Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Tabloid stories about “fanatical Muslims” are so common these days as to merit barely more than a passing glance, and are very often based on nothing but a fear-mongering agenda. The difference in the case of alleged threats against the Pakistani Café in Glasgow’s south side is that the accuser is a Pakistani non-Muslim.

According to the Daily Record, “Jimshaed Sharif, 50, says he has become a target for fanatical Muslims because he plays music and serves alcohol”. Anna Smith wrote in the News of the World: “So if ever we needed a wake-up call to the level of bigotry from Islamic fanatics who live among us, then the owner of the Pakistani Café in Glasgow has given us that. Jimshaed Sharif has shown the kind of raw courage that should be applauded by the stance he has taken against the extremists who have threatened him in the name of their twisted view of religion.”

It is the easiest thing in the world to smear someone as an “extremist”, “fanatic” etc. and these matters, for people interested in truth and fairness, need some scratching below the surface. For others, a person’s claim to have received death threats is enough of a guarantee of credibility.

The Record article included a tale about a young man campaigning for a “separate Muslim cemetery” who left and came back with over a dozen friends who “started causing a disturbance telling me I had to stop playing music and selling alcohol. It got so bad I had to call the police.”

That “young man” was me.



Read Full Post »

Letter to the Metro on veils

While comparing a religion with over a billion adherents to a “balaclava cult” might be amusing to some, it hardly helps to address serious issues. And I do wonder what qualifies non-Muslim men to declare what is an “insult to Muslim women”? Forcing a lady to remove a garment is as abhorrent as forcing her to don it. If there are considerations of security at certain places, that’s well and good. But much of the discourse around this issue appears to be racism with a very thin veil.

Posted by Sohaib Saeed

Read Full Post »

glasgow_mosque1a1Imagine if a Scottish Muslim pleaded guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Cathedral and behead one Christian a week until all British troops were pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There would be outrage, right? It would be splashed over the front page of every newspaper in the land. It would be the top of all news bulletins.

There would be volumes written on what motivated him, his family background and his beliefs. There would be a rich stream of analysis from a variety of positions. Government would be asked what it was doing to avoid such a thing from happening.

So when news came into the Scottish-Islamic Foundation office this week of one Neil MacGregor pleading guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week until all Scottish mosques were shut down, we thought it couldn’t possibly be true.

There had been no build up to such a trial, no coverage during it and none on the verdict. We Googled it, and nothing came up. Not a sausage, nada, zilch.


Read Full Post »

‘Surah Fatiha remixed’

14217You may well have received a text message from a friend recently urging you to complain about Galaxy FM’s alleged remixing of Surah Fatiha (the opening of the Quran, recited in every cycle of prayer) with music.

You’ll have been urged to “defend Islam and the Quran” from this outrage.


Read Full Post »

“And their dog stretched out its forelegs at the threshold.” [Qur’an 18:18]

There was a feature by Peter Oborne in the online edition of today’s Daily Mail (of all papers) arguing that post-war Britain is Islamophobic, basing a good part of its argument on the zeal of newspaper editors to print ridiculous stories to make Muslims look bad. At the moment it has been taken offline. (It was so good that the Mail had to preface it with: “Doubtless, many will disagree with him…”!)
Update: Here it is at a new link: Is post-war Britain anti-Muslim?

One case he didn’t mention is the recent scandal surrounding Rebel, the Tayside police puppy whose image was used on a promotional leaflet for a new emergency number. The police received a complaint from a Dundee councillor who sits on their board, and then apologised profusely for their lack of sensitivity. The story? The councillor is a Muslim and based his complaint on alleged offence caused to Muslims due to dogs being “unclean”.

The result? Letters like that in yesterday’s Metro, saying that “If Muslims don’t understand our culture, then I think they belong elsewhere.”

The papers have to answer as to why many of them ran this story without any basic fact-checking. First of all, why should a councillor be taken as representing a religious community? Perhaps the complaints have more to do with culture – why was it made into an “Islamic” issue? Did they consult the local mosques or other Muslim organisations to establish whether the complaint had any substance to it? Did they even solicit the opinions of shopkeepers to see whether Councillor Asif’s claim that they were particularly offended was accurate?


Read Full Post »