These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 15, 2009.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Lord Ahmed's shame
This is Lord Ahmed talking to the Mail on Sunday about his recent experience as a guest of Her Majesty. He sounds chastened and remorseful which I hope is genuine and has a permanent effect. Never forget that a man died through his actions.
The circuit judge who heard the case [initially at Sheffield Magistrates Court] asked for a probation report. It recommended a 12-month ban and financial penalty.’
The night before sentencing, Lord Ahmed met his legal team: ‘I asked my QC, “What if the judge sends me to the cells?” He replied, “If that happens, then tomorrow’s the day I lose faith in the British judicial system.” ’
The next day, Lord Ahmed arrived at Sheffield Crown Court with a train ticket to London in his pocket. He planned to go straight to the House of Lords after sentencing. ‘I saw my grandchildren off to school that morning,’ he recalls.
In contrast I have known defendants, convicted of first but far less serious offences, telephone beforehand to ask what they should bring to court in the way of nightclothes and washgear, ready in case of a custodial sentence.
‘I said goodbye to my wife and told her I would call her that evening when I got to London.’
But, while Mr Justice Wilkie accepted that Lord Ahmed was blameless in the collision, the matter under consideration was, he concluded, no less grave.
‘By reason of the prolonged, deliberate, repeated and highly dangerous driving for which you have pleaded guilty,’ he said, ‘only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.’
Recalling that moment now, Lord Ahmed admits: ‘I nearly crumbled. I was devastated. I turned to the Group 4 security guard, who cuffed me and led me down to the cells. I was told to hand over my watch, my wallet, my tie, my belt, empty my pockets and take the laces out of my shoes.
‘I just stood there looking through the officers as they spoke to me. I had been a magistrate myself for eight years. I had been to prison before in that capacity, working with young offenders.
'My maiden speech to the House of Lords in 1998 was about Muslim prisoners, prison conditions and rehabilitation. Now here I was, in handcuffs.’
Lord Ahmed describes the journey from court to prison as ‘the most terrifying journey of all’.
Was the Labour Party supportive of their peer? Lord Ahmed answers simply: ‘No.’
After some thought he continues: ‘As a party, they stood back somewhat. I have been told that my membership was withdrawn when I went into prison and that I should write to the General Secretary to get it back. I will not reapply.’
But he has an appointment to see the Labour Chief Whip tomorrow and is keen to return to his work at the House of Lords.
Lord Ahmed is aware of the criticism that continues to be levelled at him: ‘People have said that my sentence was suspended because of who I am. But that’s not true. I feel my sentence was a custodial one because of who I am.
From those to whom much has been given, much is expected.
But I doubt that Nazir Ahmed is familiar with the Gospel of St Luke. But he should be more familiar with the phrase nobless oblige.
It is not possible to escape the fact that his reputation as a standard bearer for British Muslims and as a political force has been tarnished. * Lord Ahmed received no payment for this article.
Posted on 03/15/2009 4:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 15 March 2009
My imam father came after me with an axe
From The Sunday Times. Sadly the interviewer, brother of the celebrity chef, does ask some rather stupid questions.
Hannah Shah had been raped by her father and faced a forced marriage. She fled, became a Christian and now fears for her life.
We are all too familiar with the persecution of Christians in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet sitting in front of me is a British woman whose life has been threatened in this country solely because she is a Christian. Indeed, so real is the threat that the book she has written about her experiences has had to appear under an assumed name.
The book is called The Imam’s Daughter because “Hannah Shah” is just that: the daughter of an imam in one of the tight-knit Deobandi Muslim Pakistani communities in the north of England. Her father emigrated to this country from rural Pakistan some time in the 1960s and is, apparently, a highly respected local figure.
He is also an incestuous child abuser, repeatedly raping his daughter from the age of five until she was 15, ostensibly as part of her punishment for being “disobedient”. At the age of 16 she fled her family to avoid the forced marriage they had planned for her in Pakistan. A much, much greater affront to “honour” in her family’s eyes, however, was the fact that she then became a Christian – an apostate. The Koran is explicit that apostasy is punishable by death; thus it was that her father the imam led a 40-strong gang – in the middle of a British city – to find and kill her.
Hannah Shah says her story is not unique – that there are many other girls in British Muslim families who are oppressed and married off against their will, or who have secretly become Christians but are too afraid to speak out. She wants their voices to be heard and for Britain, the land of her birth, to realise the hidden misery of these women.
Hannah’s own voice is quiet and emerges from a tiny frame. She is clearly nervous about talking to a journalist and the stress she has been under is betrayed by a bald patch on the left side of her head. Yet she has a lovely natural smile, especially when she reveals that she got married a year ago; her husband works in the Church of England, “though not as a vicar”.
Hannah’s description in the book of the moment when her “community” discovered the “safe” home where she had fled after becoming an apostate is terrifying. A mob with her father at its head pounded and hammered at the door as she cowered upstairs hoping she could not be seen or heard. She heard her father shout through the letter box: “Filthy traitor! Betrayer of your faith! Cursed traitor! We’re going to rip your throat out! We’ll burn you alive!”
Does she still believe they would have killed her? “Yes, without a doubt. They had hammers and knives and axes.”
Why didn’t you call the police after-wards? “First, I didn’t think the police would believe me. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen in this country – or that’s what they’d think. Second, I didn’t believe I would get help or protection from the authorities.”
