The Daily Nightly from NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

About this blog

The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

When the story finds you

We didn't know what to expect as we drove into Luton, about 30 miles north of London. We knew the industrial town was ethnically mixed, with about 45,000 South Asian Muslims, some 30% of the population. We also knew it was where one of the July 7, 2005 suicide bombers had lived. The four bombers began their fateful day at the Luton train station, before heading into London, killing 56. Now we were looking for Muslims, and non-Muslims, to tell us, frankly, what life was like SINCE the attack, and almost two years to the day after the Madrid train bombings. Our story was meant to kick off a special series on the "Faces of Islam in Europe," but things were not going well.

First, it was pouring rain. Luton's streets were deserted. The townfolk who did venture out were hidden beneath umbrellas and parkas -- terrible for TV coverage. The rain shorted out our camera, which would roll and stop on its own. When we found the Town Hall and Luton's mayor -- a 31 year old Muslim of Bangladeshi origin -- he summarily 'white-washed' any tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in his town. After blaming the media for most of the ills, he sent us to another city counselor, in the Muslim enclave called Bury Park. He likewise could think of no one to talk to who could address the problems of increased discrimination against Muslims, aggressive immigration laws, police searches, security checks for Muslim job applicants, and the myriad other issues that Muslims, elsewhere, had documented in detail.

After hours of running in circles, our deadline approaching, I was close to 'putting a bullet' in our shoot and starting from scratch in another British town. We were now stuck in traffic, in the rain, behind a massive Luton city bus. In sheer frustration, I jumped from our vehicle and began to guide the bus driver, a British female who looked overwhelmed by her predicament, through the narrow but negotiable jam. A crowd (of South Asians) began to gather in the street. Perhaps to see the spectacle of a white Westerner guiding a city bus in this Pakistani Muslim ghetto? As is so often the case, it was THEN that the story we were looking for bit us in our collective behinds. A man walked out of a Halal meat shop and introduced himself to my cameraman, Steve O'Neil, who had decided to grab a few frames of 'local color' as I directed traffic. The man, Abdul Rahim Malik, turned out to be the veritable Sheikh of Luton. Not a mealy-mouthed politician, this entrepreneur owned several businesses, banks, and had opened Luton's first mosque. He offered an interview, without solicitation, to Steve. Did we want to know about the British police raids and arrests in Luton, since the bombings, that had turned up no terrorist material and had so far led to no charges? Steve replied, 'you may want to ask my correspondent who, unfortunately, is directing traffic at the moment.''

Mr. Malik was a gem. He explained, on camera, how the raids had created nothing but anger and suspicion among local Muslim residents. And this from a man who, it turned out, was a board member on Luton's Police Authority. He apologized for not being able to put us in touch with one of the families whose homes had been raided (at 4 in the morning). The police, he said, had told the families not to speak with the press. But he did recommend a middle aged widow named Naseen Imdiaz who ran a Learning Center for other Muslim women in Luton. We met Nasreen, and never looked back. She described how frightening it was for Muslims to walk the streets. Since the bombings, the whites taunted them, calling them terrorists. Her brother, Bishar, told us (also on camera) that the local politicians would only lie to us. That, in fact, relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, despite the efforts of those like Nasreen, had only deteriorated. The story was coming together nicely.

Over the years, I've never ceased to be amazed at how, no matter how lost this reporter feels, a Mr. Malik appears to guide me through it all. If ONLY our Sheikh of Luton could have stopped the rain!

Editor's note: You can read & watch Jim's story as it aired on Friday's broadcast here. 

Read more from Jim Maceda

MAIN PAGE NEXT POST Secrets of the war in Iraq

Email this EMAIL THIS

COMMENTS

Good reporting. Human Race will never learn. Throughout Human history we have fought for race, religion, economics and various other differences; and we will not change. Remember "EYE FOR AN EYE WILL MAKE US ALL BLIND"

Just how much more can human race be hipocritical? We claim to be over filled with Gods love yet we are so selfish to just share that over flowing love amongst ourselves. Im inlove with a sweet beautiful Moslim guy who is coloured of race but the sad part is we cant be seen together in public because he could be kicked out of school because im a Black girl. Now tell me is there any truth or justice in this world? I think its enough now people must not be restricted by relegion when it comes to matters of the heart! After all God gave us free will.

