New webzine promotes younger British Asian voices - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
September 10, 2005

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New webzine promotes younger British Asian voices

-10/09/05

The driving force behind the highly-rated online industry magazine Asians in Media (AIM) has launched a new webzine to provide a platform for progressive British Asian voices, a constituency he believes are "increasingly sidelined" in public conversation about politics, culture and religion.

Pickled Politics is being edited and run by AIM founder Sunny Hundal, and is supported by a group of similar-minded writers from the fields of journalism, education, law and the arts.

Hundal explains: "Traditionally, others have been reluctant to push the boundaries of debate and too willing to appease [conservative] religious groups. We hope to bring new voices to this mix through this webzine."

He goes on: "Pickled Politics is here to provide a new range of progressive voices that previously, we feel, were not being represented. It is important that within our own community we have a vigorous debate on social change, and this magazine is part of that."

In a recent piece on Ziauddin Sardar's primetime BBC2 documentary Battle for Islam, Hundal wrote: "Conservative Asians have a habit of believing that changing religious practice is a bad thing because it is deviating away from the religion. What they donít realise is that Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism have long traditions of theological debate that encourages re-interpretation of the religious scriptures. This needs to change."

Journalist Rahul Verma, who writes for the Metro commuter paper among other publications, is also backing Pickled Politics: He says: "The representation of South Asians within the media, arts and especially politics is frequently reductionist and narrow, not to mention tokenistic."

"To switch on the TV and radio to find my, and the Asian community's, views represented by a reactionary and defensive fifty-something so called 'community leader', with the mentality and values of the homeland he emigrated from in the 1960s, verges on insulting," continues Verma.

He adds: "Pickled Politics doesn't claim to speak on behalf of a complex and diverse Asian Community, but it will offer enlightening thoughts and opinions, and no doubt impassioned rants, that have not been aired publicly so far in Britain today."

Pickled Politics will be run in the form of a group 'blog'. Weblogs have become tremendously popular on the internet, not just as personal diaries but increasingly as information sources around specific subjects, issues or political allegiances.

In the United States they have become increasingly influential. The government recently started inviting blog editors to press conferences. Stories first circulated on blogs have regularly made it to the American mainstream media.

In July 2005, the Guardian newspaper was forced to sack employee Dilpazier Aslam after the Independent on Sunday found out, through a British weblog, that he was a member of the extreme political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.

[Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrowís own weblog is FaithInSociety]

Find books now:

New webzine promotes younger British Asian voices

-10/09/05

The driving force behind the highly-rated online industry magazine Asians in Media (AIM) has launched a new webzine to provide a platform for progressive British Asian voices, a constituency he believes are "increasingly sidelined" in public conversation about politics, culture and religion.

Pickled Politics is being edited and run by AIM founder Sunny Hundal, and is supported by a group of similar-minded writers from the fields of journalism, education, law and the arts.

Hundal explains: "Traditionally, others have been reluctant to push the boundaries of debate and too willing to appease [conservative] religious groups. We hope to bring new voices to this mix through this webzine."

He goes on: "Pickled Politics is here to provide a new range of progressive voices that previously, we feel, were not being represented. It is important that within our own community we have a vigorous debate on social change, and this magazine is part of that."

In a recent piece on Ziauddin Sardar's primetime BBC2 documentary Battle for Islam, Hundal wrote: "Conservative Asians have a habit of believing that changing religious practice is a bad thing because it is deviating away from the religion. What they don't realise is that Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism have long traditions of theological debate that encourages re-interpretation of the religious scriptures. This needs to change."

Journalist Rahul Verma, who writes for the Metro commuter paper among other publications, is also backing Pickled Politics: He says: "The representation of South Asians within the media, arts and especially politics is frequently reductionist and narrow, not to mention tokenistic."

"To switch on the TV and radio to find my, and the Asian community's, views represented by a reactionary and defensive fifty-something so called 'community leader', with the mentality and values of the homeland he emigrated from in the 1960s, verges on insulting," continues Verma.

He adds: "Pickled Politics doesn't claim to speak on behalf of a complex and diverse Asian Community, but it will offer enlightening thoughts and opinions, and no doubt impassioned rants, that have not been aired publicly so far in Britain today."

Pickled Politics will be run in the form of a group 'blog'. Weblogs have become tremendously popular on the internet, not just as personal diaries but increasingly as information sources around specific subjects, issues or political allegiances.

In the United States they have become increasingly influential. The government recently started inviting blog editors to press conferences. Stories first circulated on blogs have regularly made it to the American mainstream media.

In July 2005, the Guardian newspaper was forced to sack employee Dilpazier Aslam after the Independent on Sunday found out, through a British weblog, that he was a member of the extreme political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.

[Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow's own weblog is FaithInSociety]

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