by Sunny Hundal

The New York Times has published an extraordinary account of how the two terrorists who burst into Charlie Hebdo’s office became radicalised.

Here are a few thoughts from the article, and more generally, that I think have the potential to change how western security services deal with al-Qaeda inspired terrorism.

1) Al-Qaeda’s methods have changed to Mumbai style attacks.
If more such attacks take place across Western Europe, which seems likely, then I suspect they will be more in the style of Paris and Mumbai than the 7/7 bombings. Smuggling, building and learning about detonating explosives takes time and effort. It can also be a hit and miss. But a terrorist attack using an assault rifle is easier for al-Qaeda inspired jihadists to put together. The weapons are easier to get hold off and the practice required is minimal. Seems obvious to say, but I suspect the security services are worrying less about guys carrying backpacks and more about guys looking at acquiring AK-47s.

by Sunny Hundal

Yesterday evening I was invited by the Guardian to debate the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and where we go from here. I wanted to make a series of coherent points in a mini-speech but it never happened, so I’m writing them out here… Each point is in a separate mini blog-post. A photo posted by […]

by Sunny Hundal

Late last year I was invited to speak at the LSE Islamic Society on Islamophobia and the media. Rather than preach to the converted, I decide to challenge my audience by making the case for more free speech, even if included insults to their Prophet.
In light of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo today that has killed over 10 people, I think posting this would be relevant.

—-

Thanks for inviting me. I want to start with this picture. What I find funny is that Muslims and Sikhs are conflated so easily. They all look brown!

The other interesting point to note is how much things have changed. This was acceptable then [in the 1970s] in a way it isn’t now. At least, not about Asians so broadly…maybe Roma.

I found many more such drawings, and to me they do illustrate that Britain has changed a lot since the 70s when the National Front marched unafraid on the streets, and cartoons like these were printed without an eyebrow being raised.

The challenges now are different than the ones our parents faced.

by Sunny Hundal

Tuesday was a hard day to absorb the news. All year I’ve seen some really horrible videos, mostly by ISIS, showing men being shot in the back of their heads, throats slit or being buried in mass graves. But that day… maybe it was the pictures that came out of Peshawar, the Facebook updates from friends or just the nature of the massacre… I was nearly in tears. You can try but you can’t always remain emotionless in the face of such news.

I wanted to wait at least a couple of days to collect my thoughts and write something about the politics surrounding this issue.

by Sunny Hundal

If the general election in May 2015 is fought on who is best placed to deal with the deficit, then the Labour party will lose. Both Labour and the Tories know this. Miliband will focus on living standards, the NHS and inequality. So why a major speech on the deficit today, six months before an election? And why a pledge to cut spending and the debt?

Both the politics of what’s going on, and the numbers that underline it, are important.

The Labour leadership feel, quite rightly, that George Osborne wants to push public services off a cliff with unprecedented cuts. They lost the first fight on austerity, for reasons I outline here. But they recognise that if they don’t fight Osborne back this time, he will once away get away with having the media debate on his own terms.

Which is why Miliband’s speech is important today.

by Sunny Hundal

I was invited this week to speak at Cambridge University, with the topic title: “Does Britain need more positive discrimination?“. We would interpret this however we liked.

Below is roughly what I said.

In the 1940s, When Vera Rubin told her school physics professor that she’d been accepted into Vassar, an arts college near New York City, he said, “That’s great. As long as you stay away from science, it should be okay.”

Predictably, she didn’t. Rubin went on prove there was vastly more dark matter in the universe than previously thought, and overturned some basic laws of Newtonian physics.

And yet, she was turned down from the astronomy program at Princeton because they didn’t allow women. For years the scientific community ignored her work, only accepting it later after her male colleagues validated it. She didn’t get a Nobel prize for her work.

by Sunny Hundal

UKIP have unveiled this poster as a PR stunt for a by-election

The response by the usual UKIP-faithful has been that I should be more outraged about child sexual abuse than the poster.

But…

by Sunny Hundal

The comedian Russell Brand was interviewed on Newsnight last night about his book, which you can watch above.

One headline is that Brand casually implies 9/11 was an inside job because George Bush had links to the Saudis, before half-heartedly back-tracking.

But I was more depressed by the first 10 minutes of conversation, and I want to explain why because I think this matters in a wider context.

by Sunny Hundal

We are back to the news cycle whereby Westminster freaks out over how to deal with the threat from UKIP. The political parties will respond with the same promises, soundbites and narratives. Then they’ll go back to existing plans until the next ‘crisis’. Thrown in this debate are two academics – Rob Ford and Matthew […]

by Sunny Hundal

I’ve not waded that much into the debate on Scotland’s future, partly because I’ve been focusing on ISIS and partly because its not my fight. I support the Union but its up to the people of Scotland to decide and they’re unlikely to be persuaded by this random guy from London. But I’m perplexed by […]

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COMMENTS
»  Anon posted on Why do liberals find it so hard to persuade Muslims about free speech?

»  British Blogging | Longrider posted on How the Paris attacks are likely to change the approach of western counter-terrorism

»  birdie posted on How the Paris attacks are likely to change the approach of western counter-terrorism

»  damon posted on How the Paris attacks are likely to change the approach of western counter-terrorism

»  birdie posted on How the Paris attacks are likely to change the approach of western counter-terrorism

»  Mike Killingworth posted on How the Paris attacks are likely to change the approach of western counter-terrorism

»  damon posted on Why do liberals find it so hard to persuade Muslims about free speech?

»  birdie posted on Why do liberals find it so hard to persuade Muslims about free speech?

»  British Blogging | Longrider posted on Why Muslims should embrace free speech, even if it includes insults to their Prophet

»  damon posted on Why do liberals find it so hard to persuade Muslims about free speech?


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