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Divide and Conquer

by Nush on 4th November, 2005 at 5:59 pm    

We believe that a far-right group is behind the desecration of graves in Birmingham, with an attempt to divide the Black and Asian communities in Birmingham. An urgent news alert on Ligali has the same view:

As an African British organisation who has been operating for a number of years in the UK, we have never encountered any information about an organisation called the ‘Black Nation’. We have contacted several organisations and trusted sources in Birmingham to ascertain whether they have heard of this alleged group.

BBC article here. We are of the view that someone is getting a kick out of exploiting existing tensions. We urge you not to let unsubstantiated claims effect your thinking without knowing all the facts.

Sunny adds: There has been tensions between the African and Asian communities in Birmingham (nowhere else), and this is an issue we have to resolve. The latest developments however look like the work of the far-right and we urge people not to let us be divided further.

Blick says the same. It may be the RVF.

Al-Hack adds: Adding to this couldron of hatred, two men: Waseem Mughal and Younis Tsouli, from west London, both 22, were charged with conspiracy to murder and to cause an explosion. Idiots!

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  1. Col. Mustafa — on 4th November, 2005 at 6:14 pm  

    It does seem a case of more hate inciting groups trying to stir trouble.
    I just hope muslim youth and afro/carribean youth don’t start fighting again over this.
    Its hard when your in that situation and in this particular one with eid happening you see graves being smashed.

  2. Col. Mustafa — on 4th November, 2005 at 6:18 pm  

    I somehow posted without wanting to.

    Anyway; anger will flow through many muslims because of this, i wouldn’t expect it not too.
    Especially in the area where it happened, but maybe there will be some people that try and calm the situation by showing them that if you start fighting again you just do what the hate groups want you to do.

  3. bioux — on 4th November, 2005 at 6:26 pm  

    here’s an article about RVF


    “The five jailed had all admitted conspiracy to publish the group’s magazine, Stormer, with the intention of stirring up race hate. “

  4. Geezer — on 4th November, 2005 at 6:40 pm  

    This more than likely looks like the work of far right extremist’s hell bent on igniting a war between two minorities. Everything about the incident is suspect.

    Firstly there is no organisation or group called “Black nation” also they can’t be stupid enough to leave their calling card, thus enabling the police to find them and making themselves vulnerable to retaliatory attacks. Why would an organisation that claims to be representing blacks make a sacrilegious assault on a faith which is followed by half the African continent itself? I have also never heard of African youths attacking a cemetery which seems to be the preserve of extreme far right nuts that coincidently have been getting a kick out of the disturbances and even asking others how they can exploit the situation.

    The main theme is for everyone to keep calm and let the police catch these vile people.

  5. NorahJones — on 4th November, 2005 at 6:41 pm  

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  6. Unity — on 4th November, 2005 at 6:48 pm  

    We need to be careful here and avoid jumping to any conclusions.

    Ligali’s claim that it can’t be their community behind this attack because of the existance of Black Muslims ignores the fact that there are tensions between evangelical Christians and Muslims in that community due to, at its most basic level, competition for recruits and has, therefore, to be treated with some scepticism.

    Right-wing agitation is certainly another possibility - although I have say if its was that its marks a considerable set-up in intelligence and subtlety for the local Nazis up here - if its them it’ll become apparent soon enough as most are too dumb not to brag about it on one or other of facist forums.

    To be honest, ‘Black Nation’ is such a common term in Black political writing that the most likely scenario here is that we have a small group of young hotheads looking to stir up trouble and make a name for themselves - new and opportunistic wannabe groups invaribly spring up organically where tensions run high only for it to turn out to be a bunch of kids, who’d otherwise be running with the local street gangs, taking advantage of a situation to take out their frustrations on others.

  7. The Don — on 4th November, 2005 at 7:08 pm  

    Cemetery desecration is a long standing MO of the far right, until there is more information it seems a fair working hypothesis.

    Can’t this be an opportunity for both communities to express their shared loathing for this contemptable act?

