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8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I May 2009
UK rules out ‘super-database’
of surveillance
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith ruled concerns were raised
out a state-run ‘super-database’ to by the proposal to
track all emails, internet use, text store all the personal
messages and social networking but communications
said the government wanted phone data in a state-run
and internet providers to track users. single database than
“There are absolutely no plans for individual private
a single central store. We recognize companies retaining
that there is a delicate balance the information for
between privacy and security, but access by the police
secretary estimated that the cost of
to do nothing is not an option as we and security services as and when
the private sector solution would be
would be failing in our duty to protect they needed it.
around £2bn over 10 years, far less
the public,” Smith said. “Advances in communications
that speculation that it could be as
Reports have been that the mean that there are ever more
high as £12bn.
government was planning to create sophisticated ways to communicate
Britain’s police and security services
a single ‘super-database’ to hold vast and we need to ensure that we keep
have become increasingly reliant on
amounts of personal information, but up with the technology being used by
being able to access communications
critics had warned that it would be an those who would seek to do us harm,”
data while conducting counter-terror
unwarranted intrusion of privacy as she argued.
and crime investigations, but will have
well as technically fraught and hugely Unveiling a delayed a consultation
to ask companies for information on
expensive. paper that had been expected to be
a case-by-case basis under the new
Smith admitted that more privacy published months ago, the home
First prayers for deaf
Muslims held in London
worshippers attending the Friday
prayers if they are unable to
understand what’s being said. We will
be meeting them as they enter the
mosque, showing them where to sit
and pointing out the facilities,” Islam
The 21-year-old volunteer said
that a tester had been held recently in
which 20 to 30 deaf people attended.
“Once people are aware that we
are offering this service we can boost
that number to around 50,” he said.
Mohammed Shakir, the mosque’s
media and communications officer,
said they were working with Alishara,
East London Mosque last month
The staff trained in basic sign
a local organisation supporting deaf
became the first in the UK to offer sign
language act as ‘meet and greeters’
Muslims, to provide the service and
language for deaf Muslims attending
for the deaf and hearing impaired
arrange the best way to deliver the
Jummah prayers each week.
Muslims as they enter the mosque.
sign language.
A total of nine staff at the mosque
Part-time events assistant at the
Alisharah has been working with
in Whitechapel have been trained in
mosque, Rofikul Islam is among those
deaf Muslims for a while, offering
British signing and will work alongside
trained in signing and said he hoped
Qur’anic and religious classes for
professionals translating the prayer
the support would lead to more deaf
deaf children for the past 18 months.
sermon among the 5,000 worshippers
Muslims attending prayers.
who attend prayer sessions.
“It must be frustrating for deaf
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