Friday, September 29, 2006

The benefits of a good cuppa

The month of Ramadan can be a hard experience for the uninitiated but that is more than compensated for by the sense of purity, spirituality and morality. In any case the body adapts quickly and the two meals in 24 hours (or one in my case) is easily sufficient to maintain calorific supply. After breaking fast, a good cuppa is almost compulsory for recharging. This paper by a group in Perth looks at the effects of tea on fasting and post meal blood pressure:

Hodgson JM, Puddey IB Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(Suppl):S71. Background - Results of population and intervention studies suggest that drinking tea might protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, tea contains caffeine, which can transiently increase blood pressure (BP) in people who have avoided caffeine for > 12h. We have previously shown that a single dose of tea (equivalent to 4 standard cups containing 180mg of caffeine) transiently increased BP more than caffeine alone (180mg dose) in people who had fasted and avoided caffeine for > 12h. The importance of this finding to risk of CVD is uncertain since short-term regular ingestion of tea does not alter BP, and results of population studies suggest that long-term regular ingestion of tea may lower BP. Objective - To investigate the acute effects of tea consumption with and without food on BP. Design - BP was measured in 20 participants with coronary artery disease before and 3.5h after drinking 3 cups of black tea or hot water with and without a meal. There were a total of 4 treatments (water alone, tea alone, meal with water and meal with tea) administered in random order. One cup of tea or water was provided at time=0, 1.5 and 3h. The meal was provided at time=0 and consumed over 0.5h. Outcomes - In comparison to water alone, tea alone significantly increased mean (95%CI) systolic BP by 9.4 (1.3, 17.5)mmHg (P=0.01). However, there was negation of the acute pressor effect of tea when the tea was consumed after a meal (2.2 (-5.9, 10.2) mm Hg;NS). Conclusions - A capacity for food to negate the pressor activity of tea in the fasting state may help to explain a lack of any longer-term effects to raise BP. The apparent inconsistency between the results from acute studies and studies of regular ingestion may be due to differential effects of tea, in the fasting and fed states, on BP. That is, people generally drink tea with and between meals rather than in a fasting state.

Another interesting paper compares the effect of green tea and black tea on metabolism:

J Hypertens.1999 Apr;17(4):457-63 Green and black tea consumption resulted in similar increases in urinary excretion of hippuric acid and 1,3-dihydroxyphenyl-2-O-sulfate, both of which are end products of tea flavonoid degradation by colonic bacteria. Several unidentified aromatic metabolites were detected in urine specifically after green tea intake. Interestingly, green and black tea intake also had a different impact on endogenous metabolites in urine and plasma. Green tea intake caused a stronger increase in urinary excretion of several citric acid cycle intermediates, which suggests an effect of green tea flavanols on human oxidative energy metabolism and/or biosynthetic pathways.

I think I would have quite enjoyed writing the materials and methods for this study as well as the actual experiment. Research is so much nicer when you can eat or drink the results.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Undermining the moderates

There is an interesting debate right now over on MediaLens between John Hilley, Jonathan Cook and Jeremy Bowen. This concerns the activities of Israeli secret services in disrupting possible peace agreements. Bowen argues that this was just part of a wider plan to disrupt the Hamas government that Israel considers to be terrorist. Jonathon Cook is scathing in his dismissal of a ridiculous circular argument.

Bowen accepts as a matter of simple fact that the israeli government really does believe hamas is a terrorist organisation. how does he know they believe this? because they say they believe it. that's why they had to stop the meeting between hamas and the israeli peace activists, and why they had to arrest the MPs. the israeli government's actions might be unfair (bowen, of course, offers no opinion), but they are entirely logical given israel's view of hamas. no possibility of deception, subterfuge or underhand motives on israel's part. that's why, of course, he's top of the food chain in the BBC's mideast section..... we can see something similar going on with the withdrawal of visas from palestinians with foreign passports, many of them american. this policy seems to make no sense unless we factor in israel's bad faith. these palestinians are among the richest; many, it seems, are christian palestinians; they have a huge investment in the success of the palestinian economy; and as a result they are usually moderate, mostly secular and may even be co-optable. why on earth would israel not want them in the OPTs? makes no sense at all. unless of course we think the unthinkable: that israel actually wants the palestinian economy to fail, it wants the moderates deprived of a role, and it wants to encourage extremism and islamism. now you won't hear that from the BBC!
Putting aside generalisations, let's consider what happens to moderates who have committed to a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. What happens to people who dismiss the extremists of Hamas AND the corruption of secular Fatah? Let's consider what happened to Mustafa Bargouti. This is from Wikipedia:

