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  • 15th June, 2007

    The Islamist (again)

    by Clairwil at 1:37 am    

    I have just finished reading a fine, if worrying book. The Islamist by Ed Husain is an autobiographical account of the author’s time as a radical Islamist and his subsequent rejection of political Islam. A quick Google search has brought to my attention some fairly hostile reviews and an attempt to discredit the author by noting the fact the Melanie Phipps and other baddies have praised his book. For what it’s worth I regard his account as credible and worth investigation.

    I do not tend to find myself in agreement with Melanie Phillips very often but I more or less agree with this part of her assessment of The Islamist: “The Islamist should be sent to every politician at Westminster, put on the desk of every counter-intelligence officer and thrust under the supercilious nose of every journalist who maunders on about ‘Islamophobia’.”

    Continue Reading...
    14th June, 2007

    War on Terror: not just an issue for Muslims

    by Sunny at 3:15 am    

    Four days after the atrocities of September 11th 2001, a gas-station owner in Mesa, Arizona, was shot and killed by an American man claiming it was in retaliation to the terrorist attack. The turban and full beard may have given him away but 52 year-old Balbir Singh Sodhi was not of Muslim but Sikh faith and the first such victim. Many more victims of racial harassment were to follow.

    The ‘War on Terror’ (WoT) has never been an issue just for British Muslims. Bubbling underneath the national conversation around Islamist groups, anti-terror legislation and civil rights, a change has been taking place within minority communities in the way they interact with each other, identify themselves and become politically engaged.

    The full essay, published by Foreign Policy Centre last week.

    Continue Reading...
    13th June, 2007

    Ramesh Kallidai, Hindu fanatic

    by Sunny at 12:08 pm    

    This is brilliant. Ramesh Kallidai, the one-man-band that is the Hindu Forum of Britain, was fux0red in the Evening Standard on Monday. All credit to organisations like AwaazSAW and many others for spreading the word about this.
    Ramesh Kallidai

    Hindu and Sikh fanatics are a problem in the UK too. The only reason most of you don’t hear about it is because news editors across the press deem only Muslim fanaticism as sexy. This is a fact. So kudos to Andrew Gilligan for pushing this and running it although ES is somewhat taking credit for information that many others have put out. Gilligan too has stolen my thunder as I am in the process of writing a similar piece exposing Kallidai.

    There is a lot more to this trouble-maker than what is contained on the AwaazSAW website and I’m pretty sure other papers will do more digging around now. The Commission on Integration and Cohesion report, to which Kallidai has contributed, will be out on Thursday. This story will run and run. Coincidentally my article for Foreign Policy Centre last week, and this week’s edition of Guardian’s Islamophonic (out today), mention the Hindu Forum and their activities.

    Update: Full article is now included within

    Continue Reading...
    12th June, 2007

    Stealing my thunder

    by Sunny at 11:41 pm    

    Two people have written brilliant articles today echoing my thoughts, but since they’re more informed or better writers I’m elated they made them.

    Rahila Gupta of Southall Black Sisters, someone I admire a lot, wrote a piece for CIF today saying the police are rightly blamed for not doing more to prevent Banaz Mahmod’s murder. It’s time the police started openly rejecting claims of racism when it comes to protecting women. [on a side note, Rumbold asks if we can come up with another term for 'honour killings'. Any suggestions?]

    I could kiss Johann Hari for writing this piece today: Yes the BBC is biased - but to the right. I have wanted to scream this so many times. Liberal bias my ass! The BBC is full of conservative journalists who want to pretend they’re enlightened liberals. Just look at their line up. Well done Johann, it needed to be said.

    Filed under: Culture,Media

    These people are meant to be intelligent?

    by Sunny at 12:55 pm    

    In a bid to catch up with all that is hip and new, The Spectator recently launched a bunch of blogs on their website. They have a group blog called The Coffeehouse for which they’ve recruited a bunch of imbeciles. There’s some News of the World columnist called Fraser Nelson who is apparently making an attempt at Debating Life, but says: “…the data is couched in a way no one can understand (17.8 many terminations per 1,000 women, whatever that means).” What does he write, bedtime stories for kids?

    Oh, and then there’s some woman called Sarah Standing who says True Brits Don’t Need a Designated Britain Day because, “We never needed a day to remind us of our worth and I suspect, should British Day be enforced on us, it will mainly celebrated by illegal immigrants living in our great country thrilled to have yet another day off.

