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  • 17th September, 2008

    A law against religious discrimination

    by Sunny at 4:53 pm    

    Sadiq Khan MP has called for the upcoming Equalities Bill to have a clause so it covers discrimination on the basis of religion, in a Fabian Society article.

    For some bizarre reason, John Hirst thinks he’s calling for Sharia law, and LFaT reckons that somehow white people will lose out.
    The second blog response is even more bizarre - are we living in such a zero-sum world that any anti-discrimination legislation is designed to heart white people? Are they all such Islamophobes that they’ll lose out if govt bodies are told they must also avoid discrimination against people on the basis of religion?

    There’s a good post here on the similarities and differences between anti-semitism and islamophobia. Why is it ok to tackle anti-semitism but not discrimination against Muslims? And lastly, how is Sadiq Khan a ‘separatist’ when he says:

    Mr Khan wants to break down religious barriers and argues strongly that Britain’s Muslims must change, too. He urges them to forget about the Iraq war; give their women more freedom and use their charities to help white poor people. He also calls for imams to stress the importance of parental participation in schools and says everyone should learn English.

    All this is eminently sensible. I’ve also argued in the past that learning English is very important for everyone. That shouldn’t even be up for debate.

    Black comedian introduces John McCain

    by Sunny at 2:57 am    

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read today:

    What up, RNC!
    You white motherf**kers!
    This conference so white, Helen Mirren tried to snort it!

    Y’all the whitest white people in the history of white people. Even Barbara Bush sitting here right now going: ‘These are some white motherf**kers.’

    Continue Reading...
    16th September, 2008

    The bin revolt looms (weather permitting)

    by Rumbold at 11:26 pm    

    Britain is not particularly known for its revolutions. We have had riots (1381), civilised handovers of power (1688/9), and a civil war or two (1640s), but, in general, probably because of the rain, we don’t behave like the French. Yet something is stirring, and that something is anger over rubbish collections.

    In many ways rubbish collections epitomise the ideal of a modern, civilised society. Gone are the days when ordinary people would simply throw their rubbish into the street or the river. In today’s world, rich countries can afford to collect the rubbish of every household, while also providing facilities for the dumping of larger amounts of waste. A functioning sewage system completes the triumvirate. Apart from the obvious health benefits, it simply makes a country look nicer.

    Continue Reading...

    In the Independent yesterday

    by Sunny at 9:02 pm    

    I have no idea how the Indy got hold of a massive picture of me. Its a bit embarassing really. Anyway, yesterday’s Media section in the Independent had a feature on ‘The blog sites transforming our democracy’. It featured me and Liberal Conspiracy (click Iain Dale’s picture for the list).

    Filed under: Media

    Why I’m going to continue boycotting Nestle

    by Sunny at 8:49 am    

    Thanks to Riz for sending me the link to this study published by the British Medical Journal only last week. I’ve long boycotted Nestle for their unsavoury practices in developing countries. Apparently its still going on:

    Objective To investigate the use of Bear Brand coffee creamer as a food for infants and the impact on consumers of the logo of a cartoon baby bear held by its mother in the breastfeeding position.

    Conclusion The Bear Brand coffee creamer is used as a breast milk substitute in Laos. The cartoon logo influences people’s perception of the product that belies the written warning “This product is not to be used as a breast milk substitute.” Use of this logo on coffee creamer is misleading to the local population and places the health of infants at risk.

    There was also a report on the same product two years ago in Canada which pointed to the same issue. There has been some coverage in the Australian press but nothing in the UK. Spread the word!!

    Half-breed Muslin

    by Sid (Faisal) at 12:47 am    

    Meanwhile, in a Florida backyard, more proof of how far the US has come since the days of lynching and segregation. Remember folks, people died in Iraq for Americans to have freedom to do this:

    Muslin? And all this time I thought he was a Linenist.

    This one is almost as good as the bumper sticker: “A vote for a Democrat is a vote for Islamic terrorism”.

    Hat-tip: Wonkette

    Filed under: Current affairs
    15th September, 2008

    Calls to boycott the Met Police

    by Sunny at 3:43 pm    

    From the Guardian today:

    The National Black Police Association is threatening to run a public campaign urging ethnic minorities to boycott the Metropolitan police in an escalation of the race row engulfing the force.

