Parsons Green Tube bomber Ahmed Hassan sentenced to life

Teenager Ahmed Hassan is sentenced to life with a minimum term of 34 years after leaving a homemade bomb on a packed underground train.

He just looks like any other teenager. His hair is a little crazy and looks like he hasn’t slept or eaten a decent meal in weeks. But Ahmed Hassan is a convicted terrorist who brought shock and panic to the capital September last year.

4A3EFD7800000578-5505959-image-a-32_1521201126733 2

‘I sentence you to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 34 years. You will have plenty of time to read the Koran in prison. The Koran is a book of peace. Islam forbids breaking the law of the land. Islam forbids terrorism. You have violated Islam and the Koran by your actions.’

These are the words of Mr Justice Haddon-Cave the judge who sentenced Hassan. These aren’t taken lightly and not out of malice. They aren’t words that have been used in the heat of radicalisation or without knowledge and experience. Yet there are those people still in this country who have no idea how and what Muslims believe. They have taken it upon themselves to be educated by tabloid newspapers and right-wing commentators who claim to speak for the ordinary working man.

I have seen all sorts of ridiculous claims over the last few months about misconceptions and blatant fallacies when it comes to Islam. I challenged one person who said ‘They never arrest any Muslims and send them to prison like they do to Britain First leaders’. I gave them numerous examples of how this wasn’t the case; facts don’t matter to them.

Islam is a religion of peace. I will say that until my dying day. It is those who chose to distort, lie and make up their own rules to suit their interpretations of Qu’ran. You can take any holy teachings or writings and mangle them to your own way of thinking. You will see the world how terrorists and right-wing commentators want you to see it that process is called radicalisation. You are believing misconceptions, biased opinions, perverted and altered for their own ends.

I want peace, calm and tranquillity. I want unity among people of different faiths, religions and practices. I want to live in a world were people of different backgrounds and countries can learn from each other. I want to know how and why people think they way they do and educate myself. Make myself a better person and not shutting myself off from other human beings. This planet is an amazing place. It is full of decent, wonderful, hardworking people who make a great contribution to it. Closing your mind to the world is ignorance.

Parkland – Florida​

A town which remained unremarkable in history until this week. Things changed dramatically for it residents and it would never be the same again. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 14.56.02

Sometimes you draw a breath and you are stunned about how much a country and its people can take without inaction. The fact that news agencies are arguing over what has been classed as a school shooting is a testament to the fact that these incidents are happening far too often.

Seventeen people are dead at the hands of a teenager with a gun. If you ever experience a fraction of the hurt that this causes someone surely a person with a rational mind says ‘enough is enough’ and this cannot be allowed to continue.

It’s no longer about rights to protect someone’s ownership of a gun but the lives of those who are innocent and slaughtered.

I said in my blog post from last year when the horrific shooting took place in Las Vegas.

“If ISIS had carried out this attack, USA would have reacted. If North Korea had done the same they would have bombed their country. The utter madness and insanity in this that America cannot and will not police itself. Believing their second amendment right outweighs the rights of those who tragically lost their lives.”

The USA has to realise it has a serious problem. The problem is gun control. This problem isn’t just of mental health, which isn’t unique to America, it is all over the world. It is how we respond to it out children and their children will judge us.

Gun Control – Las Vegas

I don’t think I have ever spoken about gun control on this blog. But the tragic news today has made me think. 

Firstly, my thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this horrendous tragedy. It’s appalling to think that so many people lost their lives in such a way that is easily preventable.

This wasn’t a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake. Something that couldn’t be avoided or stopped. This was a deranged terrorist (and rightly named) who brought carnage, death and suffering on an unimaginable scale.

las-vegas-strip-at-night-high-vantage-istock_000082066557_large-2

Yet I am still hearing that people in America will not move on the idea that there should be stricter gun laws in the country. I have heard commentators repeating their mantra that they should be allowed to access weapons as it’s this is their right.

All I can say is that thank goodness I live in the UK and not USA. It is almost laughable that a progressive country like the USA is allowing its citizens to carry out mass-murders without sensibly addressing the issue.

When the Dunblane massacre occurred in 1996 stricter laws in the UK were brought in and I believe made the country a safer place. I had to reassure my class at the time as they were frightened that a gunman could do the same in the school. They were genuinely worried.

171002122519-30-las-vegas-incident-1002-large-169

If ISIS had carried out this attack, USA would have reacted. If North Korea had done the same they would have bombed their country. The utter madness and insanity in this that America cannot and will not police itself. Believing their second amendment right outweighs the rights of those who tragically lost their lives.

The USA has collective denial. Some of those people who were affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy have campaigned for tighter gun laws. This was reflected in Barack Obama’s attempt and failure to change the country’s law regarding guns.

