Monthly Archives: November 2009
Our taste buds dragged us on a rainy Sunday evening for a South Indian. We headed towards Chennai Dosa, a south Indian eatery we were recommended. The menu on the website looked pretty good and I am sure it must be, however our nearest non-vegetarian branch looked more like a Perfect Fried Chicken outlet than a family restaurant. Disappointed, we decided to check out a relatively new restaurant on the infamous Green Street in Upton Park – Touch of Green. Finding parking space wasn’t difficult owing to the horrendous weather, and finding the restaurant wasn’t an issue either. It was beautifully designed inside out, with remarkable interior lighting, clean minimalist lines, art deco furniture and an outside patio area. We were greeted at the door by the manager and offered a table for two of our choice. First impressions last, they say, and how true.
The reason I am blogging about this is because I can’t remember the last time I experienced such polite waiters,
brilliant service, calmness and most important of all special attention to presentation in an Indian/Pakistani/Bengali restaurant. The presentation of the food was sublime and impeccable, it was neat and very carefully arranged – a delight to the senses, both visual and taste. It definitely wouldn’t look out of place in any starred Michelin restaurant.
Perhaps us being the only guests and having the restaurant to ourselves contributed towards creating the desired atmosphere. However desolate the place was, it was perfect. No nosy auntie jee’s with roving eyes, nudging one another wondering if we were married, or on a date and no other disruptions such as rowdy neighbouring diners, or kids who thought they were in creche. It wasn’t an ordinary day, the heavy rain last Sunday did force many to stay in. Green street was unusually quiet and we were given the same explanation of torrential rain being the reason for the lack of diners and shoppers by the Manager when we asked if they are open.
Anyway, for those who haven’t tried it, you will like the hospitality and decor. But I wouldn’t make a trek solely for this. Ideally if you are visiting the area or shopping on Green Street you might want to try it out. It looks much better than most of what we see on Green Street but not in the same league as Tayyab, Khans, Imrans, or Spice Village when it comes to taste.
Oh and Touch of Green is closed on Mondays.
Touch of Green
156c Green Street
London, United Kingdom, E7 8JQ
020 8552 3517
Tales of jinn posession are never far from where Muslims are concerned. We all know of at least a few people who have either had an encounter with a jinn themselves, or know of someone (a friend of a friends aunty) who has been overcome by a jinn. More people are readily more comfortable to propose jinn posession as opposed to having mental health problems, with many being masked as a result. We may never know the “true” number of cases where mental illness if the cause of their ill health -not pseudo jinn/spirit possession. This alternates readily between jinn possession and black magic – both of which frankly largely mirror one another anyway.
Often when the term “mental illness” is used a picture of a ravaged person, withwild eyes, laughing manicly with the tendency to become violent is conjured up. Much of this owes to stereotyping of the media of what a mentally ill individual looks like – give them an axe and let them wield it about a bit: the image is complete! Pandering to these images does nothing but further distort and villify those who have mental health problems which range from depression, anxiety to the other end of the spectrum of schizophrenia and psychosis.
A factor of interest with regards to this issue is that mental health problems may be seen as something which the individual is being “punished” with or that he/she is deserving of it in recompense for some ill doing. Jinn possession doesn’t carry this baggage – it is often seen as being outwith the control of the individual who falls circumspect to it. There is a plethora of research which points to “it being a test”, “I’m being punished for sinning” type attributions to their mental health problems which in turn leads to short bursts of religuous fervour. This can result in “burn out” due to the desperate state in which some individual being to absorb themselves into prayers and other faith based solutions in the hope of “becoming better” quicker.
Some faith healers are understood to provide a service though one wonders how shoddy some of these services truly are (one only needs to flip through any ethnic newspaper and faith healer advert’s hit you square in the face with their claims of resolving anything from sexual impotency to acquiring unrequited love).
On the other hand, some psychiatrists aren’t immune from making blunders due to their lack of “people skills”, unwilling to have a dialogue with the patient instead choosing to talk “at” them rather than discussing their care plan and the inherent imbalance of power which exists in the doctor/patient dyad.
Many studies over the years point to this phenomenon of ethnic groups to disregard mental illness as a factor of their poor health. They will resort to traditional healers to alleviate their ailments. That is not to say that religion is obsolete when it comes to recovery or dealing with mental illness – but there draws a fine line between dual treatment options (traditional healing such as recitation of Quran and other religious methods and the use of medication) and denial of the existence of mental ill health altogether.
This is partly due to disillusion with the Eurocentric model of psychiatry where little scope or acceptance of anything which falls beyond the comfortable niches of the Western notions of x symptoms = y diagnosis exists. Most of this directly related to the proponents of models – predominantely white middle class men from the West.This is readily being acknowledged and accepted as a contributory factor in the stoical stance some psychiatrists take towards other “models” of mental ill health – including those from an Eastern outlook.
