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    What’s the context?


    by Sunny on 13th August, 2007 at 4:07 am    

    Last week Channel 4 was censured by the police and CPS over it’s documentary Undercover Mosque in January. Writing in the Observer yesterday, Andrew Anthony says:

    For here is [Abu] Usamah spreading his message of inter-communal respect and understanding, as captured in Undercover Mosque: ‘No one loves the kuffaar! Not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffaar. Whether those kuffaar are from the UK or from the US. We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of kuffaar. We hate the kuffaar!

    ‘Kuffaar’ is a derogatory term for non-Muslims. The police and CPS suggest that comments like these were taken ‘out of context’. I’ve read extended transcripts of Usamah’s quotes and I’m satisfied that they were perfectly ‘in context’. But let’s ask what conceivable context could make these quotes acceptable or reasonable? Was he rehearsing a stage play? Was it a workshop on conflict resolution? Or perhaps it was the same context in which a spokesman from those other righteous humanitarians, the BNP, might attempt to aid community relations by repeatedly stating that his followers ‘hate Muslims’.

    If someone could explain the “right context” for that racist bile, I’d love to hear it.


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    Filed in: Muslim,Organisations






    49 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. Bape — on 13th August, 2007 at 9:21 am  

      I’m confused, are you saying the Observer piece is racist bile or what Usamah said is racist bile ?

    2. DavidMWW — on 13th August, 2007 at 10:44 am  

      I have looked at the recording and it is clear that the quote from Usamah is actually two quotes spliced together, probably from two different speeches.

      While is unlikely that the actual context would change the apparent meaning much, it is much easier to imagine a context which would render the words innocuous when the quotes are considered separately. The first quote ends with the words “the US.”

      My suggested exculpatory contextualisation is in bold:

      “No one loves the kuffaar! Not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffaar. Whether those kuffaar are from the UK or from the US. And that is very sad. We should befriend the kuffaar, and help to guide them to the Truth.

      Some bad Muslims say: ‘We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of kufr. We hate the kuffaar!‘ But we are not bad Muslims. We are good Muslims, and we love the kuffaar.

      The 18-second snippet is here:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftNxbnr9kiI

      I look forward to Usamah or the police providing the real context in the near future.

      It’s not so easy to do the same thing with Sheik Feiz and his jew-pig slaughtering fantasy.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb7er0oF9Lk

    3. Ahmad — on 13th August, 2007 at 11:39 am  

      Just to clarify ‘Kuffaar’ does not mean non-Muslim it actually means someone who does not believe in Allah.

      The term is being used liberally and out of context by many people who lack knowledge.

    4. Ahmad — on 13th August, 2007 at 11:45 am  

      “The term is being used liberally and out of context by many people who lack knowledge.”

      Just to clarify I am referring to Muslims here using the term liberally and out of context.

    5. Leon — on 13th August, 2007 at 11:54 am  

      Just to clarify ‘Kuffaar’ does not mean non-Muslim it actually means someone who does not believe in Allah.

      Is that someone who doesn’t believe in Allah but does believe in God using another name or someone who doesn’t believe in God/Allah/Jehovah/etc full stop?

    6. Nyrone — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

      Wait a second, I had some Chavlims down the road tell me that ‘Kuffar’ was basically anyone that was not a Sunni practising Muslim.

      So, is a Kuffar a non-Sunni Muslim or a non-god accepting person?

      Who is the authority, really?

    7. Don — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:29 pm  

      Nyrone,

      I would have thought the final authority rested with the person being called a kuffar. At least to the extent of being the arbiter of whether it is a term of offensive bigotry.

      Quibbling over exactly who is considered kuffar is as helpful as defining exactly which countries are inhabited by wogs.

    8. Derius — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:35 pm  

      “Just to clarify ‘Kuffaar’ does not mean non-Muslim it actually means someone who does not believe in Allah.”

      So what? Does that make what he said acceptable, then?

      Whether he is directing it at all muslims or only those who are not “People of the Book” (Christians and Jews) is hardly the point!

      Also, Sunny, why do you consider this to be racist bile? Correct me if I’m wrong, but surely the discrimination on display is based on religion, and not on race at all?

    9. Derius — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

      Sorry, the second paragraph should read:

      “whether he is directing it at all non muslims or only those who are not “People of the Book” (Christians or Jews)is hardly the point!”

      It has been a long day!

    10. soru — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

      Who is the authority, really?

      As a little-known consequence of the Genoa-Istanbul Treaty of 1562, all questions of the correct european-language translations of islamic terminology are supposed to be settled by the Holy Roman Emperor.

      The current representative of the HRA association is one Prince Mario Pignatelli Aragona Cortes.

      Perhaps he answers questions by email?

    11. Nyrone — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:43 pm  

      Could I send the email to Super Mario instead?

