| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(July 28, 2014 Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) Bradford City Council raised the Palestinian flag and allowed commemoration by Bradford citizens in support of the dead and suffering Palestinians in Gaza. Muslims in Bradford belong to their third generation and they live peacefully with the Yorkshire folk. In fact their accent is more Yorkshire than Pakistani. It is a relatively clean city and even has a free bus round the metropolis and anyone can take a free ride. Also cost of living and rent and house prices are abysmally cheap compared to London.

Moving to Bradford on the spur of the moment after 13 years of stress and high rent in London, this writer feels she made a wise decision. The city is replete with mosques, churches, a large Sikh Temple, BBC museum, National Media Gallery, theatres, a modern public library which regularly have authors reading and discussing their books and ancient buildings dating back to centuries.

The entrance to my apartment is cobbled stones reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, Bronte Sisters and Lowry paintings which depict the good old England as I remember from the books and picture post cards during my school days. My apartment has walls built of Yorkshire stones and solid oak beams and the block was built in 1883.

It is a fallacy and myth perpetuated by the US and Israel that Muslims cannot co-exist with the West. The only notable thing about Bradford is I have yet to meet a Sri Lankan or an Indian Gujarati unlike in London where they are present in vast numbers although there are Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs.

There are also several soup kitchens which feed the homeless with hot meals, offer them a shower and a roof over their heads for a night or two. These are run by the council, churches and mosques in concurrence. Bradford is an excellent model for racial harmony in the UK with the Metropolitan Council itself supporting all its citizens irrespective of their race, religion or culture.

On the other hand there are paranoid Western elements who cry foul every time there is uprising of Muslim militancy without delving into their legitimate grievances.

The WTC (World Trade Center) was bombed in February 1993 after Bill Clinton was inaugurated as President of the US On January 18, 1993. As this writer was visiting New York on a journalism fellowship program there was a huge crater at the WTC basement supposedly by a bomb planted by Muslim militants (there was no mention of Al Qaeda then but Taliban, the burgeoning fundamentalist Islamic radical group)) and this was just a trial run.

It would take another eight years for Osama Bin Laden who was nurtured by the CIA not unlike it did with Saddam Hussein to wreak vengeance for war crimes the US committed in Afghanistan, Iraq, much across the Middle East, Africa, Palestine and Yugoslavia pitting one province against another so that these countries were torn apart and the lives of innocent civilians sacrificed for the West’s avarice and the need to stomp their feet on those nations they felt they could dictate to and plunder them of their oil and natural resources.

US and UK media shed copious tears over the deaths of US citizens in 9/11 twin towers bombing but their hearts did not melt at the plight of Palestinians who are being systematically decimated by Israel which is largely provided with arms and ammunition by the US and UK governments.

It was an eye-opener the West cannot continue its foreign policy of isolating Muslims as terrorists and sending billions of dollars for defence spending in Israel as it has done for decades. Israel claims the Hamas are penetrating Israel through underground tunnels and carrying out attacks and the US has provided Israel with a lavish and expensive rocket launcher deterrent dome running into millions of dollars.

The Laurel and Hardy policy of the US is running out of steam as its citizens are feeling the pinch economically while the congress spends billions of dollars interfering and intervening in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa where they have vested interests. Americans do not even have free medical care and the homelessness, unemployment, gun violence, drug addiction in inner cities are contrary to popular myth it is the world’s super power. America is in debt to the rest of the world and the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening at an alarming rate.

American bullying and Islamaphobia bashing would reverberate at its doorstep sooner than later if it carries on its anti-Muslim policies.

(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)