The ‘joyful challenge’ of minority congregations’ use of Anglican church spaces

Dr Demelza Jones

Responding effectively to ever-increasing diversity (or superdiversity) is an important challenge facing the modern Church of England, particularly in urban centres. This response may take the form of attempts at meaningful engagement with other faith communities – for instance, the Church’s nationwide Presence and Engagement programme, which “focus[es] on the importance of the Church both remaining present in multi religious areas and engaging positively with communities of other faiths”1, and is complemented by a network of Inter-Faith Relations Advisors working at the Diocesan level. However, as well as this engagement across faiths, the Church must also respond (and arguably adapt) to significant diversity within Christianity, and even within Anglicanism. Continue reading

Why Sufi shrines are targeted by Islamic State

dr-parveen-akhtar

When an Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber killed 88 people and wounded hundreds more at a Sufi shrine in Sehwan on February 16, it did not deter the devotees of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, the 13th-century Sufi mystic, who draws millions to his tomb in Pakistan’s Sindh privince.

The attack followed a bombing in November 2016 at another Sufi shrine in the remote Baluchistan region which killed at least 52 people.

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The BBC is neither independent or impartial: interview with Tom Mills

bbc-book-tom

Tom Mills, a Lecturer in Sociology and Policy at Aston University and former Co-Editor of New Left Project, has just published his first book, The BBC: Myth of a Public Service. Using archival research, original interviews, autobiographies and secondary sources Mills examines the politics of the BBC, arguably the most influential and trusted news organisation in the UK.

I asked Mills about the popular image of the BBC as independent and impartial, its Iraq War coverage and what changes he would like to see made at the Corporation.
Ian Sinclair: In an interview with the Press Gazette after she was recently named Journalist of the Year at the British Journalism Awards, Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s Political Editor, said ‘Among the many jewels and gifts that the BBC has is our editorial independence’. She went on to argue ‘I would die in a ditch for the impartiality of the BBC. That’s what we do.’ Is the BBC independent and impartial?

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Donald Trump has thrown Mexico’s shockingly unpopular president a lifeline

dr-pablo-calderon-martinez

As US president Donald Trump presses on with his personal crusade against us Mexicans, he’s finding out at last that the realities of government are quite different from the realities of life on the campaign trail.

Trump has now made his plan for a wall on the Mexican border official by way of an executive order but, in a democratic system, formulating a “policy” (if this one deserves the name) is completely different to implementing it. Building a concrete wall in the middle of the desert isn’t just a huge practical challenge; it’s a multi-billion-dollar vanity project – and one that would do little to stop illegal immigration or drug trafficking.

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Book review: Culture, Ethnicity and Migration After Communism, by Anton Popov (2016, Routledge)

culture-ethnicity-and-migration-after-communism
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked a period of intense social and political change in the former Soviet Union as well as in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, not least in relation to the re-construction of borders separating re-emergent nation-states. These re-constructed borders imposed separation on a formerly united space, while at the same time the region was opening up to transnational processes associated with globalisation. How, in this context, have people caught up in the shifting dimensions of nationalism and transnationalism negotiated their sense of identity and ‘home’?
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The UK’s Pro-Israel Lobby in Context

Dr. Tom Mills

Dr. Tom Mills, Hilary Aked, Tom Griffin, David Miller

While the taboo on discussing the Israel lobby was broken decisively by Mearsheimer and Walt in their ground-breaking 2007 study,[1] there has been relatively little discussion of the lobby in the UK and the rest of Europe.[2] In this article, we examine the history and current organisation of the UK’s pro-Israel lobby. This is important for a number of reasons. Not least because the lobby is a significant player in UK politics, helping to blunt campaigns for Palestinian human rights, shore up support for Israel, attack and marginalise critics (including Jewish critics) of Israel and insulate political elites from pressure to act against Israel’s misdeeds. Continue reading

Marine Le Pen isn’t the problem – the BBC panders to the right on a daily basis

Dr. Tom Mills

The idea the corporation is a paragon of public service values is a myth that does it no favours. The left should be more critical

While sections of the left object in principle to any platform being given to the far right, much of the criticism of the BBC’s decision to screen an interview with Marine Le Pen focused on good taste as much as political judgment, the interview with the French far-right leader falling on Remembrance Sunday of all days. Continue reading

History offers Britain an important lesson on shutting down immigration

Dr Katherine Tonkiss

Dr Katherine Tonkiss

Tendayi Bloom

The rate of hate crimes reported in the UK has rocketed since the country voted to leave the European Union in June, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

In 2013 we published research on the parallels between British discontent about migration in the 2010s and in the late 1960s – a moment perhaps best known for the end of Commonwealth free movement and Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech. Continue reading

Corbynism and the Corporation: BBC Bias and the Case for Media Transformation

Dr. Tom Mills

In an interview for Jacobin magazine earlier this year, Jeremy Corbyn discussed his leadership campaign’s use of social media. He compared it to the situation in the early 1980s when the left of the Labour party, which was then still strong, was more at the mercy of a hostile new media. He mentioned The Sun – no surprises there – but also referred to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme as an obstacle to change.

To liberals, and even some leftists, it might seem provocative to refer to one of Rupert Murdoch’s mouthpieces in the same breath as the world’s most prestigious public service broadcaster. But in the period Corbyn was discussing, the BBC was widely regarded as a conservative organisation, and not only by the radical left. James Callaghan, who was very much on the right of the Labour party, thought the BBC small-C conservative “on every issue that mattered” and polling data suggests that much of the public viewed it in similar terms.

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