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    Technorati: graph / links

    Why I love “fake sheikh” Mazher Mahmood

    by Sunny on 7th April, 2006 at 4:11 pm    

    It has been quite amusing to observe the hoo-haa surrounding the identity of “fake sheikh” Mazher Mahmood since George Galloway claimed to have blown his cover.

    Mahmood claimed quite a few scalps in his time, and allegations of his “agent provocateur tactics”, as George Galloway calls it, have made him quite the hate figure. But I think its the fact that he worked for ‘News of the Screws’ that failed to give the paper credibility when it tried to take the higher moral ground.

    But I love the story for another reason. Mazher Mahmood is clearly Asian. For a consistently long period of time, he managed to dupe people into trusting him and seeing him as a harmless man. So did Martin Bashir. Both quite competent at speaking to people and getting them to, well, sing like canaries. Again, Asian.

    What the “fake sheikh” episode tells me is that with a nice-Indian-boy image, a slight paunch and glasses, no one is going to believe you’re a ruthless journalist. No one is going to be suspicious or think you’re going to exploit your weaknesses to get you to reveal your inner secrets.

    How on earth could otherwise all those people fall for their charms, given that we know journalists are not exactly known for their trustworthy qualities. I bet you serious money that Martin Bashir’s talents at getting people to open up made more than a few journalists green with envy.

    Now consider the TV psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud. Another fine specimen of the same variety and again particularly deft at getting people to open up and trust him. Co-incidence? I think not. He has the glasses. He has the paunch. He has the side parting. He is the archetype trustworthy Indian man. Let’s just ignore the minor plagiarism row for now, please?

    I think this is great. News organisations should be employ more Asian men as investigative reporters. The more “fresh-off-the-boat” look the better. No one is going to believe they’re ruthless reporters. “Ahhh… he probably wanted to become a doctor, ” they’ll think. “Are you going to have an arranged marriage soon?” they’ll ask. That will be his cue to their innermost secrets.

    It’s a foolproof plan. It’s also a great way to increase diversity in the industry and deal with the “dumbing down” of news reports. So many birds with one stone.

    They may not like Mazher Mahmood, but I salute you.

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    24 Comments below   |  

    1. Jay Singh — on 7th April, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

      Sunny, check out the comments from Mazher Mahmood’s friends under the news item in which you publish his photo on AIM and it’s plain that they don’t really like you - some of them even sound like threats!

    2. Sunny — on 7th April, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

      Hehe, don’t worry… I know who that is… he’s just trying to stir up things and get a reaction from other people! Asian media eh?

    3. Don — on 7th April, 2006 at 4:59 pm  

      Worrying focus on paunches here. Are you trying to tell us something?

    4. Jay Singh — on 7th April, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

      Oh cool Sunny - whoever it is sounds a bit hysterical that’s all - although if we see you in the News of the World soon with photos of you snorting cocaine off a transvestites cleavage we know why!

    5. Siddhartha Singh — on 7th April, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

      Raj Persaud is Innocent!

    6. Fe'reeha — on 7th April, 2006 at 11:37 pm  

      Very interesting! And you have definately proved your point.

    7. jamal — on 8th April, 2006 at 12:18 am  

      I think it will be some unknown. Best case scenario would be if it had turned out to be sacha baron cohen!

    8. Tim Worstall — on 8th April, 2006 at 10:33 am  

      Interesting job application there Sunny

    9. Jay Singh — on 8th April, 2006 at 10:56 am  

      Best story of the day in the Guardian - the BNP are in turmoil over the decision to field a Greek-Armenian as a candidate in Bradford:

      Yesterday the BNP admitted it had received a number of calls from angry members and that a hardcore had refused to accept Mr Gawad’s candidacy on race grounds “even when it was explained that he was not a Pakistani Muslim”



    10. Jai — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:03 am  

      Jay Singh,

      Amusing story. So I guess the candidate is “Theoretically European, but not European enough”, or “The wrong type of European.”

    11. Sid D H Arthur — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:21 am  

      Great story Jay.
      I feel sorry for the “totally assimilated Greek-Armenian” Sharif Abdel Gawad. Born to be a BNP leader but named after an Arab and looks like a Paki. lol!

    12. Don — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:29 am  

      I don’t see why his name should be a problem, after all HuT seem content to have supporters called Adrian Sinclair and Andy Fraser.

    13. Jay Singh — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:31 am  

      Another beautiful quote:

      “The BNP is the last bastion of hope for our people, they too have been let down if just anyone is allowed to join. Ethnics have every single opportunity afforded them, and now they even get to join the BNP. Just like immigration into this country, we were not consulted. When an ethnic wants to join, it should go to a membership vote. We’re the ones who do all the work, we should have a say.”

      Boo hoo!

    14. Vikrant Singh — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:33 am  

      We’re the ones who do all the work, we should have a say.”


    15. Sid D H Arthur — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:35 am  

      I guess thats why Mr Gawad always had the qualifier “totally assimilated Greek-Armenian” after his name. Bit like a Viz character.

    16. Vikrant Singh — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:36 am  

      P.S Jay that post was from Stormfront forum. Boy you guys really need to see those forums, and especially search for “Aryan” related topics.


    17. Sid D H Arthur — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:40 am  

      No thanks Viks I’ve just had my breakfast.

    18. Vikrant Singh — on 8th April, 2006 at 11:48 am  

      Err… one amusing piece of BNP poetry one of my mates got in his mailbox.

      Britain For The British - No Surrender

      It ain’t the passport you hold in your hand
      It ain’t the taxes you pay in this land
      Its the blood that runs through your veins
      It ain’t the way ya speak or cook ya dinner
      It ain’t that your a loser or even a winner
      Its the blood that runs through your veins

    19. Sid D H Arthur — on 8th April, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

      oooh that makes me feel totally assimilated

    20. Jay Singh — on 8th April, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

      Watch out Seamus Heaney!

    21. kismet hardy — on 9th April, 2006 at 9:02 pm  

      I don’t get it. When the News of the World published their fake sheikh stories, they all had ‘exclusive by mahzer mahmood’ on it. Wasn’t that a clue?

    22. Sunny — on 10th April, 2006 at 12:59 am  

      Kismet - no one knew what he looked like. That was the big secret.

    23. Rohin — on 12th April, 2006 at 8:28 am  

      I too think the fake sheikh is cool, and have done for a while. I do confess that some of his techniques have been rather entrapment-esque. But if you agree to supply drugs to someone you’ve just met, sorry - you’ve broken the law.

      His CV would make a lot of journalists jealous. Getting that silly bint Sophie to step down was priceless, anyone who pisses off the Royals is OK by me. Clearly other reporters agreed he was worthy of commendation as he’s won several awards. 98 criminal convictions made possible by a journalist is quite admirable.

      I didn’t know about that Raj Persuad thing Sunny, haha! I listen to his show sometimes and hell I’ve even pilfered an idea from him once - I feel completely justified now! Right, I’m off to write my job application for Radio 4’s new quack.

      Nine degrees to his name? Impressive. But Haberdasher Aske’s and UCL? Oh dear oh dear.

    24. SajiniW — on 12th April, 2006 at 8:48 am  

      It’s rare I agree so wholeheartedly with Rohin, but he’s said exactly what I’d like to hear!

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