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In Iraq Stop the War Coalition Opposes US but what is its Strategy to Oppose Islamic State? (answers on back of a fag packet).

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PKK - women guerillas

Stop the War Coalition turns its Back on Brave Kurdish Fighters of the Socialist PKK.

Most people are full of doubts about the evolving situation in Syria and Iraq.

To illustrate its position the Stop the War Coalition posts an article from the ‘controversial’ American site Counterpunch.(1)

A certain Garry Leech says (24th of August)

WITHOUT QUESTION, the beheading of US journalist James Foley was an inexcusable and savage act of violence by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The killing of non-combatants should always be condemned. But there is a clear discrepancy in the response of both the Western media and the general public with regard to the killing of Western civilians compared to Islamic civilians.

The number of Western civilians killed by Islamic militants pales in comparison to the number of non-combatants that have died at the hands of the US and its military allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. And yet, the outrage at the killing of these innocent Muslims, many of who are women and children, is virtually non-existent in the West.

He then makes to interesting claim that,

Every form of colonialism throughout history has given birth to a violent resistance movement. And it should not be surprising that the current imperialist model in the form of capitalist globalization has also spurred a violent response. There were no extremist groups in Iraq before the US invasion. It was the US invasion and occupation that opened the door to al-Qaeda’s entry into Iraq as part of the broader insurgency that rose up to liberate the country from its foreign occupiers. And it was this insurgency that gave birth to ISIS. Therefore, it could be argued that our widespread killing of civilians in Iraq helped to create a fertile recruiting environment for extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and contributed to the emergence of ISIS.

Original in Counterpunch.

Let’s pass over the claim that no “extremist” groups existed in Iraq before the (wholly wrong) US invasion – starting with the obvious question about the regime of Saddam Hussein.

So how exactly are the StWC going to oppose Islamic State?

We know that Lindsey German is against ‘blaming Muslims.

The Chair of the Coalition says,

Blame the Muslims. If all else fails in the defence of a foreign policy which is so bankrupt that even the envoy for peace in the Middle East Tony Blair has gone quiet, then start talking about the domestic threat, and the need for increased surveillance of Muslims.

The hideous beheading of James Foley, apparently by a British member of ISIS, and the government claim that hundreds of British citizens are fighting in Syria and now Iraq, has brought a whole new raft of demands. Ranging from the Nigel Farage cry that their passports should be confiscated to the return of control orders which effectively mean house arrest for individuals, these are all more about political posturing than dealing with the problem of ISIS.

So we know what people should not do, that is, back the US or the British Government.

They are completely right to stand against the repression underway in the UK and the legislation being proposed to increase this. 

One other thing they are also not going to do is come out and back the courageous  comrades of the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party).

One can search in vain in this outpouring from German –  Kurds, ISIS and the crisis in Iraq – is US and UK military intervention the answer? – for any reference to the PKK

But then the British Stop the War Coalition knows a lot better than the Kurdish fighters about what to do.

On the Kurdish fighters more generally see: KURDS RESIST ISLAMIC STATE BUTCHERS (Socialist Resistance). 

Kurdish fighters

If we are looking for any signs of hope in the long-running tragedy of the people of Iraq, suffering from the rapaciousness of outside powers and the tyranny of sectarian party rule, we should pay close attention to recent events in Northern Iraq writes Sarah Parker. Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (People’s Defence Forces) guerrillas from Syria, who fought to open a narrow corridor through the desert from Sinjar and out of Iraq into the YPG controlled area of northern Syria permitted the dramatic rescue of thousands of Yezidi Kurds and others from on Mount Sinjar, where they had fled to escape the onslaught of Islamic State.

(1) Publishers of the anti-semitic Israel Shamir.

