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  • New (and older) extremists


    by Sunny
    4th July, 2007 at 9:07 am    

    Over at the Huffington Post, Ali Eteraz makes a very succint point about the recent popularity of ex-jihadists such as Ed Hussain (The Islamist) and now Hassan Butt:

    To a problem that has myriad and contradictory prongs — social alienation, theologies fertile for nihilism, foreign invasions, political repression, even sexual and domestic violence — a former terrorist or radical is hardly a sufficient expert. If anything, the same mentality that led him to first seek out a one-stop utopia in radicalism, upon his conversion, leads him to posit a one-stop solution to it as well. Further, reliance upon these “former” radicals and criminals keeps the discourse about violence stuck in the past. We keep doing historiography; the terrorists keep evolving.

    It is indeed true that they have simplistic answers. Ed Hussain wants Hizb ut-Tahrir banned (bad idea) while Hassan Butt bizarrely asks Muslims to renounce terror (thereby falling for the MCB idea that British Muslims think the same and speak with one voice). Second, their analysis is indeed stuck in the past. Ed Hussain’s The Islamist (reviewed by Clairwil here) was about Hizb ut-Tahrir 10-15 years ago, not now.

    Ali Eteraz’s full article is worth reading, though I should point out that I’m less impressed by other bloggers / commenters who try and dismiss Hussain / Butt’s experiences by lamely saying they’re only doing it for money and attention.

    But all these ex-jihadis have made the point that foreign policy is not the main driver of terrorism, which is increasingly more obvious. In the last month or so we have seen: (1) attacks by Al-Qaeda militants on Shias in Iraq; (2) an attack in Yemen against Spanish tourists (neither of whom are in Iraq); (3) threats of suicide attacks in Pakistan by conservative militants. And of course the attack in Scotland.

    Everyone accepts Al-Qaeda recruiters want Muslims to hate ‘the west’. What is to stop them from stoking up more conflicts in the Middle East and conjuring up other grievances around the world to ensure a continual supply of militants?
    Asim Siddiqui yesterday quite rightly asked this and that if the radical are concerned about Muslim life, where is their outrage over Darfur? The best Inayat Bunglwala can come up with is his tired cliches that media “warmongers” and “pro-Israel cheerleaders” at HP won’t help us defeat violent extremists. Well, you can join that list too Inayat, even your mate Asghar Bukhari is saying it.

    Update: While Sarfraz Manzoor’s article today is worth reading, it’s interesting that Salma Yaqoob, who previously said 7/7 was a “reprisal” against the war in Iraq, has come out admitting that: “Muslims must also not deny there is an intolerant, sectarian strand of Islam that provides fake theological justifications for terrorism,” and that it goes further than simply blaming Iraq. Welcome back to reality Salma.

    Note: Alan Johnston has been released. Woohoo!


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    1. Buck Naked Politics

      Britain’s New Security Minister Predicts 15 Year Struggle Against Terror; British Muslims Speak Out Against Extremism and the Methods of the Blair Government….

      Nick or our (eventual) new contributing author, Mr. Rumcove, really ought to be covering this—they’re both English-but well, they’re not going to, the slackers. Nick is working on his novel and Steven is off regaling himself in York. Since they’r…




    1. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 11:19 am  

      wow Alan Johnston has been released! that’s brilliant news! how wonderful..!!!

    2. pommygranate — on 4th July, 2007 at 11:34 am  

      Good news about Johnston - let’s hope we don’t get the ‘now about his pro-Palestine bias’ inquisition just yet.

      Re Eteraz’s article, it’s a fair point. We can get too influenced by the views of people who are (or were) clearly deranged. But nonetheless, they do offer an insight into a world that none of us can possibly imagine and their opinions should be listened to.

      Thanks for the link, btw. I wrote the article for the Australian Libertarian Society. In the comments i have been scorched for playing down the significance of the ‘blowback’ theory so favoured by the likes of Ron Paul, and for being willing to concede minor infringements on our liberties. I don’t really see what other choices we have, though.

    3. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 11:47 am  

      i shall have to read what ali eteraz has to say about Ed Husain. ( i haven’t read the Islamist yet) what i am looking for is a deeper understanding of the social dynamics - i would hardly look to that book for a solution, naturally because of the personal experience, one would hardly expect it to be unbiased. And yes, what HuT was like 10-15 years ago is critical in understanding how they managed to take root - how they ‘won hearts and minds’ - that journey is certainly important in working out what’s going on here and now.

      What interests me is having been on the fringe of the scene i know people were taken in by the HuT. what would be really useful is if we could get a cross-section of views and insight from a range of people who were ‘involved’. what are they thinking now as opposed to before? what do they think would appeal to young people now? etc. of course its not surprising so many people are anti-Ed, it takes a lot of guts for him to put himself where he is now, a lot of people are seriously thinking of him as a ‘traitor’. I know there were people back then who were attracted to HuT’s vision, i have no idea where they are now, i have no idea how it panned out for them effectively. it would be really useful to try and start a discussion where people ( in private) could come forward with their ethnographic experiences. of course, most people are really not going to want to share this - either because they fear the MI5 or they dont want to be seen as traitors etc.

    4. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 11:49 am  

      So personal stories like Eds are very valuable indeed

    5. Jagdeep — on 4th July, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

      It is indeed true that they have simplistic answers. Ed Hussain wants Hizb ut-Tahrir banned (bad idea) while Hassan Butt bizarrely asks Muslims to renounce terror (thereby falling for the MCB idea that British Muslims think the same and speak with one voice). Second, their analysis is indeed stuck in the past. Ed Hussain’s The Islamist (reviewed by Clairwil here) was about Hizb ut-Tahrir 10-15 years ago, not now.

      These are incrediibly reductive and simplistic caricatures of Ed Husain’s book and message. Ed Husain doesnt have a single point (Ban HuT!); this is just one (contestable) assertion he makes out of many lines of reason emerging from his experiences. Claiming that it is stuck in the past is myopic and seems like derision-by-numbers (not least of all because the roots of all this are important for explicating where we are now)

      Hassan Butt’s article is more of a plea to Muslims to take ownership of the issue than a collective-culpability assertion. And that’s what you think, isnt it Sunny? Claiming otherwise or comparing it to the MCB is bizarre in itself. Deriding them as one dimensional misses the whole point — Butt’s testimony are specific to British post 2nd generation Muslims and are a plea for realism and to lose the denial prevalent in sections of Muslim and mainstream society about the drivers for the kinds of extremist ideology and action we see. Deriding them whilst not acknowledging the value of their contribution in at least starting a debate is mean spirited and full of falsity.

    6. Roger — on 4th July, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

      If you want to know why people decide to kill other people for religious reasons then it’s the ones who went furthest along that road who can best give us information. The thing with ordinary muslims is that they hold very similar opinions to everyone else but with a muslim tinge- they may dislike homosexuals, but they aren’t going to say they should be killed, for example- whereas the former bigots know more the mentality and emotions of the ultrabigots.

    7. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 1:05 pm  

      i have posted some comments on the huffington post - haha had to break it up! they’re cunning about long posts.

      yes i agree with ali that we obviously shouldn’t lap up what they might say with regards to ‘solutions’ but certainly it is simplistic to then suggest that just because we don’t want to take their solution, we should discard their anecdotal evidence - after all -they fell for the crap - so who better to learn from - what it is that is so appealing.

      That’s the point - it shouldn’t be a simplistic yes let’s listen to them and turn them into policymakers, or no let’s shut them up.

