Quilliam: Arabs Pull Out


by Sid (Faisal)
29th May, 2008 at 1:09 am    

It looks like the Gulf financiers of the Quilliam Foundation have withdrawn their funding without so much as a by-your-leave. The Evening Telegraph writes:

The Quilliam Foundation, the think tank devoted to promoting harmony in West/Islam relations, is facing the withdrawal of its financial backers. The foundation was set up by former Hizb ut-Tahrir members Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain in April with the explicit aim of freeing Western Muslims from “the cultural baggage of the Indian subcontinent and the political burdens of the Arab world”. Its work has already been feted by such figures as Michael Gove, the Conservative Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, and socialite Muslim Jemima Khan. But now its financial backers, based in the Gulf, have cut off funding because they are incensed at its criticism of Ken Livingstone’s favourite Islamist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Husain, author of The Islamist, who is now seeking new sources of funding from Muslims based here in the UK, blames the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain for mounting “a character assassination attempt” on his organisation and intimidating its advisers. “It’s a challenge having the funds pulled out,” he tells me. “But it’s not easy for normal Muslims to condemn figures like Qaradawi and then sustain themselves. The people who are trying to shut us down are the same people who were behind Ken Livingstone’s campaign to mount a character assassination of Boris Johnson, portraying him as a racist.”

No statement has been issued from the unknown financial backers based in the Gulf so we can’t confirm if it was the criticism of Yusuf al-Qaradawi which compelled them to pull out or whether it was for some other reason.

Lingering like a bad smell, the awkward question that must be asked of the Quilliam Foundation is this:

If you start a think tank in a blaze of publicity that is supposedly about promoting progressive and secular Islamic values, why choose financial backers who would shy away at the slightest criticism of the detestable views of al-Qaradawi, a narrow reactionary mullah? Was something left out during your consultations with these Gulf backers? Something as significant as your key policies and your secular and progressive stance? And furthermore, surely Ed Husain and Co knew that the fatwas of Qaradawi are accepted in the Arab world carte blanche, including the, ahem, Gulf states? They obviously forgot to clear that one with the Gulfies first before running with it.

You see my problem with the Quilliam Foundation, and Southasian Muslim institutions in general, is that they are still beholden to Arabian Islam with all those weird and nasty cultural features. Arabs have the money to set up these think tanks, Southasian Muslims have the nous to run them. Southasians ultimately end up aquiescing to their paymasters by becoming their mouthpieces and this means papering over some very disgusting world-views. Look at any Islamic organisation from the Hizbut Tahrir to the Quilliam and you will see that they are populated by Southasians who have never stepped into an Arab land, trying to out-do one another in Arab-ness. For some reason it is a weakness to be Anglicised (“coconut”) but it is a virtue to be Arabised (“jazaak-allah-khair, ya akhi”).

Why is this? Why do Southasian Muslims regard Arabs as their de-facto spiritual superiors? Is it because we go weak-kneed whenever we hear the guttural tones of spoken Arabic, simply because it is our lingua sacra?

Surely we should know better by now? In spite of universal human rights abuses of Southasian migrant workers, and the horror stories we hear year after year, of abuses dealt out to women and aged relatives at the hands of Saudis during the Hajj season, there is still a steadfast belief amongst Southasian Muslims that the sun shines out of Arab behinds.

Now that the Quilliam Foundation is free of their Arab financiers, I hope that they can truly come into their own. I was hoping that one of their biggest achievements might be to develop a progressive, vernacular (read: British) school of Islam that is free (in every way) of reactionary Arab backwardness.

And if they ask me for a donation, I’ll be happy to help.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Muslim,Organisations






89 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. dave bones — on 29th May, 2008 at 3:29 am  

    It doesn’t need funding it needs people who are committed to meeting with each other on an informal basis. It needs an open media to tell peoples stories. Loads of British Muslims have amazing stories to tell, the truth of which can actually shine as a genuine story of “Britishness”. Plenty of Muslims have an angry energy, this can be directed if they are reached on an informal basis with honesty and things like this.

