Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I, a former Islamic extremist, feel we have given in to the fanatics

Like many young British Muslims, I was 'radicalised' at college. Just as the three British-born men who were found guilty this week of plotting to blow flights out of the sky were recruited at school, I encountered extreme Muslims at the age of 16 and was slowly converted to their ranks.

At my East London college, the Islamic society was run by the extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir, which believes in setting up an Islamic state, destroying Israel, and denounces Western values.

At first, I, too, was convinced by their rhetoric. However one awful violent moment changed me for ever. A young African man was knifed to death by the Muslim contingent at the college, simply for being a non-believer.

After a petty row over the use of the snooker table, the Muslim group issued a call of Jihad against the young man and summoned their Hizb ut Tahrir contacts for 'outside backup'.

An operative arrived and plunged a dagger into the boy's heart. The victim's name was Ayotunde Obunabi and I saw him lying dead. To Hizb ut Tahrir his life was worthless because he was not a Muslim.

At that moment I understood the consequences of the rhetoric of radicalism. Read more

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Sunday, 6 September 2009

GREAT BADDOW: Controversial rector resigns over 'theological differences'

A VILLAGE rector at the centre of a row over his controversial opinions on homosexuality has resigned.

Alan Comfort, 44, cited "theological differences" with his congregation as the reason for leaving his post at St Mary's Church, Great Baddow.

The former professional footballer angered members of his congregation with comments on same-sex relationships in July.

Spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford, Ralph Meloy, said: "It was apparent from early on that there were unexpected theological differences between the congregation and Mr Comfort.

"So he is taking this action believing it to be to the mutual benefit of all concerned."

Rev Comfort, who also acts as team chaplain for Leyton Orient Football Club, announced his intention to step down on Sunday.

The message was passed onto his congregation by associate minister, the Rev Sandy Southee.

Rev Comfort was unavailable for comment, despite numerous attempts to contact him.

The comments which angered sections of the congregation and the wider community in Great Baddow were made during services at the church, and later in an interview with the Essex Chronicle. Read more
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BNP gets a slot on BBC's Question Time

THE BBC has provoked controversy by giving the British National party a platform for the first time on Question Time, its top current affairs programme.

Nick Griffin, the BNP leader who was elected to the European parliament in June, is expected to be on the show in October. The corporation has decided that the far-right party deserves more airtime because it has demonstrated “electoral support at a national level”.

The move has caused consternation among politicians, with some Labour MPs and at least one cabinet minister pledging to boycott Question Time. They fear the BNP will use the publicity to promote a racist agenda.

The change in policy has also triggered dissent within the BBC. One senior correspondent, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s barmy ... Public servants can be sacked for membership of the BNP and yet the BBC wants to give them airtime with the main political parties.”

The BBC changed its position after the party won two seats at the European elections. Its share of the national vote at that poll was 6.2%. “They got across a threshold that has given them national representation and that fact will be reflected in the level of coverage they will be given,” said Ric Bailey, the BBC’s chief adviser on politics. “This is not a policy about the BNP. It’s a policy about impartiality.”

The decision was approved by Mark Byford, the deputy director-general. David Dimbleby, the show’s host, backed the change. Read more
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