Posts Tagged ‘Islam’
LAHORE, Pakistan — The Lahore High Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the death sentence of a Pakistani Christian woman in a high-profile blasphemy case and dismissed her appeal for acquittal.
The defendant, Asia Bibi, 47, a farmworker, was sentenced to death in 2010 after being convicted of blasphemy. She has denied the accusations, which she said stemmed from a dispute with Muslim co-workers.
Ms. Bibi now plans to appeal the decision in the country’s Supreme Court, said her lawyer, Naeem Shakir. But given huge backlogs at the court, analysts said it would probably be at least three years before the appeal would be taken up.
The ruling was the latest chapter in a long ordeal for Ms. Bibi, whose case has focused international attention on how Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have become a weapon against religious minorities.
It was also a factor in the 2011 assassination of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab Province who vociferously campaigned for Ms. Bibi’s release and for overhaul of the blasphemy codes. Religious conservatives were outraged by Mr. Taseer’s advocacy, and he was shot dead by his police security guard in Islamabad. Months later, his son Shahbaz Ali Taseer was kidnapped by Taliban militants and his whereabouts is still unknown.
Meanwhile, Ms. Bibi has languished in prison, and successive governments have been reluctant to touch the issue.
The Lahore courtroom was packed with clerics and members of extremist groups who supported the prosecution, and they erupted in celebration upon hearing the two-judge panel’s decision to dismiss Ms. Bibi’s appeal. “Let us celebrate by distributing sweets!” said one cleric who was reciting verses from the Quran throughout the almost two-and-a-half-hour court proceeding.
“I am very happy,” said Qari Salaam, a co-worker of Ms. Bibi’s and the main complainant in the case. “The judges have given a verdict on merit, and Asia deserved it.”
The ‘dispute’ arose in this way,
In June 2009, Noreen was harvesting falsa berries with a group of other farmhands in a field in Sheikhupura. She was asked at one point to fetch water from a nearby well; she complied but stopped to take a drink with an old metal cup she had found lying next to the well. A neighbor of Noreen, who had been involved in a running feud with Noreen’s family about some property damage, saw her and angrily told her that it was forbidden for a Christian to drink the same water as a Muslim, and some of the other workers considered her to be unclean because she was a Christian. Some arguments ensued. Noreen recounts that when they made derogatory statements about her religion, she responded, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?” Wikipedia.
Later, some of the workers complained to a cleric that Noreen insulted Muhammad. A mob came to her house, beating her and members of her family before she was rescued by the police. The police initiated an investigation about her remarks, resulting in her arrest under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code. She subsequently was imprisoned for over a year before being formally charged.
As reaction pours in from around the world to yesterday’s Lahore High Court ruling upholding the death sentence for Asia Bibi in her wrongful blasphemy suit, a Christian human rights watchdog group is calling on the Supreme Court of Pakistan to expedite a hearing in the case, and a London-based music band that is “disgusted” with the decision has launched a music video supporting the imprisoned mother of five children.
In an audible and visual show of its disgust at the high court decision, ooberfuse, an electronica band from Woolwich, London today released FREE, a music video crying out for an end to the persecution of non-Muslim religious minorities in Pakistan and around the world. They join a British Pakistani Christian Association protest this Saturday from 11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. at 10 Downing Street, the London residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
You can hear the radio play edit by clicking here: http://tinyurl.com/k3zeg3g
Cherrie Anderson, frontwoman of the band, explained: “We have been calling out for Asia’s release ever since we translated Asia’s autobiography into English. Asia’s own words inspired our defiant anthem FREE. We will carry on our campaign until religious minorities around the world enjoy the freedoms people of all faiths and none enjoy here in the UK.”
ASSIST news. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
The London Free Thinker (October the 18th) reports on the protest.
London protest over blasphemy sentence.
Bibi has since released a memoir from prison called Blasphemy, detailing her ordeal:
I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.
I can no longer bear the sight of people full of hatred, applauding the killing of a poor farm worker. I no longer see them, but I still hear them, the crowd who gave the judge a standing ovation, saying: ‘Kill her, kill her! Allahu Akbar!’
