We are so TIRED! We’re absolutely knackered! This group is so good, they have amazing responses, their ideas on Celebrity Role Models were really interesting. They were discussing whether Katie Price should be hailed as a great Role Model because she puts her kids first and and is a great mother, or if she isn’t such a good role model because of her apparent ‘need for publicity’. They also talked about Angelina Jolie, Amir Kahn, Barack Obama and Naomi Campbell to name a few. But keeping them focused was SO HARD!!!! They are so easily distracted and won’t shut up! We love the group, they are really good but keeping them focused is difficult. Ah well, two weeks and we will have our fabulous news report and a wonderful trip! YAY!

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The new sessions…

So, we’ve been back for four weeks and so far we have found out that this new group is rather chatty but WONDERFUL! We’ve introduced them to Peacemaker, introduced the concept of ‘Community’ and today we had the most epic time with the coolest religious dudes EVERRR!!! We had Shamim Miah from the Islamic faith  and one of our own Peer Educators, Laxmi Vekria on the Hindu faith. They were fabulous and compelling and the young people asked amazing questions like ‘What are your views on Evolution?’ and ‘How does following your religion benefit you as a person?’. There was an interesting topic on the occurence of numbers in faiths such as the number 5 in in Islam. We were so proud of them =) And then we had cake and it was delicious nomnomnom.

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IT’S A NEW YEAR!!! New courses, new structure and new young people! The wonderful Lucy, the amazing Rucksana and the fabulous Ryan are back for this year!

Our group is sparkling and brilliant and vibrant and lots and lots of wonderful things like that! From now until December is ‘Your Oldham’ which is all about Oldham for the young people. We will learn about the religions in Oldham, what is community, influences and role models and the role of the media.

The young people are all really talkative and anxious to get there opinions out there which is fantastic, they’re all really enjoying it and even asked to stay longer! I can’t wait for next session (half term next week, so we’re off) when we start on Community!

See you then people =D

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Is Fear of Terrorism Making Us Give Up Our Freedoms?

Kerris (15): I feel like terrorism is something i think about, especially when someone who looks a bit frightening gets on the bus or the train, you never know what could happen! Although i feel safer with these precautions in place, it makes me question them when people are arrested and they haven’t even done anything.

Katherine (17): I don’t feel threatened at all by terrorism; the risk posed is not as great as the media makes out sometimes.  There have only been two major incidents (7/7 and 9/11) and a few other attempts, so if you look at the actual number of attacks compared to the amount of hysteria there is, it does seem pretty overblown.  I think that Stop and Search powers are abused, as the police are hypersensitive to the perceived  risk.  I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry, but I think a step back and reevaluation of the actual threat is needed, before our civil liberties are compromised any further, although I do acknowledge that Britain is an extremely liberal society compared to other places in the world.

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Equality and Human Rights-Simple? I don’t think so

After spending a year learning about Human Rights and Equality it can seem a straightforward issue that you back 100%. However, sometimes in practice rights and equality rights can seem to clash. It can be complicated task to decide which right or issues wins over another so in today’s session we put some difficult questions to the group. Here are a couple of our case studies and one response from someone on the course. What do you think? Why not leave a comment?

You be the Judge

Sceanario 1:A women took 9 months maternity leave last year. The next tax year her male colleagues were given a raise. She wasn’t given one and she was told that she hadn’t progressed as much as a worker as she had missed ¾ of the year. She said that it was discrimination against her as a woman and against her decision to have children. Agree?

Lois (14): I think that it isn’t fair that she doesn’t get the same amount of pay, even though she could be just as much of a hard-worker as any of the other employers. It was her choice whether to have a baby or not, but i don’t think that she should be penalized for being a woman and having to take the time off. I think that possibly, for a solution, she could have half the pay rise that the other employees do, as she has only done half the work.

Scenario 2:A school finds out that one its teachers is a member of the BNP (an extreme right-wing party that has been branded racist and fascist). They call an emergency meeting with the teacher and discuss his future at the school. They are considering sacking him as racism goes against the values of the school. He says it is within his rights to hold his own political opinions and that it would be discrimination to sack him. He says there are teachers who are religious at the school, even though its non-religious. Why are his views any different? Agree?

