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Insights from the UK and beyond

from FaithWorld:

Book Talk: UK Muslim author seeks roots of militancy

malikThe prominence of Britain's Muslim minority in the nation's debate about security and social cohesion provides the backdrop to journalist Zaiba Malik's memoir of growing up a British Muslim of Pakistani descent.

"We Are A Muslim, Please" tells how she was raised by first generation immigrant parents in the run-down former industrial center of the northern English city of Bradford in a tradition of conservative piety. (Photo: Pakistani-born British journalist Zaiba Malik in Dhaka on November 26, 2002/Rafiqur Rahman)

At the same time she was desperate to fit in at school, an overwhelmingly white British institution, an effort that led to years of excruciating anxiety and moments of low comedy.

Malik's story is shaped by her curiosity about the roots of the militancy that has taken hold in some parts of Britain's Muslim communities. She was born in nearby Leeds in 1969, on the same street where, decades later, the bombers who killed 52 people in London in 2005 manufactured their bombs in a rented apartment.

from The Great Debate UK:

Getting to grips with the post-Cold War security threat

johnreid -John Reid, formerly the UK Defence Secretary and Home Secretary, is MP for Airdrie and Shotts, and Chairman of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College, London. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9, 1989, was one of history’s truly epochal moments. During what became a revolutionary wave sweeping across the former Eastern Bloc countries, the announcement by the then-East German Government that its citizens could visit West Germany set in train a series of events that led, ultimately, to the demise of the Soviet Union itself.

Twenty years on, what is most striking to me are the massive, enduring ramifications of the events of November 1989. Only several decades ago, the Cold War meant that the borders of the Eastern Bloc were largely inviolate; extremist religious groups and ethnic tensions were suppressed, there was no internet (at least as we know it today) and travel between East and West was difficult. The two great Glaciers of the Cold War produced a frozen hinterland characterised by immobility.

Would you apply for an ID card?


The people of Manchester will soon be the first to be able to apply for an identity card, which the government says will help fight terrorism and reduce fraud. Opposition parties, however, oppose the five billion pound scheme and say it should be scrapped to save money and protect civil liberties.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the cards, which will be available in the city in the autumn ahead of a nationwide roll-out by 2012, will be voluntary. She said the move would allow Manchester citizens “the best chance to start realising the benefits of identity cards as soon as possible.

Walking the risk-reward tightrope in Iraq


It’s fair to say that investing in Iraq is not for the faint-hearted.

Just last week more than 200 people were killed in suicide bombings across the country, while kidnapping and armed assault remain commonplace.

That said, more than 600 delegates still turned up to the Invest Iraq 2009 conference held in London this week, eager to find out what opportunities there might be in the oil, construction, petrochemicals, engineering, agriculture, transport and tourism industries, to name a few.

Stripping off for money


A colleague tells me of a quick way to make cash for anyone who wants to. His neighbours discovered a pile of old taps and central heating pipes they had lying around had more value than they thought. A scrap Scrap metalmetal merchant gave them £75 for them. ”It’s a bubble,” the merchant said.

It may be a bubble, but it’s proving a lasting one and one that’s causing problems in unexpected quarters too. In my salubrious part of Surrey, local churches are struggling to keep their roofs on and it’s not because of the volume of their congregations’ singing either. Thieves are stripping lead roofing and flashing to melt down and sell on.

A courageous decision?


daviddavis1.jpg“Courageous” is how Conservative Leader David Cameron described the decision by his shadow home secretary, David Davis, to quit his parliamentary seat and force a by-election over the issue of pre-charge detention.

Davis says he will contest the seat to take a stand on the erosion of civil liberties caused by the proposal to extend to 42 days the time police can hold terrorism suspects without charge.

Should the public police the Internet?


keyboardhand-sherwincrasto.jpg In an age of viruses, fraud and identity theft, who should be responsible for policing the Internet?

Governments, private security companies and law enforcement agencies all play a part in tackling cyber-crime.

Gone whaling: Web fraudsters land a bigger catch


fraud.jpgFirst there was “phishing” – where criminals try to steal people’s personal details using dodgy emails that look like they’re from the bank.

Then there was “spear phishing” – more sophisticated, targeted attempts to defraud specific organisations or their customers.