Sunday, 29 September 2013

Jubel Miah is no "devout Muslim"

BFTF was left gobsmacked by the way the story of wife beater Jebel Miah was reported by the Daily Mail and The Telegraph recently.

Mr Miah, 21, and a convicted drug dealer, subjected his wife to a year long campaign of violence and intimidation before she finally escaped after being atacked with scissors and a dumbell.

All the available evidence suggests that Miah is a very nasty piece of work, and possibly has mental health issues.

Yet the Daily Mail managed to run with the headline " 'Devout Muslim' who dealt heroin subjected his wife to a year of 'hell' and terrorised her into wearing a veil after she said she wanted to go to college"

While The Telegraph ran with "Devout Muslim Jubel Miah battered wife and forced her to wear niqab"

BFTF send two complaints to the PCC (one regarding the Daily Mail article, one regarding the Telegraph article:

PCC Code (Item 1i) : "The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures."

The article, in its headline, chooses to use the words "devout Muslim" to describe a person who was a drug dealer and who bullied and beat his wife. The implication is that this is the kind of thing that "devout Muslims" do. Such an implication tars the whole British Muslim community, fans the fires of the far-right and is deeply damaging to community cohesion.

No evidence is presented in the article that Jubel Miah is, in any way, devout. Examples of such evidence would be that he prayed five times a day, or that he read the Quran regularly, or that he voluntered at his local mosque.

What is not evidence is, say, the defence counsel stating he was "devout" in a desperate bid to get a lighter sentence.

The Daily Mail article is written by Ted Thornhill, and BFTF wonders whether he realises the harm that headlines like this can cause. So BFTF sent him this:

"Dear Ted, Very disappointed by the headline on your article of 27th September "'Devout Muslim' who dealt heroin subjected his wife to a year of 'hell' and terrorised her into wearing a veil after she said she wanted to go to college" and the, similarly worded, lead paragraph of the aritcle as both of these associate being a "devout Muslim" with being a drug dealer and wife beater.

I can see no evidence that Jubel Miah was in any way "devout", nothing about praying 5 times a day, reading the Quran or helping at his local mosque - all of which are actions that might be evidence of being "devout".

Forcing your wife to wear a niqab under threat of violence doesn't make you devout, it just makes you a bully.

Associating being "devout" with the reprehensible behaviour of Miah tars the whole British Muslim community, fans the fires of the far-right and is deeply damaging to community cohesion.

I wonder whether you are actually aware of the harm that this kind of reporting does, hence this communication."


MailOnline headline

The Telegraph headline

Having said all that, and not withstanding the sympathy that is due to his victim and the others that have been harmed by his actions, there is a real injustice here - it is that his sentence was only 16 weeks, meaning he could be out in just 2 months.

Indeed, the Telegraph article quotes Rachel Horman, head of the domestic violence division at law firm Watson Ramsbottom, who said:
"The sentence is an insult to the victim and people will view the punishment as a slap on the wrist. . .There has been a prolonged 12-month ordeal, so why was only one charge brought? It's absolutely shocking and it makes me really angry. . . If this was an attack by a stranger in the street, I can guarantee it would have been a different story. Domestic violence is often undersentenced and too much blame is given to the victims."


BFTF cannot understand why the headline for the aricle was not something along the lines of:
"Thug who beat wife for a year given just a "slap on the wirst"


Also sent an email to local MP and Conservative Group saying that BFTF was "very angry" that, after all that came out in Leveson, this kind of reporting was still being allowed.

Update 24Nov13:Emails still going to and fro between BFTF, the PCC and MailOnline. But wonder whether should also have challenged on the basis of Item 12 : Discrimination:
i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story
Update Dec 2013
As previously mentioned, BFTF was left gobsmacked by the way the story of wife beater Jebel Miah was reported by the Daily Mail and The Telegraph earlier this year.

All the available evidence suggests that Miah is a very nasty piece of work, and possibly has mental health issues.

Yet the Daily Mail managed to run with the headline "'Devout Muslim' who dealt heroin subjected his wife to a year of 'hell' and terrorised her into wearing a veil after she said she wanted to go to college"

A complaint to the Press Complaints Council has resulted in the MailOnline changing their headline!! The outcome of the challenge has been published on the PCC website as a "resolved" complaint.
"Mr Ash Choudry complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had inaccurately described a convicted heroin dealer, who had bullied and beaten his wife, as a "devout Muslim", in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

Resolution:Although the newspaper did not accept a breach of the Code, the complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the words "devout Muslim" from the online article as a gesture of good will."

