The demand that more Muslims ‘must condemn ISIS’ is racist and ridiculous

6:16 pm - August 21st 2014

by Sunny Hundal    

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Let’s get two caveats out of the way first: I’m neither a Muslim and nor am I religious in any sense (I come from a Sikh family). Secondly, anyone who’s read my work 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.

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.”

I’ve also seen various tweets by people asking why more Muslims aren’t speaking out against ISIS, or condemning it. In response there’s this.

But even asking for condemnations is ridiculous. Muslims globally are no more responsible for the actions of ISIS than British Jews are for Israeli war-crimes. During the Gaza offensive no one asked British Jews to apologise for the Israeli bombs that killed hundreds of children. This is despite the fact that British Jews do go and fight in the IDF.

Demanding that Muslims condemn ISIS is xenophobic because it implies that they are sympathetic to the terrorist group unless they state otherwise. It implies all Muslims are responsible for the actions of terrorists. And there’s a double-standard because other minorities aren’t held to the same standard.

Yes, I’m aware that British Muslims have gone to fight with ISIS. But we live in a free country and British Mosques can’t stop people from travelling to Syria any more than the police can stop crimes before they happen.

Furthemore, the condemnations are useless, however reassuring they may sound. This is all a charade, like how politicians feel obliged to make a public statement of grief when someone famous dies.

The jihadis at ISIS and their sympathisers already see 99% British Muslim organisations and commentators as apostates. They’re executing religious Shias in Iraq daily – you think they care what the Muslim Council of Britain has to say? They don’t even care for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that most of the victims, and most of those fighting ISIS daily, are Muslims. The image above is of Kurdish soldiers fighting ISIS.

In other words, Muslims are being criticised for not condemning a group that is mostly killing Muslims. It’s ridiculous.

Britain needs a serious discussion about how to counter those people with extreme views here. We also need a discussion of British foreign policy in the Middle East. But asking all Muslims to condemn ISIS does not advance either of those much needed debates, it just illustrates idiocy.

ALSO READ: The ISIS leader was NOT trained by the CIA or Mossad, and Snowden didn’t say it

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

Hi. I agree with the spirit of this article but I think it misses the point. As with those of the Jewish community brave enough to condemn the actions of Israel we also need people of the Muslim community to condemn the actions of ISIL. Not as an apology for Muslims in the UK but to show those who abuse Islam that it cannot be done in their name. More importantly non-Muslims in our communities who do not understand the Islamic faith need those who do understand to represent the views of the wider community.

I have a term I call Identity Fallacy. It is the idea that most of the world thinks they are a sex, a race, an economic class, a political party, a religion or any such label – which, are nothing more than prisons of the awareness. Once one has dealt with this fallacy~ racism, elitism & many others are no longer a working concepts.
Waiting for world wide Moral Neurogenesis to occur and required MRIs of all Politicians’ amygdalas before receiving office – Search TEDx+Meditation+Brian


I remember back to the 70s and 80s, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland (I’m from there) where besides the armed struggle vs defending Ulster situation, on one level it was basically a sectarian war. Catholic vs Protestant. But I don’t recall anyone saying Christians must condemn the IRA or UVF. It was that Catholics must condemn the IRA and protestants must condemn the UVF. To say that all Muslims must condemn ISIS is as ridiculous as it is ignorant. However, to the British (Christian) press it’s just an easy slur. Tabloids that attack Muslims and shamefully put the pre-beheading photo of James Foley on their front page don’t want an informed understanding of the situation. They’re just happy to peddle a line that sells papers and fuels the bigotry of their owners and readership.

@Martin – bang on ! My wife is English, nominally Roman Catholic by religion, although her Father is not. When she, and later her sisters’ kids went to Catholic schools in the 70s 80s and 90s, her Dad used to ‘playfully’ goad them with questions like : “What did you learn at school today ? – Bomb making ?” – and these are his own flesh and blood remember.

Even know I still see Irish people teased by calling them ‘Fenians’ (even if they are loyalist protestants), and catholics called ‘Irish’ or ‘left footers’ even if they’re clearly not Irish, and whether they practice the religion or not. The sensitivities have subsided to the level where some of it is at the level of “banter” – but the offensive undercurrent is still there – It’s far far more than an undercurrent when the ignorance and prejudice is aimed at
Muslims though

Lumping in the IDF with ISIS is not helpful either. Please also refer to a dictionary of some sort – ‘racism’ is not applicable. Muslims are white, black, Asian and African. One cannot be racist against a religion and its adherents.

demanding Muslims condemn ISIS is wrong and suggests some form of responsibility

However it would be nice if as many Muslims protested them as vehemently as they do other issues

8. the a&e charge nurse

Adherents of Islam will not only protest but kill people if anybody is foolhardy enough to publish satirical cartoons, and yet how many embassies have been torched as a result of ISIS’s handiwork being uploaded onto the internet?

