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Shafelia Ahmed

The case of shafelia Ahmed has been reopened. Shafelia Ahmed who was a young lady murdered and her body found in a black bag near a river. Shafelia Ahmeds death was probed a case of an honour killing led murder. The parents of Shafelia Ahmed were made to stand trial as main suspects to her death, However due to insufficient evidence they were found not guilty and let free to go.

The case has recently re opened as there is new supporting evidence from a witness which convicts her parents of carrying out the murder on their accords of honour. The witness 23 year old Alesha Ahmed who was 15 years old of age at the time of the murder made a witness statement. Miss Ahmedn who wished to be hidden away from her parents while giving evidence in a witness box.

The question that comes to my mind is how could police not have gained sufficient evidence have they failed another probe to an honour killing? Alesha Ahmed sister of Shafelia Ahmed who gave evidence to shed light on the case said Shafelia was suffocated with a plastic bag by being forcefully made to swallow it. There are many other questions in the failing of this investigation like couldn’t the Coroner have sussed the cause of death.

During the trial her sister mentioned a teacher over hearing her brother and herself talking about the murder as all the siblings were forced to watch the honour killing the night before. They were later questioned by the teacher on what had happened. The siblings were threatened to have a similar death if they dare mentioned a word to anyone. Hence pledged silence for their safety.

There seems to be a lot of flaws with the investigation. Another question that comes to mind is that is it just the police or is it the government to blame for such failing to understand such killings? Or the main people to blame the families and communities who practise such ill treatment towards others?

Najia Anwar

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Interact Magazine: Meeting 5

For this week’s meeting we congregated in the Interact office with Anisha and a plate of mysteriously disappearing chocolate biscuits. In the way of mysteriously disappearing whenever I turned my back. (I did manage to sneak a couple before they vanished) And while crumbs were being scattered all over the carpet, we got down to business.

Formatting the articles was the first point of call; fonts, layouts and all kinds of jargon for the graphic designers to thrash out between them. We then discussed about how two different writers on the same article could meld their different pieces together, Anisha suggested boxes where facts and figures could be presented in order to break up the lengthy paragraphs. It’s all about presentation and capturing the attention of the reader.

The bit to be next focused on was the complaints section, where Biljana asked for a collection of complaints to grace the page, of all annoyances from PDA on the train to why self service machines at Tesco never worked. Cue a lengthy stream of complaints that nobody ended up writing down.

A few people then got off into a tangent discussing about David Beckham for some reason so for the next ten minutes irrelevant conversation ruled while everyone talked about various aspects of David Beckham. Emma distracted from the conversation by attempting to open the window for fresh air and nearly broke the blinds in the process.

Next on the agenda was pinned by Victoria who asked if anyone was ready to take profile pictures for the introduction page. Naturally everyone recoiled, complaining that she didn’t give us enough time, we didn’t look our best and could we do it next week? I suppose next week we’ll look much the same and we’ll still complain that we don’t look great. There’s no pleasing some people (me in particular. I always complain about the way my hair looks).

We then moved onto the poster for the edition, the idea of ‘image nation.’ We went through suggestions of caricature, the sights of London and black and white images. Further suggestions brought up the idea of public leaders and icons of Britain in unusual landscapes and scenery. Several suggestions involving the Queen on a motorbike or on a bus with her corgis smoking a spliff were bandied around for a while. Lord Sugar on a rickshaw, Kate Moss in India and Boris Johnson in front of the Taj Mahal were other suggestions. They must all be reading a copy of Interact magazine.

Anisha then moved us onto the Voxpop question; the end result was ‘What is your fear?’ Before we that we had half an hour of vigorous discussion of the topics, ranging from ‘what is your definition of funny?’ to ‘what is your favourite festival?’ and my personal favourite ‘what kind of underwear do you prefer wearing?’ Anisha firmly decided that ‘what is your fear?’ would be the question we would ask and invited us to answer off the cuff. Nick feared fish and I feared turning into my mother (later changed to grandmother so my mother wouldn’t be offended on reading that)

The last thing we wrapped up on was how to present ourselves with our pictures on the introduction page. Instead of all that boring blabber about what we like and where we studied and how our pet gerbil Harry likes to eat apples, we thought we’d do what the previous edition did and have a favourite quote, lyrics or line of poetry under our names to keep it simple. In a way, it makes it just as personal as all of that life story we’re normally encouraged to say about ourselves, just a line of lyric can reveal something of our character and personality.

All in all, we ended the meeting early with an additional recreational trip down to the pub for some of us.

