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  1. You're absolutely right. It's vital we have honest labelling. But the dishonest labelling practises are not to serve the needs of Muslims or the backdoor Islamification of Britain. I hope you can see that.
  2. This is not covert religious extremism and creeping Islamic fundamentalism making its way into Britain by the back door and has nothing to do with the food sensibilities of Britain's Muslims. This is purely to do with the business practises and financial cost cuttings of New Zealand lamb producers. One of their main markets is the middle east and so it's in their financial interest to slaughter all their meat in a halal way rather than have seperate slaughter methods for their different customers. It is about maximising their profits. If it had anything to do with British Muslims then the meat would actually be labelled as halal. Why would a British Muslim who takes the dietary restictions seriously buy meat from a supermarket that isn't labelled halal? How would they know in the first place if nobody else knew? Tesco have even said that one of the reason the meat isn't marked up properly is because they can't be sure all the meat is in fact halal. So again the question is why would a Muslim consumer buy this meat if it wasn't laballed as halal and they couldn't even be sure that it was in fact halal? They don't. To me it's glaringly obvious that this is all about money - Maximinsing profits for New Zealand lamb producers and sourcing cheap suppliers by British supermarkets to sell cheap meat. They way to deal with this - British consumers buying British meat and paying more for it. But of course your average tesco shopper doesn't want to do that. Reyaz
  3. I must admit, I think Barton Street is actually quite safe for cyclists. Near to town where the shops are, the traffic is normally quite slow moving, and so cycling is not a problem at all. The other end near Painswick road, it's very wide, so even though the traffic is moving a lot faster, you have plenty of space as a cyclist. I don't actually think any changes to the structure of the road is needed at all. What is a problem is, as has been mentioned, are the parked cars. But these pose problems for other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. so if the authorities could just be more vigilant about this issue, life would be fine.
  4. Thanks Eddie, we do try. That's the important bit. I'm not claiming we're perfect, or that the balance is totally 50 50. But we're trying to make sure we're as fair with our work as we can be. Most of that comes down to capacity. For example we have two paid youth workers for the girls' group, one for the boys' group and one youth worker who does one to one work with both boys and girls. So we are actually "spending" more on the girls' youth work than boys. But other factors do come into play. The most important being the number of volunteers we can get to support the boys activities, making them just much easier to arrange. But that doesn't mean we're not trying, and that doesn't mean we don't place any importance on providing activities for girls. Just last week we put in a funding bid specifically to increase the capacity of our youth work for girls. So recieving accusations of being sexist, as we did on thisisgloucestershire, is not only unfair but simply not true. Yes this skating trip in particular was for the dads and lads group. Why the citizen chose to advertise it and omit that information I don't know. We had nothing to do that. The Citizen seems to do this regularly to no doubt fill a specific bit of space. But that still doesn't mean we think skating is just a boys activity. Our girls' group have gone in the past, and I know they will in the future. But that's a decision the girls will make with their youth workers. Reyaz
  5. I think something like this could potentially be evangelism. But I think it's more likely not to be. I personally don't know the reasons behind why the course is running, so I wouldn't want to comment. But it seems you have more information as to what the content and intent of the course are, and I'd be interested to hear that. If it is evangelism, then that could open up a very interesting discussion. My organisation has run similar courses to this in the past few years, and I know what we were trying to achieve, and evangelism was not it. There is a huge demand for this kind of information. Yes there were a few people who came to us because they did want to find out more about Islam as a path for them personally. But the vast majority of people saw it as a way to inform their dealings with people in the wider community. In fact we have a church group in Stroud who want us to organise a course for them early next year. Clearly they aren't coming to us because they want us to preach to them or convert them. It's about sharing information and finding out about each other. Also I think learning about other religions and philosophies can help strengthen your own. I guess the questions I'd have to ask are - where would you rather live? What kind of society do you want? Do you actually want a free country? For me the answer is really obvious. I wouldn't want to live in Saudi Arabia. I want to live here. I know that the freedoms we all have in this country are some of the best in the world. Do you really want to see our freedoms eroded because of what someone else does in some other country? If you actually value the freedom here, then you should be celebrating this group's ability to do something here that they couldn't do in a land filled with people of their own religion. You say "the world of Islam" what does that actually mean? Saudi Arabia has many Muslims, but how Islamic is it? How similar is it to some of it's neighbouring countries such as Iran and Iraq? How homogenous is this Islamic World you speak of? When I went to Bethlehem there was a big exhibition being held outside the Church of the Nativity about Christianity. When I went to Damascus there was a big delegation of Monks from Wales informing the people about what their lives are about. Well all of this happened in Muslim countries. I've actually learned a lot about Christianity from Christians in the Arab world. Conversely when I went to Egypt I and every one of my bearded friends got harassed by police when we went to the market because we were too Islamic looking. Up until recently in Turkey it was illegal to have a beard in many situations. It's not as cut and dry as you think. The other thing about Saudi Arabia is that whenever it's harsh laws are brought up what's conveniently overlooked is the history of how that system was put in place. We the British are directly responsible for the situation over there. We are the ones that supported and funded the extreme ideology of the tiny little tribe that are now in power. Why did we do this? Well they were the only ones extreme and violent enough to go against the rest of the Islamic Empire and be willing to kill anyone who didn't fit into their narrow view of Islam. It was precisely their extremism that was the quality we needed when we wanted to splinter that empire. This methodology has then been echoed again and again when we've meddled in the rest of that part of the world. So you're absolutely right. The people in Saudi Arabia do not have the freedoms that we do. The Muslims there don't have the freedom that Muslims here do. But aren't you happy that our country has those freedoms? Shouldn't we all be fighting to keep these freedoms? Shouldn't we learn from how we've destroyed other cultures and societies, and make sure we don't allow that to happen here? When did Islam express this aim? I know of groups such as Muhajiroon who want an Islamic state here. But then if I claimed the views of the BNP were the expressed aims of Christianity or even England, you'd quite rightly ridicule me for it. I really don't think mainstream Islamic thinking has ever seen taking over Europe as it's aim. I may be wrong about this, and so I will happily listen to what you have to say. You say that target is not far off. I'm not sure how you evaluate that. I think that the Muslim population in Europe is roughly 6 or 7 percent. In the UK it's about 4 percent. I'm not too sure on these figures, but even allowing a reasonable error, in no way are we anywhere near taking over. Interestingly enough the Christians are just under 5 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia. I'm pretty sure nobody thinks that they are close to taking over either.
