The Al-Qaradawi controversy …

I’m sure nobody in the UK missed the controversy yesterday over Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is currently in London to attend a number of meetings including with the Muslim Association of Britain and one in which the Mayor of London is to be present. The issue was whipped up by the tabloid press, notably the Scum who led with the headline “The Evil Has Landed”. The actual report was on page 2, as usual with political stories, right next to the topless bimbo on page 3. Continue reading

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Cursing the Darkness

Of late a number of websites have sprung up attacking a section of the British population they call “chavs”, which roughly equates to “white trash” (I’ve never heard black people being called this). I can’t remember ever hearing the term “chav” before this year until I saw references to a newspaper article about them, in which it was suggested that anti-chav feeling was just snobbery, and letters were published in response saying that no, it’s not just snobbery, these people are nasty, and they molest people and are sometimes violent. I did a Google search for the term chav, and one of the first sites to come up was one called ChavScum, which was then subtitled “A Humorous Guide to Britain’s Burgeoning Peasant Underclass” but which has since changed to “A User’s Guide to Britain’s New Ruling Class”. Continue reading

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Nick Cohen’s at it again …

We all know Nick Cohen as the opponent of the anti-war marches, who constantly alleged that the Stop the War coalition was an alliance of Marxists and religious reactionaries. Today in the New Statesman he calls for the government to ban ritual slaughter, because it’s cruel, so he says. (It doesn’t seem to be in the online edition.) He brings out government evidence that the animal feels pain and distress for the minute or so before it dies. Continue reading

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My own driving peeves

I’m sure most of you reading this has read Saraji’s driving peeves on her blog - and yesterday on my first driving trip up town for a while I was reminded of a few of mine. The trip yesterday started in Croydon, took in Dulwich, Peckham, Lewisham, Greenwich, Hackney, the King’s Cross area and Battersea. And it was one of those nasty Iveco trucks which I hate, complete with the stiff clutch which hurts the left knee. The cargo, at least, was tiles and tile-related gear, which is something which at least I have no objections to delivering.

Continue reading

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The state of US intelligence …

Time Magazine has published a feature on the US Homeland Security department’s “Highway Watch” scheme, in which professional drivers are being trained to inform the department of “suspicious” things they see on the highway via a toll-free number to a secret location: people taking pictures of bridges, people in clothing inappropriate for the weather, that sort of thing. The people who turned up at this meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, walked in off the street without preregistering, and despite claims that volunteers must have clear records, the records are not vetted with by the trucking associations. Two of the volunteers claimed that it was easy to spot “Islamics” by their turbans, and the programme failed to point out that nearly all of the people who wear turbans in the USA are Sikhs, not Muslims, and that a Sikh truck driver was shot in a hate incident in Arizona last year. (Hat tip: CAIR)

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Why are computer books so expensive?

Today I took my usual weekend stroll through London, or rather, through the diminishing bookshop quarter of it around Charing Cross Road area since the local landlords (allegedly) priced the other companies out of the market in order to make more money off wine bars, etc. The two companies I am normally willing to buy books from are Foyles and Blackwell’s, and the first in particular has a department for computer books where the staff seem to know a little bit about what they are selling. Like, last week when they had their Wrox networking event, the guys mentioned a whole load of people who were coming, among them being the computer language expert Ivor Horton. And I said, like, anyone else coming? And they said basically that it was good enough that Horton was coming. Continue reading

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Good News: Crimean Tartars’ rights restored

Following on from CAIR’s occasional “Good News” features in their mailings, I’ve decided to do one of my own whenever a good news feature (or apparent good news feature) appears in the media. Today it’s about the Tartars of Crimea (a peninsula in the Black Sea which belongs to Ukraine but where the main language is Russian), whose rights have been restored for the first time since their deportation to Central Asia by Stalin according to this BBC report. The new law, awaiting signature by President Leonid Kuchma, will have the same rights over land, housing and work as other Ukrainians, and bans discrimination.

