The Independent

Tommy Robinson attends rights lecture at LSE

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson is at the centre of a new row between the London School of Economics and the BBC after turning up unannounced with a cameraman who claimed to be making a documentary for the broadcaster at a lecture on human rights in the Muslim world.


Robinson’s presence at last Wednesday’s talk by Karima Bennoune, an Algerian-American professor in international law, was criticised by the head of the LSE’s human rights centre, who said the incident had “risked causing public disruption around a highly controversial figure at an event aimed at opposing violence and extremism”.

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Al Jazeera

British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat

London, UK – Prominent British Muslims who have spoken out against Islamic extremism say they will not be cowed despite being targeted by al-Shabab in a broadcast calling for do-it-yourself attacks by self-styled jihadists in the UK.

The video's black-masked narrator speaks with an English accent.

The video’s black-masked narrator speaks with an English accent.

The video, which appeared on the internet last week and bore the watermark of the Somali armed group’s al-Kataib media wing, is presented by a black-masked narrator with a southern English accent who urges aspiring jihadists to arm themselves with knives from B&Q, a popular DIY or “do it yourself” store famous for the slogan “Don’t just do it, B&Q it”.

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Close encounters with the English Defence League

An ageing, red-faced skinhead teases apart his open-necked checked shirt to reveal an image of a crusader’s shield and the words “No Surrender” on his chest. Inadvertently, he also exposes a fleshy triangle of beer belly as he clutches a can of lager in his other hand.

Ed Thompson’s photos capture the spirit of a movement which wears its allegiances on its skin. [Courtesy Edward Thompson]

It is an image, at once intimate, ridiculous and menacing, that captures recurring themes in Ed Thompson’s photo essay documenting the emergence of the English Defence League: bare skin, tattoos and identity and ideology inked onto knuckles, forearms, ankles and shaven heads.

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Desperate lives in Qatar’s labour camps

Doha, Qatar — In a dusty street on the shabby outskirts of Doha, men crowd around makeshift stalls selling pallid fruit and withered vegetables.

It is a blazing hot Friday morning and conversations in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Nepali intermingle as Qatar’s migrant labourers take advantage of their only free time of the week to shop for groceries, meet friends and rest aching bodies after 70-hour-plus working weeks on the ubiquitous construction sites of the ambitious Gulf state.

The Industrial Area, where many of the crowded labour camps accommodating this ever-expanding workforce are located, is a few miles and a far cry from the glass, steel and gaudy neon seafront towers that have become the airbrushed postcard image of Qatar’s gas boom-fuelled transformation into one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential nations.

Broken mechanical machinery, smashed-up vehicles, pot-holed roads, fetid rubbish heaps and piles of rubble as high as the surrounding low-rise dormitory buildings, ringed by washing lines of faded blue overalls, give this dense grid of streets the feel of a place where the human spirit has also been crushed.

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