Conduct Unbecoming !

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British politics is getting murkier and murkier. How can you blame the general public if they are not showing any interest in politics and politicians? After the Mail on Sunday splashed the story of Afzal Amin, I was inundated with phone calls. Elders in the community are asking about what will be the future of young British Asians who aspire to become local councillors, MPs and ministers. Is there any problem with the Asians? They were accused of being involved in postal ballot scam; fatwas against opponents; illegal political fundings. Some of them are even accused of being involved in child grooming cases! But still getting access to the decision makers in the party circuits. The leadership is pegging on Citizen Khans to gauge the feelings, aspirations and views on these issues. What a pathetic scenario…writes Kaliph Anaz

 

SUNDAY MAIL Afzal Amin-FRONTA soldier never retires! That’s what Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw said at a public meeting when asked about his “future plans” after retirement from the Army.

Manekshaw, Sam Babu (Bahadur) to millions of Indians and Bangladeshis, was one of India’s greatest generals. He said a soldier will take his values, principles and the discipline he acquired while serving the army to the grave.

“You will not have wealth, you will not be rich but you will have respect, you will be the soldier of this great Army,” Sam Babu told his troops.

I learned this when I was in school in India. We respect soldiers because they serve the country and they are the most disciplined. But if Sam Babu came to know about the practices adopted by a former soldier to win an election in Britain, he will turn in his grave. British politics is getting murkier and murkier. How can you blame the general public if they are not showing any interest in politics and politicians?

After the Mail on Sunday splashed the story of Afzal Amin, I was inundated with phone calls. Elders in the community are asking about what will be the future of young British Asians who aspire to become local councillors, MPs and ministers. Is there any problem with the Asians? They were accused of being involved in postal ballot scam; fatwas against opponents; illegal political funding. Some of them are even accused of being involved in child grooming cases! But still getting access to the decision makers in the party circuits. The leadership is pegging on Citizen Khans to gauge the feelings, aspirations and views on these issues. What a pathetic scenario!

Afzal Amin2Where does the buck stop? Whether it is Conservative Friends of India (CFI) or Labour Friends of India (LFI), the leaders are working for themselves – not for the party or for the community. They have their own agenda! People who are known for their hardcore religious credentials were assigned to promote a party which believes in secularism! These so-called leadership does not even mingle with members of other religious groups! Is this what we call ‘community cohesion’?

If we can embrace Britishness, why do we want reserved categories for Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus? Politics is not for one community, but is applicable to all. As citizens of the United Kingdom, we should get proper representation in the political ranks, not in the reserved fringe groups.  Why do we want to perch on pigeon holes of ethnicity and country of origin to get noticed?

As a result, people who are well respected and influential or role models for the new generation are staying away from the crowd fearing personal attacks. The crab culture of Asian mentality is more visible in politics than anywhere else. Leaders who can’t even be foot soldiers in a campaign are dealing with the decision makers of the party to set the agenda to win votes of the community. We need political education and not gimmicks. Politics is not for the family or community but for the country. It needs devotion and commitment. A true leader will think about the food in the plate of a neighbour before constructing a second kitchen for his small family! As Gandhi told the parliamentarians of India: Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen, and ask yourself, if this step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.

What an advise! But is anybody listening? Values, principles, discipline and track record, everything is in the bin.  People who are involved in financial scams and illegal practices are promoted as leaders representing the Asian community! The party big wigs are not listening to the genuine concerns of the voters at the grass root level. If their conduct is unbecoming, who will align with the party? They won’t even touch it with a barge pole!

Afzal Amin is accused of attempting a plot with the English Defence League in which they would announce a march in the Dudley North constituency and he would take credit when it was scrapped.

If it is true, Amin’s action is a big let-down not only to his party but the entire British Asians; Muslims; and the armed forces, besides his family.

What is the meaning of Amin? The whole world is on flame when somebody insults  Prophet Muhammed (SAW).  Al Amin (or Al Ameen) was one of the nick-names given to the Prophet Muhammed (SAW). It means ‘the trustworthy’, and the Prophet was well known by the people for this trait, and he was implicitly trusted by all, including his enemies. Who is tarnishing his name?

The Mail on Sunday claims secretly filmed footage obtained by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, which shows former Army captain Mr Amin promising to be an “unshakeable ally” for the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) in Parliament and help bring their views to the mainstream.

Mr Amin said the allegations were “an inaccurate picture of the reality” and told the BBC his idea would have been a “catalyst to bring people together”.

He said tensions in Dudley had increased over plans for a new mosque, prompting him to speak with Muslim leaders and EDL members, including Tommy Robinson. And he told Today his actions had been “very normal conflict resolution, confidence building measures”.

He added: “If people do announce that we are going to do an action and other people disagree with it, then they sit together and they resolve their differences and the action is then stopped.

“Then this helps the communities to feel that yes, on the other side there is a working partner we can work with. And that’s what we were trying to stage-manage.”

He said the EDL suggested the march and claimed he would not have the “confidence” to bring the idea forward himself. Mr Amin, who denies any wrongdoing, faces a party hearing soon.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today he would make a “robust defence” of his actions. But the Conservative source said it would be hard to justify talks with the EDL. The marginal seat of Dudley North is currently held by Labour’s Ian Austin with a majority of 649.

What I would like to reiterate is that fact that isn’t it high time we put aside these differences and work towards an integrated British society where each individual has the opportunity to be heard and to live a full and happy life? Those on top of the political hierarchy should understand these so-called community representations are alienating the minorities than integrating them.

These people are no role models, and the young and the genuine voters will look elsewhere for ideology and leadership rather than in our centuries old time-tested models of secularism and democracy. The earlier we heed that call the better it is for the future of British Asians and the British society as a whole.

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