All entries by this author

21 years ago

Jul 11th, 2016 3:19 pm | By

The Srebrenica massacre was 21 years ago today.

The United Nations had declared Srebrenica a safe haven for civilians, but that didn’t prevent Serb soldiers from attacking the town they besieged for years. As they advanced on July 11, 1995, most of the town’s Muslim population rushed to the nearby UN compound hoping that the Dutch peacekeepers would protect them.

But the outnumbered and outgunned, peacekeepers watched helplessly as Muslim men and boys were separated for execution, while the women and girls were sent to Bosnian government-held territory. Nearly 15,000 residents tried to flee through the woods, but were hunted down and also killed.

The victims were buried in mass graves, which were dug up shortly after the war 

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They need to go back

Jul 11th, 2016 2:38 pm | By

Yarl’s Wood is cutting costs. We know what that means…

Staff are being replaced by “self-service kiosks” at the troubled Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre as the main way of driving through a £42m cut in the costs of a new Home Office contract to run the centre, it has been disclosed.

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) published on Thursday also reveals that some women have refused to go on “humiliating” hospital visits after a tougher Home Office policy made it more likely they would be handcuffed on outside visits.

Handcuffs – as if immigration were a violent crime.

Let’s take a look back.

A former senior Serco official who worked inside the Yarl’s Wood

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Brains and addiction

Jul 11th, 2016 12:08 pm | By

On Fresh Air a few days ago:

We’re going to talk about new ways of understanding and treating addiction. My guest, Maia Szalavitz, is the author of a book that examines scientific, behavioral and medical research about addiction. She says the methods of treatment and punishment haven’t caught up with the research.

Szalavitz is a journalist who’s been covering addiction and drug-related issues for nearly 30 years. She writes a column for VICE and has been a health reporter and columnist for Time magazine. She was addicted to cocaine and heroin from the age of 17 to 23. She stopped using in 1988, about two years after she was arrested and charged with cocaine possession. She faced a mandatory

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In the hands of strangers

Jul 10th, 2016 4:04 pm | By

Joanne Payton pointed out this article by Afak Afgun to me, on that issue of women being banned from funerals in some Muslim countries or cultures or both.

She starts with the loving relationship she had with her father, and his death at the age of 46.

It was after his death that I became more aware of my gender. I cannot forget the day I saw his dead body. This was not to be the worst part of my day. Random Pakistani adults were coming up to me, as the eldest child, and telling me that now I have to be the ‘son’- as if a daughter couldn’t do what a son could. My father had never made me

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It’s the preaching

Jul 10th, 2016 3:43 pm | By

Irshad Manji says why it’s not enough for apologists for Islam such as CAIR to condemn the slaughter at Pulse.

 … Read the rest

No good-bye for you

Jul 10th, 2016 11:12 am | By

I mentioned yesterday that the BBC photo of the crowd at Edhi’s funeral seemed to show only men. I’m now learning that in some majority-Muslim countries women are barred from all funerals, period. The Muslim Women’s League puts it this way:

The custom of excluding women from funeral ceremonies is a cultural tradition garbed in Islamic clothing that varies from one place to another, applied for example in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but not necessarily in Egypt or Syria. Iran, considered by several media in the West as the most fundamentalist state in the Middle East, does not bar women from attending funeral services.

I find that heart-breaking.… Read the rest

He helped everyone without distinction

Jul 10th, 2016 10:50 am | By

Kashif Chaudhry on Facebook:

Extremist “Khatme Nabuwwat” group warns Muslims against Abdul Sattar Edhi and donating to his charities. In another message three years ago (attached), they prayed for his death and cursed him, calling him a disbeliever and blasphemer. Reason: He helped everyone without distinction and praised the Ahmadiyya Muslim community’s humanitarian work across the world.

Edhi is Pakistan’s supreme pride. The shameless & extremist Khatme Nabuwat group should be called out for spreading hate and poison in young minds against one of the world’s leading humanitarians. He is far more Muslim in my mind than all these ignorant mullahs combined. ‪#‎EdhiMyHero‬

Religion, eh? Tribalism first, universalist humanitarianism nowhere.… Read the rest

A fundamentalist agenda that seeks to communalise law and social policy

Jul 10th, 2016 9:18 am | By

Pragna Patel and Gita Sahgal explain the concerns behind the open letter to Teresa May on the Sharia inquiry.