Indeed, the Daily Mail changed the description of Miah from "Devout Muslim" to "Heroin Dealer", which I think everyone can agree is a more accurate label.

From "Devout Muslim" to "Heroin Dealer"...

There were just two complainants to the PCC regarding this article. Which just shows that it does not take much to achieve a change, even in an online publication such as the DailyMail, which is one of the biggest internet news sites.

With this result in the bag, it is now time to go after the Telegraph and the source of the story, Reuters.

You, dear reader, can help achieve success here too, by contacting the PCC and/or by signing the petition below (which was very kindly set up Antonia Zenkevitch , who is involved in one of Nottingham's interfaith groups.)

The petition can be found at :
https://www.change.org/petitions/press-complaints-commission-the-telegraph-newspaper-the-daily-mail-domestic-abusers-are-not-devout

And the key section is perhaps this one:
We request that: The word 'devout' never be used to describe someone who batters another human (especially without evidence of how and if they practice their faith) Domestic Abusers are not devout - this is not just true of Islam. That the widespread issue of Domestic Violence is more accurately covered by the press and not attributed to minorities. That the press take care not to inflame religious hatred

Related Content
The Daily Mail and the Strict Muslim
Positive Muslim Stories in the Daily Mail
How to positively engage with the Media

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Driving affects womens fertility? Really?

An article in Al-Arabiya reports on one Sheikh al-Luhaydan stated that :

"[driving] could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees”
Does sounds like some pretty extradordinary claims, so they need some pretty extraordinary evidence to back them up.It's not up to the reader to find that evidence, its up to Sheikh al-Luhaydan.

After all, how exactly does driving have a different effect on human physiology that just, you know, sitting down?

Posture is important, of course, whether one is sitting down or driving. You can read about it here.

The reason BFTF is posting this is as an example of how people need critical thinking skills to be able to see through this kind of think. This is an extreme example, but there are plenty of more subtle ones circulating in the media, on many topics. And they are all trying to influence us in some way.

Related Links
Responsible reporting, Daily Mail stylee
A Talk on the Nature of Conspiracy Theories
The Heirarchy of Argument


How to Positively Engage with the Media (short version)

This is a really important post, please read either this one or the short version.

Part A : Report on a talk by Martin Moore entitled "How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims"

Part B : Report on a Media Awareness Workshop by Engage

**************************************************************************************

Part A: How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims
Bobbers Mill Community Centre recently hosted a fascinating talk by Martin Moore entitled "How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims".This post is very shortened summary of the full report which can be found here

Martin Moore has worked in the news media for over a decade and is now director of the Media Standards Trust, an organisation that aims to foster high standards in news media.

The talk covered four main areas...:

1) Is there a problem with the portrayal of Islam in the media?

Whilst there is much good reporting, there is a serious problem with overall media bias. For example, a report has commented that there are negative framings of Islam in 26% of stories compared to only 2% of stories that show Muslims to hold common moral values.


Why no mention in the media of Muslim run foodbanks?


2) If so, why?
Martin explained that one reason for the poor reporting of Muslims was that media organisations had a significant lack of knowledge about faiths, especially Islam. 3) Does it matter?
Yees, it does matter. Biased reporting increases hate crime, encourages far right organisation and affects the behaviour of public institutions.

4) What can be done?
Engage : It is important to engage with the media by meeting with journalists, writing (both positively and challegingly) to the local media and sharing events with the local media so that a relationship can be built with them.

Inform : Help the media do its job by providing useful information, background and resources to them.

Challenge : Journalists can be quite thin skinned and sensitive to criticism, particularly if the criticism is well argued, evidence based, rational and delivered on a person-to-person level by email. Blog posts and Tweets also important communication channels.

An important point that was made was that Muslims, and Muslim organisations, had am important role to play in presenting a diversity of opinion. These interactions, challenging and praising, need to be on a variety of subjects, including those that are not exclusively "Islamic".

Why isn't the Muslim community fighting to protect the NHS?

Martin Moore at Bobbers Mill Community Centre
 

**************************************************************************************

Report on a Media Awareness Workshop by Engage
The workshop was an excellent event, and it was great to see the presenters allowing so much interaction from the audience. Critically, Engage do not just preach about what people should be doing in terms of social action - they actually do it!!

