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  • 21st September, 2007

    BBC bias on the Media Guardian podcast

    by Sunny at 4:33 pm    

    I was interviewed for the Media Guardian weekly podcast about my CIF article on why the liberal-left should go on the offensive regarding BBC editorial policy.
    It has just been published online. You can listen to the podcast from here.

    Filed under: Media

    Might as well lose in style

    by Sunny at 12:04 pm    

    Seeing as it’s Friday, here’s something to cheer you up / make you depressed depending on who you support: Yuvraj Singh’s 6 sixes against England this week.
    As they say on the interweb… England got pwned!

    Yes, I proudly fail the Tebbit test. Heh.

    Filed under: Humour,Sports
    20th September, 2007

    Bloggers under threat

    by Sunny at 9:08 pm    

    Well thank god for our stupid libel laws again! Justin McKeating has blogged and sent an email around alerting us to the fact that Tim Ireland and Craig Murray’s blogs have both been taken down by their hosting company.

    It happened because both had asked questions about Uzbek minerals billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who recently bought shares in Arsenal. The Guardian pointed out last week:

    Schillings, the lawyers acting for Usmanov, have been in touch with several independent Arsenal supporters’ websites and blogs warning them to remove postings referring to allegations made against him by Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. Usmanov was jailed under the old Soviet regime but says that he was a political prisoner who was then freed and granted a full pardon once Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as president. Schillings have warned the websites that repetition of Murray’s allegations were regarded as “false, indefensible and grossly defamatory”.

    More on Obsolete. British libel laws always make it more difficult on the party with less money. Paying to defend the charges has the potential to break an individual or company, and having “I’m sorry” just won’t cut it. So hosting companies don’t want to take a chance and, at the first threat of legal proceedings, will capitulate. Tim and Craig’s example is worrying because it may have repercussions for British blogging in general. So do blog about this and spread the word! This will hopefully make others re-think before issuing legal threats to bloggers. Oh by the way, we’re hosted in the United States, which have different libel laws. :)

