Let’s get two caveats out of the way first: I’m neither a Muslim and nor am I religious in my daily life. I come from a Sikh family. Secondly, anyone who’s read my writing knows I have zero sympathy for religiously motivated terrorists. In fact I even supported the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to take out the Taliban. Now to the main point.
Yesterday the Evening Standard said in its Editorial Comment: “Muslim communities must be far more outspoken about this: we look to them, for instance, to organise protests against the Islamic State.”
It’s racist, and ridiculous.
There are three common rules when people discuss politics:
A recent example: the claim that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the self proclaimed leader of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – was funded or trained by the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, and that this was apparently revealed by Edward Snowden.
In the Observer today, I debate Nick Cohen on whether the Tricycle Theatre in London was right to ask the UK Jewish film festival to ‘reconsider’ its funding from the Israeli government.
There are two additional points I want to make that I didn’t have the space for.
If I had a penny for every time someone said this to me on Twitter, I’d have bought myself a min-island in the Bermuda by now.
Yes, the United States supports Israel with military aid every year. It also licenses American companies to sell Israel military equipment every year.
But Israel won’t collapse tomorrow if the US cut off their aid. Let’s just go over the numbers to explain.
A court judgement out this week sheds light on a very under-reported and rarely-discussed problem within South Asian communities in the UK.
In 2007 I reported for BBC Asian Network on women who come to the UK as brides from South Asia, and the potential problems they face. Since many don’t speak English (and are sometimes discouraged from learning it!) – they are more vulnerable to being abused, exploited, beaten or abandoned. One way to help, I argued, was to make it compulsory for them to learn English, so they could more easier seek help when needed and play an active role in British society.
Here are the facts of the case, as laid out in the court judgement.
The other day, in a discussion among friends on Israel’s attack on Gaza (I generally avoid them, even on Twitter), one said Hamas started the latest round of shelling by bombarding Israeli towns and inviting a response.
I have no way of verifying this, so I shrugged. Its irrelevant who started it.
On social media I’ve seen Israelis blame Hamas and say they’re merely defending themselves, so they’re justified in attacking Gaza. Israelis ask “what would you do if someone attacked you with rockets?“. Its a really stupid and short-termist question to ask and it misses the wood for the trees.
The Washington Institute recently published a note titled ‘The War Between ISIS and al-Qaeda for Supremacy of the Global Jihadist Movement’ – on tensions between the two movements.
Its worth emphasising briefly that there are differences between the two, mostly that ISIS are even more brutal than AQ and freely break many rules that Osama Bin Laden set for his own people.
But al Qaeda has effectively lost the battle for terrorism supremacy to ISIS / Islamic State.
Orthodox British Muslims are frequently accused of ignoring the voices of women, especially liberal Muslim women, for good reasons. But those aren’t the only ones: their voices are also frequently ignored and used by right-wingers with their own agenda.
It turns out that right-wingers are also happy to ally with liberal Muslim women in their agenda to criticise orthodox Muslims, but will also ignore these voices when it doesn’t suit their agenda. Yep, I’m as shocked as you are!
This particular case involves the long-running dispute over the proposed ‘Mega Mosque’ in East London.
A few observations on the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria.
A group called ISIS, which even some in the al-Qaeda leadership have disassociated themselves from, are now rapidly taking over large parts of Iraq. There is a sense of panic in the air because it obviously means more conflict in the Middle East, and more refugees trying to escape their brutal control.
But it has also sparked an odd debate here in the UK.
In the Guardian, Owen Jones writes: ‘We anti-war protesters were right: the Iraq invasion has led to bloody chaos’.
But this has been obvious for a few years now.
Liberal Conspiracy is no longer a group blog. Read this post
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