    8. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 1:05 pm  

      “what it is that is so appealing about Islamist propaganda”

    9. bananabrain — on 4th July, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

      the same thing that’s appealing about all one-stop solutions - it’s simple and even morons can understand it!

      i’m not going to have a go at alan johnston, i think he’s had enough trouble, but now he has been released i think it is time to point out that the same organisation that kidnapped him was involved in the kidnap of israeli soldier gilat shalit, who remains, a year later, a bargaining chip hostage of hamas. notice how hamas are busily mopping up the congratulations from our new foreign secretary - it all looks rather convenient, doesn’t it? yasser abed rabbo (a fatah loyalist and ex-PM of the PA) suggested that - gasp - hamas might have set the whole thing up in order to gain a propaganda victory; after all, it’s hard to see this as anything but a win-win scenario for them; if it all went tits-up, it could be blamed on this “army of islam” group, (who are basically a mafia clan) if not they could take the credit for their intervention. call me a cynic, but i think that a group that smuggles suicide bombers through checkpoints in red crescent ambulances can hardly be trusted on this front.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    10. bananabrain — on 4th July, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

      here’s the link:

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/878200.html

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    11. james — on 4th July, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

      Have you seen this

    12. Katherine — on 4th July, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      I have to say that the tone of Ai Eteraz’s piece was rather sour and one note to my ears. His basic point seems to be - how dare those people who used to be scary extremists now talk about reform without having an exact plan and without namechecking the right people.

    13. Urmee — on 4th July, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

      Did you see Shiv Malik versus Inayat Bunglawala on Newsnight yesterday? What did people think? To be honest, I found it a bit depressing seeing Malik put so much energy into attacking the MCB for being extremist - instead of addressing the real extremists.

      It is easy to knock the MCB for being old school; feeding into the media frenzy about how nuts they are - but it is also important to remember that people like Sadik Khan MP and lawyer Aina Khan who are very progressive - are part of the MCB.

      I agree with Sunny that we can’t just accuse of the ‘new wave’ of Ed Hussain, Hassan Butt etc of cashing in - because there is obviously a big demand for them - but Eteraz does make valid points.

      Certainly some are privately saying that its a bit of a coincidence that there’s suddenly a whole crop of articulate young men who all seem to know each who are taking it in turns to have a have a swipe at the MCB.

      Why is the MCB such a hate object when it trys to fulfil the governments aims?

    14. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

      i do think katherine has a point. generally i find ali eteraz’s posts on his personal blog very entertaining and insightful. this article for the huffing post did seem to be emphasizing that these guys were sort of maniacs before, they can’t be reliably listened to now. Well like i said, no one is asking them to set foreign policy are they? We can’t dismiss them just because they used to be extremists - precisely that’s why we might want to find out what they have to say. what we then do is another matter.

      his approach is a bit legalistic i think - the sort of thing lawyers say when drug addict witnesses show up in court. diminished testimony and all that stuff.

      now if we are talking to drug addicts to find out why people are taking drugs, that is a completely different context and I would argue that if you’re interested in tackling drugs, you ought to be going out and finding out why kids are taking them.

    15. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 4:29 pm  

      well bananabrain i do think you might have a point in what you’re saying about hamas tactics. that may very well be - i wouldn’t put it past them. but i can’t see how its having a go at alan johnston though? are you suggesting its may have fault for getting kidnapped?

    16. Sunny — on 4th July, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

      Jagdeep:

      this is just one (contestable) assertion he makes out of many lines of reason emerging from his experiences.

      Well, Yahya did a better job at critical analysis of the book than me, but why don’t you tell me what his other solutions were?

      Hassan Butt’s article is more of a plea to Muslims to take ownership of the issue than a collective-culpability assertion.

      I think certain Muslim organisations can take more of an ownership of the issue but the idea that ordinary Muslims need to get involved only panders to the idea that all Muslims are culpable for what some idiots are doing. I found Butt’s article too reductive in its solutions.

      But saying that, I’ve already said I find their experiences interesting and haven’t dismissed them entirely. Remember, we’ve covered The Islamist here frequently. The danger is listening to them a bit too much, as if they’ll off the magic bullet.

      Both Butt and Hussain can tell us about how people get sucked into terrorism, but they’re still acting as if those orgs are the same as 10 years ago.

    17. Derius — on 4th July, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

      The tactics of HuT may have changed over the last 10 years, but the ideology that drives them is the same, and that ideology is derived from a literal and non contextual reading of the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira, all of which have remained unchanged for over 1000 years.

      Therefore, understanding what motivated Ed Husain and others like him is of vital importance with regards to current events, and is not merely crystallised in one time and space. Hassan Butt said as much in his recent article in the Guardian, and he should be listened to.

    18. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

      it doesn’t matter what the organisations are like now from the perspective of what motivated them to join - perhaps my interest is in the social but it seems to me as Derius says - that motivation is what would give us an insight into what drives extremism.

      in any case who was expecting ‘answers’ anyway to what one should do about terrorism? people are acting as if the set question was - what do we do about terrorism today - and the answers in question were Husain’s islamist. i don’t know why everyone expects answers when they clearly don’t seem to be willing to delve in the how’s and the whys of what’s happened to date.

    19. sonia — on 4th July, 2007 at 6:00 pm  

      what anyone chooses to do about HuT today is quite another discussion.

    20. bikhair — on 4th July, 2007 at 6:30 pm  

      Derius,

      “The tactics of HuT may have changed over the last 10 years, but the ideology that drives them is the same, and that ideology is derived from a literal and non contextual reading of the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira, all of which have remained unchanged for over 1000 years.”

      Well arent you cute. Did you come up with that all by yourself?

    21. Anas — on 4th July, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

      I think I’m pretty much done arguing about the influence of different factors on Islamist terrorism (everyone’s open to trying to figure out the most important causes as long as they don’t come out with the most obvious answer — that might imply that we’re also the baddies). But I have to say I agree about the Darfur thing, it’s disgraceful that Muslims haven’t spoken out more about this — I would count myself in that — since the concept of Umma is constantly being brought to bear in different concepts. There’s no excuse.

      However, as a citizens of a state that is directly complicit in so many ways with what is happening in Palestine, I think it’s a disgrace that most of the posters here aren’t doing more to end that particular inhuman occupation. In fact, anti-Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns are particularly effective towards raising awareness. So get your arses in gear people. As for bananabrain’s hilarious comment — gave me a good chuckle anyway. Could he please tell me how many Palestinians are currently imprisoned in Israel, including women and children, including without trial, and indeed how many Hamas cabinet members are in jail? You are indeed extremely cynical bb.

    22. Anas — on 4th July, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

      Bit of googling turned this up:
      http://www.motherjones.com/news/featurex/2007/03/iraq_effect_1.html

      Haven’t read it yet but looks interesting.

    23. Faisal Haque — on 4th July, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

      Did anyone catch Brown’s encounter with Cameron at PMQs today - very interesting - Cameron was calling for a HuT ban - looked like Brown had not been briefed properly on the issue - initially he said that there needed to be evidence and a few quotes on a website were not enough to ban them - then former Home Secretary John Reid stood up and said that despite 2 reviews of HuT in the Home Office they had not found any evidence to ban them. Reid, not so well known for his liberal views, also praised Brown and the new Home Sec Jacqui Smith for their measured approach.

      With regard to these “ex-islamists” I accept that they cannot just be dismissed by saying that they are in it for the money - however as I have pointed out in the past, I think their arguments are generally weak and their experiences outdated.

    24. soru — on 4th July, 2007 at 7:05 pm  

      all of which have remained unchanged for over 1000 years

      Don’t be silly, they didn’t even have explosives 1000 years ago, let alone car bombs.

      Pretty sure terrorism, in the narrow sense of deliberately and covertly killing civilians in order to scare them, is a 19C concept - before that, there wasn’t either the weaponry, the media or the voting citizens to make it viable.