As one might expect, the workshop covered a lot of the same ground as Martin Moore's talk, but there were still plenty of eye opening snippets of information worth noting :

Media Reach
The Sun and the Daily Mail are easily the biggest two newspapers in the UK

The BBC provides 45% of news output in the UK, and Radios 1,2 and 4 have have of the UK radio audience

Online, BBC news also has the largest audience share (24%) followed by MailOnline (16%) and then the Guardian, Telegraph and Yahoo (10-11%)

Social Media is a disruptive technology. The rise of Citizen Journalism, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging etc mean that people can get there news from a variety of sources

The Media is the "Fourth Estate" (the other three being the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary) - but whereas the Media can destroy any politician or judge, there is no-one who can truly hold the media to account.

One of the Engage Team presenting the workshop

Regulating / Challenging Print Media Output
"Letters to the editor" have a high chance of being published. More formally, complaints should be directed to the Press Complaints Council, probably using sections of the PCC code are Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 12 (Discrimination)

Some complaints are successful, some are not

Regulating / Challenging Broadcast Media Output
In the case of the BBC, complain to them directly - you MUST use the word "complaint" or your challenge will be dismissed. It is likely that you will refer to sections 3 (Accuracy), 4 (Impartiality), 11 (War, Terrorism and Emergencies) and 12 (Religion) of the BBC Editorial Guidelines. Remember, you MUST challenge within 30 days of the programme being aired.

For other broadcast media (both TV and radio) challenge via OFCOM, probably using sections 2 (Harm), 4 (Religion) or 5 (Impartiality) of the OFCOM Code.

Some complaints are successful, some are not .

What next?
Be Active !
Sign up to the Engage mailing list to receive Action Alerts
Engage with local and national media - postitively and well as to challenge, on any subject as well as "Islamic" issues. Checkout what Engage have been doing, and how they have been doing it, here . You can do this stuff too !!!

Related Content
Praising the Daily Mail
Challenging the Daily Mail
Praising the BBC (see also here)
Challenging the BBC
The Best Thing About Living In The UK

Image Sources
Santa Claus

Thursday, 26 September 2013

How to Positively Engage with the Media (full version)

This is a really important post, please read either this one or the short version.

Part A : Report on a talk by Martin Moore entitled "How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims"

Part B : Report on a Media Awareness Workshop by Engage

**************************************************************************************

How to Positively Engage with the Media : Strategies for British Muslims
Martin Moore has worked in the news media for over a decade, for the BBC, Channel 4, NTL, IPC Media, Trinity Mirror and others. He is now director of the Media Standards Trust, an organisation that describes itself as :

"an independent registered charity which aims to foster high standards in news media on behalf of the public. We’re a ‘think-and-do-tank’, conducting research on important media issues but also running projects (such as building websites, running prizes and organising events) to promote quality, transparency and accountability in news. We are committed to the freedom of the press, and are not aligned with any political party or particular media company (though we work with a variety of news organisations and individual journalists and developers)..

The talk covered four main areas:

1) Is there a problem with the portrayal of Islam in the media? (BFTF: Bit of a rhetorical question, this one)
2) If so, why?
3) Does it matter?
4) What can be done?

to which BFTF has added two extra sections:

5) Other Comments
6) Related Content

Martin Moore at Bobbers Mill Community Centre
 

1) Is there a problem with the portrayal of Islam in the media?

Martin firstly commented that there was a great deal of good reporting out there and emphasised that "journalism is a process that has to be done at great speed", with the result that mistakes get made.

Nevertheless, he added that there was a serious problem, giving the recent example of how a story about a Muslim woman who had been ordered to remove her veil when giving evidence at court quickly turned into a wave of stories across the media focussed on the the possibiliy of banning the veil in schools and hospitals The media pressure resulted in the story also talking up a political dimension, with the, and then took on a political dimension with Jeremy Browne, the Home Office Minister, called for a "national debate" on the niqab and Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, ordering a review of guidance on the issue.