  8. BlackMuslim — on 4th November, 2005 at 9:14 pm  

    Must be the work of those racist idiots, as;

    1. It doesn’t make sense; half of Africans are muslim

    2. Africans we wont be seen dead in a grave yard, we all know racist punks do this kind of shit

  9. Geezer — on 4th November, 2005 at 10:02 pm  

    Agree with the brother…Salam and eid Mubarak by the way :)

  10. BlackMuslim — on 4th November, 2005 at 10:20 pm  

    Eid Mubarak to you too my brother and to all the rest of my Muslim brothers and sisters. May Allah(swt) have mercy on us all.

  11. jamal — on 4th November, 2005 at 10:35 pm  

    On one hand it could be the work of white racists going under the name of “Black Nation”. But on the other hand it could also be blacks in the area that are smashing the graves. Nevertheless, as we dont want random white dudes to be attacked as a result, the best option would be to assign no blame until further notice.

    To be honest ive heard black people and groups use much more stupidier and simplistic sounding names than “Black Nation”.

    I wouldnt even bother referring to the opinions of Ligali. Lets not forget that the black community in Brum recently was spured on by its own members and groups to recently riot and destroy its own streets aswell as community relations based solely on a highly fallible report. Im am sure there is at least a few idiots in this group that would resort to smashing graves too. Lets not pussyfoot about by taking the easy way out and blaming it on the white supremists!

    The most relevant point to remember is that regardless of who comitted the act, the main thing is not to retaliate. I
    n the end i wouldnt be surprised if it turned out to be a very small group of drunken glue sniffing teenagers that committed the act for kicks!

  12. Malik — on 5th November, 2005 at 12:15 am  

    1. “Stupidier” than “Black Nation”? Such as?

    2. “The black community”?

    3. Idiocy (and its converse) is fairly evenly distributed across all of us. Of course there is absolutely no excuse for this atrocity but its the idiocy that drove it not the “ethnic designation”

    4. Whichever way. Its a police matter.

  13. jamal — on 5th November, 2005 at 1:00 am  


    These points that you have formed into questions, im sure you are able to answer yourself with a little research!

    The only point worth referring to is number 4. Such “logic” should have initially been followed initially, rather than the “idiocy” that promoted an unsubstantiated “rape” and wrongly called for a boycott! …do you agree?

  14. Unity — on 5th November, 2005 at 2:12 am  

    I can only agree with Jamal.

    I can’t entirely rule out the possibility of right-wing agitators but then, to be honest, they’re just not that bright around these parts to think of anything as subtle as smashing up Muslim headstones and blaming it on the Black community. It’s just not their style - if it was he local fascist lot they’d leave their own crap lying around so they could take the credit and get the bragging rights for it.

    Having seen the news report and their ‘calling card’ - little more than a scribbled note on a sheet of A4 with black marker pen - I’d doubt that any of the perpertrators would be much older than 17-18 and are most likely 14-15 - this just has the feel of juvenile vandalism and opportunism about it.

    Claims that it may be the RVF are nothing more than ‘hey, there’s racists in the news, it must have been them’ - a convenient bit of scapegoating that points attention elsewhere, but if you read the news report its clear that such an attack doesn’t fit their MO at all - if they were behind it they’d want the world to know it was them for the kudos it was give them amongst their fellow scumbags.

    This is classic case where even those who were fired up over the rape allegation have looked on this incident as someone having gone too far and crossed the line, seeing the vandalism of a graveyard as being entirely taboo. The concern has to be that if the Black community is seen to be too quick to blame unknown and, possibly, ficticious racists, this could be interpreted by some in the Muslim community as precisely the same kind of ‘cover-up’ that they were complaining was going on over the still unsubstantiated allegation of rape.

    It strikes me that the best interests of the community as a whole; one I know well, will be served by everyone pulling together on all sides to identify those responsible, regardless of which community (or communities) they come from rather than playing ‘who can we pass the buck to?’

  15. Sunny — on 5th November, 2005 at 2:48 am  

    I’d say its pretty justified speculation.