      Very unlikely that Mo thought of it 1200 years ahead of it’s invention. At least, assuming you believe he wasn’t divinely inspired.

    25. ZinZin — on 4th July, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

      I think I’m pretty much done arguing about the influence of different factors on Islamist terrorism (everyone’s open to trying to figure out the most important causes as long as they don’t come out with the most obvious answer — that might imply that we’re also the baddies).

      Like Mr Butt says such suggestions are laughable, still you stick to your guns while others, such as Salma Yaqoob abandon the good ship foreign policy causes terrorism.

    26. Chairwoman — on 4th July, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

      Faisal Haque - Having been impressed by Brown’s statesman-like performance over the weekend, I thought he was extremely disappointing at today’s Question Time.

      Has anybody else noticed that he no longer sports the rumpled professorial hairstyle of old, but is now coiffed within an inch of his life :-)

    27. Chairwoman — on 4th July, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

      Soru - They had gunpowder 1000 years ago. Oh yes.

    28. Zak — on 4th July, 2007 at 8:23 pm  

      People repeatedly fall for the trap of confusing political Islamists and orthodox salafis in Islam. Political Islamists like the HT, are virtually uniinterested in the ritual aspect of Islam (they are often quite “liberal” in lifestyle) ..their focus is purely on the capture of power. They only aspects of Islamic law they are interested in are the odd ones they can exploit to enhance that power.

    29. bikhair — on 4th July, 2007 at 9:51 pm  

      Zak,

      So true.

    30. El Cid — on 4th July, 2007 at 10:23 pm  

      http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSL0380407920070704

      assume “the” should be “an”

    31. Usman — on 4th July, 2007 at 10:48 pm  

      Zak
      Islam is one, there is only one version of Islam and that’s that, there are however different interpretations of the text but that don’t make it a different version. Difference of opinions can only be on those evidences which are open to interpretation and not on definite texts. If you want to learn more on the subject than go study Asul ul Fiqh (Detailed evidences and principles in Islamic jurisprudence)

      All the rhetoric by politicians about real Islam has been hijacked by Islamists (what ever that is, there are new words being invented now) is all a load of nonsense, an attempt to divide the Muslim community and fundamentally change the parts of Islam they find unsuitable. A diversion from the real issues, namely the pathetic and blatant disaster of their foreign policy and the effect it has had in terms of terrorist activity in this country(not that foreign policy justifies these acts but is the route cause of them still).

      And now I am expecting someone to disagree and turn it the other way around and say that Islam and Muslims are responsible for terrorism blah blah blah. Well before you do I just want to say, if this really is true then bring your proofs and evidences and not just regurgitate what politicians have told you, and please keep it in its correct context which it is supposed to be in.

    32. Sunny — on 5th July, 2007 at 12:21 am  

      And now I am expecting someone to disagree and turn it the other way around and say that Islam and Muslims are responsible for terrorism blah blah blah.

      There’s no point disagreeing with you Usman, you live in your own world.

    33. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 12:52 am  

      Faisal Haque,

      Interesting post at 23. If I am reading you right, it ain’t as simple as some polarisers would have us believe?

      So:

      It is an easy shot for some to say that ex-Islamists are in it for the money.

      It is an equally easy shot for others to say that Islamists are in it for the power, the community status and in the longer term, the money too.

      These opposing views actually differentiate nothing much. Successful advocates of causes tend not to be too poor.

      I think both views, and more nuanced ones too, should be given freedom of expression, so we could arrive at a settled will as to who’s right, who’s wrong and who’s just doolally.

    34. Faisal Haque — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:18 am  

      Interesting stuff on Sky:

      Cameron’s Letter To Radical Group

      Updated: 06:19, Thursday July 05, 2007

      A radical Islamic group that Tory leader David Cameron wants banned was thanked last year in a private letter - from David Cameron.

      The revelation by Sky News will be seen as an embarrassment after the Conservative leader’s question about Hizb ut Tahir in the House Of Commons was seen as drawing blood from Gordon Brown in his first Prime Minister’s Questions.

      Mr Cameron asked why the group had not been banned for allegedly urging its supporters to “kill Jews”.

      Mr Brown first tried to dodge the question by saying he had only been Prime Minister for five days before being told to answer the question by the Speaker Of The House.

      He then said: “I’ve agreed we will look at this issue. But we need evidence and the evidence can’t be just one or two quotes. What we must do is look in detail at the evidence.”

      Then former home secretary John Reid stepped in to say that two reviews of Hizb ut Tahir had not produced enough evidence to close the organisation down.

      The exchange - and the apparent confusion in the Government ranks - appeared to be a victory for the Tory leader.

      However, Sky can reveal that in August last year Mr Cameron’s office wrote to Hizb ut Tahir in reply to a letter from the group and thanked it for its comments over the war in Lebanon.

      In the letter, addressed to Jamal Harwood of Hizb ut Tahir Britain, a member of Mr Cameron’s staff wrote: “David is most grateful to you for your comments on relationships between Western governments and the Muslim world.

      “He fully takes on board the points put across to him in correspondence from members of the public and it’s very helpful of you to have taken the trouble to write.

      “Your comments are noted and appreciated.”

      Sky’s Chief Political Correspondent, Jon Craig, said the Conservatives were playing down the significance of the letter.

      Craig said: “A member of Mr Cameron’s team tells me there is no way he’s endorsing the views of this organisation.

      “It’s a standard letter apparently and was written at the time of the Lebanon conflict, at a time when Mr Cameron was apparently getting 800 letters a day on this subject.

      “Gordon Brown’s supporters, however, are saying the worm has turned.”

      http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91211-1273737,00.html

    35. Usman — on 5th July, 2007 at 10:02 am  

      Sunny
      I live in the real world, rather you are the one who lives a world of your own. If you were someone who could think for himself and not be spoon fed everything by the media you would bring some real arguments and not just make some childish remarks.

    36. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 10:58 am  

      Chairwoman,

      You are right, as ever. I don’t suppose the citizens of Calais had the modern word for terrorist, but the ‘Burghers of Calais’ sculpture seems to encapsulate the point:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:The.burg.of.calais.london.arp.750pix.jpg

      What is interesting about this is that the oppressors, in this case the UK, have chosen to place their copy of the statue right next to the Houses of Parliament.

      Learning from your mistakes?

    37. bananabrain — on 5th July, 2007 at 11:04 am  

      i can’t see how its having a go at alan johnston though? are you suggesting its may have fault for getting kidnapped?
      no, i was just forestalling someone criticising me for supposedly doing that. which they haven’t, so good.

      In fact, anti-Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns are particularly effective towards raising awareness.

      what, like the current massively counter-productive “academic” nonsense? they are effective for letting the hobby-horsers who want to bash israel vent their spleen, as well as preaching to the converted, but actually all they do is harden diaspora support for israel. perhaps you’re aware of the counter-campaign to support israeli products and services and encourage links with israeli academics? perhaps if, oh, i don’t know, the union was as concerned about darfur or tibet as they are with israel it might be slightly less so. as for helping the palestinians, it does not a jot. not one palestinian is fed or one checkpoint removed by this sort of self-indulgent claptrap.

      i’m not sure why you think what i say is “hilarious”, anas, but the number of palestinian prisoners in israel is not in fact terribly relevant to whether hamas are playing propaganda games with theit kidnapping strategy. cynical? hello, mr pot, it’s mr kettle on the phone.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    38. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 11:27 am  

      i’ve just had time to scroll up and read jagdeep’s point no. 5 - sensible fellow you are! :-) and roger no. 6 - absolutely.

      if you ask your average indian if they will admit to coming from a racist + sexist culture ( whether that means they as an individual subscribe to it or not is clearly a different matter) they will of course reply no. such pride in one’s groups we all have!

