Sunday, 13 December 2009
Anyway, as I probably won't be writing for a while (unless Oscar joins the BNP or something) and things will no doubt be winding down for most of you towards the end of this month, I thought I'd wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance.
Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!
And no, it's not the 'Islamification of Christmas' - these are Sikhs!
ps. Come On The Quins! Fyny Gyda'r Cwins!
Friday, 11 December 2009
A non-story, I think, that has been overblown. Essentially, some bloke from England wants to bring a Sharia court to Wales but the key Muslim organisations in Wales that would be the potential partners for him have said ‘No Thanks’ making it virtually impossible for the MAT to make inroads into the Muslim communities of Wales. But let’s scare the public in Wales anyway, and just to make sure, include clips of armed Taliban in the intro to the discussion.
To help get some perspective on the issues and personalities involved in the programme I’ve arranged this blog post in a Q&A format. There will be things raised in the programme I have not addressed but if there IS interest from the blogosphere I can consider tackling some of them.
Question 1: Does Wales already have a Sharia Council?
Answer: No. A council conjures up the image of a group of scholars that gather round a table to make rulings on cases. What we DO have is an Islamic Social Services NGO that mediates and counsels, mainly in the area of relationships and particularly around marital issues and the extended family. The name ‘ISSA Wales’ can clearly be seen on the leaflets the staff/volunteers are handling in the programme. Their services are even used by couples who are not Muslims, which will give you a sense of how inclusive the service they offer is if people of other faiths or no faith are utilising them for mediation and counselling.
Question 2: Have the diverse Muslim communities within Wales been consulted as to whether or not they want a Sharia Court here?
Answer: No. From the response in the programme of a female user of the current provision in Wales there is unlikely to be any appetite for a Sharia Court from those who wish to have a faith-based resolution to issues they are facing and are utilising the legal system that we all share. At a time when Welsh Muslims are becoming more and more integrated into all aspects of our existing institutions and processes in Wales the proposed introduction of what many will regard as a parallel legal system is an unwelcome and divisive development.
Question3: Where is this proposal coming from?
Answer: Nuneaton, England
Question 4: Who is driving this?
Answer: Shaikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi
Question 5: Who is Shaikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi?
Answer: A barrister who is also a ‘pir’ or 'saint' of one of the Naqshbandi Sufi orders known as 'Hijazi' the followers of which in Wales I doubt you could count on one hand. He also led the largest (peaceful) demonstration in Western Europe against the publication of the Danish cartoons. As an aside to this, what most people do not know is that the only place in the whole of the UK where the Danish cartoons were actually published was Wales - twice! The reaction from Welsh Muslims to this was in marked contrast to a lot of other places around the world. Quiet meetings with the bodies concerned to express the offence felt; all very civil and certainly no frothing-at-the-mouth effigy burning antics and not even peaceful street protests. Sales of Lurpak didn’t reach an all-time low either. The bottom line is that Muslims have a very different way of doing things here in Wales and it would be better if OUR way was exported to other parts of the UK rather than the other way around.
Question 6: Who was the lady vigorously opposing the proposals of the gentleman from Nuneaton to bring Sharia courts to Wales?
Answer: Maryam Namazie
Question 7: Who is Maryam Namazie?
Answer: Maryam Namazie (based in London and with no connection to Wales that I'm aware of) was introduced in the programme as being from the ‘One Law for All’ organisation but of course she’s a bit more than just that. A secular fundamentalist par excellence, and central committee member of the Worker Communist Party of Iran, she is also spokesperson for the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain and opposed the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill in the UK. Not quite the middle of the road liberal human rights activist that you might initially consider her. If we wanted to hear the other side of the debate taking her as one extreme of the spectrum we’d need to invite someone from the Taliban's Department for the Prohibition of Vice and Promotion of Virtue.
I don’t hold with the views of either the Shaikh or the Secularist, who I’m sure are both lovely people when their enthusiastic promotion of their pet hates/pet projects is not clouding their judgement, but rather support the harmonious approach adopted by my fellow Welsh Muslims in finding a happy medium in this debate that works for the Muslims of Wales. We don’t have time for the imposition of Sharia from Nuneaton-based organisations nor for the anti-religious attitudes of secular humanists from London.
Alas, it would appear none of us here in Wales are immune to unsolicited interference from England.
The amusing bit was the end segment in which four 'party animals' gave their perspectives on a year in politics in Wales.
Owain Jones, (the Labour animal) summed up the mood of the nation in relation to Oscar's defection when he went on to use, in his own words a 'Rhodri Morgan style metaphor', of a guy wandering into the ladies' toilets and wondering where the urinals are. Plus (a) Rolling around in tears of laughter (b) Absolutely ridiculous and (c) The joke story of the year.
Of course the only non-funny bit is in relation to the complete disregard he has shown to his staff, his former party and of course the voting public.
Anyway, I think five blog posts on Cynulliad Cymru's Chameleon is more than enough - time to flush this particular stool and exit the cubicle! Don't forget to wash your hands (of him).
