Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham City Council’

Salma Yaqoob is on BBC Question Time tonight

Salma Yaqoob on BBC Question Time - June 2010

Salma Yaqoob on BBC Question Time

Salma Yaqoob, leader of the Respect party, is appearing on the panel of BBC Question Time tonight.

The show is being broadcast from Plymouth and will be shown on BBC 1 at 10.35pm, after the Ten O’Clock News.

She will be making her sixth appearance on the show’s panel; speaking alongside Jeremy Hunt, Ben Bradshaw, Katie Hopkins and Toby Young.

You can also watch the show after its broadcast on BBC iPlayer and follow the show via Twitter and sms txt. More on the show and this week’s panel here.

Salma Yaqoob is also city councillor for Birmingham Sparkbrook and chair of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition.

You can watch Salma’s previous appearance on the show, which was broadcast live from Wootton Bassett in December, here.

There IS an alternative to cuts

There is an alternative to cuts, says Respect and Salma Yaqoob

Birmingham City Council cuts alone will slash services and axe up to 7,000 jobs.

Labour, Tories and Lib Dems say there is ‘no alternative’ to cuts. They only disagree on when to wield the knife.

These are the same people who said there was ‘no alternative’ to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is an alternative.

The Robin Hood Tax is one. It calls for a tiny tax on bankers which would have the power to raise hundreds of billions every year.

It could give a vital boost to the NHS, our schools and the fight against child poverty in the UK – as well as tackling poverty and climate change around the world.’

Respect and Salma Yaqoob are supporters of The Robin Hood Tax. We urge you to become a supporter too.

Find out more by visiting www.robinhoodtax.org.uk

Salma Yaqoob: In Town Without My Car

Salma Yaqoob - Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Councillor Salma Yaqoob, one of the Birmingham's Post's Power 50, takes the bus to town on 'In Town Without My Car Day'.

On Tuesday 22nd September, some of the Birmingham Post’s Power 50 took up the Birmingham Friends of the Earth challenge to show some leadership and give up their cars for the day on In Town Without My Car Day.

Even senior figures at the council pledged their support for the idea and so we are hoping that next year there will be some officially sanctioned events, but, even more importantly, some drastic improvements in public transport provision in Birmingham and in safety measures for cyclists and pedestrians.

A Friends of the Earth volunteer travelled with councillor Salma Yaqoob as she did without her car for the day.

Salma Yaqoob and her kids - Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Salma Yaqoob walking children Mikael and Aslan to school

Pictured here walking children Mikael and Aslan to school, councillor Yaqoob said “Normally taking the children to school and travelling to work in the morning is a last minute rush. We lead such a packed life so we save time in the car. Today it felt good – not driving. I had to do this. We had extra time to chat. Walking is good exercise and it felt like the right thing to do.”

 Continues… Read more at Birmingham Friends of the Earth.

Photographs: Jane Baker / www.greensnapperphotography.com
Copyright © 2009 Jane Baker. All Rights Reserved

Gallery: Birmingham United against Racism meeting – 23.08.09

Images from the cross-party meeting in the Birmingham Council House calling for a ban on EDL and far-right marches in the city; attended by Adrian Goldberg, John Hemming MP, Khalid Mahmood MP, councillor Judy Foster, councillor Salma Yaqoob, Apache Indian and Chief Insp Adrian Atherley. Chaired by Waseem Zaffar.

More to come…

Kill threat to Birmingham councillor

The accused, Stuart Collins, made a threat to kill Cllr Salma Yaqoob (pictured)

The accused, Stuart Collins, made a threat to kill Cllr Salma Yaqoob (pictured)

A MAN appeared in court yesterday charged with threatening to kill a Birmingham councillor.

Stuart Collins, 48, of Birmingham, appeared before city magistrates over claims abusive threats were sent to Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob.

She is the councillor for Sparkbrook and her party’s national leader.

A West Midlands Police spokesman confirmed: “Following an investigation, a 48 year-old has been charged with racially aggravated harassment, religiously aggravated harassment and making threats to kill.

“He appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court and was bailed until August 31.”

Coun Yaqoob chairs the anti-war movement in Birmingham and is an active pro-Palestinian campaigner.