When I told my family and friends that I was moving to Cairo to attend university, they thought I was crazy. Being an American in an Islamic fishbowl, I can see where their fear comes from. They are afraid that I will be thought of and treated in the same way that a lot of Westerners think of and treat Muslims. When I walk through my neighborhood of Maadi, I can empathize with the Muslims in Luton for I am in outsider here. Even in this suburb popular with expats where I live, I stick out and am viewed with a certain degree of suspicion because I'm different. But when I extend myself to them, they always meet me half way. So we should all stop looking for the differences between Islam and Christianity, between us and them, and start looking for the similarities between the two because Christian fundamentalist scare me just as much as Muslim fundamentalists do. Although this is not a black & white world--as some would have us believe--we seem to have, nevertheles, forgotten, the beauty of grey.

Make no mistake, muslims believe themselves superior in both religion and favor with God. Muslims are taught this from day one. All others are "infidels" to be cast out and dammed. They will not be tolerant of others nor suffer equality. They still have values born in the dark ages and continue to live a more tribal existence, that knows only might, strength and domination. If you think otherwise, look at their works, the fruit they bear. You line up Hindu/Muslim countries and Judeo/Christian countries. One has no tolerance of others, suppresses all but some koranic appearance of superiority, with few freedoms and no love for any but their own. The other enjoys prosperity, freedoms, tolerance of others and tries, despite themselves and great odds, to help the world over. When's the last time you say a muslim reaching out to anyone but their own. Jews and Christians, praise God, have been blessed and continue to be, despite our own short-comings, to reach out to the world and their own. Please do not allow others to enjoy this countries freedoms and system of laws and due process, when they wish only to subvert that good thing to further their own agenda. Please stop all who wish to do us harm at the borders of this great country. Pray for them that do us harm but do not be a fool and allow them to move in next door. They wish us harm and have said as much, preached as much, and their works prove them as such...A people searching for truth but having only a lie, they live it. A flawed religion that came from a mere man who used his writings to unify a diverse and warring people. He turned from the truth, yes, he knew Christ and used some truth to shape a system of beliefs that he hoped would bring together tribes of all stripes but alas, they still fight because they have not the truth of love that comes from the true God, who would not have us ignorant, but in full knowledge of the truth that love not hate will bring us to faith in the one true God and in the love of others. What god would have you kill those who wish you no harm. Not the God I worship. I wish no one harm and will try to show the love of God as i"m given strength, but I'm not turning my back on one who says he wishes me dead. No. I'll hope that the good lord will give them the ability to know the truth of love one to another.

Kate, it's not a question of assimilation. Muslims need to be integrated into western societies - accepted and recognized like equals.

Jim, I think what escapes most westerners is the fact that Islam is not like Judeo/Christianity as a "religion". It is not simply a moral fundamentally a-political dogma as are the teachings of Jesus. Rather the Koran is a politically and territorially egocentric dogma with a moral ethic something akin to the Hatfields and McCoys. Tolerance and peace for Muslims is simply the submission of all other thought. Western journalists, being atheist to a large degree, see all religions as "cute" but for those that follow these religions the dogmas are "reality". Tolerance assumes a two way street. The Koran preaches "tolerance" toward Chritians and Jews AS LONG AS we all agree that Mohamed is God's only Prophet. Before you agree to be tolerant toward Muslims you had better clarify what THEY meand by it.

Most people do not Islam unless you have lived in an area that is equal or exceeds the social numbers in Islamic people. Islam has about 129 verses in the Quran that gives commands to kill the Christian, Jew and Infidels. Only about 9 can be considered as defensive. Why do you think that Saudi Arabia has no churches nor will they allow churches to be built. They will finance Mosques in any area of the world. Muslims who are not in power are very nice. Once they are in power democratic principles are out. Sharia Law is the goal of all good Muslims. As an American I do not hate Islam but here we can communicate with the message of Christ and the message of Islam. When given a choice the message of LOVE wins every time.

I am a "White" British who lost a close member of my family in the London attacks and I APPRECIATE the support given to me by my Jewish and Muslim friends. However, I read some of the comments added here with shock and disgust, I can not understand why there are so many comments pointing fingers at the Muslim community who OPENLY CONDEMN the 9/11 Spain and UK attacks. People need to open their eyes, the people who died in the attacks were from all racial groups and religions, INCLUDING MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS AND JEWS. NOBODY deserves to be treated differently. Should CHRISTIANS be treated ill for the attrocities they did to the JEWS in our history? NO. This is NOT a witch hunt so stop labelling innocent people as terrorists and let them live their lives as we are. THEY have lost loved ones in the attacks just as WE have, so show some compassion.

