, take self-defence classes, don’t dress revealingly, don’t talk to strangers, and on and on. We get it. We live it. And we still get raped.

    Here’s a radical suggestion: direct the rape prevention message to men. Write emails and advice columns that say: don’t rape. Don’t rape drunk women, solitary women, sleeping women, flirtatious women, any women. Seriously, just don’t.

    Men who rape may be in the minority, but that’s no reason not to direct the message to all men. Not a single woman has caused her own rape, not ever, and yet women are bombarded with advice that can do nothing except cause our would-be rapist to find a different victim.

    Am I arguing that women shouldn’t be held responsible for their behaviour? No. If a woman drinks to excess then falls over in the street, loses her wallet and vomits all over herself, she has only herself to blame. But rape is not a consequence of getting drunk. It’s a consequence of a man deciding to rape someone.

    Telling women they’re responsible for rape doesn’t keep them safe; it just keeps them scared. It also lets rapists know they can get away with their crime as long as they pick the right victim - one who “makes herself vulnerable” by refusing to live according to the edicts of a rape-tolerant society.

    The full article is here, via Incurable Hippie. I agree with the sentiments wholeheartedly.

    Filed under: Culture,Sex equality
    1st March, 2007

    Rod Liddle responds…!

    by Sunny at 4:56 pm    

    Well this is most amusing. In my article for CIF last week a comment has been posted by a certain rodliddle. I can’t ascertain whether it is the real one but here is what he says in full:

    Good Lord, Sunny. What self-regarding toss. So, you are fine criticisng the MCB because you do so from a position of enlightenment? My point is that the MCB, in its way, is more damaging to the cause of Britain’s Muslim community than any rogue bunch of nutters with explosive backpacks. Those handful, the majority of the population understand, are the terrible exceptions. The MCB - through its pretensions, its public profile and the gullibility of white journalists - purports to be the majority view. As you say, the MCB hurts the very people it claims to represent.
    And please don’t class me with that bone-headed, illiterate, right wing imbecile Jon Gaunt. Or indeed the substantially cleverer right wing Melanie Phillips, good though she can be. I’m a LIBERAL: that’s why the MCB annoys me.

    Hold on a second. When did Rod Liddle become a liberal? More importantly, since when did he start holding a torch for British Muslims to defend them from the evil tyranny of the all-powerful MCB?

    Is this the same defender of British Muslims who wrote the hilariously rubbish ‘Eurabia’ leader for The Spectator, an exemplary example of xenophobic scare-mongering. What did it say other than: “You better watch out from those Muzzies, they breed fast and they’re gonna take over and destroy Europe soon enough!!

    The same Rod Liddle who wrote this for the Sunday Times: “The Pope should have been aware that Islam always reacts to western allegations that it is not a peaceful religion by mass outbreaks of vituperation, denunciation and acts of jihadic violence.” Note, in particular, his nuanced argument here. It’s not that out of a billion or so Muslims a few hundred rent-a-riot idiots like Anjem Choudhary and his ilk went apeshit. No. You see, the entire religion in its abstract theological construction, went apeshit. His argument makes as much sense as saying “Christianity reacts” in such a way.

    No really, our Rod Liddle, if that was indeed a comment posted by the real one, is a real defender of British Muslims. He only wants the best for them while he’s bashing the MCB. And yes, we should take him and Melanie Phillips seriously. All this time I’ve been so foolish…

    Filed under: Media

    Stupid home office officials

    by Sunny at 1:52 am    

    A British Asian was held in a detention centre for nearly two months and threatened with deportation to Pakistan because Home Office officials believed he was a foreigner. Immigration officials assumed that Sabbir Ahmed, who speaks with a Lancashire accent, was Pakistani despite the fact that he was born in Blackburn and has a British passport. His parents come from India but also have British citizenship.

    Frances Pilling, manager of the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (South), who met Mr Ahmed in the detention centre, said: “It was obvious straight away that he was British. He had a northern accent. Once you’ve detained somebody how can they reasonably be asked to produce evidence? All they can produce is what they have in their pockets.”

    Mr Ahmed’s case is not an isolated one. A report last year on foreign prisoners by Anne Owers, chief inspector of prisons, found regular failings in establishing the nationality of prisoners. In one case an inspection team which interviewed 12 juvenile prisoners identified as foreign found that five of them were British. It quoted one prisoners’ representative as saying: “If you are black officers assume you are a foreign national.” [Guardian]

    Filed under: Race politics
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