(BFTF, and many others note that there are few, if any, veiled women in the frontline of the NHS and that a number of NHS hospitals have already put rules in place making clear that frontline staff must have their face visible when dealing with patients. Another point worth noting is that a story about a college banning, and then allowing, the wearing of veils was also a significant contributory factor to the way the story developed in the media)

Martin commented that the prevalence of stories that protrayed Muslims in a negative light had increased dramatically since 9/11 and gave some feeling for the extect of the problem by quoting a report that said:

"So, for example, the idea that Islam is dangerous, backward or irrational is present in 26% of stories. By contrast, only 2% of stories contained the proposition that Muslims supported dominant moral values.

Similarly, we found that the most common nouns used in relation to British Muslims were terrorist, extremist, Islamist, suicide bomber and militant, with very few positive nouns (such as ‘scholar’) used. The most common adjectives used were radical, fanatical, fundamentalist, extremist and militant. Indeed, references to radical Muslims outnumber references to moderate Muslims by 17 to one."


Why no mention in the media of Muslim run foodbanks?


Another example given was that of a GLA report (full report here) which noted that, whilst there were examples of good reporting, media coverage of Islam and Muslims was negative, as described in extract below.

"..in most (though not all) of the UK print media, and for most (though not all) of the time...the project found that:
1. The dominant view in the media is that there is no common ground between the West and Islam, and that conflict between them is accordingly inevitable.

2. Muslims in Britain are seen in the media as a threat to traditional British customs,values and ways of life.

3. Alternative world-views, understandings and opinions are not mentioned, or are not given a fair hearing.

4. Facts are frequently distorted, exaggerated or over-simplified.

5. The tone of language is frequently emotive, immoderate, alarmist and abusive.

The coverage is likely to provoke and increase feelings of insecurity, suspicion and anxiety amongst non-Muslims.

7. The coverage is at the same time likely to provoke feelings of insecurity, vulnerability and alienation amongst Muslims, and in this way may weaken the Government’s measures to reduce and prevent extremism

8. The coverage is unlikely to help diminish levels of hate crime and acts of unlawful discrimination by non-Muslims against Muslims.

9. The coverage is likely to be a major barrier preventing the success of the Government’s community cohesion policies and programmes.

10. The coverage is unlikely to contribute to informed discussion and debate amongst Muslims and non-Muslims about ways of working together to maintain and develop Britain as a multicultural, multi-faith democracy.

Another strand of stories implies that state authorities were chamging the UK's culture to accomodate Muslims, an example being the annual slew of stories railing against the "renaming" of Christmas (see here and here. The Christian-Muslim forum perhaps hit the nail on the head in their statement which said:

"Those who use the fact of religious pluralism as an excuse to de-Christianise British society unthinkingly become recruiting agents for the extreme Right. They provoke antagonism towards Muslims and others by foisting on them an anti-Christian agenda they do not hold."

Martin also mentioned a resignation letter that had been written by Richard Peppiat to the Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Star.

Christmas? Bring it on !

2) If so, why?
Martin explained that one reason for the poor reporting of Muslims was that media organisations had a significant lack of knowledge about faiths, especially Islam.

Refernce was again made to the excellent "The search for common ground" GLA report, which interviewed a number of Muslim journalists and made the following comments regarding Muslim journalists:
"When writing about issues concerning Islam or Muslims they [Muslim Journalists] are more likely to do so with sensitivity and fairness, and awareness of complexity [and] interacting with members of the public who are Muslims they are more likely to establish a rapport and to win people’s trust and confidence. They are able to advise and challenge colleagues, including senior editors, about how certain stories should and should not be covered."
The report also gives advice to news media managers:

"It is important, however, that senior managers in news organisations should understand that there is a wide range of opinion, outlook and practice amongst journalists of Muslim backgrounds, as amongst people of Muslim backgrounds more generally. Not all practise the religion, for example, and no single individual should be treated as a representative or ambassador.

[Managers should] recognise that journalists of Muslim backgrounds are keen to be seen essentially as journalists who happen to be Muslims rather than Muslims who happen to be journalists and resist pressures to limit people’s career prospects by pigeon-holing and typecasting them into a narrow range of work."


Martin quoted one of the journalists who commented on the view in the newsroom as being one where :
‘The idea was that they were all part of the same tree and it could all be explained through a set of common behavioural characteristics in a way that would be absolutely shocking if it was said about any other ethnic group"

And it is perhaps worth mentioning this quote from the same reporter:

‘The crucial fact is that the leader writers, decision-makers, columnists didn’t have any Muslim friends. So you lacked fundamentally the empathy to be able to say, well we can’t just group an entire two million people as all the same. The idea that there was this Islamic monolith that was about to take over, and all thought the same and had this rabid anti-intellectual inability to reason, seemed quite prevalent even in the very highest decision-making parts of the media... The biggest problem for me came in realising that being scared shitless by this big group of people that are out to get you is actually quite a good story. People have an interest, and always have had, in having bogeymen. That’s more or less what is happening."