    12. Rumbold — on 13th August, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

      Interesting Sour. I wonder if the rest of Europe agreed witht that.

      The Holy Roman Empire was Voltaire’s triple oxymoron: Not Roman, not Holy, and not an Empire.

    13. Soso — on 13th August, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

      “No one loves the kuffaar! Not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffaar. Whether those kuffaar are from the UK or from the US. And that is very sad. We should befriend the kuffaar, and help to guide them to the Truth.”

      How is that exculpitory?

      The arrogant assumption that the one (Kuffar) is without truth and the other ( the Muslim) in full possession of it is merely just another example of supremacism.

      One other question; by what means, ideological religious or otherwise, have so many Muslim learned to hate non-Muslims? By what indoctrination? Just who or what tends to put them into such a frame of mind?

      Imagine, just for some perspective, if a Roman Catholic or CofE bishop routinely referred to Muslims as *infidels*.

      Now imagine if these same bishops were to say;”No one loves the infidel. Not a single Christian here loves the infidel. Whether those infidel are from the U.S. or from the U.K. And that is very sad. We should befriend the infidel and help guide them to the truth of Christ”.

      Yes, were a Christian cleric to use such language, he’d be called onto the carpet and charged with hate-speech.

      By “out-of-context”, are we to assume Ahamd means “in-a-frank-unguarded-moment”?

      There are a total of six segments of this posted on You-Tube, and the language is disgusting, vile and hate-filled.

      I suggest people watch all six, provided they can find the stomach to do so, and then wonder what possible CONTEXT could ever change the import of what was said.

      Context?

      Why not frame a steaming dog-turd between two contextural sprigs of parsley, place it on the dinner table, and call it *meatloaf*?

    14. ZinZin — on 13th August, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

      Derius
      Kauffaar is related to the term kaffir a perjorative that white south africans apply to black africans.

      Its origins may lie in the muslim slave trade. As only non-muslims were enslaved.

      Then there is kafir a term meaning ingrate in arabic. Kauffaar can mean an ungrateful muslim or someone who rejects/denies the truth of Islam.

      Derius it is an ugly word. So why use it?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaffir
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    15. Sunny — on 13th August, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but surely the discrimination on display is based on religion, and not on race at all?

      Agreed. I was just using the language that many like Islamophobia Watch and others use. Calling everything like this racist.

    16. Soso — on 13th August, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      Its origins may lie in the muslim slave trade. As only non-muslims were enslaved.

      Yes, and in other 21st century news, Muslim-majority Mauritania, after arm-twisting by various UN agencies, has just agreed to put an end to slavery, at least on the books.

      Is there no end to Islam’s cutting-edge progress?

    17. Sunny — on 13th August, 2007 at 2:36 pm  

      Its origins may lie in the muslim slave trade

      As opposed to… the ‘white man’s slave trade’?

      Is there no end to Islam’s cutting-edge progress?

      I guess all we need now, Soso, is for western companies to stop paying their employees in 3rd world countries a pittance for their back-breaking work.

    18. Soso — on 13th August, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

      I guess all we need now, Soso, is for western companies to stop paying their employees in 3rd world countries a pittance for their back-breaking work.

      There are few, if any, western companies operating in Mauritania, Sunny.

      But your point is well taken, though.

    19. The Common Humanist — on 13th August, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

      “the ‘white man’s slave trade’?”

      Agreed but then it so much facilitated by willing West African Kingdoms and Muslim traders. Apart from the actual victims I don’t think anybody gets away clean from that debate.

      The Europeans colonised Africa for its resources, the slaving period was, on the UK’s part at least, long over by the time the rush for resouces kicked off in the 1840′s.

      It is also worth bearing in mind that after 1865 there was only one major market for slaves left……..

    20. sonia — on 13th August, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

      who cares if it was the white men’s slave trade, or the arab man’s slave trade, or the black man’s slave trade.

      if it was a brown gay woman slave trading it is still SHIT can we get that clear once and for all ..

    21. Ms_Xtreme — on 13th August, 2007 at 6:01 pm  

      These f-ing people don’t know how to read the Quran!! It vexes me so that they would coin that term kuffar (which is actually Kafir) and use it in such a hateful manner!

      The term Kafir is mentioned several times in the Quran. However, the term is for people who do not believe in the One God. So I’m surprised they use it against Christians and Jews, its so idiotic! Not that using the term on anyone is acceptable. I’m just pointing out the stupidity of these people. If anything, by calling them such a term all they’re doing is committing sin.

    22. Kulvinder — on 13th August, 2007 at 6:16 pm  

      Without further derailing the thread into one about semantics it really depends on what you/he/anyone means by ‘kuffar’

      For the sake of argument if that text was in relation to calling Osama Bin Laden a kuffar would anyone object?

