27th September, 2011

EDL exposed in damning academic report

by Jai at 8:00 am    

As recently highlighted by The Guardian, the ugly reality of the English Defence League has been exposed in a newly-published report by Dr Matthew Feldman and Dr Paul Jackson at Northampton University’s Radicalism and New Media Research Group. The report was formally released during a major international conference recently hosted by the RNM; it is based on extensive independent research and is a truly brilliant analysis of all aspects of the EDL. The results are damning to say the least.

The full report can be downloaded for free as a PDF document via the RNM’s website here.

Key findings

Some of the key findings are as follows (from p.56 of the report):

From the outset, among leaders and followers it is clear that the EDL has had sustained connections with the BNP and other extreme-right groups. Moreover, the EDL might profess itself a single issue, counter-jihadist movement, but its failure to adhere to this line leaves it looking like all previous racist extreme-right groups. This failure makes it even more difficult to ignore the neo-Nazi methods, antecedents and current connections of the EDL’s leaders and its followers.

Consequently, these profiles allow four conclusions. Firstly, the EDL is unarguably connected to the BNP and other far-right groups, whether by previous association or by shared interest. Secondly, some of these far-right individuals have possessed significant weaponry that identifies them as potential ‘lone wolf’ terrorists. Thirdly, EDL leaders and followers have engaged in criminality, especially racially aggravated incidents. Fourthly, the EDL engages in doublespeak that powerfully questions their claim to be a single-issue, non-racist movement.

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18th September, 2011

I’m working on a new project

by Sunny at 4:21 pm    

It wouldn’t have escaped your notice that I’ve been blogging a lot less here lately. This isn’t just because running Liberal Conspiracy is a full time job – it is because I’ve been working on another big project.

Eons ago, long before I got into blogging, writing or anything to do with the media, I worked at a technology start-up. I joined straight after university and the ‘dotcom boom’ was in full swing. I’d always been interested in the tech industry and had tried to start two companies during those days (while I was working full time).

Unfortunately, the market soured by 2001 and despite our well-thoughout business plans (a rarity in those days), no one wanted to invest. I wouldn’t say the tech boom is back but I’ve caught the bug again.

For the past 5 months I’ve been working on a project more ambitious than anything I’ve done before. It has been painstakingly slow to develop because I had little time and because a brotha has to eat and sleep occasionally too. But I’ve had some help, which has made it easier.

Hence – blogging has been light. I’ll be launching within a few weeks. I’m not allowed to say what it’s about until then. But I thought I owed you guys an explanation at least for the pitiful lack of content.

Filed under: Blog
15th September, 2011

Police pays out £20k for wrongful arrest of ‘terrorist’

by Sunny at 8:40 am    

The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police has paid £20,000 in compensation to Rizwaan Sabir for his wrongful arrest and seven days’ detention under the Terrorism Act 2000 in May 2008.

Mr Sabir – currently a PhD student at the University of Strathclyde researching domestic UK counter-terrorism policy – was arrested after downloading an edited version of the ‘The Al-Qaeda Training Manual’ from a US government website for his postgraduate research as a Masters student at the University of Nottingham.

Sabir subsequently brought proceedings against Nottinghamshire Police for false imprisonment and breaches of the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

He also claimed under the Data Protection Act 1998 regarding false information on Nottinghamshire Police records, including a clear but unfounded assertion that Mr Sabir had been convicted of a terrorist offence, which had led to Mr Sabir being subject to numerous stops and searches.

“For more than 3 years, I have been fighting to clear my name and establish that the police were wrong to arrest me and put me through the tortuous experience I suffered at their hands. I have finally succeeded in doing so, and they have been forced to account for the wrong they did to me.”

“But I am one of the lucky ones. I cannot forget all those other innocent people like me who have suffered at the hands of the police but do not have the chance or means to vindicate their names.”

– he said in a press release sent out last night.

Filed under: Terrorism

James Delingpole’s blogging

by Sunny at 7:35 am    

Yesterday evening I may have given the impression to some people on Twitter that James Delingpole’s blogging for the Telegraph was shit and repeatedly wrong.

Now, the first part of that is obviously true. More intelligent ppl than me have pointed out to me that the second accusation may get me into trouble. So, before my ass gets sued, a clarification. Delingpole writes comment and doesn’t know much climate science at all. He admitted he interpreted interpretations by other people. But I can’t find any instance of him apologising for lying about anything, so if people wrongly got the impression I had accused him of worse, I withdraw the accusation. As he mostly opines on various issues, technically he cannot get factual stuff wrong. I don’t want to accuse him of stuff he didn’t do.

