Wednesday, July 21, 2004

No jobs for the boys at Equal Opportunities Commission
Male representation at the Equal Opportunities Commission [EOC] has fallen to crisis level as revealed in its latest annual report. Men number just 25 and make up a derisory 16.4% of its total staff of 152.
The EOC has not issued a press release on the occasion of the report’s release. Its website however contains a campaigning slogan ‘Jobs for the boys?’  in support of developing female representation in activities where they are under represented, apparently totally unaware of the hypocrisy of its stance.
The EOC claims still to be “the leading agency set up to tackle sex discrimination” and that “it is committed to challenging discrimination in all its forms and at all levels of society”.
Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup has called upon the EOC to commit itself to a target closer to home to overcome the institutional sexism that has characterised it since its inception.
Mr Hartup said: “ I have now asked Secretary of State Patricia Hewitt to intervene and will be reporting the EOC to the women’s rights committee of the European Parliament. How can business and human relations professionals take seriously a self-righteous quango whose own arrangements put it at the bottom of the equal opportunities league? The EOC unfortunately illustrates perfectly the problem it purports to solve.”
Note to editors 
EOC Annual Report 2003-2004 pp20-21
 Gerald Hartup Tel: 020 7928 7325, Fax: 020 7207 3425

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Commission for Racial Equality stays institutionally racist and sexist

Men remain grossly under-represented at the Commission for Racial Equality [CRE] as do its white staff. This is revealed in the £20 million organisation’s annual report for 2003.

Just 35.1% of its 191 staff is male and 38.2% white. This maintains a long tradition of massive under-representation of both groups that can be traced back to the organisation’s creation.

Although the CRE has pressed companies to correct racial imbalances with targets it has resolutely and stubbornly refused to operate these itself.

Liberty and Law director, Gerald Hartup, who has monitored CRE employment for 28 years is writing to the Home Secretary seeking independent supervision of the organisation’s employment policy. He said: “The CRE has had far too long to establish itself as an equal opportunities ‘champion’. Successive chairmen and commissioners have failed to prioritise reform making it a laughing stock. How can its recommendations and investigations be taken seriously until it gets its own house in order?”

Note to editors

Gerald Hartup Tel: 020 7928 7325 Fax: 020 7207 3425
Liberty and Law
Unit 384, 78 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5AP
Tel: 020 7928 7325 Fax: 020 7207 3425

ideas and action to change society

Bugger Peter Tatchell!

The protest outside London’s City Hall over Mayor Ken Livingstone’s association with controversial Muslim cleric Dr Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi on Monday 12 July was pretty low key. Despite earlier substantial press coverage just a dozen or so protestors from Outrage and the Green Party carried placards opposing Dr Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s attendance at the conference Hijab: A Woman’s right to choose called by the Muslim Council of Britain. They were watched by five relaxed police officers two of whom were Asian giving [no doubt accidentally] the impression that 40% of London’s police officers were from ethnic minorities.

Qaradawi and Livingstone did not make an appearance at the main entrance but the media were treated to a passionate embrace between the two men at the conference itself suggesting a Private Eye cover “Bugger Peter Tatchell!”

Qaradawi had been widely condemned by government and the media for his views on suicide bombers and had been reported to the police [without success] by Jewish representatives. His views on homosexuality and the position of women came in for particular criticism.

Protestors were slightly outnumbered by photographers. Outrage organiser Peter Tatchell gave a television interview and Green Assembly members Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones spoke to the media condemning Qaradawi and Livingstone.

There were no representatives from the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives or Labour to register a protest but they are expected to support a motion of condemnation of the Mayor later this week

Placards announced: Qaradawi blames rape victims who are ‘immodest’; Dr Qaradawi wants Muslim women forced to wear hijab; Qaradawi endorses stoning of gays; Stop death penalty for love, and, No to gay execution [also in Arabic].

Light relief was occasioned by two elderly American tourists- ignoring the political event - who got a policeman to pose with them outside the entrance.

It was a strangely subdued demonstration as if both demonstrators and the objects of their demonstration were dipping their toes gently into political confrontation. Muslims attending the event walked past the placards ignoring the protestors who made no attempt to engage them in discussion or distribute leaflets. The best picture the media could get was a middle aged Muslim lady giving them a cheerful wave before entering the building.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Mayor Livingstone still backing homophobic Islamic cleric - but for how long?

London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone continues to back Muslim homophobe Dr Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi by appearing at his press conference yesterday and opening next Monday’s Hijab Conference at London’s City Hall where the controversial religious leader is Special Guest of Honour of the Muslim Council of Britain [MCB].

