Monthly Archives: February 2009


    Many of you will know Mark Steel as an exceptionally witty writer for the Independent. Unfortunately, The Independent refused to publish his column this week because as Mark says ‘they weren’t overly keen on the issue I was writing about’. And what was that issue? 

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  Following yesterday’s news that Sir Alan Sugar is to sue the Sun, there is news today that Muslim bus driver Arunas Raulynaitis, whom the paper accused of forcing people off his bus so that he could pray, has accepted £30,000 in damages from the newspaper.

Stephen Loughery , Raulynaitis’ lawyer said: “The article suggested that Raulynaitis was so arrogant, unprofessional and contemptuous of the passengers within his care whom he is paid to serve, that he ordered them off his bus so that he could pray.”

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    Worcester City Council approved a proposal to twin the city with Gaza as a ‘humanitarian gesture’.

Councillor Alan Amos who proposed the move said, “We are linking with the people [of Gaza], reaching out to these women and children and men who have been through so much.”

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  The Justice Secretary Jack Straw has exercised a veto against the decision of the Information Tribunal which earlier ruled that the minutes of the Cabinet meetings of 13 and 17 March 2003 on the Iraq War should be immediately released to the public.

The minutes of the meetings have been blocked by Jack Straw on grounds that they would be of too much ‘damage’ to democracy.

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  ENGAGE has received the following reply from the office of the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, in response to our letter concerning the government’s response to the recent Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza, in which 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

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  Sir Alan Sugar is to sue the Sun newspaper over the printing of a false front page story in January this year, ‘Terror Target Sugar’, which claimed that British Jews were being singled out for attack by Muslims over events in Gaza. He has issued a writ against News Group Newspapers and the paper’s editor, Rebekah Wade.

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Determined not to allow the Charity Commission’s report of the good services provided by mosques in Britain to be fully appreciated, the Home Office funded outfit, the Quilliam Foundation, has released a report of its own, ‘Mosques Made in Britain’, claiming that:
  • 97 per cent of imams (clerics) in Britain’s mosques are from overseas
  • forty-four per cent of mosques do not hold the lecture before Friday Prayers in English, making it difficult for young British Muslims to access weekly guidance at mosques; and
  • nearly half of Britain’s mosques do not have facilities for Britain’s Muslim women, depriving half the community of access to public spaces.

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Newspapers today report and comment on the return of Binyam Mohamed to the UK following his release from Guantanamo.

It is shameful and disgusting to read some of the stories and leader columns in today’s papers that trivialise the horrors Mohamed has endured over the past seven years.

It would seem from the Daily Express front page that the paper is more concerned that Mohamed was flown in by private jet than with the very serious allegations of torture and secret rendition that our UK government must now answer to. The Daily Star meanwhile headlines the article on Mohamed with ‘I’m back…And I want benefits’.

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Sabby Dhalu of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) writes in the Guardian’s Comment is Free on why unity is paramount in the struggle against the BNP gaining further advances in local, national, and more pressingly, the forthcoming European elections.

Dhalu quotes the BNP leader Nick Griffin:

“We bang on about Islam. Why? Because, to the ordinary public out there, it’s the thing they can understand. It’s the one thing the newspaper editors sell newspapers with. If we were to attack some other group – some people say we should attack the Jews … But … we’ve got to get to power. And if that was an issue to bang on about when the press don’t talk about it … the public would just think we were barking mad.”

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  As politicians lament the BNP by-election win in Kent and contend that the fight against fascism is harder today than it was in the 1970s, Trevor Kavanagh writing in the Sun today echoes the kind of anti Muslim prejudice that reveals why it is tougher to eradicate ill informed, prejudicial views.

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