Friday, 31 May 2013


Here are the top ten countries from which the blog has received visits in the past week.
  1. United Kingdom 727
  2. United States 632
  3. Russia 235
  4. France 160
  5. Ukraine 79
  6. Germany 77
  7. India 56
  8. Turkey 25
  9. Canada 22
  10. Spain 19

This week's total: 2,032 (last week: 2,045). These are aggregates of figures from the top ten countries only. Blogger's analytics doesn't show the numbers of pageviews below the tenth-ranking country and they don’t show the cumulative total including those additional countries, which is undoubtedly larger than the number shown above.

The world map at the top of this post is the graphic that I see on the stats page. The darker the green, the more pageviews from that country. I can see different versions of that map for "now" (i.e. in the last two hours), "today", "this week", "this month" and "all time". They're updated each time I look at them.


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury (with an expanded version on its website):
Appeals ahead of EDL march
by Ciaran Fagan
Muslim community leaders have urged people to stay away from a protest against the English Defence League, (EDL), in Leicester this weekend.
The Leicestershire Federation of Muslim Organisations, (FMO), has written to its members, including mosques and various community groups, across the city and county ahead of Saturday’s planned event.
Leicester members of the EDL announced earlier this week that they intend to march from the Clock Tower to the war memorial in Victoria Park to lay a wreath in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby, the soldier who was murdered in London last week.
Leicester Unite Against Fascism is preparing a counter-protest.
Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the FMO, said: “We are advising people it is better to stay away because of the risk of confrontation.
“It is right to pay respects to Drummer Lee Rigby but you have to ask whether it is necessary to march through the city centre.”
The EDL has said its members would not wear the group’s branded clothing, drink alcohol or chant throughout the march.
The march is also expected to only attract its local supporters.
Mr Nagdi also urged people not to react to rumours which may circulate on social networking sites or via text messages.
He said: “In many cases this information is not accurate. The police will be providing regular updates up to and including Saturday.”
Leicestershire Police said it was talking to both Leicester Unite Against Fascism and the EDL.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the force said: “We are expecting relatively small, low-key events, which will be peaceful and respectful in nature, and which will cause a minimum of disruption.
“We are not expecting people to travel from outside Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for either of these events – there are similar events in neighbouring counties on Saturday.
“We will adopt a low-key policing style, with appropriate contingencies in place.
“We do not expect either event to disrupt normal business in the city centre, and encourage people planning to visit the city centre on Saturday to continue with those plans.
“We are talking with the organisers of both events to remind them of their obligations to ensure safe and peaceful events.”
The three city councillors who represent the Castle ward, which includes the city centre and Victoria Park, jointly condemned the EDL’s decision to march.
Patrick Kitterick, Lynn Moore and Neil Clayton said the EDL should not be allowed to march through the city.
Councillor Kitterick said: “The English Defence League could pay its tribute without marching through the city centre. There is absolutely no need for them to do this.
“Any counter demonstration needs to be peaceful and respectful.”
In a joint statement, the three councillors said: “As Castle Ward Councillors we wish to totally condemn and dissociate ourselves from the potential decision by senior officers of the police and city council to allow the EDL to march in Leicester on Saturday.
“We wish it to be made clear that no consultation took place with ourselves before this decision was made and if it had we would have asked for the march to be stopped.
“We call on anyone who wishes to pay tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby to do so as individuals and communities as thousands have done.
“The decision of the EDL to do this as a group and incorporate a march through the city shows that they are cynically exploiting the death of a young man for their own political aims.
“We call on senior officers of the police and council to ban the proposed march which has nothing to do with paying tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby and everything to do with dividing our city.”