Everyone can own and drive a car with a license that’s attained by certain standards. These standards are legally required drive on UK roads. There are yearly checks made on a vehicles roadworthiness. Billions of pounds is spent implementing safety measures in vehicles so people are less likely to be injured or killed as a result of an accident. Yet America is not prepared to do so on guns which are solely designed to insure or kill. If you don’t know that a definition of madness is, this is it.

 

Tommy Robinson – Finsbury attack

Tolerant, caring and loving. Wouldn’t you want to live in a society that promotes these values?

The reaction on social media to Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was some of the blame and support. What is apparent is that he doesn’t promote harmony and togetherness, he promotes hatred.

“How am I a racist?” I have heard him ask time and time again. If you blame ALL Muslims for extremist actions, you are discriminating. I wouldn’t blame all white people for the attack that happened near Finsbury Mosque. I would say that their beliefs, whether they are born out of a warped distorted of a religion, is the same as an ideology that promotes segregation and hate.

I utterly condemn violence against innocent victims in Manchester and Westminster bridge. I utterly condemn violence carried out again the Muslim community in Finsbury Park. I want to live in a tolerant, caring society. Those who hold extremist views don’t.

Robinson’s views are abhorrent. They do nothing to stop the views of Islamists carrying around appalling acts. In all the years he has been campaigning, what has he actually done to constructively tackle these extremists? Shouting and ranting in places after something has happened is ignored by 99% of the country. People know he is misguided, ill-informed and does these for his own agenda and not for the common good.

I will stand with the Muslim community. I stand with these people. People who have been persecuted and blamed for far too long.

Why are people radicalised?

After coming to terms with the shock that another terrorist attack on British streets we often ask the question why. There will always be a blame game. Someone will say that the government and security services are at fault, others will say that allowing so many ‘non-British’ people into the UK has caused terrorism. If only things were that a simple then life would be much easier.

I was born in Durham, England. I grew up near Newcastle and then moved to Chester-le-Street in 1976. I attended the local comprehensive school and had many friends during my youth. I became a part of a local church and associated youth group, and that’s where I met my closest friends, people who have been a part of my life for over thirty years.

My parents never divorced, although I begged them to, on the whole, I was brought up in stable environment surround by decent friends. I did a lot of voluntary work in my teens and eventually went off to university gaining a degree in Religion and Sociology.

If you haven’t known an environment where you are supported, and you don’t have a positive network around you, then you are open to someone else coming in taking their place.

isis-twitter-main.jpg

To someone who has no perceived prospects and belonging, joining a group such as ISIS can seem attractive. You can see this trend that takes place when young men and women join groups that are bordering on criminal. Unstable family environments, poor employment prospects, lack of education all contribute to radicalisation.

A simplistic view of cutting out all immigration or pandering to fear isn’t the solution to radicalisation. You need resources and education on ground levels. You need to give people, whatever their background, the chance to get qualifications and experience to join the world of work. Preparation and training, for those disaffected, so they can contribute to society rather than feeling they should battle against it.

agq_feb16.jpg

Mrs. Thatcher once said ‘There is no such things as society’. In my opinion, she was talking bollocks. Mrs. Thatcher was interested in self-serving individuals, who were there to make money and use enterprise to better themselves. I am no communist and I have never voted Labour, but Thatcher was deluded and wrong. We ALL have a part to play, whether you are in the government or whether you are working class and ‘just about managing’.

We all have a responsibility to make sure that others don’t get sucked into extremism and poisonous ideology. Challenging views that are not compatible with freedom and democracy. If you are a Muslim and brought up in a home in the Islamic religion and you recognise that someone is in danger of radicalisation you should have the balls to stop it. I would do the same if I thought someone who I knew was planning to harm or murder someone else. Burying your head in the sand or looking on with a pacifist gaze isn’t an option.

 

Another Attack – London

When I woke this morning, I was filled with horror to realize that not only had there been another terrorist attack on our country, but my close friends were in London on holiday.

It was reassuring to know that they had posted on social media that they were safe. Then thoughts turn to the people who were killed and injured, someone’s family will be waiting again to hear from a loved one. Not knowing if they lie in a hospital somewhere or are in a place where they are supposed to be located.

Yet people I have seen will go to the uneducated and idiotic response. We have seen a world leader make statements about how all 1.6 billion of the Muslim religion should be banned from his country. How does this actually help the situation? How does that stop the terrorists carrying out such atrocious acts? It doesn’t. Simply it panders to the fear and ignorance.

Whether you like it or not these people are determined to carry out these acts and the majority of the time they are radicalized within their own country. This can be carried out on social media and the internet. Do we call for the banning of the net? No. Because we make the distinction that there is a very small minority carrying out terrorist attacks and not all people using information networks do so.

We understand these are a few people are fuckwits. Nothing else; they have no religion. They have an ideology, they don’t have religion. Greater education is needed of religion and it’s not enough to explain that this is a Christian country. It isn’t. But has been explored and understood.