      Faisal - given that you are still calling yourself an Islamist, why don’t you tell us what’s what? Do tell - we’re all listening. And with a title like your blog - you’re obviously being monitored by mi5 are you not?

    39. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 11:37 am  

      i think the boycotting israeli academics is really stupid and counter-effective. people should be engaging the academics, many of whom are peace activists anyway. Hah shows you how silly solidarity can be sometimes, and groupthink.

    40. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      Sonia at 39,

      You are quite right.

      Boycotting is really stupid.

      Engaging is the way to go.

    41. Chairwoman — on 5th July, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

      Anas - Before you start recommending boycotting Israeli products as a ‘good thing’, I think you ought, quite seriously, to look at the economic repercussions for the UK.

      Israel imports about £2 billion in products/services etc from us, than we do from them. If the boycott goes ahead, Israeli unions will refuse to unload cargo from British ships and planes, and the person who ultimately suffers will not be the Israelis (for let’s face it, apart from HP and Worcester Sauce, there’s not much that can’t be imported from elsewhere), but the British working man, and he might not be too keen on that.

      If you personally want to cease using your Pentium processor and your mobile phone and availing yourself of Israeli medical advances, it is obviously your prerogative to do so, and I would be the first to applaud your commitment to your cause, but it would be unfair of you to encourage others to follow your lead without telling them what the result could be.

    42. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

      Anas,

      Re this:

      “I think I’m pretty much done arguing about the influence of different factors on Islamist terrorism (everyone’s open to trying to figure out the most important causes as long as they don’t come out with the most obvious answer — that might imply that we’re also the baddies). But I have to say I agree about the Darfur thing, it’s disgraceful that Muslims haven’t spoken out more about this — I would count myself in that — since the concept of Umma is constantly being brought to bear in different concepts. There’s no excuse.”

      It is why atheists like me, and others, can’t understand where you religion is coming from. Explain, please.

      Step for a hint, killing your co-religionists is pretty stupid.

    43. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 3:33 pm  

      and in fact its just going to peeve people and make it less likely they’ll engage with anyone. boycotting people is the sure fire way to create more enmity, and solidarity amongst those boycotted.

      if that’s what people want then they’ll sure get it.

    44. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

      Sonia,

      Agreed. That is the point, is it not? You and I engage in dicussion, and are open to change, some folk are not willing to go down that route, apparently.

    45. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

      aye douglas..

    46. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

      oops rest of my comment got lost, yes douglas good point in 42 - im interested in seeing what anas says. as well all know, despite the grand hype of religion, it isn’t much of a glue, not always. oh no. not when there are other things that people choose to fight about - like perceptions of race and other fights. oh then its just another thing you have in common with your fellow mankind like one nose and two eyes.

      killing co-religionists: let’s see : all the fights between muslims - ooh the pakistanis and bengalis didn’t seem to mind that both were muslim - there were other things to fight about. ooh iraq didn’t seem to mind that kuwait was supposed to be muslim too.

      the global ummah is just a myth. a nice big fat myth. and the juiciest bit of the myth is that anyone in saudi arabia gives a f**k about muslims elsewhere - well i suppose that’s somewhat unfair = the rich in SA are very keen on hauling in poor muslims to do their dirty work, ooh i wish some of these muslim maids would say oh brother, you are my brother in the global ummah that i have heard so much, should you not be giving me more money and some human rights?

    47. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

      and the iraqis and kuwaitis were supposed to be Arab Brothers as well! hai hai.

    48. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

      sonia

      While you are right about much of what you say, I think that your knowledge of the Middle East, particularly Iraq, is poor - and that’s being kind.

      Saddam was not Muslim. He was a Baathist; Muslim brotherhood did not concern him as much as Pan-Arab Nationalism. His incursion into the American protectorate of Kuwait was one of the few things that the Arab Street cheered about regarding his rule.

      Before the Europeans turned up, Kuwait had always been ruled from Baghdad; Saddam’s ‘invasion’ was seen as a ‘reclamation’ and a return to a pre-colonial state of affairs by the Arab street.

      You have some valid points, and make them well re Pak-Bangla, but stick to what you know, not what you think you know.

      Thanks.

    49. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

      Muzumdar,

      Stop trying to talk down to folk. AFAIK Sonia actually experienced the invasion of Kuwait. So, saying her knowledge is poor is just stupid.

      And that is being kind, to you.

      The Arab Street seems to be populated by dunces. Or dupes.

      Thanks.

    50. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

      doug

      AFAIK Sonia actually experienced the invasion of Kuwait.

      Then she should certainly know better.

      The Arab Street seems to be populated by dunces

      doug, I hate to break it to you but the Scottish Raj is over; attitudes like the above are now the reserve of hate-filled modern Orientalists, Daily Mail bigots and rabid right-wingers. But now we know what company you keep.

    51. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:24 pm  

      Muzumdar,

      Sorry mate, she did. And has her own POV. Which, unfortunately for you, is not your own. Sonia?

      The Arab Street does seem to be populated by dunces, have you any evidence to the contrary?

      I am frankly delighted that you think that I even read the ‘Daily Mail’, whatever that is, or know what an Orientalist actually is. You give me too much credit for sources I have never, ever been interested in.

      If I were you, I’d be more worried about the company you keep, rather than the company I keep.

      So, I hate to break it to you too. Idiotic comments like yours will get no dispensation.

    52. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

      doug

      The Arab Street does seem to be populated by dunces, have you any evidence to the contrary?

      This is what I love about the white middle-class; always ignorant of their own inherent prejudices. This is great, keep it coming, you ignorant old man.

      I’m sure sonia is capable of speaking for herself but, knight in shining armour that you are, I’m sure she will be thrilled to see your pathetic cheerleading attempts.

    53. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:40 pm  

      heh how amusing, obviously i am aware of the dynamics of kuwait and iraq, i know that saddam didn’t give a shit about islam, im sure people were perfectly aware my comment was made about the fact that attention is paid to muslim-nonmuslim conflict, and the same attention ( i.e. from within the muslim community) isn’t paid to muslim-on -muslim conflict. naturally douglas and anas have probably worked out that was my comment was pertaining to.

      so whether i know anything about the specifics of iraq and kuwait doesn’t matter. as ive said, i was referring to highlight how silly the clash of civ. thesis is - people will disagree with each other ( over nothing if PP is anything to go by!) and fight each other. Many such conflicts are given ‘frames’ by others - like Huntington, religious people etc. The most amusing thing of course, was having got to dhaka after a month or so of traversing the desert during 1990 - and when i finally got to bangladesh, went to school- it was feb 1991 by this point, the americans had muscled in on the act, and for a lot of muslims in bangladesh, this had become the West vs Iraq - for them - a religious fight.
      amusing but annoying at the same time.

      (muzumdar seems to be here to try and irk people but it wont work with me.)

      p.s i think the only person who comes across as pathetic is you muzumdar. but don’t let that worry you pet, it gives us something to get our teeth into ’round here.

    54. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

      personally i think i know what muzumdar is doing - he’s looking for a fight, (ooh im playing pop psychologist again) that’s what - he wouldn’t be happy if we all agreed with him and said dear muzumdar we do agree with you 100% - he wouldn’t be able to have a go at anyone anymore!

      right im off to brave the rain, douglas you are an absolute sweetheart btw

    55. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

      Muzumdar,

      I may be a shade of off white, I maybe have too many years under my belt, but I am certainly not middle class.

      The prejudices are all yours mate, keep your support for the ‘Arab Street’ as abstract as you can. In that way, we’ll never know what you, Muzumdar, actually thinks.