    23. Ms_Xtreme — on 13th August, 2007 at 6:31 pm  

      No Coolvinder, cuz he deserves it. :D

      How’ve u been anyhow? Long time no see. Not even an essay.

    24. Derius — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:18 pm  

      ZinZin,

      The only time I used the word you are objecting to was when I was quoting Ahmad’s post, so I think you are being a bit harsh on me!

      And Ahmed only used it to give an explanation of what Abu Usamah meant, so I’m not sure you can blame him either!

      You are right in that it is an unpleasant word though.

    25. sid — on 13th August, 2007 at 11:45 pm  

      Kuffar is not a racist term. Its an Arabic word which means “non-believer” or more specifically “unfaithful” and more prosaically, “infidel”, derived from the active participle of the word kfr ‘ingrate’ or ‘rejector’.

      However the people using the term vigorously in the Channel 4 documentary were using it in the context of religious supremacism, and therefore, the use of the word has the same implications of a nasty racial slur. They, being South Asians mostlym, could just as well be saying “goreh” (whitey).

      If Channel 4 wish to contextualise the use of the funny sounding words used in the pejorative, that’s their business. But would they be willing to contextualise other forms of supremacist language as well?

    26. Don — on 14th August, 2007 at 1:33 am  

      ‘Kuffar is not a racist term…’

      No, agreed. It’s an abusive term, in whatever context. As an undoubted kuffar I reserve the right to be personally offended by it.

      ‘…would they be willing to contextualise other forms of supremacist language as well?’

      I’m guessing yes, unless you have specifics up your sleeve.

      Is there a context in which the term is not offensive?

    27. ZinZin — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:45 am  

      Derius you are correct and for the crime of taking your words out of context (oh the irony), I must apologise. Please forgive me.

    28. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 14th August, 2007 at 3:13 am  

      Soso,

      “The arrogant assumption that the one (Kuffar) is without truth and the other ( the Muslim) in full possession of it is merely just another example of supremacism.”

      Right. Religion by its very nature is supremacist. Another extreme kind of supremacist thinking is liberal intervention. Dont call you a kaffur because thats religious supremacy, but invade Iraq for liberal democractic principles, sacrificing countless lives and that is what exactly?

      I am not going to assume that you were in support of such supremacism but I will assume that you failed to recognize it as such.

    29. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 14th August, 2007 at 3:16 am  

      ZinZin,

      “Kauffaar is related to the term kaffir a perjorative that white south africans apply to black africans.”

      It isnt related it was coopted. There is a difference.

      “Its origins may lie in the muslim slave trade. As only non-muslims were enslaved.”

      Maybe the South African Muslim slave trade but Muslims were often kept as slaves by other Muslims.

    30. Random Guy — on 14th August, 2007 at 10:01 am  

      My understanding of ‘Kuffar’ has always been as the plural of ‘kaffir’. In my experience of hearing the term, the two are rarely distinguished.

      While many muslims use this term to define anyone who is not a muslim, in my experience (and I am a muslim, so I think I know a little more than the average joe who sees a Youtube video, reads the Daily Mail/Sun, and generally only ever receives one side of the story in a variety of ways) the times when the term ‘Kuffar’ is used as a slur/term of hatred is when :-

      (a) it refers directly to people/groups actively involved in killing Muslims or underming/discriminating/attacking Islam out of hate.

      or

      (b) out of ignorance, lack of manners and racism.

      I would be very reluctanct to spin it so that it appears that it is a muslim belief to talk like this or refer in this manner to non-muslims. I hope people here are discerning enough to do the same.

    31. Bleh — on 14th August, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

      Bikhair, overthrowing a genocidal fascist regime is “supremacism”?

    32. Jagdeep — on 14th August, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

      Kuffar is deployed by Muslims who use it to pejoratively describe non Muslims. Differentiate themselves and describe as mnot fully human. Everyone knows this but some are making excuses for its use. Even on the itsy bitsy teeny weeny chance that he was being very methodical and theocratically specific, to claim or suggest that it is not used hatefully at all is being disingenuous in the extreme. It might mean the same to describe disbelieving Muslims but only in as much as they are likened to ‘filthy’ Kufr like most of us. The excuses being made for this are just pathetic.

      By the way, this is the guy that goes on media and claims to be working for multicultural harmony with a straight face. By saying that Muslims hate the kuffar and should stay away from the kuffar. What are multicultural relations like in Spakhill these days, with men like that preaching I wonder. Community cohesion and multiculturalism is not worth a dead worm when people like him defecate on it all as cover for their thinking — and hardly any of you are outraged that this is taking place partly using the ideas and good intentions of what we believe in. He and others like him are laughing at us behind our backs and people give him a free pass, he sullies multiculturalism and ideas of intra community harmony to use as cover for his bigotry, and hardly anyone is even angry about all this being done.