    Firstly, no one has heard of this group, specially the African communities.

    Secondly, grave desecration is a very far-right activity. I’ve not heard of a single case of a anyone else doing it.

    Thirdly, almost half the African community is Muslim, so they’d end up annoying their own lot even if it was someone African.

    Fourthly, they have the most to gain out of this. The BNP and their ilk have been delighted with all this talk of immigrants not fitting in and fighting amongst themselves. Why is it past them to try and stir up hatred?

  16. Malik — on 5th November, 2005 at 2:56 am  



    But my second question tried to highlight the fact that it wasn’t the “black community” who were engaged in the disturbances any more than it was the “asian community” who were allegedly involved in the fatal attack on someone apparently returning from the cinema.

    It is ridiculous to interpret the behaviour of individuals (acting alone or in groups) as somehow totemic of their (apparent) community affiliation (despite the temptation when it comes to Millwall supporters). Moreover, I strongly doubt if the most thorough and ardent research could lead to a different conclusion. It should be self-evident that there is more heterogeneity within whichever community we choose to focus on than between the different groups.

    The key thing now is to clean up the desecrated site, repair the broken headstones etc. and to encourage the police to both catch the criminals quickly and protect that and similar sites in the future.

    As for question (1) I am genuinely intrigued. But let’s leave it there. With the bigger picture in mind (and that includes “community relations”, earthquake and famine victims, potential ID cards, potential 90-day detentions, Belmarsh, Darfur, Iraq, Palestine etc etc), its unimportant.

  17. Kulvinder — on 5th November, 2005 at 7:37 am  

    I haven’t seen any specific evidence to support a particular point of view so id say its all conjecture at this point. It is perhaps irrelevant who actually carried this out, there is obviously a tension if not outright hostility between the black and brown people of that area. Dealing with that in a non-accusatory manner is the main thing.

    There will always be opportunists on all sides willing to exploit a grievance for their own benefit. Stopping an atmosphere developing within which they can fester is more effective than finding out who carried out a particular attack.

  18. litle nicky shabbaz — on 5th November, 2005 at 9:36 am  

    To be honest ive heard black people and groups use much more stupidier and simplistic sounding names than “Black Nation”.

    More or less “stupidier” than thinking “stupidier” is a word?

    I wouldnt even bother referring to the opinions of Ligali. Lets not forget that the black community in Brum recently was spured on by its own members and groups to recently riot and destroy its own streets aswell as community relations based solely on a highly fallible report.

    So to summise, if you’re you Black and go round saying “The Asians committed this” in the face of a lack of supporting evidence then you are a fool. To take the mirror route of being Asian and going round saying “The Blacks committed this” in the face of a lack of supporting evidence makes you what then?

    If you intend to respond by saying “You can answer those questions yourself” then just save yourself taking that exta step towards RSI

  19. litle nicky shabbaz — on 5th November, 2005 at 9:40 am  

    On an unrelated note, to whomever it is that is in charge of such things this new anti-spam measure doesn’t work with firefox and certain extensions. I didn’t bohter testing to see which ones though

  20. The Don — on 5th November, 2005 at 1:23 pm  

    litle nicky shabbaz

    The problem with nit-picking other people’s typos is that one invariably makes a worse one moments later.


  21. Yusuf Smith — on 5th November, 2005 at 4:30 pm  

    On an unrelated note, to whomever it is that is in charge of such things this new anti-spam measure doesn’t work with firefox and certain extensions. I didn’t bohter testing to see which ones though

    The other problem is that they put the whole system out of limits to blind people. When I first saw them, they had some link for people who couldn’t see the image, but this one obviously doesn’t. Spam or no spam, this isn’t the way to deal with it.

    I suggest moving to Movable Type 3.2, which I did recently - although a group licence costs money, although this could be shared between the contributors. Forget all the horror stories about spam in older versions of MT - I have hardly any on mine and I have not installed any number images or anti-spam plugins. I’d be happy to help you set it up.