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Afghan asylum seeker released
by Adrian Troughton
An Afghan asylum seeker who was due to be deported has been released from detention.
Campaigners yesterday said they were delighted after Abdul Ghafar Rajabali arrived back in Leicester.
The 23-year-old, who feared he would be killed if sent back to Afghanistan, was taken to a detention centre near Gatwick airport 10 days ago.
However, the Home Office yesterday confirmed he had been released temporarily and that his case was being reviewed.
Pam Inder, chairman of the Leicester City of Sanctuary group, which has been working with Mr Rajabali, said all Mr Rajabali’s supporters were “very happy”.
She said: “We understand it is only a temporary release but it is always better not to be in prison than be in prison.
“Abdul’s position is still very precarious. At least he knows he is with friends.
“I have spoken to him on the phone and will see him in the next few days.”
Mr Rajabali’s parents and family were murdered when he was a baby.
He entered Britain illegally as a traumatised 16-year-old in August 2006, after fleeing to escape being forced to fight for the Taliban.
He applied for asylum but was turned down and started living rough in Leicester.
Mr Rajabali was detained on May 10 by the Border Agency. He was released on Wednesday night and arrived back in Leicester early yesterday morning.
Ms Inder said Mr Rajabali has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from people in Leicester.
She said: “He was very emotional when I spoke to him and he said he was very grateful for all the support from everyone in Leicester.
“As I understand it, he will have to have an interview with Home Office officials in the next few days and could even be re-detained.
“I must stress that this is not a solution to this matter and that it could rumble on for years before we get a final decision on whether Abdul can stay in this country.”
Leicester City of Sanctuary has helped Mr Rajabali in his dealings with the Border Agency. The group started an e-petition calling on Home Secretary Teresa May to stop his deportation, which has so far been backed by more than 3,500 people.
Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth, who took up Mr Rajabali’s case with the Home Office, welcomed the news he had been released from detention.
He said: “I am pleased that Mr Rajabali has been released from the detention centre and is back in Leicester with friends and supporters.
“We shall carry on supporting him in his fight to stay in the UK.”
A Home Office spokesman confirmed Mr Rajabali had been released on Wednesday.
He said: “Mr Rajabali was released from detention after providing further information in relation to his case, which is now being considered.”

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Suleman Nagdi has written the First Person column in today's Leicester Mercury:

Responsibility that each of us must shoulder
Society should come together and oust radical extremists - wherever they are, says Suleman Nagdi
The cold-blooded murder of Drummer Lee Rigby has once again cast a spotlight on radicalisation and raised questions about its causes. The notion of individuals driven by a particular cause to commit acts of murder and destruction is abhorrent to the majority, but what leads these individuals to shun society and and develop this hatred for their fellow human beings?
There is no faith which condones extremist violence, even though faith is quite often used as a mask to further the extremists' geo-political aims.
The radicalised can also include far right extremists, animal rights activists and separatist movements - ultimately, anyone who sees their cause as a justification for their extremist behaviour.
Unfortunately, we all too often associate radicalisation with Islam. But extremists comprise a very small minority and are predominantly detached from the mainstream Muslim majority.
The 2012 Home Affairs Select Committee report on the Roots of Radicalisation, chaired by Keith Vaz MP, identified a number of drivers for radicalisation which we are familiar with but also suggested that "radicalised individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds" and are "demographically unremarkable".
There can be many sources of radicalisation, including institutions. However, as the home affairs report identified, it is most likely to be the internet.
Disillusioned and disenfranchised individuals are more likely to be using private premises to access extremist sources from the internet.
We must adopt a unified approach to tackling extremism. It is a shared responsibility for all in society and not simply the responsibility of one group, faith or organisation.
This responsibility needs to be borne by our many institutions and centres.
We also need to teach our children the dangers of the internet and must monitor their use of internet sites as the shadowy sources of extremist hate and radicalism are only too easily a click or two away.
From an early age, we need to eradicate any opportunity for extremism to take root in the minds of our young people.
It is very difficult to identify an individual who is being radicalised and therefore we all need to remain conscious of our responsibilities.
There are organisations such as East Midlands Community Contact Unit, of which I am part, and the Channel project, which seeks to provide a multi-agency approach to helping vulnerable people who may be targets for radicalisation.
We need to ensure we don't criminalise these individuals and further disenfranchise them from society but rather look to bring them away from the causes of radicalisation.

Suleman Nagdi is chairman of Leicestershire Faith Forum [sic] and spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations.