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Check out this gem of an interview on Politics Cymru with one of the three Dewis talking to the little parrot about his switch to the Tories, an act which quite frankly comes as no real surprise to many Muslim members within Plaid Cymru. He's very much a little parrot in a jungle when it comes to Welsh Muslims aswell and we were appalled, though not surprised, by the dishonourable manner in which he made his hasty exit.
Despite his overly optimistic assurances at the end of the interview about his political future beyond 2011, I believe Oscar is, politically, very much a 'dead parrot walking'. I've taken the trouble of transcribing the interview below to assist the viewer.
Regardless of which party the man represents this, or any other week, Wales deserves better.
Click on the link and then scroll down for the video:
http://politicscymru.blogspot.com/ (Mohammad Asghar and a Dewi, Wednesday 9 December)
Dewi: Can you tell us a little bit about how it happened, the process of, you know, moving over?
Oscar: Well thing is it's my personal views uh about politics in Wales they are very close, very close mean uh very attractive to Conservative Party. That's my personal views, has always been and always will be. That's what it is.
Dewi: So it was purely, from your perspective, a policy-driven decision?
Dewi: Did you approach them or did they approach you?
Oscar: Well it's, we were friendly here and we discussed few things and thing grew from there on.
Dewi: Right, ok, so what was the main reason then that you left Plaid Cymru, was there a straw that broke the camel's back?
Oscar: Well I support David Cameron's views. I heard the gentleman, I hear everybody there on the television and the media and all the rest of it. As I said earlier their views are very close to my own views and I respect and I want to follow on the same track.
Dewi: So why join Plaid Cymru in the first place then if you had really similiar views to the Conservative Party all this time?
Oscar: Well the political party is a political party anywhere so, well the thing is, I thought I might be able to do some contribution to my local community, which I did. And since I'm in political one party I think the lot of Asian, ethnic minorities other people, are joining the political parties.
Dewi: Last question then. Do you feel a bit sort of bad that you announced your defection live to the cameras as it were, rather than to Ieuan Wyn Jones in person?
Oscar: No, I thought it's my prerogative and I declared it should be to the public rather than one individual. He's a gentleman. Ieuan Wyn Jones is a very good person and I respect him very much but it's my personal view as I said. I want Wales to be, to have it's own Parliament and play a stronger role in United Kingdom.
Dewi: Ok, and um so what's the future for you, what's next?
Oscar: I'm sure future for me and future for Conservative is a bright I can assure you.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
In one of her 2008 Plaid Cymru local election leaflets for the good residents of Victoria ward in Newport, Mrs Asghar said that she "always had the desire to be actively involved with a political party that genuinely cares about the needs of the people of Wales. I could never contemplate supporting a right wing party and so joining the Conservatives was never an option."
I wonder if Mrs Asghar learned about her husband's defection even later than Ieuan did? Oh to have been a fly on the wall at dinner time in the Asghar household last night. It must surely then have been a double blow to learn that daughter too has, oddly enough, decided to switch parties on the same day.
Maybe two of the three Asghars really did have a 'road to Damascus moment' but we should always be alert to those who select a political party only as a vehicle to further their own personal political ambitions. Herein lies the lesson for ALL political parties in Wales.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Mohammad 'Oscar' Asghar, Born in Pashawar, India, in 1945 (because there was no such thing as Pakistan until 1947).
He must surely, by extension, oppose the separation of Pakistan from India, which in turn 'separated' (i.e. gained independence) from Britain.
I'd love to see him having that conversation with the Pakistani diaspora in Newport.
Hwyl Fawr Oscar.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
My post was about how many Muslims believe they are doing Da'wah (inviting others to Islam) when, in fact, their activities are more likely to promote community cohesion, if they have any positive impact at all. For example, some here have suggested that giving out sweets to passers by outside the mosque is good Da'wah. Well, I'd be the first to agree that this would be a lovely gesture, but I am yet to hear of anyone who embraced Islam because of a Jelly Baby!
But I digress! The ensuing argument was not about Da'wah at all, but rather about that old chestnut, 'free mixing.' Believe it or not, we still have in our midst those who believe that a 'perfect' society is one in which a man has no social interaction whatsoever with any woman other than his wife and immediate family. To these extremists, even a brief 'How are you?' from a man to a woman is forbidden and clearly the gateway to all kinds of unspeakable perversions! Not only do these individuals scatter the H word (Haraaaam!!!) like confetti, but they cut and paste page after page of 'rulings' from their masters in the Middle East to support their case. So overpowering is their zeal in promoting their cause that rarely are their views challenged on our little e-group. Until now, that is!
One particular spleen venter suggested that it is frankly impossible for a Muslim man to socialise with non-Muslim colleagues as the latter cannot survive in a social context without pouring gallons of lager down their collective gullets and ogling every attractive female that passes by! Well, this was clearly a step too far even for the silent moderates on our group. Over the past few days, more and more men and women have been putting their heads above the parapet to say, "Hang on a minute! Not only do I disagree that socialising with non-Muslims is forbidden, I actually believe that it is a very good idea. And moreover, I prefer to socialise in mixed gender groups, thank you very much!"
The more serious-minded members have had a sub-discussion on what actually constitutes 'ogling'. I am just waiting for someone to cut and paste a lengthy article entitled 'The Fiqh of Ogling!'
