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Discrimination at its best

Discrimination at its best

Author: Nabanita Sircar
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: August 13, 2006

Once again the word 'discrimination' sounds like a demand for appeasement. This week Britain's most senior Muslim police officer blamed tougher anti-terrorist laws for causing discrimination against Muslims.

Tarique Ghaffur, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, said anti-terrorism stops and searches and "passenger profiling" on flights and other transport, have left Muslims feeling unfairly stereotyped.

On the other hand a recent survey claimed a quarter of British Muslims believed that the July 7 bombings were justified because of the Government's support for the war on terror. And Mr Ghaffur objects to tougher anti-terrorism laws?

In Damji's steps

She was jailed and then she escaped and became known as the first on-the-run blogger of Britain . But now she is back in prison. Yes, that's Farah Damji. Talk about feeling chuffed about one's own misdoings. She is actually writing a book on her experience, while claiming she should not "be in jail in the first place."

Damji, a criminal, is sure enjoying all the media frenzy. At first, when she disappeared from prison, she wrote about her flight to freedom on her blog. Now she says: "It's fantastic, I've had calls from every major newspaper and many respected journos, dying for me to tell my side of it. And guess what I won't. Because I want you to go and buy the book so that all this hard work doesn't lead to my book ending up on the three-for-two pile at waterstones..."

While her victims are probably thankful that she is back at HMP Downview, where she was previously imprisoned, Damji seems to be lapping up all the publicity she is getting.

Hve ths curry

Edinburgh's restaurateur and chef Tommy Miah has found a new way of supplying his recipes to food lovers in his home country of Bangladesh.

Owner of The Raj restaurant, Miah, who has his own television show in Bangladesh, will supply his recipes for Bangladeshi, Thai, Indian and Chinese meals via text message from any Banglalink mobile phone.

The 47-year-old curry tycoon, who arrived in Britain at the age of ten unable to speak a word of English, is launching his own brand of spices in Britain. He had also started a worldwide curry contest - International Indian Chef of the Year.

Islamophobia!

It is hard to believe that Muslims feel upset about 'passenger profiling'. Many undergo stop and search regularly and they are not even Muslims. Several Indians, because of the colour of their skin go through the experience frequently, but one does not hear them scream discrimination! It is a real world, of which terrorism has become a part, so tougher anti-terror laws need to be supported. Claiming that counter-terrorism measures could lead to the criminalisation of minority communities, sounds more like an effort to put blame on the government for every evil in society. Anti-terror laws surely did not create the 9/11 or 7/7 bombers.

It is high time for a reality check. One cannot talk of the ills of Islamophobia when a third of Muslims dream of this country becoming an Islamic state.

As far as media's "demonisation" and distortion of Muslims and Islam is concerned, Mr Ghaffur, as a law enforcement official, should also look at the fact that every time a jihadist is arrested under anti-terror laws, the media placates the person as 'Asian'. That makes others cringe. The term 'Asian' puts Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists under one umbrella. Even in Mr Ghaffur's case, the media names him as the most senior 'Asian' police officer, but he espouses the cause of Muslims, not Asians.

In fact, in all this hue and cry about political correctness the term 'British' is getting a real hammering. If Muslims feel so discriminated against, may be they should move to a country that welcomes their - and only their - way of life. Most fair-minded Muslims, Hindus or Jews don't wish to see this country being fragmented on the basis of religion. Its time to stop moaning and start integrating into the society we have chosen as home

No zebras crossing

Commercialisation of festivals is getting increasingly aggressive by the year. This time Harrods appears to have taken it even further. While most people are enjoying their summer holidays, Harrods launched its Christmas shop.

Santa Claus, accompanied by a zebra (where did the reindeer go?), made a guest appearance to publicise the out-of-season display of tinsel and angels, which takes up around 15,000 sq ft of the famous store.

In Oxford Street, Selfridges has opened its Christmas too, the earliest ever opening day for its festive section. Just when the summer seems to be glowing we are being reminded of the cold months ahead.


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