This is from the Mercury Opinion column in today's Leicester Mercury:
Ignore this rabble and their march
The English Defence League are an organisation that we have no time for. They are an organisation that revels in causing divisions within our community. We frankly also have grave misgivings about those individuals that align themselves to this fringe group.
It is, therefore, with some trepidation that we report today that the EDL are apparently organising a march through Leicester city centre to the war memorial, in Victoria Park, to lay a wreath in memory of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was brutally murdered on the streets of Woolwich last week.
As everyone will remember, one previous demonstration by this rabble ended in violence that effectively closed our city centre on a busy Saturday.
On a second occasion, an excellent police operation kept disruption down to a minimum.
The soldier's death was indeed truly shocking and horrific, but it has nothing to do with this neo-political outfit.
The EDL, as they did on the night of Drummer Rigby's death, are simply seeking to exploit his murder for their own questionable ends.
We understand that this weekend's event is part of a series of marches and wreath-layings across the country.
It is expected to be small-scale and involve only local members and will not be the national EDL events, as was the case on previous occasions.
We would ask that opponents of the EDL, which should frankly be us all, ignore this event and that no-one mounts rival demonstrations.
Let the police do their job, marshal the event and get this group off our streets as quickly as possible.
Rival protests, however well meaning, simply play into the hands of these extremists and help them spread their intolerant and ill-founded message.
If the EDL had any credibility, they would simply go about their wreath-laying in private and mark Drummer Rigby's death in a dignified and solemn manner.
Instead, they choose to publicise their demonstration in the hope of promoting divisions within our community. We have a message for them – it won't work.


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
EDL in Leicester to pay their own tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby
Members of the English Defence League say they are to gather in the city centre on Saturday as part of an event to pay their respects to murdered soldier Lee Rigby.
The EDL Leicester Division said it had asked supporters to meet in High Street, before heading to the Clock Tower, along Gallowtree Gate, Granby Street, London Road and into Victoria Park.
They plan to lay wreaths and flowers at the park's war memorial and hold a minute's silence for Drummer Rigby, who was killed last week in the street near Woolwich Barracks, in south-east London.
Although the police say they expect the gathering to be small and "peaceful and respectful", previous EDL events in Leicester city centre have sparked confrontations between its members and supporters of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and local youths.
The Leicester UAF, on its website, has urged its followers to gather at the same time and place as the planned EDL event in what it describes as "a peaceful show of unity".
Leicestershire Police has appealed for people to respond reasonably to the event, which is likely to be one of many the EDL are planning this weekend in the wake of Drummer Rigby's death.
A police spokeswoman said: "We are aware the EDL intends to hold a small event to pay their respects to Drummer Lee Rigby in Leicester on Saturday, June 1.
"We ask for people to be reasonable in their response to this event which we expect to be peaceful and respectful."
The EDL's Leicester Division's Facebook page has asked participants not to drink, chant, sing or wear political or group colours during Saturday's gathering.
The UAF claim the EDL is using the soldier's death to stir up trouble and Islamophopia.
The police have not yet said if they will increase the number of officers in the city centre.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


The early evening edition of BBC East Midlands Today has a feature about the reaction of communities in the region to the Woolwich incident, one week on. It contains ten seconds of me from the footage filmed this morning by Luke Hanrahan in the Christians Aware office. It has me saying that nothing negative has happened in Leicester (probably the least interesting thing I said in the interview) which Political Editor John Hess contrasts with tensions in Nottingham.


Around 1100, I get a call from Luke Hanrahan, reporter at BBC East Midlands Today. He heard my spot on Jonathan Lampon's Radio Leicester breakfast show earlier today and asks if he can film some interview footage with me to be included in a short feature about East Midlands communities' reactions to the Woolwich incident, one week on.

A quick phone call to Cllr Manjula Sood, Chair of Leicester Council of Faiths, for the all-clear and half an hour later, Luke has set up his camera in the meeting room upstairs at Christians Aware, Saxby Street. We record a few minutes of me speaking about things in Leicester, some of which should be included in the early evening bulletin.


Canon Barry Naylor (left) & Riaz Ravat
It's a very short walk between BBC Radio Leicester and Leicester Cathedral, so hardly five minutes after my appearance on Jonathan Lampon's breakfast show, I'm sitting down to a breakfast of my own at Cathedral AM. Half a dozen attendees are seated already when I arrive. At least two of them tell me that they just heard me on the radio!