Barghouti has consistenly criticized the PLO and Palestinian Authority for corruption. He supports non-violent resistance as the most effective means of overcoming Israeli occupation. According to a Reuters report, Bargouti "supports peace with Israel based on two states with a Palestinian state in all territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, a capital in Arab East Jerusalem and rights for refugees."[1] It is not clear whether the remedies Barghouti supports for the refugee problem extends to a full-fledged right of return. He has indicated that recognition of a right to return is a must, but that this could likely be implemented in a way mutually acceptable to both sides.

In a 1996 incident, Barghouti was shot by soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces while serving as a medic. On January 3, 2003, he was arrested following an international press conference in East Jerusalem, on charges of disturbing the peace and entering the city illegally. During his detention, Barghouti was interrogated and suffered a broken knee, which, according to his account, was inflicted by blows from a rifle butt; he also reported that he received head injuries. He was released several days later.

Barghouti was a candidate in the election for Palestinian Authority president, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Yasser Arafat. In the announcement, Barghouti declared, "I will demand total and complete reform, fight any form of corruption, mismanagement, and consolidate the rule of law." [2]. He was arrested by Israeli forces during the election campaign and subsequently expelled from East Jerusalem when he was going to hold an election speech there. He was also prevented from entering Nablus and Gaza. Barghouti came second in the elections, receiving 19.8% of the vote.In December 2005, the Independent Palestine list, a coalition of independents and NGO members in the legislative elections scheduled for January 2006, announced Mustafa Barghouti as its top candidate. The list promised to fight corruption and nepotism, demand the dismantlement of what it termed the "apartheid wall", and to provide a truly democratic and independent "third way" for the large majority of silent and unrepresented Palestinian voters, who favour neither the autocracy and corruption of the governing Fatah party, nor the fundamentalism of Hamas.[2] ................

Barghouti was detained on Tuesday 3 January 2006 while campaigning in the Arab quarter of East Jerusalem and was taken for questioning to a local police station. A statement on his behalf read: "Dr Barghuthi was meeting with ordinary Jerusalemites near Damascus Gate, discussing their needs and the situation of Palestinians in east Jerusalem, when he was approached by six undercover Israeli security agents, arrested, and taken to the Russian Compound jail where he remains under detention."[3]

This is further evidence that democracy activists committed to non-violent resistance have fared no better than those committed to violent resistance. The moderates are followed even more closely than the 'extremists' by Israeli agents so that they cannot succeed in bringing together parties that may propose any kind of settlement or peace deal. This supports Cook's analysis of Israeli policy. What more proof does Jeremy Bowen need? I don't think anything will persuade him against accepting official Israeli pronouncments as fact, after all that is BBC policy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Taxin Dacoits

Premier Taxin Busharaff was in Washington yesterday whilst rumours of an uprising against him circulated in the media. They alleged that 90 year old Mr Taxin had been overthrown in a coup in the dark by Mrs Tenp Ercent in league with the Military Chief Marshall Awami Mcksharif. Power was cut to millions of homes whilst battery hen powered radio stations circulated conspiracy theories about the loss of power. However, later it emerged that a janitor had pressed the wrong button and turned the entire electricity grid out, whilst rummaging in his shed for a mop. Furious at allegations of incompetence, Mr Janitor hit out at the Dacoits who run the Vagueistani government as serial match fixers and rapists. Meanwhile, Mr Armstrong of Washington denied that Mr Taxin's country had ever been threatened with annihilation saying that he was talking about magic mushrooms not mushroom clouds and had been misunderstood. He promised sixty billion Europees of aids and continuing military support for Mr Taxin's government.

Mr Taxin was questioned about his pledge to crack down on radical elements in his country, during a short press conference. He pointed to the capture of Sheikh Ozone and Mullah Peroxide, as an example of his countries commitment to the war against free radicals. He also congratulated the Vagueistani cricket team and praised Captain Willow-waver for his courageous leadership in the face of Hair loss. He later attended a private clinic for a top secret medical examination. His advisors denied that he was suffering from an inflated hypocritical gland, saying that he had never believed a word he had said himself, so he could hardly be prone to the disease. As recently as last week, Vagueistani government spokespeople had said Mr Taxin's illness was a complete mystery.

