Mixed reactions to suicide bomber parody in the UK

Four Lions, the film that mimics a group of suicide bombers in the UK, has evoked mixed reactions just after its release. Many are enthusiastic and the London Evening Standard calls fear the greatest enemy of innovation, but this film manages to overcome fear in an innovative way by making fundamentalists appear ridiculous. Others, however, have called for a boycott of the film. They are relatives of the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London. In their opinion, the film follows too closely what has happened in reality and is insensitive to the victims. In the Guardian, Muslim commentator Tania Ahsan, however, points out the film’s subtleties finds it “extremely funny”.

UK-Muslims “backing Lib Dems”

British Muslims are abandoning their traditional support for Gordon Brown’s Labour party and instead look set to back Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats in this week’s election, community organizers have found.

A poll of British Muslims conducted last week found that almost three-quarters of respondents believed the Liberal Democrats offered fairer policies than either the Labour or Conservative parties.

YouElect, a non-partisan grass-roots campaign aimed at persuading British Muslims to vote, polled 940 Muslims from four cities over the days running up to the country’s final televised leaders’ debate last Thursday.

General Election and UK Muslims

Hugely excited about Britain’s first televised party leaders’ debates, the British media have paid limited attention to the vicious electoral battle being fought in the East London borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Yet the outcome of the general and local elections there on May 6 could have troubling consequences, not least for Britain’s 2.4 million Muslims. For it is in Barking and Dagenham that the leader of the far right British National Party, Nick Griffin, has a fighting chance of winning what has long been a safe seat for Britain’s governing Labour Party.

In Dagenham, as throughout Britain, the whole issue of immigration has never been more emotive. But it is Muslims, portrayed as the “enemy within” bent on Islamizing Britain, who are the chief target of the BNP. From the Muslim perspective, the desirability of voting for the Labour Party to keep the far right out seems clear. Yet such is Muslim disaffection, especially over British foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, that many Muslims appear disinclined to vote at all. Alarmed by the possibility of a triumphant BNP, prominent Muslims are backing a campaign in Dagenham, “Hope, Not Hate”, aimed at mobilizing the Muslim vote. Jewish businessmen, mindful of the threat posed to the Jews of East London by the fascist black shirts led by Oswald Mosley in the 1930s, are backing it, too, for the BNP’s historic anti-Semitism is manifesting itself anew in the area, with Margaret Hodge, who is of Egyptian Jewish parentage, being vilified on grounds of both her race and wealth.

A tribute to Gai Eaton/Sidi Hasan

Gai Eaton (1921-2010), or Sidi Hasan, which was his Muslim name, was a diplomat, author and one of Britain’s most influential convert Muslims. In his nearly 60 years as a Muslim he proved that British values are very much compatible with Islamic ones, writes Kristiane Backer in her tribute to a friend.

Re-assessing the “Prevent” strategie against Muslim extremists in Britain

As delivered so far, the Prevent program has stigmatized and alienated those it is most important to engage, and tainted many positive community cohesion projects, says a cross-party committee of MPs. Moreover, the government’s strategy to limit the development of violent extremism in the UK sits poorly within a counter-terrorism strategy.