‘If you don’t like it here… go back home’

17 02 2008

I really hate it when I get into discussion with certain people about what being a Muslim means to me… the discussion often concludes with one sentence, and more than often since Dr Rowan William’s comments. ‘If you don’t like it here, go back HOME.’ Go back home, where? I don’t have a ‘back home’. I find this kind of response annoying more than offensive because of ignorance and narrow mindedness involved, and that coming from people depicted as the most progressive and civilised people on earth. I am not shy to discuss what I believe in, and I dont’t have a problem presenting it to people as an alternative way of life, why can’t people do the same? I don’t know.

If we were to explore the idea of going back home, which unlike me, most immigrant Muslims living in the West can do so…would it solve anyones problem? Well, not really. Most Muslim countries which have abundance of resources are run by tyrant despotic rulers installed and supported by the West working to secure those resources for the West. Regimes changes only occur when the Western interests are at risk of being fulfilled, one dictator is simply replaced by another and sometimes at the cost of thousand of innocent lives such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most problems of the Muslim world, however complex, can sometimes be narrowed down to the presence of these idiot rulers and their puppet regimes working against Islam and Muslims in cahoots with the Western rulers. And when any neo Islamic party termed ‘Islamist’ comes close to power even through fair electoral process, who feels the first itch? Sometimes it seems almost impossible for Muslim world to free itself from the shackles of Imperialism/colonialism and the constant interference from the West to be able to decide its own political destiny.  So what are they suppose to do? Perhaps, it would sound reasonable to send people back home if they were going to bring back their own troops, stop interfering in their lands and allow them to live however they wish to. But that I don’t see happening, not when this hypocritical theory of ‘one law for all’ will soon be applicable to the world.

Regardless of all that, the ‘if you don’t like it here, go back home’ attitude clearly highlights the strength of ideas people hold and their views towards minorities. Muslims are accused of being emotional, ready to explode the minute their faith is questioned, but didn’t those accusers explode with emotions of anger at the speech made by Dr Rowan Williams? Is it understandable for people to react in such way? Isn’t it clear that it is not only some Muslims, but narrow-mindedness, ignorance, intolerance very much prevails in the West too?

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Stop and Search laws

1 02 2008

New Powers for police to stop and search

Plans to extend police powers to stop and search people with minimal bureaucracy are to be announced by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, next week.

Smith will allow police forces to designate hotspot zones within their areas where officers would be able to carry out searches, backed up only by a brief voice-recording of explanation.

The plans were taken to cabinet yesterday after she received the final report from a review of policing by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary. Source

Yesterday, I saw more than a dozen police officers at a very small overground station in what may qualify as central London. They were simply carrying out their job by randomly stopping people. While I swiped the oyster, crossing the barriers I saw several people of various backgrounds being searched and questioned including a smartly dressed elderly man. The first thing which came to my mind was Police state, a tiny station with over a dozen police officers, some with dogs stopping random people including senior members of community..what would you think?

Personally, I have no problem with stop and search. I don’t carry around things I shouldn’t have and something needs to be done about the growing knife crime in the UK. If a shooting or stabbing takes place I would hope everyone in the area would be liable to be stopped and searched to send out a strong message to the criminals. Although, I do sympathies with those who are against ID cards, stops and searches etc, but what are the alternatives? Besides, stop and search happens anyway, I have been stopped and searched for no reason whatsoever under section 44 of the terrorism act, so these really make no difference to me.

However, I would also like to see the Met Police reassure ethnic minorities that they have rid the police force of the racist ideology and officers willing to abuse their powers with impunity, then there shouldn’t be any concerns. I know the feeling, which I am afraid most people will not understand unless you have been stopped, abused and have had insults hurled at you while you were going about your daily routine. Perhaps, there needs to be a mechanism of stop and search within the Met Police to churn out ignorance or implement plans to educate the police staff on religious/cultural sensitivities, basic manners and some level of public relation skills, before they begin to stop and search criminals as well as the law abiding citizens.