  2. Sam Khaleel — on 29th May, 2008 at 4:55 am  

    Why wasn’t this point raised and raised loudly at the big opening ceremony, where it was considered taboo to ask who was paying for it in the first place?

  3. unitalian — on 29th May, 2008 at 7:18 am  

    Surely this is the opportunity of those “moderate”, progressive Muslims and those who support progressive engagment with Islam to put their money where their mouths are.

  4. Gege — on 29th May, 2008 at 8:28 am  

    We have the same issues in West Africa. You find some West African muslims who have never seen an airport in their lives, speaking with Arab accents and trying to dress in Arab clothing.

    I think they measure their islamic spirituality on how Arab they appear.

  5. fugstar — on 29th May, 2008 at 10:46 am  

    but quilliam are the epitome of the racial inferiority thing, ted pretends he’s white now, the others all think they are west asians. its amusing that even their anti islamic petrodollar backing is running for the hills.

    and the pathetic reason you give for it is just as self serving as they are.

    the family of the original quilliam might want sue these sad embarrassing people. every sentence they utter, sense or nonsense is stained by their basic lack of integrity and the hands wandering up there arses,

  6. Sid — on 29th May, 2008 at 2:18 pm  

    and the pathetic reason you give for it is just as self serving as they are.

    And what is this pathetic reason you refer to, ya akhi?

  7. Sid — on 29th May, 2008 at 2:20 pm  

    Loads of British Muslims have amazing stories to tell, the truth of which can actually shine as a genuine story of “Britishness”.

    dave bones – Yes I agree entirely. Now we need to create an environment where these stories are given more credibility than ones which involve second hand validation by association to some arbitrary Qatari sheikh or Syrian demagogue or Saudi backing.

  8. fug — on 29th May, 2008 at 4:07 pm  

    The pathetic self serving reason is quilliams drubbing of Shyk Qaradawi.

    As a reason, it is self serving because it slots neatly into the rhetoric that you your boring self would use. Theres a whole host of boo boos, genuine ones that have caused their fall from their default position of grovelling wretches.

    They have failed because they are fakes, nasty examples of humanity and thick. Sucking up to everybody with credibility and community kudos hasnt helped. Marketing hasnt helped, even white people think they smell rather off. The spooky people behind them must be laughing their arses off.

    Maaaaaaaajid (check out his wannabe created lineage sid), even had a go at mufti ceric for talking about sharia. As if an islamic scholar, one of the only people creative, knowledgeable and caring enough to talk usefully in the field of political theology… is going to not talk about sharia as a positive.

    ted hussain has already been outed by queen shami as an evil little man. old news.

    they have brought disgrace and trouble onto a lot of the people they have linked themselves up with. their west asian allies couldn’t take the heat, maybe they realised that their support was better put elsewhere.

    i still hope that these confused rentboys learn and improve with time, for the sakes of their own families, and the muslim discources that they pollute.

  9. sonia — on 29th May, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

    “You see my problem with the Quilliam Foundation, and Southasian Muslim institutions in general, is that they are still beholden to Arabian Islam with all those weird and nasty cultural features. Arabs have the money to set up these think tanks, Southasian Muslims have the nous to run them.”

    heh good one.

    and top marks for dave bones at the top.

    confused rentboys: well fugstar you know you have a big problem! if calling people rentboys is your idea of a critique, well good luck to you and your faith.

  10. Sid — on 29th May, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

    According to Ed Husain, Quilliam’s Gulf backers pulled out because of their criticism of Qaradawi. This may be true but I think these moneymen have pulled out because of political reasons. They probably fear having their Rolls Royce limousines detonated if they profess to fund an organisation that is anti-Muslim Brotherhood. We actually don’t know their side of the story and we probably never will.