She is an outspoken commentator on Muslim issues, and regularly appears on TV and radio current affairs programmes.

After standing as a Respect candidate in the 2005 election, she was elected in the Sparkbrook ward in the 2006 local elections.

Source article: Kill threat to Birmingham councillor – Tony Larner, Sunday Mercury, 16.08.09

Link: Man appears in court over threats to kill Sparkbrook councillor – Birmingham Mail, 16.08.09

Link: UK: Racist threatens councillor with death – Sameh A. Habeeb, The Palestine Telegraph, 19.08.09

Man appears in court over threats to kill Sparkbrook councillor

Cllr Yaqoob calls for better security following driver murder in city

Mohammed Arshad

Mohammed Arshad

Over 200 private hire drivers and operators attended a meeting in the Birmingham’s Council House  on 11th August, to voice their concerns about driver safety.

The event was organised by Respect Cllr Salma Yaqoob following the murder of cab driver Mohammed Arshad (pictured left) two weeks ago and was addressed by union and police representatives, licensing chiefs and city councillors.

The meeting commenced with a minute’s silence in memory of the 36-year-old father-of-three who, according to the meeting chairwoman Cllr Salma Yaqoob, was a “completely innocent man killed in a most disgusting and brutal way”.

Cllr Yaqoob explained that she called the meeting because since Mr Arshad’s murder she had been inunduated with calls from taxi-drivers concerned about the safety of their profession and anxious that the city authorities were not taking those concerns seriously enough.

Birmingham taxi drivers congregate in the city's Council House

Birmingham taxi drivers congregate in the city's Council House

Drivers complained that they were treated like ‘second class citizens’ by the Police. Racist abuse and assault was a common experience yet when drivers these the response was poor. Two senior West Midlands Police officers present apologised for the inconsistent response of the police and agreed to take the message of the meeting back to the “very top”.

Cab drivers have called for new measures to protect themselves including security cameras, safety screens, convex mirrors, a police hotline and a city-wide blacklist of violent customers. City council head of licensing Pete Barrow added that such measures can ‘be allowed by the licensing committee, but there is still the problem of cost. We will see if there is funding for at least a contribution to the costs.”

Cllr Salma Yaqoob with Perviz Khan and Waseem Zaffer

Cllr Salma Yaqoob with Perviz Khan and Waseem Zaffer

Wasim Zaffer, of the Unite union representing cab drivers, said that private hire adds £3 billion a year to the UK economy.

“It should stop being treated like a third-rate industry. There are more than 5,000 drivers in Birmingham, we need to have our concerns heard,” he said.
Both he and Cllr Salma Yaqoob reteriatied the need for private hire drivers to join a union. One driver commented that if the authorities did not respond to their concerns cabbies would ‘strike and bring the city to a standstill’.

The meeting ended with a commitment from Cllr Yaqoob to reconvene again shortly to review what action had been taken on the proposals of the cab drivers.

Article: Cabbies in call for beter security after driver stabbing in Birmingham – Neil Elkes, Birmingham Post, 11.08.09

NEWS: Birmingham EDL Protests – 08.08.09

Multicultural Birmingham comes out in full force against far-right troublemakers

Multicultural Birmingham comes out in full force against far-right threat

Below are a few useful links to news stories relating to last week’s English Defence League protest in Birmingham City Centre and Unite Against Fascism’s counter-protest, in which Respect party leader and Birmingham City Councillor Salma Yaqoob spoke against racism and fascism.

Councillor Salma Yaqoob commented:

“The instigators of this demonsrtration are fascist thugs. They are coming to our city with one intention only;  to sow racist division by stirring up anti-Muslim hatred.

“One of their ringleaders made their intentions very clear when he publicly stated his opposition to ‘all Muslims practising their faith in Britiain’, and admitted links with the BNP.

“The police have assured me that they will deal with any troublemakers. I am concerned, though, that the West Midlands Police are playing down the racist nature of this protest, and the links the protesters have with far-right organisation. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions, but no-one has the right to incite hatred against others on the grounds of race or religion. It is very important that the West Midlands Police act firmly to deal with any incitement to racist hatred.