 In an essay published on his website discussing Holocaust denier David Irving, Shamir wrote that “the Jews” now “rule over the minds and souls of Europeans””

David Irving was sentenced for denial of Jewish superiority. His doom seals the reign of (albeit limited) freedom that began with the fall of Bastille. European history went full circle: from rejecting the rule of Church and embracing free thought, to the new Jewish mind-control on a world scale. Not only is Western Christian civilisation dead, but even its successor, secular European civilisation, has met its demise only a few days after its proud and last celebration by the Danish scribes. It was short-lived: about two hundred years from beginning to the end, the Europeans may once have had the illusion that they can live without an ideological supremacy. Now this illusion is over; and the Jews came in the stead of the old and tired See of St Peter to rule over the minds and souls of Europeans.

In Counterpunch, amongst other articles by Shamir, one finds,   Hitting the Commercial Jackpot The Secret History of Pussy Riot Autumn 2012. by ISRAEL SHAMIR Moscow.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

Doctor Who a complete triumph, with echoes of Manet and Dickens.

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Critics hail Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who debut

Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who

This restaurant scene resembled a Manet painting. (1)

Critics have hailed Peter Capaldi’s feature-length debut as the 12th Doctor, as the eighth series of Doctor Who premiered on BBC One on Saturday.

The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan said the Scots actor “crackled with fierce intelligence and nervous energy”.

Euan Ferguson, in the Guardian, called his performance “wise and thoughtful”, though decried the plot as “demented”.

At its peak the programme was watched by 7.3 million people, according to official viewing figures.

The BBC said it was the most watched opening episode of a Doctor Who series since 2010.

BBC News.

 

Apart from anything else the opening dinosaur incident reminded me of Dickens’s initial page  in Bleak House and the whole episode felt like Dickens echoing through it spontaneous combustion being an obvious example).

(1) Manet and the Object of Painting by Michel Foucault points out the bewildering perspective in this famous painting.

This was strongly echoed in the episode of the Doctor.

(1) see Foucault on

Written by Andrew Coates

August 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

“Race play” Seymour Wades into Tower Hamlets Debate.

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Richard Seymour Advises  on Tower Hamlets Politics.

The story of Lutfur Rahman is a democratic success story. The fact that it seems dodgy to the political and media classes is indicative of how long they’ve been insulated from anything resembling real democracy.

By Richard Seymour  and Ashok Kumar  (a PhD student of Economic Geography at Oxford University. He lives in Tower Hamlets in east London.)

Compare and contrast,

The Independent.

One thing is clear, though: the Mayor is not a racist. “I grew up with black kids and white kids,” he sobbed. “I grew up with Jewish kids, Christian kids, people of no faith.”

Yet while Mr Rahman can’t take it when he’s accused of racism, some of his supporters seem happy to dish it out.

Here, for example, are comments from one supporter’s Facebook page, adorned with pictures of the Mayor: “Zionists are the root cause of all the evil on this planet right now Zionists are filthy animals with total depravity of any form of decent humanity.

“Behaviour of those who are descendants of Pigs and Monkeys (Zionist). Zionist filth!”

He is the first mayor to fund faith directly from local taxes, which some Bangladeshis themselves believe is potentially divisive.

Although money is going to synagogues and churches, so far most applicants have been mosques since Muslims are by far the most active faith group in the borough.

Lutfur Rahman is also the only mayor who has given grants to the media – over £50,000 to Bangla TV stations and newspapers whose coverage has been flattering; and to run a weekly council newspaper which the Government says has constantly promoted him and his party; and to create a logo using not just his name but also his photo – even on council dust carts.

“One of the most controversial councils in the country is facing an investigation by the Electoral Commission, after a local election vote count was finally competed Tower Hamlets in east London after five days of delays.”

Most people would have thought that Seymour would have shut up about these issues since his dispute about Race Play (see Sex, Power Play, and Trotskyism)

Most people would have considered that Seymour would have taken our kindly meant advice and done this,

“I shall eat grass and die in a ditch in the brown water where dead leaves have rotted”.

Apparently not.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Respect Allies Turn to Tories for Religious Beliefs and Needs.

