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It makes me livid that the Labour Party assumes black people must support it



Apart from the London mayoral elections, I have never voted Tory, but I know many black and brown people who have. My beautiful younger brother is one such person. Not only is Mohammed a proud Tory but he is also the chair and founder of the Somali Conservatives and will be standing for the party in 2018 local elections.

So when a 2010 blog by Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coad surfaced, referring to Shaun Bailey a “token ghetto boy”, I took offence. No, actually I was livid. Like my brother, Shaun is black and a Tory. My brother and many of those I love and respect, who are proud Conservative members, are not tokens. They are brave, bright people who have chosen to vote for and back a party they believe in. They also want to help it change.

As a child, Mohammed, like me, saw our grandfather dragged out of his bed in Hargeisa, now the capital of Somaliland, in the middle of the night for speaking out against a dictator. As a result of this and the civil war my family were forced to flee.

Something like that shapes your life. For my family it meant we became very political and some of us joined political parties.

None is perfect — I am a member of the Women’s Equality Party — but there is a prevalent idea that Labour owns black and minority ethnic (BAME) people, which I reject. That was the undertone of Dent Coad’s statement, and a toxic reminder of why Labour has lost me and many of my peers.

To me, the Labour Party is all talk and no action. I get trolled by its members and I have even been blocked on Twitter by members of the shadow cabinet — I think because I work with Tory MPs to end female genital mutilation.
Many on the Left still believe that FGM is a cultural issue and that we should be “talking” to abusers and prefer to “respect” differences rather than saving girls like me.

One senior Labour figure once told me they would have to see “how it plays out with the mosques” when I asked him to back me in my fight.

During my campaigning on FGM I have been open to working with anyone in power, but in my experience the Labour Party has shown little interest, while those in the Conservative Party have been quick to respond.

From David Cameron to the current Prime Minister, Conservative politicians have demonstrated that they care about ending FGM. For me and 200 million women across the world who have been cut this is crucial.

Today there is a real possibility that FGM can and will end within our lifetime and that is thanks to some very white and posh men who saw me and listened.

As Kemi Badenoch — a rising star and very black Tory MP — said, the attitude that black people cannot be Tories “traps many black children within imaginary boundaries they believe they aren’t allowed to cross. They end up living less than the very best lives they can.”

Seeing MPs such as Badenoch and James Cleverly in the House of Commons means that my niece and little cousins can see people like themselves in positions of power.

The BAME population of this great country is diverse, and as such, we have the constitutionally-given right to join and support whichever party we wish. Dent Coad and her party would do well to remember that.

I did not need Jeremy Corybn to unlock my talent in order to get three law degrees and I am not waiting for him and his band of Lefty loons to set me free.

Hijab Barbie is not for children to play with

I’ve never played with a Barbie doll and I don’t intend to buy one for any of the girls in my family. I totally get that the makers of Barbie want to sell more of them in the run-up to Christmas but I would not buy my six-year-old niece Sofia a make-up-wearing Barbie, and for the same reason I would not buy her a hijab-wearing one.

The hijab, like make-up and other things meant for adults, is not for children to play with. Instead I would love a world in which girls have strong female icons to admire in many industries — and not have dolls marketed to them by a company such as Mattel.

My homeland is leading the way in outlawing FGM

On Monday Somaliland held its fifth multi-party presidential election, though the results are not in yet. Despite the lack of international recognition, Somaliland is leading the way in the region on so many fronts. Last week, in the final days of the election campaign, I visited Hargeisa, the city of my birth, to lobby for legislation to ban FGM.

Somaliland has the world’s highest incidence of FGM. Like me, 98 per cent of women and girls in the country have undergone FGM — but there is hope. Not only did all three of the men seeking to be the next president agree with me on the subject, they and their party chairmen agreed to table legislation on FGM in their first 100 days.

I know politicians will say anything to get elected but sitting down with these men, I believed them.

I hope to travel back to Somaliland in February with Zac Goldsmith, who has played a significant role in supporting this work. Ending FGM within a generation is something I believe we will achieve. I am proud that Somaliland is leading the way.


Spy poisoning: How could the UK retaliate against Russia?



BBC — UK Prime Minister Theresa May is braced to take “extensive measures” against Russia should it not offer a credible explanation of how an ex-spy and his daughter were poisoned on British soil with a military-grade nerve agent.

“Should there be no credible response,” Mrs May told parliament, “we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom”.

But what could the UK actually do – both on its own, and with the help of allies? And how likely are the US, EU and others to be on board?