“Birmingham is a multi-cultural city and proud of it. It is also important that people of all faiths and cultures stand together in the spirit of peace and unity. We must show these people that they are not wanted here, and that Birmingham will not be divided by race or faith”.

LATEST NEWS:

Right wing rioters threaten more protests in Birmingham city centre – Birmingham Mail, 17.08.09

Anti-Extremist protests in Birmingham: racism takes to the streets – Charlie Salmon, The Sikh Times, 11.08.09

Salma Yaqoob condemns racist protesters – Pakistan Daily, 10.08.09

Battle of Bimringham: 35 held after riots – Louisa Pilbeam, The Mirror

City of Birmingham in UK sees anti-fascist action – Pakistan Daily, 10.08.09

Birmingham sees anti-Fascist action – The Stirrer, 09.08.09

‘Patriot League’ plans more clashes with anti-fascist activists – The Guardian, 09.08.09

Police review anti-Islamic rally – BBC News, 09.08.09

35 arrests in Birmingham after rival protesters clash – The Telegraph, 09.08.09

Arrests at Anti-Islamic protests – BBC News, 09.08.09

Salma Yaqoob: Tackling the ‘cancer’ of BNP fascism

Nick Griffin: the leader of the BNP has admitted defeat after failing to find enough far-Right allies to form a new bloc in the European Parliament

Nick Griffin: the leader of the BNP has admitted defeat after failing to find enough far-Right allies to form a new bloc in the European Parliament

The election of two BNP MEPs has removed the cover on a political sewer that should have been sealed for all time. Nick Griffin, a man with a history of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial, now calls for “chemotherapy” against the Islamic “cancer” in Europe (1). The echoes of the past are deliberate. The choice of words is chilling.

Griffin’s election has given the BNP unprecedented access to the media, and he is using it to promote the most vicious racism. His genocidal rantings towards Muslims followed his call (2) for the sinking of ships carrying migrants from Africa to Europe – in other words the premeditated murder of men, women and children on a desperate voyage to escape poverty and oppression.

We should remind ourselves that almost 1 million people voted for the BNP in the European Elections. If there is a cancer in Europe, then it is the cancer of racism. Yet the response from the political establishment to Griffin’s remarks has, so far, been less than overwhelming.

Defensiveness and political compromise has marked the response of mainstream parties to the rise of the BNP. It should be clear enough by now. This is not a temporary blip before we return to business as usual. Ignoring the BNP or playing down their successes will not make them go away. It is time for the anti-fascist movement to go on the offensive.

Griffin’s Nazi-style outbursts cannot be dismissed as an irrelevant excess by a marginal figure. He knows what he is doing. He wants to make legitimate what was once illegitimate. He aims to shift the centre of gravity of political debate sharply to the right. He knows that his more extreme rhetoric is in tune with his party’s membership, and large swathes of his voters. But he also knows that every time mainstream politicians bend to his agenda in an attempt to occupy ground he is staking out, that the racist argument is strengthened.

It is a pattern we have seen all too frequently in recent years. Faced with a rise in racism, politicians seek to ride both horses at once: deploring racism while conceding ever more political ground to the far right.

Isn’t this exactly what Gordon Brown was doing when he called for “local homes for local people”? (3). Concerns about housing are undoubtedly genuine. There are too few affordable homes. But that is because successive governments have relied on the market to provide what it patently cannot do. What should be done is to tackle this policy failure, which would provide affordable homes for all those in need. Furthermore, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has revealed that 9 out of 10 social housing residents were born in Britain, giving a lie to the BNP myths bout “local people” losing out to immigrants and asylum seekers (4). Instead of focusing on these realities, voters are told that their prejudices are justified and that the government will do what the BNP cannot. It is a tactic that is both cynical and ineffective.

Let us be clear. The response to Griffins call to “sink the boats” cannot be one of pledging to do everything possible to keep out immigrants short of launching missiles at defenceless people. His call for “chemotherapy” against Muslims must be met with robust challenge, and not by conceding that fears of Islam in Europe are justified. The alternative is to accept that ever more extreme and dangerous fascist rhetoric will define the nature of political debate in our society.