      Which is what I love about cheap cultural imperialists such as your good self.

      Course, you could always buy the Sun. That’d give you instant opinions on everything.

      On the Sonia thing, you are quite right in saying that she should speak up for herself. I think, if you care to look, she’s already done that.

      Please keep posting. I haven’t had this much fun since I decided to go abstinent on Yanks.

    56. soru — on 5th July, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

      Nice trick to use some dumb phrase like ‘the arab street’ and then call ignorance and orientalism if someone uses that phrase in their reply.

    57. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:00 pm  

      and yes of course the Arab street is full of dunces, ha no suprises there.

      “Before the Europeans turned up, Kuwait had always been ruled from Baghdad”

      heh you might want to get some detail in your historical facts. the ruling family of kuwait - the Sabah - are related to the the Saudi ruling elite, they share the same tribal roots from the Anaiza clan, who migrated out from the najd. Naturally they had interaction/altercation with the Ottoman Empire who were in power - and Basrah - was the “centre” from which nominally the Ottoman empire was controlling this bit of arabia. as the ottoman empire was crumbling by this time, they were almost were bankrupt by the mid 1880s, when the brits showed up in 1770 something or other, they stuck around. one can look into the detail of the anglo-ottoman agreements that were struck around this time, to be aware of the disagreements and effectively what happened was the ottomans were really in no position to argue, the British were stronger, so kuwait was like a ‘governorate’ under the Ottomans. Of course the first world war meant no more Ottoman empire so Kuwait became one of those british protectorate sheikhdom thingies. interestingly, border disputes at this stage were in the najd area, with the house of saud. the border disputes with iraq date back to the end of the first world war - when all of the ottoman possessions were becoming independent.

      a lot of detail and a lot of disagreement. but it was quite amusing that when saddam declared all the funny stuff he did in 1990, that all sorts of people fell for what he said, when all the detail was in the history books.

    58. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

      sonia

      and the same attention ( i.e. from within the muslim community) isn’t paid to muslim-on -muslim conflict

      But Saddam wasn’t Muslim, hence your example was poor.

      The rest of your post is just more whining on the douglas clark scale.

      doug

      This is great, you call Arabs a bunch of ‘dunces’ and then accuse me of being prejudiced and a cultural imperialist. Classic.

      soru

      I’m not objecting to his use of the phrase ‘Arab street’, I’m objecting to the fact that he accused that Arab street of being a bunch of ‘dunces’. See the difference? Muppet.

    59. Roger — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

      “Saddam was not Muslim. He was a Baathist; Muslim brotherhood did not concern him as much as Pan-Arab Nationalism. ”

      Above all he was an opportunist, Muzumdar, and he was quite capable of spouting and whipping up islamic rhetoric when it suited hi.
      “Before the Europeans turned up, Kuwait had always been ruled from Baghdad; Saddam’s ‘invasion’ was seen as a ‘reclamation’ and a return to a pre-colonial state of affairs by the Arab street.”
      Before the Europeans turned up Kuwait and Iraq were all parts of the Turkish Empire so, whatever it became whan Saddam invaded, it certainly wasn’t a return to a pre-colonial state of affairs.

    60. sonia — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:09 pm  

      i guess the amusing thing being that - whether baghdad, or basrah, the people who controlled it at the time Kuwait was settled - were the Ottomans, who obviously controlled Iraq just as much as they controlled Kuwait, or any other part of that region. so if anyone was going to say well i used to rule it, can i have it back - it would be the Turks. (but they were obviously too sensible, and that wouldn’t have worked anyway, cos that would be a bit like bit like the italians nowadays saying they had a right to Britain because at one point they both formed part of the roman empire)

    61. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

      Roger

      His ‘Inshallah’/'Bismillah’/'Allah ho Akbar’ rhetoric in his dying days was a load of rubbish. The man was a Baathist through and through - he came through the ranks and was thoroughly politicised.

      Of course it wasn’t a full pre-colonial state of affairs but the Arab street saw it as a step backwards in time towards that.

    62. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

      “This is great, you call Arabs a bunch of ‘dunces’ and then accuse me of being prejudiced and a cultural imperialist. Classic.”

      No. That is not what I am saying. I doubt many bright Arabs see themselves as influenced by what the street says.

      I am saying that if you feed folk lies continually, then you can expect them to react in a Pavlovian way.
      “Oh,” they might say, “The ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ have been on the telly, and lots of folk down our street believe it. So it must be true!”

      It might be classic, it is also rubbish.

      At the risk of a Godwin award, it is worth pointing out that excessive lies are better than minor ones. Goebbels comes to mind. So, what I am saying is that the ‘Arab Street’ has been poisoned.

      BTW, you have no right whatsoever to object to the term ‘Arab Street’. It was you that raised it. As though the ‘Arab Street’ has more justification than ‘Sun Readers’.

      Rubbish.

    63. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:30 pm  

      doug

      Are you completely bereft of intelligence and close reading skills?

      I never objected to the term ‘Arab Street’, not once.

      I objected to you stereotyping an entire region by calling them ‘dunces’.

      Your ‘point’ was to call Arabs dunces, and now you are trying to wriggle out of it by saying ‘that the ‘Arab Street’ has been poisoned’.

      You never said that, you called Arabs dunces and, in doing so, laid bare your quite repugnant imperialistic view of the third world.

      Go blow on a bagpipe, or maim a sheep or whatever it is you do up there.

    64. Don — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:36 pm  

      God, it’s been years since I was in Arab Street. Used to sell damn good fishing tackle, although the missus was more interested in the fabrics.

    65. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

      No, Muzumdar,

      This is the starting point, here:

      “His incursion into the American protectorate of Kuwait was one of the few things that the Arab Street cheered about regarding his rule.”

      It is you that is bereft of reading skills. My point was that the term ‘Arab Street’ allows anything whatsoever. Define it to suit yourself - you seem emminently capable of that - and you can use it to justify anything you want. Which is where you are coming from.

      I called the Arab Street dunces, and, if what we read is to be believed, then I am right and you are wrong.
      For goodness sake, they might even subscribe to your own prejudices, and then where would we be?

      I never thought of maiming a sheep, now there’s an idea. Wonder if it came from the Arab Street?

    66. Don — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

      ‘I objected to you stereotyping…’

      ‘Go blow on a bagpipe, or maim a sheep or whatever it is you do up there.’

    67. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 6:56 pm  

      doug

      if what we read is to be believed

      You may believe everything that the Daiy Mail and Rupert Murdoch have to tell you but other, usually more inteligent, people choose not to.

      Good, you keep thinking that Arabs are dunces, Uncle Rupert knows best.

    68. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

      Well, I went out and tried to maim a sheep, just as Muzumdar suggested.

      Clever lad that, knows what gets us Scotsmen going….

      Anyway, I’ve got a bit of a limp now as the mad sheep fought back. I had to run away.

      It certainly put up a better fight than Muzumdar did, I’ll give you that.

    69. Usman — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

      Douglas
      “It is why atheists like me, and others, can’t understand where you religion is coming from. Explain, please.
      Step for a hint, killing your co-religionists is pretty stupid.”

      At present there is an accusation, that Islam and Muslims are responsible for terrorism and the media has a big hand in this, for example Charles de Menendez shooting in London after 7/7, this poor guy had nothing to do with anything yet the media portrayed him as a terrorist and if I remember rightly the headline of the Sun newspaper at the time was “got the bastard” or something similar along those lines. He wasn’t even Muslim but yet he was guilty, only to realise after killing the poor guy he was completely innocent and not even Muslim, another example if I may, Forest gate, apparently there was overwhelming evidence against these guys and one was shot in the shoulder, luckily he survived, after all the commotion they were both released without charge due to insufficient evidence, what ever happened to presumption of innocence and human rights in these incidents, to me it seems that these things are applied selectively. No surprise that Muslims feel victimised when on a daily basis they are demonised in such manner.