    Is this airhead for real? I can think of suitable expletives here but I’ll merely shake my head at the immense stupidity of such people. Illegal immigrants don’t have any legal rights if they work because they are illegal. The 18 cockle workers who died in Morecambe Bay were over-worked and put in dangerous conditions.
    Not long after, an Observer investigation revealed:

    The use of gangmasters and their illegal labourers is growing rapidly. Migrants now account for almost half the workforce in many key industries, and tales of violence, exploitation and lack of concern for health and safety are increasingly common. Three Kurdish workers were killed last July when their van collided with a train on a level crossing in Worcestershire, where they had been employed by gangmasters to pick spring onions. The previous month 18 Chinese labourers narrowly escaped death when the three-bedroom house they had been living in caught fire. Last week 54 Greek migrant workers employed to plant bulbs in Cornwall complained that they had been starved and threatened with sticks.

    I can almost hear illegal immigrants jump for joy at a national day to continue being treated as slaves. I like to read right-wing news/opinion regularly to challenge my own ideas, used to read The Economist for years and still love it. But this is rather pathetic for Britain’s supposedly top right-wing magazine. At least it compensates by having the excellent Clive Davis blogging for them but frankly he is surrounded by donkeys.

    Filed under: Media,Race politics

    20 years, 2 women

    by Sunny at 12:34 am    

    It was 20 years ago yesterday that Diane Abbot was elected MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington. She was the first non-white woman MP in the country. Two decades later we have a grand total of… 2 non-white women MPs (Diane & Dawn Butler) out of 646. We have yet to have an Asian woman MP. Jackie Ashley wrote about this in the Guardian yesterday. An event to commemorate this occasion was held at the House of Commons, organised by the Fawcett Society, which highlighted its recently launched Seeing Double project. The project will be looking at whether ethnic minority women face a double penalty from sexism and racism.

    11th June, 2007

    I’m supporting Jon Cruddas

    by Sunny at 8:55 pm    

    I’m not a card-carrying member of the Labour party but have been taking a fair amount of interest in the deputy leadership election. The ballot papers have gone out today and, despite briefly veering towards Harriet Harman, I’ve decided to support him. PCoE has a list of reasons to support Cruddas, to which I would add: This man is by far the most sensible on working class and ethnic minority issues. He has repeatedly taken on the BNP and said the party should do more to address working class concerns when it has effectively abandoned them.

    Of course I can’t physically vote for him but I’d recommend it to anyone who can and have been harassing people I know to do the same. The Daily Mirror today threw its weight behind Cruddas too. Jon Cruddas website.

    Filed under: Party politics

    Tory MP: British troops ‘vulnerable’ from Muslim women

    by Sunny at 9:47 am    

    According to the Daily Mail, so it must be true, a British officer on visit to a hospital with troops injured in Afghanistan and Iraq was “surrounded and heckled by three young women in the unprovoked verbal attack”. It must have been really traumatising for the poor soul. I remember telling my brother the war was immoral when he was in the army (he wasn’t asked to go to Iraq) but don’t remember him bursting into tears.

    Anyway, the Mail quotes Patrick Mercer MP as saying: “This incident demonstrates that our troops and their welfare staff are vulnerable.” Ahhh yes, the same MP who freely used the words “black bastard” and said he frequently came across non-white soldiers who used their race as a cover for excuses. I was under the mistaken impression he thought our soldiers were made of sterner stuff.

    Filed under: Humour,Party politics

    ‘Familial homicide’

    by Sunny at 12:01 am    

    A while back I said I’d be happy to see family members being charged for murder if a woman was killed by someone within the family while others did nothing to stop it. It may be that an increasing number of lawmakers are also seeing it that way (or is it a happy coincidence?).

    Police have charged four people in connection with the murder of a woman who was beaten to death by her new husband after an arranged marriage. Sabia Rani, 19, was killed by Shazad Khan after coming to Leeds from Pakistan. He has been jailed. On Thursday it was confirmed that four members of Khan’s family had been charged with familial homicide. The Crown Prosecution Service said they were accused of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult. [BBC Online]

    Meanwhile the case of Surjit Kaur Athwal’s murder is still continuing. There too, both the mother-in-law and husband were charged.

    Update: As GB points out below, Banaz Mahmod’s father and uncle were also convicted today.

    Filed under: Sex equality
    10th June, 2007

    Sikhs marching in Birmingham

    by Sunny at 3:44 pm    

    Anyone know more about this march yesterday of around a 100 Sikhs in Birmingham? The story says: “The march followed confirmation earlier in the week that police are protecting a teenaged Sikh woman who is said to have decided to convert to Islam.

    9th June, 2007

    It’s the better late than never open thread.

    by Clairwil at 3:45 pm    

    Apologies but I’ve spent most of the day shouting at my computer wondering why I can’t get online. The shouting seems to have worked, so here I am.

    I’ve taken up online Bingo which is ace and surprisingly exciting. I forgot about hoping to win, so busy was I cheering for the other lucky punters. I’m feeling lucky today so once my work is done here I’ll be off for a few games.