During the Q&A session after the talk, a member of the audience commented that perhaps sponsoring internships in local media orgs was a way of encouraging engagement between young Muslim adults and media organisations

Invite journalists to your events

3) Does it matter?
Martin gave a number of reasons as to why we should care about biased reporting in the media.

Firstly, it has a real impact on the levels of hate crime, as shown by the statisics reported by TellMAMA.

Secondly, biased and misleading reporting encourages far right organisations such as the EDL.

Thirdly, it affects the behaviour of public institutions.

Have you engaged with the PCC, and told your MP what your experience was like?

4) What can be done?
This was inevitably going to be the key to the whole talk, and Martin provided some valuable guidance on what does, or does not work when dealing with media organisations.

Engage : Martin pointed out that it is much harder to cariacature someone you do not know and that familiarity makes the "other" less threatening. For this reason it is important to engage with the media by meeting with journalists, writing (both positively and challegingly) to the local media and sharing events with the local media so that a relationship can be built with them.

Importantly, if the Muslim community wants positive stories in the media then they need to help the media to achieve this, possibly by providing guidance on the issues involved, or preparing press releases and other information so that journalists have the resources to report accurately on a story.

A good example is the "Science Media Centre" which offers journalists "an independent press office helping to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines"

Inform : Martin again mentioned the need to help the media do its job by pointing out that the work done by TellMAMA had been picked up by the mainstream media and had resulted in a number of stories highlighting anti-Muslim attacks in the wake of the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby.

Challenge : Perhaps the most surprising revelation of the talk was Martin's comments that journalists can be quite thin skinned and sensitive to criticism, particularly if the criticism is well argued, evidence based, rational and delivered on a person-to-person level.

Karimia Institute (the parent organisation of Bobbers Mill Community Centre) was mentioned for the way it had placed a full page advert in the local press in the wake of the Lee Rigby killings, with Martin commenting that the local press had not expected that action and that it had been a successfull way of getting the message across to the local population.

Blog posts and Tweets, especially if they mentioned the name of the journalist who had penned the story, were also important means of challenging the media.

Surprisingly, challenges from individuals could be just as effective as those from organisations. In the case of the national media, perhaps even more so, as journalists would put up defensive barriers against challenges from organisations and did not view their challnges as being the same kind of human-to-human interaction characterised by contacts from ordinary citizens.

Martin also pointed out that there were some national media organisations that had a clear agenda of publishing stories adverse to the Muslim community - and challenging these organisations was much less likely to be effective -unless you were the specific person they were attacking.

An important point that was made was that Muslims, and Muslim organisations, had am important role to play in presenting a diversity of opinion. Not just in areas where the media, society or government is being challenged, but also by praising the media, society or the government when something postive has been achieved.,

And these interactions, challenging and praising, need to be on a variety of subjects, including those that are not exclusively "Islamic". An example given by a member of the audience during the Q&A was how they had read a story about the parks in the on-line version of the Nottingham Post and had left a comment saying that parks were a great asset to the city and that the council needed to look after them for future generations.

Why isn't the Muslim community fighting to protect the NHS?

5) Other Comments
The Chief Executive of Karimia, Dr Musharraf Hussain, made some opening and closing remarks, commenting on how the media "play a hugely important function" in society and adding that he hoped to set up a small group at Karimia who could engage with the media.

*************************************************************************

Report on a Media Awareness Workshop by Engage
The workshop was an excellent event, and it was great to see the presenters allowing so much interaction from the audience. Critically, Engage do not just preach about what people should be doing in terms of social action - they actually do it!!

As one might expect, the workshop covered a lot of the same ground as Martin Moore's talk, but there were still plenty of eye opening snippets of information worth noting :

Media Reach
The Sun and the Daily Mail are easily the biggest two newspapers in the UK (full data here):
The Sun: 2.4m circ
Daily Mail : 1.9m circ
Daily Mirror : 1.1m circ
Eve Std : 0.7m circ
Daily Telegraph : 0.6m circ
Daily Star : 0.5m circ
.....
The Guardian : 0.2m circ

UK Print Media is almost all in the hands of just five people : Murdoch, Lebedev, Desmond, Assoc. News and Trinity Mirror.

