Regional News

    Muslims In Yorkshire Targeted by Neo-Nazi Terrorists

    By MO BHANA

    It has been revealed, the security services are helping police in far-right hotspots where extremist groups are planning atrocities

    About 40 neo-Nazis are being investigated by police amid fears that they are plotting terrorist attacks against Muslims in Yorkshire.

    The extremists are understood to be operating in “far-right hotspots” principally in Yorkshire, with Leeds, Dewsbury and Batley, said to be most affected.

    The neo-Nazis being investigated are “proactively plotting” by familiarising themselves with Islamic institutions and community representatives.

    This compared with those who carry out hate crimes against Muslims ­simply in response to Islamist terrorist attacks.

    In the modern parlance, this is part of the phenomenon known as the “alt-right” whilst pseudo sympathetic commentators refer to this so-called phenomenon as “a backlash to PC culture” whilst many of us say it how it is: neofascism.

    It has been strange to see the disturbing internet subculture I’ve followed for so long enter the mainstream. The executive chairman of one of its most popular media outlets, Breitbart, has been appointed Donald Trump’s chief of strategy, and their UK bureau chief was among the first Brits to have a meeting with the president-elect.

    Addressing the rise of the alt-right and Donald Trump, author and columnist, Maajid Nawaaz, explains the parallels between the movement and that of Daesh, who prey on vulnerable young Muslims.

    “They feed into each other and so there is a danger and if there is a danger that young under thirties, young white men are being influenced by white nationalists online and in these chat forums. Just like ISIS recruits and influences people on these chat forums.”

    “If there is this danger then we have to understand it in similar terms and we have to respond to it in similar terms. That means looking at the ideology that is promoted.”

    “That means understanding the identity crisis that leads to radicalisation. That means looking at the charismatic recruiters such as Richard Spencer, who by the way by all accounts is an incredibly smooth operator, looking at those charismatic recruiters and finally looking at any sense of grievance whether real or perceived that these young white working-class men may have.

    “Sense of grievance identity crisis charismatic recruiters and ideological indoctrination, those four factors that cause radicalisation applies whether to Islamist extremism or as in this case to the radicalisation of young white men who are advocating as Richard Spencer is doing so for ethnic redistribution. Whatever the heck that means.”

    Police intelligence sources believe the threat from the far right has increased over the past year, since the murder of the Batley and Spen’s Labour MP, Jo Cox by a neo-Nazi. Thomas Mair.

    The white supremacist who killed Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, in June last year was not known to police. He was jailed for life.

    Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin says standing up against hate is paramount in this day and age. She commended her two members of staff, Fazila Aswat and Sandra, who stood up to Mair whilst he attacked Jo Cox.

    “Fazila and Sandra were absolutely heroic, they stood up to him (Mair) at what was a very difficult time.

    “Jo’s family have responded by leading the way in being very dignified and justice has been served.

    “We should all follow Jo’s vision and remember her work as opposed to how she died.”

    The investigation of far-right ex­tremists was stepped up by police after a terrorist attack in June near the ­Finsbury Park mosque in north London, in which one Muslim man died and 11 were injured.

    Home Office figures show 48 people were arrested for domestic terrorism, which covers far-right extremism, in the year to March. This is a fivefold increase on the 10 arrested for the same offences in the previous 12 months.

    The North East Counter Terrorism Unit, which covers Yorkshire and is understood to be receiving tactical ­support from MI5, said: “Over the past year or so, there have been indications the threat from extreme right-wing [individuals] could be increasing . . . UK counterterrorism policing is alive to this.”

    National Action, a neo-Nazi group which celebrated Cox’s murder, was ­proscribed as a terrorist group by the Home Office in December. It is not believed that any of its members are being investigated.

    In certain regions, such as the ­Midlands, Yorkshire and south Wales, neo-Nazis account for a quarter of cases handled by Prevent, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism.

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    Local community donates £500 to local charity

    By MO BHANA

    Batley based IMWS has made a donation of £500 to a local charity that provides care
    for the terminally ill.