    Leading members have drawn up battle plans after a week in which the internal disputes of the Met have spilled out in public in a bitter war of words. The NBPA told the Guardian it is planning a march on Scotland Yard of black and Asian officers from across the country, a vote of no confidence in the management and a campaign warning young would-be officers from diverse backgrounds not to join the Met.

    Given the appalling treatment of Tarique Ghaffur over the past few weeks, and I’ve not known anyone more loyal to the Met Police, I think this is a good move.

    Pakistani presenter calls for Ahmadis to be killed

    by Sunny at 1:58 am    

    The Asian Human Rights Commission issued this alert recently:

    The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that an anchor person working for a prominent television channel [Geo TV] has incited Muslims in Pakistan to kill - to devastating effect. The targets are followers of the Muslim Ahmadi sect, a group which has been declared non-Islamic under the constitution of Pakistan. The first killing happened within 24 hours of the broadcast, and just under two days later a district chief of the Ahmadi was murdered. Followers of the religion are understandably frightened, and many have left their homes and are taking shelter at their central mosque, the Rabwa.

    The political party MQM subsequently rescinded his membership of the party, but no real action has been taken against him.

    Filed under: Pakistan,South Asia
    14th September, 2008

    Peter Hitchens vs The Creepy Plotters of both sides

    by Sid (Faisal) at 12:43 pm    

    Like him or loathe him, the right-winger Peter Hitchens can always be relied to bring the most unfashionable ideas to the table with a compelling probity that only a fool would dismiss. This time round, in today’s Mail on Sunday, his opinions on the veracity of the al-Qaeda narrative are only going to give more fodder to his detractors. The usual partisan New Labour attack dogs are not going to like this, but they will find it difficult to fault the logic.

    There is no such organisation as ‘Al Qaeda’. The spooks know this, Cabinet Ministers know this and so do the ‘security correspondents’ who so readily trot out the spooks’ point of view on our broadcasting networks.

    Of course, there are terrorists, and there are also fantasists, fanatics, low-lifes and camp followers who plot and attempt horrible things. Some of them even call themselves ‘Al Qaeda’ these days because they have learned that this is a good way to scare us.

    But, while they are a menace, they are not as big or as organised a menace as the Government likes to make out.

    The State and the vainglorious bureaucrats of the ‘security’ services need to pretend that the terrorists are a tightly organised and terrifying threat, to make themselves look big as well – and to help them get hold of new powers to snoop on us and push us around.

    Continue Reading...
    13th September, 2008

    On Sky News - reviewing the papers

    by Sunny at 1:10 am    

    Hello, I’ll be on Sky News from around 10am for about 10-15 min reviewing the papers on an early Saturday morning. I think its the earliest I’ve been up on a Saturday for ages…

    Filed under: Blog
    12th September, 2008

    First Hindu school opens Monday

    by Sunny at 1:10 am    

    … and already the excuses have started. I’m not for faith schools, but I accept that it would be discriminatory to stop more non-CoE schools being opened. Which is why I signed the Accord Coalition statement.

    Filed under: Hindu,Organisations
    11th September, 2008

    Schools and the forgotten children

    by Rumbold at 10:26 pm    

    There have been many debates over faith schools, what should be taught in schools, what should be worn in schools, and the suggestion from Ken Livingstone’s closest ally (what lovely people he hangs around with) that racial segregation would be in order.

    All these issues affect children already in education, but what about those not in the school system? Johann Hari reminds us about them. His section on the children of asylum seekers is especially good:

    “Every year, 2,000 kids who have committed no crime are jailed in Britain’s “immigration centres”. They are forcibly seized from their homes or their classrooms – without time to gather their belongings – and locked away behind iron doors. They do not know when they will get out; some are held for more than six months. They are not allowed out to play in a park or to kick a ball. They are given virtually no schooling. Their “offence”? To come to Britain fleeing persecution.

    I’ve written before about the racked, trauma-soaked children I have found in Yarl’s Wood detention centre. In this week’s New Statesman, a typical child-inmate tells her story. Fourteen-year-old Meltem Avcil tells how, when she was seven, her mother brought her here from Turkey, where they were being terrorised for being Kurdish. Meltem has been here for half her life, and says in a London accent: “I feel English through and through.” After their asylum claim was declined, they were seized. Guards took them to Heathrow to force them to board a flight to Turkey. They beat Meltem’s mother in front of her and said to the girl: “You know if you refuse to go on the plane, we’ll put handcuffs on you and tie your feet.” The pilot refused to fly such obviously distressed people, so they were taken back to the detention centre for three months – where they won their appeal. Jasmine is back at school and says now: “One day I will show everyone what I am capable of. But I will never forget Yarl’s Wood.”"