Monday, September 25, 2006

American Ramadan (5 min. Trailer)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ebay advice

Like many other people these days I am a regular user of ebay services (usually purchasing). I find the facility of great benefit for saving money and getting rid of unwanted presents. Recently, I wanted to purchase a popular brand of vacuum cleaner to replace one that had been destroyed by overenthusiastic usage. Pleased to acquire a new item at a bargain price close to home and from a reputable seller, I arranged to collect it rather than pay the postage. On the day of collection, I made my way to the collection address to be greeted by several burly gentlemen rather than the timid housewife I was supposed to be collecting from. As I tried to gain access to throhgh the garden gate of the property, the gentlemen indicated that they were the 'people' I was looking for. They carried over a box from the rear of the car which certainly had the right brand name on it. I quickly opened the box to inspect the contents and saw that the contents were as expected. I hurriedly shoved the box into the car boot, the cash into their hands and made a quick exit. Whilst I am now the owner of a new machine that I can register and have started using, I wonder about the origins of the machine and whether it fell off the back of a lorry.

I am lucky in the sense that I wasn't beaten up or in receipt of counterfeit goods. So if you are considering purchasing on ebay, stick to the golden rules; never buy off anybody with less than 99.9% feedback and a reasonable number of transactions to their name(50+). Look at the price of goods plus delivery rather than just the selling price. Don't go collecting without anybody to accompany you. Use paypal wherever possible when buying. Keep a record of the transaction in case you are hauled in front of a magistrate for handling stolen goods. Finally read the ebay guides which can be an invaluable source of information about the latest scams.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Clandestine Offspring Monitoring Act 2007

Government research shows that large numbers of Muslim elders have spent too much time peacefully praying five times a day. They have rather taken their eyes off the ball, resulting in an avalanche of extremism threatening to drown the UK within 45 minutes (or was that different pronouncement?). Praise be to Bruiser John Reid for having the guts to go to speak to an invited audience and to criticize a heckler by knocking down a straw man argument. This came in the wake of Reid's article in the prestigious journal 'The Sun' on the previous day, lecturing British Muslims about their clandestine civic duties. As this was an invited audience one wonders whether the known extremist with suitably large beard was admitted to the meeting deliberately. The extremist heckler in question apparently asked how Reid dared to visit a 'Muslim area'. Outraged poured from radio speakers all over the land. How dare these upstarts imagine that Bradford and other areas of ethnic concentration were parts of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia? JR retorted that he believed he had the right to visit any area in the UK and 'talk to people' i.e. lecture them about spying on their children as any responsible citizen should do. JR's reply, whilst seized upon with glee by the tabloids, is a classic example of do as you are told, not as we do. The reply came from a minister, in a government that allows no protests in parliament square, even from one bloke with a couple of cardboard placards, who camped there for years. I eagerly await JR's visit to poor white estates to lecture them on stopping their kids from getting drunk in the city centre and robbing or vandalising cars. What about catholic parents spying on their adult children in case they have some paedophilic tendencies? Nope, I can't see that happening either.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Aboriginal Research

You and I know that sitting on your arse and having a sedentary 'Western' lifestyle is bad for you. In fact this lifestyle is actually more related to wealth than geography. I can tell you about the rich classes in many African countries and elsewhere, who are also obese and suffer some of the same problems as the overweight in the UK or USA. Money tends to naturally generate a gathering of appliances, gadgets and home helps that reduce physical workloads. The wealthy (and I include myself in this because I am hundreds if not thousands of times, richer than the real poor of the world) also concentrate on work that does not require physical effort. I have always had an interest in the exploitation and racism inherent in Australian society which suppresses Aboriginal living styles and aims to generate more 'civilisation'. The following paper indicates how bad that sudden change in lifestyle can be for human health:

The traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle of Australian Aborigines, characterised by high physical activity and a diet of low energy density (low fat, high fibre), promoted the maintenance of a very lean body weight and minimised insulin resistance. In contrast, for most Aborigines a Western lifestyle is characterised by reduced physical activity and an energy-dense diet (high in refined carbohydrate and fat) which promotes obesity and maximises insulin resistance. When they make the transition from their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a westernised lifestyle, Aborigines develop high prevalence rates for obesity (with an android pattern of fat distribution), non-insulin dependent diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, hypertriglyceridaemia, hypertension and hyperinsulinaemia. The striking improvements in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic and non-diabetic Aborigines after a temporary reversion to a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle highlight the potentially reversible nature of the detrimental effects of lifestyle change, particularly in young people who have not yet developed diabetes. CONCLUSION: It is suggested that insulin resistance was important to the survival of Aborigines as hunter-gatherers, but is also the underlying metabolic characteristic predisposing them to obesity, NIDDM and CHD after westernisation. Intervention strategies to prevent chronic diseases related to insulin resistance should be directed at lifestyle modification. To be effective such programmes will have to be developed and implemented at the community level.

Westernisation, insulin resistance and diabetes in Australian aborigines. O'Dea K Med J Aust 1991 Aug 19;155(4):258-64

Saturday, September 16, 2006

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Allama Iqbal

I am snowed under with work at the moment so service on J4P is slower than normal. In circumstances like this I resort to the tried and trusted methods of blogging with minimal effort (BWME). You will notice below the frequency of youtube clips has increased. Further excuses are on the way as a new PC is arriving on Sunday and the electricians are busy disrupting my home from Monday(as if it isn't disrupted enough already). Therefore, I can plead legitimate grounds for not producing more content to keep you entertained and informed. Another method of BWME is illustrated here. This involves 'copy and paste' of some information of interest and letting your readers explore the topic for themselves. This particular post is about a guy who is a national hero in Pakistan but very few people seem to have heard about him in the West even though he was an outstanding scholar who studied over here and in Munich:

From Wikipedia:

Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Urdu: محمد اقبال, Hindi: मुहम्मद इक़बाल) (November 9, 1877April 21, 1938) was an Indian Muslim poet, philosopher and politician, whose poetry in Persian and Urdu is regarded as among the greatest in modern times.[1] Also famous for his work on religious and political philosophy in Islam, he is credited with first proposing the idea of an independent state for Indian Muslims, which would inspire the creation of Pakistan. He is commonly referred to as Allama Iqbal, where Allama means Scholar.

After studying in England and Germany, Iqbal established a law practice, but he primarily concentrated on religious and philosophical subjects, writing scholarly works on politics, economics, history, philosophy and religion. He is best known for his poetic works, which include the Tarana-e-Hind, Asrar-e-Khudi, in honour of which he was knighted by the British government, Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, and the Bang-i-Dara. Iqbal was also the author of many political, philosophical and historical commentaries. He is officially recognized as the "national poet" in Pakistan.

From Cybercity online:

Allama Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal is one of most outstanding poets, writers, intellectuals and thinkers of modem times.

Iqbal was born at Sialkot on November 9, 1887. He held a brilliant academic record. He did his Masters in Philosophy from Government College, Lahore and joined there as a lecturer. He left for Europe in 1905 and studied Philosophy and Law at the Trinity College, Cambridge, Lincolin's Inn, London and the Munich University. He was awarded a 'Ph. D' by the Munich University.

He home in 1908 and rejoined service in the Government College, Lahore. He resigned after sometime and started practicing Law. He was elected Member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1926 for three years. In 1930 Iqbal was elected President of the Muslim League session held at Allahabad. In 1931 he attended the Round Table Conference which met in London to frame a constitution for India and took active Part in its various committees.

He was the first to give a concrete shape to the Muslim aspirations in India for 'a separate homeland'. In his Presidential Address at the Annual Session of the All India Muslim League at Allahbad (1930) he boldly asserted the Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India, and said "I would like to see the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State".

