Boko Haram: The Bankruptcy of ‘Islamophobia’
The World is Concerned at Fate of Nigerian Schoolgirls. But is the British left?
Seamus Milne has a simple explanation for Islamist violence.
On the 23rd of April he wrote (Guardian – extracts) ,
It’s the result of ” support for tyranny and military intervention in the Middle East over a century. That record has been the central factor in the rise of Islamist movements and the jihadist backlash since 2001. This week’s US missile attacks in Yemen, which left dozens dead, will generate more of it.”
This ‘backlash’ fuels “a toxic blend of messianic warmongering abroad and McCarthyite witch-hunting at home.
“Meanwhile, in Britain and other countries preparing for next month’s Euro elections, denunciations of Islamic “extremism” and non-existent plots, along with dog-whistle talk about Christianity, are the small change of the contest with rightwing populists. But the fear and hatred they feed will be with us for many years to come.”
John Rees is equally concerned about what he calls a “New Wave of Islamophobia” (StWC 24th of April).
His explanation tallies with Milne’s.
“Islamophobia remains very closely related to the war on terror and the ideologies developed to justify it. It is state and establishment driven to an unusual degree. ”
” The Stop the War movement has forged lasting ties with this community. It has correctly identified the cause of Islamophobia and integrated campaigning against it into the wider campaign to eradicate the war on terror from which it arose. It is time to renew that resistance.”
They are so concerned about Islamophobia that this pair have yet to comment on a story about Islamism that is dominating the world media’s headlines: Boko Haram.
The leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has said that more than 270 schoolgirls snatched from their dormitories were “slaves” whom he planned to sell in the market.
“I abducted your girls,” a man claiming to be Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, said in a video seen by the Guardian. “I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will sell them off and marry them off. There is a market for selling humans.
“Women are slaves. I want to reassure my Muslim brothers that Allah says slaves are permitted in Islam,” he added, in an apparent reference to an ancient tradition of enslaving women captured during jihad, or holy war.
Speaking in northern Nigeria‘s Hausa language during a rambling hour-long speech, he threatened further attacks on schools and warned the international community not to get involved in Nigeria. Shekau has previously called western education “a plot against Islam” and urged his fighters to kill students and teachers.
“I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine,” he said at another point in the video.
This raises two questions about those crying about ‘Islamophiobia’.
Firstly, Boko Haram are Islamists. They are far from the Middle East. What evidence is that they are “blow-back” against the ‘war on terror’?
Secondly, since they clearly are terror what is to be done against them except waging a “war”?
Some people may try to ‘explain” Boko Haram.
The most important thing is to condemn and fight against them.
On the 15th of April the Socialist Party of Nigeria (aligned to the Socialist Party in England and Wales) issued this declaration about bomb attacks (by the same Islamists) in Abuja.
What the outpouring of agitation and protests against the attack urgently demands is an accurate leadership from the working people’s organisations including the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress with the Joint Action Front (JAF) to spearhead an immediate mass movement nationwide against the growing terrorist activities and killings as well as the palpable incompetence and incapacitation of the government to rein in the terror. While the NLC has issued a press statement to condemn the attack, it must join forces with other pro-working people’s political organisations to name a DAY OF NATIONAL MOURNING AND MASS PROTESTS. The National Day of mourning and mass protests against terror must also include the demands against the anti-poor policies like education attacks, mass unemployment and poverty wages.
What protests are the British left mounting in solidarity?