We should celebrate that we are a multi-cultural nation, says Michael Gove

Britons should celebrate the fact that their country is a “multi-cultural nation”, senior Conservatives have said. The comments came after research said that the party had to do more to attract black and ethnic minority voters if they wanted to win next year’s general election. Michael Gove, the Education secretary, issued the call and suggested that Britain was a “stronger country” because of its history of immigration.

 

He said: “The answer to our problems is not to denigrate success but to celebrate it; the answer to our problems is not to chip away at wealth creators with new taxes and new burdens, but to do everything possible to liberate them to create more jobs and opportunities for all.

 

The comments from Mr Gove, who is close to Prime Minister David Cameron, were backed by other senior party members.

 

Alok Sharma MP, the Conservatives’ vice chairman for black and minority ethnic issues told has stated that people would react positively to Mr Gove’s remarks.

 

David Green, from the right of centre think-tank Civitas, said Mr Gove had confused “multi-ethnicity” with “multi-culturalism”. He said: “Michael Gove has confused a multi-cultural society with a multi-ethnic society. We have become a multi-ethnic society, but we’ve been successful because our dominant culture of freedom and democracy allows space for different lifestyles.”

Texas terror suspect planned mosque attack, officials say

April 4, 2014

 

Robert James Talbot Jr. considered himself a revolutionary seeking to create a different society by robbing an armored car, killing police and even blazing a bloody path though a service at a mosque where he would shoot men, women and children at prayer, officials said.

Talbot was ordered held without bond Wednesday at a hearing in Houston, Angela Dodge, a spokeswoman for Kenneth Magidson, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas, said in an email. Talbot, 38, of Katy, Texas, was arrested last week, but government terror experts gave new details at Tuesday’s hearing on what they said were his plans.

When Talbot was taken into custody, prosecutors released documents outlining what they said was his effort to recruit five or six like-minded individuals “to blow up government buildings, rob banks and kill law enforcement officers. Talbot created a Facebook page titled “American Insurgent Movement,” the complaint alleged.

His goal as stated on Facebook, according to the complaint, was to create a “a Pre-Constitutionalist Community … [for] those who seek True patriotism and are looking for absolute Freedom by doing the Will of God. Who want to restore America Pre-Constitutionally and look forward to stopping the Regime with action by bloodshed.”

The complaint alleges that in a March 15 Facebook post, Talbot said: “In a few weeks me and my team are goin active for Operation Liberty…I will not be able to post no more. We will be the revolution, things will happen nation wide or in the states. They will call us many names and spin things around on media. Just remember we fight to stop Marxism, liberalism, Central banking Cartels and the New World Order.”

FBI special agent Renee Cline testified at the hearing that Talbot “wanted to go to a mosque on Friday and take women, children, men and shoot them,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Cline added that Talbot planned to hit the mosque during a prayer session when the most people would be there.

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-texas-terror-suspect-mosque-attack-20140402,0,2322303.story#axzz2yE3oOxsF

Sisters in Islam co-founder gets France’s highest award

March 7, 2014

 

Advocacy group Sisters in Islam (SIS) co-founder Zainah Anwar, from Malaysia, who will be conferred the French government’s highest award, the Legion of Honour, regards it as a recognition of the advocacy group’s courage in standing up for its cause.

“It is also a recognition that a group like ours is regarded by many nationally and internationally as a model of what the leadership should be in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

“We should be coming together to share the nation and not look at it as one winning over the other,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

French Ambassador to Malaysia, Martine Dorance, will confer the honour on Zainah. The order, created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, rewards men and women, French and foreigners, for their distinguished merits and the exemplary services rendered to causes supported by France.

Sisters in Islam’s main cause is to promote an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of justice, equality, freedom and dignity within a democratic nation state. “International recognition of Zainah’s work is also a testament to the moral courage and commitment it takes to challenge injustices, particularly those committed in the name of religion,” said Suri Kempe, the programme manager for SIS.

 

CAIR Joins 50th Anniversary March on Washington Rally

In one of his most famous statements, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

On the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, it is time to reflect on Dr. King’s words and examine where we stand as a nation on the issues of justice and mutual understanding.