The BBC provides 45% of news output in the UK, and Radios 1,2 and 4 have have of the UK radio audience

Online, BBC news also has the largest audience share (24%) followed by MailOnline (16%) and then the Guardian, Telegraph and Yahoo (10-11%)

Social Media is a disruptive technology. The rise of Citizen Journalism, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging etc mean that people can get there news from a variety of sources

The Media is the "Fourth Estate" (the other three being the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary) - but whereas the Media can destroy any politician or judge, there is no-one who can truly hold the media to account.

Muslims and the Media
Many of the images returned in a Google search for "Muslims" are of angry men, which is not a good starting point.

[BFTF: Although, to be fair, a search for "Christians" or "Jews" does not return a garden of Eden either. In contrast, the Sikh and Hindu demographics appear to have got their SEO very well sorted indeed.]

In the UK press, and relating to Muslims, refernences to "Terrorist" outnumber those to "Moderate" by 17 to 1

Often, TV debates will feature both an extremely liberal and an extremely intolerant Muslim - leaving the mainstream community without a voice.

But it is not all "doom and gloom". Engage pointed out that developing relationships with media (which means engaging to praise, to offer stories as well as to challenge) really can make a difference, as can having more Muslims in the media industry, in any role.
One of the Engage Team presenting the workshop

Regulating / Challenging Print Media Output
One way to challenge biased media stories is with a "letter to the editor". This is becoming something of a dying art, so any submitted letters have a high chance of being published, not least because the paper wants to show that its readers are engaged and have a variety of views. In online newssites, letters have essentially been replaced by the comments sections under the main article.

More formally, complaints should be directed to the Press Complaints Council (although, at the time of writing, this organisation is likely to be replaced by the Royal Charter or another industry led body.

Key sections of the PCC code are Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 12 (Discrimination)

Example of a successful complaint : "Poppy Bans".

Example of an unsuccessful complaint : "Bacon Smell" story

Regulating / Challenging Broadcast Media Output
In the case of the BBC, complain to them directly - you MUST use the word "complaint" or your challenge will be dismissed. It is likely that you will refer to sections 3 (Accuracy), 4 (Impartiality), 11 (War, Terrorism and Emergencies) and 12 (Religion) of the BBC Editorial Guidelines. Remember, you MUST challenge within 30 days of the programme being aired.

For other broadcast media (both TV and radio) challenge via OFCOM, probably using sections 2 (Harm), 4 (Religion) or 5 (Impartiality) of the OFCOM Code.

Examples of sucessful challenges include those regarding Jeremy Paxman and The Daily Mail.

Examples of unsuccessful challenges include those regarding Mic Righteous and Citizen Khan [a show that BFTF is rather fond of actually].

What next?
Be Active !
Sign up to the Engage mailing list to receive Action Alerts
Engage with local and national media - postitively and well as to challenge, on any subject as well as "Islamic" issues. Checkout what Engage have been doing, and how they have been doing it, here . You can do this stuff too !!!

6) Related Content
Praising the Daily Mail
Challenging the Daily Mail
Praising the BBC (see also here)
Challenging the BBC
The Best Thing About Living In The UK

Image Sources
Santa Claus

A Very Short Poem About Fig Rolls





Yesterday I ate a whole packet of Fig Rolls

And another today, that makes two

I'm expecting that very soon

I'll going to need to go for a poo

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Responsible Reporting - Daily Mail Stylee

By the magic that is Twitter, BFTF has read how the Daily Mail recently published an article wih the following quote:

Trust me, you don't want to read the article, but if you feel you need confirmation of what is says, here is the link in a spirit of transparency. Anyway, the key paragraph says:

Someone once told me that executives at a certain popular search engine don’t allow wifi in their homes. I don’t know if that is true, but if it is, it tells you all you need to know about how much those who actually run the internet feel they can trust it with their children.

Wow, BFTF had no idea quality journalism was so easy. If BFTF understands correctly, journalism works like this :

i)State conspiracy theory / outlandish fact
ii) Admit you don't know if the conspiracy theory or outlandish fact has any basis in reality at all, now have you tried to find out.
iii) Continue with the article on the assumption that the conspiracy theory is true.