Direct action

Britain could expel Russian diplomats, as it did after the poisoning of former Russian Federal Security Service operative Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 with radioactive polonium.
But many argue that this, and the other measures that were taken after that killing – including visa restrictions on Russian officials – did not go far enough. The man identified as the main suspect, Andrei Lugovoi, is not just at large, he is now a Russian MP.

So what else could the UK do?

  • Expel senior diplomats, perhaps even the Russian ambassador, and known Russian intelligence agents
  • Take some sort of action to bar wealthy Russian oligarchs from accessing their mansions and other luxuries in London, as suggested by Tory MP and House of Commons foreign affairs committee chair Tom Tugendhat. One way this could happen is through the use of Unexplained Wealth Orders, which allow government officials to seize assets including property until they have been properly accounted for
  • A boycott of the Fifa World Cup in Russia later this year by officials and dignitaries – a symbolic move that UK allies are unlikely to emulate
  • Taking Russian broadcasters such as RT (formerly Russia Today) off the air – broadcasting regulator Ofcom has said it will “consider the implications for RT’s broadcast licences” after Mrs May speaks on Wednesday.
  • Pass a British version of the 2012 US Magnitsky act, which punishes Russians involved in corruption and human rights violations with asset freezes and travel bans. It is named after a Russian lawyer who died in custody after revealing alleged fraud by state officials. MPs have been pushing for a Magnitsky amendment to be added to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill now going through Parliament

More EU sanctions?

Current sanctions on Russia that Britain supports are imposed via the European Union. They were first passed after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and backed rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine. Some 150 individuals and 38 companies have been targeted with visa bans and asset freezes.

EU countries are already divided on the sanctions, with diverging views among members states as to how Russia should be treated. States like Hungary, Italy and Greece have all supported the weakening of sanctions.

Some doubt whether Britain could convince the bloc to further toughen its measures against Moscow, especially with the UK on its way out of the Union.

Could Nato act?
By framing the poisoning as a possible “unlawful use of force” by Russia against the UK, Theresa May prompted questions as to whether this could be a matter for Nato, the military alliance of 29 countries.

The alliance’s policy of collective defence – under Article 5 – states that an attack on any one ally is seen as an attack on all.

It was invoked for the first and only time by the United States after the 9/11 attacks in New York.

Lord Ricketts, a former UK national security adviser, told the BBC that such an “unlawful act” warranted the involvement of Nato.

Any action “will be much more effective if there can be a broader, Nato-EU solidarity behind us”, he said.

But Downing Street has played down suggestions that this is an Article 5 matter.

For its part, Nato has called the attack “horrendous and completely unacceptable”. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the incident was of “great concern” to the alliance, which has moved in recent years to deter Russia by sending troops to Poland and the three Baltic states.

Lord Ricketts suggested one option involving Nato could be a reinforcement of resources on the group’s eastern flank.

Are UK’s allies showing support?
The UK could also seek to bring the issue to the UN – and seek to gather international support for action against Russia.

Theresa May has already spoken to France’s President Macron and the two leaders “agreed that it would be important to continue to act in concert with allies”, according to Downing Street. Although Mrs May has not yet spoken to President Trump about the case – there have been “conversations at a senior official level”.

The UK has already internationalised the matter by asking Russia to provide a “full and complete disclosure” of the Novichok nerve agent programme to an international agency, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Indeed, the magnitude of the response that may be announced on Wednesday will depend on the scale of international co-operation that Mrs May can secure, says BBC Diplomatic Correspondent James Landale.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called the attack an “outrage” and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went further, saying the attack “clearly came from Russia”. President Donald Trump himself has not spoken out.

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Royal welcome and noisy protests await Saudi crown prince on UK trip



LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s grand welcome for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will begin on Wednesday with a lunch with Queen Elizabeth, as the two countries seek to widen longstanding defence ties into a far-reaching partnership.

Both sense an opportunity to broaden their existing relationship: Britain is looking for trading partners as it exits the European Union, and Saudi Arabia needs to convince sceptical investors about its domestic reforms.

But as Prince Mohammed and Prime Minister Theresa May meet, demonstrators will protest both countries’ roles in Yemen where war has killed an estimated 10,000 people and where 8.3 million people depend on food aid and 400,000 children have life-threatening levels of malnutrition.

Inside May’s Downing Street offices the two leaders will launch a “UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council” – an initiative to encourage Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms and foster more cooperation on issues such as education and culture, as well as defence and security.

“It will usher in a new era of bilateral relations, focused on a partnership that delivers wide-ranging benefits for both of us,” May’s spokesman told reporters.