The opening service Wednesday included Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Sikh, and other Christian faith leaders celebrating King’s legacy.

Other speakers are the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral; Catholic Archbishop Donald Wuerl (wurl) of Washington; Rabbi Achonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly; Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America and others.

Dr. King’s struggle for justice must be carried on by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds, because that is what he taught and demonstrated through his life’s work.

Fifty years after the “I have a dream” speech, stubborn remnants of racism and bigotry linger in the forms of voter suppression campaigns, racial and religious profiling and the targeting of undocumented immigrants.

Dr. King’s dream is deferred every time an American is discriminated against, profiled or mistreated because of the color of their skin, their faith, their gender, or their legal status.

Bigotry is also rearing its ugly head in a relatively new form, that of Islamophobia, the hatred of Islam and Muslims.

Islamophobia — whether expressed in the form of unconstitutional anti-Islam bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide or spewed by anti-Muslim hate bloggers — is just the latest manifestation of the same intolerance faced by Dr. King and other civil rights leaders of his time.

Like other forms of intolerance, Islamophobia is a threat to our nation’s values and to the social tapestry that continues to draw people to our shores from every nation on earth.

As American Muslims join coalitions in defense of their rights and the rights of Americans of all backgrounds, we must learn from the words and experiences of Dr. King.

 

Obama Protesters Sing ‘Bye Bye Black Sheep,’ Rail Against ‘Half-White Muslim’ In Arizona

A raucous crowd of supporters and protesters from both ends of the political spectrum showed up outside President Barack Obama’s appearance in Phoenix, Ariz. on Tuesday, with some of his detractors turning to racially charged attacks to express their opposition.

From the Arizona Republic:

 

Obama foes at one point sang, “Bye Bye Black Sheep,” a derogatory reference to the president’s skin color, while protesters like Deanne Bartram raised a sign saying, “Impeach the Half-White Muslim!”

The Republic reported that hundreds of people gathered outside Desert Vista High School as Obama unveiled a plan to overhaul the nation’s mortgage finance system. Some protesters came from Obama’s left, urging him to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline and take other actions on climate change. But a prevailing theme among many in the protest appeared to be issues of race. Some even suggested that Obama himself was to blame for racial tensions.

 

“We have gone back so many years,” Judy Burris told the Republic, arguing Obama had taken the nation back to pre-Civil Rights era levels of racism. “He’s divided all the races. I hate him for that.”

Others carried signs calling for Obama to be impeached, Tucson News Now reported, though despite the negativity, the majority of those in attendance were Obama fans.

Channel 4 chief rejects criticism over call to prayer Ramadan broadcast

Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham has rejected criticism that the broadcaster’s decision to air the Muslim call to prayer at 3am was “patronising”. Abraham told MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday that the daily broadcast fit “absolutely” with its public service remit and that it has attracted 181,000 viewers – almost triple its usual audience at 3am. Conservative MP Angie Bray questioned whether Channel 4 was “patronising” Muslims by airing the ritual at 3am, when most of the nation is asleep. Abraham countered that the timeslot is “just a practicality” of the three-minute call to prayer.

 

The British Dream by David Goodhart – review

A disingenuous approach is all too common in Goodhart’s disappointing book on immigration and diversity, which is strewn with similar straw-man arguments such as the idea that Britain’s civil servants care more about people in Burundi than those living in Birmingham. “To put it bluntly – most of us prefer our own kind.” remains the core of his argument – that human beings favour their own sort and are suspicious of outsiders, so mass immigration fragments society, strains the welfare state and loosens the ties of the nation. He makes a few fair although far from original points, about the weakening of communal links and the way our nervous multiculturalism ignored Islamic extremism and overlooked intolerable practices. But essentially the British Dream is just the stale suspicion of foreigners dressed up in intellectual clothing and given a slight twist to the left. Goodhart picks on the usual soft targets, such as recently arrived Somalis; perhaps he should visit Somaliland before saying “their particular brand of Islam” and “notorious” clan systems are not suited to modern democracy. Indeed, this insular book shows surprising ignorance of overseas development, with its claims that migration damages poor countries despite so many recent studies to the contrary, while also disgracefully downplaying the impact of racism. For all the optimism of the title, this books drips with misplaced pessimism. By the conclusion, its author is still alleging his opponents see immigrants as morally superior people, placing their interests above those of existing citizens. Yet so contorted are his arguments he ends up happily seeking restrictions on Britons bringing in family members, higher costs of care for old people and religious quotas in schools, together with an ill-defined “integration index” for the nation.