      Terrorism is not synonymous with Islam and Muslims, The IRA are not Muslim yet they were involved in terrorist activity, the Tamil tigers are not Muslims yet they are involved in suicide bombings, so all this talk about an evil ideology and extremists high jacking Islam doesn’t have any credibility even though these acts are done by Muslims, so it seems, doesn’t necessarily mean that Islam is the route cause of such things.

      As I have mentioned above, the government has decided it is far more convenient to divert the attention onto Muslims as a cause of these atrocities rather than to admit the absolute disaster they have created in Iraq as a result of their foreign policy (which does not justify terrorism). Sadly the status quo is that anyone who voices such opinions are radicals, extremists, fundamentalists and if they didn’t have enough labels already now there are Islamists also. This type of dialectic is counter productive as it will only increase any animosity that exists and divert the attention from the real issue -unjust foreign policy.

      The minds of the masses are far too easily manipulated by the government to serve their agenda.

      Interesting point chairwoman makes at comment 41 about the implications of boycotting Israel is bad for the economy, from what I can see, this is the kind of attitude that defines foreign policy in the first place, emphasis is always given to what makes a profit regardless of the loss of human life that is lost as a result to make that profit. Is this acceptable? From a humanitarian perspective is this right? Ironic as it is Bush’s and previously Blair’s ideology seems to be the “Evil ideology” responsible for many thousands of murders, funnily they can just brush it off as collateral damage.

    70. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:08 pm  

      Usman

      another example if I may, Forest gate, apparently there was overwhelming evidence against these guys and one was shot in the shoulder, luckily he survived, after all the commotion they were both released without charge due to insufficient evidence

      Yes, these Muslim heroes were not charged with terrorism offences but were charged with having paedophilic pictures in the thousands on their hard drives. Again, poor example.

    71. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:08 pm  

      Muzumdar,

      I do wonder about your close reading skills too. When I said:

      “I am frankly delighted that you think that I even read the ‘Daily Mail’, whatever that is, or know what an Orientalist actually is. You give me too much credit for sources I have never, ever been interested in.”

      Did you think I was lying to you, or not being just a tad sarcastic?

      I have never, ever, read the Daily Mail. Clear?

      All I am saying is that it is management by mushroom. Keep the Arab Street in the dark, and every so often throw shit on them. And, no, I don’t think the Murdoch press is that much different.

    72. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

      doug

      I agree that it is management to a certain degree, but calling them all ‘dunces’ just makes you look like a bigot.

    73. Chairwoman — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:13 pm  

      Usman - It isn’t about the economy per se, but about the effect the boycott would have on the Union’s members. Union Officials are elected to serve the interests of their members, not to posture on the world political stage unless this is to benefit of the members.

      It was also to point out that just a little of the technology that the majority of people use every day as a matter of course, are the fruit of Israeli technology. Pentium processors and mobile phone technology were the two that sprung instantly to mind.

      Without which, potential suicide bombers would have difficulty communicating with other cell members.

    74. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

      Usman,

      Thanks for your considered reply. I agree with much of what you say.

      I do not think you addressed my main point however. Which is that Muslims seem to me to be willing to kill each other with as much alacrity as they do non Muslims. It is that bit I fail to understand.

    75. ZinZin — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:22 pm  

      Union Officials are elected to serve the interests of their members, not to posture on the world political stage unless this is to benefit of the members.

      Union officals are also supposed to support trade unionists overseas. Its called solidarity. The Israel Boycott does not convince. Solidarity between peace activists on both sides would be beneficial.

    76. douglas clark — on 5th July, 2007 at 7:29 pm  

      Muzumdar,

      It was probably insensitive to refer to them as dunces, clearly they are not, but the education and exposure to much more than propaganda is lacking, I think.

      The problem is simple. If folk are given a single agenda, with no ifs or buts, then they are being treated like sheep.

      Not, clearly, the fiesty sheep I just encountered. I shall always take your future suggestions with a pinch of salt!

    77. Arif — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:04 pm  

      Going back to some of the reflections in the original article above, I’d say that Ed Husain and others recounting their experiences in HuT are being brave and providing testimony which is of most interest to Muslims. How it plays out among non-Muslims worries some people, but really I think people who want sticks to beat Muslims will use the many others they have around whether or not Ed speaks up.

      The most important thing for me about these ex-Islamic supremacists is that by putting their heads above the parapet, if they do it without trying to dismiss Islam as a whole, they give us something to rally around, discuss and learn from to promote non-violence as well as for campaigns for justice within the community. Unlike Sunny, I do think that it is up to Muslims ourselves to make most effort to reform ourselves - first as individuals, then as local communities etc, not just up to the British Govt. And these people, by their courage, can make this process speed up.

      What I have noticed following the recent bombing attempts, is that the response of the Gordon Brown government is so completely different in tone (to Muslim ears) than in Blair’s time, that there is not the sense among Muslims of being under siege by the mass media and State, and somehow this translates into Muslims being much more willing to be self-critical (as Sunny notices in the article) and to feel common cause with wider society, rather than feeling under attack by it. So that is very hopeful.

    78. Katy Newton — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:21 pm  

      The boycott of Israeli academics and journalists targets the two bodies of Israeli intellectuals who are most likely to robustly and publicly criticise the Israeli government’s actions and support a homeland for the Palestinians. It is an empty and self-defeating gesture which will only result in the alienation of those who in many cases are already criticising the government’s foreign policy.

      I note the lack of similar action against Russia, China, Iran, Saudi, Zimbabwe and, of course, America, all of which have been held up as countries which indulge in flagrant discrimination and human rights abuses against their own citizens and those from other nations. This boycott will only serve to increase the Israeli perception that they are already so discriminated against by other nations that there is very little point in trying to appease anyone.

    79. Muzumdar — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:24 pm  

      I note the lack of similar action against Russia, China, Iran, Saudi, Zimbabwe and, of course, America

      But you are forgetting, these are not Jewish countries.

    80. Arif — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:29 pm  

      Katy, I feel I should say something because I do boycott Israeli products on a personal level, as well as Burmese products, and as I used to boycott South African products. The criteria I use really is whether the solidarity campaigns with the dispossessed are calling for such a boycott, and how representative and humane those groups are.

      The Ethical Consumer prints a list of boycott calls near the back and when I see it, I try to remember what I can. Canada, Japan and China are on the list as well for various reasons.

    81. Chairwoman — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:40 pm  

      Arif - I fully support an individual’s right to boycott whatever they choose.

      When a union calls for a boycott, what actually happens is that officials and activists decide, and use the number of members in their particular branch, pretty much like a card vote at the Labour Party conference.

      That is abuse of position regardless of whether or not the rules permit it.

      This BTW goes for all decisions arrived at in this manner.

    82. Katy Newton — on 5th July, 2007 at 8:50 pm  

      Arif - what the Chairwoman said. I have my doubts as to the effectiveness of a boycott for the reasons stated above, but I have no objection to anyone boycotting nations (plural!) who they consider to be human rights abusers if that’s what they want to do.

    83. Adnan — on 5th July, 2007 at 9:29 pm  

      This is an article from the BBC website about the acquittal of the Forest Gate victim for possessing indecent images.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6092624.stm

    84. Sunny — on 5th July, 2007 at 11:55 pm  

      Oh dear, looks like Muzumdar tried his ‘I know best and you lot don’t know anything’ condescending bullshit again, got shown up by Sonia, and then lamely decided he was going to diss Douglas by bandying around ‘Orientalist’ like he’s Edward fucking Said.

