Monthly Archives: May 2011


  The Daily Telegraph on Saturday published an article in which the chief executive of Universities UK, Nicola Dandridge, dismissed claims that universities are sites of radicalization or that the presence of offensive speakers at campus events engendered attitudes of a violent extremist nature among student populations.

Ms Dandridge told the Daily Telegraph:

“You cannot draw the conclusion that because wild things are said at university that automatically equates to radicalisation,”

“We have to be really careful about what we are saying about cause and effect.”

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  There were some interesting, and all too predictable, headlines in the papers this weekend on the presentation of Professor Steve Jones, an eminent geneticist, at the Hay Festival.

Professor Jones is reported to have spoken of “inbreeding” and the impact of first cousin marriages on children born to couples who are closely related.

See articles in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Daily Star.

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  The Lincolnshire Echo relates the conclusion of the court case against a 17 year old from Lincoln charged with carrying out a religiously aggravated attack on a Muslim police officer.

From the paper:

“A 17-YEAR-OLD youth has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid community work after carrying out a religiously aggravated attack on a police officer.

“The Cherry Willingham youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was previously found guilty of assaulting off-duty Muslim police officer PC Rizwaan Chothia by Lincoln magistrates following a two-day trial held earlier this month.

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  Lancashire Evening Post reports on a second case of a mosque application being referred to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate’s hearing relates to a planning application (artists impression, above) submitted by Preston Muslim Society to build a three storey mosque on the site of the existing Masjid-e-Salaam. 

From LEP:

“A planning inquiry got under way yesterday after the society [Preston Muslim Society], which was given the go-ahead for an “enhanced mosque” in 2008, appealed against the council’s decision to refuse the latest proposals.”


  There’s some coverage in the media today (Daily Telegraph, BBC, The Independent) of the G8 Summit and the central place of the Arab Spring on the agenda of the world’s largest economies. News reports detail the financial assistance G8 countries are pledging to support the transition to democratic governance and stability in the MENA region.

The Guardian reports on the FCO’s expansion of the Arab Partnership initiative, which was launched in February this year with an initial pot of money of £5 million.

This looks set to increase considerably with PM David Cameron committing £110 million over the next four years from the budget of the Department for International Development, to support political and economic reform through establishing the rule of law, combating corruption, building a strong, vibrant civil society and encouraging private enterprise and raising employment levels.

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  The Guardian in an editorial today reflects on the speech given by President Obama to British parliamentarians in Westminster Hall yesterday.

Interweaving yesterday’s speech on the UK-US relationship, and President Obama’s address last week at the State Department, the Guardian observes:

“As Mr Obama rightly acknowledged, democracy could not be imposed. It was a route that each nation on its own had to travel. Translating that message into policy, a variety of paths could be pursued. Will Mr Obama’s administration be quite as comfortable with free elections in Egypt and Tunisia, both of which he promised to help with aid, if the primary beneficiaries of that representative process are conservative Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood? Maybe it will, and just to reinforce its intent the Brotherhood is sponsoring a large number of Coptic Christians as its candidates. But move over just a few more inches on the map and see whether the same logic and the same universal principle applies to the elections that Palestinians will hold next year – elections which, if they go ahead, will be contested by both Fatah and Hamas. No, here you get a different response – the Palestinians have “hard questions” to answer.

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  The BBC reports on new research by academics at Bristol University which shows that schools in Oldham are “largely polarised along racial lines.”

“More than 80% of primary school pupils of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin attended schools, in 2009, in which no more than 20% of the pupils were white.

“The study, by Bristol University, found more than 70% of white pupils were in “majority white” schools, in which at least 80% of pupils were white British.”

The Independent today runs a feature article by Ben Chu on the race riots of 2001 which occurred in Oldham and Burnley, and the ensuing inquiries and reports which have variously referred to problems of “self-segregation”, “parallel lives” and the failures of multiculturalism.

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  Some interesting excerpts from the speech given by US President, Barack Obama, to members of both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall this afternoon can be read below:

“Today, after a difficult decade that began with war and ended in recession, our nations have arrived at a pivotal moment once more. A global economy that once stood on the brink of depression is now stable and recovering. After years of conflict, the United States has removed 100,000 troops from Iraq, the United Kingdom has removed its forces, and our combat mission has ended. In Afghanistan, we have broken the Taliban’s momentum, and will soon begin a transition to Afghan lead. And nearly 10 years after 9/11, we have disrupted terrorist networks and dealt al Qaeda a huge blow by killing its leader — Osama bin Laden.

Together, we have met great challenges. But as we enter this new chapter in our shared history, profound challenges stretch before us.

In a world where the prosperity of all nations is now inextricably linked, a new era of cooperation is required to ensure the growth and stability of the global economy. As new threats spread across borders and oceans, we must dismantle terrorist networks and stop the spread of nuclear weapons; confront climate change and combat famine and disease. And as a revolution races through the streets of the Middle East and North Africa, the entire world has a stake in the aspirations of a generation that longs to determine its own destiny.

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  The Lancashire Telegraph reports on charges brought against two people in relation to the desecration of a Qur’an and racist graffiti applied to the walls of Dawat Ul Islam Masjid in Chorley, Lancashire.

From the paper:

“A Quran was ’desecrated’ and racist graffiti daubed at a mosque, it has emerged.

“Two teenagers have been charged with racially aggravated criminal damage connected with the incident in Chorley.

“Police said intruders entered the Dawat Ul Islam Masjid, also known as Chorley Mosque, in Brooke Street, before causing interior damage and damaging various items, including a Quran.

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  Vikram Dodd in The Guardian today covers disturbing revelations on the use of ethnic profiling under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act (2000), which allow the police to stop and search individuals, and the exploitation of the power to harass and intimidate Muslims into spying on their community.

Dodd covers the cases of two Muslims who have come forward, Asif Ahmed and Abdullah, a youth worker from east London.

Dodd details the men’s experiences of being stopped and questioned about their faith, their attitudes towards extremism and terrorism and the offers made to engage in espionage for the security establishment.

Dodd writes:

“Just after landing at Edinburgh airport on 11 April 2010 Asif Ahmed was met by plainclothes officers and taken away from his wife. He was about to turn from model citizen into a terror suspect, one of 85,000 people who met a similar fate that year.

“Officers met the couple just after they got off the flight from Stansted and told them Ahmed needed to come with them for a “normal check”.

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