Daily Updates
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British Muslim wins religious discrimination claim after bosses called in terrorism police

A Muslim nuclear plant worker has won a religious discrimination claim after his bosses reported him to counter terrorism police for allegedly saying British troops in the Middle East 'deserved to die'... for which no evidence was found.

The judge said: "We find that a significant influence on that rumour persisting, that Mr Master made the comment, was Mr Master's religion." The Daily Mail has more.

7 April 2021 •

Labour MP Tan Dhesi: why are Pakistan and Bangladesh on UK's 'no travel' list?

Last week the UK government temporarily banned flights to Pakistan and Bangladesh over Covid-19 concerns. That prompted questions other countries, including India - which has higher transmission rates - were not included.

Now the Labour MP Tan Dhesi has written to the government to raise the issue.

7 April 2021 •

Columnist Julie Burchill pays "substantial damages" to activist Ash Sarkar over libel

The Sunday Telegraph columnist Julie Burchill has apologised to activist Ash Sarkar, and agreed to pay her “substantial damages”, over posts on Twitter where she accused Sarkar of being an Islamist, a hypocrite and worshipping a paedophile. More at the Guardian.

16 March 2021 •

Publisher signs debut novel by journalist Poorna Bell

Publisher Century has signed In Case of Emergency, the "utterly hilarious and brillaintly observed" debut novel by writer and journalist Poorna Bell.

The book tells the story of Beryl “Bel” Kumar, a woman who has a near-death experience at work and is mortified to find that her boss has notified an ex-boyfriend from years ago, still listed in HR’s records as her next of kin. More here.

15 March 2021 •

Lilly Singh wears 'I stand with Farmers' mask at Grammys

15 March 2021 •

Charity Commission inquiry into Idaara Maarif-E-Islam and The Voice of Truth

The Voice of Truth (TVOT) was created to promote the benefit of the Muslim community in Birmingham and the West Midlands and in particular, but not exclusively, Shia Muslims. Idaara Maarif-E-Islam (IMEI) was registered as a charity in 1977 and exists to promote and further the Muslim faith.

The Charity Commission received correspondence from a number of members of IMEI, indicating they had been contacted regarding donations to TVOT.

"The inquiry concluded that there was misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of TVOT." More details here

10 March 2021 •

Charity Commission publishes inquiry on UK's oldest Gurdwara, in London

In December 2012, the UK Charity Commission opened an inquiry into the Central Gurdwara London Khalsa Jatha charity, the oldest Gurdwara in Britain, due to concerns about poor internal governance and a trustee dispute.

It has now concluded that inquiry and published its findings. Key finding:

"The inquiry concluded that disputes between the former trustees had a negative impact on the governance of the charity and they were unable to effectively manage the charity’s finances. This amounted to misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity by the former trustees."

10 March 2021 •

City Sikhs also raises alarm about UK community tensions in letter to PM

"We are very concerned about how events in India are causing friction amongst communities in the UK".
The letter by City Sikhs follows a similar warning by the Sikh Council UK last week.

3 March 2021 •

Neera Tanden appointment dropped by POTUS

The White House has abandoned its appointment of Neera Tanden as the director of President Biden’s budget office after opposition from both parties.

She would have been the highest ranking Indian-American official in the Biden adminstration. But POTUS did say he would give her another job in his government.

3 March 2021 •

Lilly Singh explains India's #FarmersProtest in simple terms

26 February 2021 •

Shamima Begum loses court case. What does that mean?

Shamima Begum has today lost her case in the Supreme Court - she won't be able to return to the UK to argue her main case against deprivation of citizenship. But her main case remains outstanding. More details here.

Sadia Humayun explained earlier why the Shamima Begum case leaves Britons of South Asian origin in a deeply vulnerable position.

26 February 2021 •

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi tries stand-up comedy!

On UK's Channel 4 on 25th February

24 February 2021 •

Labour suspends councillor for going to wedding in Pakistan during lockdown

The Labour Party has suspended Aftab Razaq for violating coronavirus protocols after he attended a wedding in Pakistan.

The councillor from Manchester City even shared the pictures on his Facebook page...! More at the BBC

24 February 2021 •

US Senators write to Indian ambassador urging India to respect human rights

It's pretty strongly worded

24 February 2021 •

'A Dutiful Boy' by Mohsin Zaidi - book review by Sadia Humayun

As one of the country’s leading young barristers, he specialises in white-collar crimes and was twice ranked as Financial Times’s outstanding young future leaders.

