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  • 6th December, 2005

    Girl power, India-Gates and French Sikhs

    by Rohin at 6:25 pm    

    Just wanted to bring your attention to some interesting stories briefly.

    Vani is the Pakistani custom of paying off debts by marrying off your daughters. Three Punjabi Pakistani girls have dared to say no to what they consider a death sentence.

    Bill and Melinda Gates leave Bangladesh having pledged to nurture their fledgling IT industry and arrive in neighbouring computing powerhouse, India. AIDS is at the forefront of his mind.

    The French High Court, the Conseil d’Etat, ruled today that a French Sikh has a right to wear his Turban for his driver’s licence photo. The court ordered that Shingara Singh Mann be given his driver’s licence within a month.

    Continue Reading...

    Doctors deny treatment on religious grounds

    by Al-Hack at 1:58 pm    

    Two fertility doctors refused to treat a lesbian patient because it would have violated their religious beliefs. First, the court ruled they had violated the law, but an appeal court later overturned that ruling, saying they were perfectly within their rights to do. It is now likely to go to the Supreme court.

    But the case was in America and and the ruling, coming over the weekend, was closely watched in the country for the implication it may have for the medical profession and lesbians and gay rights. Sooner or later this is an issue that will come to the UK. How would we respond here?

    Continue Reading...
    5th December, 2005

    Darling, a cross is just so passé, I want a crystal!

    by Rohin at 6:43 pm    

    Representatives from all 192 countries that signed the Geneva Conventions are discussing the merits of a new, third emblem for the Red Cross.

    I am a big fan of the Red Cross. Me dad worked for them for several years, in both Bangladesh and Indonesia, both Muslim countries. I was about 10 years old when I first heard that he was working for the ‘ICRC‘ and got rather confused. Then I heard about the ‘IFRCRCS‘ and was completely flummoxed. I soon learnt what an intensely complex setup the Red Cross and its various subsidiary/contributory bodies have. However the main thing that struck me was when I saw pictures of my dad’s team in Jakarta, it was all crescent moons. Where were the crosses?

    Update: The crys-taaaal has been adopted.

    Continue Reading...

    Have Asian MPs betrayed us over 90-day bill?

    by Xavier Swaraj at 4:34 am    

    The Government’s Terror Bill, which is currently being scrutinised by the House of Lords, has been the most contentious issue so far for Labour’s ‘historic’ third term.

    When the time for voting came, most of the Asian MPs voted with the government despite the laws’ likely impact on our communities. Have they not betrayed us when community is supposed to look up to them to represent our voices and sentiments?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Party politics

    Overdue thanks to some people

    by Sunny at 12:04 am    

    No blog and news roundup this weekend I’m afraid due to lack of time, but it is about time we said thank you to a few blogs and commentators for plugging and generally bigging us up since we launched three months ago.
    Now updated

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Uncategorized
    4th December, 2005

    British Muslims, faith and Sharia law

    by Shariq at 6:10 am    

    One argument used by moderate Muslims to argue against Sharia is the point that Sharia as we see it today is largely the implementation of Muslim values by 10th and 11th century jurists to the world that they lived in. Since then the gates of ijtihad have been closed and there has not been much jurisprudential development to update Islamic law so that it can provide guidance in the modern world.

    I would not disagree with this, but I think that it is difficult to win the argument against traditionalist Muslims if the debate is shaped in the above terms. Therefore I would ask those Muslims who would like Sharia law the following.

    Reformist Muslim asks why fellow brothers and sisters find it necessary to impose their notions of piety upon other Muslims and Non-Muslims.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Religion
    2nd December, 2005

    Looking after the Aunties and Uncles

    by Rohin at 9:31 pm    

    Yesterday was World AIDS Day. Sorry I wasn’t able to post anything up, but PP had a brief AIDS in Asia roundup here.

    I wanted to bring a far lower profile ‘day’ to your attention, Carers’ Rights Day. A carer is essentially defined as a person who looks after someone who has a disability or illness without getting paid. A figure most have not heard is that the estimated money carers save the government and the NHS is a staggering £57 billion.

    This year the main objectives of Carers’ Rights Day is to raise awareness of the financial burdens carers can face and the thing I want to briefly talk about - the elderly.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs

    Eminem copycat murderer gets life

    by Al-Hack at 3:29 am    

    jagdipTalking of murders that get little coverage in the media, I found 12 mentions for Jagdip Najran, most of them very recent. Yet this 26 year old Law student was battered to death in May 2004 by a man obsessed by rapper Eminem.