  6. Thank you very much, and congratulations to everyone else. When I saw the other photos, I thought I had no chance, but I thought it would be fun to enter anyway. Thank you for taking the time to organise this competition too. It was a great way to showcase a very unique event for Gloucester. I think it's my turn to choose a prize, so can I go for the printer please? Thanks Reyaz
  7. I'm going to disagree with the concept that "religion no longer fits in with modern day life" I don't think it's ever fitted in. Isn't that in fact the point of religion - to guide people through the perils of the modern, material, capitalist societies that we're all wading through? All of the founding Phophets of the religions were at complete odds with their societies. Even then modern day life was destructive, and the purpose of revelation was to bring people out of that. I really worry when religion has to bend to accomodate modern sensibilities. Yes, it has to be relevent to your situation, there's no denying that. But I know that in my religion, Islam, the picking and choosing of values and religious concepts is a dangerous road that often leads towards fanaticism. Any sort of pandering towards that cannot be good, in my view. Even looking at the recent troubles in Gloucester and elsewhere, I can't help but think of the fundamental concept common to the three main religions about loving your neighbour and wanting the best for them. If we could even start on that one, then 90 percent of our problems would be gone.
  8. That's a great idea - thanks
  9. If anyone is looking for manure for their gardens or allotments, we have tonnes of it at St James City farm on Albany Street. Feel free to take as much or as little as you like, just bring your own bags.
  10. Except Saudi missionary work and this type of violent extremism are very different and not at all compatible, which is why people like Osama bin Laden were exiled from Saudi. In fact a big target of this extremism is the system in Saudi anyway. So I don't think it's reasonable to combine the two. I think most people, while disagreeing with the concept, can at least understand the reasoning behind missionary work. It's surely done out of a desire to "save" someone, whereas blowing up countless innocent people can come from no place other than hate. As such £2 million doesn't seem like that much to me. Our own Redcliffe College here in Gloucester probably spends more than that on the Christian Mission.
  11. I'm not sure what part of the Quran you've read to reach this conclusion. But it's simply not true. I think common sense alone would make such a rule ridiculous. The vast majority of Muslims in the world cannot just be ignoring or forgetting to do this duty, if it were one. Also, Common consensus among the Muslim scholars is that there is no Islamic state left anywhere anyway (ie one that adheres to full Islamic principles, as opposed to a country that has a lot of Muslims and some Islamic laws) So where exactly do the Muslims have to move to? On the contrary there are plenty of rules and guidances about living in different places and mixing with different people (a fundamental one being abiding by the laws of the country you're living in) There are Islamic guidances about how to act when overwhelmed with different groups and sects, and in those cases one is advised to stick with the majority of the Muslims. But these are purely matters of theology, and not geography. So I'm not sure if you were thinking of these. But I do agree with you - if someone has an issue with where they are living, and how they are living, then they should move to somewhere that they think can offer a better alternative. I have no love for anyone spouting hatred against my country either. I do think Eddie's question is the most pertinent one though, and one that we need to work on.
  12. It's ok, I don't mind answering questions, especially when I thought the answer was relatively easily. I'm just confused as to why Joe can't understand it. The only reason I was even replying is that I don't want other people who may be reading this to think Fair Shares have weird practises. Joe's claims that our management are paid, and that we don't have AGMs are simply not true. Our management are all volunteer trustees. The last AGM was on the 7th of Jan. The next AGM is on the 17th of Nov. Our AGMs aren't big public events. They are merely procedural processes for the trustees. Joe, not being a Trustee, isn't invited. I don't understand the confusion.
  13. Nah, I'm sure they don't care whether I hate football or not.
  14. We'll I'm trying not to. I'm trying to be as clear and simple as possible There are trustees There are staff There are participants of the time banks. Trustees are volunteers - they go to trustees meetings and AGMs - they happen and have been happening regularly Staff are paid Participants are not trustees - they do not go to trustees meetings or AGMs. But we did have a few celebrations where everyone from all the different time banks could come together.
  15. We don't have an unlimited capacity to do such things unfortunately. The next course starts in October. It's the third one we're running. Like I said, that one is filled already. If and when we do one after that, we'll spread word about it.