Friday, July 28, 2006

Books burning, rockets falling

Here are some extra links around the issues I've been posting on recently.

(Note: many of these links come from the excellent Butterflies and Wheels. Links added since I first posted marked with a red star*.)

On faith schools and identitarianism (original post:
Neo-liberalism's assault on civic culture)

The great Amartya Sen has brought out a book called Illusions of Identity that looks very good, making the same sort of points about identitarianism that I have on this blog (although obviously he does it a lot more intelligently and authoratively!). Kenan Malik talks to him in Prospect.

Among other things, Sen attacks faith schools, which a nice article by Stuart Jeffries picks up on. Butterflies and Wheels has been posting on Sen: 1 and 2.

On Monica Ali's Brick Lane (original post: Germaine Greer versus Monica Ali)

When I wrote that post, I didn't know anything about the idiots protesting against the filming of the book. I thought I might have a little sympathy for them. Reading this Guardian article, with a promise of burning her book (Satanic Verses style) this weekend, I have no sympathy for them at all. Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi and others weigh in sensibly here, pointing out that it is a tiny minority of Brick Lane Bangladeshis who are protesting. They refer to this very good report from Asians in Media.

Rohin at Pickled Politics has a good post on the issue, and Butterflies and Wheels has been posting on it. A juicy example:
Authoritarianism and do-what-I-tell-youism raises its nasty scaly pustulant head again, brandishing its usual coercive banner of The Community to put a sanctimonious gloss on the revolting thing. And - gee, what a coincidence - yet again the author being told what to do is a woman. Fancy that. What do you know. 'Behzti' 'offended' a 'whole community' and got slapped around and shut down and now it's time to do the same to 'Brick Lane'. It's doubly if not triply or quadruply offensive when a woman 'offends' 'The Community.' Why isn't she locked up somewhere instead of running around in the world writing books or plays and getting them published and offending The Community? It's an outrage. Up go the blockades.
Also very good is Scribbles' post at DST4W, comparing the "willy wavers" of Spitalfields with the macho jerks who feature in Guy Ritchie films.*

On communautarisme and political Islam (original post: Representing Muslims)

Martin Bright, of the New Statesman, made a very good documentary screened a week or two ago, on exactly the same lines as the Radio 4 slot I commented on. It went further than the R4 slot, as it showed the culpability of the Blair government, and one young advisor in particular, in empowering the Muslim Council of Britain. Here Bright responds to his critics.

Here's a report on the founding of the Sufi Muslim Council, an event to be welcomed.

I haven't given as much weight to one of the other faces of communautarisme: Hindutva, Hindi fascism. Here's an excellent report on the RSS, one of the main Hindutva groups, at Pickled Politics.

On Hizbollah (original post: What about proportionality?)

First, thanks to Jason for picking up my post and saying nice things about it!

Of the vast amount of comment on the issue, Fred Halliday in OpenDemocracy is worth reading. If you like this, get more Halliday here.

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