Being a Jew, I can certainly relate to the problem of getting people to differentiate between being a Moslim and being a terriorist. Between the religion and the activities of the practioners. The same as the difference between being a Jew and being an Isreali. Between subscribing to the same religious beliefs and yet not agreeing with the political agenda.

In the 70's, in college, I had Iranian friends who demonstrated against the Shah with paper bags over their heads. Of course, being in the middle of the American Midwest, I couldn't imagine how they hoped that their message would get anywhere near Washington, much less Tehran.

I was also friendly with the Arab Student League, and found several Palestinians who couldn't differentiate between by being a Jew and an Isreali. None of them were violent, and almost all were Moslim. So it went both ways; I explained to them the difference between being Jewish and being Isreali, and they explained the difference between being a Moslim and a terriorist. Not that they had to.

In both cases, same religion, very different behavioural extrapolitations.

We await the bold journalist who authors a frank and unfiltered report on the state of religious, cultural and ethnic tolerance of the followers of the prophet Mohammed, in Europe, the USA and the Asia.

Journalism that focuses on the state of tolerance of the Kafir are trodding a well worn path that serves little purpose other than to lead readers from the crux of the issue of our times.

When will American and British Christian caucasians learn that being muslim is not being arab and vice versa?
when will they learn to know the difference between a religion and a culture?
when will they learn that a great percentage of arabs are not muslims and a great number of muslims are not arab.
Until then politicians will use that confusion to pitch people against others by using religion in the wrong sense.
People of the world: LEARN BEFORE YOU JUDGE THEN YOU WILL AVOID MAKING MISTAKES THAT HURT EVERYONE

Jim listen to me, the audience, you are one of the very few who have been given an oportunity of unimagineable ramifications. Keep your eyes and ears open and forget the deadlines. I am your boss I am the dedicated american viewer desperate for the truth.Turn out QUALITY pieces forget quanity, editors and take note. Give them what they need and let them do there thing and watch those ratings soar.

very interesting story somewhat like the US. People treated different and looked at as mad because their a different religion or race. We're still working on that here in the US maybe if can solve it they can tell us. Just reasonly Rep. Welker made a racist remark, Bush watched poor black suffer/die, racist tones against Mr. Ford by the GOP and our elected official still want hanging legal. This story in Luton is like looking in the mirror. I'll keep watching hopefully they do better then America has.

What a terribly interesting report.

It never ceases to amaze me how after atrocities like 9/11 and the bombings in both London and Madrid, Muslims seem to think that westerners should treat them as if nothing has happened. Perhaps they believe because most of us are Christians we must turn the other cheek. I for one accept all people at face value on a one to one basis and will continue to do so. But I find it comical if not disingenuous for people of any type to expect to be treated as if nothing has happened when in fact they've perpetrated truly heinous acts. If they want to be accepted as before they should be speaking out in one loud and unmistakable voice against the attrocities that have been committed. Until that happens why should anyone trust them or care about their problems?

I lived in London a long time. I don't blame the "white" as you so pointedly called the natives (yes, natives)for being abusive. Watching and living in Britain while pockets were turning into third world countries all throughout the 70s, it was obvious that the people coming to settle there--were not going to assimilate.
Your naive attitude was shared then by many British citizens who were very critical of America's race problems--as they were also critical of Australia. I saw a lovely part of London become a ghetto--trashed and dangerous when the West Indians moved in en masse--then the Pakistanis--and so on.

England is a tiny, overcrowded island--the melting pot has always boiled there--from the time of the Romans. Muslims may eventually assimilate, but frankly, in the home of the Crucades, I seriously doubt it--and they have made themselves unpopular with their constant wish to remain apart from the mainstream. Your sympathetic coverage really should look at how the British have accommodated these immigrants. Do you blame them for being frightened and angry? Why? Why would you blame the "whites" as you call them? The West Indians seemed to have assimilated--the Muslims never will--and you can bet on that.
Kate

Comments for this entry have been closed

TRACKBACKS

Trackbacks are links to weblogs that reference this post. Like comments, trackbacks do not appear until approved by us. The trackback URL for this post is: http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b0aa69e200d834b32ad069e2