Qaradawi has expressed himself forcefully on gay rights. Interviewed by Islam on Line he provided the following fatwa.

“All divine messages spoke of the People of Lut and denounced their ill-doings. The West, however, wishes to turn homosexuality into something acceptable by society. Not only that, but laws and regulations are being construed to legalize this sin and many of the issues surrounding it.
Personally, I consider a homosexual to be as a drug abuser, one who requires treatment. Does anyone in their right mind consider drug abuse something one is born with? This is not a genetic anomaly, it is something one acquires. It is a disease that needs a cure.”

It has been assumed until now that Livingstone backs the rights of gays and lesbians as full citizens. He would have been expected to veto the use of City Hall for an event that could even result in civil commotion as gay and lesbian Londoners protest at this provocative demonstration of Islamaphobic bigotry.

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup said: “It is amazing that the Muslim Council of Britain should have invited this man to their conference whose views on homosexuality and arguments for the grossly subordinate role of women must be repugnant to British Muslims. The Council claims 350 affiliates and to express the views of moderate Muslims. It is time for affiliates to engage in a spring clean of its officers. How can society combat Islamophobia without rejecting Islamaphobia? It is an outrage that London’s Mayor should give Qaradawi and what he stands for a veneer of respectability by sharing a platform with him at London’s seat of government. “

MCB claims that Qaradawi is a ‘voice of reason and understanding’ and that ‘the smear campaign against Dr Al-Qaradawi is being orchestrated by the Zionist lobby who are evidently angered by Dr Al- Qaradawi's staunch opposition to Israeli State brutality against the Palestinian people.’

Note to editors

Islamaphobia - manifestations of hatred and hostility by Muslims
Islamophobia - manifestions of hatred and hostility towards Muslims

Will Blunkett be first victim of his religious hatred law?

Home Secretary David Blunkett could well be the first defendant together with BNP leader Nick Griffin to test his proposed law to criminalize the incitement of religious hatred. The Islamic Human Rights Commission [IHRC] has declared him [26 June] second only to Mr Griffin as Most Islamophobic Politician of the year. The Commission for Racial Equality backed these awards according to Aljazeera and Reuters. They reported its chair Trevor Phillips welcoming them as an important step to ‘fight bigotry and prejudice against Muslims’.

Ironically the IHRC opposes his proposal on the grounds that ethnic minorities whom the Home Office claims the legislation is designed to protect would be the first to be criminalized.

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup said: “The Home Office under Mr Blunkett has lost the plot. It now represents a clear threat to racial harmony. The Prime Minister must dismiss his loyal but dangerously misguided Minister.”


Friday, July 02, 2004

BNP’s Nick Griffin and Guardian’s Polly Toynbee win Islamophobia awards backed by CRE – Home Secretary a runner-up

The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee has won the title of Most Islamophobic Media Personality awarded by the UK’s Islamic Human Rights Commission [IHRC] on 26 June. She joins BNP leader Nick Griffin winner of Most Islamophobic British Politician who beat Home Secretary David Blunkett. Neither attended to accept their awards.

According to Aljazeera and Reuters the chair of Britain’s government funded Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, welcomed the awards as an important step to ‘fight bigotry and prejudice against Muslims’.

The CRE gave its backing to the event stating for ISHR’s publicity brochure that it was ‘pleased to support the second annual 'Islamophobia Awards' ceremony, that ‘it is vital to highlight the continuing discrimination against Islam as a religion, and Muslims as believers’ and ‘ important that we celebrate the work of people and organisations that fight against this bigotry and prejudice.’

The Daily Telegraph beat the Sun and the Spectator for the title Most Islamophobic Media.

Liberty and Law director, Gerald Hartup, said: “It was disappointing to see Mr Phillips give inappropriate support to a partisan political attack on David Blunkett when his own conditions of employment involve actively supporting the government in its policies. He may be attempting to gain credibility with former allies * who now criticize him for not challenging the government’s move to merge its sex, race and disability commissions with inevitable job losses for key players in the race relations industry.”

Other IHRC award winners were President George W Bush who beat off a challenge from former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and Daily Mail columnist and author Melanie Phillips for Islamophobe of the year.

Most Islamophobic International Politicians were joint winners Jacques Chirac and Ariel Sharon.

Note for editors*Trevor Phillips under pressure to oppose single equalities body Exclusive by Lester Holloway ,

Contact: Gerald Hartup Tel: 020 7928 7325 Fax: 020 7207 3425