    Sunny adds: There’s a New Statesman campaign on this issue. Go there to read more.

    12 reasons why Obama will still win

    by Sunny at 7:42 pm    

    Bob Elisberg makes some good points:

    4) Close as the polls seem to show, some pollsters are now acknowledging they might not have taken into account the huge shift of voter identification from Republican to Democrat, which they themselves say might have made results appear closer than they are.

    5) Close as the polls seem, pollsters don’t call cell phones. And those who most-use cell phones only are young people, who overwhelmingly are supporters of Obama over McCain.

    6) We don’t elect by national vote. Among various state polls, Sen. Obama is ahead by around 30 Electoral votes. Though both he and Sen. McCain are short of the majority needed, Barack Obama has a polling lead in Electoral votes of over 15 percent.

    7) Contrary to the Washington Post writing that we’re in the “final stretch” of the campaign, we’re actually at the very beginning. Both nominees were only settled a mere week ago. There are still four, major debates. In 1976, Jimmy Carter had a 33-point lead after the Democratic convention; he ended up winning by two points.

    Continue Reading...

    ‘Muslim Massacre’ and publicity

    by Sunny at 5:12 pm    

    So… yesterday afternoon, the Ramadhan Foundation sent out a press release condeming a videogame called ‘Muslim Massacre’ that no one had heard of. Some guy created in his spare time and released it through the SomethingAwful forums.

    Today, half the British press is on the story and no doubt there will be plenty more people downloading the game. Which raises an interesting conundrum doesn’t it - do you make noise about something so obviously offensive, and then see it blow up in the media, or keep quiet? Just to be clear - its near impossible to get the game banned., especially going by US law.

    The Centre-Left and Small Businesses

    by Shariq at 6:13 am    

    I think this is partly because of the language politicians use and the emphases they place on who is struggling. Even when as talented a politician as Barack Obama addresses middle class anxieties, he proposes middle class income tax cuts, making higher education more affordable and reducing the amount of people without health insurance. These are all great points and need to be reiterated. However I think he could also say the following;

    That the American dream isn’t just accessible through college education but the ability to expand a small business through getting affordable bank loans. This ties in with the credit crunch and would emphasise the fact that the interests of small and big businesses aren’t always the same.

    Continue Reading...
    10th September, 2008

    Greenpeace activists cleared of charges

    by Sunny at 6:34 pm    


    Six Greenpeace climate change activists have been cleared of causing criminal damage at a coal-fired power station in a verdict that is expected to embarrass the government and strengthen the anti-coal movement. The jury of nine men and three women at Maidstone crown court cleared the six, five of whom had scaled a 200m tall chimney at Kingsnorth power station at Hoo, Kent in October 2007.

    The activists admitted trying to shut down the station by occupying the smokestack and painting the world “Gordon” down the chimney, but argued that they were legally justified because they were trying to prevent climate change causing greater damage to property around the world. It was the first case where preventing property damage caused by climate change has been used as part of a “lawful excuse” defence in court. It is now expected to be used widely by environment groups.

    *Disclosure: I’m a monthly contributor to Greenpeace. I may increase my donations now)

    Filed under: Environmentalism

    Why scientists shouldn’t rap…

    by Sunny at 10:03 am    

    Today is the big day people!!! If the scientists in Switzerland at CERN get anything right, we won’t get sucked by a massive black hole. It’s a funny video though… that’s something I suppose.

    Filed under: Humour,Science
    9th September, 2008

    Ekta Kapoor: The Star of Star Plus

    by Rumbold at 8:47 pm    

    This is a guest post by Amrit

    Ekta Kapoor is the leading light of Balaji Telefilms and Star Plus – but at whose expense?

    Star Plus and its fellow Star channels are cable/satellite Hindi entertainment channels ludicrously popular among ex-pat Indians; Star Plus is the most popular Hindi-language entertainment channel in India. It features a mix of soaps, celebrity talkshows, films, lifestyle programming and children’s TV. The channel seems to be aimed at women, what with the fact that the first two types of programme are often seen as especially popular with women, and because in this case, ‘lifestyle programming’ more or less means ‘cookery programmes’. Soaps appear to be the most-watched type of programme on Star Plus (even if just because of their abundance!), and there are at least five shown a day, all day, unlike in the UK. Balaji Telefilms produces many of Star Plus’ biggest hits, most notably Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (‘Because a mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law too,’ henceforth referred to as Kyunki). The most popular soap in India and Afghanistan, it will be oft-mentioned in this article, as a template for and influence on, other shows.

