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8th February, 2006

Boycotting Israeli occupation

by Al-Hack at 1:05 am    

Forget the cartoons, let’s talk real controversy.

The Church of England’s general synod - including the Archbishop of Canterbury - voted last night to disinvest church funds from companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

The main target of the plan will be the US earth-moving equipment company Caterpillar which has supplied vehicles used by Israel to demolish Palestinian homes.

Cue: “It’s an Islamist conspiracyyyy!” If only the rest of the country would take a nod from the Church and force Israel to re-think occupation. Apparently Israelis themselves aren’t too enthusiastic about it either, so maybe a sane debate could be had.
Update: Ekklesia article with more detail.

Filed under: Religion, The World
7th February, 2006

Are the police conspiring against us?

by Sunny at 6:23 am    

Surely it’s a conspiracy. When a brother can get four years for hanging around during the riots in Bradford/Oldham, but will not be arrested for carrying a placard clearly threatening more death, then you have to wonder what the bloody hell the police is playing at.

Firstly, there are several reasons why the protestors of last Friday should be arrested.

Secondly, why do all the protests look orchestrated and planned? Is there a deeper agenda to all this?

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6th February, 2006

Hari Kunzru on Mohammed cartoons controversy

by Hari Kunzru at 2:10 pm    

I’ve seen the Danish cartoons. I found several of them offensive, in a way that wasn’t particularly surprising, given what I found out about Danish society when I visited Denmark as a novelist.

On my press trip I inevitably, found myself answering a lot of journalistic questions about race, immigration and so on. Denmark is in many ways a parochial place…..

guest article by writer Hari Kunzru

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5th February, 2006

MCB says something sensible shock!

by Sunny at 2:21 am    

BRITAIN’s leading Islamic body yesterday called on Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, to press charges against the extremists behind last week’s inflammatory protests in London over the “blasphemous” cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

In London, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the extremists should be prosecuted. “The Metropolitan police should now consider all the evidence they have gathered from the protests to see if they can prosecute the extremists,” he said. [Times Online]

About time they stood up to these idiots. Even Asghar “it’s a Zionist conspiracy” Bukhari of Mpac condemned the protest on Friday. Well I’ll be…
[Hat tip Jay Singh in comments]

4th February, 2006

The dilemma that ‘free speech’ presents us

by Sunny at 1:31 am    

If all religions were companies, Islam would be the one with the worst public relations department.

The moral high-ground that Muslims started off with has now been lost with the gunmen, rampaging mobs and hysterical nutters stealing the show.

I have with me some links regarding the protest yesterday evening, interesting reading on the build-up to the controversy and commentary by other Muslim bloggers.

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3rd February, 2006

English viewpoint and inciting to kill

by Sunny at 4:36 pm    

I wonder if the inbred idiots from Al-Ghurabaa will be arrested for inciting to kill others. Mediawatchwatch has more on this Sky News screengrab with a placard asking for people to be “massacred”. How charming.

Chest-beating fanatics aside, I agree with: Jack Straw’s condemnation of the European press, the British press on why they chose not to publish the Muhammed cartoons (specially the Dail Mail editorial (shoot me now!)), and even David Aaronovitch [via Clive Davis].

Re-examining the Danish cartoon controversy

by Sunny at 4:57 am    

I have very mixed feelings on the current controversy sweeping media and blogland. Whether people out there really give a crap is of course a different matter. This is an attempt to address several points that others have made, as well as provide a roundup of some interesting opinion.

Now with updates

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Filed under: Media, Religion, The World
1st February, 2006

Cartoon Solidarity

by Rohin at 6:53 pm    
gods copy

Europe’s press have shown support for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, by republishing the controversial cartoons that caused a furore last year. Our commenters have already been discussing the issue but weeks after a Norwegian paper republished the cartoons, now France Soir, Germany’s Die Welt and Berliner Zeitung, Spain’s El Periodico and La Stampa from Eetalee have all published at least some of the drawings, which featured caricatures of Mohammed (why does everyone spell his name differently?)

Updated by Sunny

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Govt beaten over religious hatred bill

by Al-Hack at 5:12 am    

Well, that was a bit of a surprise, wasn’t it?

The peers said only “threatening words” should be banned by the bill, not those which are only abusive or insulting. They also called for the offence to be intentional and specified that proselytising, discussion, criticism, insult, abuse and ridicule of religion, belief or religious practice would not be an offence.

