I’ve dusted off the blog today, because a piece in both the print and online copies [direct link to Mail Online] of the Scottish Daily Mail has been brought to my attention.
I don’t need to blog this myself, because a Bute resident has posted an excellent rebuttal on Facebook. Lisa O’Donnell says;
So this is doing the rounds on the Isle of Bute and creating some heat. I hope people from my Island share my post, but only to help this family who have been shamefully abused and manipulated by the conservative right wing horror that is The Daily Mail. A journalist came to the Island basically and wrote this article based on information received from a local refugee with very limited English skills. It is clear to me what has been lost in translation. This family miss their home and the life they once lived before the war. The father in the article observes Rothesay is where people go to die, what he probably meant is Rothesay is where old people go to retire but this was leaped on by a nasty journalist to pen something the man didn’t mean to imply and given he probably saw houses bombed and innocent children slain on Syrian streets it’s fairly unlikely he said something like this. He also says the Island is beautiful, but it is not his home and it’s okay for him to say that because it’s not. If his family have been humbled by charity and he feels embarrassed then this is a human response and I would feel the same if my independence was taken from me and I could not provide for my family and had to rely on other people. He once owned a shop, was a man of property, this family has lost a great deal. Of course they are allowed to grieve that, but the deliberate misinterpretation of that grief by the DM is designed to incite hatred by making the family appear ungrateful and don’t doubt it. It is a shocking abuse of power and could lead to violence and I think we can agree this family have been through enough. People in Rothesay have been very supportive of the refugees and I really hope the good people of Bute will extend that generosity by seeing this trash for the manipulative right wing rhetoric it is. Don’t let the Daily Mail infiltrate our pure waters by bringing hate to our wee Island, encouraging people to bully and harm this family or any family who are going through so much already adjusting to the new world they occupy. As you can see the family have been photographed, despite idiot journalist not naming family for apparent concern for their safety, so if you are from Rothesay be kind and show your real hospitality by preventing ignorant bullies from having their way. Take care of our Syrian friends. I know most people on Island appalled by this article, but also aware there will be those minorities who will use it as an excuse to vomit nasty politics which could be harmful to our community.
The Mail piece has an undercurrent of “look at these ungrateful scroungers” running throughout, with mention made of “permission to work and access to public funds.” The reporter, Maureen Sugden, goes on to say, “Twelve months of costs, excluding economic integration, are met by the UK’s overseas aid budget.” There’s a blue information box included in the online version, which states, “Syrian refugee families sent to Scottish island where most are white and middle aged”.
Towards the end of the article, it is revealed that Abd (name changed by the Mail) has recently attempted suicide, and had been subjected to torture and imprisonment in his homeland. These are vulnerable people who have been through horror I find hard to imagine. It seems hard to credit that any reporter would think it ethical to write a piece that seems designed to make their lives harder, but then you realise it’s the Mail. I’m pleased to see there are people like Lisa in the world, people willing to stand up to such biased, insidious reporting.
The Mail comments section is as toxic as ever. Disheartening.
(not satire – it’s the Daily Mail!)
Sometimes Daily Mail readers show their true faces – and they’re as ugly and vile as you would expect them to be.
“Send her back home.”
“How come she’s still here?”
“The UK taxpayer has been stumping up the bill for her to fly around the world.”
“Sick of hearing about her.”
“A joke. She has been awarded a Noble Prize for stopping a bullet?”
“I just find her annoying.”
“Why is she still here?”
“Living off the taxpayer.”
“Praise some British kids for a change.”
Remember, these comments are about a little girl who was shot at point blank range by the Taliban for wanting to go to school and – despite still being a target for…
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Well, this old blog hasn’t been updated for a while due to certain life events taking up a lot of my time, but sometimes a story gets published that creates a lot of bluster over at EDL headquarters (and probably other like-minded groups) and provokes the need for a small response. The Express has published such a story today.
Gah! The Muslamics are taking over, closing our schools, being all religious! You can imagine how this has gone down over at the newly headless EDL. Here’s a few examples of the outrage that’s been created:
ok, so if the school closes for a muslim based celebration, they should do( but wont) the same for christian based celebrations too.