    In the meantime let’s have your grand schemes, shocking confessions, hilarious anecdotes, jokes and random ramblings.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    8th June, 2007

    Musharraf is fux0red

    by Sunny at 2:53 pm    

    As thousands of people demonstrated in four cities - some in defiance of a ban - the government overturned a decree signed by Mr Musharraf on Monday empowering the government to close television stations, revoke licences and impose large fines. The decree brought international protests. Human Rights Watch said it would “muzzle” the free press and European ambassadors issued a rare statement of concern. The prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, responded by suspending the decree yesterday.

    Mr Musharraf appears increasingly isolated as he battles through the greatest political challenge of his career. Lawyers, journalists and opposition parties were already openly hostile when, two days ago, he rounded on his Pakistan Muslim League party for failing to support him. “You always leave me alone in time of trial and tribulation,” he berated followers at a party meeting, according to the News newspaper. [Guardian]

    President Musharraf has survived and flourished since his coup for various reasons: keeping the secular elite and army on his side, being able to manipulate and control the religious nuts, and getting financial/logistics support from USA (and a bit of peace with India). But it is now all unraveling.

    The support from the secular political and media elite went out of the window since he tried to fire the Chief Justice and then crack down on television stations that reported the ensuing riots. His latest attempts at censorship have again backfired in his face. So what did he try and do? He let the nuts from Lal Masjid grow out of control just so he could demonstrate to the elites in Pakistan and internationally what could happen if they got rid of him.

    Of course, the religious nuts in Pakistan have been used by the intelligence services (ISI) and military for decades. Don’t be under the misapprehension that jihadis in Pakistan can act without tacit support from the ISI. But the Lal Masjid crew are growing out of control and the media/lawyers hate him. Plus, Afghanistan is getting out of control and there is no indication that Musharraf can bring all this under his control. If he carries on the whole region will continue to be destabilised. It’s time for him to go.
    *definition of fuxored

    7th June, 2007

    Reminder: Taking Liberties

    by Leon at 10:19 pm    

    Just a gentle reminder folks that Taking Liberties opens tomorrow. It’s on limited release but with your help it will get wider distribution. It’s a must see film for its subject matter but it also needs more media coverage to keep the issue of civil liberties alive.

    It’s not just something to watch while you munch your pop corn; it’s a campaign, an issue that must never be allowed to be dominated by the shameless authoritarians currently in power. See it, and take a friend (or eight) too.
    Update: Rachel has organised a blogger outing for today.

    Richard Desmond: The BNP’s poster boy

    by Sunny at 1:40 am    

    ExpressThe Daily Express’ shrieking about ethnic minorities and the supposed danger they pose to Britain has finally reached Nazi Germany levels. And I don’t say that lightly either, since I abhor using words such as fascist or nazi etc easily.

    This peice of toilet paper, which over 500,000 people actually buy every day, published a story yesterday titled: Ethnic Baby Boom ‘Crisis’. I assume someone said there was a crisis? The crisis is that babies from ethnic minorities are being born you see. That is the crisis!
    The story says:

    Race trouble is being predicted because of an ethnic baby boom in one of Britain’s major cities.

    This is creating a major population shift in the South Yorkshire city, raising concern among community leaders that simmering tensions could erupt in riots similar to those that have blighted Bradford and Oldham.

    Who is predicting race trouble? Erm, no one. The report actually says: “Sheffield has an incredibly strong identity and many people across all communities do feel a real sense of place and pride. There is already a very strong sense of shared values amongst all communities.

    The newspaper not only completely misrepresents the report but also says in stark terms that non-whites are breeding fast and they are only good for one thing: race riots.

    Unsurprisingly the article is populated by incisive comments such as: “We pay them to breed like rabbits”, “I advocate the compulsorary sterilization of women from ethnic ‘minorities’ after their second child….” - You get the jist. It’s not just sickening, it is racist.
    Bloggers Obsolete (who alerted me) and 5CC have done further fisking.

    Complain: To the Press Complaints Commission using this form. Cite ‘Accuracy’ as the code that’s been breached. Phone number: 0845 600 2757

    Filed under: Media,Race politics
    6th June, 2007

    The War on Terror and non-Muslims

    by Sunny at 11:13 am    

    It’s all about think-tanks this week it seems. Foreign Policy Centre today launches a new report titled: ‘Having Faith in Foreign Policy’ today. Along with Sadiq Khan MP, Urmee Khan from the Guardian and others, I have contributed an essay on: The War on terror - not just an issue for Muslims.

    In my essay I show how the WoT has been used as an excuse by Hindu and Sikh religious extremists in the UK to demonise British Muslims and try to ditch any sort of pan-South Asian unity. I also point out that it has also set off a competition between ‘religious representatives’ for government funding and to be appointed as the official ‘community leader’. Nothing our readers haven’t heard before, though this time I had to write it properly.