Bibi’s case drew global criticism in 2011 when Pakistan’s minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and eastern Punjab governor Salman Taseer were killed for supporting her and opposing blasphemy laws. Taseer was killed in the capital Islamabad by one of his police guards after visiting Bibi in jail.
Bhati was killed months later by the Pakistani Taliban, who called him an “infidel Christian”.
Bibi has since released a memoir from prison called Blasphemy, detailing her ordeal.
I’m a prisoner because I used the same cup as those Muslim women, because water served by a Christian woman was regarded as unclean by my stupid fellow fruit-pickers.
Bibi’s lawyer Sardar Mushtaq said:
We have the right to appeal in 30 days, and we will continue this legal battle by approaching the Supreme Court of Pakistan. We have a strong case, and we will try our best to save her life.
Kate Allen, UK Director of Amnesty International, said:
This is the latest blasphemy outrage to come out of Pakistan. It seems obvious that this is a case of religious persecution, and it’s very likely the result of a squabble which escalated out of all proportion.
Blasphemy accusations in Pakistan are often used to settle petty vendettas and persecute minority groups. It’s a complete disgrace that the courts are complicit in these vendettas.
There has also been an alarming spate of killings of people who have spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Mohammad Asghar, a Scottish man, is also on death row in Pakistan after being sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Asghar, 70, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was sentenced to death earlier this year after writing a series of letters claiming to be the “Prophet” Mohammed. Last month Asghar was shot and wounded by a police officer at the Rawalpindi prison where he is held.
Free, Free the Beloved Asia Bibi!
“It has been a mistake on the part of socialists to see Islamist movements either as automatically reactionary and “fascist” or as automatically “anti imperialist” and “progressive”. Radical Islamism, with its project of reconstituting society on the model established by Mohammed in 7th century Arabia, is, in fact, a “utopia” emanating from an impoverished section of the new middle class. As with any “petty bourgeois utopia”, its supporters are, in practice, faced with a choice between heroic but futile attempts to impose it in opposition to those who run existing society, or compromising with them, providing an ideological veneer to continuing oppression and exploitation.
It is this which leads inevitably to splits between a radical, terrorist wing of Islamism on the one hand, and a reformist wing on the others. It is also this which leads some of the radicals to switch from using arms to try to bring about a society without “oppressors” to using them to impose “Islamic” forms of behaviour on individuals.”
“On some issues we will find ourselves on the same side as the Islamists against imperialism and the state. This was true, for instance, in many countries during the second Gulf War. It should be true in countries like France or Britain when it comes to combating racism. Where the Islamists are in opposition, our rule should be, “with the Islamists sometimes, with the state never”.
Chris Harman (SWP) The Prophet and the Proletariat. 1994. As John Rees (former SWP) from Counterfire and the Stop the War Coalition spoke in support for arming the Kurds at a demonstration for Kobane on Saturday a Kurd stood on his left hand side.
The Kurdish comrade was carrying a placard that read, “Kurds are heroes of fight against Islamist Fascism“.
Nick Cohen is spot on when he commented in his Observer column this Sunday that “Without knowing or caring, Kurds protesting against the world’s willingness to let Kobani fall to Islamic State have inflamed two acute causes of western discomfort. They had no hesitation in describing radical Islam as “fascism” and seeing Kobani as our generation’s Guernica.”
I personally am reminded of the first time I came face to face with Islamist reaction, in 1983, at the annual May Day Demonstration in Paris.
Iranians are all too aware that their Islamic regime has May the First as a holiday as well, one of those “progressive” gestures that seduced, for a time, their own and Europe’s left.
On this occasion a group of die-hard Khomeini supporters, knotted in a tight bunch and carrying posters of the Guide of the Revolution, tried to join the trade union march.
Almost instantly a mixed bunch of Iranian exiles, French leftists, Turkish and Kurdish left-wingers, stood in front of them.
As I joined we shouted “le fascisme ne passera pas!” Fascism will not pass!
The Khomeinists were pelted with bottles, stones and (in my case) a beer can. The followers of the Imman’s Line backed off, and then returned throwing tear gas directly in our faces. As the police began to intervene they disappeared. A report in Libération the following day asserted that the Islamists had been caught by the police assembling some heavier weaponry. The blood-stained tyranny that Khomeini and his followers built was vastly more important in turning many European leftists against Islamism ,
Amongst many other events (above all the Algerian civil war of 1990s) this profoundly marked my own attitude towards Islamism. In Algeria the Islamists began – well before the cancellation of elections in 1991 which the Front Islamique du Salut was predicted to win and which let loose the decade’s fighting between a vicious military and murderous armed Islamists – to target leftists, feminists, intellectuals and democrats. They murdered and tortured throughout that war. They have not stopped trying since.
