anthropology, BBC, Censorship, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror

The racist fascist in the Queen’s Garden, the fundamentalist preacher on the plane

Recently two events made me question how the UK, and Europe in general, understand the concept of ‘freedom of speech’ – the invitation to attend the annual Buckingham Palace garden party extended to white supremacist BNP’s Nick Griffin and the Home Secretary’s decision to ban the popular Muslim tele-preacher Dr Zakir Naik from entering the UK.

There is no one single definition of ‘freedom of speech’ and an attempt to formulate one can only result in empty theorizing and utopian visions. Freedom of speech is linked to local, regional and international contexts, social realities, cultural differences and an understanding of what freedom means. What for one person is ‘freedom of speech’, for another is just ‘freedom of insult’ or ‘unacceptable behavior’. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, BBC, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Terrorism, The UK

Reporting terrorism: a reflection

It has been reported that a thirty-one-year old British Muslim stashed four home-made explosive devices, as well as bullets, swords, axes and knives in his flat. The police had found potentially lethal bladed weapons, 34 bullets for a .22 calibre firearm, and printouts from the internet about committing acts of terrorism. He had planned to bomb churches and plotted killing Christians in the name of jihad. Of course, national and international newspapers, Internet news, and TV have reported and spent litres of ink to provide details about the successful operations to arrest the terrorist; the Prime Minister has thanked our police forces for their work, reminded us of the terrorist threat, the need for forty-two days of detention, and how the terrorists are trying to subvert our British values. A script that we have seen acted out many times. Continue reading

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