Friday, January 21, 2011

The week

Monday I recorded a piece for Radio 4 on the persecution of the Ahmadis worldwide, and rge threat posed here in the UK by the religious hatred organisation, the Khatme Nabuwwat (KN). They have a single objective, which is to eradicate the religious beliefs of the Ahmadis, if necessary by murdering them. They say that the Ahmadis are 'wajib ul Qatl', worthy to be killed, because of the Ahmadi belief that the founder if their religion was the Messiah, predicted both in the Bible and the Qur'an. The KN say this contradicts the doctrine of the finality of the prophethood, asserted by Mohammed himself. Presumably they agree that the Messiah will arrive one of these days, but they don't explain how he is to be distinguished from a mere prophet.

Then on Monday evening we had a meeting to review the position on caste in the Equality Act. When the Bill was going through the Lords we held a very lively meeting of all the organisations that want caste to be included in the 'protected characteristics' defined in the Act, and the Minister in charge of the Bill, Glenys Thornton, was convinced to the extent that the Government supported an amendment I moved, allowing a Minister to make an Order for that purpose. The Labour Government asked the National Institute for Economic and Social Research to conduct research in whether caste-based discrimination was occurring in Britain, and their answer, now placed before the Coalition, was a resounding 'Yes'. We had assumed that whatever Government came to power in the general election, their policy would be to follow through by activating the Order, but it appeared from Lynn Featherstone's brief remarks that the Coalition was looking for a way to justify doing nothing.

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