Since then most leftists, certainly in continental Europe, have has a visceral hostility to Islamism, certainly those who’ve had contact with the tens of thousands of exiles from countries where it’s had an impact – Chris Harman, the SWP, their splinters, and the British Respect Party excepted.
The idea of standing on the “same side” has been ridiculous for a long-long time, well before Al Qu’eada – not to mention the rise of Isis/Islamic state and its international supporters (in Algeria) of Soldats du califat (Jound al-Khilafa).
With this in mind, like many of my fellow leftists I have followed the tragedy in Kobane closely. Not just because it’s a tragedy – that counts enormously – but because we are politically implicated.
Cohen writes, “Flow in waves to Kobani,” demonstrators chanted as they mounted vain protests against Turkish inaction that amounts to collaboration. “Stop Isis fascism.”
This deeply echoes in our hearts. With even John Rees on board he is right to mention that, “there are heartening stirrings of camaraderie on the European left. Cohen observes that the plight of the Kurds and others attacked by Isis/Islamic State, raises broader issues,
To me, it seems obvious that militant religion is a radical reactionary force. In whatever form it comes, it grinds down on women’s rights and denies the basic freedoms of liberal society. It is equally clear that its Islamist variant relies to an extraordinary degree on fascist Europe’s Jewish conspiracy theories. If you doubt me, look at the declaration in Hamas’s founding covenants that Jews “were behind the French Revolution [and] the communist revolution”. It might have come from Hitler. (Although even Adolf would have hesitated to repeat Hamas’s claim that Jews also created “the Rotary Clubs [and] the Lions” to achieve “Zionist interests”.)
Radical Islam, like fascism before it, wallows in the cult of death: “Death to intelligence! Long live death!” cried Franco’s general José Millán Astray in 1936. “We love death more than you love life,” cry today’s Islamists fighters. There is the same support from the financiers and businessmen, from what we old leftists used to call the capitalist bourgeoisie, and the same shared belief that women can never aspire to be anything other than dutiful wives.
In one respect, radical Islam trumps the fascists and, indeed, the communists. The old totalitarianisms could promise their followers that death would lead only to the greater glory of the Fatherland or the inevitable triumph of the working class. An Islamist can tell his willing executioners that death will not only further Islam’s global triumph but take the martyr to paradise too.
Why do people in Europe, at least on the left, not describe these groups as ‘fascist’? Cohen suggests two reasons.
Firstly, “Many liberals fear that condemning radical Islam in clear leftwing language will allow the white far right to paint all Muslims as extremists.”
Secondly, that Islamism had no state so it can hardly be a ‘real’ fascist movement. He notes, that this no longer holds: The ‘Caliphate’ has been declared, “the Islamic State, with its own supreme caliph, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, and all the modern weaponry the Iraqi army left behind when it fled.”
The first argument is really an argument at all, but a description of the way some liberal-minded people find it hard to be ‘judgemental’ about anything, above all about different ‘cultures’.
It’s the second point that’s the principal one.
It may well be that to analyse Islamism in terms of classical fascism is not always helpful.
As political concepts ‘fascism’ or ‘Nazism’ (terms the European left has had no problem in using loosely for the domestic far-right, as the name Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism indicate) are only ‘ideal types’. That is, lists of very broad features. Features such as a dictatorship based on ultra-nationalism, ‘total’ control, repression of dissent, and the imposition of ‘class harmony’, and genocidal racism, are just that ‘features’ not structures that get stamped into history that pop up in the same form whenever there is a social crisis. All of these elements shift and change.
Some theorists have suggested that the way the radical right can take up ‘left’ radical themes, the “popular”, even “democratic” side of the ideology, is key (Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism). One can see this in the way radical right-wing ‘anti-system’ parties attack ‘rotten’ and ‘elite’ Parliamentary institutions today, in the name of the People. Populist ‘Anti-imperialism’ also had its 1930s parallel in the far-right’s hatred of the ‘plutocratic’ nations (the US and the UK), controlled by the Jews.