    The pair left the bar and stopped off for a drink at another pub before heading back to Duncan’s flat, where various weapons and violent videos were found.

    But at some stage he battered her over the head with an iron baseball bat and stuffed her in a suitcase, where she remained alive for another hour, the court heard. “His motive for this unprovoked and brutal killing of a defenceless and vulnerable woman, has not been established,” said Mr Laidlaw.

    He admitted murdering her yesterday. I think I’m going to feel sick.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Bangladesh bombs evoke backlash

    by Al-Hack at 2:49 am    

    On Tuesday 9 people died and over 40 injured when more bombs went off in Bangladesh, only two weeks before two judges were also killed by terrorists. Bloggers such as Addabaj were in anguish.

    Families are in pain. Whole Bangladesh is in the state of shock. The whole world is looking at us. Bangladesh is not Afghanistan and it will never be.

    Yesterday, another bomb went off, claimed by the banned group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. This time, Rewan from Dhaka is furious at the government’s inability to crack down on extremists who want to turn the country into an Islamic state.

    The government should act now before these menaces cripple the country. Otherwise, soon the people will give their ruling and there will be no return.

    He chronicles more reaction here. Global Voices also catches bloggers reacting in anger. Update: Siddhartha also has more coverage.

    Filed under: South Asia
    1st December, 2005

    Anthony Walker and dealing with racist murders

    by Sunny at 3:01 pm    

    Anthony WalkerWith Anthony Walker’s racist murderers imprisoned for a long time to come, blanket media coverage today and tomorrow expected, some uncomfortable questions will be raised - do racist murders by Africans or Asians get less attention than those by white people?

    Those with an axe to grind about these things simply type their names into Google and show how, for e.g. Stephen Lawrence gets millions of mentions compared to other racist murders. They conveniently ignore that the trial exposed serious insitutional racism in the police and led to the establishment of the McPherson enquiry.

    Others point out to the relative lack of coverage given to racist murders of white people as an example of British liberal media (BBC, Guardian, Indy) bias, ignoring that the right-wing (Mail, Telegraph, Sun) are more than adequate in re-addressing this balance but choose not to.

    Recent events haven’t helped. The judge in Christopher Yates’ case foolishly decided it was not a racist murder despite the evidence. Then we had the three caught regarding Isiah Young-Sam’s murder during the Birmingham riots who got hardly any coverage.

    Neil Harding makes a good point about how people so inclined are using one or two examples (and silly Google comprisons) to play their victim card, despite stats that show otherwise.

    Is the media biased? To a certain degree maybe, but comparing racist murders without looking at what factors made the trial extensive or coverage-worthy is naive. Maybe the answer is to have similar sentencing for racist and ordinary killings. After all, a murder is a murder, no?

    Filed under: Race politics

    Thoughts on kidnappings in Iraq and Al-Jazeera

    by Sunny at 12:46 am    

    I wanted to say about the recent kidnappings in Iraq which tie together a few stories in the media. As I can’t be asked with a proper article, here they are in point form.

    1) The government (FO I think) initially asked the media not to refer to the kidnapped as members of Christian Peacemaker Teams because it might make things worse. Word got out eventually anyway. The four Britons and Canadians are: Tom Fox, 54, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32.

    Simon Barrow has more on CPT, an organisation that not only opposed the war from the start, but has also tried to mediate in other dangerous flashpoints such as the Israel-Palestine border. But, as he says,

    The difficulty is that militants are often unable to distinguish Christians who oppose violence and injustice from those they characterise as ‘crusaders’ and ‘occupiers’.

    I view them more as glory-hunting murders so I doubt they care about the impact to their image or support for the war. I hope the four get back safely. Incidentally, the Stop The War crew have condemned the kidnappings, like it would make any difference.

    2) Al-Jazeera broadcast a video from the kidnappers, once again helpfully giving the kidnappers that oxygen of publicity and letting them parade around like sado-masochists.

    I’ve argued against Al-Jazeera being bombed by Bush, even happy to publish the memo, and they plead the same on their blog, but I am of the opinion that broadcasting these videos only makes things worse. Why can’t they exercise more restraint? Don’t expect any ‘I believe in Al-Jazeera’ badges on here.

    3) More killings of innocent Iraqis by these terrorists yesterday. Anyone still see them as ‘liberators’ for the Iraqis?

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