When I used to live this side of town I came to Cathedral AM often, but this is the first time I've made it in 18 months (literally; the last one was 30 November 2011).

Cathedral AM is an early morning networking event for people with particular interest in the city centre. From the start, the meetings have been hosted by Canon Barry Naylor and Julie Ann Heath. Breakfast is served from 0730 then there's a speaker from 0800. This morning it's Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director at St Philip's Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi-Faith Society.

Just before leaving, I have a brief word with Jo Tallack, General Manager at Highcross. She asks me if we'll be coming back for our exhibition during Inter Faith Week in November. When I say yes, she asks me to send her the dates so she can put it in the diary.


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
It is time for action by Muslim leaders
I write in response to Suleman Nagdi's First Person article ("Religion can't be defence for brutal killings", May 24).
My response is not that of a politician, religious expert or supporter of any right-wing organisation. My response is that of a working class man appalled by the atrocity committed in Woolwich.
I support Mr Nagdi's response and the sentiments contained. I have no doubt Mr Nagdi's intentions are noble and that he wishes for peace and, as he puts it, that "the forces of hatred do not prevail".
Unfortunately, his sentiments are, I fear, not enough.
Until the attacks in London on July 7, 2005, the perceived threat to this country was from terrorists from outside the UK.
Since then, there has been a catalogue of arrests of individuals born and raised in the UK.
Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali were jailed in April for plotting terrorist bomb attacks.
Next month, six men will be sentenced for preparing acts of terrorism. Richard Dart, Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood are also awaiting sentencing for terror-related offences. All were born in the UK.
Mr Nagdi calls for "solidarity" and states Muslims "have been distressed by the fact they are being made to defend themselves".
I agree the actions of a small minority should not influence the majority and the residents of this country should be able to live in peace.
However, what Mr Nagdi has failed to address is the fear and distress many people in this country have as a result of the events and arrests I have referred to.
Muslim leaders need to show positive action to demonstrate they are doing all they can to combat the extremists that use the name of Allah.
I have seen no evidence of positive, tangible action by Muslim leaders.
Community work, recognition of diversity and inter-faith groups are noble and praiseworthy, but what of the people not included in these?
What of the ordinary people who are afraid?
For every Stephen Lennon there is an Anjem Choudary, for every Nick Clegg an Abu Qatada and for every terrorist there is a right-wing fanatic.
I encourage Mr Nagdi to show those in fear they have nothing to fear and those who doubt Islam that their doubts are unfounded.
In an article published by the BBC, Dr Usama Hasan said: "In our times, we need non-violent jihads; social struggles against all forms of inequality and oppression, and for justice and liberation."
Perhaps now is the time for Mr Nagdi and other Muslim leaders to embark upon their own non-violent jihad against those Muslims who use their faith to justify the murder of innocent people.
David Gibbs, Scraptoft


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Editorial appeal for calm well received
An open letter to Mercury editor Richard Bettsworth:
On behalf of the Federation of Muslim Organisations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the editorial published on Friday, May 24.
The shocking events that unfolded in Woolwich last Wednesday, when Drummer Lee Rigby was brutally slaughtered in broad daylight in full view of passing members of the public, has been almost universally condemned, including by most of the Muslim community.
We live now in most troubled times where the actions of a few criminals can unfortunately have a detrimental effect on other members of a law-abiding community.
Regrettably, there have already been a number of incidents of hate crime, targeting the Muslim community, which have been reported.
This is a clearly unacceptable state of affairs and we as a society must not accept or tolerate hate crime carried out against any individual, group or organisation.
It is against this background, that your editorial is much welcomed.
Your emphasis on the fact that the horrifying events in Woolwich are not reflective of the behaviour of an entire community could not have been expressed better.
Moreover, your appeal for calm has been extremely well-received by the community, as well as other communities who have asked us to relay their thanks to you.
There was absolutely no obligation for you to write this editorial.
However, the fact you have gone out of your way to do so reflects your humanitarian concern for safer and stronger community cohesion, something which we in Leicester have prided ourselves in for many years now.
At a time when some sections of the media have come under attack for their sensationalist reporting, yours is an example of balanced and just reporting which needs to be recognised. You have clearly set yourselves out as an example for others in the media to follow.
Suleman Nagdi, Federation of Muslim Organisations.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


At the University of Leicester's Chaplaincy Centre this lunchtime, for the summer term lecture sponsored by the World Faiths Advisory Group (WFAG).

