Saturday, 29 March 2014

Why Non-Violent Activism Works

Recently read a quote, shown below, that seemed to sum up a key point about why non-violent activism is effective.

"When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour." This quote is apparently from John Lennon. BFTF mentions that only for reference, the validity of the quote is in its text, not in who first said it.

Monday, 24 March 2014

200,000 page views!

Wow!, the Blogger page view counter just rolled over to 200,000 page views since the BFTF blog started up back in late 2011.

Thanks so much to all the surfers, FaceBookers, Tweeters, Redditers and, no doubt, bots, who have helped get the blog to this point.

It's been an incredible ride!

Seems appropriate to provide a list of the "top 10" posts of all time, in decending order of page views. The titles will click through to the relevant posts...

1) Food Banks in Nottingham
Disturbingly, this post has twice the page views of any other post, which provides just a hint to the levels of poverty present in Nottingham

Donations to a Food Bank

2) Sustainable packaging for Jamie's Fish Fingers
BFTF never really did get a solid answer as to whether the cardboard packaging for Jamie Olivers Fish Fingers was sustianably sourced or not...

Jamie Oliver's Fish Fingers - Sustainable Fish... but what about the packaging?

3) Booing the National Anthem
When footy fans boo the national anthem they get understanding and gentle questions about their reasons. BFTF wonders how Muslims would be treated if they did the same thing.

4) The Deen Riders visit Nottingham
Rather lavishly illustrated, and quite quickly written, post on the visit of the Deen Riders to Nottingham on their tour to raise money for civilians in Syria. One of BFTF's fave posts.

Usman and Kamran by their beautiful British Triumphs

5) Moustafa Ismail and his Biceps
A short post suggesting that Moustafa's biceps weren't all that they appeared. The post got a lot of views because the story was in the news and also because the post got linked to on some Turkish social media boards.

6) Families Forum Parts 1-4 Israeli and Palestinian Stories
A wish to publicise and document this talk (which ended up needing 4 posts) was one of the reasons BFTF set up the blog. Still a very powerful story to read. Early post, so BFTF hadn't figures out how to do images yet!

7) Interview with Prof Ian Shaw regarding the NHS
Really important interview on the NHS and its future in the light of the then forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill. A must read.

NHS Flag, QMC, Nottingham

8) Hope and Homelessness Commission Report
Great to see a project from Nottingham Citizens in the Top10, in this case the focus was on ensuring that vulnerable people did not suffer unnecessarily and that tax payers money was used effectively by the National Asylum Support Service

The launch of the Hope and Homelessness Commission Report

9)Olympic and Paralympic Team Sizes
BFTF wondered what the size of a countries Paralympics team, compared to it's able-bodied Olympic team, said about the values of that country - so did a little digging and knocked up a graph!

10) Dates in the Square - Summary of Events
Great series of open air events, held in the market square, to highlight issues of social justice

Great to see such a wide demographic at the events.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Mums and Tots Wollaton

BFTF has been hugely impressed by the Mums and Tots group based at Wollaton Mosque and Community Centre and run by HR consultant Saema Mohammad.

Back in autumn 2013, the groud held a coffee morming that raised over £500 for MacMillan Cancer Support

A few months later, they held another event that riased over £1000 to support Save the Chilren's efforts in helping survivors of Typhoon Haiyan that had hit the Phillipines.

Meanwhile, Saema noticed that there were relatively low numbers of women attending the Mosques, which prompted her to undertake some research into the issue. The resulting report, which has been researched with impressive diligence, can be found here.

The main conclusions are shown below :
1) The findings demonstrated that women think it is important for the masjid and women do find the masjid welcoming. Attending masjid made women feel part of their communities.

2) Women currently attend masjid for a range of activities, the top ones being praying salah in congregation and educational classes. In terms of what women want, the most wanted is Q&A session with the Imam followed by hobby related activities.

3) From the focus groups, it was established that the barriers preventing women from attending masjid are around the following areas: management of masjid, accessing the masjid, women and children, culture, fear of being judged, engagement, accessibility of Imams, experience of Imams and British society and culture.

4) Recommendations in the form of an action plan have been compiled for Karimia in an attempt to facilitate more participation of women in their centres. These recommendations can be used by masjids across Nottingham.