Ok. got it. Now lets see if BFTF can match the quality, fairness and intellectual rigour of the Daily Mail...

"Someone once told me that cats are vegetarians. I don't know if that is true, but if it is, it tells you all you need to know about how cynically the meat based pet food industry sells its wares."

"Someone once told me that men did not land on the moon. I don't know if that it true, but if it is, then it tells you all you need to know about the governments and scientists conspire to fake major events."

"Someone once told me that the E100 (turmeric) contains pig fat. I don't know if that it true, but if it is, then it tells you all you need to know about food industry camouflages meat products so consumers cannot rcognise them."

"Someone once told me that vaccines cause brain damage. I don't know if that it true, but if it is, then it tells you all you need to know about how big pharma sells us acively harmful drugs."


By George, I do believe I've got the hang of this.

A new career awaits.

Thank You Daily Mail!

(Incidentally, BFTF has, over the last couple of years, genuinely been told all the "facts" listed above)

Related Links A Talk on the Nature of Conspiracy Theories
The Heirarchy of Argument

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The "Deen Riders" visit Nottingham

The "Deen Riders" rode into town today as part of a day long fundraising effort for Syria. The day started with dawn prayers in London, folowed by visits to Bradford, Nottingham and Luton.

In Nottingham they touched down at Bobbbers Mill Community Centre, having been invited there by Karimia and Himmah, a local grassroots social action group.

The funds raised are going to help the struggling civilian population in Syria by sending key medical supplies, infrastructure equipment (such as bread making ovens) and other supplies to that war torn country.


The Deen Riders at Bobbers Mill Community Centre

Jamaal Richards, chairman of the group, explained how the Deen Riders ("Deen" is the Arabic word for "Faith") had been involved in a number of projects over the last few years, including "Ride Aid:GOSH" in which the Riders travelled through London raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

BFTF asked Jamaal for any encounters with the public that had particuarly touched him and he responded by recounting how the Riders had stoppped at Beaconsfield Services on the M40 where an elderly couple, completely unfazed by all the leather and bikes, came over to chat with the team. Jamaal said that they had spent perhaps 20minutes talking and the couple had been so impressed with the work that the Riders were doing that they had donated money to the project there and then!

Another ride that was etched in Jamaal's memory was the "Revert to Reality" ride in the lake district in support of the homeless in London. The ride involved the team performing their morning prayers with stars still visible in the sky and seeing some beautiful scenery during the day.

"In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful"

The Riders performed their afternoon prayers at Bobbers Mill Community Centre, after which one of the team gave a short talk to the riders to remind them to be courteous on the roads and set a good example to others.

Out of everything that BFTF saw at the event, it is the image below that has most touched BFTF's heart. To see so many big guys sitting so humbly really gives one pause for thought.Respect, on so many levels, to the Deen Riders.


Touching to see such humble bikers

With such a magnificent display of machinery on display, it seemed to BFTF that a few awards were due, so in no particualr order...

The "Best bone dome" award goes to Norm for this startling item:

Norm's bright headgear

The "Most British Machine" award goes jointly to Kamran and Usman for riding a pair of gorgeous Triumphs:

Usman and Kamran by their beautiful British Triumphs

Lastly, the "Most Carbon" award was easily won by Asif for this mean machine:

Asif's carbon clad machine

Sadly, all too soon, the Deen Riders were leaving Bobbers Mill to begin the last leg of their journey, aiming to be in Luton in time for Maghrib prayers....

All too soon, the Deen Riders were
riding off into the late afternoon sun

Perhaps the last word on this should go to Mrs BFTF's final comment in the short exchange below, which happened as this post was being written:

Mrs BFTF : Who are these guys fundraising for?
BFTF : Civilians in Syria.
Mrs BFTF : Well, you better give them some money then, hadn't you.

The Deen Riders "Just Giving" page is here

The Deen Riders do exactly what it says on the tin.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Archery, Rocks, Bikes and George (the Gorilla)

BFTF paid a visit to Wollaton Hall recently to watch the Archery GB National Series Final and Fun Day.

It proved to be rather a groovy day...

Archery
Competitions were held for both the Recurve (ordinary) and Compound (rambo-stylee) bows.

If you are interested in finding out more, or in taking up archery, you may wish to contact one of the 16 clubs in the county,listed here.