The World Faiths Advisory Group exists to promote understanding and co-operation among faith groups on campus, by
  • exploring spirituality in a multi-faith context
  • welcoming students and staff of all faiths
  • working towards equal opportunities in relation to all faith groups

This lecture is part of WFAG's programme of encouraging people of different faiths associated with the university to meet, mix and get to know each other better. Stephen Foster (Co-ordinating Chaplain) tells us that WFAG recently organized a "speed dating" event in this very room, involving representatives of several faith societies on campus (he apologises for using that term, but he can't think of a better one right now - and at least we all know what he means by that).

The title of today's lecture is "Forgive? Forget? Why I still teach the Holocaust". The speaker is Aubrey Newman, Emeritus Professor of History and Past Director of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Leicester.

Prof. Newman speaks in the Octagon from 1300, following a light lunch, in front of an audience two dozen strong, with Bahá'í, Buddhist, Sikh and several denominations of Christian representation.

Prof. Newman asks us to consider his talk as an Apologia pro vita mea: a defence of one's life. Technically speaking, he is still an academic historian of the 18th century. Even at this late stage, he ponders whether he has taken the right path or should return to a biography of George III that has languished, two-thirds finished, in a drawer for many a year.

He was first invited to teach a special course on the Holocaust at the University of Leicester in the early 1980s. He muses that we'd be hard pressed to find someone who has spent so long teaching a subject which he abhors.

Two quotations feature prominently in the presentation:
"Those who do not know history's mistakes are bound to repeat them." (George Santayana, 1863-1952)
"You are not obligated to finish the work, neither are you free to give it up." (Rabbi Hillel, c.110 BCE - 10 CE)

Turning to the title of his talk, he asks: can he forgive? No. Can he forget? Definitely not.

The refusal to forgive does not denote any kind of vindictiveness on the part of the speaker. Prof. Newman doesn't accept the notion of vicarious forgiveness, any more than he accepts the notion of vicarious sin. As we are responsible for our own behaviour, so the only people who can forgive are those against whom the act has been perpetrated. Therefore the only people with the right to forgive the Holocaust are the victims themselves - and forgiveness cannot be obtained from the dead.

And as far as forgetting goes, it appears that much of Europe has forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust, if the rise of far right extremism is anything to go by.

During the Q&A I ask Prof. Newman a question. In his answer he refers to the Jewish community in Scotland with what sounds like first hand knowledge. After the meeting is over, I push him a little on this and he tells me that his family went up to Glasgow to escape the Blitz (arriving just in time to experience Glasgow's own), that he was educated at Queen's Park School and took his first degree at the University of Glasgow.


Leicestershire Police is again pleased to report that there have been no incidents in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland connected with the murder of a soldier in Woolwich.

There was a search in the Granby Street area of the city centre last night (Monday) after a report that members of the public were carrying a firearm. This is believed to have been an air rifle. Three people were arrested. No members of the public were harmed or threatened.

We are returning patrols to normal levels. This will be the last update connected to the Woolwich incident unless there is a change in the situation.

If you have continuing concerns, or information which can assist, please contact us on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Brendan McGrath
Corporate Communications Department


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Former Lord Mayor of Leicester Abdul Osman with Sheikh Muhammad Sindi
Centre earns praise from ex-Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor Abdul Osman has praised the city's Islam Information Centre for promoting good relations and inclusion across all religions.
He made his comments after visiting the centre in Highfields Street on one of his final appointments of his year in office.
He was given a presentation and a tour of the centre's facilities which include an Islamic exhibition, a picture gallery, a library and a room solely dedicated to "Women in Islam".
It was established in 2008 to educate people about Islam and its teachings and is open to the public and all faiths.
It regularly plays host to school visits, delegations, community groups, multi-faith organisations and individuals from across the UK wanting to learn more about Islam and Muslims.
Coun Osman said: "In a close-knit community like Leicester, IIC is another shining example of an organisation working for the common good of the city.
"This project is a magnificent beacon of community cohesion and a platform for promoting good relations and inclusion across all religions."
Imam Mohammed, the founder of IIC, said: "We are very happy to have hosted the lord mayor and this is part of our aim to build strong relationships with all parts of the community."
The IIC is a not-for-profit organisation. It is free to the public and opens from Monday to Saturday.


