Former detective Nigel Boulton is the original designer of the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH), and now supporting MASH delivery and safeguarding improvements around the UK.
Nigel spoke to Jason McCrossan on his Monday Matters radio show on 106.9 SFM (www.sfmradio.com) about how MASH is used to share information across agencies and identify children and vulnerable adults who are at risk from Female genital mutilation, extremism, radicalisation just to name a few.
Jason spoke to Nigel on the day that 26 year old Tareena Shakil was found guilty of taking her toddler son to Syria to join terror group ISIS. Tareena had fled to the war-torn region in October 2014 after telling her family she was going on holiday to Turkey. She was found guilty of being a member of ISIS and encouraging acts of terror, becoming the first British woman to be convicted after return from the terror heartland.
Well known campaigner Maryam Namazie had been invited to talk at Goldsmiths University on December 3 by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society campus group, on speech on blasphemy and apostasy.
However, as she was speaking members of the Goldsmiths University Students Union’s Islamic Society (ISOC), who had already try to ban her from speaking, began to heckle, with one switching off a projector and when looking at the video, it does show hat that Maryam was subjected to intimidation by a group of Islamic men who were set up disruption rather than engagement.
The Islamic students disrupted the speech, entitled ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of Isis’, because they claimed it “violated their safe space”.
Most surprisingly, Maryam told me how both Goldsmiths LGBT Society and Goldsmiths Feminist society “sent a solidarity message with the Islamists who disrupted my talk, rather than with me, someone who is a women’s rights campaigner, gay rights campaigner – someone who has campaigned for the free expression that these societies are using”.
I couldn’t quite believe what Maryam was telling me however she went on to say “they have labelled me an Islamophobe. They’ve shown solidarity with Isamic Society brothers who actually have invited speakers in the past who defend the execution of gay people, who defend the execution of apostates and it’s such an irony that they would support them”. Maryam said that identity politics had removed politics and choices from being debated and all that was left for some people was their identify as a muslim and “therefore anyone who identifies as a muslim is automatically seen to be the oppressed one in this conversation”.
And in further developments, Zak Thomas from Goldsmiths Students’ Union paper The Leopard wrote that “Members of the Islamic Society (ISOC) and the Atheist and Humanist Society (ASH) could face disciplinary action after a row broke out”. When asked to comment about the investigation into those members of (ASH) – who had tried to restore order Maryam commented “afraid so” on twitter. The Leopard went on to quote Goldsmiths SU and said that the “SU will arrange a meeting between both societies specifically to identify how the incident should be dealt with”.
We are in the middle of a heated debate in the UK as to whether we should or should not use our armed forces to bomb Syria. Whether we do or wether we do not will be decided by a vote of our MPs on Wednesday.
Let’s be clear. If Paris had been London – the discourse would be very different and it is important that we take this opportunity to be thankful that we make such decisions with a cool head and not as a reaction to horrific events. That said – we need to realise the real dangers we face as British citizens – like the horrors that we saw on a beach in Tunisia – or that of in France. The Russian flight that was blown up over Egypt’s Sinai desert could well of been a British flight. Wether we like it or not – we are targets – wether or not we bomb in Syria.
There are those who are totally opposed to bombing. I understand their concerns. However, the truth is that bombing HAS worked. It decimated their high command; helped halt their advance and in many cases pushed them back; spreads fear and dread throughout the ranks of Daesh who worry that every time they step outside or jump into a vehicle – they could be killed or maimed. That in turn helps disrupt their mobility and ability to hold gatherings outside of their strong hold and if they need to communicate over long distances – they take a chance with their lives or use technology which can be intercepted and used against them.
Bombing Has Limitations
That said, bombing has limitations. We know already that there is a complex network of tunnels and command centres placed underneath the houses and hospitals of innocent Syrian people. The extremists use these dug outs knowing that if and when they get bombed – they survive but the innocent men, women and children above ground die; their deaths then captured and edited into slick horror videos distributed to easily suggestible men and women around the world who do not comprehend the context of how they actually died.
The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is not just whether we should bomb Syria. Whether we do or do not will not make much of a difference. This fact we know. We also know Daesh will be defeated in Syria and Iraq. Maybe not next week, next month or next year. But they will. And we know this because – they are a death cult. They are only interested in death. And before they die they want to ensure they subjugate, kill, terrorise and torture anyone under their control. This is not something desired by the masses – no matter how deep rooted they are to a religion. Daesh has limited appeal.
Even the use of the word “defeat” is a simplification. Like defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan!
So, when we say “defeat” what we actually mean is turn them from a group which controls large swathes of a country and its population – into a small group of bandits and guerrillas who still hold the same ideology but terrorise on a much smaller scale and are dealt with at a local level before eventually being replaced with some other ideology and becoming a footnote in history.
The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is: What do you think Syria will look like in 1, 3 & 5 years time and what do you base this on? (as apposed to what do you want it to look like). What is our end game? When Daesh is defeated – what could fill the vacuum? Who are they? What are their aims? How far are you prepared to go militarily – understanding that bombing has its limits? Weapons? Training? Our soldiers?