Well, I think we have won this particular argument! The zealots have been drowned out by the moderates and some of the latter are arranging an afternoon of public free mixing at a local coffee emporium! I am minded to join them, but to avoid the stigma of being labelled a free mixer I am prepared to charge the ladies for my appearance on this occasion!
Friday, 11 September 2009
So what are the Muslims squabbling about this year, then? Well, it all revolves around whether the Eid prayers (Salatul Eid) should be offered in the mosques or out in the open in a public park. One of the Muslim associations in the London Borough of Redbridge is seeking permission for congregational prayers to be offered in Valentine's Park, asserting that this is 'the true Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him)'. This proposal has immediately drawn critical comments from a number of Muslims who believe that such an overt display of Islamic religiosity might simply stir up Islamophobic feelings in the more extreme sections of society. Very quickly the debate has descended into mud-slinging and the trading of insults, with accusations of thoughlessness on the one hand and an inferiority complex on the other being tossed around.
Essentially, both parties in this dispute are wrong, and not because of the opinions they hold but because of the way they arrived at these positions. One of the principle aims of the Shari'ah is 'to maximise benefits and minimise harms' to society. So, before reaching a decision on the issue of Eid prayers the Muslims of Redbridge should have asked themselves, 'What are the likely harms and benefits to come out of such an action?' And in order to answer this question, they should have had some discussion or correspondence with councillors and the residents who would be most affected by this action. It might well be that local non-Muslims have no objection whatsoever to the prayers being held. On the other hand, they may have concerns about parking and traffic congestion. Typically, though, no such discussion has taken place and opinions are held based purely on how people 'feel'. As with most issues, Muslims will have a much stronger argument against the Islamophobes and racists if they can demonstrate that they have consulted widely and considered the opinions of others before taking action.
Most of these squabbles could easily be avoided by some civilised chats over a cup of tea (after sunset, of course!)
Thursday, 10 September 2009
I was struggling to find something positive for my first blog until yesterday afternoon, when I became embroiled (as you do) in a Facebook conversation with a couple of people I barely knew!The initiator of this correspondence entitled her post "Hapus! Hapus! Hapus!" and her friend replied in the Welsh language. The first poster then wrote, "Roeddwn i'n astudio Cymraeg pan oeddwn i fynd i'r ysgol a Brifysgol hefyd! Ond dydw i ddim yn cael cyfle i siarad Cymraeg bob tro!" ("I was studying Welsh when I was in school and at University, too. But I don't get an opportunity to speak Welsh all the time."
Now, nothing particularly exceptional or unusual about this little chat, except for the fact the first poster is a member of Cardiff's Pakistani community and her friend from Cardiff's Gujerati community! And both comfortable and confident and proud enough to converse with each other in the language of their country - Welsh! Now what were the BNP saying about Muslims not wanting to be become part of our society??
Sunday, 6 September 2009
I have enjoyed my first forays into the blogosphere and as soon as I have a new blogspot up and running I will let you know (probably through the Welsh Bloggers site). In the meantime I will continue to follow the Welsh blogs and I'm looking forward to reading someone else's words on MECCAnopsis.
So it's bye from me, but only for now.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Now for those of you who missed it, a short but excellent BBC documentary on the First World War in which more previously 'hidden' history comes to light.
Watch it on BBC i Player while you can:
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
We've chosen the name 'Iesu'. It's not unusual for Muslims to call their sons Jesus (Esa in Arabic) and of course the name is not uncommon amongst Spanish-speaking Christian communities worldwide, but it's not really caught on over here. The only other Welshman that seems to have called his son 'Iesu' was the eccentric Dr William Price, a leader of the Chartist rising 170 years ago. The old Archdruid was a heretic too so I guess I am following a tradition.
The issue of his name came up a couple of months back when we were at an event with an old vicar friend of ours, he missed his footing and instinctively reached out to the nearest person, catching my wife's arm in the process to steady himself. He was ever so apologetic. He needn't have been. He's an old fella and I doubt he would have knocked her off balance if he had run at her full pelt. She took it in good humour and to take the edge off his embarrassment I told him to be thankful there were no press around given her 'condition' (she was already nearly 7 months pregnant at the time). I could see a future headline, I told him:
'Reverend falls on Muslim woman and 10 weeks later she gives birth to Jesus'.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Well-established by now as the official 'anti-Muslim' Party of Britain the BNP wish us all to know that those Muslims (including the Welsh ones) - they're not us you know, they don't share our values, they hate our way of life and their insensitivity knows no limits.
Remember Luton back in March, when less than 20 utter morons, remnants of the proscribed Al-Muhajiroon group, hurled abuse at members of the Royal Anglian Regiment returning from Afghanistan? That disgraceful display has become iconic imagery of the supposed 'Muslim' attitude towards our soldiers. The plot to kidnap and behead a British soldier in Birmingham is another such example, but of course it is rarely mentioned that the intended victim was himself a Muslim. The BNP keep making reference to those events in Luton as if that repugnant behaviour was representative of Muslims in the UK. They would like us to believe that Muslims can't differentiate between the politicians who sent our troops into these disastrous wars and the soldiers themselves.