"He is, by all accounts, a son any parent would be proud of. But for much of his life, Mohsin Zaidi harboured a secret — his sexuality." - a great view of the book by Sadia Humayun

22 February 2021 •

British Sikh wanted in India over plot to kill won't be extradited, court rules

A British Sikh man wanted in India for conspiring to assassinate political leaders in Punjab will not be extradited, a judge has ruled.

Kuldeep Singh, 44, is accused of managing a 2016 plot to assassinate the Chief Minister of the Punjab, the deputy Chief Minister of the Punjab and other high-ranking political leaders, reported Court News.

18 February 2021 •

Indian woman president of Oxford University students union quits days after election

The first Indian female president of Oxford University Students' Union (OUSU) has been forced to step down after 'insensitive' social media posts from her past were unearthed just days after her election, reports the Daily Mail.

Rashmi Samant (pictured) is flying back to India to take a break from social media. She told the Times of India: "I do not hate any community... I was a totally different person five years ago."

18 February 2021 •

Bradford Central Mosque also becomes a Covid vaccination centre

Bradford Central Mosque has become the latest mosque to open its doors to become a community COVID-19 vaccination centre.

It is part of an initiative between Bradford Council for Mosques and local GPs to accelerate and increase take-up of the vaccine where there may be reluctance. More at ITV

17 February 2021 •

100 public figures criticise Radio 4 interview with MCB chief

More than 100 public figures, including the Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi, the Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Naz Shah, and the comedian Deborah Frances-White have signed an open letter to the BBC criticising Radio 4 Woman’s Hour “strikingly hostile” interview with Zara Mohammed, the first woman to lead the Muslim Council of Britain.

The Guardian has the story.

17 February 2021 •

Swati Sharma takes over as editor-in-chief of Vox

Swati Sharma, a managing editor of The Atlantic, will be the next editor in chief of Vox.com, the Vox Media site known for explanatory journalism and podcasts, reports the New York Times today.

"Ms. Sharma, 34, is scheduled to start in her new role next month. She will be taking over the site, which reaches nearly 30 million readers a month," added the Times.

16 February 2021 •

WATCH: Daily Show covers India's farmers protests: 'biggest in the world'

Informative and amusing, as always.

11 February 2021 •

Nikesh Shukla's new book Brown Baby is out

Congratulations to Nikesh Shukla on the publication of his memoir

One reviewer said: "It’s a beautiful, poignant memoir in which he writes about the world and his journey into fatherhood as if speaking to his first-born. He addresses huge subjects including race, feminism, the loss of his own parent and mental health, sharing memories of his childhood and feelings around learning to be a dad, without his mum."

10 February 2021 •

US lawmakers urge India to maintain 'norms of democracy' on farmers

The India Caucus (group) of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives met last week to discuss the growing furore over the farmers' protests. They posted this short statement after the meeting.

8 February 2021 •

American Sikh groups meet in Fresno, CA, to support farmers

Over 90 organizations across California held a meeting over the weekend to discuss the Farmers protest in India and how they could help farmers. News report below

8 February 2021 •

Thousands of Tamil Canadians hold solidarity rally in Ontario

Thousands of Tamil Canadians held a car rally over the weekend, in solidarity with the Pottuvil to Polikandi (P2P) protests in the Tamil homeland.

Organizers say over 2,000 cars came to the rally in Brampton, Ajax, Mississauga and Markham. More at Tamil Guardian.

8 February 2021 •

UK Labour leader calls on Indian government to allow peaceful protests

Labour's Keir Starmer responded to a letter by Sikhs For Labour. In the letter he says the Indian government must act with restraint in dealing with peaceful protests.

5 February 2021 •

Watch: British Asian MPs join together to say: please take Covid vaccines!

After black British MPs did the same, MPs of South Asian heritage have come together too...

4 February 2021 •

US State Dept criticises India for cutting internet access to farmers

"We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy."

Sabrina Siddiqui has the full read-out

4 February 2021 •

British Asian football fans club together over Indian farmers protests

Eleven British South Asian-led supporter groups from across English football have put club rivalries aside to stand in unity with Indian farmers, Sky Sports News reports.

The fan groups plan to unveil a virtual banner in support of the Indian farmers.