Simon Bennett has written the First Person column in today's Leicester Mercury:

We must "box" clever to beat the extremists
Dr Simon Bennett, an expert in safety and security, examines the aftermath of Lee Rigby's murder
The murder last week of Drummer Lee Rigby shocked all right-minded people, whatever their faith or ethnicity. What impressed me was the country's determination not to be intimidated or demoralized by the misguided act of two disturbed individuals.
The public's response reminded me of a poster issued by the government in 1939: Keep Calm and Carry On. This is always the best response to threats and intimidation. By keeping calm and carrying on we prove terrorism doesn't work.
I'd like to make two comments: First, I believe ethnic, religious and cultural diversity is a strength, not a weakness.
As societies develop, the problems they face become ever-more complex and difficult to solve. Bringing a range of views and experiences to bear on problems improves our chances of solving them.
The Government has put its faith in the Big Society as a means of filling the gaps left by cuts. The social support offered by Britain's mosques, temples and cultural centres is an example of the Big Society in action.
I am old enough to remember Britain in the 1950s - a monochrome and stuff land of skiffle, football and fish and chips. Social diversity has made Britain a more enjoyable place to live.
Secondly,. the way to beat extremists is to "box" clever, by which I mean gather high quality intelligence and act on it in a timely manner in the context of laws that are fit for purpose.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks I wrote to the Prime Minster: I suggested he increase the budget for Britain's security services by one third.
In a 2006 article in Public Services Review, I suggested MI5 put more resources into recruiting members of extremist organisations, whether of the far-right, far-left or faith-based.
Needless to say, the Prime Minister did not respond to my letter. Nevertheless, in the years since 9/11 the Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) have put more resources into gathering intelligence organically.
Parachuting operatives into communities is a recipe for failure. Getting those communities to self-monitor is a recipe for success.
Last week, I met with a retired senior Metropolitan Police Service officer: We discussed the case of Mark Kennedy, the policeman who spent too long undercover.
The Kennedy case illustrates the difficulties of undercover work. While the murder of Lee Rigby was shocking we must remember how many plots have been foiled by the police with the support of SIS and the British public.
Intelligence gathering is not glamorous. It's dirty, dangerous and stressful. But it helps keep all of us safe.

Dr Simon Bennett is Director of Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester

Monday, 27 May 2013


Dear George

We are pleased to be able to say that there continue to be no incidents in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland directly connected to last week’s murder of a soldier in Woolwich.

However, yesterday evening (Sunday May 26) there was an altercation in Bede Park. There had been a football match between white, black and Asian youths, which ended with one person being assaulted. There may have been racist comments made, although we are still trying to confirm this and a thorough investigation is taking place into what happened. Dedicated patrols in and around the park have been put in place today to reassure the community and prevent any further related incidents.

We are also aware of a number of rumours circulating on social media in relation to racially-aggravated assaults and attacks on children by extreme right wing groups. These have no basis in truth. We would ask everyone to ignore these rumours and not to take actions in to their own hands; if you have genuine concerns or information, please contact us on 101.

There will be a further update tomorrow (Tuesday), which is likely to be the last unless the situation changes significantly.

Rob Nixon, Chief Superintendent, Leicester City BCU

Sunday, 26 May 2013


Dear George Ballentyne,

On the fourth day following the events in Woolwich we are very pleased to tell you that there have been no local incidents which may be related to the tragic death of Drummer Lee Rigby. 

It’s reassuring to report that the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland remain calm and there has been no significant incident or activity since our last update.  It really is an indication of how strong our community relations are.