  22. leon — on 5th November, 2005 at 4:45 pm  

    I think this situation shows the real danger we face and the need for all our communities to talk to each other, work out our points of contention while keeping in mind the real threat.

  23. NorahJones — on 5th November, 2005 at 4:54 pm  

    lol at the don

  24. Sunny — on 5th November, 2005 at 7:24 pm  

    True Leon - and the community leaders do nothing about it. By the way, I’ll be on BBC Asian Network saying the same thing on Monday morning (10am), so listen out if you can.

  25. jamal — on 5th November, 2005 at 11:44 pm  

    litle nicky shabbaz

    Firstly, LOL @ Summise. I hope you read what The Don said.

    Secondly, YES you can answer those questions yourself.

  26. leon — on 6th November, 2005 at 3:10 am  

    Look forward to it Sunny.

  27. little nicky shabbaz — on 7th November, 2005 at 9:29 am  

    Well for the record I wasn’t picking at Jamal’s spelling, I was more meking reference to the lack of literacy that would put forward a sentence such as “you are much more stupider” a true intelectual collussus you are indeed Jamal.

    For the record though much like the malapropation restauranter summise would fall under the boundaries of common usage as a derivative of the term summation. Quite why the bankrupt brains of norah and jamal would even pretend to know what the hell Don was even to refering to astounds me.

    By the way Jamal, thanks for living down to expectations and avoiding a very pertinent question as to why it is that blacks making assumptions with no proof = bad yet asians doing exactly the same = perfectly reasonable

  28. leon — on 7th November, 2005 at 2:29 pm  

    Nothing to do with us guv say Birmingham Council: http://www.blink.org.uk/pdescription.asp?key=9938&grp=21&cat=94

  29. The Don — on 7th November, 2005 at 8:39 pm  


    You’re just making it worse.

    It is bad form to attack an argument based on your opponents literacy, unless it seriously interferes with understanding their point.

    It is doubly bad form to do it on a forum which is intended for multiplicity. To do so makes you fair game. Open season on every typo, solecism, malapropism and punctuation error.

    I can live with that. Based on your last posting, you can’t.

    Drop it.

  30. susano — on 11th November, 2005 at 9:46 pm  

    As an outsider, I’m not familiar with the grave desecrations. Reading through the posts, however, raised a question in my mind.

    Concerning the argument of why would blacks destroy the graves of Muslims, when Africa has so many Muslims:

    Hasn’t their been a lot of tension between various religious groups in Africa? Have not the Sharia law crowd tried to enforce their twisted brand of justice on other Africans? Didn’t they order the stoning death of a young woman in Nigeria (I signed a petition on her behalf)? And what about the Sudan? There are conflicts raging all over the African continent, with fighting between religious factions playing a prominent role African people are hardly monolithic.

  31. susano — on 11th November, 2005 at 9:47 pm  

    Oh, and before Nicky nails me, I meant “there”, not “their” :D

  32. Sunny — on 11th November, 2005 at 9:52 pm  

    True Susano - but that has traditionally only applied in Africa. As far as I can tell in the UK, there isn’t really such tension between African Christians and Muslims. Though I might be wrong.

  33. susano — on 11th November, 2005 at 11:25 pm  

    I guess I also wonder about Muslims, in general (not knowing ANY very well). How much do they all have in common, any more than all Christians do? At least in my own mind, I see a world of difference between someone from India, be they Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, whatever, and someone from Saudi Arabia. They seem to be very different in culture and their interpretation and practice of Islam. I would say that it’s the Arab version that the west, in particular, Americans, see as a threat. Isn’t it Arabs who brought their Wabbiism (sp) to Pakistan? It’s an intersting topic, to me, and I’d like to hear other Muslims expand on it.

    BTW, people in the UK and Europe frequently speak in terms of “Asians”. I’ll bet you didn’t know that in the United States, Asian has come to mean the far east - China, Japan, Vietnam, etc. When it comes to India and Pakistan, we refer to Indians and Pakistanis, not Asians. Could be a hold over from our involvement in Vietnam, and just poor education on geography/history.

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