Recurve in action

Compound in action

In the case of this event, the Compound archers were shooting at an 80cm target at 50metres, while the Recurve archers were shooting at a 122cm target at 70metres.The shooting was pretty impressive, 50m is a long way to shoot an arrow and hit a 9 or a 10!

Not a bad turn out....

One thing you don't want to be using at an archery event is the emergency ambulance.

These guys had better have a boring day

But with this kind of thing going on, you can't be too careful.

!

Only kidding, that gent was coming off the field after checking the score, he wasn't in danger of being shot and the event was safe and secure at all times.

Rocks
Wollaton Hall is home to a rather lovely natural history museum, part of which hold a fine collection of rocks and minerals.

BFTF and No3 like rocks, so really enjoyed looking at the, often beautifully coloured, items in the collection.

A beautiful specimen of Stibnite

Bikes
Also at the archery event was "Pedal Power Sounds" where members of the public could power up a sound system just by rides dynamo-equipped stationary bikes.

If the cyclists pedalled too hard, the system stopped generationg electricity (as a precautionary measure) and it was fascinating to see how much easier it became to pedal once the resisitance of the dynamo was removed.

And, it has to be said, the vinyl tunez played were pretty...er...phat !

Pedal Power Sound were Awesome
George (the Gorilla)
The natural history museum at Wollaton Hall is also home to a number of displays of mounted animals, birds and other creatures. Amongst these is George the Gorilla, who answers natural questions on Twitter at @George_gorilla. You can see some questions that have been sent to George, and answered, here.

George is...er....a big lad and the display housing him describes the way he was caught, stuffed and then paraded around Europe. As George points out, while the audience who see him might be more sympathetic to environmental protection today than when he was caught in the nineteenth century, the fact remains that many forest are still being destroyed at a frightening rate.

As No3 son said "This is a very sad story".

You're looking good George !

Thank You
Sent an email to Portfolio holder Cllr Dave Trimble thanking him for bringing this event to Nottingham

Sent an email to a local mosque saying that BFTF was dissapointed that they had not promoted this event, seeing as archery is a very traditional Islamic sport, and asking whether they can thank the council for hosting the event.

Update 23 Nov 13
Just found about the incredible Danish archer Lars Anderson who has studied and rediscovered medieval archery techniques - allowing him to shoot with incredible rapidity and accuracy. A definite must see.


"S" and the Dinosaur of Doom!

A story by No3 Son....

Ch 1 : The Runaway
OK, so the same is "S". You would never have guessed but I'm being chased by a dinosaur.

The dinosaur is not far behind but I ran as fast as I could but I slipped and fell. No time to say "ouch" so I get up and I ran even faster. I see a helicopter in the distance and jump for it but unfortunately I missed and landed bum first. Even after all of these thinks I sprinted with all of my might like Usain Bolt (not exactly like him but you get the point). The helicopter decided to give me a hand and threw me down a gun but I threw it away as I was too busy running away from the dinosaur. "YES" I shout as the dinosaur falls over and I get away.

Ch 2 : The Runaway
So I know what you are thinking. You're thinking that I'm going to tell you how awesome I am for getting away from the dinosaur. Well I'm not.

This is what happened next.

I told my parents all about what happened, the dinosaur chasing me, the gun, etc. But they didn't believe me (wow, no surprise there). If I were to tell you, what would you say? Would you say that you believe me? Or not ?

You see, the dinosaur only recognises me as its enemy. So I go out in the summer as if it is winter, with a scarf, a hat, everything. . . then I see it, I actually see it, the dinosaur is there, standing in front of me, raiding KFC.

But I just casually walk away. Thankfully, it didn't recognise me but it seemed to think I was the man of the KFC sign, so I just wrote an email to KFC about how the man on their sign looked like me. They then thought I was a joke and called the Police and we were fined £200 (everything I wrote in the email was relevant).

I have an uncle who works for NASA. He always believes me if I say the world is in trouble. So, yes, you guessed it, I tried to tell him. But he wasn't answering his phone or his email. This was unusual. This meant that I had to go to his flat and that's never a good thing. You see, I see it as an obstacle course so I need a lot of help. Then I called up my friend Jack and he wasn't in a good mood.

In my next chapter, I'll be telling you how me and Jack got to our Uncles house. Untl then, bye

Xiongguanlong baimoensis, a mean and speedy dinosaur

Image Source : Wikipedia