It was Iqbal's fervent appeal which persuaded the Quaid-e-Azam in 1934 to return from England and lead the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent in their struggle for constitutional rights and it was in his letters to the Quaid"e-Azam that he elaborated his scheme in its political as well as cultural context. He succeeded in convincing the Quaid-e-Azam that Pakistan was the only solution to the Political problems of the Muslims of India, and it was on the foundations laid by Iqbal that the Muslim Leageue's historic Pakistan Resolution of 1940 wa~ ha~rl

He believed, on the one hand, in the emancipation and freedom of the Muslims of the Indo-P~istan Sub-continent and on the other, he argued for the unity of Muslim nations all-over the world. Iqbal's political philosophy is not atomistic but organic in that it implied the formation of an associaiton of the Muslim countries to betten their own lot and be the upholder of peace and justice throughout the World. His verses in Urdu and Persian and his monumental treatises have been translated into almost all the important languages of the world and found wide recognition in Iran, Turkdy, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Italy, USSR, etc.

He died on April 21, 1938 at Lahore and was laid to rest near Badshahi Mosque. An academy named after him has been established by the Government of Pakistan to promote and disseminate the messages and teachings of Allama Iqbal.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kashmir beautiful danger

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Occupation of Palestine

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Cosmic Toilet Bowl

We are but clingons upon the toilet bowl of existence.

Besotted with the fear of death, perplexed as to our origin and ultimate fate, we stumble forward willy-nilly through space and time in the Great Process we call the universe. Awed and humbled by our apparent aloneness and the enormity of our surroundings, we cower behind these shells of memory and personality we call our egos, oft taking solace in the warm, fuzzy glow offered by surrender to opulent materialism, fundamentalist belief-systems, fashionable cults and therapies or the cold certainty and hard-edged materialism of an all too often fundamentalist Science.

Interesting perspective on current dogma in cosmology..... Read here

Friday, September 08, 2006

El Gordo


La corrado bankos

Scottish sweepstake


C/343674 Aberdeen

International promotions/prize award dept.

Ref: Y/w985jfkdf Batch No. GM/884857


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Killer TB

The guardian reports today on the growing and deadly problem of TB (not Tony Blair) that is resistant to treatment. In the past tuberculosis was complacently dismissed as being on the way out ( it was quite prevalent in the UK in the early 1900s and probably before, but decreased steadily in modern times), however recent trends indicate a world-wide resurgence. The WHO declared TB as a global emergency back in 1993. Reports show that in the UK, those over 65 are most affected amongst the male population but there does not appear to be the same kind of age dependence in the female population. The culprits are Mycobacterium tuberculosis, spore-like bacteria. These bacilli (rod-like bacteria) have a waxy coat, grow slowly and can survive in the body for years in a dormant state (actually bacterial persistence is currently an interest of mine, but I will explore that some other day). Infected people may show no signs of TB disease. However, when the bacillus is awake and dividing, it can be infectious. The bacteria can spread on tiny droplets expelled upon sneezing and coughing. Hence, you will see nurses and visitors wearing masks when interacting with patients.

The outbreak of drug-resistant forms is extremely worrying particularly given the HIV situation in the whole of Africa. As usual, whatever is being done is too little and too late for the current African crisis. Contrast this with the world’s massive investment in new ways to kill people. I doubt whether the public-private partnerships that have been set up to develop new drugs, will produce anything sufficiently quickly to prevent millions more from dying in the next decade. I recommend De Cock for a more intimate examination of the issue.

The new tuberculosis. De Cock K. Afr Health 1994 Mar;16(3):8-10

Tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus infection in developing countries. Harries AD. Lancet 1990 Feb 17;335(8686):387-90.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Interview with a Homeless Man

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good Golly, Miss Molly

Or should that be Misbah. This is the story of 12-year old girl from Stornoway who became the subject of a kidnapping story in the press last week. The papers and the news bulletins screamed that 12 year old Molly Campbell had been snatched along with her sister and spirited away to Pakistan where her evil father was forcing her into marriage to a man twice her age. It wasn't until Mohammed Sarwar, the labour MP for Glasgow decided to pay a visit, that it became apparent that there was no kidnapping, no forced marriage and all the hype and baloney written as fact were actually a fiction. Misbah Iram AhmedRana (who objected to being called Molly Campbell) had apparently run away from her mother to be with her siblings and father in Pakistan. Despite this, the press are still referring to her as Molly or Molly aka Misbah Rana. Scottish Muslims and politicians have slammed the media coverage as 'smacking of racism' and accused media of allowing latent racism to creep into their reporting. This is of course nothing new. It is blatantly obvious that the press wanted this to be another 'evil Pakistani father forces little girl into marriage in barbaric country' episode. This is a well worn groove. The headlines were already made, before the facts became clearer. The story was already written before the reporters had bothered to determine the circumstances. It was much easier to take the mother's side, add a bit of hype, stir in some racial prejudice, snobbery and stereotypes and finally bring to the boil. "My identity as a Muslim and a Pakistani has something to do with it, the whole thing is blown out of proportion," said Misbah's father Sajjad Rana. What's even worse is the fact that Misbah insists that she actually wants to live in Pakistan. "I like Pakistani culture and values and I want to live here with my dad and sister and brother," she said. Clearly her evil father has brainwashed her with his islamofascistopaki ideology. To western reporters this is ridiculous. How could somebody prefer living in a dirty, smelly backward country like Pakistan when they could have the latest DVDs, sky movies and 24/7 access to delightful western consumer products.

