The chief executive of the Coexistence Trust helps organise a week of action in support of a Robin Hood Tax, is left in hysterics by prime minister's questions, and continues a quest to get hold of some Olympic ticketsMonday
Eased into the office with 17-inch screen brick of a mega-laptop in tow. Note to self: get moving with buying slimline laptop that does not break left shoulder or highlight ineptitude in embracing technological advances. On way in, mentally note the trillion things that need to be completed by end of the day, including a last-ditch attempt at getting my hands on some London 2012 Paralympic tickets and progress on finding new offices.
Mission impossible, so another round of negotiating with team and others re: demands on time and putting realism back into deadlines. The trials and tribulations of running www.coexistencetrust.org
, alongside steaming ahead with other projects. One of which is the Robin Hood Tax Global Week of Action: ongoing liaison with Oxfam chums to mobilise European Civil Society to attend a European Trade Union Confederation rally in Brussels on Wednesday to coincide with the European Union heads of state summit, where the financial transaction tax is on the agenda, alongside 'seems to be going nowhere' debates on Greece, the euro, growth versus austerity.
The end of the day sees another fundraising proposal done and dusted, and an executive decision to opt out of watching Stan Kubrick's sci-fi classic 2001: Space Odyssey
with friends in the evening. Do not fancy being tipped into an existential crisis. Oh, and forgot my mad-dash attempt at getting hold of some London 2012 Paralympic tickets. Hope there are tickets left tomorrow.
En route to the office via Stratford station, gateway to the Olympic stadium, the new heart of the London borough of Newham. I find out via a Facebook posting by a friend who is the general secretary of the British Labour Party that the shadow cabinet meeting is taking place that morning at the Olympic Park. Am tempted to skip work to be a fly on wall at said meeting in order to test the Metropolitan police's controversial Olympics total policing approach.
Talking of the Labour Party shadow cabinet, I finally sign off a cool animation
based on a speech that the cool Sadiq Khan MP, shadow Lord Chancellor and shadow Secretary of State for Justice, gave at our Campus Ambassadors event in April marking year two of our student leadership programme. My team at the Coexistence Trust start pushing it out via our social media channels. I push out via my own, though my paltry number of Twitter followers leaves me red-faced embarrassed. Ineptitude at embracing social media advances? Nope ... just don't have time or have too much to say to be condensed into 140 characters.
London 2012 Paralympic tickets – result. Managed to get some, including for the opening ceremony. Refrain from doing a back-flip to mark my jubilation. Now the real challenge: getting hold of a few of the remaining London 2012 Olympic tickets which are out tomorrow.
Ongoing search for a new office to house my Coexistence Trust team seems to have hit a positive note, assuaging fears that we will be homeless come the end of June. Chat with estate agent Josh, soothes my anxieties as he seems optimistic that we will find the holy grail of lush, high-end offices at bargain bucket prices.
Will the increase in faith schools lead to religious segregation? An internal team discussion, following a news item the team have picked up and pushed out via our social media networks. Illustrates the ongoing challenges facing United Kingdom public policy when reconciling pluralism with faith identity and expression. Conversely, another news story illustrates the ineptitude of schools dealing with anti-Muslim prejudice and racism. The impact on a 14-year-old girl has been devastating. Highlights a worrying trend in racist bullying towards Muslims students, and the potent consequences of far-right groups, such as the English Defence League, pushing a rabid Islamophobic narrative.
Catch a flavour of this week's prime minister's questions via Twitter, which leaves me in hysterics. David Cameron calls the shadow chancellor a "muttering idiot", saying Labour has left the UK with a huge financial crisis. The Speaker reprimands Cameron saying the word idiot is unparliamentary. Cameron agrees and replaces it with "the man who left us this enormous deficit".
London 2012 Olympic tickets – arrrrggghhh. The website is maddening. All I get is 'No Tickets Found', even when selecting just one ticket. I give up as it is so frustrating.
Another interesting discussion with the team, this time following our posting of a Huffington Post
article, 'Ramadan Fast During London Olympics: A Dilemma For Muslim Athletes'. My Olympic dilemma involves sustaining a functioning office, as it is located on a key route to the stadium, and how my team will manage navigating/somersaulting/cycling/running/swimming around the anticipated Olympic visitor human traffic.
Am also waiting in anticipation of reading how I've been quoted in this week's New Statesman
special edition, 'Who speaks for British Jews'. Some strong words potentially quoted in Rachel Shabi's and Mehdi Hasan's piece on Muslim-Jewish understanding. Hitting the newsstands today.
article quotes not bad. I get a strong message out for more inspired leadership to embed game-changing Muslim and Jewish understanding.
The team drawn my attention to comments by Lord Janner of Braunstone during a House of Lords debate about the contributions made by ethnic and religious minorities to the cultural life and economy of the UK. He talks of his pride at founding the Coexistence Trust with Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan. Right on.
Today also marks the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jews. Shavuot customs include chanting the Ten Commandments, and reading Megilat Rut, the biblical book which tells the story of a Jewish woman named Naomi and her non-Jewish daughter-in-law Ruth. According to Shavuot tradition, dairy foods such as cheese, cheesecake and milk are encouraged to be consumed. Bring on lots of cheesecake.
On-going search for a new office to house my Coexistence Trust team part two: positive note becomes a negative note. Estate agent Josh's optimism has waned: vision of a lush, high-end office at a bargain bucket price not looking at all promising.
is what I've been involved in these past couple of months with my Oxfam chums: One great idea. One Global Week of Action. One awesome mobilisation of activists from 35 + countries. One green hat worn by thousands of people. One inspiration for tens of thousands of conversations. One Robin Hood Tax. Am chuffed at what I have helped achieve.
Reflect back on the week – and pleased at the dent I have made on my workload, though still a trillion things to get through in the coming weeks. Will ensure some respite though – including the Olympics 2012 countdown conversation with John Carlos on Tuesday next week. His iconic leather-gloved fist gesture at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was a profoundly important moment against racism and a powerful message in support of human rights. Rokhsana Fiaz OBE is executive director of the Coexistence Trust, a charity that addresses Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom