The numbers of women and girls in the UK who are suffering violence and intimidation at the hands of their families in phenomena known as “Honour” crimes is increasing rapidly in the UK. And according to campaigners, we are only seeing a fraction of the full picture since most crimes go unreported.
Statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information Act about such violence – which can include threats, abduction, acid attacks, beatings, forced marriage, mutilation and murder – show that in the 12 police force areas for which comparable data was available, reports went up by 47% in just a year.
This is an article by Houriya Ahmed which first appeared in The Times
Closing down the Iranian Embassy in London is not forceful enough. After the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran by a mob of petrol-bomb-hurling hardliners, the British Government was right to move beyond impotent expressions of “outrage” and demand that Iran’s embassy staff leave the UK within 48 hours.But Britain can do more in the face of what looks like officially orchestrated violence.
There is an arm – albeit unofficial – of the Islamic republic at work here that could be punished to show British disapproval: Press TV’s London operation should be shut down.
Launched in 2007 as an “alternative” to Western media, Press TV is an English-language satellite television channel with a licence to operate in London. It is funded by, and acts as a mouthpiece for, the Iranian regime. Muslim and non-Muslim female presenters are required to wear the Islamic headscarf in front of the camera while broadcasting from London.
Let’s suppose that, hypothetically speaking, far right religious nationalists were to win the next elections in Hungary and proceed to take over the country.
Would you be just a little bit concerned by that prospect or would you rather be celebrating it as a victory of “the democratic process”? Over at the Guardian (naturally) the Director-General of al-Jazeera Wadah Khanfar goes for the latter option in the case of Arab countries from Egypt to Tunisia.
It’s titled “Those who support democracy must welcome the rise of political Islam”. Should we really? It also contains this execrable pre-emptive get-out clause:
However, political Islam has also faced enormous pressures from dictatorial Arab regimes, pressures that became more intense after 9/11. Islamic institutions were suppressed. Islamic activists were imprisoned, tortured and killed. Such experiences gave rise to a profound bitterness. Given the history, it is only natural that we should hear overzealous slogans or intolerant threats from some activists. Some of those now at the forefront of election campaigns were only recently released from prison. It would not be fair to expect them to use the voice of professional diplomats.
This is the statement by Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes, Stephen Rapp in Dhaka about the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal. This is taken from David Bergman’s blog, who is reporting the events of the tribunal from Dhaka.
This is my third visit this year to Bangladesh to learn about your International Crimes Tribunal and to offer ideas to ensure that the trials it holds will be fair and open.
I know of the horrible crimes committed in the country in 1971– of the hundreds of thousands of victims who were murdered and raped, of the pain inflicted and the property destroyed. The victims of these crimes deserve justice, and those accused of these acts deserve trials where they can test the evidence and present witnesses on their own behalf. Those who are innocent should be found not guilty and be freed. Those who are responsible for these crimes should be found guilty and punished. Given the historic importance of these trials to Bangladesh, the region, and the world, the proceedings should be conducted in a manner that is open and accessible to all.
I was so saddened to learn about the trial in Tunisia over the broadcasting of the animated movie, Persepolis. The Tunisian revolution which was supposed to be about the overthrow of a dictator will soon descend into a religious dictatorship, if the secular Tunisians remain silent about this sort of thing. Once again, my favourite quote by Edmund Burke “Evil Only Prevails, When the Good Remain Silent” manifests itself in our own times.
The animated movie, Persepolis, is not about attacking sacred values at all. Only a religious zealot moron could come to such a conclusion. It is in fact a brilliant depiction of how a revolution against dictatorship is hijacked by such extremists. It is a movie that pre-warns ordinary people what will happen if they remain silent and allow the extremists to take over.
In the years to come, the history of the so-called “war in Afghanistan” will be little more than a footnote in a chapter about the lies successive American governments told themselves and the world about Pakistan – that American-subsidized, nuclear-armed, military-industrial crime syndicate with a bribe market for a parliament that masquerades as a UN member state. All we can hope is that chapter won’t be in a book about a nuclear holocaust that ended a sickening, paranoid hoax of a country that had held most of its 170 million “citizens” hostage and barely alive on less than $2 a day in the final years before it all went up in flames.
Here’s a rare and horrifying glimpse of the reality behind the lies: The Ally From Hell. Excellent journalism from Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder.
Eric Pickles, the Conservative UK secretary of state, has plans to build a “curry college” to train unemployed British youth to cook pakora, the samosa and the chicken biriyani to replace cooks formerly hired from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
While this is a good initiative for the British workforce, let’s hope it doesn’t turn into this:
The new “curry college” initiative is bound to generate hilarity. No scheme which Pickles leads will fail to engender a good deal of good humoured ribaldry, but there is a serious side to these plans.
In addition to the jobs angle, this initiative also has some worthwhile and far reaching motives for the increasing integration. So instead of the New Labour language of “promoting local community cohesion” will be simpler and tighter ideas like “promoting integration” and increasing “tolerance” as the new watchwords.
Al-Jaʿd ibn Dirham, tutor to the Umayyad Caliph Marwan, said “The Qur’an’s eloquence is not a miracle and people can do the like of it and better.”(1)
The Mu’tazilite scholar Abu Musa said “People are able to produce the like of the Qurʾān as regards eloquence, and composition and rhetorical beauty.”(2)
The 11th century Sunni scholar Abu al-Qushairy said: “We do not claim that everything in the Qurʾān is in the highest rank of eloquence.”(3)
Ibn al-Rawandi (former Mu’tazilite scholar) (d. 910 ad) said “Indeed the Qurʾān is not the speech of a wise god. In it are contradictions and mistakes and passages that are in the realms of the absurd.”(4)
1. Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafiì, “The Miraculous Nature of the Qurʾān and the Prophetic Rhetoric.” Page 160.
2. Al-Baghdadi, “The Difference Between the Groups” Page 164–165; and al-Shahrastani, “The Book of Sects and Creeds”, 1/68–69.