Such a ‘democratic’ element – in the sense of ‘popular’, appealing to the “people”, even if it’s only to follow the Leader, is not always present. The NSPD’s ‘race’ doctrine, many be grounded on the Volk, but other far-right groups, notably the ‘first’ fascist movement, Action Française, agitated before the First World War against the ‘Jacobin’ idea of the People and advocated a restored French Monarchy freed from the ‘anti-France of Jews, Freemasons, socialists and Protestants.
So fascist ideas are fluid – we might consider how people tried to gauge them when they first appeared, before Mussolini and Hitler, not to mention other authoritarian regimes in 1930s Europe. Perhaps only hostility to Marxism, or rather ‘class struggle’ (which divides the ‘nation’), the left-wing labour movement are constant (European) themes. A deeper link to the ‘anti-Enlightenment’ and hatred of the doctrine of human rights is possibly another.
Comparisons with Islamism tend to halt at the point where Harman begins: the Quranic ‘utopian ideal“. Comparisons only go so far: if the Islamists loath the Enlightenment it’s because it brings the secular world forward, and gives humans, not god (and the ‘Book’ he apparently dictated), rights – a more diffuse reaction than the European far-right’s fight against the Left.
A, book, and speech bound, ideology, a religion, can be infused with a vast variety of visions. Time, class, culture, and individuals inflect it, or rather them - Islamisms. The political result however is fairly clear: a striving for a state, a regime, a power to bring it about. This, for all its various forms, tends towards “monocratic, authoritarian” and “enforced” rule (as Michael Mann has described Islamism). This is only a tendency, as Turkey’s Islamists only drift towards this, and retain a strong democratic, if populist and Turkish nationalist, and increasingly corrupt, authoritarian element.
Yet, as Mann indicated, when it comes to the radicals, Islamists are not nationalists. They do not adopt extreme blood and soil nationalism (although there are racist strains in their belief in the superiority of Arabic and the ‘original’ Muslims, underlined by the belief in the importance of descent from the Prophet and his companions).The state exists for them for a purpose, to impose and regulate the Sharia which is for ‘everybody’. Ideally Islam would embrace the world, not just a country. (Fascists. Michael Mann 2004)
There are other important differences.
Today’s radical Islamism is clearly not the product of a political crisis in which the bourgeoisie tries to head of a militant labour movement (one classical way of looking at fascism). Some claim that it is the ‘product’ of the failure of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism. This fails to explain its growth in countries like Nigeria or Indonesia, or indeed Pakistan. What then is it? Nobody has a definitive answer and this is certainly not one.
Harman was suggestive when he talked of Islamism as a ““utopia” emanating from an impoverished section of the new middle class” – except that,as Cohen notes, many of the backers of Isis/Islamic State are extremely wealthy.
From this pious bourgeoisie to an Islamic state we have to go through some important stages. ‘Islamic Behaviour’ – Harman’s words – is not so much a slogan as the key to an Islamist “transitional programme“. Radical Islamism (a continuum with other forms of political Islam) has the following features – worked through with the class and political aspects already mentioned.
- The importance of the Sharia as the basis for ‘micro-powers’ (the equivalent of leftist ‘liberated territory’) Islamists have begun (Algeria is the paradigm, repeated in many countries, such as Egypt, recently efforts were made to create this in Tunisia) by imposing their ‘law’ on areas where they establish their initial control. Sharia ‘patrols’ treated as relatively harmless in London, are set up to impose Islamic norms on public life (no alcohol. women forced to war ‘modest’ dress, ‘unclean’ behaviour repressed). From small groups of the ‘pure’ (Salafists) to radicalised Mosques as centres of this ‘power’, we then turn towards creating a ‘mini-state’.
- The Sharia state: some Islamist movements (as in Somalia, Al-Shabaab – Islamic Courts Union) centre their strategy on this ‘law’.
- All forms of Sharia law are discriminatory and barely merit the term ‘law’ in the modern sense: there is no equality before the Sharia, no equal rights for women or for non-Muslims.