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Conservative   Home asks,

“Is it Conservative to believe that “the Islamic state is the greatest contribution to humanity”?

They report on events in Newham, ,

” in which local Conservatives have issued a leaflet aimed at what it describes as “the Muslim community” which has been translated into Urdu, Gujurati and Bengali.

The fourth of the leaflet’s ten pledges is “respect for religious beliefs and needs when making planning decisions, while point eight is “opposition to any further betting shops in Newham”.

At least one of the Tory candidates running in the council elections will endorse this view wholeheartedly.  He is Mufti Shah Sadruddin, who has called for a Muslim political identity.

“We have to create a revolution for our rights,” he is recorded as saying. “The gays can get their rights…but when Islam is being abused we can’t even save it. We have 50 million Muslims in Europe, we are good for nothing. The Jewish community, they have their anti-Semitism, they have this Holocaust. The gays got these gay rights but any Tom, Dick, Harry can make a movie, Satanic Verses…but we are 1.5 billion Muslims but we are not politically powerful. Block the roads of Newham just like Tahrir Square.”

Other statements by Sadruddin reportedly include the following: “Even Britain has a blasphemy law.  We are sleeping, brothers…The greatest threat to Islam is through the removal of Islamic politics. The Islamic state is the greatest contribution to humanity. Only politics can unite the Muslim Ummah [brotherhood]. Politics is the tool which can unite the Muslims and the Ummah.”  Shah reportedly organised and was certainly present at a rally for George Galloway last year.  Two other Conservative council candidates in Newham are former candidates for Respect.

The Express adds, 

 An ISLAMIST leader of the campaign to build a “mega mosque” near Britain’s Olympic Stadium is standing as a Tory in this month’s council elections

 Mufti Shah Sadruddin, who believes in the notion of Islamic states, has no known previous links to the Tories, and has been an enthusiastic supporter of Respect MP George Galloway.

The Conservative party in the east London borough has also selected two other candidates who have previously stood for socialist Respect..

 

From Here.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 20, 2014 at 10:32 am

Subway Enforces Halal Food and Discriminates against Sikhs.

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Subway Stirs up Religious Controversy. 

 

Subway is now making 185 outlets sell only Halal food.

Sandwich chain Subway has defended changing the contents of some products in line with demands by Muslims for meat to comply with sharia law.

Sandwiches at 185 Subway outlets in Britain and Ireland no longer come with ham or bacon as the pig is regarded as unclean in Islam.

The pork has been replaced by turkey in a move the company hopes will avoid offending Muslim customers. Turkey is halal, or clean, to Muslims.

Subway outlets adopting the new policy will display a window sticker reading: “All meats are halah.”

IBT

There are, however, those who will not eat ritually slaughtered food.

This will hit one group directly: Sikhs.

Some Sikhs are vegetarian but those who are not have to follow the rule of not consuming Halal meat.

” Sikhs are strictly prohibited from eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (such as halal or kosher, known as Kutha meat, or any meat where langar is served.  In some small Sikh Sects, i.e. Akhand Kirtani Jatha eating any meat is believed to be forbidden, but this is not a universally held belief.  The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.”

Wikipedia.

Subway, like many ‘multi-culturalists ‘, appears to be unaware of the complexities of different religious stands on food.

It should not have entered this divisive area in the first place. 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 1, 2014 at 11:57 am

Islamic Forum of Europe, Tower Hamlets, and Luftar Rahman.

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Benefiting Islamist Reactionaries.

“A London council at the centre of an investigation into alleged fraud is also under scrutiny over its links to Islamic extremism, according to a classified government document leaked to The Telegraph.  Ministers sent inspectors to Tower Hamlets council, in east London, last week to investigate the alleged abuse of public resources to reward supporters of Lutfur Rahman, its controversial directly-elected mayor.”

   continues,

The document, a report to Mr Cameron dated Sept 2013, expresses particular concern about the council’s lavish funding of the East London Mosque and the Osmani Trust, a Muslim-only youth group. The mosque is also named in the counter-terrorism local profile, the document reveals. The document says there are “serious concerns” about both organisations’ “links to extremists, or willingness to host extremist speakers or organisations”.