Due to the expanding field of cross cultural psychiatry, slowly things are shifting. Recently a conference on the topic of Spirit Posession and Mental Health was held in London and much was discussed about various cultures and their understanding of mental health, their attributions to it and their approaches to treatment which ranged from indulging in religion/faith seeking behaviours (such as prayers) to seeking out a combination of medical treatment and faith based healing. There is a ready admittance of the Eurocentricity of psychiatry, and a more willing approach to engaging in dialogue with faith healers, religious leaders and even the patient him/herself as to their viewpoint on the mental health problem. However, this approach boils down largely to the individual psychiatrist and team members rather than an overall approach by the MH sector.
What is the incidence of mental health problems (from depression right through to enduring MI such as schizophrenia) amongst Muslims in the UK? We’ll probably never know for sure, and hazarding a guess as to the numbers in the Muslim world is even more of a mystery – although it is often proposed that mental illness (the incidences) is largely an issue faced by people overwhelmingly in the West compared to the East (possibly due to myriad of reasons: detection of MI in the East compared to the West, the support network available to individuals in the East compared to the West etc)
We would do well to move away from the belief of jinn possession as a factor in someone’s poor health as the likelihood of their behaviour being as it is, their physical deterioration, withdrawal is more down to mental health issues rather than a jinn occupation and/or black magic. Rational thinking is needed here, not mere hysteria.
Here is a typical example of your elderly immigrant from the sub-continent unable to let go of ‘back home’ politics.
BNP signs its first non-white member…
… but he’s only joined because he hates Muslims
An elderly Sikh who describes Islam as a “beast” and once provided a character reference for Nick Griffin during his racial hatred trial is set to become the British National Party’s first non-white member.
Rajinder Singh, an anti-Islam activist in his late seventies who blames Muslims for the death of his father during the Partition of India in 1947, has been sympathetic towards Britain’s far-right party for much of the past decade even though he currently remains barred from becoming a member because of the colour of his skin.
But last weekend the BNP’s leadership took their first steps towards dropping its membership ban on non-whites after the Human Rights Commission threatened the party with legal action. The move will be put to a vote of members soon.
Mr Singh, welcome to Britain, where most Muslims have nothing whatsoever to do with your father’s death over 50 years ago. Those who may have, their great grandparents, are just as victims of the bloodbath which took place in the Indian sub-continent 50 years ago as you are. My Sikh colleague dislikes BNP just as much as I do and believes you joining BNP is disgraceful and disservice to the Sikh as well as the wider community. Shame on you.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi invited hundreds of attractive Italian “hostesses” to a villa in Rome last night for an evening at which he urged them to convert to Islam and told them Christianity was based on a fraud, Italian reports said today.
The Libyan leader is in Italy to attend a United Nations summit on world food security. Reports said that Colonel Gaddafi’s aides phoned an agency which provides elegantly dressed young women to act as hospitality staff at events.
The agency was asked to send 500 women to the residence of Hafed Gaddur, the Libyan ambassador in Rome, where Colonel Gaddafi is staying, over a series of evenings during the three day summit.
The agency advertised for “500 pleasing girls between 18 and 35 years of age, at least one metre 70 high.” The women were asked to dress elegantly but soberly, with both miniskirts and cleavage-revealing decolletage firmly banned.
Those who replied were offered €60 (£53) to attend an evening at the villa for an “exchange of opinions” and to “receive a Libyan gift”, which turned out to be a copy of the Koran. They were given nothing to eat or drink, however.
Not the first time Gaddafi has done something so outrageously bizarre. He is well known for his antics, storming out of Arab league conferences, lashing out at Arab leaders, his 40 ‘all-female’ virgin guards, his lame attempt at literature known as the ‘Green book’, setting up a tent in Paris hotel and the list carries on. Earlier this year he was in Italy, Libya’s old colonialist master, again with his massive tent and picture of Libyan Hero Sidi Omar al-Mukhtar stuck on his chest, and now this.
Hardly the best person to lecture anybody on Islam, with 40 year history of human right violations, tyranny and brutal dictatorship. What we see here is not just an ageing Gaddafi but a shameless Muslim leader.
“Convert to Islam. Jesus was sent to the Jews, not for you. Mohammed, on the other hand, was sent for all human beings,” he reportedly said. “Whoever goes in a different direction than Mohammed is wrong. God’s religion is Islam, and whoever follows a different one, in the end, will lose,” Colonel Gaddafi added, according to La Stampa. Source
Is he really head of an oil rich country?