Indonesia today is celebrating the election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States because of his youthful links with the country. Some other people, in Australia, are waiting to celebrate the execution of the infamous Bali bombers, responsible for the carnage in Bali while others, as the Majority of British relatives of the victims, are still trying to stop the execution and commute it to a life-sentence. I do not want to discuss here whether the death penalty is a just punishment, or efficient, or if, as it actually seems to me, shooting them (instead of using lethal injection) is equivalent to an act of torture. Certainly, to be killed, mutilated, or left to die slowly with metal shrapnel in your body by a terrorist bomb is no less a torture – but eye-for-eye justice is often debatable
Today we are a less safe country than yesterday. Today, Britain has betrayed its own history, values and beliefs thanks to nine votes provided by a Northern Irish party, the DUP, no stranger to terrorist links. Today, the right to undermine even the basic principles behind our Magna Carta have been claimed by a childish Prime Minister performing a public ‘virility test’ in the House of Commons. The 42-day detention law has passed in the parliament. In a dramatic and unprecedented decision, the conservative Shadow Home Secretary David Davis has resigned from the House of Commons and has clearly pointed out the reasons for rejecting the overall vision of Brown’s Britain as Orwellian and now even Kafkanian society. Continue reading
Recently the Crown has claimed its first success in prosecuting, under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, a wannabe ‘jihadi’, Mr Sohail Anjum Qureshi. Mr Sohail Qureshi, 29, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to charges of preparing to commit terrorist activity and possessing items of use to terrorists, including a night vision scope and medical supplies To count this sentence as the first success of a quite unsuccessful piece of legislation is like to celebrate for a faux victory. I will explain the reasons below. Yet let me observe some aspects of the case. Here’s what the BBC has to say about it
Yesterday night I was reading some news on La Repubblica, when one of the latest news won my attention. It read: ‘an Islamist has been attacked in an English prison and is fighting for his life’. Because my recent research has focused on Muslim prisoners, I was curious to know the victim’s name, the reasons behind the attack and the prison in which it took place.
I expected that our English mass media would have promptly reported this piece of news; I was wrong. Even the BBC had not reported the incident. I had to resort to Google News to discover, on an Australian Internet News Service, that the victim was Mr Dhiren Barot. Ironically, the BBC, likewise all the other national and local newspapers, had devoted litres of ink to this man.
On the 26th of June 2007, I have been asked to present at the House of Lords, as part of of the IQRA Annual Lecture, my four year study on how being behind bars has an impact on Muslim identity and their experience of Islam.
The IQRA Trust was set up in 1993 to support the educational and training needs of imams and prisoners. Its aims include raising awareness of issues affecting Muslim prisoners and promoting the importance of education and training in the successful resettlement of Muslim prisoners once they are released.
I am particularly thankful to Lord Ahmed of Rotherham and the Director IQRA Trust Prisoner Welfare, Mr Salah El-Hassan for this opportunity to present my findings at the House of Lords. The event was attended by a large audience, including many prison imams, members of the Prison Service, members of associations, the government and police forces. I hope that my research and findings can contribute to a better understanding of the issues that we are facing within prisons and to help the Prison Service and the Government to change its current security policies.
For whom may be interested, the text of the speech can be found here in PDF format,
I am currently transforming my research into a book provisionally titled “Faith, ideology and fear: Muslim identities within and beyond prisons”, which will be published by Continuum Books in summer 2008.