Monthly Archives: August 2011


  Monday’s Guardian reported on the implementation of the new Prevent strategy on university campuses claiming lecturers and university staff were being asked to “inform the police about Muslim students who are depressed or isolated.”

From the paper:

“University staff including lecturers, chaplains and porters, are being asked to inform the police about Muslim students who are depressed or isolated under new guidance for countering Islamist radicalism.

“The move has resulted in deep discomfort among university lecturers and student union officials who wish to combat terrorism but say the new strategy is an infringement of students’ civil liberties.

“Officials implementing the government’s revamped Prevent strategy are training frontline university employees in how to spot students vulnerable to extremism. Documents handed to staff claim that students who seem depressed or who are estranged from their families, who bear political grievances, or who use extremist websites or have poor access to mainstream religious instruction could be at risk of radicalisation.

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Further to the superb report by Spinwatch, ‘The Cold War on British Muslims’ on the financing behind and political orientation of think tanks that encourage counter-subversive policies against British Muslims, the Center for American Progress has published a report uncovering the “relatively small, but interconnected group of individuals and organisations [who] spread anti-Muslim fear and hate in America.” 

Wajahat Ali, lead researcher for the report, explains in an article on the Guardian’s Comment is Free section:

“After a six-month-long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a 138-page report, “Fear Inc: Exposing the Islamophobia Network in America”, which for the first time reveals that more than $42m from seven foundations over the past decade have helped empower a relatively small, but interconnected group of individuals and organisations to spread anti-Muslim fear and hate in America. I, along with co-authors Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes and Faiz Shakir, expose this network in depth, categorise it, trace the money trail to the donors, name the players in the network, connect the dots between them, and uncover the genesis of several fictitious threats such as the current “anti-sharia” fear sweeping the nation, as well as the protests of neighbourhood mosques as alleged “Trojan horses” and incubators of radicalisation.”

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    The Guardian today reports that Home Secretary, Theresa May, has acceded to the request lodged by the Metropolitan Police to ban an EDL march through Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring east London boroughs. 

From the paper:

“The home secretary has agreed to a police request to ban the far-right English Defence League from staging a march through one of the UK’s biggest Muslim communities in east London.

“Theresa May said she would outlaw any marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs – whether by the EDL or any other groups – for the next 30 days, having “balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected”.

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  The Irish Examiner publishes a letter from Cork County councillor Pa O’Driscoll countering the motion submitted by fellow councillor, Joe O’Callaghan, on banning the burqa in Ireland.

The letter reads:

“I fail to see why Cllr Joe O’Callaghan deems it necessary or desirable for the Minister for Justice to ban the wearing of the burka in public places (News, August 19).

“The wearing of the burka (as well as the hijab and niqab) is a complex issue — one that has been debated in other European societies for decades with no satisfactory outcome.

“The wearing of the hijab by students in schools in Ireland was raised in 2008, but died away by the time the then government deferred to boards of management to make individual decisions, but only after they consulted with all stakeholders, and also took into consideration equality legislation. Since then, I know of no school that has attempted to ban the hijab, which is to be welcomed.

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  The Hansard Society has published a report on ‘Connecting Citizens to Parliament.

The report analyses data drawn from an online questionnaire (sample size 2,005) and focus groups held around the country on levels of public participation with politics and parliament and recommends ways in which Parliament can engage more effectively with hard to reach groups.
 

The report argues that those displaying high levels of political engagement “are not representative of society as a whole and likely to be more highly educated, part of a higher socio-economic group, male and older.”

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   A report by the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia) has found that racism and intolerance towards Sweden’s Muslim and Jewish communities is on the rise.

From the Swedish paper, The Local:

“The number of racist sites in Sweden has almost doubled in two years. In 2009 there were around 8,000 xenophobic Swedish sites whereas today the authors of the report estimate an increase to 15,000.

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   The Echo newspaper reports on an attack on a Muslim male on his way to the Jamme Masjid in Southend for Fajr prayers last Tuesday.

From the paper:

“A MAN visiting a mosque for early morning prayers was attacked by a teenager in the street.
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  The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has today delivered a speech at the British Council on the Arab Spring. In it he addressed the Libyan revolution, Syria, British security interests, forging a new partnership with the Middle East and North Africa region, and the practical help being provided to help states in the MENA region to reform.

The speech builds on developments since the Government published its Building Stability Overseas Strategy, which set out the basis of British support for the MENA region, and also the Arab Partnership Initiative, which is the Government’s long-term strategic approach to the Arab Spring.

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    A councillor in the Irish city of Cork has called for a ban on burkas, balaclavas “or any other clothing that masks identity, on the grounds of public safety,” according to an article in the Irish Times.

“Cllr O’Callaghan proposed a motion to Cork City Council, calling on Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to ban burkas and give gardaí powers to order youths to remove their hoodies.”

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  The Ilford Recorder last week reported on four people who have been found guilty of an attack on a mosque in Redbridge.

The individuals, 21 year old Rocky Beale, 19 year old Eliot Jones, 18 year old Matthew Stephenson and a 16 year old who cannot be named for legal reasons, are all facing jail for the attack which took place in March this year.

From the paper:

“Four thugs who bombarded a mosque and an imam with bricks in a racist attack are facing jail.

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