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This blog used to be called EDL Extra. I was a supporter (neither a member nor a leader) of the EDL until 2012. This blog has retained the old web address.


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Is Birmingham's Khalid Mahmood an "Asian MP"?

This Birmingham Post article should give people a good view into Muslim tribal politics in Birmingham - what Salma Yaqoob calls 'multiculturalism'. When Yaqoob speaks of 'multicultural', she means Muslim or Islamic. That, then, is biculturalism, not multiculturalism.

By Jonathan Walker, on Oct 20, from the Birmingham Post

I recently wrote a blog post about Church schools, and one of the comments left by Ursula, a reader, prompted a small debate about multiculturalism.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the term. It's often used simply to mean a diverse society made up of people from different ethnic backgrounds, which is fair enough. But strictly speaking, it would mean a multitude of distinct cultures, as I understand it.

I prefer to think that we Brits share the same culture, and one which is extremely diverse. The arrival of the Windrush, which bought migrants from the Caribbean in 1948 and is seen as marking the start of significant migration from that part of the world, is part of my history, as it is part of British history and I am British (and white).

I was passed on a press release from Respect - the party of MP George Galloway - which reports on a meeting in Birmingham addressed by Mr Galloway and Birmingham Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob.

They criticised "Pakistani MPs" for failing to speak out against violence in Pakistan. Although he is not named, the local MP they have in mind is clearly Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Perry Barr.

Some of the language in the release makes me uneasy.

The press release states:

[Galloway said] "We are reminded that there are four Pakistani MPs in Parliament. A fact I nearly forgot as none of them has raised a finger or voice against the US-led attack on Pakistan.

"They're just there to be reeled in when their political leaders want to justify an attack on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Pakistan."

Galloway's views were echoed by Respect Birmingham City Councillor Salma Yaqoob, who urged Muslims from the region to increase pressure on Asian councillors or deny them their vote.

"We need to tell these people who come to our homes asking for our votes, and there are over twenty Asian councillors in Birmingham, we need to tell them they will not get our votes unless they do something to help the people of Pakistan," she explained.

I was surprised at this talk from Respect about "Pakistani MPs", "Asian councillors" and urging Birmingham Muslims to vote as some kind of bloc.

I've also asked this question on The Stirrer website, a local news website, but don't we want Birmingham MPs rather than "white", "Asian" or "African-Caribbean"?

Isn't Khalid the MP for Perry Barr, with all its diverse community, not a "Pakistani MP"? Or am I just being silly?

In fairness, the release also quotes Coun Yaqoob as saying: "As people from all backgrounds, and I stand here as a British citizen, we cannot allow this to happen in our name."

But this comment doesn't seem consistent with the general tone of their message.

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