    Also on: Hamster, Blairwatch, Mike P, David T, Iain D, TC, David S, 10%, Suesam, Tim W, Dizzy, Jailhouse, Cartoonist, Falco, Monitor, Expat, Arseblog, Tom, Wonko’s World, Roll a monkey, Caroline H, Gracchii, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Nich S, Chris P, Indymedia, Obsolete, Tom W, Mr Eugenides, Morningstar, ourKingdom, Leon G, Tygerland, Reactionary Snob, Matthew S, Select Society, Jonathan C, Davblog, Peter G Pitch Perfect, AGPC, Lunartalks, Crossed Pond, Big Daddy Merk, Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt W, PoliZeros, Love & Garbage, Huntsman, Party Reptile, Ellee S, Sabretache, Not a Sheep, Bartholomew, PRO Newport, Skorohnomis, Arsenal News, Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, Back Four, Rebellion Sucks!, Unity, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots & Independent, Splund, Bill C, Podnosh, Dodgeblogium, ZeroPointNine, Golmal, Tom G, Lenin’s Tomb, Moving Target, Goonerholic, Spine, Durruti Column, Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam, Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Chris D, …15 megapixels, Tom M, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, Curmudgeonly, Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Blown It, Remittance Man, 18 DS, Indigo Jo, Political Penguin, Poons, Poldraw, Who knows where, John A, Laban Tall, Spy Blog, Imagined Community, Unionist Lite, Poldraw, Disillusioned & Bored, Error Gorilla, Swiss Metablog, Kate Garnwen Truemors, Asn14, D-Notice, The Judge, Miserable Old Fart, Jottings, fridgemagnet, Blah Blah Flowers, Arthur MacNumpty, Tony Hatfield, Grendel, Charlie Whitaker, Matt Buck, Waendel Journal, Marginalized…, SoccerLens, Toblog, John Brissenden East Lower, EFF, Peter Black, Boing Boing, BLTP, Gunnerblog, LFB UK, Liberal Revolution, Wombles, Focus on Sodbury…, Follow The Money, Freedom & Whisky, Melting Man, PoliticalHackUK, Simon Says…, Daily EM, Barrel of a Gun, Fourth Place, Armchair News Blog, Journalist und Optimist, Bristol Indymedia, Dave Weeden, Up North John, Gizmonaut, Spin & Spinners, Marginalia, Arnique, Heather Yaxley, Whiskey Priest, On The Beat, Paul Canning, Martin Stabe, Mat Bowles, Pigdogfucker, Rachel North, Englands Freedome, Bel Today, Vino S, Marginalia, Daily EM, UFO Breakfast, B3TA board, Naqniq, Yorkshire Ranter, Home Of Football, Moninski , Kerching, e-clectig, Mediocracy, Sicily Scene, Samizdata, Flashboy, Colcam, Random Thoughts, Vino S, Simply Jews, Registan, Filasteen, Britblog Roundup, Scientific Misconduct, Adam Bowie, Duncan at Abcol, Camera Anguish, A Very British Dude, Whatever, Central News, Green Gathering, Leighton Cooke, Skuds’ Sister’s Brother, Contrast News, Poliblog, Parish Pump, El Gales, Noodle, Curly’s Corner Shop, Fdog, otromundoesposible, Richard Stacy, Looking For A Voice, News Dissector, Kateshomeblog, Writes Like She Talks, Extra! Extra!, Committee To Protect Bloggers, Liberty’s Requiem, American Samizdat, The Thunder Dragon, Cybersoc, Achievable Life, Paperholic, Creative-i, Raedwald, Nobody’s Friend, Lobster Blogster, Panchromatica, Back off, man…, Dan Hardie, Krusenstern, Brendadada, Freace, Boriswatch, Fork Handles, Chris Applegate, Christopher Glamorgan, West Virginia Rebel’s Blog, Instapundit, Powerpymes, iDiligence Forum, Gizmotastic, Demos, Gary Andrews, Neweurasia , Never Trust a Hippy, sub specie aeternitatis, Bananas in the Falklands, The Sharpener, Virtual Light, Stu News, Scraps of Moscow, Danivon, As A Dodo, La Russophobe, PJC Journal, Mick Fealty’s Brassneck, dead brains don’t dance, A Comfortable Place, Bamblog, Robert Amsterdam, The Customer, No Longer at Ease, Rachel-Catherine, Humaniform, Mike Rouse, Chesus Yuste, anticapitalista, Aderyn Cân, Ulla’s Amazing Wee Blog, Ross200, Disruptive,, The Obscurer, A Lefty Down Under, Things I Learned or Made Up, Pickled Bushman, Persons Unknown.

    (Send me or Justin the link if you’ve blogged this please. Phew! It’s getting difficult to keep up! I’m just mirroring Justin now…)

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    Filed under: Media

    Hizb ut-Tahrir and Iranian TV

    by Sunny at 5:19 pm    

    After my criticism of Press TV earlier this week, they were anxious to prove to me they are not just a propaganda front for the Iranian government (!!) and can have honest debates. So they’ve invited me on a show this weekend to discuss whether the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir should be banned or not. That should be fun, like last time.
    Update: my view on what do with HuT is here and here.

    Filed under: Current affairs,Media

    Ken’s love affair with Sikh nutters continues

    by Sunny at 2:30 pm    

    Here we go again… I was alerted to this ‘press release’.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Organisations,Sikh

    A ‘jihad against litter’

    by Sunny at 8:51 am    

    This is one jihad we can all support. A group of kids in Small Heath, Birmingham have declared a jihad against litter. The campaign, called Clean Medina, kicks off this weekend. Heh, brilliant. They have a blog here.

    19th September, 2007

    Pashtunistan: the way to save both Afghanistan and Pakistan

    by Rumbold at 5:31 pm    

    However much we try and dress it up, both Afghanistan and Pakistan are in the midst of civil wars. In Afghanistan, the situation is serious enough to warrant thousands of foreign troops assisting the Afghan army to hunt down the remnants of the Taliban and their allies. In Pakistan, tens of thousands of Pakistani troops, demoralised and under constant attack, are attempting to fight Al-Qaeda, local tribes and fugitive Taliban.

