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 […]

by Sunny Hundal

Last night President Obama delivered a speech on how the United States would tackle the threat of ISIS. It rightly deserves a lot of parsing and discussion.

There have broadly been two types of responses:
“Oh no, the USA is back to fighting a war in Iraq again! This won’t end well!” … or…
“Oh god, this won’t do anything to destroy ISIS. The President isn’t doing enough!”

Both are wrong and exaggerated. Here are a few thoughts.

by Sunny Hundal

The Independent’s Partrick Cockburn writes: “West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State”.

This is absolute rubbish. Not one British official is quoted saying they would work with Assad against ISIS. Not even anonymously.

When the British Foreign Secretary was asked on Friday by the BBC if the UK was planning to work with Assad against ISIS, he said “No” outright. He added that working with Assad would “poison what we are trying to achieve”. And said it was not “practical or sensible”.

The UK’s sole role in the Iraqi crisis so far has been to provide humanitarian aid. Military involvement would lead to demands for a vote in Parliament, and that’s not happened yet (and unlikely it will happen soon). So far, we are even refraining from air-strikes, let alone working with Assad.

by Sunny Hundal

Let’s get two caveats out of the way first: I’m neither a Muslim and nor am I religious in my daily life. I come from a Sikh family. Secondly, anyone who’s read my writing knows I have zero sympathy for religiously motivated terrorists. In fact I even supported the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to take out the Taliban. Now to the main point.

Yesterday the Evening Standard said in its Editorial Comment: “Muslim communities must be far more outspoken about this: we look to them, for instance, to organise protests against the Islamic State.”

It’s racist, and ridiculous.

by Sunny Hundal

There are three common rules when people discuss politics:
1) they are willing to believe anything on the internet if it confirms their prejudices
2) they don’t want to accept people of their tribe do awful things
3) they find a way to blame America or the UK for most of the world’s problems

A recent example: the claim that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the self proclaimed leader of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – was funded or trained by the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, and that this was apparently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Stories claiming this hoax have gone viral all over the web (example 1, example 2, example 3). This is simply not true.

by Sunny Hundal

In the Observer today, I debate Nick Cohen on whether the Tricycle Theatre in London was right to ask the UK Jewish film festival to ‘reconsider’ its funding from the Israeli government.

There are two additional points I want to make that I didn’t have the space for.

by Sunny Hundal

If I had a penny for every time someone said this to me on Twitter, I’d have bought myself a min-island in the Bermuda by now.

Yes, the United States supports Israel with military aid every year. It also licenses American companies to sell Israel military equipment every year.

But Israel won’t collapse tomorrow if the US cut off their aid. Let’s just go over the numbers to explain.

by Sunny Hundal

A court judgement out this week sheds light on a very under-reported and rarely-discussed problem within South Asian communities in the UK.

In 2007 I reported for BBC Asian Network on women who come to the UK as brides from South Asia, and the potential problems they face. Since many don’t speak English (and are sometimes discouraged from learning it!) – they are more vulnerable to being abused, exploited, beaten or abandoned. One way to help, I argued, was to make it compulsory for them to learn English, so they could more easier seek help when needed and play an active role in British society.

Here are the facts of the case, as laid out in the court judgement.

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