My grandfather served in the Navy in the Second World War and I have always worn my poppy in remembrance of my own family's personal sacrifices. My attitude and the attitude of those Muslims I have spoken to at length on this subject is that provided that our soldiers act honourably, treat civilians and unarmed prisoners humanely and do not descend into the kind of depravity witnessed at Abu Ghraib by the US troops, then when they return they should not be exposed to the kind of abuse they received in Luton. My personal view is these extremists should never have been allowed to protest there in the first place, the potential damage to community cohesion was obvious and indeed the Muslim community of Luton suffered a lot because of this one despicable act by 0.067% of the local Muslim population (that's assuming all those extremists were even local). If they were genuine anti-war protestors they should have been outside Downing Street or Westminster. Of course, what was hardly mentioned was that after Friday prayers hundreds of Muslim men surrounded these same yobs when the police wouldn't move them along as they set up a stall in the town.
The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX7Oh7YJMGo (you can fast forward to 2:13 to see the handful of extremists get surrounded by hundreds of local Muslim men who poured out of the mosque demanding that the police move them out of Luton).
Muslim communities across the UK are constantly standing up to, marginalising and disrupting the activities of these tiny fringe elements that are every bit as odious as their Far Right counterparts. Most of it goes unseen or unreported but we are as committed to challenging extremists who claim to be acting on our behalf in the same way that the mainstream society are committed to challenging the BNP, the EDL and the dross of society we call football hooligans, masquerading as 'patriots'.
So how are the BNP trying to develop the 'British Muslims hate our troops' narrative in Wales?
Hat Tip to Morgan Hen for picking this up:
This is the statement on the matter by the Post Office in question:
"There is absolutely no truth in the allegation made to the British National Party that the Post Office in Wilson Road, Ely, Cardiff will not accept parcels for British troops in Afghanistan.
It should not be repeated and we reserve the right to pursue legal action against any person or body repeating the allegation and call for its removal from any website or other publication.
The Wilson Road Post Office has always accepted and continues to accept such parcels. Indeed the Wilson Road shops including the Post Office recently held a 'Heroes Collection' for British troops.
The allegation is false and malicious and related to a separate dispute with a customer. As a result that customer is not welcome at these premises but our services can be accessed by someone else on her behalf if they so wish."
Of course a party that were caught out using non-British citizens claiming to be BNP voters in recent election material would never intentionally mislead the public would they?
Thursday, 20 August 2009
A man attending an open air festival in the US sees a dog attacking a child - one of the really vicious breeds (the dog, not the child). He wrestles the dog to the ground, gets a stick inside the dog's collar and keeps twisting till he chokes it. The dog dies. The child who escapes with only some minor injuries, is taken away in an ambulance. Onlookers applaud the man's actions.
A reporter covering the festival witnesses the brave intervention and rushes up to the man to get some details off him promising that the story will make the front page in his paper with the headline: 'Local Man saves child from Mad Dog'.
"Oh I'm not from around here, I'm just visiting", the man says.
"Ok then", says the reporter, "how about: 'All American hero saves child from Hell Hound'?"
"I picked up this accent attending the American International school in my home city, actually I'm on holiday from overseas", says the man.
"No problem, how about: 'Foreign hero saves child from dog attack'?", suggests the reporter.
"Well if you want to be specific I'm visiting from Kuwait actually".
"That's in the Middle East right?"
When the paper gets published the headline reads: "Muslim Terrorist kills American family pet".
It reminded me of one year when I subscribed to the online version of a local paper, when I was working in a large English city with a sizable Muslim minority. Just as an experiment, with nothing particularly scientific about it, I decided to check it each day for 12 months, searching for key words to see if I could find one single story where Muslims were portrayed in a positive light. Just when I thought I had completely lucked out, I finally found a reference to a story on 'wonderful Arabians'.
It was about horses.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
There is so much in the news I want to comment on but I simply don't have the time. I wanted to do a post on 'Bath time with Burkhas and Blackmail in the Bedroom' on a couple of topical pieces from France and Afghanistan but it looks like they are already old news. I suspect from September I will have even less time for blogging not simply due to work. Anyway, I and the new MC share enough in common (mor debyg a dwy bysen) for me to be comfortable that the site will be in safe hands.
I have enjoyed reading a diverse range of blogs over the last five months and I do not want to lose contact completely with the Welsh Blogosphere. I have considered starting up my own personal blog where I would have to assiduously avoid 'having a go' at other political parties but rather concentrate on the social and cultural life of Wales through 'Muslim-tinted' spectacles.
Anyway, I haven't gone yet, just warning that future posts may contradict earlier ones - and now you'll know why.
Monday, 17 August 2009
Anyway, while she was waiting for me to arrive, two homeless fellows (a bit the worse for drink), were doing the rounds with the commuters, asking everyone for money. Everyone of course except Mrs Meccanopsis - well she wears a scarf you know. I suppose in some people's minds that is the equivalent of a T-shirt saying 'Approach me and I'll kill you'. It wasn't a racial thing though; they approached a Chinese couple apparently... once they had exhausted the other 20 bystanders. Their loss, because as a couple we always give to Big Issue sellers and though these people are not in the same category exactly, we don't have hearts of stone.