You may be aware that there was a gathering in Leicester yesterday by the Clock Tower by approximately fifty people who walked to the memorial at the Town Hall to pay their respects to the fallen soldier. This was a very low key and peaceful event.

Local officers are still working in their neighborhoods across the bank holiday weekend, linking in with faith groups and partners, listening to concerns of our communities and to give reassurance. 

There is still no intelligence to suggest there will be a negative reaction locally to events in London but we will continue to monitor this and will update you of any developments. Similarly, if anyone in your community has any information and concerns they can help us in our efforts by calling 101.

Once again, thank you for your help and assistance over the past few days. The people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are very proud of the excellent community relations and the respect we have for different cultures, communities and religious beliefs and the vast majority clearly want this to continue.

Rob Nixon
Chief Superintendent
Leicester City BCU Commander

Saturday, 25 May 2013


Dear George

As a trusted partner we feel it is important to keep you updated this morning with regards to any local incidents which may be related to events in Woolwich.

It’s reassuring to report that, three days after the tragic events in London, the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland remain calm and there has been no significant incident or activity since our last update. 

Local officers will continue their work in their neighbourhoods across the bank holiday weekend, linking in with faith groups and partners, listening to concerns of our communities and to give reassurance.   

There is still no intelligence to suggest there will be a negative reaction locally to events in London but we will continue to monitor this and will update you of any developments. Similarly, if anyone in your community has any information and concerns they can help us in our efforts by calling 101. 

It was great to welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, to Leicester yesterday and hear him and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, calling for unity. It seems that the people of Leicester support that message too. 

Once again, thank you for your help and assistance over the past few days. The people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are very proud of the excellent community relations and the respect we have for different cultures, communities and religious beliefs and the vast majority clearly want this to continue.

Rob Nixon
Chief Superintendent
Leicester City BCU Commander


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury (but not on its website):
Teachers union fears move will deprive others of funding
by Fiona Dryden, Education Correspondent
News of the new Sikh free school has not been welcomed by union leaders at Leicester's branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
Ian Leaver, assistant secretary for Leicester's NUT, said the cash for the school would divert funding away from others in the city and "undermine the local admissions process".
Indy Panesar, spokesman for the Sikh school steering group said: "We value the input from the NUT. However, we are working in partnership with the council.
"This school is about complementing and enhancing existing provision and we are looking forward to becoming a valuable member of the Leicester family of schools."


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury (but not on its website):
Temple leaders yet to decide site of new Sikh free school
by Fiona Dryden, Education Correspondent
Sikh leaders in the city have yet to decide where their new free primary school will be.
The Department for Education announced this week that a bid by nine temple leaders in Leicester to create one of the government's new-style schools had been given the go-ahead.
Although it is expected to open in September 2014, a location for the school, to be known as Falcon's Primary, has yet to be confirmed.
The bid was the second to be made by the Sikh school steering group.
A previous application in July last yer was turned down by the Government because it was not deemed strong enough.
Indy Panesar, a spokesman for the group, said: "We're working closely with the department and the city council to find a suitable site."
He said the bid had been well researched and robustly presented to meet the criteria laid out by the department.
Mr Panesar said: "I'd like to praise the team of volunteers who have sacrificed substantial amounts of their precious spare time.
"Leicester's reputation as a beacon of multi-cultural living is well deserved and we trust this new multi-faith proposition will allow all prospective students to fulfil their potential.
"We aim not only for academic success, but also to equip youngsters with the life skills to cope in today's society."
Free schools are set up by charities, parents or teachers outside local authority control, but paid for by the state.
Although Falcon's primary will welcome children from all faiths, half of the places will be preserved for Sikhs and it will serve only vegetarian food.
Councillor Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for schools, said that it was "heartening" the group was committed to working in partnership with the council and schools across the city in the best interests of all children.
The school could help alleviate some of the shortfall in primary places in the city.
The city council has already pledged £15 million towrds creating extra classrooms at 17 primaries to help meet predicted demand.
The work will create 380 places in Leicester - needed because of a rising birth rate, arrivals to the city and because more residents are expected to choose local schools over those in the county as results ontinue to improve.
Government cash will help fund the cost of creating the new primary. It is not yet known how much this will be.
However, the Department for Education spent £4.5 million buying and developing the city's only other free school, Krishna Avanti, in Spencefield Lane, Evington, on behalf of the Krishna Avanti Trust. The trust contributed £200,000 of its own cash.