If you want to celebrate Islamic festivals feel free to go back to your Islamic country and celebrate them. Don’t offend us in our own back yard. This is a Christian country!
kick the Muslim rats out of the school and Piss on them future killers
Why only muslim religion holiday? Why not days off for Hindu, Sikh,Buddhist, Pagan festivals? oh I forgot, other religions don’t make such a song and dance as muslims and demand WE observe their practices.. HEYHO, this isn’t a muslim country. wanna go celebrate eid?? why not do that in turkey, morocco or iran? WHY live here if you don’t wanna embrace OUR heritage and culture, rather than impose yours on us?
This just proves there are to many of them.out bread to change the country into an Islamic state comes to mind.if you look at maps of how Islam spread in the past by the sword and was forced back by the same means.then look at the figures for Muslims in todays western societies they are reinvading the same countries plus the new world.the only difference is instead of the sword they are doing it by shagging
Ok time for my rant i have been made aware that if i keep my children off school when they are ill it is unautharised absence as above we have these hols so why is it muslims get time off school n probs that will be ok in our country bt being ill isnt ? !
Okay, just a small point. The Expess story itself says:
The local Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire County Council said headteachers can allow authorised absences for religious holidays. Instead, the school decided to accommodate the extra holiday by starting back three days early in September.
The head has used his new freedom to set term dates and done so in a way that means around half his students, which is the number that the Express states are Muslim, do not need to miss three days of school. You would think such creative use of these new powers would be congratulated, but no. The Express is never one to miss an opportunity for a bit of bigot baiting.
With reference to this story in The Sun (direct link): Parents fume as school scraps Christmas Nativity for play about jewellery thieves Bill and Bob
The story itself contains the following quote from the school’s headteacher:
But headteacher, Janet Vaughan, has defended the new production saying it is merely a light-hearted twist on the traditional Christmas tale.
She said: “It is very, very funny and nothing more than a light-hearted version of events.
“The outcome is the robbers are caught and banged to rights and the true meaning of Christmas comes across very strongly with a nativity at the end.
“It is nice to have a fun element to any sort of Christmas production and we always have a religious basis to it as well.
“It’s nonsense to say the words are anything other than tongue-in-cheek and the children understand that.”
So this particular school hasn’t scrapped the Nativity at all. They’re just trying to make it more fun. After Leveson, you’d think the press might be taking a bit more care not to publish inflammatory and misleading headlines, but obviously not.
Looking below the line into the comments section reveals that parents at the school have a very different opinion to that being put forward by The Sun. Here is a small selection (with thanks to @speelingmstake for pointing these out):
BBC Sunday Morning Live hosted a discussion this morning that was nominally about whether the media is fuelling Islamophobia in the UK (you can see the whole discussion on iPlayer, here). This followed the release of a report on that very subject, which Kevin Arscott had a look at on Angry Mob, in his post titled The persecution of Muslims by the British Media is real, and endorsed by millions. The report itself can be downloaded from Unitas Communications here.
Against my better judgement, I watched the whole discussion. Without too much comment (apart from the odd sarcastic remark, perhaps), I am going to share some extracts from it here (link to transcript) and let people make their own judgements on what was said.
Samira Ahmed: Alright, I just want to bring in another contributer. We have, um, someone who’s been a victim of one of these attacks, er, Nurjahan Khatun. What happened to you?
Nurjahan Khatun: Hi, morning. Thanks for having me on. What happened to me, er, a good few years ago now was, I was walking home one evening, early evening, around five o’clock, and I noticed a group of young, white men, er, ranging between eight or nine of them, actually. They rushed towards me, and pushed me down onto the floor. Now, while they were doing this, they were screaming out, “Bin Laden,” “scum,” and other, verbal, quite abusive words at me. Now, because they were a lot taller than me, they pushed me to the ground. While I fell to the ground, I kept feeling, erm, my hijab, my headscarf being pulled, my, er, burka being pulled, and I was being kicked, I was being punched. For what felt like a lifetime, that was going on. A few… A few minutes later, um, these white, young men, erm, I felt something was being poured over me, erm, from a couple of various sources, some sort of liquid or fluid. I realised later on, when it splashed into my mouth, that I was actually being urinated on.