    Kirkwood hospice, based in Kirklees, is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. It was set up after David Stocks read a review about _Going Gently_, a play about two men who are dying of cancer in a drab hospital, afraid and alone.

    Mr Stocks was so moved by the play, he penned a letter to the Huddersfield Examiner saying there is a need for a hospice in
    Huddersfield, and asking if anyone would be interested in setting one up.

    As it turned out, people were interested; £10,000 was raised within three months.

    Kirkwood provides specialist care to patients who suffer from life limiting illnesses, and their carers free of charge, such as symptom management and psychological support.

    The Chair of IMWS, Saied Laher, presented the cheque to CEO of Kirkwood Hospice, Michael Crowther, at a celebration event held at the University of Huddersfield.

    Saied Laher said, “Donations and gifts represent a significant proportion of Kirkwood Hospice income, which helps the hospice to continue to provide specialist palliative care for the terminally ill in Kirklees.

    “I think it is important to support local charities and I feel that it is important for IMWS to work with Kirkwood Hospice. We have agreed to raise awareness of the range of care they provide which is open to all the residents of Kirklees”

    Michael Crowther, Chief Executive at Kirkwood Hospice, said: “We were absolutely delighted and humbled to receive a donation from the Indian Muslim Welfare Society during the period of Ramadan.

    “Kirkwood is celebrating 30 years of care in Kirklees this year and we are aiming to reach more of our community than ever before. The generosity and support of local groups such as the Indian Muslim Welfare Society is vital in helping us to reach those who may need our support but don’t yet know how we can help.

    “This donation will make a real difference at Kirkwood, helping us to continue providing the very best care for people with life-limiting illnesses, as well as support for their carers, families and loved ones.”

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    Enterprising British Indians shine at prestigious awards

    It was a night that everybody was waiting for. Yes, you got that right. We are talking about the covetous British Indian Awards 2017.

    Acknowledging excellence in business and various other professional endeavours, the fifth annual edition of the Awards night saw the industrious and successful British Indian community rubbing shoulders with the industry elite.

    The glitzy event, celebrating the achievements of the British Indian community, organised by Oceanic Consulting was held at The Athena in Leicester on June 14.

    Rising Star Award, Jatin Patel

    Hosted by the eloquent Kamlesh Purohit, assistant editor at BBC Radio Leicester, the black tie event saw the 200-odd guests having a good time meeting and interacting with prosperous people from all walks of life.

    Welcoming talented individuals and businessmen on stage, Purohit acknowledged their achievements, much to their delight, especially their inspiring and brilliant entrepreneurship and focus on quality and service.

    The awardees are a true reflection of high standard as the winners are chosen based on a vote by the British public.

    Irfan Younis, CEO of Oceanic Consulting, said: “We are honoured and delighted to have such great finalists and winners representing the British Indian community and enhancing its reputation nationally and internationally.

    “These were the fifth annual British Indian Awards. They are a true reflection of British Indian talent in the country and we want to make sure that the hard work of those deserving professionals doesn’t go unnoticed.

    “We were very happy to welcome the guests and celebrate with them. Congratulations to all finalists and winners!”

    Oceanic Consulting is Britain's largest ethnic consulting and promotions organisation. It holds various world class events throughout major cities across Scotland and England.

    The awards supported the Well Foundation – a charity providing clean safe drinking water – which raised £500 at the glamorous event.