      Mate, get a life? You’re not wanted on this site for your views, your rubbish constantly gets deleted, but like a terrible stench you keep coming back. Having trouble taking hints?

    85. Usman — on 6th July, 2007 at 12:44 am  

      Muzamdar
      The point I was making is that apparently there was overwhelming evidence against these guys, so much so that the police almost killed him, only later to find that there was not sufficient evidence, and this wasn’t the only incident either like poor Charles who wasn’t so lucky.

      Coincidental though how they found evidence on him for something completely different don’t you think? Rather convenient I’d say, and the judge made a decision not to prosecute either. If the evidence used to judge Charles de Menendez and the forest gate brothers guilty until innocent is anything to go by, personally I have little confidence in the accusations made against them. May sound like a conspiracy theory but hey I’ll let you make your own mind up

      You always have to go off on a tangent don’t you.

      Douglas
      Point taken,
      The reality is people are killing each other all over the world so weather that is on the streets of Manchester, Lahore, Tokyo, or countries against others like US&UK in Iraq, Afghanistan, even the pak-bangla conflict, or whether that be rulers against their own populations like in Uzbekistan and Egypt to name a few. People are killing others. Unfortunately Muslims are involved in these also like sectarian violence that seems to be taking place in some parts of the world. What I can say is that I condemn the killing of innocents and condemn Muslims killing Muslims, however every scenario has to be view separately as there are always many factors at play, and at times people can overlook the obvious and who benefits from such conflicts, also in whose name these killings are done, for example the pak-bangla conflict this was not in the name of Islam, at most this was a feud fuelled by nationalistic sentiments.

      Who created Bangladesh, India and Pakistan? It’s not a hidden tactic of the British to divide and rule so there is something to think about. Even sectarian violence in Iraq, who does it benefit? It was reported on the news not so long ago that Iraqi police stopped and arrested American soldiers in a vehicle wearing Arab dress with bomb making equipment, American pilots are even given information on differences that exist among the Iraqi’s and how they can exploit this (I haven’t got the reference for this at hand but I can get it for you if you like or anyone who wants it.)

      Chairwoman
      Wasn’t trying to have a cheap shot.
      My comment wasn’t about Israel specifically, but the attitude that benefit is the factor that defines foreign policy regardless of consequences and should this be acceptable from a humanitarian perspective baring in mind the countless deaths that have resulted from it in history.

    86. Roger — on 6th July, 2007 at 9:35 am  

      “The point I was making is that apparently there was overwhelming evidence against these guys, so much so that the police almost killed him, only later to find that there was not sufficient evidence, and this wasn’t the only incident either like poor Charles who wasn’t so lucky. ”
      No, Usman, in each case the men were not shot because ” apparently there was overwhelming evidence ” against them but because men with guns were around and things went badly wrong, as they do when men with guns are around. In the case of Menendez they seem to have gradually persuaded themselves over time that he was an active terrorist on a mission and finally that he was an imminent danger. In Forest Gate it seems to have been a scuffle in the dark with no-one having much ides who was doing what or why. Even if there were overwhelming evidence against someone it is not the duty or right of the police to execute them there and then on the spot.

    87. TheIrie — on 6th July, 2007 at 9:56 am  

      I thought the debate between Asghar Bukhari and Inayat Bungawala that Sunny linked to was interesting, and I think Bukhari makes some very important points about the role of mosque leaders in the Muslim community. However, what I don’t understand is why Sunny rejects the claim that Foreign Policy is a major aggravating factor is causing terrorism. I think there is a kind of positive feedback mechanism with violence (which is another way of saying violence breeds violence). Western foreign policy has, considering the last 50 years alone, been responsible for a large share of violence in the “Islamic World”, from the partition of India, through to the Iraq war. Thats not to say that the West is solely to blame, but it has played and continues to play a non-negligible and non-benign role. In so far as this role is non-negligible, as British citizens it should be our first concern to stop it. And we should not paint the Muslims who point this out as extremists or crazies, or whatever it is Sunny thinks of Inayat.

    88. Usman — on 6th July, 2007 at 10:03 am  

      Well roger I disagree with you but your entitled to your views. Something to think about though, why was Menendez followed from his home to the tube and only then on the tube shot, the initial claims were made he has a big baggy jacket on, that he tried to run away and all so on and so forth, then later it was revealed that there was none of that, there seems to be too much inconsistency in what the “evidence” is and what the reality is at the time. With the forest gate issue from what I know on the subject it wasn’t the case that people were falling over each other in the dark, but even if it was isn’t that more reason to show restraint with a fire arm, pretty irresponsible. It’s a farce all of it.

    89. sonia — on 6th July, 2007 at 1:10 pm  

      partitition of india - heh heh, remind me, wasn’t that the one where #western# policy ( and home it should have been then not foreign seeing as India was a Crown Possession so let’s get our facts right) gave in to ‘Muslim interets’?

    90. sonia — on 6th July, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

      anyway this is silly. it ought to be patently obvious that having to have a thing called ‘foreign’ policy is what is the bl**dy problem in the first place, its like dealing with ‘aliens’ - the minute you have that mindset, what more can we expect?

      very tired now. anyway as far as i can see, most countries and empires have royally fucked up foreign policies, so if we want to point some fingers, let’s point to all of it, instead of trying to blame one lot or that lot. frankly we’re all - from day 0 - been creating this mess. so let’s admit it now so we can move on.

      sheesh, no wonder no one ever gets anywhere “he started it” no she started it “he started it” ..for ever and ever

    91. TheIrie — on 6th July, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      Sonia - Of course there is plenty of blame to share. But just as Iranian progressives should (and do) protest Iranian policy, so UK progressives should tackle the issues over which we have some influence. I admit, the partition of India is not directly relevant to todays problems, but my point was that apart from the center of power moving across the Atlantic, the basic mentality hasn’t really changed since then.

      “sheesh, no wonder no one ever gets anywhere “he started it” no she started it “he started it” ..for ever and ever” - if we want to make some progress, lets start where we have influence, and that is on our governments actions.

    92. Usman — on 6th July, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

      Hi Sonia

      I have left a comment on you Troubled Hidiths page don’t know if you have had a chance to look at that but am looking forward to engaging in a debate with you if your up for it.

      Also the discussion of this thread is to do with terrorism, so factors that are related to terrorism are obviously going to get mentioned, specifically terrorism in the UK and those issues linked to it also will be the topic of discussion, so this isn’t a case where “he started it” no she started it “he started it” .for ever and ever. Yes I admit the whole thing is starting to become abit stale but it doesn’t help when some people go off on a tangent like muzamdar discussing things that have nothing to do with anything, concentrating too much on the examples rather than refuting or proving the criticism at hand. If there is nothing more to discuss then maybe this thread should be brought to an end

      As to the whole partition of India, I couldn’t care less about who gave in to who’s interests, my point was that Britain was the one there dividing and conquering, the only benefactor there was Britain. But this has nothing to do with the thread so I don’t know why we are even discussing this, my earlier comment was a response to Douglas Clark’s question.

    93. Anas — on 6th July, 2007 at 6:50 pm  

      Hey, I’m not going to respond to CW, Katy and BB re:the ins and outs of boycotting Israel *here* cause I’m sure that would derail the thread, but I think I might write something that answers the points that have been made on my blog sometime this coming week (or the next, cos I’m busy) — cause it is a very important issue.

      Re: the funniness of BB’s post, I think I misread you as saying that because Hamas were involved with Shalit’s capture they can’t be trusted when it came to AJ. But you were talking about the Army of Islam. Must pay closer attention next time.