    Ekta Kapoor is Balaji’s head writer, famous for launching soaps whose names begin with a ‘k’ as a psychic told her that doing so would bring her luck/make them successful (it seems to have worked so far). Having watched Star Plus more than twice, her soaps become instantly recognisable (not least because they dominate the schedule), and appear (unfortunately) to have set the precedent for other writers and channels to follow.

    Continue Reading...

    Insult and Injury

    by Sid (Faisal) at 6:11 pm    

    Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s pre-eminent contemporary artist, was cleared by three supreme court judges of the charge of offending Hindus, for his painting Bharat Mata (Mother India). The petition seeking prosecution claimed that the painting, which depicts a nude woman, was sacrilegious. Bharat Mata

    “Does the sentiment of the petitioner get scandalized by the large number of photographs of erotic sculptures which are in circulation?” the judges asked. “It is an art like the sculptures. None get scandalized looking at the sculptures.”

    The artist, known in India as MF Husain, told the Associated Press: “At last, the dignity of Indian contemporary art has been upheld by the supreme court as expected.” He could not be contacted today.

    That’s what he thinks. MF Husain will not be returning to India, from where he has been in self-imposed exile since 2006, until the hundreds of cases claiming damages for hurting “Hindu sentiment” are withdrawn. The supreme court ruling has done nothing for MF Husain.

    Continue Reading...

    Controversial book finds publisher

    by Sunny at 6:05 pm    

    No surprise there then. The ‘controversial’ book, Jewel of Medina, has found a US and a UK publisher. This comes after all the hoo-haa when Random House shelved publication and I wrote an article for CIF on free speech.

    Some of you can put away your ‘end of western civilisation‘ banners away now.

    What’s not right about the ‘airplane bombing’ plot

    by Sunny at 4:41 am    

    So, three men were convicted yesterday of trying to become suicide bombers and no doubt the news will dominate today’s press headlines. There has been a predictable response on some blogs but I want to write something different.

    There’s one central issue here - about the extent of the terrorist threat, but from two perspectives.

    From the perspective of security services, this has been an embarassment. Remember, when this plot was uncovered, home secretary John Reid talked about “terror in the skies” and “unimaginable terror”. But much of the press failed to covered what actually took place during the trial.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs
    8th September, 2008

    Libdems announce race advisors

    by Sunny at 2:40 pm    

    Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today announced the appointment of two personal advisers on black and minority ethnic issues.

    The new team will engage with minority groups on a variety of issues, and will report their concerns directly to Nick Clegg, as well as to other senior party figures.
    The two new advisors are:
    · Cllr Meral Ece, who has been appointed the Leader’s Adviser on Community Cohesion (Ethnic Minority Communities and Minority Rights)
    · Cllr Fiyaz Mughal, who has become the Leader’s Adviser for Interfaith Work and Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism

    Continue Reading...

    Will we all die on Wednesday?

    by Sunny at 5:24 am    

    Ok, so its a bit of a tablody headline… *cough*… but you never know?
    On Wednesday:

    The most powerful physics experiment ever built, the Large Hadron Collider will re-create the conditions just after the Big Bang in an attempt to answer fundamental questions of science and the universe itself.

    Tabloidy headlines aside, the scientists say that nothing big can theoretically be destroyed. But who belives in scientists eh? Certainly not Sarah Palin and she may be the American Vice President soon.
    Look out for a flurry of similar headlines in tomorrow’s papers. Let’s hope they know what they’re doing. A good BBC piece on the whole experiment is here.

    Filed under: Humour,Science

    For readers up north, re: 42 days

    by Sunny at 5:00 am    

    I got this email the other day:

    I am a member of Amnesty International. The Leeds group have been tasked tasked with organising an event or events which outline the concerns over the 42 day detention law. It is currently with the House of Lords, but is expected to be sent back to the House of Commons in October/November.

    We want to arrange events in Leeds, Keighley, Barnsley, Wakefield and Hebden Bridge. If you know anyone would be interested in offering assistance, would you pass on my details.

    If you’re interested, please email Kari Walker. Do consider volunteering if you’re in the area.

    Filed under: Events
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