Birmingham schools: have extremists taken over?

June 11, 2014 in Uncategorized by Gus John

Earlier this month, the school’s regulator OFSTED released their report on 21 Birmingham schools, after allegations of pupils being vulnerable to ‘Islamic extremism’. It was triggered by a mysterious letter stating that a small group of Islamic fundamentalists had taken over the management of the schools, and were forcing them to teach under religious, rather than secular principles.

Many staff in Birmingham’s schools have hit out against these statements. They say that the whole issue has been grossly over-exaggerated, and that there was little evidence of any Islamic takeover. Many have also said that the incident is being used as a political football ahead of next year’s general election, and that it has deeply distressed many of their pupils taking exams.

So what did happen in Birmingham? Did politicians and the media distort and sensationalise the events? And what kind of effect will it have not just in Birmingham’s schools, but in other areas with a high percentage of Muslim pupils? Read the rest of this entry →

What did the Iron Lady do for us?

April 20, 2013 in Uncategorized by Gus John

On April 15th, Vox Africa kindly invited me to take part in their flagship programme “Shoot the Messenger“, where we discussed Baroness Thatcher’s legacy. I was joined in studio by former Mayor of London’s Wandsworth Borough, Chief Lola Ayorinde, and by the Calypsonian artist Alexander D Great.

On the first part of the programme, we reviewed the week’s papers:

STM1

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Is Oxford University biased against BME applicants?

March 16, 2013 in Uncategorized by Gus John

Earlier this month, professor Gus John went on the Islam Channel to comment on a news story published by The Guardian, where  Oxford University was accused of “institutional bias” against the admission of black and minority ethnic (BME) students.

Here’s the video of that interview:

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Government taking a back seat in racism battle

February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized by Gus John

On February 12, professor Gus John visited Sky News’ studios for an interview where  he accused the coalition government of taking a back seat in the fight against racism in football. The following article was published on the Sky Sports website and contains excerpts from his contribution. 

Article published by Sky Sports

Article published by Sky Sports (Click here to enter their website)

Race relations advisor Professor Gus John says the government should take the lead in attempts to eradicate racism from football.

Sky Sports News sent their Special Report team to a number of football grounds around the country where several incidents of vile chanting were recorded.

The worst of those incidents was at The Den, where Leeds striker El-Hadji Diouf was subjected to 56 separate incidents of abuse.

Professor John commended Sky Sports News for uncovering the footage but said that the onus was on individual clubs to monitor what went on in their stadium.

And John insists that a strong message from the government would help gives clubs the power and inclination needed to police their grounds.

Read the rest of this entry →

Gus John says shooting rioters is ‘dangerous’ idea

December 20, 2011 in Uncategorized by Gus John

Gus John says shooting rioters is 'dangerous' idea (BBC)A Manchester academic has said the idea that police could lawfully shoot rioting arsonists was “very dangerous”.

A review of the August riots by the Inspectorate of Constabulary has suggested firearms could “potentially” be deployed where arson posed a threat to life.

Moss Side Defence Committee’s (MSDC) Professor Gus John said the recommendations were “very worrying”.

The report also suggested water cannons and plastic bullets could be used.

The MSDC was formed during the Moss Side riots of 1981 to provide a number of services to the local community, including giving legal support to youths charged with riot-related offences, challenging police accounts and offering a different interpretation of events to the media.

‘No military confrontation’

Responding to the inspectorate’s review, which looked at the summer riots in cities including Manchester and Salford, Prof John said if police were encouraged to “start shooting at people, you are also risking the possibility of young people shooting at the police”.

Various forms of baton round – first rubber, then plastic bullets – have been used to control and counter civil unrest in Northern Ireland.

Prof John said: “In the Northern Ireland situation, there was clearly a military operation.

“The state is not in a military confrontation with its citizens, so what one should be looking at is how the community and the police engage in such a manner that you do not have these things happening.

“Even if one says it was sheer criminality, the question is why did people not simply get up and riot long before the Mark Duggan killing and the events that followed.”

He said that the riots were “not inevitable” and that work needed to be done in communities to ensure they did not happen again.

“Let’s do something about the number of them that are unemployed, who have no hope, who have a future of futility, but want to engage meaningfully with the community,” he said.

This article was originally published by BBC Manchester.