      WAKE UP!!!!

    33. Jagdeep — on 14th August, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

      And they are cowards too, gutless hypocritical COWARDS with not enough BALLS to not whimper like a baby girl at the hurt they feel at being caught red handed.

    34. Sid — on 14th August, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

      No, agreed. It’s an abusive term, in whatever context.

      Not whatever context. In the Islamic liturgy, the kufr were the Tribe of Quraish, representative and symbols of ignorance, boorish, shallow hedonists who held orgies, fucked their sisters and buried their girl children and so on and so forth, and whom the early Muslims fought against in establishing their creed. Islam, if you remember, sprang forth as an epic. Analogous to the Kufr would be the Romans of the New Testament or the Pharoahs of the Old.

      So there is a context that one would use Kufr to tell a story. But that’s not the context the men in the Channel Four film are using it in, and one that Channel 4 execs would be stupid to try and contextulaise.

    35. Random Guy — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:03 pm  

      Jagdeep said: “Kuffar is deployed by Muslims who use it to pejoratively describe non Muslims. Differentiate themselves and describe as mnot fully human.”

      What are you smoking? Can I have some of it too? Then maybe I can join you in making slavering, rabid generalisations and sounding like a boor…

      Seriously, just. chill. out.

    36. Bleh — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

      Jagdeep, re. 32 and 33: spot on.

    37. Sid — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

      Spot on only if you’re a little misinformed, and we all know, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    38. Bleh — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      Sid, do you remember the images of the failed bombers on the balcony, hands in the air, naked, reduced to whimpering “we know our rights”?

    39. Sid — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

      you’re an idiot.

    40. Derius — on 14th August, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      ZinZin,

      No problems, apology accepted! I guessed that you had only mis-read my post originally.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know how to put quotes in brown text, so I use quotation marks instead! I think that is what caused the misunderstanding.

      I’m not the most sophisticated blogger you will come across!

    41. Jagdeep — on 14th August, 2007 at 4:40 pm  

      Then maybe I can join you in making slavering, rabid generalisations and sounding like a boor… Seriously, just. chill. out

      You already did make a slavering, rabid generalisation by calling me a boor.

      I think you are a boor too, and a tacit apologist for rabid, slavering bigots like Abu Usamah.

      You need to check yourself and stop the useless slander when confronted with some facts.

      And take your own advice, chill out, etc etc etc.

    42. Don — on 14th August, 2007 at 4:47 pm  

      Can anybody think of an occasion when they heard the word used non-perjoratively?

    43. Jagdeep — on 14th August, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

      It’s probably used in strict theocratic ways, but on the whole, it’s got the same binary disparagments and pejorative force of calling some a Paki or a Nigger Don.

      But even in the strictest meaning of the word, imagine calling anybody at all by a term they did not choose for themselves, to categorise them collectively as abnormal because they are not the same as you.

    44. Ms_Xtreme — on 14th August, 2007 at 7:18 pm  

      It’s probably used in strict theocratic ways, but on the whole, it’s got the same binary disparagments and pejorative force of calling some a Paki or a Nigger Don.

      Most likely, yea. But you have to understand that the voice of Abu Usamah is not that of majority. I see him as part of the brain-washing crew. Ultimately it’s every individual’s reponsibility to understand what their own religion requires of them, and seek the truth.

      You think that what he preaches is accepted with open arm by everyone, which is not the case.

      So stop trolling about with that shit and move on.

      Hat’s off to Sid btw, great posts.

    45. Soso — on 14th August, 2007 at 9:10 pm  

      Kuffur is the Muslim equivalent of “wog”.

      To Bikhair: If you’ve any questions concerning the war in iraq and the reasons for overthrowing a murderous tyrant, perhaps you sould address them to the Kurds. Trust me, they’ll have the answers quick and ready!

      And I’m sure Bikhair will be fatwa overjoyed by the news that small groups of converts to Christianity are springing up amongst them.

    46. sid — on 15th August, 2007 at 1:14 am  

      Kuffur is the Muslim equivalent of “wog”

      Wog is the American equivalent of “Iraqi”.

    47. Random Guy — on 15th August, 2007 at 8:57 am  

      Jagdeep if we put you and Abu Usamah in the same room I don’t think we would spot any differences. You are different sides of the same ignorant coin, spouting crap about things you really have little understanding of.

    48. Bleh — on 15th August, 2007 at 10:19 am  

      Wog is the American equivalent of “Iraqi”.

      Got a cite for that, or is this just the massive chip on your shoulder showing through, Sid?

    49. Sid — on 15th August, 2007 at 10:35 am  

      I have no intention to teach an old dog with mental lethargy new tricks, but as you’re one of this sites visiting muppets, I feel inclined to humour you.

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