You really know that you are the personae non gratae of society when even the beggars won't ask you for money.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
This month's obscene attack on defenceless Christians in Pakistan requires nothing less than swift justice to prevent the repetition of such barbarity. Failure to see the guilty punished for this crime will embolden other vicious thugs across the country that share the perpetrators' warped understanding of Islam and further erode the confidence of the Christian minority in the willingness of the authorities to defend them. Minorities of any kind in a society are always vulnerable and it is the duty of the State to ensure all its citizens have the right to live unmolested.
These 8 victims (nearly all women and children), racially, ethnically however you want to look at it, the same as their persecutors; their families no doubt existing in Pakistan since the country was founded and possibly before even the idea of 'Pakistan' came to be. The very same religious minorities represented by white portion of the flag of Pakistan.
Next week a charity dinner will be held in Cardiff to raise money for the Swat Valley refugees, amongst the ticket purchasing guests will be Welsh Christians. I hope while we remember the dispossessed of Swat that at least one of the speakers will use the occasion to condemn the inexcusable mob violence and re-assure our Christian guests that this 'Muslim' mob did not carry out this horrific attack because they were Muslims, but because they do not know how to be.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
As Welsh nationalists, like our Scottish cousins, we find it ludicrous that Unionists should try to appropriate heroes from our history (Owain Glyndwr and William Wallace) who as we all know were famous for leading the struggle for the independence of our nations. But let's not let history get in the way of a bit of merchandising. Needless to say, they won't be getting any orders from Welsh or Scottish nationalists to boost their coffers.
How did Cymru X come across this 'news' item? Well they must have been on the BNP site again; yet another visitor adding to all this 'traffic' that the BNP no doubt assume translates as 'support'. I must admit I am also one of the many thousands of anti-racist and anti-Nazis that also visit the BNP site on a regular basis, inadvertently boosting their visitor stats and artificially giving them a false sense of 'popularity'.
Anyway the T-shirts are good news. As they can only be bought through the BNP's Excalibur site we will know where the wearer got it from, and since their members and activists have tried to hide themselves by adopting a new public image and blend in with the rest of society its become harder to spot them. Usually we have to wait until they open their mouths but now we can just wait for someone to put one of these t-shirts on to advertise who he/she is.
Oh and given that most people see the BNP as the ugly side of English Nationalism (one can only hope that true English patriots eclipse them and rehabilitate the image of English Nationalism in the future) it must be annoying for their Anglo-Saxon support base that they choose to bring out the English T-shirt last. And when they do, who do they use for the iconic image?
Someone who was definitely neither 'British by Birth' nor 'English by the Grace of God'.
Hope the recall of stock won't put them out of pocket.
Friday, 31 July 2009
I couldn’t but help laugh at both the positive tone of the piece and the positive comments from the Daily Mail readership and thought it was a joke. I mean two bearded and turbaned men of non-European extraction who were born abroad now guarding the Queen of England and failing to attract any of the usual alarmist stuff...
If I wanted to be a ‘spinmonger’ about this I could warn about another head of state (Indira Gandhi) being assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards and make liberal mention of the Sikh terrorist groups that have been proscribed by the Home Office. But we can only demonize one visible religious minority at a time.
Anyway, nice to see how enlightened the Daily Mail readers are when the article is not about Muslims. The comments were uniformly positive (at least at the time of writing) and these are just some of those that stood out for me.
Not dressing like us indigenous folk but never mind, in this case it’s:
“Nice to see, full intergration for them, Well done.”
- Tron, Telford Shrop., 31/7/2009 15:44
Plenty of anecdotes from relatives who served in WWII:
“It's good to see this. My father was brigaded with the 1st/2nd Punjab Regt. for part of WWII, and held them in high regard; "You'd have to be up early to get past a Sikh!" was his verdict.”
- Helen, Kent, 31/7/2009 15:31
Even animal rights are advanced by this historic event:
“Good on them and it is two lovely bears saved from the shotgun too.”
- Helen, Manchester, 31/7/2009 15:23
The tourists will love them (but not us much as we do). Handsome, even with the beards:
"I think the tourists will love these two.... I'm not crazy about beards, myself, but they look very handsome!"
- Juma, london, uk, 31/7/2009 15:42
One day there might be an article on Muslims guarding the English Royal family and when that happens I hope to see comments from people who are aware that during World War II, and as of January 1945, there were 447,000 Muslims in the British Indian Army (bear in mind this was a volunteer army) along with (for comparison) 92,000 Sikhs and 103,000 Gurkhas. Perhaps some comments from people who also remember Muslims such as Noor Inayat Khan, who joined the SOE (Special Operations Executive, the forerunner of the SAS) serving in Occupied France and becoming a heroine of the French Resistance before she was captured by the Nazis and executed.
Maybe then someone will write ‘Muslims’ in a paraphrasing of Robert of Worchester’s comment:
"Sikhs have always been a noble people and excellent soldiers. A great many have fought and died for this country. HMQ will be in safe hands."