    Both countries’ governments are fighting against the same people: the Pashtuns. Most Pashtuns live in Afghanistan and in the part of Pakistan known as the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). My proposal (albeit not a novel one), is to create a Pashtun homeland based in the NWFP and a sizeable section of Afghanistan.

    Partition in South Asia has had a chequered history, but it should be pointed out that the reason why the Pashtuns do not have their own country is because the British and Russians carved it up during the Great Game so that a buffer state could be created between British and Russian territory.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs

    BBC bias: a response to Iain Dale

    by Sunny at 4:05 pm    

    In response to my article on CIF yesterday, Iain Dale was annoyed enough to write a reply in the middle of his holiday. But I’m afraid he read my article rather too quickly to see what I was getting at.

    1) Institutional bias Iain Dale says he does not recall anyone alleging the BBC has admitted being “institutionally biased”. Well, he should have read the article I linked to. In the comments of Iain Dale’s blog, Septicisle also linked the original article.

    It has become a constantly regurgitated line that the BBC has admitted it was “institutionally biased” towards liberal ideas in a recent report. It did no such thing. The BBC is a huge organisation and its producers are fallible people. Some have an inbuilt liberal bias, some have an inbuilt conservative bias. This is the organisation after all which employees a Political Editor (Nick Robinson) who was the chairman of Young Conservatives at his university.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media,Party politics

    Asian women, trying not to sell out

    by Sunny at 9:08 am    

    I have on occasion remarked on the point that Asian women are frequently caught between multiple identities - their sex, race (culture) and religion, with each demanding some degree of loyalty. One of the biggest criticisms of government sponsored ‘multiculturalism’ has been that women almost always lose out, stuck between and spoken for by middle-aged ‘community leaders’ who are men.

    If you want to read the best article explaining all this, Zohra Moosa has just written one for Catalyst magazine.

    In the case of ethnic minority women, ‘race loyalty’ is often privileged over sisterhood. Research from the US shows that many black American women, for instance, do not report or testify against abusive male black partners for two reasons. On the one hand, they recognise that the criminal justice system is likely to over-penalise black men, locking up key allies who can be relied on for support in dealing with any racism they may face. On the other, they fear that their disclosure of abuse will be read as a ‘cultural’ pathology, feeding stereotypes and ultimately fuelling racism against their ethnic group.

    The recent ‘veil debate’ provided a good example of this: the Muslim Council of Britain urged Muslims to refrain from engaging in the debate altogether in order to present a united front against perceived religious discrimination, regardless of individual opinions about the validity of the veil or its effect on the status of Muslim women.

    The whole article is very worth reading. But I have an issue with it. When advocating solutions at the end, Zohra’s answer is that women should get organised, share their experiences and mobilise to push through their own concerns. Women/feminists usually see their first step towards empowerment as overcoming division within women and organising themselves. Agreed.

    The problem is that Zohra, and others, usually ignore the part men can play in this. I consider myself as a feminist in that I would like equality for women. This is even more important within ethnic minority communities where sexism/domestic abuse is much worse because we come from highly patriarchal cultures (let’s not pretend otherwise please!). In their struggle for equality, most feminists in modern times don’t seem to bother making alliances with liberal men (from my experience). This is a shame. The anti-racist movement for example could never have been successful without the part played by liberal whites. Similarly, for brown women, making alliances with men should be paramount to challenge sexism within the communities, whether that be on the basis of race or religion.

    18th September, 2007

    Time to stop supporting the BBC

    by Sunny at 2:38 pm    

    The BBC has lost its cojones. It has forgotten its editorial guidelines and every time the right wing blogs throw up a big fuss over something stupid, it hurriedly changes everything. It’s time, as I point out in my article today on comment is free, to abandon support for the BBC as a liberal-lefty. Instead we should attack it and challenge its right-wing bias every time. That is the only way to ensure it doesn’t move further to the right.