- This legal-political apparatus can be best be looked at in terms of the coercive categories Michael Foucault described in Discipline and Punish and Nietzsche’s history of the violent ‘training’ of people to accept legal norms in The Genealogy of Morals.
- Radical Islamist ‘morality’ has exceptional importance in that it is potentially more intimately imposed than even the most brutal of previous totalitarianisms; it is intended to regulate not just the heart by every single human gesture (for a comparison amongst orthopraxic religions, the list of taboos followed by ultra-orthodox Jews, that are purely intended for believers, is about the nearest example).
- Radical Islamism, whether Shia or Sunnite, has shown itself to be radically sectarian: always splitting internally, and only uniting against other Muslims tendencies (Shia and Sunnite).
- It is only ‘anti-imperialist’ in the sense that it is ‘anti’ any movement but its own.
- It becomes genocidal when these norms are imposed on those who refuse to accept them, for religious, anti-religious, or national reasons.
One conclusion is clear: these movements are not and can never be the allies of the left against anybody. Cohen rightly sounds, nevertheless, a note of caution,
If you live in Iraqi Kurdistan, the fine distinctions between fascist state-based totalitarianism and religious totalitarianism have vanished. All you know is that for decades, mass murderers have marched towards your homeland wanting to slaughter you because you are from the wrong race or worship your god in the wrong way.
Bob Lambert Receives Islamic Human Rights Award (2007).
In the news, for what reason?
Ministers have been urged to enlist the help of several controversial Muslim groups to stem the flow of British jihadists to Iraq and Syria.
Calls are growing for Whitehall to restore ties in particular with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), one of the country’s largest Islamic organisations. The group, which once enjoyed a close relationship with the government, has been ostracised since 2009 when one of its officials signed a declaration supporting Hamas and calling on Muslims to destroy “foreign warships” preventing arms smuggling into Gaza.
Robert Lambert, a former head of the Metropolitan police Muslim contact unit who is now a lecturer in terrorism studies at the University of St Andrews, said that the MCB and other Muslim groups could be valuable partners in the struggle against home-grown jihad….”
Originally in the Times (yesterday) – Hat-tip DT.
The rest of the story goes,
“In many instances the government considers these groups to be unsuitable partners because, in the government’s view, they are extremist and do not subscribe to British values,” he said.
Dr Lambert described the MCB aa notable example of a national umbrella body that has potential to help tackle violent extremist radicalisation and recruitment” and praised one of its affiliates, the Muslim Association of Britain [MAB], for its work with young Muslims around the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London.
In a 2011 speech at a security conference in Munich David Cameron said that “the ideology of extremism [was] the problem”, pledging to confront non-violent Islamism as well as jihadists.
The MAB said it was fully prepared to work with the government, while the MCB said that it would co-operate but would not seek taxpayer funding.
“We are more than happy to work productively with the government on this issue, but we will be mindful of getting involved in initiatives that will further alienate young people,” it said.
Lambert has been exposed as a secret policeman (Infiltration of animal rights, anti-racist and environmental groups), agent provocateur (he has been accused of arson by Caroline Lucas, M.P) , and is the father of an (abandoned) child by one of the activists he was spying on.
For more on this story of abuse and attacks on democracy, see Wikipedia). (1)
His defenders included Bob Pitt, of Islamophobia Watch and Daud Abdullah.
Abdullah wrote this in 2011.
The “exposure” of the former special branch officer Bob Lambert comes at a convenient time: it can serve as a distraction from the scandals that have engulfed the neocon tendency in the government. Lambert has been a staunch critic of the government’s Islamophobic rhetoric and exclusivist policies. This, to a large extent, explains the excitement that has greeted disclosure of information about Lambert’s past career among certain people.
These people seek to achieve two things: to assassinate Lambert’s character and discredit his academic work. Both will fail.
Those of us who worked with him during the difficult decade after 11 September 2001 always knew he came from a police background, and specifically the special branch unit. It was no secret. If at any point he was involved in the infiltration of legitimate protest and political groups while being a special branch officer, then that was wrong. That being said, the political authors of such a policy should bear the full responsibility for it and not any single officer.
What has stood out about Lambert has been his commitment to peace, justice and social harmony. He was never as preoccupied with words as he was with deeds. Hence he entered into partnerships with almost everyone who was committed to these ideals.