Jamil (14): So if a teacher is part of the BNP then I will agree to sack the teacher incase she/he teaches the children differently and have a favouritee  student and then they will have less students in the school than they hoped all because of their teacher.

Scenario 3: The Catholic Adoption Agency are a partly government funded organization. They will not allow gay couples to adopt children from their agency, even if the couple are Catholic. They say it is the beliefs of their religion and they should be allowed to follow their religion. Gay couples opposing the ban on Gay adoption say it is discrimination against them for being Gay, which is against the law. Agree?

Jess (29): I think I would side with the Gay couple, especially if they themselves were Catholic. Whilst I respect peoples religious beliefs I do think that beliefs and religious practices can be much influenced by the time and place in which the followers live. And by the individuals within the Church/Mosque/Synagogue/Temple. Because of this I think that religious practice should adapt and respond to increased understanding and tolerance for certain issues, for example sexuality or women’s rights and look to the history or their religion and where the outlawing of certain practices stemmed from.

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Islamic Extremism

Hannah (15):  Today at peacemakers we learnt about islamic extremism its upseting that people let religion get between them , we are all humans right? so why cant we just get along! people should never have to resort to violence to get there way.. i personally am not religious but cant understand how people can get so emotional that they kill other innocent people about something as stupid as the fact you dont follow the same beliefs! i think we should all just get along .. no god worth worshipping would want us to fight about this.

Rema (15) Islamic extremism is such a fascinating topic as i have learnt so much and also Islam is my religion, so learning about this made me realise that not everything and everyone is good. Islam doesn’t condone violence so i don’t see why these stupid TALIBANZ are putting a bad name to muslim. ITS JUST NOT FAIR|!  =[

Ankita (17): Islamic extremism is a rather controversial subject as every single person interprets it many different ways. However, if people examined it closely, they would find that it has a negative impact on our society and can affect so many lives. Violence is not the way to achieve what people want and by carrying out such acts can result in a negative portrayal of this religion. Everyone should respect each other’s views and opinions as well as their beliefs as God made us all.

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Different Kinds of Extremism

There are different ways people can be Extreme and many different types of extremism. We have listed afew examples below. If you can think of others, why not post a comment?

Ethno-national Extremism: It is important to point out that Nationalism in itself is not extreme- it’s just a focus on the nation or national identity (think flags, anthems, the World Cup). Ethno-national extremists, however, have a particular idea of what they want the nation to be like. Their vision for the nation often means just one identity (which doesn’t include different cultures, colours, religions or ideas to them). This kind of extremism is often linked to Fascism and can be labelled right-wing extremism. It includes groups in the UK such as the BNP, English Defence League.

The English defence League in action

Another English Defence League March

Religious Extremism: every religion has extremists factions and these groups operate outside of normal religious practices. For example, Islam has Al Q’aeda, Christianity has the Klu Klux Klan, Judaism has Terror against Terror and Hinduism has Jagaran Manch. Many people who practice religions may not consider the views of extremist factions to have any relation to the religion that they themselves follow. Religious extremists often use religion to make strong demands on people, for example asking them to give up their lives in the name of God. They do not allow for compromise in their religion and see religion in black and white.

Ultimately any idea or belief can become extreme, think Political Extremism, Environmental Extremism or Animal Rights Extremism. These views may pose a threat to certain groups in society and may, or may not, become violent.

Saima (15): i think it waz gr8 2day and i enjoyed the FOOD!😀 and erm, it waz gr8 doin the team work and workin wiv difernt ppl (:

Rema (14): i really enjoyed 2dey. i learned alot from the activites and group work we did. i think its important to learn about extremism and terrorism coz you hear it on the streets but you dont know the facts.

Reshma(17):Today everyone learned about the different types of extremism and overall the session went well and we also found out that people didn’t know that different type of extremism exists. Different types of extremism is an issue which i think needs to raised  as most young people thought there was one type of extremism e.g.Islam which isn’t true as other group carry out extremist activities such as kkk which is the Ku Klux Klan.

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