    Filed under: Media,Party politics

    Europe’s Muslims

    by Sunny at 10:40 am    

    Sometimes the Financial Times is the only newspaper in Britain with spot-on commentary.

    Now the European Union’s 16m or so Muslims are often considered unassimilable. Fifty years after they began arriving in Europe, their rates of joblessness and incarceration remain high. A very small number are fundamentalist terrorists, as in the recently foiled plot in Germany. Muslims also traditionally have more children than native Europeans. Hence the American neo-conservative Norman Podhoretz, in his new book**, predicts that western Europe will be “conquered from within by Islamofascism”.

    Yet the Financial Times’ recent series of articles on Muslims in Europe showed nothing of the kind. We found that most concerns about Europe’s Muslims were overblown – despite the terrorists – and in time may fade like those ancient fears of Italians.

    Here are three suggestions to help European Muslims integrate. First, abolish housing segregation. It is hard to become British or French if you are planted in a ghetto where you never meet natives. Second, make immigrants learn the native language. It is the only essential business tool. Third, the authorities should not worry about changing people’s thoughts. People can support any cricket team, or believe whatever they like about gays, as long as they obey the law. The worst way to make people feel integrated is to keep demanding that they integrate.

    Who cares about politics?

    by Sunny at 4:35 am    

    Blogger Jim Jay’s written a brilliant article on Gordon Brown’s recent politicking.
    The money quote:

    But for Labour strategists it doesn’t matter how few votes Labour get, as long as the Tories get fewer. The long term problem for Labour is that if they need to shift their ground it will be impossible without experienced, grassroots members - and where are they? Cameron is also neglecting the traditional Tory support in the hope of winning back old friends - but the flow is sadly still the other way. Well, sadly for him.

    It seems to me that this is a vision of government without mass parties. Why have parties with hundreds of thousands of members if they can get along with a hand full of votes and thirty rich donors? More to the point what does it mean for democracy if the majority of the population absent themselves from party politics?

    The key for progressives, in my view, is to ensure that there is a real movement outside of these parties that can rock and tip the official boat and create some movement on these key issues independent of the mainstream parties.

    For all his talk about wanting the rest of the country involved in politics, Gordon Brown doesn’t really seem to care does he? As long as the Tories are doing worse, he doesn’t need to. And the last paragraph is spot on. This is exactly what Martin Bright alluded to last week. Organising and mobilising outside the parties is the only way forward now if we want them to listen.

    Filed under: Party politics
    17th September, 2007

    The anti-racists and Islamists

    by Sunny at 3:54 pm    

    Oh dear. One of the most “controversial” points I made during the launch of NGN was that anti-racists should reject any alliance with Islamist movements such as Hizb ut-Tahrir bcause those organisations were themselves full of prejudice. I pointed to the example of Blink promoting this march which included HuT and Azzam Tammimi amongst others.

    Looks like Blink, an organisation funded by the 1990 Trust and supported by Lee Jasper and Ken Livingstone’s office, has not learnt its lesson. Now they are supporting and promoting Press TV, the Iranian govt funded television station. Duncan Money points out:

    Not that you would know from the email but Press TV is in fact funded and controlled by the Iranian government, a murderous gang of theocrats responsible for repeated and widespread human rights violations targeting trade unionists, gays, lesbians, students, anyone opposed to their vicious regime.

    It claims to be editorially independent but the Iranian government doesn’t have a wonderful record when it comes to freedom of speech. In the last 6 years government 100 news organisations have been shut down by the and recently a Canadian photojournalist was raped, tortured then murdered after taking photos of a prison.

    The problem is that Blink is run by well meaning anti-racists who have no clue about Islamist organisations. One individual in particular, who I will not name, joined Blink a few years ago and has since been running their ‘department-for-coordinating-with-Muslim-organisations’. In practice that has meant signing up to whatever the MCB says and joining any rally even if it includes HuT. This is just further evidence of their cluelessness.
    via David T.
    Update: Blink’s editor has responded to our criticisms below.