It appears that this callous secret policeman is a lecturer at the ‘university’ of Saint Andrews.
A fine gauge of the quality of the education that they have to offer.
It is unlikely that anybody else is likely to take Lambert’s kind offer of advice seriously.
(1) Guardian June 2013. “A woman who had a child with an undercover police officer who was spying on her says she feels she was “raped by the state” and has been deeply traumatised after discovering his real identity.
She met the undercover officer – Bob Lambert – in 1984. At the time, Lambert was posing as “Bob Robinson”, an animal rights activist, on behalf of the then secret police unit known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).”
“It’s a good atmosphere, you know? You’re not living under oppression. You’re not living under rule.” says British Jihadist.
Thousands of Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority’s biggest town in Iraq.
The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh in Nineveh province overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
An international Christian organisation said at least a quarter of Iraq’s Christians were leaving Qaraqosh and other surrounding towns.
IS has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria to create an Islamic caliphate.
Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, have been fighting the Sunni militants’ advance in the north for weeks.
In a separate development, the United Nations says it has rescued some of the thousands of people trapped by IS militants in mountains near the town of Sinjar.
Up to 50,000 members of the Yazidi religious minority fled there after IS overran Sinjar at the weekend.
More on the BBC site.
The French journal L’Express carries this report, Irak: 100 000 chrétiens en fuite, les djihadistes enlèvent les croix des églises.
100, 000 Christians flee as Jihadists take Church crosses down.
40,000 Iraqis stranded on Sinjar mountain after Islamic State death threats
Tens of thousands of members of Iraqi religious minority groups are dying of heat and thirst on Mount Sinjar, human rights groups say, after death threats from Islamic State – formerly Isis.
Tens of thousands of members of Iraqi religious minority groups driven from their homes for fear of the jihadist group Islamic State are dying of thirst and heat on a desert mountainside in the north of the country, according to the United Nations and human rights groups.
Some 40 children have already died from the heat and dehydration, the UN children’s organisation Unicef says, while upwards of 40,000 more are sheltering in the bare mountains, without food or water or access to supplies. It says 25,000 children may be stranded.
Yesterday’s Newsnight broadcast a video of a British man fighting for ISIS (The Islamic State’s Syrian wing) next to a corpse.
Their recruitment video (which you can see in all its obscenity here) of this gang features the following.
..men who claim to be from all over the world including Britain, Belgium, Morocco, Finland and Indonesia. They talk about how happy they are to be in a Muslim society and encourage others to join them.
It’s a good atmosphere, you know? You’re not living under oppression. You’re not living under rule,” Abu Abdullah Al-Habashi said, speaking in a British accent. “As Muslims, that’s what we want and that’s what we need. We don’t need any democracy, we don’t need any communism, we don’t need anything like that.”
The news above illustrates what this “atmosphere” means for thousands of civilians.
Let us have no more of these apologies for the British volunteers going to support these genociders (21st July 2014),
Muslim leaders in the UK have warned against laws that automatically brand British fighters in Syria as terrorists.
It comes as Home Secretary Theresa May launches a campaign today to discourage young men from going to fight in Syria and Iraq. A short film will focus on the distress it can cause their families.
But some in the Muslim community have told Sky News the Government’s legal stance on fighting abroad could “increase the risk” to the UK.
Abdullah al Andalusi, a senior researcher at the Muslim Debate Initiative, said: “It’s hypocritical of the UK Government to expect Muslims not to go, if they feel they want to fight in a just war.
“Bertrand Russell, George Orwell – they went to the Spanish civil war, people were going to fight Gaddafi in Libya and that was all fine.
“So I worry that the British Government should dictate to us what is fine and what is not fine about where to go, when the situations could be arguably very similar in all those places.”
Call for Jihad.
Les derniers chrétiens de Mossoul, cible des jihadistes
Sad news for the last Christians of Mosul. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (EIIL) – Daech according acronym in Arabic, – has ordered them to pay the jizyah,a special tax which giving them the status of second-class citizens.
This tax, according to various first-hand witnesses collected by telephone from Mosul, obliges Christian families to pay $ 250 per employed person, or $ 500 for a couple.
“They have a choice between paying, converting or leaving “ said father Tahir Issa, of the small Chaldean Church.