Selina Moses

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Practice Makes Perfect, Except For the Foreseeable Future

Teachers are now placing a maximum of three spelling corrections in an over-sweetened panic of damaging a pupils self confidence. This decision is merely an act of false kindness and the definition of teacher has been marred by this surrogate of sensitivity. I am all for ensuring a pupil feels confident in their school environment, but teachers cannot afford to worry whether too many red dashes and interruptions on a students work will send them over the edge. A child’s mental well-being is frankly not the schools responsibility, at least not a sole responsibility, but to educate him or her so they leave with the fundamental skills needed in the job market.

So why is our society encouraging an inarticulate new breed of peoples? It begs me to question how soft we really have become, where is our ruthlessness? MP’s in the House of Commons have groaned and grumbled over this problem but are lenient in correcting it because it is ultimately a matter for schools to regulate. Although built with the same principles, it is a schools individual decision as to how they function and it is this flexibility that is worrying. It is likely that most will see it as integral to their success to ensure their pupils are hitting the mark, blissfully unaware that they are customising themselves to a language full of errors. The students have been well and truly stitched up and no doubt we shall hear the thunderous response from parents in due course. Fine, there will be a new test at Key Stage 2 which includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary and enhanced importance given at GCSE. The regurgitation at key stage 2 is understandable but if the problem leaks into GCSE level, the education system has failed. Spelling is not the most important component of learning but it is utterly basic and yet we are apparently willing to ration on what is essential.

It is perhaps time for teachers to put on the persona of a bit of an anarchist in this situation and speak up about this simply policy that should be simply dropped. From experience, my shabby primary school didn’t provide particularly good building blocks and my finger inevitably points back to my teachers who had themselves decided it was best to keep me in the dark. With the tool that is hindsight, to hell with a child’s emotions, go home and cry to mummy about it. Parents, act as the emotional vessels for your children and teachers, teach. It is an over-zealous effort in guarding our children and makes our education system look like it was erected from play-dough. Soon enough children will be rolling into school as they are wrapped in cotton wool from head to toe, colliding across the playground as they fail to pronounce their words, and all the while teachers are rolling them across into aimless directions. The image is obviously superfluous and boarder line ridiculous, but am I the one who is truly being ridiculous? Tightening the system a couple of notches, or more plainly removing this futile new spell check, or lack of it, is what needs to be done. I think it is unfair on children; they have no dictation as to how they are taught and the cap on three measly mistakes is frightening in comparison to how far a child’s imagination can stretch and how would the process of selecting three come to evolve? It is not cruel to correct a child, nor should a teacher have the liberty to hold information that would otherwise heighten learning.

Call me old fashioned, but it all seems pretty backwards to me. Just imagine the next generation having to fill out forms, as we all do, and feeling inadequate against a sheet of paper that in its blank and white form is essentially a questionnaire. It doesn’t seem fair does it? Our linguistic future feels muddled and with slang being the mother tongue of most teens, I dread to imagine what will arise out of an enormous student body that missed out on the first few crucial laps. I just think it is all a bit false, I smell the b******t and hope it collapses on its twiggy legs.


By Emma Jacobs


For more posts and poetry by Emma, go to: www.wordpress.com/seewhatshemeans

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Boris Johnson Wins the Race for Mayor

It would not be untrue to say that the Coalition government has not been popular since taking office in 2010 yet Boris Johnson seems as popular as ever with Londoners as he was re-elected as Mayor of London and is even being tipped by some as to taking over the Conservative party from David Cameron. Emotions were running high on May the 3rd when Johnson narrowly rose to victory with 1,054,811 votes whilst Ken Livingstone was in second place with 992,273 votes.

This post is dedicated to what makes Johnson so great that in such desperate times where gloom and doom is all we see he was selected by London to get us through. The race for Mayor was a tedious if not long but entertaining along the way, no doubt. Supporters took to twitter in order to gather votes for their favoured candidate, #backboris2012 was seen as trending but twitter also caused outrage among Labour party as they demanded that Johnson give back the ‘@Mayor of London’ account which he transferred to his own name. Anyhow that seems redundant now since he’s back. So, what are his plans for his next four years in office?

Well firstly he wants to, in his own words, head ‘an honest and unflinching’ investigation as to why foreigners are getting jobs as opposed to Londoners. However, this is not the only agenda on a long list of problems that Johnson will have to face, amongst record numbers of youth and female unemployment, the recession, the housing crisis and the upcoming Olympics which he believes are a fantastic opportunity for leading us out of the recession.

One of the reasons why we did back Johnson in the race between him and Ken Livingstone of the Labour party is that the latter faced a huge backlash in that his own party contained quite a number of candidates who themselves said they would not be supporting Livingstone. Lord Sugar also spoke out against Livingstone, whilst his tax avoidance was brought to light. Johnson, on the other hand, has claimed to be ‘different’ from the rest of his party, and vows strongly to cut council tax. Whether he is able to secure his vision of London becoming a perfect metropolis, an example for the world to be envious of is something we will have to wait for.