    Filed under: Muslim,Race politics

    Lord Ram’s legacy?

    by Rumbold at 9:43 am    

    In the Hindu epic the Ramayana, the hero Lord Ram sets out to destroy the terrible demon Ravana, who resides in what is now Sri Lanka. To cross from India to Sri Lanka, Ram constructs a bridge by quelling the sea, and uses monkeys to help him build it. I enjoyed reading the (shortened version of the) Ramayana greatly, but could not say whether this story was true or not. Some people however, are more certain of the accuracy of this book:

    “Protest rallies have been held across India by hard-line Hindus to campaign against a proposed shipping canal project between India and Sri Lanka …Protesters say the project will destroy a bridge they believe was built by Hindu God Ram and his army of monkeys.”

    Indian archaeologists have argued that there is no basis for the belief that the ‘bridge’ was constructed by Lord Ram. Despite the lack of evidence produced by the protestors though, the minister in charge has still offered to resign. Does it matter whether the bridge was built by Lord Ram or not, since it has become a holy site? Should it be protected on this basis alone, even if the protestors can produce absolutely no evidence to substantiate their claims? Can epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which feature gods and demons, be used as evidence?

    The Desi gay dilemma

    by Sunny at 4:59 am    

    The Guardian has a must-read article today on a middle-aged Asian lesbian who, wanting a child, decides to form a relationship with a gay Asian man. She wants to know whether starting a family, and going through some sort of a marriage (with blessings from parents who know they are homosexual), is betraying her sexuality.

    That is of course up for debate. Surely a person’s sexuality should not dictate their lifestyle, whether they want to be a rebel or go along with more society’s norms? Anyway, that aside, I think the article is quite interesting and sweet in itself. We don’t hear about about gay desis.

    Filed under: Sex equality
    16th September, 2007

    Iraq war ‘largely about oil’

    by Sunny at 6:40 pm    

    Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy.

    I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.

    So says some left-wing conspiracy theorist. Oh no, wait….. it was said this weekend by life-long Republican and former chairman of the US Federal Reserve - Alan Greenspan. Clearly Greenspan has become anti-American in recent years. Damn him and the left-wing propaganda machine!

    Postscript: I think it’s worth acknowledging that many people did genuinely support the war on humanitarian grounds rather than oil/WMD reasons. Clearly people had their own reasons for supporting or opposing the invasion of Iraq / Afghanistan. For example, I supported the removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan but believed, like Dick Cheney acknowledged a while back, that going into Iraq would not only make things worse. Plus, the media / political narrative in support of the Iraqi invasion had so many holes that there was this overwhelming feeling that other reasons were at play. So my point is, what Greenspan belatedly acknowledges reflects more on the Bush administration rather than all Iraq war supporters.

    Further update: More on the Wall Street Journal (cheers Riz!)

    Tell me about your views on the importance of deposing Saddam.
    My view of the second Gulf War was that getting Saddam out of there was very important, but had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, it had to do with oil. My view of Saddam over the 20 years … was that he was very critically moving towards control of the Strait of Hormuz and as a consequence of that, control of the oil market. His purpose would be very much similar to [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez’s actions and I think it would be very dangerous for us. So getting him out to me seemed a very important priority.

    Did you share this view with Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld?
    Oh yeah.

    Do you think it influenced the Administration’s decision to invade Iraq?
    Their decision had been made prior to my discussions with them. My recollection is that someone said, ‘We can’t deal with oil because it’s a major political problem’ [because both Bush and Cheney came from the oil industry]. But it was not Cheney or Rumsfeld.

    15th September, 2007

    Hurrah! It’s the weekend

    by Clairwil at 2:33 pm    

    What a relief the weekend is here. I thought my working week would never end, anyone working this weekend has my sympathy.