Those who promote fear and hatred of African immigrants knocking at our door, or of the Muslims already within the gates of Europe, have to be openly and directly confronted. Their arguments have to be dealt with head on.

It is not legitimate to blame migrants or refugees for the recession. They were not the ones who became rich beyond anyone’s dreams while gambling away our economy. It is not legitimate to blame immigrants for rising unemployment. They did not close our factories and devastate our manufacturing base. It is not legitimate to blame ‘outsiders’ for the housing crisis (5). They are not the ones who passed legislation that strangled the ability of local councils to build new housing on the scale we need.

And it is not legitimate to scapegoat Muslims, who represent just 3% of the population, for any supposed threat to British identity. The recent Gallup poll on Muslim integration (6) revealed that while only half the UK population very strongly identifies with being British, 77% of Muslims did so. And only 17% of British Muslims wanted to live in an area consisting mostly of people of the same religious and ethnic background as themselves, compared to 33% of the population as a whole.

This is the positive side of our multicultural society. Being ‘different’ is not a sign of alienation from society as a whole. Yet while Muslims increasingly identify with Britain and value its mix of people and faiths, more and more people conclude that Muslims are a breed apart. There is a gulf between the reality of our lives and the perception that is created by a constant stream of horror stories.

Today, it is anti-Muslim racism that is at the cutting edge of the fascist strategy. It is effective because it feeds on the suspicion and prejudice that is the theme of so much mainstream discussion of our lives as British Muslims.

Its consequences are real. Already, there are signs that attacks on mosques and individual Muslims may be rising (7). The police are warning of the danger of far-right terrorism (8). And, earlier this month we saw an openly racist provocation in Birmingham city centre, under the guise of a protest against “Islamic extremism” – a label that the organiser made clear applied to all Muslims (9).

We, as British Muslims, have a direct and immediate interest in defeating this fascist threat. The anti-fascist movement must reach out to Muslim communities who are at the sharp end of BNP attacks. But the rise in racism is not only a threat to Muslims. The BNP may be playing down their anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism in order to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of society. But to the BNP we are all “racial foreigners”, (10) our very existence as British people denied.

We have to not only unite all those targeted by the BNP, with every possible ally who rejects racism and fascism. We have to also positively assert our multicultural and pluralist society. It is a message of hope that is in tune in an increasingly interconnected world. It is a source of strength and vibrancy. We are one society and many cultures. And we will only remain so if we are prepared to stand up and be counted.

Salma Yaqoob is councillor for Birmingham Sparkbrook, Leader of the Respect party and chair of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition.

Salma Yaqoob | Planning Committee meeting: Edgbaston cricket ground revamp decision

Wednesday 8th April 2009 : Cllr Salma Yaqoob attends the Birmingham City Council Planning Committee Meeting on the Edgbaston cricket ground decision.

Cllr Yaqoob argues her case for why extensive changes to the ground should not be made at the expense of local residents whose quality of living would deteriorate as a result.

Midlands: Gaza events this week

EVENT: Public Meeting: Aid Gaza! Boycott Israel
SPEAKERS: Respect Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq, Ray Gaston
VENUE: St Andrews Methodist Church, Pump Street [off High Street], Worcester
DATE: Tuesday 27th January 2009 | TIME: 7.30pm
CONTACT: 07966866837

INFO: Jointly organised by Worcestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Worcester Stop the War Coalition, Worcester Palestine Group.
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=51626581371

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EVENT: Building Real and Lasting Links with Palestine
VENUE: Birmingham City Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1
DATE: Wednesday 28th January | TIME: 7.00pm

INFO: The Birmingham-Ramallah Twinning Initiative is hosting a practical public meeting on how to build grass root links with Palestine. Find out how you can help.
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119798500570

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GAZA EVENT: Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
Keeping up the pressure for Gaza and Palestine…
VENUE: Muslim Student Institute, Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham, United Kingdom
DATE: 29th January 2009 | TIME: 7.00pm
CONTACT: 07812172885

INFO: Continuing the pressure on the Israeli state for the massacre in Gaza and the daily war crimes committed in Palestine, the next step is a meeting to establish a stronger and broader Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign.
Convened by Stop the War Coalition, Salma Yaqoob, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Muslim Association of Britain.
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=46282874563