Ministers had urged MPs to reject the Lords’ amendments and back instead a government compromise instead.

What that means is… actually don’t ask me what it means.

David over at Mediawatchwatch is clearly ecstatic. But Martin Sullivan over at IslamophobiaWatch is fuming. Anyone care to explain what this means in practice now?

Filed under: Religion
29th January, 2006

Making Sikhs visible to ‘decision makers’

by Sunny at 3:54 pm    

London Mayor Ken Livingstone is hosting a conference titled ‘Making Sikhs Visible to Decision Makers’ at City Hall organised by the Sikh Federation (UK) on Wednesday 1st February. Themes are: (a) Celebrating the contribution of Sikhs; (b) Key issues facing Sikhs today; (c) Challenges to the right to diversity and religious freedom. Don’t ask me what that entails.

Speakers: Livingstone; Rob Marris MP, Chair All-Party Parliamentary Group for UK Sikhs; Dominic Grieve MP, Shadow Attorney General; Stephen Grosz, human rights lawyer; Dr Harkirtan-Singh Raud OBE; Dabinderjit Singh OBE; and Ravinder Kaur, Co-ordinator Young Sikhs (UK).

It looks like a sad attempt by the SF to try and drum up political support when it has no real direction on anything, or any capability to lead anyone. Lord help us if more people paid attention to these people. Journalist Amardeep Bassey did a nice expose last year for Radio 4 on the people behind Sikh Federation.

Filed under: Religion, Race politics
27th January, 2006

Dump the charade over Holocaust memorial day

by Sunny at 2:59 pm    

Every year the same charade takes place over the Holocaust Memorial day, commemorated today for the victims of the Nazi exterminations camps.

A big fuss is made over the Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) plans to boycott the event, and endless debate over whether they should or not, until the day passes. Nearer to the anniversary in the following year, the same process starts all over again.

We know their claims to care for everyone is hypocritical, as I show in this article. But my point is, the only way to really deal with the MCB on this is to entirely ignore them. They want to boycott the HMD? Fine, why the big deal? We end up helping them by making such a big fuss.

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26th January, 2006

An Insider’s View of Behzti

by Rohin at 3:02 pm    

First off, Happy Republic Day to the Indians among us.

The Behzti controversy was a hot topic within and outside the British Asian community in late 2004. Now one of the actors has penned his thoughts in Catalyst Magazine about what being in the play was like and how the protests affected him (thanks, Raz).

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Filed under: Culture, Religion
23rd January, 2006

Being a Muslim copper is difficult business…

by Sunny at 3:54 pm    

…according to this feature in the Washinton Post. “You are a Muslim. You should not be working for the police,” one tells the brown man in the uniform. “You are a Muslim,” he replies, “You shouldn’t be committing a crime.”
Heh. That told him. [via HP] Better to change the system from the inside than bitch about it from the outside - no?

Filed under: Religion, Race politics
20th January, 2006

The sad state of Hindus in Pakistan

by Sunny at 1:38 am    

The idea that religious minorities in Pakistan (anyone non-Sunni) get a fair treatment by the government and other institutions has always been a highly suspect claim. But whereas massacres of Shia and Ahmadiyya groups are regularly in the news, much less is known about the roughly 2.6 million Hindus that still live there.

Over the last few months, the issue of Hindu women being abducted and forcibly converted to Islam within Pakistan has been getting increasing coverage, a move that is likely to raise the political temperature until something is done. Last month in London, a demonstration was also organised on the issue.

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18th January, 2006

Muslims doing it behind closed doors

by Sunny at 6:02 pm    

Brian Whitaker wrote a hilarious piece in the Guardian yesterday on the Islam’s increasingly confused relationship with sex. As he notes, “Unlike Christianity, which tends to be squeamish about sex, Islam has a long tradition of talking about it openly.” What that means in practice, combined with the globalised nature of the internet, is that every next imam is issuing fatwas online with sometimes conflicting advice on sex. For example:

Delivering a fatwa on oral sex, 79-year-old Dr Qaradawi describes it as a disgusting western practice, resulting from westerners’ habit of “stripping naked during sexual intercourse”. But he continues: “Muslim jurists are of the opinion that it is lawful for the husband to perform cunnilingus on his wife, or a wife to perform the similar act for her husband (fellatio) and there is no wrong in doing so. But if sucking leads to releasing semen, then it is makruh (blameworthy), but there is no decisive evidence (to forbid it) … especially if the wife agrees with it or achieves orgasm by practising it.”