Samira Ahmed: My god…
Nurjahan Khatun: So I felt, physically, three sources of, erm, urination coming towards me. Now, towards the end of this attack, erm, something was being rubbed on my face by two hands. Now, whether that was one person, or two person, I don’t recall, because I was trying to protect my head by covering my head with my arms while I was screaming for help. Now, while this was happening, I kept thinking, “What on Earth is it that they’re rubbing into my face?” I never would have ever believed that I had dog faeces actually being rubbed in my face.
Samira Ahmed: I’m so sorry. Wh… What did the police say? Did they treat this a s a racist attack, or did they say it was Islamophobic?
Nurjahan Khatun: Well, they classified it as a race attack. Erm, clearly it wasn’t, because of the words that they were using, some of which I cannot repeat on live… erm, on air. Er, it was very clearly that it was an anti-Muslim prejudiced attack. I’ve actually had, I’m presuming, the same youth, erm, group of white men, who were shouting and throwing stones at me in the week… weeks leading up to that in the area that I was living at the time.
Samira Ahmed: I’m sorry. Um…
Nurjahan Khatun: So, er, it was very clear that it was anti-Muslim, it was very clear that my hijab was being pulled off, and the burka was being ripped… kind of being ripped off.
Samira Ahmed: Nur… Nurjahan, thank you very much for… for coming on and sharing that story with us. I mean, it is… it is an appalling tale, Ann, and you can see why…
Ann Leslie [interrupting]: It is an appalling tale.
Samira Ahmed: …for women like her…
Ann Leslie [speaking over Samira Ahmed]: All attacks like that are appalling.
Samira Ahmed: They feel there’s a connection to a wider picture.
Symon Hill: But why is this not… as much… Why is the attack on this… this vicious attack…
Ann Leslie: Well, I assume it has been. Of course, I don’t know.
Symon Hill: …and it’s a terrible story. Why is this not in the media as much?
Ann Leslie: But, I mean, what puzzles me slightly is, your hijab is your headscarf. Were you wearing a burka in your home at the same time, which covers your entire face?
Samira Ahmed: No, I… I don’t think she was when… The whole thing is, she wasn’t wearing…
Nurjahan Khatun: I don’t wear…
Samira Ahmed: Should it make a difference?
Ann Leslie: Yes, because this is the trouble. I mean, I have worked in the Middle East a lot, some of it undercover. I was born in a… er, a Muslim country, Pakistan. It wasn’t Pakistan then. Erm, I… when I go to Iran, or Saudi, I have to wear the full bin bag outfit, you know. I’m obliged to do that. Now, it seems to me that if you wear a burka, [hand gesture indicating face-covering] or a niqab, you can’t see any… any face. It makes people slightly alarmed, becaue they think these people don’t like us.
Samira Ahmed: Okay, I think you’ve made that point, Ann. I … Because we’re running out of time
Ann Leslie: And because she was not wearing a burka, she was wearing a hijab, but, whatever she was wearing, the attack was disgusting, of course it was. I don’t think any newspaper would say, “Oh, wonderful. Stick up for white men attacking women…”
Mohammed Shafiq: I’m sure… I’m sure we would see…
Symon Hill: It could get a bit more coverage… [?]
Mohammed Shafiq: We sould see… We see these stories in the newspapers, which we don’t see these stories, and…
Ann Leslie [interrupting]: No, we do… [Not sure about this bit. Everyone talking over each other again]
Mohammed Shafiq: We don’t. With respect… With respect, we don’t, and if it was, a… er… a… you know, an anti-Muslim story, then it’d be front page news, on the Daily Mail in particular.