- Robert, Worcester UK, 31/7/2009 15:51
Monday, 27 July 2009
A knife wielding thug is now 'a bag of nerves' after a policeman swore at him during his arrest when he threatened to kill officers. He is now 'scared of the police'. Fantastic I say, job done. Apparently, the poor ikle criminal has had his human rights violated!
What the hell??!!
Did we all just wake up in the futuristic world of Demolition Man? Below is some dialogue from the film. If you've seen it you will know exactly which scene it is refering to. Just replace 'Squad Leader' and 'Simon Phoenix' with 'Police Sergeant' and 'Glen Francis'.
Squad Leader: "Simon Phoenix! Lie down with your hands behind your back."
Simon Phoenix: "What's this? Six of you. Such nice, tidy uniforms. Oh I'm so scared!"
[The police officers look at each other]
Simon Phoenix: "What, you guys don't have sarcasm anymore?"
[Squad Leader talks to his automated assistant]
Squad Leader: "Maniac has responded with a scornful remark."
Automated Assistant: "Approach and repeat ultimatum in an even firmer tone of voice. Add the words 'or else'."
Why don't the powers that be just fine the officer one credit for violation of the Verbal Morality Statute and be done with it.
Demolition Man trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18e4GeUwVWs
Thursday, 23 July 2009
"This week the terror threat level was lowered to its LOWEST level for the past four years. This against a backdrop of recent arrests for plots to poision ethnic minorities with deadly ricin, and the seizure of the largest terrorist arsenal since the 1990s, over 300 weapons, 80 bombs etc and both involving Far Right extremists. No prizes for guessing their intended targets. For British citizens who are ethnic minorities or Muslims (or both) the terror threat is the HIGHEST its been for the past four years, so my question is do we need a parallel terror level alert system, one for faith and racial minorities and one for everyone else?"
Of course he understood the question was tongue-in-cheek and agreed that terrorism is indiscrminate in its choice of victims, but I didn't get the answer I was hoping he would give i.e. that MI5 would now be probing Far Right terrorism in the same way it currently does with Al-Qaida inspired terrorism. After all, Commander Shaun Sawyer of Scotland Yard's Counter-Terrorism Command said that he feared a neo-Nazi 'spectacular', "I fear they will have a spectacular... they will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere. They are not choosy about which community."
Just because one type of terrorist has hung up their explosives for a while doesn't mean we should let our guard down.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
We're only half way through July and already we've seen:
(A) The passing of the 14th anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre (the largest single act of genocide against a faith minority in Europe since WWII)
(B) The bombing of the offices of the Muslim equivalent of Christian Aid, in Glasgow
(C) The seizure of what is believed to be the largest terrorist arsenal in England (belonging to Far Right extremists) since the IRA campaign of mainland bombings of the early 1990s and;
(D) The murder of a woman and her unborn child in a German courtroom for wearing a piece of cloth on her head.
So how to classify these hate crimes? Some of them are clearly not motivated by racial prejudices but rather by religious ones. Europe's Jews, despite being considered a racial minority group nonetheless have a distinctive word for the hatred, discrimination and assaults against their persons and property - simple 'racism' is too much of a catch all term in this instance that simply doesn't acknowledge the racial/religious distinction in motivation. Muslims are definitely not a single racial minority group and it is quite possible that a Muslim in Europe may find themselves on occasion targeted by someone of their own racial background (be that black, white or brown). Of course, if anyone would like to offer an alternative word to describe the act of religiously motivated hate crimes against Muslims I'll be happy to start using it, because one term like Anti-Semitism is agreed upon by Jews and Gentiles alike and we know it when we see it. Until then, Islamophobia, a word in circulation for at least 10 years, is the only one we have to categorize for example, the kind of pathological hate that drives a man into such a violent frenzy that he could stab a pregnant woman, a complete stranger, to death.
A more accurate complaint against the word Islamophobia might be that it can be overused and also misapplied - but meaningless it certainly isn't.
Friday, 10 July 2009
So presumably on doctor's orders, hooligans 'only hating for our health' turned out in Birmingham city centre last Saturday to distract themselves from the lack of football - a sort of diversionary activity for delinquents. Unfortunately, without the other team to start a fight with the only 'entertainment' for puzzled onlookers was a medley of bad 1980s football chants from the terraces - reason enough in my opinion for the police to baton charge them and give them a good dousing of water cannon. Anyway they were dispersed and Saturday shopping allowed to resume. Meanwhile in Whitechapel, a simultaneous protest had been organised and this time the English Defence League were dutifully supported by the originally titled Welsh Defence League belting out "In-gur-learned, In-gur-learned, In-gur-learned", "Rule Britannia", "I'm English till I die, I'm English till I die, I know I am, I'm sure I am, I'm English till I die"...and other well-known Welsh patriotic sporting anthems.
So if moonlighting as Neo-Nazi political storm troopers between seasons could safeguard the fragile mental health of England's football firms, what about the ordinary decent football supporters? As a rugby man I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I have relatives who are fanatics...about football, but nevertheless I asked them how they were managing to cope with the current absence of meaning in their lives. Their solution?
They're following the cricket.