In 2015, the UK government announced that it would hold an independent inquiry into the operation of Sharia Councils in the UK.  Predictably, some dismissed the move as yet another example of ‘Muslim bashing’ and ‘Islamophobia’ because it was located within the State’s counter- extremism strategy.

But some of us welcomed the inquiry precisely because it provided a vital and rare opportunity for the state to examine the resurgence of religious fundamentalism and extremism within black and minority communities in the UK, and its impact on gender equality and justice.

For years, many of us have been in the forefront of

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Shamsia Hassani

Jul 10th, 2016 8:52 am | By

From A Mighty Girl:

A young Afghan street artist is helping transform Kabul’s war-torn walls into colorful canvases filled with messages of peace, hope, and female empowerment! 28-year-old Shamsia Hassani, Afghanistan’s first female street artist, hopes to use her art to “cover all the bad memories of war from people’s minds with colors,” while at the same time promote women’s rights. “I want to show that women have returned to Afghan society with a new, stronger shape,” she says. “It’s not the woman who stays at home. It’s a new woman. A woman who is full of energy, who wants to start again.”

Hassani, who was born in Iran to Afghan refugee parents, moved to Afghanistan in 2005 to

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An ancient art form deeply rooted in national history

Jul 9th, 2016 6:07 pm | By

A matador was gored to death by a bull today.

Victor Barrio, 29, a professional bullfighter, was killed when the bull’s horn pierced his chest.

The fight, in the eastern town of Teruel, was being broadcast live on TV.

Bullfighting really pisses me off. National tradition, skill, artistry, blah blah – yes but all of that is in aid of torturing an animal to death in front of a crowd, as entertainment. It’s fucked up six ways from Sunday, and it should just stop.

About 2,000 bullfights are still held every year in Spain, but the numbers are falling. In 2010, Catalonia became the second Spanish region after the Canary Islands to ban the tradition.

Opponents describe the blood-soaked

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Cat, what’s your opinion?

Jul 9th, 2016 5:47 pm | By

Erica Wood

“Cat, what’s your opinion on the UK leaving the EU?”

“I think you should repeatedly ask to leave, then when the door opens just sit there and stare at it. That’s what I would do.”… Read the rest

There is a difference between focus and exclusion

Jul 9th, 2016 12:16 pm | By

There’s a thing on imgur being passed around: a letter from “Concerned Students” – which probably just means A Student – to a law professor, and the law professor’s reply. The letter is both fatuous and objectionable, but the reply is a joy. The LP takes it as a teachable moment, and teaches the fuck out of it.

Mavaddat Javid posted it on his blog, which makes it easy to quote from it.

Here’s the beginning of the letter, to give a taste of its bullying tone and its faulty logic:

We write this letter to you with concern about your inappropriate conduct at ████ Law School.
Specifically you have presented yourself on campus, on at least one occasion,

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If more people thought that way

Jul 9th, 2016 11:42 am | By

Many of my friends are mourning the death of Abdus Sattar Edhi. The BBC has details:

Renowned Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who dedicated his life to the poor, has died at the age of 88.

Mr Edhi’s family said he died on Friday at a medical centre in Karachi where he had been having treatment for weeks.

The Edhi Foundation now provides a broad range of free social services, including ambulances, orphanages and support for the elderly and disabled.

His funeral was today. Thousands of people went. The Beeb has photos of the crowd. (Sadly it appears to be pretty much all men.)

Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai described Mr Edhi as a “legendary figure”.

“He lived his

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Next be your family

Jul 8th, 2016 12:45 pm | By

Ewa Banaszak on Facebook yesterday:

This is what has happened to our family last night !! This is so sad and disturbing to go through… Especially that we have been in here for 10 years, working, studying and putting all that we can… Please share and spread the word so that it doesn’t happen to someone else!!!