Muslims may not be obliged to protest about the dark deeds taking place in the lovely new caliphate – but if any more blasphemous cartoons appear or a celebrated British novelists dares mention the Satanic Verses then as sure as night follows day a shit-storm of righteous indignation is certain to follow.

The issue is not condemning ISIS. The issue is not promoting the ideas that lead to ISIS. Too many Muslim “leaders” speak of “an ideal Islamic state” the “beauty” of sharia, and all the various punishments that go with it, with absolute impunity.

There is no use condemning the lighting of the match if you are the one who poured the fuel. Even the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia found time to condemn ISIS even though he supports and promotes almost all of their theological positions.

Also let’s not forget those who condemn ISIS, but as a MOSSAD/CIA backed “Unislamic” conspiracy. These people only help perpetuate groups like ISIS by misdirecting energy that should be used for introspection.

The hypocrisy is blinding.

Taslima Nasreen (Author of Lojja) as quoted by TOI are that Muslims go to streets to protest against Israel but not ISIS, Why?
Well the answer is something here in above article. Also, Israel gets support from US and European countries while Palestinians not (not even by Arabs, how?). Media (branded ones) do not openly critise nor call Israelis as terrorists but opposite is. Thats why we need to go down to protests against Israel and for ISIS media is doing.

Politicians and MSM commentators who make a loud noise about the need for Muslims to condemn ISIL are themselves often remarkably quiet on condemnation of Israel for its butchery in Gaza… a number even more quiet on the disgraceful imperial legacy that set up Iraq for the current descent into nightmare. Much of the demands on Muslims “to condemn” are cloaked Islamophobia – a way to use the behaviour of ISIL to demand compliance and conformity from Muslim citizens who have every reason to stake out their own considered position rather than be bullied into joining the media’s chorus line.

12. the a&e charge nurse

[11] when you say butchery in Gaza are you referring to the Hamas operation, ‘Strangling necks’ – the extra-judicial, and public execution of 9 Palestinian men and 2 women?

Unlikely to provoke much protest from the wider muslim community I would have thought – now if any of them had been a controversial Dutch film maker then the response might have been quite different?

By the way, any idea why Brandeis University withdrew its honorary degree from Ayaan Hirsi Ali – have certain groups protested?

2 words:Taqiyya (look it up) and then read:
Otherwise please stop spreading nonsense.

I’m a Christian – IRA are stupid, as are Zionist Christians backing Israel up.
That didn’t hurt.

Yes I don’t assume Muslims support ISIS or Jewish people support Israel, but they could make their views more explicit.

That’s been the problem with ISIS, they’ve publicised themselves better than boring, safe, unpopular democracy..

“…It is undeniable that, for some Muslims, ISIS represent the purest form of Islam…”:

16. the a&e charge nurse

[15] “The Ummah’s energy is wasted by crying foul over Anglo-American hypocrisy, however true. It needs urgent focus to defeat ISIS **theologically**”

There is simply no evidence to suggest a further bout of theological in-fighting will halt the endless bouts of horrific violence that go hand in hand whenever Islamists of a certain type do not get things their own way – be it on the streets of London, the deserts of Iraq, or as we have learnt over the last few days the airport and cities of Libya.

Even the most cursory examination of Islamic history demonstrates how different factions, especially the Sunni and Shia have been murdering each other for centuries.

If you really wanted to you could educate yourself about the true meaning of a peaceful religion – it’s not as if the evidence is not out there for all to see

Perhaps the reason muslims are unlikely to protest about the methods employed in the new caliphate is because a heavy handed approach to conflict is so deeply woven into the culture as any gay man in Iran, or any ‘adulterous’ woman in Afghanistan will tell you.

This paragraph reads like the rantings of a sixth former who’s just read the Guardian for the first time:

“Demanding that Muslims condemn ISIS is xenophobic because it implies that they are sympathetic to the terrorist group unless they state otherwise. It implies all Muslims are responsible for the actions of terrorists. And there’s a double-standard because other minorities aren’t held to the same standard”

I agree regarding double standards, but I’m sorry this is a tactic you see so called liberals employing a lot in the media. The notion that something is racist or xenophobic, when on a technical level it’s actually not. Demanding condemnation of ISIS from Muslims may seem a ridiculous or unreasonable or even unrelaistic thing to ask for, but it’s not xenophobic or racist to do so. Xenophobia is a fear of other nations. Racism is to discriminate on grounds of race. Islam is not bound to any one nation and it is not a race, it’s a religion. It’s like saying that Catholics who don’t condemn paedophile priests are ‘racist’ It’s as meaningless. Stop throwing the race thing around to shut down debates you don’t like. Also, how do you know the majority of British Muslims don’t support at least the principles that ISIS stand for? Do you have the stats, the figures??

