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Issue 133 Friday September 5, 2008 Price 70p

‘IT’S BIGGER THAN LAWRENCE’ TARIQUE GHAFFUR’S lawyer has claimed his race discrimination case will cause a bigger shock wave in the police force than the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. Britain’s most senior Asian officer believes he has been discriminated against by the Met because of his race and his faith. Last month, he lodged a case with an employment tribunal, claiming he was snubbed over security arrangements for the 2012 London Olympic Games despite being head of security. The 53-year-old also accuses Met commissioner Sir Ian Blair of plotting to oust him from his post as assistant commissioner. And he alleges Sir Ian and his deputy, Sir Paul Stephenson, conspired with Home Office civil


servants to strip him of responsibilities. Ghaffur’s lawyer, Shahrokh Mireskandari, told Eastern Eye his client’s discrimination case will have a greater impact than the case of Lawrence, the black teenager murdered by a white gang in 1993. The Met had been branded “institutionally racist” for their handling of the 18- year-old’s murder by a landmark inquiry by William McPherson in 1999. Mireskandari, who is a senior partner at Dean and Dean solicitors, said: “This case is bigger than the Lawrence case because it involves Continued on page 8


Asians in Lib Dem’s sights EXCLUSIVE by HAMANT VERMA THE Liberal Democrats will launch its most ambitious project ever to woo British Asians to the party, at its annual conference this month. Its national diversity adviser, Issan Ghazni, warned that the recommendations in his Barriers To Benefits report are the only way that the party can avoid ethnic minority shortlists as well as secure post-Iraq war gains from disaffected Labour and Tory supporters. Ghazni has spent six months consulting within the Lib Dems and the public. The strategy will help leader Nick Clegg to hit his target of 126 Lib Dem MPs within two elections, up from the current 63. At the moment, the party does not have a single black or Asian MP in parliament. Ghazni told Eastern Eye: “No one should underestimate the significant change in culture which will be required. We did not have the numbers coming through in Lib Dems in the past. When people have come into the party, we have not had the infrastructure to support them. The party wanted to change but didn’t know how to do it.” The recommendations cover all under-represented groups, such as ethnic minorities, women and the disabled. Ghazni wants the three-year plan to help the party target big cities such as Birmingham, Leicester, London and Manchester. The conference will see the highprofile launch of the party’s diversity engagement group (DEG) Continued on page 8

International broadcaster ‘could help our economy’

UPBEAT: Osama Saeed (left) and Wadah Khanfar

AN international satellite station may add a Scottish division to its operations. Al Jazeera is the largest news channel in the Middle East and has recently been voted as the fifth most influential global brand behind Apple, Google, Ikea and Starbucks. The channel is considering placing a team in Scotland to report on Scottish issues on the main Al Jazeera network. It wants to help Scotland to promote itself as a country that can attract tourism and investment from the Middle East. The proposal came during a meeting held between Al Jazeera’s director general Wadah Khanfar and deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, in Glasgow, arranged by the Scottish-Islamic Foundation. Khanfar, who was visiting Scotland recently (August 22-24) to deliver a keynote speech at the International TV Festival in Edinburgh, stressed the need for Scotland to market itself better to the Middle East. He said: “I have very much enjoyed my stay in Scotland. I’m sure many people in the Middle East would be interested in Scotland, but they currently are not aware of all the country has to offer. I extend the invitation to the first minister and deputy first minister to visit us in Doha soon.”


Khanfar was featured on the cover of Newsweek as a member of the world’s ‘superclass’ and was named a ‘young global leader’ by the World Economic Forum (Davos). He was also recognised as the eighth most influential Arab in the world. The Scottish-Islamic Foundation was established this year to bring forward a new engagement between Muslims and non-Muslims in Scotland. Among various initiatives, they are organising an Islamic trade and finance conference in May 2009. Osama Saeed, chief executive of the ScottishIslamic Foundation, said: “I believe that given how figures like the former London mayor Ken Livingstone have become renowned in the Middle East by promoting their politics, the Scottish government has also been anti-war and pro-Palestinian. “These are positions that they could use to their advantage in marketing Scotland as a tourist destination. “We are extremely honoured to have spent time with someone who is as influential as Wadah Khanfar.” The Al Jazeera network consists of several channels on top of its flagship news service.


by NADEEM BADSHAH by ZEKRA RAHMAN UPBEAT: Osama Saeed (left) and Wadah Khanfar Issue 133 Friday September 5, 2008 Price 70p www.easterneyesc...


by NADEEM BADSHAH by ZEKRA RAHMAN UPBEAT: Osama Saeed (left) and Wadah Khanfar Issue 133 Friday September 5, 2008 Price 70p www.easterneyesc...