Hannah had good reason for this doubt. When, at school, she had finally summoned the courage to tell a teacher that her father had been beating her (she couldn’t bring herself to reveal the sexual abuse), the social services sent out a social worker from her own community. He chose not to believe Hannah and, in effect, shopped her to her father, who gave her the most brutal beating of her life. When she later confronted the social worker, he said: “It’s not right to betray your community.”
Hannah blames what is sometimes called political correctness for this debacle: “My teachers had thought they were doing the right thing, they thought it showed ‘cultural sensitivity’ by bringing in someone from my own community to ‘help’, but it was the worst thing they could have done to me. This happens a lot.
“When I’ve been working with girls who were trying to get out of an arranged marriage, or want to convert to Christianity, and they have contacted social services as they need to get out of their homes, the reaction has been ‘we’ll send someone from your community to talk to your parents’. I know why they are doing this, they are trying to be understanding, but it’s the last thing that the authorities should do in such situations.”
This is the sort of cultural sensitivity displayed by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, last year when he suggested that problems within the British Muslim community such as financial or marital disputes could be dealt with under sharia, Islamic law, rather than British civil law. What did Hannah, now an Anglican, think on hearing these remarks?
“I was horrified.” If you could speak to him now, what would you say to the archbishop? “I would say: have you actually spoken to any ordinary Muslim women about the situation that they live in, in their communities? By putting in place these Muslim arbitration tribunals, where a woman’s witness is half that of a man, you are silencing women even more.”
She believes the British government is making exactly the same mistake as Rowan Williams:
Shah’s conversion seems to have its origins in the fact that the family who put her up after she ran away from the prospect of an arranged marriage in rural Pakistan were themselves regular church attenders. She began to go with them and, to put it at its most banal, she liked what she heard.
“It was the emphasis on love.
The Islam that I grew up knowing and reading about doesn’t offer me love. That’s the biggest thing that Christianity can and does offer. I sense that I belong and am accepted as I am – even when I do wrong there is forgiveness, a forgiveness which Islam does not offer.”
So does Hannah offer Christian forgiveness to the father who raped and abused her and who, by her own account, was even prepared to murder her?
“It’s taken a long time and it’s only in the past few years that I’ve got to that. It’s very hard to get there and it’s taken a lot of shouting and screaming behind closed doors, and praying, to get me to the point of being able to say: I forgive. I have to, partly because otherwise I would be a very bitter and angry person and I don’t want to livea life that’s full of anger.”
Posted on 03/15/2009 4:53 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 15 March 2009
US Funded Palestinian Security Training Center Opens
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. The "Palestinians" will either turn their American supplied weapons on our Israeli allies or surrender them to Hamas. Didn't we try this with Arafat? YNet News:
The Palestinian Authority has opened a new training center for its elite presidential guard in the West Bank town of Jericho.
Most of the funding for the $11.5 million center was provided by the United States.
The center is part of the US effort to boost Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. A special security envoy, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, has coordinated several years of efforts to help train Palestinian forces.
Israel and the United States have said the Palestinians' ability to handle internal security is a prerequisite for statehood.
Speaking at the ceremony, US State Department official David Johnson called the facility "impressive."
Posted on 03/15/2009 1:10 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Minister beaten after clashing with Muslims on his TV show
I reported on nasty goings on at Venus TV the Asian station last year. Then the Pakistani Christian presenter Asar Mall was the subject of complaints by Muslim viewers and respresentatives of Birmingham Central Mosque when he invited the Australian pastor Daniel Scott.
This time violence has been used and threatened against a minister of the United Reform Church. I am a little late with this.
A Christian minister who has had heated arguments with Muslims on his TV Gospel show has been brutally attacked by three men who ripped off his cross and warned: ‘If you go back to the studio, we’ll break your legs.’
The Reverend Noble Samuel was driving to the studio when a car pulled over in front of him. A man got out and came over to ask him directions in Urdu.
Mr Samuel, based at Heston United Reformed Church, West London, said: ‘He put his hand into my window, which was half open, and grabbed my hair and opened the door.
He started slapping my face and punching my neck. He was trying to smash my head on the steering wheel.
Then he grabbed my cross and pulled it off and it fell on the floor. He was swearing. The other two men came from the car and took my laptop and Bible.’
The Metropolitan Police are treating it as a ‘faith hate’ assault and are hunting three Asian men.
In spite of the attack, Mr Samuel went ahead with his hour-long live Asian Gospel Show on the Venus satellite channel from studios in Wembley, North London. During the show the Muslim station owner Tahir Ali came on air to condemn the attack.
Pakistan-born Mr Samuel, 48, who was educated by Christian missionaries and moved to Britain 15 years ago, said that over the past few weeks he has received phone-in calls from people identifying themselves as Muslims who challenged his views.
Posted on 03/15/2009 3:53 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Shire Network News
Brian of London writes:
On this week's show the guest is Professor Barry Rubin of the The Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, talking about the statement made by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 conspiratiors at Guantamo Bay taking credit for the atrocity, and why western politicians simply refuse to listen to the enemy when they announce their goals and motives clearly.
In blog news we cover the decision of the French to rejoin NATO. But does anyone else want them?
Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul was released from Gitmo, only to head off and kill British soldiers. Surprised? Not us.
The Pope is very very sorry and promises to learn how to use the Internet. More details in The Times.
The strange case of Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham: why did he only go to prison for a handful of days?
Meryl Yourish is talking about British MP George Galloway and makes reference to a simply disgusting YouTube clip. View it at your own peril as it is below.
Doug Payton is covering the Chas Freemon story. We had to, some of us are Jews.
And thank you to all for listening and don't forget, tell all your friends!
Posted on 03/15/2009 4:23 PM by Rebecca Bynum