On France, Richard Dawkins And Atos

The French President has stated what might be obvious to many people, but seems to go unsaid in Britain, that the victims in Toulouse last year were killed because they were Jews.

A similar point should have been made in the British media when killers deliberately sought out Mumbai’s Chabad House, however, given the peculiar nature of the British press, it wasn’t.

Tell MAMA takes on Richard Dawkins:

“Naturally, Dawkins, his supporters, and the broader movement of self-identified ‘liberal, nice, decent people’ may yet defend themselves as critics of Islam who do not adopt the violent extremist attitudes of EDL members. Many of them may well be decent people though it is important that they realise that their actions may feed into the rhetoric of hate organisations like the EDL.

Sometimes, the language and comments used may well be perceived by Muslims as being identical to groups like the EDL and whilst they are coming from different places, the impact and perceptions on Muslim individuals may be the same – whether from the liberal or political left or whether from the Far Right.

Any form of speech that lumps groups of individuals together and abuses them collectively is unacceptable in a tolerant, diverse, and equal society.

Furthermore, these ‘decent, nice and liberal people’ need to understand that some in society attack Islam to undermine and dehumanise Muslims. Some genuinely believe that by attacking Islam, they are having no impact on the perception of Muslims by others.

It is therefore not a simple issue and saying that hating and attacking Islam does not impact or affect Muslims in our communities is naive.”[My emphasis.]

Spot on.

Having scanned Richard Dawkins’ timeline on Twitter I can see the issues.

It is peppered with questionable argumentation, fields of straw men and a depressingly simplistic approach to the issue of racism. It would take a whole blog post to pick them apart, but his failure to understand that religious identities can be used as a way to attack ethnic minorities is surprising.

Even President Hollande got that point fairly quickly and he is not a professional academic.

Elsewhere, Atos’s callousness knows no bounds, as the Independent reports:

“A Thalidomide victim with a brain tumour who is blind in one eye and has trouble walking is battling against a decision by Atos that she is capable of “work related activity”.

Martine White, 50, is due to appear at a tribunal in which she will appeal against the decision which she fears could force her to take employment or face losing up to half of her benefits.

The mother of four from Burnley, Lancashire, is one of a number of victims of the morning sickness drug which left more than 500 people in Britain with severe birth defects who claim they are being unfairly treated by the Government’s controversial back-to-work assessors.

Mrs White, who has deformed arms and is facing spinal surgery which she fears could put her permanently in a wheelchair, was assessed by Atos and moved from incapacity benefit to the new employment and support allowance last year.

She was placed in the category which deemed she was capable of “work-related activity” which can require attending a “work-related interview” once a month and putting together a CV in order to continue receiving her benefits of £212.70 a fortnight.

Mrs White, whose late husband Michael was also affected by Thalidomide, has twice appealed against her assessment but has now been told to argue her case in front of a judge. “

Salam Fayyad Is Right

I am very reluctant to post around the events in Toulouse, but feel compelled now it appears the suspect has been captured.

I believe that the words of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, need to be said many times over:

“It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life,”

Neo-Nazis in France

La Point has an updated article on those neo-Nazis in the French army, via Chrome’s translate:

“The investigation into the killings of Toulouse and Montauban know a new twist. The killing of the soldiers of the 17th Engineer Regiment paratrooper Montauban, one of the paratrooper of Toulouse, and the attack on Monday morning, the Jewish school that has killed four people including three children, are indeed related . This is the same scooter Yamaha T-Max, which was used by the shooter. His license plate was recorded on video surveillance tapes from the town of Montauban. It is also the same gun, a caliber of 11.43 mm, which served the three attacks. Reportedly, three men, one of which would have already shown, are being sought: the former military 17th RGP.

In 2008, the 17th Engineer Regiment paratrooper Montauban had become sadly aware. The military had identified soldiers close movements “neo-Nazi”. Jamel Benserhir, a former soldier, had reported to his superiors the actions of three “brothers in arms”, which had pushed up the bad taste to have their picture taken by the Nazi hello behind a swastika flag. This shot was then published by Le Canard chained “

Shooting In France, Time to Reflect

I have been away from the news media so didn’t catch the awful shootings in France, but my initial thought was how it puts our lives in perspective.

How our petty disputes and problems seem so small by comparison.

Sadly, there is a nasty tendency among bloggers to exploit the deaths of innocents.

Instead I think we should send our condolences to the school and the families involved, whilst we get a better picture of what happened:

BBC News covers it:

“A gunman has opened fire on a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse, killing three children and an adult, police say.

At least two people were also injured in the attack outside the Ozar Hatorah school in the north-east of the city.

Police are hunting for the gunman, who witnesses said was riding a black scooter.

The attack comes days after three soldiers were shot dead by a man on a scooter in the same part of France.”

La Point has more.

The Guardian too.

I will update this post later on, as more news becomes available.