Thursday, October 13, 2005

More from Chris

Dear Nilknarf,

Your point about the prisoners is valid. I was not that interested in commenting on it. From an operation point of view, it may be more in the interests of the prison wardens etc to appear neutral. If you are going to get into a fight with prisoners it should be over something else not this. That is why I would not advocate a ban, but a sensible approach based on the given situation. If there are a high number of Muslim prisoners then it would probably be better not to appear deliberately provocative.

As for the past, memory is of course selective. But the Crusades are a powerful symbol even today, invoked indeed by George Bush. For many Arabs and Muslims, the Crusades have started up again. It is seen as a living symbol of western colonialism and interference.

None of this is an apology for what may happen in the Middle east for example what is happening to gays in Iran. But who is pretending that Iran is some perfect country, it is largely in the international dog house for all sorts of reasons.

As for all the other atrocities, in Bali and the like, these people are extremist Jihadis, One cannot hold the entirety of over 1 billion Muslims responsible for all their actions. Just because these things happen does not mean that we should not be maintaining our values. One of the main aims of these groups is to drag us into the gutter with them, to abandon legal and human rights standards, to abandon our democratic systems. Our greatest strength must be to remain countries where justice and fairness prevails.

Many changes are desirable in the Arab/Islamic world and other areas and indeed here. But we should not hold off changes on the basis that they are not happening elsewhere. We should lead by example, showing respect and understanding. Then we can take the moral high ground...

Of course there are far more serious examples of this than this story which is relatively insignificant in the scheme of things.
Chris Doyle

CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)

1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
Tel: 020 7832 1310
Fax: 020 7832 1329

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Expect my reply in a couple of days - am still unpacking in the new house, so not had the time to go through this properly. Off the top of my head, there is a question about why a large proportion of prisoners seem, to be over-represented to the extent that they need to be appeased.

Maybe if they had a bit more respect for the laws of their nation, they wouldn't be in a position to be upset by a representation of the St George Cross.

More later. :)


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