The West is adamantly opposed to Russian backed President Bashar al-Assad – yet backs the free Syrian army – which is adamantly apposed by Russia and President Bashar al-Assad. In order to root out Daesh we may need to work with Russia and Assad – how do we feel about this? Will we need to adjust our policy to Assad – what about the thousands and millions killed or made refugees by his Government – what are our “lines to take” when answering their questions? Can we feasibly have two opposing policies operating at one time? With Assad – but against? With Russia, but against?
And when Daesh are finally sent scurrying off into the desert – who will replace them? Do we know? Do we think we know? Have we post-Daesh plans? What do we do if Assad tries to reclaim control of the country? If we commit to side fully with the free Syrian army and this group of 70,000 militants ready to rout out Daesh from places such as Raqqa – what happens if they are then bombed by Assad or Russia? What if we find ourselves backing an army which finds itself fighting against Assad and Russia. Where are the lines drawn? When do we STOP?
So, whether we bomb or do not bomb Syria will probably turn out to be of less importance than wether we are or are not prepared for the end of Daesh control in the region and whether we finally find the stomach to square up to President Putin – when he tries to exert control in the region.
On this edition of Monday Matters our featured group tonight is Supertramp: Rick Davis, vocalist and keyboardist with the band is 71 on 22 July. Rick is the only member of Supertramp to have been with the group for their entire history, and has composed many of their most well-known songs, including ‘Goodbye Stranger’, and ‘Bloody Well Right’.
After 8pm we have more on the speech given by the Prime Minister David Cameron about how the Government plans to tackle extremism included a five-year plan which will target Muslims who hold “intolerant ideas”.
Also after 8pm we have the latest music news and then after 9pm we speak to Dr Afzal Ashraf who is a consultant fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. Tonight Jason discusses the rise of IS – or Daesh as some would prefer we call them; what action needs to be taken to defeat them & how safe are we here in the UK.
The medieval way in which terrorist organisation ISIS dispatched Muadh al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, to his death in January 2015 was something that caused nausea to anyone who cherishes life and believes in human dignity. Of course, not everyone gasped a breath of repulsion with news reports circulating that Isil broadcast the murder on giant public screens to crowds that included young children cheering and chanting in Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Of course, I say medieval – however, one does not need to look back to the middle ages to find tales of atrocious behaviour carried out by man kind up man kind. As is pointed out in the blog “We Are Respectable Negroes”
For almost a century, the United States practiced a unique cultural ritual that was as least as gruesome as the “Medieval” punishments meted out by ISIS against its foes.
What is now known as “spectacular lynching” involved the ceremonial torture, murder–and yes, burning alive–of black Americans by whites.
In fact, the burned to death images of the black body were one of the most popular types of mass culture in 19th and 20th century America.
And who can forget the many atrocities carried out by German’s under the NAZI flag including beastly experiments with victims coerced into participating; they did not willingly volunteer and there was never informed consent. Typically, the experiments resulted in death, disfigurement or permanent disability, and as such are considered as examples of medical torture.
The terror and brutality that is being carried out by ISIS is not new – the speed and method of the delivery of the images is. I’m grateful to have been brought up in the West – in a country where religion is a private matter and the freedom to live life is not dictated by the passages of a religious text or by the gun or knife or a brutal regime that won’t accept dissent. People in Britain must be free to choose to have a religion or not – but it must be a choice and as Allison Pearson writes in the telegraph:
Yesterday came a damning official report by Louise Casey saying that Labour’s Rotherham borough council was “in complete denial” and had failed to respond properly to last year’s scathing report by Prof Alexis Jay. Men of Pakistani origin had been allowed to abuse white girls in part because of “misplaced political correctness”: council staff were terrified of being labelled racist. Cowards and fools, they “decided such issues should be dealt with by people from the Pakistani community”. Good thinking, chaps!
In Rotherham, Casey also found that police had failed to pursue Pakistani perpetrators for fear of “offending the community”.
What community? Not yours and mine, that’s for sure. So desperate is the situation that Whitehall-appointed commissioners are to move in and take over the council. In Rotherham, we see with terrible clarity how the whole edifice of multiculturalism is as rotten as a Tudor monarch’s mouth.
What Allison fails to note is that the kind of abuse that happened in Rotherham isn’t just limited to a particular ethnic group – white men will take just as much advantage of girls as any other race – the worrying element is if the report is true and staff failed to act out of a fear of being racist. And this is why I am strongly against religious schools where children are divided along lines of cultural and often racial background and never mix with anyone who is not of their belief nor race. This cannot be good for our future.
If we are to learn anything from the atrocities committed by ISIS – is that we must integrate the different cultures and backgrounds that exist within Britain better than we are doing at the moment. What makes a teenage boy or girl think that their life is only valuable when it has a bomb attached to it and they are kill themselves and as many people as they can?
How did we let this situation happen? The Prime Minister David Cameron has jumped in feet first to tackle what they would term welfare scroungers – but what about extremists and extremism? It is lazy to think of this as a muslim probably – any more than suggesting that when the IRA was active on British shores they were a catholic problem.
One of the reasons we elect politicians is to make us safe – so far, they have failed us. But if UKIP is the answer – we’re most definitely asking the wrong questions.