Following the publication of my report, ‘“We Live Together and Can Stay Together”: Muslim voices in the aftermath of the Birmingham riots’ last week, BBC News online has written a feature about it. I have reproduced the feature below although if you prefer to read the original – written by Sitala Peek – you can do so by clicking here:
Muslims ‘shown in positive light’ after Birmingham riots
Sitala Peek BBC News, Birmingham
The Birmingham riots in August, culminating in the deaths of three men while they were protecting their community stores from looters, were a dark chapter in the city’s history.
However, one unexpected benefit of the disorder may have been a positive change in the way British Muslims are viewed by society, according to one academic.
Dr Chris Allen, an expert on Islamophobia at the University of Birmingham, said Muslims had historically been portrayed in a negative light by the British media, resulting in widespread mistrust.
That prejudice was turned on its head by the actions of a grieving father, Tariq Jahan, who publicly appealed for calm, just hours after his son was killed in the riots, he said.
Mr Jahan’s response has been credited by police for helping to restore calm to the city.
After conducting surveys with Birmingham Muslims about the riots Dr Allen said some Muslims felt the world now had a better understanding of them.
He said: “While some groups were rioting in the city centre many from the Muslim and Sikh community had chosen to take to the streets on the outskirts to protect their local community and the businesses that operate in them.”
Yesterday I was approached to give an interview to the Dutch newspaper De Pers about the riots in Britain and Birmingham in particular. An article relating to this has been published today and can be found by clicking here.
For those who do not read Dutch, I have reproduced a ‘Google Translate’ version below although I am unable to vouch for its accuracy and having read it, I’m not sure the translation exactly captures the points I was trying to make:
No ideals, a new TV
By: Harmke Berghuis, Meike Bergwerff Fieke & Hammers
The British were furious. A group of criminal and greedy people leave their cities in ruins. They feel ignored.
So here goes, 2008 has taught me (relevant links added where appropriate…) that:
My life has been in a constant state of flux – something that doesn’t (yet…?) appear to be changing…!
A lot of nastiness, rubbish and nonsense has been thrown my way
You shouldn’t ever get comfortable and think that things are getting better as there’s always something else just around the corner
People get offended about almost anything and everything, here
The weight of expectation resting on the shoulders of Barack Obama seems to be beyond the capabilities of any one human being, here
At the same time, Barack Obama is also (allegedly) the Anti-Christ, here
The title for this post comes from what must be one of the cheesiest of Christmas hits, Mud’s “Lonely This Christmas”. Sung in a fake Elvis baritone voice, the song was Mud’s second UK number one reaching the top of the charts in December 2004. Even cheesier, the song is also responsible for the band’s most memorable British television performance where on Top of the Pops, the song was sung to a ventriloquist’s dummy. On paper then, the song doesn’t have much going for it.
Despite this, the words to the song have had a slight resonance with me this year. With its subject matter being about not being with the ones you love at Christmas, it has repeatedly reminded me that this year will be the first that I do not wake up on Christmas morning with all of my children with me. Fortunately, I will wake up with people I love and who love me back – and I’m not dismissing this in any way whatsoever – but it won’t be all of us together.
The situation for me though is lessened when I think about my eldest daughter, Emily. Whilst she too will wake up in a house where there are others around her and who love her (including myself), it is a possibility that the ‘house…’ she will wake up in ‘…is not her home’.
This week I’ve…
…watched the last episode of BBC1’s ‘Apparitions’ (but didn’t watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ at the Electric Cinema, Birmingham due to people being organised and buying their tickets in advance…!!!)
…listened to my i-Pod Christmas playlist (entitled ‘Crimbo’ – favourites include The Killers’ ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’, The Eels ‘Everything’s Going to Be Cool This Christmas’, and Darlene Love’s ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’)
…read the Ikea ‘Family’ magazine (it’s been a challenging week)
…laughed at yoga and my natural ability to be able to flawlessly practice it
…despaired at Pensnett Panthers Under FC (Under 11s Boys)
…had hope about Harry having been given a clean bill of health by the Birmingham Children’s Hospital
…been completely random about going on the Metro from Birmingham to Wolverhampton and visiting St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral for a family day out…!!!
‘The 12 Posts of Xmas’ are a series of posts that will be published between 1 December and 25 December 2008. From tales of woe through humour to mere rants, each post is based around a classic Christmas song and is accompanied by a festive images of times gone by…!!!
I was a child (of sorts) in the 1970s, the time when most of the classic Christmas pop songs were written and begun their giddy ascent into British folklore (Slade, Wizzard, Mud et al). One song that my family never liked – possibly because it was quite unlike most other Christmas songs – was Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas”. Because of this, I too grew up disliking the song, feeling that it wasn’t a real Christmas song, whatever that meant.
This stayed with me for many years.
Part of my own family’s tradition every Christmas is to listen to all the Christmas classics whilst driving in the car. Sadly, we normally start this about mid-November and with each new technological advance, so the format of the listening experience changes: C90, CD and at the moment, I-Pod playlist. Alongside the old classics – Slade, Wizzard, Mud et al – we now have The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, The Darkness (sorry), Bo Selecta (even sorrier) and The Killers. Yet unlike my family in the 1970s, nowadays Greg Lake’s song is included.