    Ed Husain is a good man but I think he, like the other Quilliamists, is far too enamoured by Arabic Islamic culture. I can excuse his being an Arabophile but he does spend a lot of energy whitewashing their illiberal politics and presenting Arabs as latecomers to the progressive party. Fuck that Ed, if you’re as secular and pro-democracy as you say you are, how about calling a spade a spade?

    Qaradawi’s views are invalid in the modern world but they have enormous currency in the Arab world. I really don’t understand how you can live in the UK and support his views and his fatwas on legalising terrorism, punishing homosexuals by death, and supporting the Taliban’s actions amongst his other heinous endorsements. If you agree with his views, then you should really think about moving to the Middle East.

  11. dave bones — on 30th May, 2008 at 12:48 am  

    Theology and people critisising grand muftis and clerics is a dangerous and stupid diversion. Not wanting to be bombed, or for our nation to be involved in bombing is something a whole lot more people from all faiths and political beliefs can unite on. If Quilliam emphasised this I think they would do better.

    I totally accept that some people believe strange things which to me are offensive. I still sit in their living rooms and talk to them in the hope that something positive will come out of it and would encourage everyone to do so.

    To be fair to Quilliam they state good intentions with community groups in the UK. As non Muslims living in the real world to have any hope of safety around “War on terror” issues we have to build trust with people we fundamentally disagree with about a lot of things.

  12. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 1:30 am  

    Tony Blair’s Kaleidoscope Foundation may be able to fund this band of merry men.

  13. Ali Eteraz — on 30th May, 2008 at 4:27 am  

    Sid, great post.

    We’ve been having a discussion about this issue on my blog.

    http://eteraz.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/gulf-backers-pull-money-from-quilliam/

    I’ve quoted you in the comments.

    Well done.

  14. Ismaeel — on 30th May, 2008 at 11:21 am  

    What about the fact that this exposes Maajid Nawaz as a liar when he said on Neswnight that the funding for the Quilliam Foundation came from private individuals amongst British Muslims?

  15. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 11:29 am  

    Have you got any proof he said that? And if not, do you accept that it makes *you* a liar?

  16. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 11:31 am  

    According to Dar al Hayat:

    On the BBC TV current affairs programme Newsnight on the day of the launch, Nawaz said: “We have absolutely not received government money ,despite being offered it by the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund, and we have said that it is not appropriate for us at the moment – although I would emphasise that I don’t have a problem in principle in receiving taxpayers’ money for a good cause, as long as it comes with no strings attached.”

  17. Ismaeel — on 30th May, 2008 at 12:00 pm  

    That was not all he said, as anyone who saw Nawaz on newsnight and his subsequent ‘debate’ with Azzam Tamimi afterwards will know what i said above is correct. The video appears to be on the Quilliam Foundation’s website but strangely doesn’t work when u click on it. I wonder why?

  18. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 12:10 pm  

    To throw people like you into even more confusion than you’re already in perhaps?

  19. Leon — on 30th May, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

    A better title: “Quilliam Arabs Prefer The Withdrawal Method”

  20. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    hehehe
    or
    Viaticus Interruptus

  21. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 6:42 pm  

    Sid, your article seems to be laced with anti-arab racism.

    And most of your claims are specious.

  22. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 6:48 pm  

    I’m not anti-Arab, I’m pro-British and pro-Southasian and pro-British-Southasian and pro-human rights and pro-secular and pro-democracy. If you’re going to call me a racist, have the decency and the personal courtesy to point out a single racist sentiment.

  23. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 7:05 pm  

    Its the stereotyping.

  24. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 7:10 pm  

    Again, if you’re going to accuse me of racism, you’re going to have to be much more specific than to say “its the stereotyping”.

  25. halima — on 30th May, 2008 at 7:46 pm  

    For some reason it is a weakness to be Anglicised (”coconut”) but it is a virtue to be Arabised (”jazaak-allah-khair, ya akhi”).

    There is a difference between them, though, and while I am not wanting to be gun-ho about how great Arab-ism is – I don’t especially want to be taken as a coconut, it really would kill me what flimsy notion of self-esteem i still have.