    As you all behaved so beautifully last time, I will again allow political stuff as long as it’s funny and doesn’t lead to willy waving and fisticuffs. Please also share your interesting links, amusing anecdotes and tales of accidentally causing offence.

    Today’s clip is again from Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s quite long but worth a peep.

    Filed under: Blog,Uncategorized
    14th September, 2007

    Oh boy…

    by Sunny at 4:08 pm    

    Mr Bush flew to Australia via Iraq, and during his keynote speech to businessmen in Sydney he behaved like a man in the throes of jet lag. Many will sympathise with his mispronunciation of the South-East Asian militant organisation Jemaah Islamiyah, and his struggle with the name of the Burmese democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. It was forgivable when he walked the wrong way off the stage and had to be guided by John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister.

    But when he referred gratefully to Mr Howard’s forces in Iraq as “Austrian troops”, he had perhaps used up his credit. The worst mistake was made in the third sentence of his speech. “Thank you for being such a fine host for the Opec summit,” he said, confusing the 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries with the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. “Apec summit,” he said quickly in correction. “He [Mr Howard] invited me to Opec next year.” But that wasn’t true either.

    via The Times.

    Still about choice?

    by Rumbold at 8:42 am    

    Recently there was quite a heated discussion on Amnesty’s spat with the Roman Catholic Church over the former’s support for abortion. Most people on the thread supported a woman’s right to choose, but what about if a woman is aborting her child because of the sex? Should there, or even can there, be legislation to prevent this?

    Joanne Payton, at the International Campaign Against Honour Killings, reports that the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, called for female foeticide to be equated with:

    Murder in terms of punishment, as it was a heinous crime perpetrated by anti-social elements in the society and must be condemned by one and all.

    Female foeticide seems to be especially prevalent in the Indian state of Punjab, with only 776 girls for every 1,000 boys.

    Nearly all of us would agree that this is extremely distasteful, and not an ideal situation, but can anything be done about it other than trying to persuade Indians that aborting females because of their sex is wrong? Indian society as a whole needs to learn to value women more, and cut out the practice of dowry if they want to save their next generation of females. With superior ultrasound it will become easier to detect the sex of the baby, so the situation may get worse before it gets better. If women are already second-class citizens before they are even born, what hope do they have?

    13th September, 2007

    Happy Ramazan

    by Sunny at 3:49 pm    

    … to all our Muslim readers, which starts from today. I’m drowning in work currently so it’s difficult to post new stuff. Feel free to use this thread as a mid-week open thread. Share your plans for the week or any other interesting bits of news/info.

    Filed under: Blog

    Observer Woman Magazine is still crap

    by Sunny at 2:26 pm    

    For various reasons, usually outlined in the Spitting Mad Woman (SPW) blog, the monthly Observer Woman Magazine (OWM) is really quite crap. For a serious broadsheet to regularly produce such mind-numbing fluff is just incomprehensible, especially since their other supplements on Sport and Music are usually quite good.

    Perhaps realising that they weren’t doing enough to be ‘right-on’, the editors of OWM decided to do a feature on the ‘New Feminists’ this month. You can see the pictures below.
    Now updated

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Sex equality
    12th September, 2007

    9/11 conspiracy theories

    by Sunny at 6:03 pm    

    Peter Tatchell has written an interesting article for CIF asking why the US government hasn’t made more of an effort to explain the glaring holes in the official 9/11 narrative. He believes, as I do, that it wasn’t a grand conspiracy instigated by the CIA/FBI/MI5/Mossad/Freemasons/Illuminati etc. But there are holes. The problem is, even pointing out these holes in our emotionally super-charged political atmosphere means others instantly accuse you of indulging in conspiracy theory. Quite sad really.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Maajid Nawaz and Hizb ut-Tahrir

    by Sunny at 3:01 pm    

    Asim Siddiqui has written a good summary of the saga around the defection of one of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s top people - Maajid Nawaz - and the impact that may have on the organisation. Nawaz was on Newsnight last night, which you can watch again from here (top right). Asim makes some very good points in his article:

    Maajid is important because he has spent time engaged in a root and branch review of the theological, intellectual and legal roots of HT, eventually coming to the conclusion that their methods are invalid under Islam. What is perhaps more interesting is what he has discovered on the way: the implication on Islamism more generally. Maajid has described Islamism as being “the phenomenon of politically inspired theological interpretations”; ie using Islamic theology to justify and promote your political objectives and ambitions. This goes beyond Hizb ut-Tahrir.