Some other highlights of the discussion:
Symon Hill: The… Terrorism is news at the moment, erm… Most people are aware that only a small minority of Muslims are sympathetic to terrorism, and… and as Ann says, the news reports things that are unusual. However, I do think that, while the blame for racist attacks lies with the racists who commit them primarily, nonetheless the media have to behave reponsibly, and what we do see is some papers, not all papers, not all the media, but some papers turn stories into Muslim stories when they’re not about Islam. So, to give you an example, a couple of years ago, erm… there was… it had been a local news story originally, about a swimming pool where, because of a lack of frosted glass on the bottom screens, a few people had complained, particularly women customers at the swimming pool, that, you know, people were sort of standing outside and looking in at them in their bathing costumes, and ,er… some of the people who’d complained happened to be Muslim, not all of them at all. A couple of newspapers ran this story as Mus…
Ann Leslie [interrupting]: I don’t think the Mail did.
Symon Hill: I… I… I can’t…
Ann Leslie: No. [editor’s note: Yes, the Mail did – caution: Live Mail link]
When discussing violent attacks against Muslim women in the UK:
Ann Leslie: Yes, just simply, all round the world the m… the main victims of violence are women, of whatever sex, whatever age, erm… so, in a way this is a problem of men and women, and the way… and then this happens in Muslim countries. The only time I’ve nearly been raped was actually in a Muslim country, by a so-called devout Muslim. So, violence against women is all over the world. It’s not always…
Also talking about attacks against Muslim women in the UK:
Mohammed Shafiq: …is that, we’ve got to, er, you know, these women, and I’ve met some of these victims across the country, who’ve been spat at, and been verbally abused, and we would just like to see the same anger and frustration from politicians and commentators as we see when it’s the other way round.
Ann Leslie [talking over the top of Mohammed Shafiq]: One of the… One of the main problems is if you have a terrorist, er… component…
Mohammed Shafiq: It’s not just all about terrorism.
On Irish people:
Ann Leslie: No, hang on, if you have a terrorist component, a small one, in any group… Now, I’m old enough to have lived in London through the IRA bombings. A friend of mine was killed in a… the Harrods bomb, and I live quite near a very Irish area, with Irish pubs. Irish people, most of whom have been here for yonks, are not… you know, they just enjoy their Guinness, and all the rest of it, and sing Irish songs, but they found they were terribly discriminated against, and they would be spat at, “You bombers,” and things. Now that’s all stopped, er… you know, they don’t bother.
Making excuses for violent behaviour:
Ann Leslie: …it’s not an excuse, but the man who recently tore off a woman’s niqab, and made her, you know, feel terrible; A, he was a bloke who’d been on cannabis, which is an extremely, er… paranoid inducing thing, B, he was upset, and angry, because his girlfriend had left him, and C, and to a certain extent, I have sympathy, the niqab is, in itself, I’m afraid, an aggressive act. It says, “I want to… I want…”
I may be suffering from tabloid burnout, but the good people of the Health and Safety Executive aren’t.
Terms of reference
The Myth Busters Challenge Panel provides a mechanism for anyone (whether on behalf of a company or organisation, or as an individual), who receives advice or is told that a decision has been taken in the name of health and safety that they believe to be disproportionate or inaccurate, to challenge that advice.
- The Panel will consider cases where advice is given by non-regulators (eg insurance companies, health and safety consultants, suppliers, contractors and employers) who quote health and safety as the reason to do or not do something, or where the challenger considers the advice be inaccurate or disproportionate.
- The panel will offer its opinion on whether the advice was correct and proportionate in terms of its interpretation of the requirements of health and safety legislation.
- The panel will not offer an opinion on the role of other regulators or consider challenges about issues that relate solely to another regulator.
- The panel will not consider cases where the health and safety regulator has made a decision – the Independent Regulatory Challenge Panel will deal with these.
How does the Myth Busters Challenge Panel work?
Members of the public and organisations will be invited to submit cases where they have been advised that they should or should not carry out an activity because of health and safety and they wish to challenge this advice.
- The Panel will consider the overall facts of the case. The Panel’s findings will be made publicly available.
- The Challenge Panel Chair is Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE and HSE Board member Robin Dahlberg is Vice-Chair. They are supported by a pool of independent panel members who have a wide range of experience and backgrounds in managing risk on a day-to-day basis.