He is however still a nasty person. Last year he published the name and details of an innocent member of the public who had contacted their MP with questions about the environment. After Delingpole’s readers started harassing this individual, the Telegraph took the post down. Neither the website nor Delingpole issued an apology for that as far as I know.

Filed under: Media
12th September, 2011

EDL leader agrees with Breivik’s opinions, threatens Britain’s entire Muslim population

by Jai at 8:00 am    

The English Defence League’s leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) recently gave an interview to the Norwegian media and made the following dubious statements about the mass murdering Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik:

“We share some of his opinions, and his fear, but not what he did in Norway 22 July. I do not think he is insane. I think that his approach was insane…Breivik dared to come forward with his opinions, and was tough, in some regards. People need to understand that Breivik is not alone in these feelings.”

Yaxley-Lennon previously appeared to make a threat at the end of his interviews with the BBC’s Newsnight and CNN shortly after the massacre in Norway, which was immediately noticed by Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman and CNN anchor Becky Anderson. Curiously, Yaxley-Lennon is also on record as making exactly the same claim about Far-Right anti-Muslim terrorism occurring in the United Kingdom “within the next 5 years” several months before Breivik’s attacks in Norway.

A detailed Pickled Politics article about the EDL’s links to Breivik can be read here. More recently, British counter-terrorism officers have confirmed that they are now investigating and monitoring the EDL in the same way that they investigate potential Islamist terrorists, and that this is a direct consequence of Breivik’s murderous actions.

Furthermore, Paul Ray aka “Lionheart”, one of the EDL’s original founders who is being investigated by the Norwegian police for his links to Breivik, has now stated that Breivik is indeed part of a wider Far-Right movement, including possible cells in the UK. The Norwegian police are expanding their investigations in conjunction with Scotland Yard to possibly include the questioning of a number of British citizens. Multiple photographs of various EDL supporters brandishing guns have also recently surfaced, and some examples can be seen via Hope Not Hate here.

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10th September, 2011

Sikh school opens in Birmingham. Bad idea?

by Sunny at 9:03 am    

The Guardian reports that one opened this week:

The school, which will have compulsory Punjabi lessons for all pupils, has been a labour of love and duty for Birmingham’s 200,000-strong Sikh community. Sikhs as old as 90 and as young as five have helped strip floorboards and paint, says principal-designate Ranjit Singh Dhanda.

He says that one of the core concepts of the Sikh faith is Daswand – donating a minimum of a tenth of your earnings, time, knowledge and prayers to a noble cause or a social service.

Some 130 members of the community have helped, unpaid, on a daily or weekly basis. They include Amardip Singh Suri, manager of a plastics factory, who has come after work almost every day when the workmen leave, to sweep up until the early hours.

Nice in theory, but I’m increasingly against the idea of religious schools – I think they have too much potential to segregate on religious lines. Religious schools should at least have a quarter of students from different backgrounds.

Filed under: Religion
1st September, 2011

Visually Impaired British Asians

by guest at 7:50 pm    

This is a guest post by Sarah of Same Difference

Earlier this week, BBC Radio 4’s In Touch ran a programme called Visually Impaired British Asians.

The programme looked at the specific issues affecting British Asians with visual impairments. Research has suggested that South Asians are more likely to have several eye diseases than the general population. However, expectations among their community about what they are able to do are limited.

The programme raised the very important point that awareness of sight loss related diseases needs to be raised among British Asians in order to prevent them. The importance of eye tests was also emphasised.

For several reasons, British Asians may be missing out on support that is available to people with visual impairments. The programme looked at some of these reasons. For example, many older Asians in Britain are unable to speak or read English.

As part of the programme, presenter Peter White spoke to a South Asian adviser for the RNIB, who speaks to patients in their own languages. She raised the point that older British Asians are used to natural, holistic remedies for health problems and may find medical solutions, such as laser surgery, too extreme.

Peter White also spoke to a South Asian social worker who is registered blind herself. She now has her own organisation helping other South Asian people with sight loss. She recalled the case of one woman who could not believe that blind people could leave their houses! This woman, herself, had not been allowed, by her husband, to leave her house. The point was raised that for cultural reasons, South Asians think that if people with sight loss leave home alone, they are not being looked after and protected well enough by the family.

Finally, the point was raised that organisations need to be sensitive to the cultural needs of South Asians.

I found the programme very interesting and very educational. I believe that this is a programme that all British Asians of all ages really need to hear. If you agree, please click this link to listen to it on BBC iPlayer.

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