Britain is vying to land the stock market listing of state oil firm Saudi Aramco, but no decision is expected this week.

Later this month Prince Mohammed visits the United States, which also wants the lucrative listing, although sources said both countries may miss out.

British officials were privately delighted at the decision by Prince Mohammed, 32, to choose Britain as the major western destination on his first foreign trip since becoming heir to the Saudi throne last year.

The British government is keen to transform its historic defence relationship into two-way trade and investment, eyeing both an expanded market in Saudi Arabia for service sector exports, and attracting Saudi cash to finance domestic projects.

Business deals are possible with British defence group BAE Systems and European weapons maker MBDA, and initial agreements could be concluded on gas exploration, petrochemicals and other industries, according to British and Saudi sources.


The three-day visit will include two audiences with the British Royal family, a briefing with national security officials, and a prestigious visit to the prime minister’s country residence.

May intends to use the private dinner at Chequers, a 16th-century manor house 40 miles (60 km) northwest of London, to bring up concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, her spokesman said.

A Saudi-led military coalition is fighting the Houthi movement in Yemen, generating what the United Nation said in January was the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Demonstrators drive a van with a large protest poster on it during a protest against the visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in central London, Britain, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

“You can expect them to discuss Yemen, and the prime minister to raise deep concerns at the humanitarian situation,” May’s spokesman said. “She will also reiterate how seriously we take allegations of violations against international humanitarian law.”

Speaking to reporters in London on Monday, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country had failed to effectively communicate the reasons behind its involvement in Yemen, but that they had not chosen to start the war.

Protestors are planning to target the Saudi officials over Yemen and other human rights issues, and Britain for licensing 4.6 billion pounds of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia since 2015.

Buses have spent two days touring London with banners accusing Prince Mohammed of war crimes, with more planned for Wednesday ahead of the main rally.

“It is vital that people show up to the protest tomorrow outside Downing Street to make clear that the UK government’s complicity in the war on Yemen is not supported by the public and that we demand a peaceful and humane foreign policy,” said Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition.

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LONDON: Man ‘deliberately drove’ at Somali woman days after Parsons Green terror attack, court hears



THE TELEGRAPH — A man deliberately tried to kill a Muslim woman by driving his car into her, just days after the Parsons Green terror attack, a court has heard.

Paul Moore is accused of targeting Zaynab Hussein because of the colour of her skin and the fact she was wearing a hijab, five days after the attempted attack in London last September.

The 21-year-old allegedly drove his Volkswagen Up! into Ms Hussein – a Somali national – after spotting her in a Leicester street shortly after 8am on September 20. Witnesses claimed he was laughing at the time.

Just moments later he is accused driving the same vehicle at a 12-year-old schoolgirl, a short distance away in an attempt to cause her serious harm.

The jury was told how Ms Hussein, a Somali national, was struck once and subsequently driven over again moments later during the incident which took place in Leicester.

A jury of seven men and five women at Nottingham Crown Court were told Mr Moore had tried to kill Ms Hussein “purely because of the colour of her skin” and her “perceived Islamic faith”.

The prosecution said four other people were in the car with Moore during the incident and they had begged him to let them out afterwards.

Opening the case against Mr Moore, prosecutor Jonathan Straw said: “(Moore) carefully and deliberately, in an act of calculated evil, aligned his wheels so the front and back wheels were over her (Ms Hussein).

“He did not know her. He tried to kill her purely because of the colour of her skin and because of her perceived Islamic faith as she was wearing a hijab.

“It is no coincidence, we say, that there had been a bomb at Parsons Green Tube station in London, said to have been carried out by sympathisers of Islamic State.”

Mr Straw said it was only thanks to members of the public and medical professionals that Ms Hussein’s life was saved.

He continued: “She had received severe fractures to her pelvis, her spine, and one of the bones in her leg was broken.

“Having deliberately, we say, tried to kill Zaynab Hussein, the defendant then drove at a second victim – a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

“He did not hit her, he brushed her, but it is only by the grace of God and nothing more that she was saved.”

Mr Straw said Moore intended to offer no defence, adding: “It may well be he has no defence. He admits he was the driver.”

In a recorded interview played to the court, Reece Bishop, a passenger in the car at the time of the alleged attack on Ms Hussein, told police: “He was just driving like a maniac. I thought we were going to be dead. He said ‘I feel like running someone over. Anyone.’

“It all happened so fast. He turned the steering wheel and he just hits her out of the blue.”

On the recorded interview with police, Mr Bishop said Moore was laughing as he drove at Ms Hussein.

Mr Moore denies attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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