Muslim Ban 2

Years ago when I started this blog I said that I would always speak out for those who are not fortunate enough to live in a country where democracy exists. I will challenge racist and homophobic attitudes where I see them. My opinion on these matters has not changed.

I am saddened that some feel that participating in demos against Mr Trump policies is somehow misguided or worse hypocritical. What is so wrong with wanting to make your voice heard for those people who are desperate to leave a country ravaged by war? Why is it so bad show the compassion that any normal human being should show when people are on the brink of being killed?

Banning an entire country and their people from entering the USA on the basis that one of might be a terrorist is stupid, naive and dangerous. As I said in the previous post the actual facts point to the threat not from IS potentially travelling to the USA but the citizens already in it.

Critics of the protest have asked why didn’t you protest about other things that have happened in the world? Which is a ludicrous argument. I have protested, I have given to UNICEF and Save the Children but I choose not to publicise it and make a big deal. It is the same with problems in this country. Just because I don’t go on EVERY march or set up a petition for every wrong I see doesn’t mean I am not doing something to make my voice heard.

In the same way that if someone came to me with a problem or a need I would try my best to help. I do this because I want to and hold humanist values that everyone is equal. If that offends you in some way then I am sorry that you don’t see the world as I do.

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

              Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

Stop the world 

What on earth is going on with our society and other countries?

  • Two unarmed black men shot and killed in the USA
  • Over three thousand incidents of hate crime reported to the police in the UK last month
  • Five police officers killed in a sniper shooting in the USA
  • Hundreds dead in Baghdad in a terrorist bombing
  • Two dead at a music festival before its even started in Scotland
  • New prime minister voted in who has a poor record on LGBT rights

These are just some of the stories I have been reading about this morning. What really is going on? Has the world turned in on itself?

Hate is the keyword in all of these. Hating on black people or gay and lesbian community. Lack of tolerance and education has caused this. Justification of religious freedom to deny decent equality laws.

broken-world-500.jpg

Let’s get rid of proper education on relationships in schools as we are terrified to teach children to be aware of dangers that lurk in all areas of life. Terrified of standing up to people who spout hatred and bile about muslims or other religious groups.

Cl-1YvVWIAArXp-.jpg

I bet not many people know that the Mayor of London met with Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to discuss the rise in race hate incidents that a occurred since the vote to leave the EU. Mr Khan broke his fast during his time in Ramadan for Iftar.

There are those who think that people of different faiths and nationalities cannot live side by side in harmony. There are those who are determined that their hatred will somehow win over the rest of the country. I have said it time and time again these people will NOT win. I prefer to live in a world where there isn’t fighting or death. Where people can share their differences and respect them.

There has to be reform of gun control. There has to be the continual stamping out of race hate and crime. Those who perpetrate these crimes should be punished. Those who use deadly force again another person without proper justification should be made to face the consequences.

 

Take away the Religion

I was watching a clip on YouTube last night of Pat Robinson who, if you aren’t sure who he is, is a transphobic, homophobic and downright ridiculous man who spouts crazy bile in the name of Christianity.

Thoughts then turned to the people who had been killed by the gunman in Orlando and his crazed ideology that killing a group of LGBT people would be pleasing to his god.

As you know I am a humanist. I don’t believe in god, I used to be a church-goer but the belief and faith I had died a long time ago.

I thought if you take away the religion and look at how people act it proves a lot about who the person is in the beginning.  How is the person with their friends and family? What are they doing for the good of everyone?

Someone that causes harm and distress to others under the name of their religion should be ridiculed for what they are. If it’s some old irrelevant man who has no idea what true life is like and doesn’t realise the damage he causes isn’t a true follower of faith.

People assume that those who don’t have a religion to follow are bereft of morality and principles. This couldn’t be further from the case. Humanism is about treating everyone fairly as they are all beings that share the same planet.

Blame

There is always someone who will want to proportion blame other than the person who pulled the trigger on the guns. So far I have heard that the police at the nightclub were to blame, the lack of guns in the club and even the gay people who murdered should share the responsibility for their own deaths.

The appalling politicians and right-wing groups that latch on to what has happened and use if for their own gain. They proportion the blame to an entire religion which is wrong. Within most belief systems that there are the radical parts that will use this as an excuse to create mayhem and murder innocent victims. Many political parties have murdered in the name of their cause and under-pinned it with the belief that what they are doing is from god. It’s not. True religion does not kill.

blame_game.jpg

The key to getting to grips with this sort of violence has to be education and understanding. The Islamic faith does and has to condemn these sorts of atrocities that are undertaken in its name. The Muslim Advocates which speaks on behalf of Muslims in American has rightly condemned the killings of innocent LGBT victims. Something that does not get reported in the wider press and beyond.

There has to be a working together of ordinary people who will speak for all sides to condemn this violence. ISIS and its ideology are evil and that message should be broadcast throughout the world. Allowing the lunatics of the far-right and the homophobic part of the Christian church to use it for their gain should be stopped right at the beginning.