    Abortion again

    by Sunny at 2:13 am    

    Tory MP Ann Winterton’s bill on abortion was defeated in parliament today. That is the good news because, as campaigners and the medical establishment point out, there was little merit to her case. The bad news is that the British anti-abortion lobby, taking their cue from American counterparts, are increasingly trying to chip away at abortion rights. There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian and another in last week’s Independent about upcoming bills on the issue and how battle is being prepared for on either side.

    I say bring it on. But this means the broader liberal-left in the UK, which for a long time has avoided talking about abortion and assumed that everything was fine, will have to get talking and organised on this issue. As Joan Smith pointed out last week:

    Hardline anti-abortionists have nothing to lose from making abortion a political issue, but it would threaten freedom of choice for millions of women who don’t accept the Catholic Church’s extreme view. And this is the fundamental dishonesty of their position: how can you have a political debate with anti-abortionists who don’t like the present law and are set upon imposing their morality on everyone else?

    I’ll be following this debate more closely from now on too.

    5th June, 2007

    Intergration and Britishness

    by Sunny at 10:07 pm    

    Tomorrow afternoon the Fabian Society (I’m not an employee, honest) is publishing a pamphlet by communities secretary Ruth Kelly and immigration minister Liam Byrne. It was front-paged in the Guardian today. There are two broadly distinct yet overlapping themes here: Britishness and immigration. In both cases I don’t think the proposals go far enough.

    Anyway, I’ll be on Radio 5 Live tonight at 11pm discussing Britishness and have on CIF: Why I’m not interested in integration.

    Filed under: Race politics

    Peace in the Middle East

    by Sunny at 11:03 am    

    The Fabian Society think-tank is today publishing a paper titled: ‘How Peace Broke Out in the Middle East: A Short History of the Future’ by Professor Tony Klug. They say:

    Pessimism dominates discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet the idea that the time is not ripe for peace implies that some more auspicious moment will arise – at some future unspecified date. In reality, continuing on the well-trodden path of irredeemable despair simply postpones peace indefinitely and promises interminable ferment. The contours of the only equitable settlement are well known. Whether the main actors seize the chance is primarily a question of political will.

    You can download the paper and read more about it from here. The Fabians are organising a lecture by Prof. Klug later in the month alongside a speech by a senior MP, probably Hillary Benn, to get some momentum going. I was invited to a soft launch for this yesterday and will write more on this a bit later.

    Today is also the 40th anniversary of the 6 Day War. The Guardian’s Ian Black has this report. Jim at Shiraz Socialist calls its a pyrrhic victory. Please do not regurgitate the same old arguments in the comments.

    Filed under: Middle East

    Blogging awards

    by Sunny at 1:48 am    

    The folks from Blogpower are inviting nominations to determine the best blog for various categories. James is the man running it all. Pickled Politics is in the best political blog category, feel free to nominate us for that or other categories if you would like to.

    Filed under: Blog

    It’s political correctness gone mad

    by Sunny at 1:11 am    

    At the end of a Daily Mail article on the new London 2012 logo, Tory MP Philip Davies is quoted as saying: “Bright pink is certainly not the colour I would have chosen to represent the United Kingdom. I suppose it sums up the politically-correct world that this Government appears to inhabit.

    Put aside the absurdity of anyone thinking that using bright pink is a capitulation to the ‘politically-correct world’. One of the colours being used is magenta. It is a Tory MP being quoted after all - one can only assume they’re handed a media relations guide encouraging them to blame political correctness whenever the Daily Mail or Express call.

    But the quote is great. The term ‘political correctness gone mad’ is over-used to the point of absurdity by the right. The only way to kill it would be for the progressive left to also over-use it to the point of absurdity. The government’s renewing Trident? It’s political correctness gone mad! England doing crap at cricket? Surely political correctness is to blame? Inadvertently, Tory MP Philip Davies is furthering our cause. One can only hope political correctness doesn’t lead to him the back-benches.

    4th June, 2007

    It’s the ‘logo of the 2012 Games is utter crap’ open thread!

    by Leon at 4:14 pm    

    Oh dear God! The logo for the 2012 Olympics has been unveiled and may I be the first to say it looks remarkably, almost cosmically, and yes a little insanely CRAP! Consider this the weekend open thread that never was, let rip on the 2012 committee for the sheer idiocy of allowing this out of the brainstorming meeting.

    2012 logo

    Makes you feel proud to be British doesn’t it? Anyway, I will resist the temptation to post up the funniest yet lewd p!sstake I’ve seen of this and leave it to your imaginations to work out…

    Update:
    There’s now an online petition you can sign to get them to change it, and the BBC have a poll too.

    Filed under: Current affairs,Humour
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