Recently in Diversity Category
Which group of bigots ought to be allowed in the country?
Loopy anti-gay crusaders the Westboro Baptist Church, the team behind the "god hates fags" and "god hates the world" websites, are set to travel to Basingstoke - of all places - to protest outside the performance of a play.
The group - made infamous through TV programmes with Louis Theroux and Keith Allen, do a good line in frankly unhinged anti-gay bile, and are best known for picking high profile events like funerals in the US to try to get attention for their insane views - often inviting amusing counter-protests.
But that's not what Sparkbrook councillor and wannabe MP candidate Salma Yaqoob is trying to make everyone believe.
And she's saying this shows up the failings of Birmingham - as a city and as a local authority - in dealing with diversity.
I recognise that by posting on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which came before parliament yesterday, I am dealing with a sensitive topic that divides opinion. I want to share my thoughts on the decision to remove from doctors the need to consider 'the need for a father' which will now be amended to read 'supportive parenting' where provision IVF treatment is concerned.
Depending on which newspaper you select today, with yesterday's vote the government either made fathers redundant, or struck a great stride forward in the pursuit of social equality. It seems there is a great divide between two quite opposing camps concerning whether women wanting IVF treatment, and those providing it should be required by legislature to consider the need for males to be part of the process.
This is unfortunately a somewhat belated blog on events that unfolded before the high court last Thursday. Unfortunately I have only just had time to turn my attention to the scandalous conduct of our local West Midlands police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that ultimately came to full light last week concerning the Dispatches programme 'undercover mosque'. On Thursday both groups issued a high court apology and agree to pay six-figure libel damages to company makers Hardcash and Channel 4 who first aired the programme in January 2007.
I know Roshan Doug has already written on the topic, but my focus is slightly different. I wanted to examine not the media, but the abysmal conduct of criminal justice bodies involved.
I watched the programme and found it gripping and shocking investigative journalism. To set the scene for anyone who did not see Dispatches (there is a link in here) had investigated a number of mosques run by high profile national organisations, almost exclusively all where adherents to Saudi influenced Wahabism - a variety of Islam that externally claimed to be dedicated to moderation and dialogue with other faiths, but behind closed doors preached something quite different. It was that which was the film highlighted, showing footage taken from covert filming. The footage demonstrated the most extreme forms of intolerance, bigotry and extremism. Those who watched the programme saw how firebrand preachers filmed without their knowledge told a mainly young male audience that Allah had created the woman deficient and 'needing' to be beaten for not wearing a hijab; that homosexuals should be thrown from the mountain to their deaths; and that the 'kuffaar' or (or non-believer) amounted to little more than dirt. They condemned the idea of integration into British society, painted British democracy as un-Islamic, and praised the Taliban for killing British soldiers.
I've written before here about extremist politics and the oxygen of publicity when the BNP capitalised on the 40th anniversary of the 'Rivers of Blood' speech to put across their dubious creed. But there are worse groups than the BNP.
Earlier this week at Birmingham University, there was a bit of a kerfuffle when an officer elect for the students guild promoted an event organised by the extremist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir. (Post article here, thanks to the excellent Ministry of Truth blog where I heard about it first)
I spent this afternoon with BNP leader Nick Griffin watching a re-enactment of Enoch Powell's infamous "rivers of blood" speech. Not for fun, obviously. I'm a political enthusiast, yes, but my Sundays are more likely to be taken up by the Hollyoaks omnibus than a tricky political tract and hanging out with the BNP.
It was work of course. As expected, the 40th anniversary of the incendiary speech that killed Powell's career and has tainted race relations ever since brought out the political people, from both right and left. And the Birmingham Post was right there to cover it.