Some of the recomendations are shown below :

Masjids should communicate with each other to share best practice and benchmark

Devise and implement a complaints/feedback policy

Challenge behavior and attitudes that proves to be ‘anti-children’

Create an atmosphere where all are welcome regardless of background or faith

Use social media - Facebook, twitter to engage a range of audiences

Advertise time for when women can see Imam

Imams to keep abreast of contemporary issues in our society

Imams to participate in community walkabouts [BFTF likes this one A LOT]

BFTF suspects that the report, and the recommendations are of value to many faith and community groups, but particurly those whose congregations are of overseas heritage.

Happy Mums! Happy Tots! at the "Save The Children" coffee morning

Friday, 21 March 2014

Easy Lemon Roast Chicken with a "nice-but-dim" erudition

Hello chaps. Jasper Roundbotham here!

Had a splendid shindig over the weekend, during which one of the lovely hosts shared this rather delicious recipe for roast chicken.

Apparantly, the secret is to use chicken that is free-range, corn fed and hasn't been loaded with water and other additives- and you can tell the difference because free-range will release hardly any water during cooking!

Now, I'm not very good at this cooking business - but the recipe seemed so easy that I thought I'd give it a bash and perhaps earn some much needed brownie points with Mrs Roundbotham.

Have to say that it turned out super-delicious! Here's the recipe :

Easy Roast Chicken

1 Free Range, corn fed, chicken (such as that supplied by H&T Foods)
1 lemon
Butter, salt, pepper

a) Preheat the oven to 200C.
b) Melt a little butter and brush over skin.
c) Cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze over the chicken, then put squeezed skins inside the chicken.
d) Sprinke salt and pepper on the chicken.
e) Cover in foil (or use those excellent roasting bags).
f) Cook for around 90mins, until juices run clear.

[Compassion in World Farming describes the inhumane conditions that intensively reared chickens are raised in. These can be contrasted with the compassionate conditions at free-range farms such as H&T Foods)]

Easy Roast Chicken

Apparently, this dish rates as "EASY" on the BFTF Washing Up Index, which is jolly handy!

There is a super list of other "easy" recipes here so perhaps I can extend my repertoire even further!

Related Links
BBC : Halal meat consumers urged to consider animal welfare
BFTF : Double Standards in Halal Certification
Willowbrook Organic Farm
HandT Foods
Article by Sara Joseph on the Halal Food Industry

Thursday, 20 March 2014

BFTF loves cycling 2014

Following on from the "BFTF loves cycling 2013" post, a new year demands a new post for cycling related comment and tomfoolery....

March : Great weather forecasting by the Met Office
People who cycle to work pay close attention to the weather, and BFTF continues to be impressed with the accuracy of the forecasting from the Met Office (as taken via the BBC android weather app). On Tuesday 18th the app forcast a clear start, rain in the middle of the day, and dry weather by 4-5pm - which is exactly what happened ! Well done Met Office !


March : Pro-upgrade to the bike for 2014
Got this great upgrade for the bike from BFTF's niece! Only trouble was that, in the somewhat chilly March weather, the horn was a little too stiff to squeeze, while BFTF's hands were a little too chilled to effectively do any squeezing! Hopefullly, it will be more effective as the weather warms up...
BFTF's new horn!

Sunday, 2 March 2014


A post of doodles (like, you know, what did you expect?):

Friday, 21 February 2014

Mohammad Asghar

According to many media reports (see here and here) a court in Rawalpindi, Pakistan has sentenced a 70-yr old British National, Mohammad Asghar, to death for blasphemy.

Asghar had become embroiled in a property dispute with a local man, who later raised a case of blasphemy and provided the (unsent) letters to the Police in 2010, at which point Asghar was arrested.

During his trial his legal team were dismissed, and the state nominated replacement presented no evidence in his defence.

Asghar, who is from Edinburgh, Scotland has been diagnosed in the UK as a paranoid schizophrenic and has a history of mental illness, although this evidence was not accepted by the court.

There have been a number of campaigns for his release:

Amnesty International

Open Letter to Pakistan Persident Mamnoon Hussain by a number of UK orgs

Petition on Change.Org

Article by Sadiq Khan, Shadow Justice Secretary

BFTF has signed the petition, Tweeted a thank you to the ISB for signing the Open Letter and asked the MCB why they didn't sign it too.

Related Content
Challenging government on "double tap" airstrikes
The Shaykh 'n Bake Shame Grenade