Fighting The War On Terror In London – One Gig At A Time

12 November, 2008

446B0FBE-5DEA-497C-B5C0-6ECC3C5155EB.jpgI’m not making it up. Since the end of last year the Metropolitan police in London have powers to close down any live music event where they have not been given the personal details including addresses and phone numbers of all performers involved at least two weeks in advance.

The Register has written about it here and Billboard also has an article. Both articles provide details about the evidence given by UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey to the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport. (It’s not up yet as I type but those committee transcripts are archived here.) Incredibly, according to Sharkey, one council cited ‘prevention of terrorism’ as part of their reasoning.

The form promoters are supposed to use to provide this information is called form 696 and you can view it directly here or via this page on the Met website. As the article on The Register points out, the suggested genres of music listed in form 696 itself include RnB, Garage, and Bashment. Genres of music which, as El Reg puts it, are ‘favoured by the black community’.

It’s bad enough, stupid enough, pointless enough and draconian enough as it is without the racist element to it. But this is the thing – I’ve done rather a lot of gigs since the end of last year – both as Fit and the Conniptions and with other outfits – and I’ve never once been asked to provide my home address to a promoter. Then again, I’m white.

It’s not that I’m against having events properly policed if they are large enough that they need to be, including live music events. But if anyone can explain how having the home phone numbers of all the musicians on stage helps the police to do their job I’ll be astonished.

Written by Wayne of Fit and the Conniptions

Finding the words to say it By William Bowles

16 November 2008

“The BBC’s Tim Franks in Jerusalem says we have no clue as to when or where this video was shot and it is impossible to know just how frequently such incidents occur.” — ‘BBC: Israel army studies ‘abuse video’

But right below this it says:

“But a leading Israeli human rights group says “many instances of abuse are not exposed because they have become the norm””.

But is this all this group said? Why isn’t the group named? Why is the source not identified? It seems the ‘rules’ that allegedly govern reportage are as flexible as Mr Franks interpretation of events are.

Continue reading

Freedom of Speech: Where do Muslims Stand?

Islam and Muslims remain under an intense media spotlight, this attention however is not always welcomed by Muslims. Some have taken offence with what they see as provocation rather than genuine artistic creativity and free expression. The Satanic Verses some 20 years ago, the more recent Danish Cartoons and this year’s novel on the wife of the Prophet have attracted much criticism. Yet calls for censorship sit uncomfortably in liberal secular democracies where freedom of speech is seen as bulwark against the state deciding for us what we can and cannot read. The right to offend, whilst not an obligation, is seen as a fundamental civil liberty.

So where should Muslims stand on free speech? Are they too sensitive to criticism? Or are they simply opposing what they see as the desecration of their revered personalities? How do Muslims explain to essentially secular societies their sense of the sacred? How is it possible to reconcile these two principles – the love for free speech and the respect for religion? Should Muslim books deemed offensive to people of other faiths also be banned? Who should decide? Should Muslim groups oppose free speech at a time when some are having their own free speech threatened under anti-terror legislation? Does the recent controversy surrounding comments made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross show that ultimately it is public opinion that determines what is acceptable speech?

Join us for a lively debate and discussion between some of the leading personalities within Britain’s Muslim community:

Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq – Hijaaz College

Asim Siddiqui – City Circle

Sajjad Khan – Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain

Inayat Bunglawala – Muslim Council of Britain

Chaired by Matthew Taylor – Former Political Advisor and Chief Executive of the RSA

Date: Friday 5th December 2008
Time: 7.00pm
The Toynbee Hall,
28 Commercial Street,
London E1 6LS

Nearest Station: Aldgate East

For further details contact:


Admission: £3.00

Seating is limited. Please book in advance via email or phone to avoid disappointment.

Organised by Dialogue with Islam

BBC: Israel army studies ‘abuse video’

Below I have reproduced the BBC’s copy:

There is no information as to when or where the video was shot

The Israeli military is investigating a video in which a Palestinian detainee appears to be humiliated by a group of Israeli soldiers.

The video, broadcast by Israeli TV after being posted on YouTube, shows a blindfolded man kneeling near a barrier being forced to repeat Hebrew phrases.

Some refer to the elite Golani infantry brigade. Others are of a sexual nature.

In a statement to the BBC, the Israeli army said it considered the incident “grave”, and condemned the behaviour.”Investigative procedures were opened as soon as the footage was received” from Israeli Channel 10 TV on Thursday, it added.

Abuse ‘the norm’

The video shows a bearded Palestinian detainee, blindfolded, and apparently kneeling close to a high concrete barrier. Investigative procedures were opened as soon as the footage was received

Israeli army statement

Around him are a group of Israeli soldiers, some of whom are jeering. One soldier goads the blindfolded man into repeating what he is saying.The taunt ends with the words: “Golani will bring you a log to stick up your ass.”As the man repeats it, the soldiers can be heard laughing loudly.

The BBC’s Tim Franks in Jerusalem says we have no clue as to when or where this video was shot and it is impossible to know just how frequently such incidents occur.

But a leading Israeli human rights group says “many instances of abuse are not exposed because they have become the norm”.

Palestinians themselves frequently complain that their contact with Israeli soldiers on occupied territory results in delays, insults and sometimes violence, our correspondent says.

The Israeli army insists though that behaviour of this type goes against the force’s “core values and high standards”.