SF Supervisors Unanimously Pass Resolution Condemning Islamophobic Bus Ads

MUNI-press-conf(SAN FRANCISCO 3/21/13) — On Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution condemning the content of Islamophobic advertisements placed on San Francisco buses.

Board President David Chiu sponsored the resolution, introduced at last Tuesday’s meeting. The resolution is the first of its kind in the nation, sending a clear message that San Francisco’s elected leaders stand against hate and Islamophobia.

The group underwriting the ads, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has sued several U.S. cities for the First Amendment right to place the ads. The group’s founder, Pamela Geller, has been designated an anti-Muslim hate extremist by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In response, and at the request of 75 organizations and 35 leaders who spoke out following the first round of ads in August, the resolution calls for the proceeds from the offensive advertisements to fund a city-wide study on the impact of discrimination on Arab and Muslim communities.

CAIR-SFBA is an office of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Asian Law Caucus is a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

On TV, an Everyday Muslim as Everyday American

The screen showed a balding man with tawny skin and a salt-and-pepper goatee, and seconds later it spelled out his name: Mujahid Abdul-Rashid. The advertisement went on to show him fishing, playing in a yard with two toddlers, and sitting down to a family meal.

One week later, again during an N.F.L. game, the same commercial appeared. This time I listened to the words. The advertisement was for Prudential’s financial products for retirees. Mr. Abdul-Rashid was talking about his own retirement after 19 years as a clothing salesman, and the family time he now intended to enjoy.

“That’s my world,” he said over that closing shot of the family dinner.

What I had just seen was something rare and laudable: what seems to be the first mass-market product commercial featuring an identifiably Muslim person not as a security risk, not as a desert primitive, but as an appealing, everyday American.

As if to underscore the point, the Prudential commercial with Mr. Abdul-Rashid was appearing on television during the same period last fall that saw two widespread commercial campaigns vilifying Muslims. One was the series of ads on New York subways and buses placed by a group led by Pamela Geller, the outspoken blogger and critic of Islam, which depicted a worldwide conflict between the civilized West and Islamic “savages.” The other was the billboard during the presidential campaign that showed President Obama submissively kissing the hand of a sheik.

Then, during the Super Bowl last weekend, a Coca-Cola commercial trotted out the stereotype of the Arab on camelback.

An aphorism says that no good deed shall go unpunished. You can only hope that Prudential’s silence about its own admirable commercial isn’t an example, in a nation where Islamophobia persists, of a good deed that is being disavowed.

A National Unity Government for Egypt!

President Morsi has failed. The divided nation now needs real dialogue. The majority of Egyptians is against a theological state, says diplomat and political analyst Ashraf Swelam

Egypt is more divided than ever before. You don’t have to be a genius to recognize this fact. And yet, President Mohammed Morsi has not comprehended the situation. Nor has the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, nor have their allies from the Salafi camp. And this is despite Morsi having won the country’s first presidential election with only a slim majority.

After the election, Morsi’s most pressing task was to unite the divided country and act as the president of all Egyptians. This is what he had promised. Yet, without batting an eyelid, he did exactly the opposite. He thereby contributed to the growth of a deep-seated and earnest aversion felt by many Egyptians to the Muslim brotherhood.

And, time and again, he has bowed down before Egypt’s so-called “deep state”, the impenetrable web made up of the military, security forces, and bureaucrats. He has even taken up common cause with them, instead of taking revolutionary forces on board to help breathe new life into the severely weakened country.