    The full list of winners:
    Best in Creative Industries
    -Sunrise Radio (Bradford)
    Best in Civil & Third Sector Services
    -Councillor Manjula Sood MBE (Leicester)
    Best in Science & Technology  -Dr Premila Nalini Webster (Oxford)
    Rising Star Award -Jatin Patel (London)
    Best in Medical  -Dr Gaggandeep Singh Alg (London)
    Best in Media -Anjula Singh (London)
    Best in Legal Services -Jas Kalsi (London)
    Best in Education  -Avtar Singh Purewal OBE (Wetherby)
    Best in Accounting -Sumit Agarwal (London)
    Indian Spirit in the Community  -Jeevan Chagger (Birmingham)
    Professional in Business -Dr Sameer Patel (London)
    Best Charity/Community Initiative  -Guru Nanak Nam Ladies Jatha (Birmingham)
    Corporate Leaders  -Sue Kukadia (London)
    Arts & Cultural Awareness  -BritAsia TV (Birmingham)
    Best Entertainer -Professor Ustad Sital Singh Sitara MBE (London)
    Best SME Business -Kapture 8 (Birmingham)
    Family Business of the Year -HKS Holdings Ltd (Leicester)
    Leaders in Finance -Kalpana Shah (London)
    Best Indian Business in the UK -TJC (The Jewellery Channel) (London)
    Young Achiever of the Year -Rubeena Kaur Mehat (Coventry)
    Businesswoman of the Year -Barinder Hothi (Bracknell, Berkshire)
    Businessman of the Year -Jojar Dhinsa (London)
    Business of the Year -Wholesale LED Lights (Leicester)
    UK Companies in India  -Fever Tree Drinks (PLC) (London)
    Entrepreneur of the Year -Hema Patel (Leicester/London)

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    Remembering Batley’s finest: Jo Cox

    By MO BHANA

    The first time I met Jo Cox was outside Dark Lane Masjid in Batley

    She was a relatively unknown politician to me at the time. However, she seemed unflustered by the amount of Asian/Muslim men walking out after Friday prayers.

    However, there was something about this unknown woman that was very endearing.

    She was introduced to one of the most respected Imam’s in Batley, Jo’s little frame made her way up to him in a very stateswoman, yet genuine manner and she introduced herself.

    “Don’t worry about your son, he’ll be fine tomorrow,” said Jo, assuring the sheikh that his eldest son’s wedding day would go according to plan and not to worry.

    They spoke and exchanged pleasantries and the rest of the congregation acknowledged our fellow local girl made good and we were on our way.

    Even though that was the only time I had met her, from what everyone said, Jo had an air of serene detachment about her, when it came to local residents, she seemed to understand the idiosyncrasies surrounding life in Batley.

    No job seemed beneath her, thus why everyone liked her. One resident from the Warwick Road area, Mohammed Pandor, explained how Jo took time out to visit his house, and somehow manage to communicate with his mother and gran who have a limited grasp of English.

    “The back wall in the garden needed some work and the council were useless, so we called Jo, who came over to the house, which we didn’t expect her to do.

    "She was chatting away with my mum and gran, who tried speaking with her in broken English and yet she somehow understood them” said Mohammed.

    “I was scratching my head, I couldn’t believe what was happening as she seemed to be able to communicate with them.

    “In between the conversation my gran would break into Gujarati and talk about how nice she was and Jo just looked back with a loving smile, she was one of a kind.”

    Andy Bottomley, a sales manager from Gomersal is adamant that Batley will never get an MP, as loving and caring as Jo ever again.

    “There was nothing fake about her, she was amazing, would never, ever talk down to anyone,” said Andy.

    “I’m a salesman and I know a genuine person when I see them and Jo was Batley through and through.”

    When news of her death filtered through, it was surreal; Jo’s passing was mourned by the people of Batley – many tears were shed by people from an array of backgrounds.

    Local historian Malcolm Haigh was present when the funeral cortege slowly drove through Batley town centre.

    “People from different backgrounds, kids, community leaders, friends and families all were there because they wanted to say goodbye to someone who worked tirelessly for the town.”

    My wife told me about a vigil held in Batley market place a few days after Jo’s death, the centre was packed with people as Imam’s, vicars and school children all gave heart moving speeches.

    After the event, my 4-year-old started crying, and as my wife and my eldest son began a 5-minute walk home, Jo’s sister was on hand to wipe his tears: “Don’t cry little one,” she said with a loving smile.