4 February 2021 •

Sikh groups in Canada and the US condemn attacks on press freedom in India

The World Sikh Organization of Canada, the US-based Sikh Coalition and other groups have today published a joint letter calling on press freedom organizations to speak out over India. Letter below.

2 February 2021 •

First woman leader appointed at Muslim Council of Britain

29-year-old has become the Muslim Council of Britain's first woman leader, and the youngest in its history, the organisation announced today. The MCB is an umbrella body for hundreds of Muslim groups across the country.

Zara will succeed Harun Khan, who completed a maximum of four years as the head of the MCB. She ran in an election against Ajmal Masroor, the imam from East London.

1 February 2021 •

Guardian covers Maajid Nawaz's conspiracy theories

As Maajid Nawaz, the founder of Quilliam Foundation and now an LBC host, goes further off the deep end, he has attracted coverage in the Guardian today.

Sunder Katwala from British Future told the Guardian: "It has been alarming to witness this evolve from unusual misreadings of the US constitutional process into an interest in electoral fraud conspiracies... I cannot conceive of a benign explanation for participating in and spreading QAnon-inspired online conspiracies."

1 February 2021 •

Tasha Dhanraj and Rajiv Karia appointed BBC comedy staff writers

BBC Studios has announced two new staff writers, Tasha Dhanraj and Rajiv Karia, to work across comedy productions for BBC Studios Audio, including the flagship Radio 4 topical shows The Now Show, The News Quiz, Dead Ringers and Newsjack. More here

1 February 2021 •

Sathnam Sanghera's new book Empireland is out today

Happy Publication Day to writer and author Sathnam Sanghera! You can buy Empireland from UK Bookshop or from Amazon.

Here's what he says about it: "I am not a historian, and this is not a history book. Rather, it is a book about how history has shaped contemporary Britain."

"It’s impossible to discuss British empire in the 21st Century, or even admit to ignorance or curiosity about it, without getting dragged into a binary consideration of whether it was “good” or “bad”. This is a stupid way of looking at the past: to read history as a series of events that instil pride and shame. I wanted to break away from this attitude and instead look at the effect of this vital part of our history on this country."

28 January 2021 •

British man Jagtar Singh Johal, held in Indian prison, could face death penalty

Worrying developments on a case we have been covering for years. Jagtar Singh Johal, the British Sikh man held in Indian prison without any charges or trial for three years, has told the BBC he was tortured to sign a blank confession.

The Times reports the confession may be used to charge him with the death penalty. The Foreign Office has been shamefully silent.

28 January 2021 •

Huma Qureshi's book How We Met is out today

Happy Publication Day to British author Huma Qureshi, who's book How We Met is out today. You can buy it from UK Bookshop or Amazon.

The blurb: "Growing up in Walsall in the 1990s, Huma straddled two worlds - school and teenage crushes in one, and the expectations and unwritten rules of her family's south Asian social circle in the other. Reconciling the two was sometimes a tightrope act, but she managed it. Until it came to marriage."

"As much as it is about love, How We Met is also about falling out with and misunderstanding each other, and how sometimes even our closest relationships can feel so far away."

28 January 2021 •

Canadian Liberal party ousts MP Ramesh Sangha after firestorm

The Liberal Party has withdrawn the whip from MP Ramesh Sangha (on the left), effectively throwing him out of the party, for making "baseless accusations" against fellow MPs.

Last week Canada's Baaz website reported that in an interview with Panjabi media he had, "parroted debunked Indian media accusations about former Minister Navdeep Bains’ departure from politics, including unsubstantiated links to 'extremism'."

A firestorm followed. A statement from the party last night said: "As we have made clear time and time again, we will not tolerate conspiracy theories, or dangerous and unfounded rhetoric about Parliamentarians or other Canadians."

The MP from Brampton will now have to sit as an Independent and is much more likely to lose his seat at the next election.

26 January 2021 •

British Asian celebs urge desis to get vaccinated in new video

The video features well known names from actors Meera Syal, Shobna Gulati and Adil Ray, to cricketer Moeen Ali and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

25 January 2021 •

Bernie meme goes Bollywood


22 January 2021 •

Labour MP says higher car insurance premiums for non-white people needs investigation

Labour MP Shabana Mahmood is calling on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to formally investigate disproportionate insurance premiums for Black and minority ethnic communities. She's written to explain why

21 January 2021 •