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:

Archbishop and Imam issue appeal for unity
by Dan Martin
The Archbishop of Canterbury today stressed the need for unity among Leicester’s religious communities in the aftermath of the brutal killing of a soldier in a suspected terrorist attack.
The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Church of England’s most senior clergyman, said the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich by two apparent Muslim extremists had “no place in Islam.”
The archbishop spoke about the young soldier’s murder outside the Masjid Umar mosque, in Evington, after rearranging his schedule in a visit to Leicester, planned before Wednesday’s horrific events.He met officials from the mosque, along with the bishops of Woolwich, Bradford and Pontefract as well as Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens.
he archbishop stood side-by-side with assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain Ibrahim Mogra to address reporters follwing events in the capital.
The archbishop said: “We have all been horrified by the brutal murder of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich and all of our prayers are with his family, colleagues and comrades, all those who witnessed this crime and members of the community who have been affected by it.
“I want to recognise the response of churches, mosques and other faith and civil society groups, as well as those brave individuals who have done so much to bring our communities together at this time.”
The archbishop, who later signed a book of condolence opened for the murdered 25-year-old at Leicester Cathedral, added: “The strong response from the Muslim Council of Britain and many other organisations have rightly emphasised that these acts have no place in Islam.”
He added: “I think Leicester is a shining example of how communities work together. I am confident because of the very good work Ibrahim (Mogra) has been doing, and we are all doing, that we are in a good position.”
Mr Mogra said: “Muslim communities in Britain are shocked and appalled by the horrific murder in Woolwich.
“The murderers chanted slogans during their heinous crime claiming to do it in God’s name.
“Far from it.
“This is a betrayal of Islam.
“This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn it utterly and unreservedly.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Lee Rigby’s family and friends and especially his two-year-old son.
“Drummer Rigby was a serving member of the armed forces.
“Muslims have long served in this country’s armed forces proudly and with honour.
“This attack on a member of the armed forces is dishonourable and no cause can justify this murder.
“This crime has heightened tensions across the country. The MCB calls on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.
“I am immensely grateful for the leadership of our archbishop during this most difficult time and thank leaders of all our faith communities for your support.
“Your local Muslim communities will welcome your support and I encourage you to knock at the doors of every mosque and offer you neighbourly love.
He added: “There is concern about safety in large sections of Muslim communities who live in mixed areas.
“We hope that the police will ensure law and order is maintained.
“We say to the Muslim community: “Let us continue with our lives as normal.
“If we begin to cower and hide ourselves away then we allow the terrorists win. Life must go on.”
Bishop Tim said: “I hope what is clear is that this terrible incident, from driving a wedge between us will bring us closer together.”
Hundreds of worshippers gathered at the mosque for Friday payers and heard Imam Muhammad Sindhi condemn Wednesday’s tragedy.
He said: “Don’t be extremists. In Islam there is no space for terror or terrorism.
“Islam doesn’t teach, in broad daylight, to go out into the streets of London wielding a butcher’s cleaver and hack someone to death.
“This Stone Age savagery is not the message of Islam.”

Friday, 24 May 2013


Here are the top ten countries from which the blog has received visits in the past week.
  1. United Kingdom 793
  2. United States 632
  3. France 160
  4. Russia 132
  5. Germany 125
  6. Ukraine 65
  7. India 42
  8. China 37
  9. Mexico 33
  10. Canada 26

This week's total: 2,045 (last week: 2,235). These are aggregates of figures from the top ten countries only. Blogger's analytics doesn't show the numbers of pageviews below the tenth-ranking country and they don’t show the cumulative total including those additional countries, which is undoubtedly larger than the number shown above.

The world map at the top of this post is the graphic that I see on the stats page. The darker the green, the more pageviews from that country. I can see different versions of that map for "now" (i.e. in the last two hours), "today", "this week", "this month" and "all time". They're updated each time I look at them.