UK news

Faith school should teach all religions, says Rabbi

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

A lobby group headed by a senior Reform rabbi has called for religious education to be added to the national curriculum — which would require faith schools to teach religions other than their own.

The Accord Coalition, chaired by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, wants to ensure that children at religious schools learn at least something about other faiths.

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Academic: Doctors who circumcise should be struck off

By Leon Symons, December 3, 2009

Critics have rounded on an academic who has warned that doctors could be guilty of negligence and be breaking the Human Rights Act for performing circumcisions for anything other than medical reasons.

Dr David Shaw, an expert in medical ethics at Glasgow University, called for the General Medical Council (GMC) and the British Medical Association (BMA) to tighten up the advice they give doctors about circumcision.

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Race rant diplomat back at Foreign Office

By Leon Symons, December 3, 2009

A senior diplomat convicted of racially aggravated harassment for a foul-mouthed anti-Israeli rant in a gym has been given a new role at the Foreign Office.

Rowan Laxton, 48, the then head of the South Asia desk at the FO, was exercising in a gym when saw a television report during Israel’s action in Gaza and shouted “f------ Israelis, f------ Jews”.

Two men exercising elsewhere overheard him, complained to staff and Mr Laxton was arrested and charged subsequently. He was also suspended from his post at the FO.

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Muslim chief blasts Islamic group for its 'Zionist support'

By Martin Bright, December 3, 2009

A prominent spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain has criticised the moderate Muslim organisers of a demonstration against extremism for attracting the support of Zionists and supporters of Israel.

Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB defended his attacks on British Muslims for Secular Democracy because leading members of the organisation opposed the wearing of the hijab and believed drinking was permitted in Islam. The chair of the organisation is Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

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Anti-Israel views on billionaire website

By Martin Bright, December 3, 2009

A Middle East news website owned by one of Britain’s richest men has become a new source of anti-Zionist and pro-Iranian polemicism.

Middle East Online (MEO), in which the Iraqi-British billionaire Nadhmi Auchi has a controlling stake, is a news service which doubles as a vehicle to promote the activities of its owner, who was ranked at 32 in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List. Its editor is Dr Haitham el-Zobeidi, an Iraqi national who jointly owns the site with Mr Auchi.

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UCU hold 'boycott' meeting

By Leon Symons, December 3, 2009

The spectre of a wide-ranging boycott of Israel has been raised again by the University and College Union.

The UCU is holding a conference tomorrow (Saturday) in London in which it will debate whether or not to hold a boycott. But the conference, its location and full agenda has been shrouded in secrecy, with no publicity and inquiries about it going unanswered.

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LSE union twins with Gaza despite protests

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009

The London School of Economics (LSE) will be twinning its union with the Islamic University of Gaza, despite protest from students.

A motion which called for the twinning was carried after 161 students voted in favour and 131 against in a debate organised by LSE Palestine Society.

Students from the Israel Society protested outside with banners saying “Say yes to hummus, no to Hamas”.

The decision was made after Ben Grabiner, chairman of the LSE Israel Society, demanded a recount of the votes after allegations of fraud.

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Church holds anti-Israel Christmas carol service

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009

Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside a Baptist church which held a carol concert organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The service, entitled Voices of Bethlehem, was held at the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church on Monday.

Protesters waved Israel flags and handed out flyers as more than 200 people attended the service, which included readings from playwright Caryl Churchill, whose play, Seven Jewish Children, caused controversy earlier this year.

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Gilead Amit, the student storming University Challenge

By Candice Krieger, December 3, 2009

Fingers on buzzers: Which Israeli-born student captained his team to a thrashing victory on University Challenge this week? Answer: 20-year old Gilead Amit.

A physics undergraduate at Imperial College, London, Gilead astonished viewers as he led his team almost singlehandedly to a second-round victory over St Hugh’s College, Oxford, to land a place in the quarter-finals.

Gilead, who speaks four languages was the top points scorer in the 280-80 trouncing, shown on BBC Two on Monday.

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Community urges Jews against mosque demo

By Martin Bright, December 3, 2009

Leading Jewish organisations have called on members of the community not to attend a demonstration against the building of a new mosque in west London. The demonstration is intended to highlight the growing influence of Islam in Europe.

The Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust issued strongly-worded statements after the organisers, Stop the Islamisation of Europe, urged Jews to bring Israeli flags to the demonstration and march at Harrow Mosque on December 13.

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