To stało sie w naszym rodzinnym domu wczoraj wieczorem !!! Jest to tymbardziej smutne i niepokojące przez co przechodzimy… Tymbardziej że mieszkamy tutaj 10 lay, pracujemy, uczymy sie i wkładamy wszystko co możemy… Proszę o udostępnianie i nagłaśnianie żeby się to nie powtórzyło…

Updating to add:

The BBC reports:

A Polish family are “scared to go out on the streets” after

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Death and Dallas

Jul 8th, 2016 | By Bruce Gorton

The Dallas shootings which claimed the lives of five people, and injured at least six others, were a long time coming.

That is not the same as saying that the cops who got shot deserved it, or that the shooter was justified, but rather acknowledging what has long gone on in America.

For years now we have been reading stories about black people getting killed by the police – and stories about the police getting away with it.

Tamir Rice was twelve years old when he was killed by a cop for playing with a toy gun in a park.

The shooting was deemed “reasonable” by outside experts.

Freddie Gray was arrested for having a switch blade, in a Read the rest

No escape

Jul 8th, 2016 11:56 am | By

What was that we were saying about racism and abuse and hatred and violence?

In Fermo, Italy on Tuesday:

A Nigerian man who had recently fled to Europe to escape Boko Haram militants was beaten to death on the streets of Italy this week as he tried to defend his wife against racist abuse.

Emmanuel Chidi Namdi, 36, and his wife Chimiary, 24, were walking through the north-central Italian town of Fermo on Tuesday when a man called Chimiary a “monkey” and tried to grab her, according to local priest Vinicio Albanesi, a friend of the couple.

Namdi intervened, and the resulting fight left him in a coma. He was pronounced dead on Wednesday.


Amedeo Mancini, a

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Verbal abuse, spitting and barging

Jul 8th, 2016 10:56 am | By

The Guardian tells us:

Police recorded a 42% rise in complaints of hate incidents – numbering over 3,000 – in the weeks before and after the EU referendum, amid a heated national debate about immigration leading up to Britain’s decision to leave the union.

New figures released on Friday showed a large rise in reported incidents, averaging over 200 a day. Police said 3,076 hate crimes and incidents were reported to forces across the UK between 16-30 June; one week before and one week after the vote on 23 June.

Police chiefs said the rise amounted to a 42% increase in reporting week on week, and an increase of 915 reports compared to the same time last year.

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Jul 8th, 2016 9:29 am | By

The words “Reichstag fire” keep coming to mind.

The Washington Post:

At least five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded Thursday evening in an attack by snipers in downtown city streets that followed a peaceful protest over recent police shootings. The Dallas police chief said an attacker told authorities “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

The city’s downtown suddenly exploded into violence at around 9 p.m. when gunshots echoed through the streets, sending protesters and police officers alike scattering for cover. Authorities said two civilians were also injured during the shooting.

I can see such terrible possibilities flowing from this.

The police had a long … Read the rest

A seemingly friendly employee offered her help

Jul 7th, 2016 11:59 am | By

David Futrelle reports on a horrendous thing that was done to Chanty Binx – the red-haired hate figure who’s been abused by the abusive gang online for the past three years.

Now one of her haters has put her back in the spotlight again, and in a supremely creepy manner. Not long ago, you see, Binx stopped by a government-run liquor store in the Toronto area to pick up a bottle of wine. A seemingly friendly employee offered her help.

In fact, he claimed later, he had recognized her from the internet, and was hoping to hear her speak to make sure she really was who he thought she was.

After she left, he somehow accessed the store’s surveillance

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He has ridden a tiger, and knows the tiger he rides

Jul 7th, 2016 11:24 am | By

A powerful essay by Matthew Parris in the Spectator about feeling, for the first time in his life, ashamed to be British.

I’ve sometimes regretted what we do but never hated what we are. Foibles, yes; miscalculations, yes; selfishness and silliness — well, which of us is immune?

But these last few months I’ve seen a Britain, specifically an England, that I simply do not like. I’ve seen a nasty side, and seen colleagues and friends pander to it in a way I never thought they would. It has made me feel lonely in my own country, and the experience has touched me irreparably.

The reliance of the leaders and opinion leaders of the Leave campaign upon resentment of foreigners,

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