The East London Mosque has hosted hundreds of meetings with extremist preachers, including a “live telephone Q&A” with the al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, advertised with a picture of Manhattan under bombardment.   Both bodies are closely linked to the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which seeks a sharia state in Europe and played a key part in Mr Rahman’s election as mayor in 2010. Together they have received more than £2 million in council funding.

Can we say, with George Galloway (2010) that, “I don’t know who is or isn’t a member of the IFE, and I have only the haziest knowledge of what they stand for….” ?

Is the IFE the  “European wing” of Jamaat-e-Islami, the violent Bangladeshi Islamist group, normally classed on the extreme right? Wikipedia makes these allegations  about one of the founders of the IFE.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin Mueen-Uddin born 27 November 1948), is one of the convicted war criminal for killing Bengali intellectuals in collaboration with Pakistan army at the time of Bangladesh liberation war.[1][8][9][10] After the liberation of Bangladesh, Chowdhury escape from Bangladesh and took British citizenship.[11][12]

 Chowdhury is a trustee (former Chairman) of Muslim Aid,[3][13][14] and a director of Muslim spiritual care provision in theUnited Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).[4] On 3 November 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal which is set up by the government of Bangladesh to judgeinternational crimes committed during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, sentenced Mueen-Uddin, in absentia, to death for killing 9 teachers of Dhaka University, 6 journalists and 3 doctors in 1971.[5][9][10][15]

 Mueen has remained in the United Kingdom since leaving Bangladesh shortly after its independence in 1971.[16] Mueen-Uddin denies the charges.[17] Since moving to the UK in the early 1970s, Mueen-Uddin has taken British citizenship and built a career as a community activist and Muslim leader. In 1989 he was a key leader of protests against the Salman Rushdie book, The Satanic Verses. Around the same time he helped to found the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe,Jamaat-e-Islami’s European wing, which believes in creating a sharia state in Europe and in 2010 was accused by a Labour minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, of infiltrating the Labour Party. Tower Hamlets’ directly-elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was expelled from Labour for his close links with the IFE.

Until 2010 Mr Mueen-Uddin was vice-chairman of the controversial East London Mosque, controlled by the IFE, in which capacity he greeted Prince Charles when the heir to the throne opened an extension to the mosque.

He was also closely involved with the Muslim Council of Britain, which has been dominated by the IFE. He was chairman and remains a trustee of the IFE-linked charity, Muslim Aid, which has a budget of £20 million. He has also been closely involved in the Markfield Institute, the key institution of Islamist higher education in the UK.

The IFE makes this bland description of itself,

Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) is a community organisation that seeks social and spiritual renewal. Through the values enshrined in the Islamic faith, members of IFE are obliged to be full and active participants in society, benefiting all people. IFE has branches throughout the UK and has affiliates in Western Europe. Its youth wing is called the Young Muslim Organisation UK (YMO UK), with branches across Britain. Its women’s wing is Muslimaat UK. With origins in the 1970s, IFE brings together Muslims of all backgrounds who have made Europe their home. As a collective, IFE facilitates an enlightened appreciation of Islam that is relevant to the context and realities of our time. We undertake social activities – from schools and youth clubs to community engagement and women’s empowerment projects, spiritual development – from prayer to retreats

But dig a little deeper and we find that the IFE is indeed closely aligned to the Jamaat.

This is their protest against the hanging of convicted genocider and war criminal Abdul Qader Mollah,

The Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) condemns in no uncertain terms the hanging to death of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary-General, Abdul Qader Mollah, on Thursday as an act of judicial murder( Statement Issued 13th December 2013)

Mr Mollah’s summary execution follows a sham trial which has been described by international human rights groups as failing to meet international standards, politically influenced and discredited.