“PACT OF PROTECTION”.
This obligation to pay the jizya for Christian dhimmi – “protected” or a non-Muslim citizens in Muslim state – is compulsory.
It is also open to any non-Muslim citizen, provided they belong to a revealed religion (Judaism, Zoroastrianism, etc..). It is accompanied by other discriminatory conditions, restricted freedom of worship, and the loss of certain rights, in exchange for a guarantee of security for their persons and property.
According to reports from refugees in Kurdistan the jihadists have claimed that a Moslem who steals from a Christian will be executed, while those who steal from other Muslims will only have their hands cut off.
There are around 500 Christians left in Mosul, amongst two million inhabitants.
Father Tahrir Issa also asserts that two churches in Mosul, one named the Holy Spirit, which belongs to the Chaldeans and the other, belonging to the Armenian community have recently been completely vandalised. A statue of the Virgin in another church was also destroyed.
There are other reports on this, and the imposition of strict Shariah law in areas under ISIS influence. See also Les seize commandements de l’Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant.
Libération takes a much more robust line than, notably, the Guardian, on these issues.
Seamus Milne Hints at Plot to Forge Trojan Horse Document.
The fallacy of relative privation, or appeal to worse problems, is an informal fallacy which attempts to suggest that the opponent’s argument should be ignored because there are more important problems in the world, despite the fact that these issues are often completely unrelated to the subject under discussion.
The word whataboutery has been used to describe this line of argument when used in protesting at inconsistent behaviour. e.g. “The British even have a term for it: whataboutery. If you are prepared to go to war to protect Libyan civilians from their government, then what about the persecuted in Bahrain?” Wikipedia.
Seamus Milne is a master of Wataboutery.
Today in the Guardian he begins an article – Michael Gove’s toxic assault on schools is based on naked discrimination – with another tactic, of ‘contextualisation’ by putting an event in terms of the worst possible context.
“The harassment of minorities on the basis of forged documents has a grim history.”
“So the official onslaught on mainly Muslim state schools in Birmingham, triggered by what has all the hallmarks of a fabricated letter outlining a supposed Islamist plot to take them over, should be cause for deep alarm.”
Left in the dark about this “history” (although we might float the words, Protocols, Elders and Zion, around) we launch into some rhetoric before landing here,
But this extremism turns out to be a different beast from the one first trailed in lurid accusations a few months back. It is nothing to do with terrorism, or even the elastic boo-word of Islamism. The target is religious conservatism – or even just plain religiousness.
It is with interest that Milne takes so lightly criticism of Islamism (overwhelmingly from the left in countries where Islamists have murdered democrats, leftists and feminists) that he calls it a ‘boo-word’.
Milne then largely denies that there is much of a problem about the influence of conservative Islamism in schools, notes the patriotism of Birmingham Muslims, denies that most of the reported incidents of enforcing religious norms took place, and, unable to disprove some of them admits that,
That’s not to say, of course, that there’s nothing behind the allegations, which have clearly been fed by former and current staff – or that there aren’t legitimate grievances. These are not faith schools and some have clearly pushed the schools’ religious boundaries.
He then ends with a classic whataboutery,
“There’s a powerful case for secular education. But it doesn’t exist in Britain’s schools, which are awash with religion. And unless the same rules apply to all, the result is naked discrimination. But has Gove sent inspectors to root out anti-abortionism and homophobia in Catholic or evangelical-sponsored schools, or cultural isolation in mainly white schools where racism is rife?”
No he has not.
He has not disestablished the Church of England.
Or promoted equality and secularism.
He is a dyed-in-the-wool reactionary privatiser.
But does Milne advocate promoting the “”same rules for all”?
We await this call with interest.
This is followed by another whatabout….
But the campaign to bring to heel Birmingham’s schools and humiliate the Muslim community in the process is a wider threat in a country where war-fuelled Islamophobia is already rampant. Dog-whistling to Ukip bigotry might seem a cute electoral trick.
The problem then is not the content of the report on the schools: it’s the context in which it’s made. By this sleight of hand Milne has avoided addressing the issues
- Is there anything wrong with the principle of religious influence in education?
- Should the influence of conservative Islam be curtailed?
- Should there be universal secular education?