Rusi Report: The Real News is Not Taliban but the West Wants Exit

RUSI is a reputable organisation with its feet firmly on the ground and contacts with the highest decision making bodies. Hence its research that the Taliban may be willing to negotiate peace has to be taken seriously. But the spin on the news is somewhat reflective of where RUSI and much of the USA-UK have been in the last decade. The real news is not that the Taliban are willing to change, but that the USA-UK may be willing to negotiate. More…

The Road to Damascus, Laden With Bombs

That beautiful Biblical narrative ‘road to Damascus’ when Saul became Paul, began serving Christ and humanity is fast becoming a road to ‘war’. Ideologies and power politics are weeding their way into this 8000 year old ancient city with bombs and hate, threatening the survival of entire humanity. A city steeped in the histories of Abrahamic traditions is on the verge of precipitating an Islamic version of the Catholic-Protestant thirty year bloody war of seventeenth century (1618 to 1648) but also drawing in the extended Abrahamic family, Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Western Secularism. More…

Banking Practices, We Need An Enquiry Not a Soap Opera

The majority of people are still puzzled why they were able to book two holidays a year in 2007 and then found themselves struggling with mortgages from 2008 onwards. Banking crises, financial crises, economic crises, recession are words floated with impunity for the perpetrators. Bankers are getting bigger bonuses. Fatcat Executives are becoming fatter. Governments are printing more money. So why are ordinary people losing jobs, houses and self respect? Why are small businesses going bust? And what has LIBOR got to do with all this? We need answers not political theatre. We need a judge led enquiry not a parliamentary investigation. More…

Taking a leaf out of Confucius’ book

As Hu Jintao opened the Olympics, the Chinese president consigned Mao to distant history and laid claim to Confucianism.

Many Chinese think that Confucianism has values which the rest of humanity could learn from. Perhaps. But the question is, does the Chinese regime really follow Confucius? And rather than talking about human rights, perhaps we should ask the Chinese government what it understands by Confucianism and the dignity of man. More…

Full marks to British tolerance

The Sikh schoolgirl Sarika Watkins-Singh’s victory at the high court to wear her “kara”, the steel bangle worn by Sikhs, is a reflection of British tolerance and a common-sense approach to different cultural communities when compared to the more fundamentalist approach of countries such as France. Twenty-first century France still cannot come to grips with a turban-wearing schoolchild. But it is sad that Sarika had to go to the court at all. As her solicitor said, each generation seems to have to go through the same struggles. More…

A visionary leader

Where does one go from Archbishop Rowan William’s statement? Bury it and resign, say some Anglicans; it’s ludicrous and inconsistent with British values say government, secularists and media, unhelpful say some Islamic academics. Yet the whole episode reveals how far the church has come and exposes the inherent universalism in secularism and the myth of the Enlightenment. It also echoes the main issue of our time: the tension between cultures. More…

Behind Behtzi

Freedoms are never absolute, least of all in multicultural, multiracial societies where responsibilities to co-exist must limit them. Most British people recognise this, which is why the career of the football commentator Ron Atkinson was ended when he made a racist remark. Britain’s Asian communities are generally less fazed by colour prejudice, but are sensitive to offence of the sacred: culture and the sacred defines Asians. The Sikh community’s reaction to Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s play Behzti illustrate this. More…