One should not belittle the problem of forced marriage or use this story to hide the problem. Yet, put in perspective forced marriages are extremely uncommon in relative terms compared to the huge number of normal arranged marriages, where consent is sought and given. But, there is no excuse for the deliberately racist and xenophobic attitude that prevails in the media today. In fact the Daily Mail's headline today on this story is “Father given custody of Molly - because her mother's a Christian”. No acceptance of her real name and no acceptance of a Pakistani court judgment. Let's turn this into a clash of civilisations story (again).

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Begging in Barcelona

Friday, September 01, 2006

Traveling whilst Asian

The case of Sohail Ashraf and friend Khurram Zeb has aroused a great deal of controversy. These were two young men who were evicted from the Malaga to Manchester flight last month after fellow passengers voiced fears that the men could be terrorists. The pair are now victims of a smear campaign led by tabloids and followed by the 'quality' newspapers. Details of their private lives, such as convictions for credit card skimming, have been leaked as well as the allegedly suspicious travel itinerary. They had indeed made the mistake of 'traveling whilst asian' as well as talking in a foreign language and not dressing smartly. The fact is that their background is irrelevant to the facts of the case. If they had been through security checks, then there was simply no reason to evict them. They were evicted solely because the pilot gave into the other passengers' bigotry. The airline should have given those passengers the option of leaving the flight, if they were so concerned about their safety. I doubt whether the offer would have been accepted.

This incident though is not an isolated one. Three people including 65 year old Londoner Syed Hussain, his sister and brother-in-law (visiting from Dubai) were barred from boarding the London Eye because the sister was speaking Arabic. At least two mosques have been the target of recent arson attacks. One man has been arrested for pouring petrol through the letterbox of a mosque with intent to set it alight while people were inside. In another incident yesterday in Wirral, a blind Bangladesh-origin pensioner was brutally set upon by a gang of racist thugs and beaten unconscious with his own walking stick after leaving a mosque. Incidentally this was the same mosque that was targeted for an arson attack by two men last year after the London bombs. This Shahjalal mosque shares the same name with another that was targeted for arson near Chester. In Bradford, racists with a dog set the animal on 17 year old Suhail Ali. It took doctors 3 hours to stitch up his arm. He is currently physically and mentally scarred and still unable to use the arm. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list and hundreds of small racist incidents continue to affect people every day. Racist attacks are not new, but they have been joined by additonal attacks on a particular ethnic and religious group. There is now a pattern of attacks on muslims and their institutions as well as targets wrongly identified with muslims. The numbers are not massive and in terms of the total population they are tiny. The situation is not yet untenable nor are muslims under threat from most of the population. Some in the media would like us to think that muslims are a general problem and that violence against them is just indicative of the fact that they cannot and will not integrate because of their alien ideology. They want to encourage the reporting of incidents in order to heighten a sense of crisis that doesn't really exist.

The concern must be about where all this is leading. If the media keep encouraging this type of bigotry will it lead to a situation where the attacks become more prevalent? Will racial profiling and ethnic segregation be encouraged by the authorities? Are we heading towards a situation where 'coloureds' particularly muslims may have to travel in separate planes, because the white passengers are fearful of bombs, despite the security? This media campaign is nothing to do with terrorism; it is everything to do with eroding the civil rights of an ethnic and religious group. Racial profiling will not and cannot prevent terrorism. The racists in the media are attacking multiculturalism at every opportunity. For all our sakes they cannot be allowed to succeed with their poisonous agenda. The hype, misinformation and outright lies must be challenged.