    94. Anas — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:07 pm  

      Looked through the thread again, turns out there’s quite a bit of discussion on boycott. Like I said I will reserve most of my thoughts on this for my blog, but I will ask those who are against it whether they were against the boycott of South Africa under aparthied? And if they were, do they disregard all the evidence that it actually was an important part of the ending of that particular regime?

    95. Chairwoman — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

      Anas - It wasn’t actually about the boycotting of Israel, I said twice that I support an individual’s right to boycott anything he or she damn well chooses.

      But I have always been against the card vote in any shape or form, quite frankly, it stinks. The majority of union members take no part in the activity of their unions beyond paying their dues and reaping the benefits. Union meetings are usually attended by enthusiasts, and the proverbial two men and a dog, who attend because they enjoy a pint afterwards (the Chairman was a Postal Officer for a miserable year early in our marriage, and also his office’s Union Rep, or Shop Steward as they were then known, and he found the monthly meetings profoundly depressing on account of the lack of member participation), and for organisers to take advantage of this situation to promote their own agenda, no matter what it is, has to ultimately lack integrity.

      When I was young and hasty, I often held the opinion that the end justified the means. An older Chairwoman disagrees.

      If you want to debate the possibility of actually boycotting any country’s products in this technologically incestuous world, I might join in, but some days I just don’t feel like it :-)

    96. Katy Newton — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

      Anas, what’s the point? You know what I think and I know what you think. I don’t think that what’s happening in Israel is comparable to apartheid in South Africa. I’m not going to have that argument with you again.

      I can understand a boycott against Israeli goods better than I can understand a boycott against Israeli academics - although both are discriminatory if you’re not going to follow Arif’s example and just try to eat and purchase ethically generally rather than singling out one regime.

    97. Chairwoman — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

      Anas - South Africa was a different case because of what their main exports were. It was easy to choose French Golden Delicious instead of South African. Not so easy when there might be an unknown component or invention in anything you may purchase.

      I will tell you that most of my African friends, however, always bought Cape fruit when they could, as they thought everything else was rubbish.

    98. Anas — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:29 pm  

      Anas, what’s the point? You know what I think and I know what you think. I don’t think that what’s happening in Israel is comparable to apartheid in South Africa. I’m not going to have that argument with you again

      I want to write on this (i.e., the boycott) on my blog, not just because I like scoring points in arguments against people (can’t deny I do enjoy that) but to get the whole boycott thing clear in my own head. That involves having to answer the obvious objections as well as some of the cleverer ones about the practicalities like Chairwoman’s.

    99. Anas — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

      As for South Africa and I/P being incomparable Archbishop Desmond Tutu doesn’t seem to think so — and I’d rate him highly as an authority on aparthied.

    100. Katy Newton — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:56 pm  

      He needs to be an authority on Israel too, I’m afraid.

    101. Katy Newton — on 6th July, 2007 at 7:58 pm  

      Also, obvious objections don’t lead to obvious answers.

      I am very tired of being made out to be an idiot on here all the time.

    102. ZinZin — on 6th July, 2007 at 8:11 pm  

      I am very tired of being made out to be an idiot on here all the time.

      So you should be. At least no one is accusing you of censorship :) this time.

    103. Katy Newton — on 6th July, 2007 at 9:01 pm  

      :-D

      I am sure Anas didn’t intend that. I am crotchety this evening, and bad tempered.

    104. Katy Newton — on 6th July, 2007 at 9:08 pm  

      People should be nice to me, and send me pretty things, and say lovely things about me to make me feel better. Yes.

    105. Don — on 6th July, 2007 at 9:13 pm  

      Katy,

      A miserable weekend of foul weather and even fouler relatives looms. The only thing that could make it bearable would be one of your witty and elegant open threads.

    106. douglas clark — on 6th July, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

      Usman,

      Thanks for your reply at 85. Whilst I agree with you that it was British colonial policy to divide and rule, which is what they’d been doing in colonial India, there seems to have been a common view that a Partition was necessary.

      Given that the UK was abrogating it’s role in the Indian Sub-continent as a whole, in other words giving up on the whole idea of Empire, I would have thought that avoiding a major civil war as a consequence of that decision probably had quite a lot to do with it.

      As it was, the outcomes were pretty horrific. It is all a bit late, sixty years or so, to be discussing this anyway, I think. I would very much doubt that either side would want to put their differences aside and get together again.

    107. Muhamad — on 6th July, 2007 at 11:52 pm  

      Sarfraz Manzoor is so liberal that I keep expecting him to come out saying that Islam is so lovely and nice, and the Muslims, like David Cameron (or Yassser Arafat), want to kiss the cheeks of a catamite.

      :)

    108. Faisal Haque — on 7th July, 2007 at 12:19 am  

      Some of you will have read June’s edition of Prospect with the article by Shiv Malik on MSK.

      Shiv Malik seems to have changed his tune:

      Immediately after 9/11 he wrote:

      https://www2.indymedia.org.uk/en/2001/09/11599.html?c=on#c11659

      “Worlds gone crazy

      17.09.2001 03:32
      The world has gone crazy. 5000 businessmen and military personnel die and suddenly we are at war. With, whom? In what way? With a prime suspect who no one has any proof of guilt and who himself denies responsibility. More people die each day from starvation or bad water as a result of IMF loans yet were are all the three minute silences for them. Over 1.5 million children have died in Iraq as a direct result of the American imposed embargo. Which CNN viewer knows their suffering, much longer and much more painful?
      It is sickening watching countries who poured vitriol on the U.S. in their daily papers for years, suddenly Kowtowing to it’s demands and sending in messages of condolences. It is disgusting watching the press of the supposedly “free and civilised” world printing such obvious propaganda and attempting to rile masses to whatever cause the Whitehouse may choose. Where are those questions like “why did this happen”? Why is the press simply Muslim bashing? Where’s all the reflection that’s supposed to happen at a time like this? Why is no one noticing what’s happening in Palestine?
      Someone needs some sense right now. S.M.”

      There are more details of this at http://shivmalik.blogspot.com/2005/10/scandal-did-shiv-malik-justify-911.html

    109. Usman — on 7th July, 2007 at 2:45 am  

      Douglas
      Maybe there was a need for a partition, to be honest with you I need to do more research on this topic but from what I do know is that the British were active in manipulating tensions amongst different factions, to serve their interests no doubt, my initial point was that Muslims killing Muslims is not done in the name of Islam but in a lot of cases it seems to serve someone’s agenda who would benefit from such divisions.

    110. soru — on 7th July, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

      But just as Iranian progressives should (and do) protest Iranian policy, so UK progressives should tackle the issues over which we have some influence

      And the follow-on point from that is that, just as most Iranian progressives are careful not to offer implicit support to a US attack, so should british-based progressives be aware that there are things they could say that would offer support to an al qaeda attack.

      It’s a trap pacifists and the highly moral sometimes fall into: if you falsely say that the UK is some malevolent empire, sole source of all that is bad in the world, the Little but smarter Satan, oppressor of Palestine and Kashmir and Chechnya, then anyone who is persuaded by what you say, with perfectly normal views on the use of violence, will come to think an attack is a good thing. They will passively, or maybe even actively, support it.

      Being a pacifist, the person who persuaded them of their position would not support such an attack, and maybe not understand the thinking of those who act that way.

      That doesn’t mean stop criticising, it just means be wary of wrong assumptions over who you have influence over, and what they will do if you succeed in influencing them.

      In the modern globalised world, you generally can’t make those assumptions, can’t predict who will read and act on what you write.

      To me at least, that makes it vital to try and say things that are true, rather than ‘helpful’ according to some simple but wrong model of what people will do when they hear you.

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