The House of Commons, held up as a beacon of democracy, has a ‘dirty little secret’, according to black MPs – its racism.
Dawn Butler, only the third black woman ever to have become an MP, said she faced such frequent racism from politicians of all parties that she had to ‘pick her battles’ to avoid being constantly in conflict with her colleagues. Disillusioned by what she has found, she is calling for a dedicated complaints department with the power to suspend politicians and send them on awareness training courses.
‘I thought people in Parliament would be progressive. It is still a shock that they are not,’ she said. ‘Over the past 400-plus years, the only black people – and black women in particular – in Parliament have been there to cook and clean. For some politicians, it’s still a shock to come face to face with a black women with any real power. Racism and sexism is Parliament’s dirty little secret.’
She is backed by Diane Abbott, the only other black woman in the Commons, who said that she had suffered 20 years of prejudice. ‘In the beginning, some of it was sheer ignorance. I remember being shocked when a Labour MP asked me once whether we celebrated Christmas in Jamaica,’ said Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
‘It has not helped that the Labour party powers-that-be have always seen me as “uppity” but I have dealt with the racism and misogyny by reaching out to other black women.’
Butler, who won the Brent South seat in 2005 when she was 35, described how shocked she was by the attitude of a senior Conservative who challenged her right to have a drink on the Commons’ Thameside terrace, a privilege reserved for MPs.
Archive for the 'Racism' Category
Three men have been jailed for three years for a campaign of racial harassment against a Muslim colleague.
Amjid Mehmood was tied to railings and force-fed bacon while a rucksack with protruding wires was put on his locker, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Fellow road maintenance workers Lee McDermott, of Rowley Regis, and Sean Melaney and Phillip Skett, both from Birmingham, admitted racial harassment.
The nine-month campaign of abuse came to light when Mr Mehmood told police.
McDermott, 31, from Blue Stone Walk, Sean Melaney, 28, of Steatham Grove, Kingstanding, and Skett, 39, of College Road, Erdington, were each jailed for three years.
Race and color did matter in the Muslim world and they still do. However, the colourline is not exactly the same as that in pre-abolition America. I would say in the Muslim World it’s like the one-drop rule in reverse, as seen by so many African ethnic communities that are predominantly Muslim claiming Arab ancestry. As the majority of Muslim societies are patrilineal one’s mother’s ethnic origin doesn’t really count. Actually, sometimes slave women (not all of them Black) were preferred because they had no families or social ties to the communities they were enslaved in so there was a great deal of Muslims who rose to prominence whose mothers were Black slaves. This was true in the Pre-Islamic era as well (Note the famous story of warrior poet Antar ibn Shaddad). However, to totally ignore how these prejudices created oppressive and racist power structures within Muslim Societies in Africa is incomprehensible.
British National Party is trying to shed its antisemitic past as part of a drive to pick up votes among London’s Jewish communityPublished April 10, 2008 British National Party , Extremism , London , Mayor of London , Muslims in Britain , Politics , Racism Leave a Comment
The far right British National party is trying to shed its antisemitic past as part of a drive to pick up votes among London’s Jewish community. The party, which could get its first seat on the London assembly if voter turnout is low next month, is campaigning in Jewish areas across the capital and attempting to play on what it sees as historical enmity between the Jewish and Muslim communities.In one leaflet, handed out in north London last weekend, the party’s only Jewish councillor, Pat Richardson, is quoted along with a picture of young Muslims holding a placard reading: “Butcher those who mock Islam.”
“I’m in the BNP because no one else speaks out against the Islamification of our country,” said Richardson. “Being Jewish only adds to my concern about this aggressive creed that also threatens our secular values and Christian tradition.”
The move has sparked a furious reaction among Jewish organisations who say the BNP is still antisemitic and racist.
The Board of Deputies, the London Jewish Forum and the Community Security Trust have launched a campaign with other ethnic minority and cultural groups and the Hope Not Hate campaign to combat the BNP threat.
Ruth Smeeth, of the Community Security Trust, said: “The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web – it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel and at the same time demonises Islam and the Muslim world. They are actively campaigning in Jewish communities, particularly in London, making a lot of their one Jewish councillor, their support of Israel and attacking Muslims. It is a poisonous campaign but it shows a growing electoral sophistication.”
Earlier this month, an Anglican priest was beaten up quite badly by a group of ‘Asian youths’ in east London. Canon Michael Ainsworth was left with cuts and bruises after an attack by a group of boys in his own churchyard. The police said it was a ‘faith hate’ crime; some of the boys had repeatedly shouted ‘fucking priest’ as they beat him up.
Inevitably, there were complaints about ‘political correctness': calling the boys ‘Asian’ was obfuscating the fact that Muslim persecution of Christians had reached the shores of Britain. Med Mel took it one step further at her Spectator blog: the “jihadi nature of the attack on of the attack on Canon Ainsworth”, she wrote, “is unmistakeable”.
Except, of course, Med Mel, Damien Thompson and lots of other right-wing commentators and bloggers had forgot to ask the Canon what he thought of the vicious assault. A local paper, the East London Advertiser did, however, interview Canon Ainsworth:
“We must respond calmly, and not jump to conclusions…” Coping with the hysteria from “wild” national press coverage had been “almost worse than being attacked.” He felt helpless as his church was besieged by cameramen and reporters after the story broke last Friday. “They have their own agendas,” said Mr Ainsworth, “as do the bloggers, both professional and amateur, who are using the story for their own ends and drawing bizarre, mainly racist, conclusions.”
Perhaps Med Mel’s fellow Spectator blogger Clive Davis could also send her the link to the interview seeing as though he noted it at his blog? Then again, given her previous efforts in documenting the jihad in Britain, she will probably dismiss the Canon’s interview as an example of self-hating dhimmitude.
