by Sunny Hundal

There is no other minority group in the UK like Muslims that you can make crass and bigoted generalisations about, and get away with it. Perhaps Roma people, but they are rarely written about as much. Not even Poles get the treatment like they used to.

I want to illustrate this point through a recent article by the Telegraph’s Andrew Gillian, which screamed: Islamic ‘radicals’ at the heart of Whitehall.

Here’s what happened: the government set up a group to advise them on tackling anti-Muslim prejudice, in parallel to the one tackling anti-semitism. It includes representatives from most major departments.

by Sunny Hundal

Amnesty International UK say they no longer consider it appropriate to share a platform with CAGE after their recent comments. About time. Last week, Cage director Asim Qureshi was invited on to the BBC to justify his comments on Mohammed Emwazi and debate other stances the group have taken. He went from bad to worse. […]

by Sunny Hundal

Imagine this scenario. A white atheist kills a Muslim couple in cold blood. The media speculates endlessly about the “factors” that drove him to kill them: apparently he had a parking dispute with them; they dressed and talked funny; he was lonely and maybe they did something to provoke him? When this actually happened a few weeks ago, called the Chapel Hill shootings, Muslims were rightly horrified at the coverage looked like it was justifying the murders of several innocent people. So what if he liked cats and was polite to people? Why was his wife given so much time on air to defend her husband?

Or take another example. Imagine you’re a white working class kid who lives in a town like Luton. You’ve heard stories of Pakistani-gangs grooming young white girls and that the police is barely doing anything about it. The gangs make your life hell and, on top of that, they go around harassing gays and soldiers and saying they hate this country. They want to shariah law in town, the gangs say. So you join the English Defence League because you see them as the only people standing up against them. Is he a racist? Or is he a boy driven to join extreme groups in response to events around him?

By now you’ll know what I’m getting at, though some people will no doubt claim these are false comparisons. They’re not.

by Sunny Hundal

There are usually two kinds of people who like to commentate on foreign policy matters: those who oppose any military ‘intervention’ in the affairs of other countries; and those who have no problems advocating military intervention and will always defend such action.

I happen to be in a third, lesser-known category of people who thinks military intervention in the affairs of other countries is a possible last resort providing:
– it is carefully judged and isn’t rushed into
– has a clear purpose and exit plan
– the public is adequately explained why such action is necessary and support it in significant numbers
– the plan isn’t to leave the country in a worse state than it was

I accept that this is too nuanced for many people, especially on Twitter… but ¯\_(?)_/¯

by Sunny Hundal

If you watch ISIS’s videos you are complicit in its terrorism, says Nesrine Malik at the Guardian.

Sorry, but this is ludicrous for various reasons. I have watched a fair amount of ISIS videos, unapologetically, and here are several reasons to do so.

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.

Important note:
Liberal Conspiracy is no longer a group blog. Read this post

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