18. the a&e charge nurse

[17] There are some interesting stats which I will try to look up.

We do know Islamic states were pushing hard for the UN to ratify a ‘defamation of religion’ motion – essentially an attempt to criminalise criticism of Islam.

Fortunately this anti-liberal stance was seen off by Human Rights activists.

19. the a&e charge nurse

Ah, yes – that poll – ‘A recent poll showed that 36% of British Muslims (ages 16-24) believe that a person should be killed for leaving the faith. 68% of British Muslims feel that their neighbours who insult Islam should be arrested and prosecuted, and 78% think that the Danish cartoonists should have been brought to justice.

Of course this poll does not demonstrate a sneaking admiration for ISIS but we do know perhaps 500 or so British Jihadists have joined the extremists while some of these individuals participated in the filmed execution of James Foley.

Disagree with this article
1) muslims not a race – so therefore not racist
2) it would be helpful for british/international muslims to condemn the actions of the IS ; in the same way that it is helpful for those aware of the situation in gaza for UK/US etc Jewish people to condemn the actions of the israeli military

so for muslims not to condemm a racist,fascist,nazi,third reich, women raping,baby beheading,mass murdering,genocidal group called isis in your twisted eyes sunny hundal is racist and ridiculous,the sickeness of the left never shocks me and i suggest that detached bloggers like you and the other sick leftists are the ones who are racist and ridiculous matey.

22. Yngve Frey

I am working in muslim countries and know of course that most muslims are peaceful, but am not comfortable when I realise that if someone is drawing a cartoon of the prophet, there is rage in the streets, threatening condemnations, even killings and burning of embassies. The same when Israelis are killing muslims. So, why do we hear so little condemnation when ISIS are killing thousands and forcing tens or hundreds of thousand people away from their homeland?

First of all it’s not racist because Muslim is not a race. Dumbo

It’s only not a race when it’s white children being pimped like animals in 2014 in civilised countries. That isn’t about race. If Muslims are victims in any way, it’s straight up racism.

There is no need for apologies for muslims as you said there is no need for apologies for example Bristish jews. Both are not responsible.
But I have a big problem with the things thats going on from another perspective. We have seen a lot of demonstrations in regard to the caricatures of the prophet and the american movie about the prophet´s life. The demonstrations have seen these as an insult to the prophet. Now IS/ISIS is carrying the sign of the prophet on their flag. Why isn´t that seen as an insult to the Prophet?

i consider myself liberal but the hypocrisies are sometimes astounding when it comes to things like this. what about when (for example) men commit rape and feminists say that men as a whole need to be responsible for ‘rape culture’ and speak out against misogyny and when they make fun of the ‘not all men’ thing etc? that is exactly the same thing and yet i bet you follow that particular line of thought.

And there was me thinking this website was full of White Racists.

In other words : Anyone that challenges/questions comments regarding subjects of immigration matters or other cultures ARE racists.

This is really a weird website. Sorry if my comments offend anyone as this was not my intention.

Sundeep is more than happy to allow “Brown” racists and anti semites on his sites, all you have to do is look at the pickled politics cache.

At least his chip on the shoulder has lessened since Murray told everyone how much Sundeep earned and that he’s still living at home with mum and dad… snigger

29. the a&e charge nurse

‘a coalition of imams and organisations representing British Muslims’ appear to have condemned ISIS.

It seems the death cult in Iraq and Syria are confused about the proper interpretation of the text – a bit like Islam in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and one or two others.

Why, oh why can’t any of them get it right, eh?

Ha ha. The obligatory loony lefty talk of the sort that helps MI6-Hundal and MI6 Monbiot fit in with the Guardian lefty-space. Baiting other people as a racist. Well an MI6 gimp has to work hard to fit in one supposes.

‘It seems the death cult in Iraq and Syria are confused about the proper interpretation of the text – a bit like Islam in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and one or two others.’

Hey dummy. Its a Jew front group slowpoke. Thats why they conduct fake beheadings and they kill only Christians and Muslims. Like all Jew front groups. They talk up a storm but if Jews get killed its only by accident or pure window-dressing.

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