Well desperate times, desperate measures.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
First, a failed plot to launch biological warfare against minorities in the UK and now shooting up a Holocaust Museum in the US... this is exactly the sort of thing that loses elections.
Better warn the International Reich Minister (in waiting) of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda that somebody's off message.
Meanwhile a less news worthy story broke...
It seems, democratic elections or not, the promised 'voluntary' repatriation of non-whites from Britain will not come quick enough for some people:
I blogged about the planned Scottish beheadings a little while back and how 'breach of the peace' might not be the charge one would have expected. Given that a non-white got 17 years back in 2005 for planning an attack with the same toxin (without said toxin ever being found), these guys will surely get an ASBO for this...at the very least.
If the intention of the protestors was to prevent him from speaking - and it undoubtedly was (though I think they were more keen to just deny him the freedom to stand on a single square foot of cosmopolitian London soil) - then it is they who have been left with the egg on their faces. He got to say his piece anyway, even if it was only with a photo of Westminster in the background rather than the real thing, and no doubt enjoyed more airtime as a result than perhaps he would have otherwise.
If I were a Cambridge egghead I might even consider using my own rent-a-mob in future to follow me around and (right on cue as the media pack assembles into place) begin hurling abuse and dairy products and waving banners about to create the stir of publicity that only I benefit from.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
I attended my first European count on Sunday. A chance to see democracy in action and, as a member of the volunteer ballot paper police, to keep those vote counters honest...
For most of the evening I had a 'gentleman' from the BNP hovering around behind me standing on his tippy toes trying to look over my shoulder at the paper I was writing on and muttering a question to his mate about what exactly was I tallying up. Probably his first time at a count too. I didn't need a third eye in the back of my head to detect his presence each time he crept up on me, and it was not because such people radiate evil, he simply had that rank odour which always emanates from the habitual drunk - the alcohol was positively oozing from his pores. On reflection, perhaps he was just celebrating early. Fortunately (debatable), with the introduction of the smoking ban in public places there were no naked flames or something tragic might have happened with all that vapour in the air.
Aside from trying to work out the way the percentages were going and trying to stay sober by keeping at a respectable distance from my inebriated stalker, watching the Returning Officer sifting the spoilt ballot papers was probably the most interesting part of an otherwise monotonous evening (for both counters and party faithful alike):
- Most spoilt ballots accused the parties of being on the take and on the make.
- One voter had crossed out all the names and stated that they were voting for Joanna Lumley.
- Another chose to use his ballot to claim £54.32 expenses for a new toy train and assorted items for his model railway set.
- One voter had placed his/her X in the box of their choice and neatly torn out the section with the BNP candidates on it - the ballot was passed (the voter's intention was clear) with one of the invigilators commenting 'Yes, we've heard this sort of thing has been happening all over the country...'
Not nearly quite enough as it turns out.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
George Monbiot's announcement on which way he is voting tomorrow:
Living in Wales, the choice isn't hard for me. Plaid Cymru, in its present incarnation, is a green, progressive, effective political force. I see little point in splitting the vote between parties with politics like mine, and while the Green candidates appear to be likeable people, they are always going to be playing catch up here.
How about the bardic name George 'Hwfa Mon' Boyo to complete his Cymrification? :)
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Thursday, 28 May 2009
It might seem odd to some for a religious person to quote Voltaire, but then I put his views of religion in the context of his time and place in Europe. The modern observer may also quite rightly point out that religion is still being hijacked by tyrants and terrorists. Anway, I consider the above statement true regardless of any other views the person held, and highly relevant today. In the context of the approaching European Elections (and as Europeans we have had our fair share of tyrants) it would be irresponsible of us, no matter how angry we are with the high percentage of politicians who have let us down, to reward tomorrow's tyrants with our apathy today.
Saturday, 23 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
I've just returned from Monmouth having attended the latest All Wales Convention public meeting. I was just an observer at the back having already voted at the Swansea meeting back in March, but with Adam Price and David Davies on the panel I couldn’t really miss the ‘rumble in the jungle’ that was promised by putting these two in a room together. An Adam Price on top form didn’t disappoint. The meeting could have been an unpleasant affair, heated with a lot of nasty sniping from members of the polar opposite ends of the debate. In reality it turned out to be a dignified and illuminating debate and the panelists should be congratulated on the way they conducted themselves.
Alongside the serious points were plenty of periods of levity and if we were scoring the panelists on how many laughs they could raise, Adam Price was a clear winner. He seemed to connect more with the audience and it would also appear that those who occupied the middle, undecided ground in the debate were clearly swayed as the evening progressed. I will leave other observers I saw in attendance like Betsan Powys to give you the real politico insights into what transpired tonight but in my opinion, and without giving away the actual percentages for or against getting all the current powers to the Assembly at once, the evening was a disaster for ‘True Wales’ especially on David of Monmouth’s home turf.
One of the biggest laughs of the evening:
An 86 year old gentleman got up, very frail in body if not in voice and with support from a person either side of him praised what he felt were the benefits that the National Assembly had brought to older people in Wales and amongst his several points he mentioned that Wales were the first in the world to establish an Older Persons’ Commissioner.
