Monthly Archives: November 2010

    A report published today from 21 international organisations, entitled “Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade”, has called for international action to ensure an “immediate, sustained and unconditional” lifting of the illegal blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel.

The report argues that five months on from international pressure urging the lifting of the illegal blockade, “there are few signs of real improvement on the ground as the ‘ease’ has left foundations of the illegal blockade policy intact.”

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A new report entitled “The English Defence League: Challenging our country and our values of social inclusion, fairness and equality,” authored by Professor Nigel Copsey has just been released.

The report asks whether the English Defence League (EDL) poses “a threat to our country and our values of social inclusion, fairness and equality” and goes on to state recommendations on how to respond to the EDL. 

Among the points raised in the report are:
“The EDL is best understood as an Islamophobic, new social movement, born of a particularly unattractive and intolerant strand of English nationalism. It is symptomatic of an English identity crisis, drawing on native English ‘identity’ as its principle weapon against an ‘alien’ Islamic identity.”

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 Multiculturalism   Research from the University of Southampton has found that poverty and gross inequality are six times more likely than ethnic diversity to cause British people to be suspicious of their neighbours, “repudiating the argument that multicultural societies make people uneasy and less trusting of strangers.”

From the Guardian:

“Using government surveys of more than 25,000 individuals in 4,000 neighbourhoods, researchers from the University of Southampton said there was ‘no evidence’ that levels of trust and co-operation were highest in the most ‘homogenous’ neighbourhoods. Instead, people living in deprived areas were the most suspicious of those who don’t look like them – and those that do.”

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 Preston EDL   14 people were arrested for reported drunken and disorderly behaviour offences following demonstrations by extremist group, the English Defence League (EDL) in Preston on Saturday.

The Preston Citizen reports that the EDL demonstration was called to protest against the extension of a mosque.

“Around 1000 EDL protesters gathered in front of the city’s Harris Museum at 1pm, chanting, waving flags and letting off fireworks.”

“At the other side of a police cordon, around 250 people had gathered at an anti-EDL demonstration organised by Preston Trades Council and Preston Unite Against Fascism.”

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 Sajjad Karim   A Muslim Conservative North-West MEP has been under threats from far-right extremists who have bombarded him with offensive emails over his reported opposition to EU legislation proposals that would require all ritually slaughtered meat to be labelled.

From the Lancashire Telegraph:

“Sajjad Karim has been bombarded with offensive emails, which the Lancashire Telegraph has seen, over his stance on halal and kosher meat.”

“And his home in Simonstone in the Ribble Valley has also had ‘BNP’ daubed on it in graffiti.”

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police line   A Muslim academy in Portsmouth has been the target of two hate crimes in the past fortnight, police have said.

BBC News reports:

“In the first incident, a brick with a racist message on it was thrown into the Portsmouth Muslim Academy, on Old Commercial Road, on 13 November.”

“A beer bottle was then thrown through a window at the front of the building last Friday.”

“The city’s Jami Mosque was also targeted twice in two days on 12 and 13 November.”

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  It was only a matter of time before ENGAGE caught the attention of Andrew ‘Islamists under the bed’ Gilligan and lo and behold, the prodigious blogger on all things ‘Islamist’ related had blogged about the all party parliamentary group on Islamophobia to which we are the secretariat.

We could dispense with Gilligan’s comment piece by simply offering Mehdi Hasan’s brilliant expose on Gilligan’s hypocrisy but that would be to take Gilligan’s allegations lightly, something which we do not do.

Gilligan alleges that ENGAGE “is an organisation of Islamist sympathizers” giving as evidence to support his claim our critiques of attempts to malign the East London Mosque and the Islamic Forum Europe. Again, Gilligan shows that his yardstick of measuring an “Islamist sympathizer” is anyone that doesn’t agree with his assessment of the activities and ethos of these organizations. Is it fair then to say that Gilligan would regard Neil Jameson of London Citizens and Revd. Alan Green, chair of Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum, as “Islamist sympathizers” too for their rebuttals of other attempts to smear these organizations? Or does Gilligan consider a Muslim organization an easier target for smearing and slander?

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Mad Mel   The Spectator and Melanie Phillips have been forced to issue an apology and pay “substantial damages” to Mohammad Sawalha, a British Palestinian, after an article by Mad Mel in 2008 falsely stated that Mr. Sawalha had referred to Jews in Britain as “evil/noxious.”

The apology reads:

“On 2 July 2008 we published an article entitled ‘Just look what came crawling out’ which alleged that at a protest at the celebration in London of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, Mohammad Sawalha had referred to Jews in Britian (sic) as ‘evil/noxious’. We now accept that Mr Sawalha made no such anti-Semitic statement and that the article was based on a mistranslation elsewhere of an earlier report. We and Melanie Phillips apologise for the error.”

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 Foreign policy   Amid the Queen’s five-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Daily Telegraph reports that William Hague’s decision to “reach out” to Gulf states in an effort to “secure better diplomatic and trade ties meant Britain had to ‘take on board’ Arab foreign policy goals.”

This, it is argued, may involve “further withdrawal of traditional British support for Israel.”
The reason for the improvement in diplomatic ties with the Gulf states is far from altruistic – it is reportedly to strengthen defence relationships with the Gulf states for a possible confrontation with Iran.

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Anjem Choudary  

Nut for hire, Anjem Choudary, is allegedly urging a “Muslim uprising” against the upcoming royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

According to the Daily Star:

“The hardliner is demanding a boycott of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day.”

“He said it would be against Islam for Muslims to celebrate the nuptials.”

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