UPDATE: Like The Sun in my earlier post, The Daily Mail have chosen to report on a consultation about giving police greater powers from the “poppy burning” perspective with their story, Law that put poppy burning fanatics in the dock faces the axe. This one is slightly more insidious than The Sun’s, because it hints at judgements on which people should and shouldn’t be allowed to voice offensive opinions. The consultation exercise is described as follows:
The proposal is part of Home Office changes to public order laws in the wake of the summer riots, which will also see police given new powers to impose blanket curfews and to force rioters to remove face masks.
Is it? Oh. I thought is was a consultation, not actual Home Office changes or, at least, that’s what the Home Office website says on its Consultation on police powers to promote and maintain public order page. ***Please note, anyone who would like to add their voice to the consultation can do so here. There are proposals in there which should concern everybody, such as giving the police “new powers to impose curfew to prevent and control outbreaks of disorder”.***
So, since the Daily Mail has focused on the one aspect of these proposals that may, or may not, allow future “poppy burners” to walk free, who should and shouldn’t be prosecuted for “threatening, abusive or insulting’ words in public”?
A member of Muslims Against Crusades, Emdadur Choudhury, was successfully prosecuted under the Act after burning two huge poppies during the two-minute silence marking the country’s war dead last November.
Choudhury, from Bethnal Green, East London, outraged war veterans by yelling ‘British soldiers burn in hell’. He was fined £50.
Daily Mail: [paraphrased] “Yes! He should, definitely, and he should probably be left in prison for the rest of his natural life, too!”
What about these people?
Religious groups have also criticised the law because the police have used it to arrest harmless Christian protesters. [Note: no attribution provided]
an Oxford University student on a night out asked a mounted police officer if he realised his horse was gay. [Note: charges dropped]
The law was also used to arrest two Christian hoteliers accused of asking a Muslim guest if she was a murderer and a terrorist because she was wearing a hijab. [Note: Case dismissed due to unreliable witnesses]
In May 2008 City of London police charged a teenager under section 5 for demonstrating outside the Church of Scientology in central London with a placard which said: ‘Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.’ Charges were dropped when prosecutors accepted the word cult was not insulting.
Daily Mail: [paraphrased] “No! It’s wrong to prosecute these people, especially those poor hoteliers. Honestly, you can’t even ask someone if they’re a murderer and a terrorist because of the clothes they wear any more. It’s disgusting!”
I’m not going to pass comment on any of the cases above, because that’s not within the scope of this blog, but let’s have a look at a small paragraph from the Mail article which is included towards the end:
Home Office proposals published yesterday argue serious and distressing conduct would still be prosecuted because it would be considered either abusive or threatening.
Serious and distressing conduct? It’s not too far-fetched, then, to imagine that Emdadur Choudhury, the man who burned a couple of large paper poppies and chanted throughout the two minute silence, would still face prosecution for his actions, especially when the words of the judge who sentenced him are considered:
Sentencing him in March, District Judge Howard Riddle said: ‘The two-minute chanting, when others were observing a silence, followed by a burning of the symbol of remembrance, was a calculated and deliberate insult to the dead and those who mourn or remember them.
‘If the memory of dead soldiers is publicly insulted at a time and place where there is likely to be gathered people who have expressly attended to honour those soldiers, then the threat to public order is obvious.’
It’s evident that both The Sun and The Mail have forced a story that wasn’t about abusing soldiers, or burning poppies, into an EDL-shaped hole. What do they make of this one, I wonder?
As you can see, their respect for Remembrance Day and what it represents is absolutely genuine… Oh, wait…
Well, anyway, what better way to ensure the dignity of the occasion than by inciting some more hate, with the chance of possible violence? Bravo, Daily Mail. Not transparent at all.
*Please note, I do not support the disruption of Remembrance Day by any group of fanatics, be they MAC or EDL. However, I don’t believe that misleading and sensational reporting by national ‘news’papers should be ignored as a contributing factor in any trouble that may occur.
With thanks to the lovely people on the EDL News team.