Terror attack in Finsbury Park: Call out hate speech and the “us vs them” pronouncements

Terror attack in Finsbury Park: Call out hate speech and the “us vs them” pronouncements

By Tehmina Kazi A few thoughts on Monday’s terror attack in Finsbury Park.   1. There is sometimes a crossover between terrorist attacks and hate crimes — and on the face of it, last night’s attack appears to be both. But of course, it is possible to commit a terror attack that is not a hate crime. The most widely-accepted definition of hate crime is a criminal act which is motivated by bias against the victim’s membership, perceived membership or association with a particular group that shares a fundamental characteristic (this…

Finsbury Park mosque terror attack

Finsbury Park mosque terror attack

By Iram Ramzan   Another day, another terrorist attack. Is there no end to the senseless violence and killings? This time, it seems the terrorist was not from the Muslim community, but a non-Muslim who apparently attacked Muslims deliberately. Police were called just after 12.20am on Monday June 19 to reports of a white van striking worshippers outside Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park. Witnesses said the van struck pedestrians who were tending to an elderly man who had collapsed. Here are some of the facts so far:  Darren Osborne (47), of Cardiff,…

General Election: what is the colour of your X?

General Election: what is the colour of your X?

By Amina Lone   It’s General Election 2017 and there is something deeply unsettling about some grassroots behaviour in regards to cultivating the ‘Muslim’ vote. Targeting specific communities has been going on since time immemorial. Every vote counts so it is understandable that showcasing how one’s party will benefit that individual or community is a sensible political strategy. The challenge is the balance between the specifics and the universal. If one plays the identity politics game and solely focuses on micro matters then the wider macro issues of the economy,…

Manchester Attacks: Spare us your crocodile tears, anti-Prevent lobby

Manchester Attacks: Spare us your crocodile tears, anti-Prevent lobby

By Shamim Begum I am a Muslim and, shock horror, I support Prevent, the government’s counter-terrorist strategy. I do so because I have seen the reality of Islamist extremism in my local community for years, despite the denial by so many other Muslims. When I was at university, I remember meeting Muslim women who were calling for the establishment of a caliphate while ranting on about how evil Britain is. The attack in Manchester was devastating. But last week as I shed tears for the victims, my anger was growing, in particular against what is widely…

Terror in Manchester

Terror in Manchester

By Iram Ramzan   A terrorist attack in my own city is the last thing I expected to wake up to on Tuesday morning. There were several messages on my phone from concerned friends and acquaintances urging me to contact them as soon as I could. I wondered what had happened, until I went online to read the news. At least 22 people were killed and 59 injured after a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena on the evening of Monday, May 22. Thousands of gig-goers were packed into the…

The Prevent Strategy: Fact vs Fiction

The Prevent Strategy: Fact vs Fiction

  Why is the Prevent strategy deemed controversial? Prevent is one of the four Ps that make up the UK government’s post 9/11 counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest: Prepare for attacks, Protect the public, Pursue the attackers and Prevent their radicalisation in the first place. Much has been said about the strategy and not a week goes by without an article in the news and it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction. Critics claim it stifles free speech or disproportionately targets Muslims, which has led to some calls…

Casey pulls no punches but will anything change?

Casey pulls no punches but will anything change?

By Iram Ramzan This is a cross-post from Integration Hub   A much-awaited report which contains no big surprises received reactions that were entirely predictable. From segregation and misogyny, to the child grooming gangs and Sharia councils, Dame Louise Casey’s lengthy, evidence-based report pulls no punches. Towns and cities with high Muslim populations, such as Oldham, Rochdale, Blackburn and Bradford are mentioned as places of concern. Some of them are areas with large numbers of people who came from Pakistani-administered Kashmir, particularly the rural region of Mirpur. They came to the former…

An ex-Muslim’s brief recount of working with the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat

An ex-Muslim’s brief recount of working with the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat

By Zee Jay   August 2009. I finally touched down to the country that was regarded as providing opportunities for many. Here I was, ready to embark on exploring uncharted waters and break new mould. It was my desire to meet and interact with people and observe the British way of life. What I wasn’t expecting was to get drawn back into the web of Islam after already having left a strain of it when I left the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This was at the time I was still…

My issues with the Muslim Council of Britain’s alternative to the Prevent strategy

My issues with the Muslim Council of Britain’s alternative to the Prevent strategy

By Iram Ramzan   Critics of the Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent strategy often claim that it disproportionately targets and focuses on Muslims, despite the fact that it actually works on countering the far-right too. So what does the Muslim Council of Britain decide to do? It has decided to set up its own programme to target, er, Muslims. In a direct challenge to the government’s ‘controversial’ Prevent scheme, the MCB plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year. The MCB said in a statement: In reflecting the wishes of a cross-section…

Muslim women should be a priority for the Government as well as their own communities

Muslim women should be a priority for the Government as well as their own communities

By Yasmin Weaver This is a cross-post   The Women and Equalities Committee’s report entitled “Employment opportunities for Muslims in the UK”, released on Thursday 11th August 2016, makes a great number of recommendations to the Government on improving the accessibility to employment for British Muslims. According to the report, unemployment rates for Muslims are more than twice of that of the general population at 12.8%. A further breakdown shows 41% of Muslims are economically inactive, 65% of which are women. Addressing and removing barriers to employment for Muslims, and Muslim…