Rachel Banner (True Wales), “The Commissioner is not even an elderly person. “
Adam Price, “Well it may come as a surprise to you but the Children’s Commissioner is not a child either.” Cue raucous laughter.
Time for a new spokesperson perhaps?
Friday, 1 May 2009
By comparison, the Americans who clearly saw far more ‘action’ did not fare nearly so well and given that they are going to be hanging around in the 50 degree heat for a while longer there are sure to be more grieving American families until their final bugle call. 4000 US deaths and 60,000 injured to date (‘injured’ obviously includes the countless amputees). Total cost to the US tax payer? $3 Trillion(US). Even at one per second it would take over 100,000 years to even think of a trillion better ways to spend that money, but I don’t doubt that there are.
And for what? We are told it was to topple Saddam (how the goalposts changed as those elusive WMDs failed to materialise). A murderous dictator was indeed removed – but is this how much it costs to remove a dictator these days? No wonder another ‘coalition of the willing’ hasn’t been formed to topple all the remaining tyrants that continue to terrorise their populations.
Nearly 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, not to mention their wounded, and the collapsed infrastructure of bombed-out and bullet riddled towns and cities. We must measure the cost of this war in their human suffering as well, not just our own. It’s enough to make Iraqis positively nostalgic about life under Saddam.
But surely the British legacy in Iraq can’t be all bad? Well from what I saw of the BBC coverage last night pretty much the only thing we left behind in our patch in the south was 'lakes of sewage'. I wonder what new monsters will emerge from that fetid swamp.
The only thing to be happy about is that at least our soldiers are out of there. May their lives never be thrown away so carelessly again.
Monday, 27 April 2009
One particular 'incident' at the conference drew my mind back to the Cymdeithas Cledwyn report, on winning votes for the Labour Party in the 'Fro Gymraeg'.
Well one possible recommendation for the next report is, if you are going to use bi-lingual banners at your (Welsh) conference, and if you are going to make them so large and place them so prominently on the stage above Gordon Brown's head, it would help if you could spell the Welsh bits correctly in case anyone from the 'Bro' is actually in the audience or watching on their TV - just a thought.
Plaid Llafur: Enill dros Gymru yn Ewrop - ahem, yes.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Let me have a try then...
With an annual increase on alcohol duty for the next four years and the impact this will no doubt have on public houses all over the UK, surely this must be Sharia by Stealth?
Chancellor, the public has a right to know...
NB: 'Spinmonger' - I don't think this is even a word (yet) so cite me as the source if you decide to coin it in the future ;) Basically I give the Spinmonger this definition:
A political press agent or publicist employed to promote an unfavourable interpretation of events to journalists in order to encourage a people or nation to fear or hate (possibly both) minority groups within their society. (An ideological spinmonger would probably do it for free)
It's basically a combination of the following:
A political press agent or publicist employed to promote a favourable interpretation of events to journalists.
A pejorative term used to describe someone who is eager to encourage a people or nation to go to war.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
– what’s your first reaction?
What if the person was arrested before he was able to carry out his violence on an innocent faith community - Relief? Expectation of swift justice?
Would you expect the media to let us know what sick views are in the minds of the extremists behind this evil plan and a detailed analysis of the extremist group of which he was a member?
Would you expect the case to be followed closely throughout the trial until the inevitable prosecution of the twisted individual under some terror charge?
Well I would hazard a guess that the overwhelming majority of us would.
But this didn’t happen.
In fact the extremist in question threatened to behead one Scottish Muslim a week until all mosques in Scotland were shut down. The public reaction would indeed have been horror, disgust and anger if the media had given this case anywhere like the attention we are used to with regards to other forms of terrorism. Fortunately, this mad man, joining the long ranks of those who wish to impose their world view on others through violence, was caught before he could harm anyone.
And the charge?
Breach of the peace.
Read it and weep in The Scotsman:
Not the first time either:
Not a Muslim in Sight (Trailer): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFEnJXC0Zuc
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Saturday, 18 April 2009
As a Muslim I am well aware of the debates going on within Muslim communities across Britain about the best way to marginalise extremists in our own midst and it is always a question of 'Let them be heard so their arguments can be challenged publicly, don't force them underground or you increase their mystique and appeal' versus 'Don't help their message of hate reach further than their limited appeal or finances already allows'.
How many people are aware of the BNP's origins and their real views? The BBC's Panorama programme 'Under the Skin' exposed them brilliantly in November 2001, but how many of us remember the documentary? So now they have memorised new lines for use on the doorstep, hiding the language of the past that would instantly repel the ordinary decent person. They have worked hard at disguising themselves, discarding the thug's uniform in favour of the politician's suit. I worried how many people might be taken in by the political equivalent of the confidence trickster who pretends to be a workman (fluorescent jacket, hard hat etc) in order to gain entry into an unsuspecting elderly person's home. I felt a bit let down that a Welsh newspaper with a decent circulation would give them a platform in this way.
Then I spotted the article directly across from it on the opposite page 'Bid to halt con artists' about a new initiative launched in Swansea called 'Scambusters' that would help tackle the con merchants who prey upon the trusting public. I would like to think the positioning of the article by the editorial staff was not co-incidental.