On this issue, Dr Qaradawi’s views are more permissive than those of several other clerics on the internet. One states that oral sex is definitely forbidden, adding that “this hideous practice will draw the anger of Allah”. Another, asked if oral sex is permitted, replies: “I don’t know what is oral sex, please define it.”

All this is peanuts to Hindus of course, who wrote the definitive book on male-female sexual relations - i.e. the Kama Sutra. In fact Hindu mythology is so open about sex, as I’ve noted before, that the big poems of the Ramayana and Mahabharata openly use very sexual terms. Wish I had more time to research this properly, heh.

Another point to note is that both Islam and Hinduism are very decentralised with regards to religious edicts, unlike Christianity and Sikhism, so you inevitably get a whole range of opinion on what is and isn’t acceptable. Personally I think that is better than just having one person legislate what is right or wrong.
Thanks to Leon for the tip.

17th January, 2006

Do we want Nick Griffin to get convicted?

by Rohin at 9:02 pm    

I hardly need discuss whether BNP leader Nick Griffin is a racist git, in fact I’m sure that’s one thing upon which most of our readers can agree. But as he goes on trial along with BNP member Mark Collett, should we really be hoping he goes down?

Both men are charged with using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.

The trial itself has caused controversy, with protestors clashing outside the court. Pub Philosopher has an interesting comparison of the media’s numerical inconsistency. The Recorder of Leeds (I don’t know what that means), Judge Norman Jones, said that the protestors were trying to influence the outcome of the trial and remarked:

“People have every right to expound views in relation to any argument. This is a free society and it is important that public demonstration is permitted.”

So should Nick Griffin be allowed to criticise Muslims?

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6th January, 2006

Well whaddya know?

by Rohin at 12:14 pm    

Surprise! In an update to Sunny’s thread, the MCB are back in the news. They’ve decided that homosexuality is okay and that we should all just get along. They’ve said that holocaust memorial day is an important day to remember an horrific genocide.

Sort of.

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3rd January, 2006

On dealing with homosexuality

by Sunny at 10:42 am    

I was in West Hollywood recently with my cousins trying to find a bar before we went into a club, and it dawned upon us that all of the bars on that strip were gay bars. I shrugged and was about to go in before being vetoed by my brother-in-law and his mate. I eventually persuaded them into entering a posher (but still gay) bar though the resistance was still there.

Co-incidentally the same issues have surfaced last week in America over a new film and in the UK over comments made in a Gay and Lesbian magazine.

Given that principles of tolerance should be wholeheartedly embraced by British Asians, why then are they so homophobic (specially Muslims). And is it right then for gays and lesbians to be angry at us?

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Filed under: Culture, Religion, The World
2nd January, 2006

The Return of Anti-Semitism

by Rohin at 1:01 am    

Rabbi Sir Jonathan SacksI say return, but had it ever left? Asians blogs or similar discussion fora often debate the undeniable rise in Islamophobia which has occurred over recent years. But, due to the obvious fact that there are less Jewish Asians, the issue of anti-semitism is not frequently addressed. Pickled Politics has objected to overt anti-semitism from the Iranian president and also criticised bodies like the MCB, who manage to overlook Ahmadinejad’s idiocy. We’ve come to expect anti-Jewish rhetoric from similarly-minded leaders, but is Europe following suit?

Today the UK’s Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, told the BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme that he thinks anti-semitism is washing over the world like a tsunami [Listen here]. He considered the media, the Internet and best-selling books as vehicles which have created an image around the world that Israel is the root cause of all problems. As a result of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, violent campaigns waged by Islamic militants have won support. He feels that Jews outside Israel are being targetted as a result of events in the Middle East. He conceded that achieving peace in the Holy Land would make it harder for anti-semitism to flourish.

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24th December, 2005

“So how do you feel as a British Muslim”

by Ahmad at 10:39 pm    

With the glare firmly on Muslims, media organisations constantly ask the above question. I’m tempted to say - “I feel with my hands thanks!”. What next? “How do you Muslims eat, drink and breathe?”

And the classic line: “Are you British first or Muslim?”

Not only are the questions leading and have a slant, they are as pathetic as asking a 5 year old if they love Daddy or Chips!

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