SWP, Isis and the Kurdish Struggle: Two Weights, Two Measures.
Demonstrators outside Holloway prison condemn charges against Shilan Ozcelik: No Backing from SWP.
Right whip up Islamophobia over Isis reports the latest Socialist Worker (17th March).
by Annette Mackin
Detainee rights campaign group Cage and its director Moazzam Begg have been the target of more Islamophobic smears.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper claimed it had evidence that Moazzam visited the camp where Londoner Mohammed Emwazi allegedly trained as an Isis fighter.
It quotes unnamed “official sources” speculating over the identities of men wearing balaclavas in a photo from around 2012.
The paper had already attacked Cage and Moazzam for saying that it was Western imperialism and state terror that helped make Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, into an Isis fighter.
Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee, the solicitor for the students from east London who have allegedly travelled to Syria to join Isis, has also come under attack.
Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph newspaper said that he is an “extremist” with links to “terror apologists” Cage. This was after the solicitor criticised police handling of the case.
The sisters of the students also now face “radicalisation” tests as the tide of Islamophobia grows higher around such cases.
This week three teenagers from Britain were arrested in Turkey on “suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks”. They were bailed pending further inquiries.
Is the SWP complaining that those who go to support Isis, a murderous reactionary group, are arrested?
That nobody should do anything to stop people – enthused at the idea of participating in their ethnic cleansing, and genocides – joining them?
This contrasts with the complete absence of any Socialist Worker coverage of the plight of Shilan Ozcelik (from the Kurdish news site Rudaw).
LONDON – Demonstrators converged outside London’s Holloway prison in support of Shilan Ozcelik, a British girl of Kurdish descent who is believed to be the first UK citizen to be arrested for trying to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Saturday’s demonstration followed a statement signed by various Kurdish organizations, among them the Roj Women’s Association, the Kurdish Youth Assembly and the Kurdish People’s Assembly.
”The Kurdish community and supporters of the Kurdish struggle are incensed at the arrest and imprisonment of 18 year old Shilan (Silhan) Ozcelik, who is accused of wanting to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS),” the statement said.
”The UK government has been criminalising the Kurds for at least 13 years, yet not one Kurdish individual has been charged and convicted of being a PKK member, despite many raids, arrests and intimidations,” it added.
”The case of Shilan Ozcelik is the most recent chapter of this story and the Kurdish community are now concerned that the UK government will once again criminalise the community who have been the biggest supporters of the international fight against ISIS terror and fascism,” Friday’s statement declared.
The PKK, which is in peace negotiations with the Turkish government after a three-decade guerrilla war for greater rights for the country’s large Kurdish population, remains banned in Turkey and is regarded as a terrorist group by the European Union and United States.
However, calls have been growing for months for a reappraisal of the group, since its YPG affiliate in Syria has had a frontline role in fighting ISIS and has been backed with limited arms supplies and airstrikes by the US-led coalition.
Firat News, which is close to the PKK, has called the charge against Ozcelik a “scandalous decision.”
Ozcelik has been charged with a terrorist offence under the UK’s 2006 Terrorism Act.
The teenager from London was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. Her supporters say she travelled to Brussels in an attempt to try to join the YPG or its women’s YPJ wing. She was arrested on January 16 as she returned from Brussels.
Neither the YPJ or YPG are themselves banned in the UK.
Campaigners have condemned the charge against Ozcelik and launched a petition, writing to British Prime Minster David Cameron and Home Office Minister Theresa May to call for the immediate release of Ozcelik.
Several foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and neighboring Iraq to fight with Kurdish forces battling ISIS.
Last week, Ivana Hoffman, a native of South Africa with German citizenship, was killed fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria in the war against ISIS, according to agency reports.
Before that, a British man, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, and an Australian Ase Johnson, were reported killed while battling ISIS.
Foreign fighters also have joined the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, which remains a staunch US and Western ally in the war against ISIS.
All the SWP has to say about ISIS (Ignoring completely the heroic struggle of those fighting them, above all the Kurds), is this: Isis – the real problem is Western imperialism.
There is no need to read any more.