    I left a bouquet of flowers in Birstall market place close to where Jo lost her life, a police officer lifted a cordon to let us in and I quickly left the flowers as the assembled photographers were not taking no for an answer in relation to taking photographs of us.

    The police officer told us to look out for journalists who were looking to speak to us; we politely declined and headed home.

    A few weeks ago, I finally met a member of Jo’ family at the Huddersfield Town F.C boardroom - Kym. She was a guest of owner Dean Hoyle and his wife, Janet.

    As Kym was about to leave after the match, I spoke with her for a while, a genuinely lovely woman like Jo.

    It was surreal meeting her because she was re-assuring me as opposed to the other way round.

    “Don’t think about it too much, it honestly does not help,” said Kym.

    We spoke for a while and I’m delighted to see that she is working alongside Huddersfield Town F.C.

    Indeed, Jo’s family and friends have organised the great get together a community event on 16-18 June, in ­honour of Jo.

    The Great Get Together will be a huge demonstration of British public spirit as more than 100,000 events are being organised over the weekend up and down the country.

    Communities are being asked to come together and hold street parties, fetes and football matches on what will be the first anniversary of Jo’s death.

    As the Great Get Together will fall in Ramadan this year, rest assured Batley’s diverse community will be standing shoulder to shoulder with each other.

    I will always remember the funeral cortege with Jo’s husband and children being driven past the Masjid where I first met her. Little did I know that it would end in such a way.

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    Community organisations are getting together to host Great Get Together with a Big Iftar in memory of the late MP Jo Cox

    The event, which takes place on Sunday 18 June at City Park in Bradford is being hosted by Muslim Women’s Council in partnership with Bradford Council, MyLahore, Martin House Hospice, Bradford Council for Mosques, Bradford Reform Synagogue, Touchstone Bradford, Wellsprings Together Bradford and Carlisle Business Centre.

    The Great Get Together is a joint initiative between More in Common, led by Brendan Cox (husband of the late Jo Cox MP) and Eden Communities who organise the annual Big Lunch. The initiative has been organised in memory of Jo Cox MP, who was killed on 16 June 2016. Her husband, Brendan and friends want to remember Jo by communities coming together.

    The date for the event this year falls within Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. To take account of this The Big Iftar has partnered with The Great Get Together to make it a truly inclusive event.

    Chief Executive of Muslim Woman’s Council Bana Gora said: “In the spirit of the unity Jo Cox lived and died for, the Muslim Women’s Council has worked in partnership with Bradford Council, MyLahore, Martin House Hospice, Bradford Council for Mosques, Bradford Reform Synagogue, Touchstone Bradford, Wellsprings Together Bradford and Carlisle Business Centre, and Noor Ul Islam Mosque, pulling together people from all corners and from all walks of life. On Sunday, Bradfordians of all faiths and none can share a meal with their fellow Muslim who will break their fast as the sun goes down.

    “There is so much to be worried about. Our small blue and green planet really does feel like it is hurtling down a rabbit hole of chaos. As much as it pains us that we had to lose Jo in order to launch such a beautiful event, we cannot ever forget that, as Jo said herself in her maiden speech to parliament, there is more that unites us than divides us, even if what unites us is a simple love of food”

    Chris Verney, community fundraiser for Martin House, said: “At Martin House we value the importance of sharing food together and the sense of community it brings – every day our families and care team eat their meals together, and the kitchen is at the heart of the hospice. Currently around a third of the children and young people we care for come from the Bradford area, which includes support at our hospice, in hospital and in their own homes. So we are delighted to be partner in Bradford’s Big Iftar and share in this community celebration.”

    Bradford’s Great Get Together and Big Iftar will take place on Sunday 18 June in City Park from 8pm – 10pm. Please let us know if you can join us for delicious food, inspirational speeches and a lot more!

    Bring along your prayer mats. Refreshments will be served at iftar (breaking of the fast) and there is lots of free street parking available.

    Email directorsoffice@muslimwomenscouncil.org.uk  or call 01274 223230.

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