It is clear that in the last five days Boris Johnson has shown a lot of promise and set out to change London for the better but will he? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I leave you with a quote from the man himself ‘Life isn’t like coursework, baby. It’s one damn essay crisis after another’


By Qudsia Hussain

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Russell Brand has hit the headlines this week after appearing in parliament before the Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss his experience and views on drug abuse. A former addict himself, the elegiac funny man and Hollywood star appeared, as always, fashionably bedraggled, as if someone had used a Louis Vuitton stencil to cut out the holes in his baggy black vest.

Despite this infuriatingly annoying ‘faux-shabbines’, as well as the use of some poorly chosen flamboyant language that would have no doubt only further dissuaded the stiff necked Committee he sat before from his argument, the self-described “recalcitrant” comedian, (to you and me that means “a bit of an arse”), came up with some excellent points, leaving me with a great deal of respect for the man.

Decriminalisation of all drug use was his main agenda. Stating from experience that the illegality of drugs was no more than “a…

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Interact Magazine Editorial Meeting Blog (by Nick Chowdrey)

Last week at the Interact Magazine Editorial meeting we discussed, in depth, the article proposals that had been fleshed out the previous week. As usual, time ran away from us, (and I actually had to leave a bit early so I didn’t miss my train home), but the couple of hours we had together were extremely productive.

For me, the journey up to Star House – the base of the magazine – is a pretty long one. Living in Maidstone, it takes almost two hours to get to Victoria, then to catch the tube up to Kentish Town, and finally to walk about 10 minutes to the office. This journey was not made any more enjoyable with the appalling weather we’ve been having recently. Even so, despite the gloom and dreariness in the air, the meeting was – as usual – a veritable vortex of intellectual discussion, that all but swept away any thoughts of the tempestuous climate outside.

It was great to see how well the team had been communicating outside of the meetings. With such a vast array of article topics, it was obvious from the beginning that the key to success would be successful collaboration; both between writers, as well as between the graphic designers and photographers. From discussions on topics as varied as vegan recipes, beautification in different cultures, renewable energy and religion-based comics; it was great to see everyone talking passionately about their chosen subjects.

For me, the most interesting parts of our weekly meetings are when someone offers a different perspective on a topic that you previously thought you knew all about. For example, before this week I thought that the ritual of applying henna to the bride before her wedding was an exclusively Sikh tradition. In fact, I was duly informed that this process is practised throughout Asia.

I suppose it’s no surprise that this kind of phenomenon happens so frequently in an open forum discussion between people of such diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, religions and heritage. This, after all, is the purpose of interfaith and multiculturalism – not to disassociate ourselves from those who are different to us, but to utilise those disparities for progress. To learn from each other.

I left the meeting with my mind racing from all the discussion. I usually have to escape boredom on the long train journey home with some form of media – this could be music, books, or playing on my phone – but, on that day, my thoughts alone were entertainment enough.

With seven more weeks to go, I’m really looking forward to getting properly stuck in to our individual articles. Besides all the serious stuff, we’ve also got a lot of really fun ideas lined up, and I personally can’t wait to use these upcoming opportunities to get to know the group even better.


For more blog posts by Nick Chowdrey, refer to:



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InterAct Environmental Film Project: come along to our special screenings

Interact has organised an interaction day as part of the Mayor of London’s volunteer scheme, Team London, at Kentish Town City Farm

Volunteers aged 16-25 of all faiths can come and interact with each other and help out on Sunday March 25th from 10am-3pm. Get involved and make a real difference at this city farm.

Interact is a non-profit organisation based in Kentish Town that organises for young people of all faiths to engage in their wider community through projects that encourage shared and responsible citizenship.

E-mail Amber to apply for a registration form. Or get in touch to find out more about other days we have coming up. Lunch provided and travel expenses.

Email: amber.interactuk@gmail.com
Website: http://interact.btck.co.uk/



Interact invites you to an Interact Get Together & Special screening on 
Tuesday March 27th at 15:00 at Camley Street Natural Park. 

The afternoon will start with a screening of our new Eco-Act film. In this film we are trying to raise awareness about fighting climate change from different faith perspectives and encouraging action. Afterwards there will be a short Q&A with some of the film makers

The people of Camley St Park have kindly allowed us the use their pizza ovens, so to round off the afternoon there will be time to celebrate with pizza and other snacks. 

Alternitavely, why not go to our screening at:

On Tuesday April 3rd at 15:00 at Islington Ecology Centre

RSVP to amber.interactuk@gmail.com if you want to come along for one of these screenings!