IFE considers Abdul Qader Mollah’s death as state murder by a government doing all it can to cling onto power indefinitely. The whole process has been a farce, and the Bangladeshi government has ignored international demands to ensure that this process calls under international jurisdiction.

The execution of Mr Mollah, in breach of all international standards will, no doubt, plunge Bangladesh further into crisis. The threat of violence and civil unrest is very real. The IFE is concerned that this pre-determined process will be used by the Awami League regime to declare a state of emergency and derail any attempts to hold free and fair elections in January.

The IFE urges the international community, and in particular the UK government to reconsider the financial and diplomatic support afforded to this regime.

There are clear questions about the public funding of groups involved in Bangladeshi politics.

For the left, apart from those deluded enough to think that Rahman is “Progressive”, the issues are wider.

Last year Gita Saghal commented,

Fundamentalist demonstrations from the Jamaat associated East London Mosque  have been taking place regularly after Friday prayers, according to activists.  Secular Bangladeshis of all religious backgrounds and none were finally able to rally and march outwards from Altab Ali park through Brick Lane and the surrounding streets. It was a suitable demonstration that the secular activists who have been receiving regular death threats have not been cowed into retreat.

Thousands of leaflets have been distributed from the East London Mosque and across the world labelling prominent bloggers as atheists. Sermons have been read attacking atheists, Hindus and suggestive statements made regarding sexual assault.

In Bangladesh, fundamentalists  paraded a banner which said, ‘we demand the death penalty for atheist bloggers because they use obscene language to criticise Allah, Mohammed and the Quran.’  Statements such as these, along with murderous attacks on atheist and free thinking bloggers, need to be considered alongside the leaflets identifying named individuals as atheists and accusing them of insulting religion, to see whether they amount to incitement to  murder.

Fundamentalists consider it an obligation for believers to kill apostates; a recent Moroccan fatwa  makes this very clear, as does the experience of an atheist from Bangladesh, applying for asylum in Canada.

This is worth remembering every time people read something on Tower Hamlets,

John Ware, Independent, 13th of April.
An investigation is not Islamophobia

The Asian Mayor of Tower Hamlets says he welcomes scrutiny, yet he tried to stop a BBC ‘Panorama’ report.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

France: Nearly a Million Votes for the Far-Right.

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Right 8,656,826

Left 6,736,810

Diverse local group, individuals, ‘notables’  1,983,191

Extreme Right. 983,191

Centre 690,140

Gauche radicale (that is the Front de gauche, though see below on this) 247,471

EELV  247,47 (Greens).

Extreme Left (small groups like the NPA and LO)  127,674

These totals are complicated by local alliances, which are extremely intricate (sometimes Communist Party with the Socialists, sometimes Parti de gauche with the Greens – as in Grenoble).

Are there simple conclusions.

The situation, as Libération points out today, may be not at all clear cut.

The Front National won  in the  2014 Presidential elections, 15,7%
This time they got  14,4% in towns and cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants where they stood.

Their break-through in Hénin-Beaumont – town that has become a symbol – was not encouraging.

In  Brignoles and  Perpignan left candidates have stood down, to allow the Republican forces to stand against the far-right.

In  Seine-Saint-Denis  (the ‘red belt’) the Communists managed to maintain their vote.

L’Humanité carries an important editorial today on whether the Front National has achieved a real “breakthrough”.

It asks  if France is today in the same situation as 2002, when Lionel Jospin was beaten in the first round of the Presidential election by Le Pen.

Should there be a wider “front républicain” uniting left and centre-right to fend off the Front National – as happened in 2002 when some  on the left backed Chriac against Le Pen?

They suggest a large part of the responsibility for the present rise of far-right lies with  President François Hollande and his ministers.

The second round (where needed) is on the 30th of March.

Update (Hat-Tip JM): on the problems between the French Communists (PCF) and the other parts on the Front de gauche over the second round. Fusions, quand le PCF dézingue le Front de gauche

Written by Andrew Coates

March 26, 2014 at 11:38 am