Monthly Archives: August 2010

 Cordoba   “It’s striking that many American Republicans share with al-Qaeda the view that the West and the Islamic world are caught inevitably in a ‘clash of civilisations’”.

This is what Nicholas Kristof’s article in The Scotsman yesterday had to say about the hysteria that has been whipped up in opposition to plans to build an Islamic centre in New York – the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” (which is neither at Ground Zero, or a mosque). 

Kristof asks, “Is there any doubt about Osama bin Laden’s position on the not-at-ground-zero mosque? Osama abhors the vision of interfaith harmony that the proposed Islamic centre represents.”

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  Why are more British Muslim women, without coercion from their fathers or husbands, choosing to wear the face veil (niqab)? On Monday 23rd August, Newsnight aired an interview with four women to ascertain why they adopted the niqab when their mothers did not.

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    We thought you might enjoy Mark Steel’s comic take on the hypocrisy and confused thought processes of those opposing the proposed Islamic centre in New York.

Writing in The Independent he observes:

“To give yourself a stressful and futile day, try telling people there are no plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero. You’ll get nowhere, although the truth is there are plans to build an Islamic centre, with a swimming pool open to everyone, two blocks away from Ground Zero. So if this is a continuation of the terrorist agenda as claimed, it’s been a peculiar plan, and Bin Laden must have started by telling his followers “First we will destroy their buildings – and then, oo it’s so deliciously evil, we will get people to swim near to where the buildings were… mwaHAHAHAHAHA.”

You can read the full piece here.

  Writing on his Telegraph blog today, Andrew Gilligan has attempted a throw back to his documentary, “Britain’s Islamic Republic”, by “exposing” the name of a person he had kept hidden at the time due to legal advice.

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 Charlie Brooker Guardian   In an excellent piece in The Guardian, Charlie Brooker comments on the hysteria being whipped up by right-wing media elements in the US on the proposed plans for the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”. The facts on the ground are less exciting and far less controversial than the myths being concocted around the building.

“For one thing, it’s not at Ground Zero. Also, it isn’t a mosque.”

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Following West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison’s letter to Bradford Council exhorting a ban on the EDL’s proposed march in Bradford over the August bank holiday weekend, Home Secretary Theresa May has consented to the Council’s letter of request.

A petition containing 10,000 signatures from Bradford was also handed in to the Home Office.

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  Richard Littlejohn in his Daily Mail column last week added his own thoughts to the controversy sparked in the US, and fuelled by right wingers, on the proposed plans to build an Islamic Centre near the Ground Zero site in New York.

Alex Massie on Spectator blogs and Andrew Brown on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website have already superbly dissected the blatant anti-Muslim prejudice the controversy has unleashed with its reducing all Muslims and Islam to the perpetrators of the 9/11 atrocities.

Littlejohn writes:

“…it remains indisputable that 9/11 was an attack carried out by Muslims, in the name of an admittedly insane form of their faith.

“What seems to be forgotten in this case, as so often when it comes to dealing with Islam, is that tolerance is a two-way street. This isn’t about freedom to worship. There are already 100 official mosques in New York’s five boroughs, and more than 1,800 across America.

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  The Home Secretary has been asked to consider a ban on the planned march in Bradford by the English Defence League over the August bank holiday weekend.

Static demonstrations in the UK cannot be prevented – assured as a fundamental right of freedom of association in any democracy – but the Home Secretary can be asked to intervene and ban a moving demonstration if there exists just cause to do so. 

Interventions have been sought in the past concerning demonstrations organized by the EDL, particularly since these have manifested in the worst forms of anti-Muslim racism, with placards brandished bearing the words ‘No More Mosques’ and chants including ‘If you build your f*cking Mosque we’ll burn it down’. Past protests have occasioned much concern among local communities determined to keep the fascists at bay, and to prevent violent disorder in their towns and the stirring of racist and anti-Muslim sentiment.

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  The British Council has published a report on Muslim integration in Scotland. The report sheds empirical light on the presumption that Scottish Muslims are better integrated into Scottish society than Muslims in other parts of the UK.

The study shows that Muslims are the least favourably viewed among faith groups in Scotland with 21% of people admitting to holding ‘somewhat unfavourable’ or ‘very unfavourable’ views towards Muslims.

The study also finds:

  • Muslim loyalty to Scotland is viewed more favourably among respondents than figures showing perceptions of Muslims’ loyalty to the UK – 46% of people believe Scottish Muslims to be loyal to Scotland, whereas two thirds of Britons question Muslims’ loyalty to the UK, according to a Gallup poll done last year
  • More than half of those surveyed agreed that most Muslims in Scotland are integrated into everyday Scottish life, (58%) while just over a quarter (27%) disagreed
  • Two thirds of people (66%) agreed the attempted bombing of Glasgow airport has made Scots more intolerant towards Muslims
  • Almost twice as many respondents agree that the Christian religion is compatible with life in Scotland as agree that the Islamic religion is compatible (80% compared with 42%)

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  Four police officers accused of a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack and racist abuse of Babar Ahmed are to be charged with assault.

From the Press Association:

“The officers, all members of the Metropolitan Police’s territorial support group, will be charged with causing actual bodily harm

The Crown Prosecution Service said Pcs Nigel Cowley, John Donohue, Roderick James-Bowen and Mark Jones will appear before magistrates on September 22.”

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