I do, however, think such incidents ought to force us to think more closely the intersect between race, class and identity (which is what religion is such cases). If, as Inayat Bunglawala argues, the assault involving Canon Ainsworth was an example of drunken yobs losing control rather than ‘religiously motivated’ what about other similar incidents where someone from a ‘minority’ group is the victim? The problem, I think, is that we are not necessarily motivated do something (good or bad) by a single factor*.
Those interested might be think about (re)visiting some material on this subject.
*Which is probably why doing something fisabilillah is held in such high regards within an Islamic ethical framework.
A former Vice Presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro, has made some rather controversial remarks that Barack Obama is only popular because he is a black man. In fact, Ferraro says Obama is “lucky” to be a black man (which is laughable). Ferraro is a staunch Clinton backer and part of her team.
Will Clinton be asked on air to ‘reject and denounce’ Ferraro’s views? Especially given the fact that Ferraro appears to have form on these sorts of views when it comes to black (male?) political candidates.
Alex Spillius says he was trying to find an excuse for Ferraro’s comments and all he could find was her age.
She is 74 years old apparently; the same age as Louis Farrakhan.
Someone might like to tell Lee Smith, supposed expert on Arab affairs, that most “non-American Muslims around the world” are not Arabs and have views and thoughts, feeling and prejudices, which have nothing to do with Arabs. Unlike Smith, I am sure that these “non-American Muslims around the world” can see Barack Obama for whatever he is meant to stand for and however they wish to, and do not need the approval of Arabs, Smith or anyone else.
Further, can someone inform Smith that he is an utter moron?
Michael Williams, the Independent’s ‘reader’s editor’, did his best to defend the Independent on Sunday’s appaling front page last week. He tries to contrast the IoS’ front page with that of the Sun and the Times in the same week, which also covered “Muslim news” stories:
You’ll probably recall the [IoS front page]. A life-size picture of the face of a woman wearing a burkha with a headline reporting that 17,000 women a year in Britain are subject to “honour” crime, including murder.
It was a week in which most of the Sunday newspapers had led with the fallout from a BBC interview in which the Archbishop of Canterbury had said that the adoption of elements of sharia in the UK was “unavoidable”.
Sure, the coverage in some newspapers was offensive to Muslims. The “What a Burkha” headline in ‘The Sun’ may have been a giggle for some people, but probably not for many Islamic women. ‘The Sunday Times’ disgraced itself by leading with a story that could have been lifted from the British National Party house journal – about inbreeding among Muslims causing deformities in their children.
Stories such as this would never have seen the light of day if the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his naivety, hadn’t thrown the field open to the baser instincts of some sections of the press. In fairness, it would be disingenuous to claim our report on the appalling catalogue of assaults on women in the name of the “honour” was not also prompted by the Williams row, because much of it happens because of sharia.
But rereading the ‘IoS’ report, there was not a jot that could be interpreted as offensive to Muslims. The image of the woman in the burkha was not a ‘Sun’-style stunt – she was real.
First, I am not sure how Michael Williams links his (sur)namesakes comments on sharia to the IoS story. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence for this and it doesn’t explain such violence carried out by other communities who are not Muslim or indeed the absence of such violence in other Muslim communities. This “sharia” defence by Williams seems like a a lazy afterthought.
Secondly, the woman on the front page of The Scum is also a ‘real person’, regardless of whatever her views may be. How can Williams defend his newspaper’s use of a woman in a visibly Muslim garment, while attack the The Scum for being ‘offensive’?
Thirdly, The Scum doesn’t portray itself as a ‘serious’ newspaper. In fact, I could swear criticism of its reporting only spurs it on to spew even more rubbish and half-truths. If anything, you expect this sort of approach from The Scum. The IoS, on the other hand, no doubt likes to think of itself as a newspaper which is above Sun-tastic sensationalism. But clearly it isn’t above such tactics when it needs to push for sales and generate some hype. Indeed, such front pages on so-called respectable newspapers makes it easier for others to engage in these sorts of tactics, which Williams seems to find ‘disgraceful’.
Fourthly, it is doubtful whether anyone looking at the front page of the IoS would have worked out the picture was related to the murder and disgraceful treatment of Banaz Mahmod. All the picture on the front page of the IoS shows is a woman in a head covering of some kind, which is explicitly associated with ‘Islam’ in the media, and the number of potentially unreported crimes against women in the United Kingdom. The link is very easy to make.
The IoS should, indeed, be criticised for giving in to the baser instincts of journalism and toying with a very serious problem.
With nearly two women a week killed by their current or former partners in the United Kingdom (amongst other shocking statistics), identifying ‘honour’ crimes is about how we frame crimes carried by people from particular ethnic groups in a wider problem: violence and abuse against women in Britain, and worse, its acceptance (explicit or implicit) by society. Although, I don’t believe identifying ‘honour’ crimes can be so easily dismissed as mere ‘orientalism’, one needs to consider how domestic abuse and violence is a problem amongst other communities too (e.g. Christians in Britain), before forming a picture of the true extent of this horrible social disease.
A 32-year-old woman who stabbed an Asian teenager she called a terrorist has been jailed for six years.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Mary McKay admitted attempting to murder Tarik Husan, 17, in Tollcross Road, Glasgow, on 10 September, 2007.
Lord Menzies said: “It seems to me this was a completely unprovoked attack on an unarmed stranger in the public street without any explainable motive.”
McKay will be supervised for two years after her release.
She stabbed Mr Husan in the chest and arm at a bus stop in Glasgow and told him “you’re all terrorists”.
The court heard that after the attack she walked into a shop still clutching the knife and waited for the police to arrive.
“I just stabbed a guy with the same colour of skin as a terrorist,” she later told police.