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So, we’re out at last

On past evidence I was pretty sure we were not going to make it to the finals of the current European championships (Euro 2004), and last night, if you hadn’t heard already, the English team were knocked out in the quarter-finals over a “penalty”. (For Americans, that means a one-on-one goal kick, which is used after the game itself fails to produce a winner.) Continue reading

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Media stars as politicians

There was an interesting piece in the most recent New Statesman, regarding the rise of the star journalist as politician - referring, of course, to the loathsome Robert Kilroy-Silk. (You may be able to access it free the first time you load up the site.) Nick Cohen reports that the roles of politician and TV presenter “require similar cheek and similar ignorance”. I was reminded of this today listening to Jon Gaunt interview the MP for Soham on BBC London radio. Soham is a small town in England where two young girls were murdered a couple of years ago, and the man responsible turned out to be the school caretaker, Ian Huntley. Continue reading

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UK motorway services “worst in Europe”

As a truck driver I regularly have to experience the joys of using Britain’s motorway service stations, particularly of course those around London. Now the AA has said ours are Europe’s worst, and they single out Sandbach on the M6 in Cheshire as the worst in the whole of Europe. Continue reading

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BBC report on Linux in Iraq

“The World” reports on a growing movement in Iraq for developing open-source software. “It could leapfrog Iraq into a more competitive future”, according to this report by their technology reporter. (WMA file, which my Mac doesn’t support.)

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Umm Zaynab on home schooling

Here’s a plug for Umm Zaynab’s recent post on home schooling, and the relation of patience to successful home-schooling, and 12 ways to be a more successful home-schooler.

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Today’s Wrox event

This evening Foyle’s Bookshop in London held a “networking event” featuring a number of people from the Wrox publishing company and its new owners, Wiley. I had meetings with some of the representatives as well as one of its authors, Kapil Sharma, who co-authored their book on Red Hat Linux 9 and a book on Fedora Core 2, the latest version of what used to be Red Hat Linux. Continue reading

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Alert on map thefts

s a graduate of the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, who made much use of the National Library of Wales, I’d like to help publicise the appeal for the capture of a serial map thief called Peter Joseph Bellwood. Continue reading

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Crossing Continents – Training of Imams

Crossing Continents, a current affairs programme broadcast on Radio 4, is discussing (as I type!) the subject of training imams in Europe. The government of the Netherlands has recently passed laws demanding that foreign imams take courses on “Dutch values”, while some politicians demand that imams stop making controversial statements on social issues, such as calling for a ban on gay marriages! Continue reading

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Free publicity for the “Teen Gulag”

I’m not sure why I’ve held up posting on this issue for so long, but a few months ago the BBC ran a series of features on a girl from England who was tricked into going to the so-called “Casa By The Sea” in Mexico - a private prison camp for troubled and/or troublesome teenagers. Susie El Madawi, from Halifax in west Yorkshire, was dumped there by her mother who was concerned about her rebellious behaviour and feared that she’d end up in prostitution or dead. Strangely, the BBC which is meant to be committed to neutral “public service broadcasting”, has ended up giving free publicity to the organisation which runs what is actually a chain of boot camps. Continue reading

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Our rulers are scared of us

The Observer reports that the British authorities are seriously considering sealing off an area around the Houses of Parliament. Anyone who has been to the area knows that Parliament lies right next to a major road bridge (Westminster Bridge), two major road junctions and the river Thames. How big an area do these people want to seal off? Continue reading

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An Insight into the Jama’at of Slanderers

I did a Google search for Muhammad Shareef yesterday, for reasons I can’t quite remember. One of the first things it came up with was this discussion on SalafiTalk.net which really demonstrates what an awful group they are. The amazing thing about this group is how it gives complete nobodies the impression that they have the right to judge people who are far greater than they are. (For more on this, have a listen to Shaikh Abu Yusuf Riyadh al-Haq’s lecture, The Legacy of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud.) They have a great presence in the Islamic student society scene in the UK, including at my own university here in Kingston, and the lectures are nearly always by “brother so-and-so” or “Abu so-and-so”. Continue reading

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Denis MacEoin’s at it again!

It seems that every time there is a debate about the right of Muslim girls to wear headscarves to school, a guy called Denis MacEoin from Newcastle on Tyne gets his two pennies or cents in, usually in the Guardian’s or the Observer’s letters page. I made a point about this issue on my old blog, after an earlier incident where the Observer printed MacEoin’s wittering about human rights in the Muslim world. Continue reading

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Wimbledon to use Linux

The BBC reports that the Wimbledon tennis championship is to use Linux for both its public website and its internal “intranet”. (I don’t watch the tennis, but it’s good to hear that such a high-profile organisation has switched away from the notoriously buggy Windoze operating system.)

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