    All Islamist ideologies believe in establishing an “Islamic state” - they differ only on the methods. What critiques such as Maajid’s do is remind us again that creating an “Islamic state” where “God’s rules” are to be imposed top-down is not part of Islam.

    The purpose of the state is to allow citizens to live in peace, security and free to perform their religious practices, not to impose their religious doctrines upon you. This minimum requirement renders a state Islamic in the view of some recognised scholars. So what should Muslims do when faced with corrupt or oppressive rulers? The answer is they do what anyone else does: stand up for justice for all people irrespective of faith, campaign for civil liberties, develop civil society institutions, promote democracy and engage in peaceful political and social reform. And that applies wherever a Muslim might live.

    In essence, Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political party which uses Islam to justify their political goals. People would counter that politics and Islam are inherently mixed and they would not be wrong. The same concept (called miri-piri) exists in Sikhism. But using religion to justify political goals is very different to using political means to make it possible to practice your religion. What Pizza HuT actually fantasise about is having their own religiously inspired dictatorship across the Middle East and eventually the world. And if millions die, then so be it.

    Iraqi Employees campaign goes to Parliament

    by Sunny at 9:34 am    

    As I have mentioned several times here over past weeks, there has been a blog based campaign to raise awareness of the plight of Iraqi employees of the British Army.

    I said this before: The Iraqi Employees campaign makes sense because it places a moral obligation on the government to at least provide asylum and help those who helped the British forces negotiate their way through the country. It does not negate the need to find the most humane path of action in the country, neither does it absolve the American or British governments of their lies and incompetence in this whole episode.

    But it saves lives and gives some Iraqis the opportunity of a better life here while we try and re-build that country after the American military destroyed it. In itself, I think that is a good thing and this a worthwhile goal. Hence the banner on the top right.

    We decided the best way to keep up the pressure was to go to Westminister. So here’s the good news.

    Dan Hardie, the blogger who has been tirelessly working on the campaign, has managed to get a room booked at the House of Commons on Tuesday 9th October. The event is currently being sponsored by Libdem MP Lynne Featherstone and Tory MP Ed Vaizey. It is being supported by Amnesty International, The Refugee Council and Human Rights Watch, who will all have people present too, along with the media. Labour MPs are unfortunately still unwilling to come forward and support the event so again we need you to keep up the pressure on them.

    As Dan points out, the letters do have an impact. So:
    1) Look up your MP.
    2) Write to them. (draft letter)
    3) Tell us about your MP’s response.
    4) Spread the word!

    I’ll be there at Westminister on 9th October too. If successful, this would be the first time bloggers in the UK would have raised the profile of an important issue and taken it to Westminster to make themselves heard.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    11th September, 2007

    No more I love yous…

    by Kulvinder at 8:13 am    

    As the macabre soap-opera that is the Madeleine McCann disappearance takes increasingly unbearable twists the media has found surprisingly novel ways of lowering what little expectation I have in them. It’s worth pointing out before I go any further that the McCanns have not been found guilty nevertheless I think the reaction of the ‘professional’ media is worthy of some comment.

    David Jones in the Mail has already started the curious hand-wringing:

    Because if, by some dark twist, it transpires that Kate and Gerry McCann have really known all along what happened to Madeleine - that they were responsible and staged the most elaborate imaginable cover-up - the consequences would be harmful almost beyond measure…

    …It would make cynics of us all - and that would be as sad, in its way, as losing little Madeleine.

    Which is an absurd thing to say considering the media and printed press in particular have been all too willing participants in the entire ‘cover up’….

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Media
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