    As to some funders pulling out – let’s face it, the foundation will have to face the reality of life as a not-for-profit – there are many motives to giving aid and charitable donations, and like all not-for-profit these days, they’ll be faced with the same compromise and conflicts – whether to take money from funders and not criticise as openly as they would or whether to decline funding and continue to openly criticise as they would like.

  26. Dave — on 30th May, 2008 at 8:42 pm  

    I agree that this is full of racist overtones. The most blatant example being:
    progressive, vernacular (read: British) school of Islam that is free (in every way) of reactionary Arab backwardness.
    You implicitly equate “Arab” with “reactionary”, and explicitly equate “British” with “progressive [and] vernacular”. Nuff said.

  27. Don — on 30th May, 2008 at 8:54 pm  

    Is it just me or is ‘coconut’ a really lazy, offensive and racist expression?

    I think Halima is using it ironically, but as a shorthand term it means nothing other than pigmentation determines values, as defined by the one using the term.

  28. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    Sid,

    Why?

  29. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 10:03 pm  

    Refresh
    because it otherwise looks like you’re simply playing the race card for effect simply because you have rather nebulous grievances against the point of the article but you’re unwilling to articulate them. But I realise its so much easier to snipe from the sidelines playing the race card.

  30. Leon — on 30th May, 2008 at 10:19 pm  

    Refresh, the simple answer is allegations with no back up have one intent and one alone; to shit stir.

    Quite simply put up or shut the fuck up.

  31. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 10:42 pm  

    That’s rather poor language from you Leon, and I’d like to think out of character. The other view might be the nature of any debate on a Sid article reduces rather sharply to sneering. Re-read the thread and any others that Sid has hosted.

    Sid,
    Problem is you are too adept at presuming all things good one side and all things bad on the other. That is the nature of this article.

    There are some aspects of the article which I could agree with. The language does stereotype and it is intemperate. It is, sad to say, yet again, not conducive to a reasonable debate.

    There are quite a few points you make which do not ring true or seem to be speculative. With no supporting material.

    What amazes me is that you, Leon, Sunny support Obama and yet your language is rather peculiar. You, Sid in particular seem to brook no disagreement. Which suggests you are too defensive.

    You may have a reasonable message, but it doesn’t translate well. You don’t engage unless commenters back you. But then (here is my bit of racism), that may well be your South Asian trait.

  32. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 10:48 pm  

    And I agree with Dave at #26. You need to be clearer about what you are trying to say and who you are talking about. Its never a whole people. For a start its statistically impossible.

    The other thing you’ve got to consider is that whatever the state of mankind in the UK or US – it is not the pinnacle of human aspiration.

    I’ve always held the beleive we cannot lose our collective history and aspiration, for therein may be an answer to an intractible problem we are all trying to resolve. That may well be social, scientific, technical or philosophical.

  33. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 10:50 pm  

    Leon, if I have starting responding in very short posts, its because we have been through all this type of stuff for the last 24 months. Its getting stale.

  34. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 10:51 pm  

    Sid,

    You’ve often mentioned that you have lived in several muslim-majority countries. Which countries were they and what were your experience? Good and bad.

    Do you think they have shaped your views? How?

  35. Sid — on 30th May, 2008 at 11:05 pm  

    Refresh

    I would be more than happy to debate the issues raised in the article but would you ? you’re very first point has been to call me a racist! You still have not provided a concrete instance of racism and you claim I don’t do debate! you’re overtly playing the race card because you want to close down debate mate. you’re not as transparent as you think you are.

  36. Refresh — on 30th May, 2008 at 11:17 pm  

    I don’t want to close down any debate. Read what I wrote. And see what #26 says.

    That is how it seems to me.

    And what’s this playing the race card business? This sounds like the Clintstones’ accusation made of Obama.

    As for debating the points raised, all of it was said in the original posts some weeks back. In which, if I might remind you, you decided that because you disagreed with me gave you every reason to support this think tank 100%. That I am afraid is when you closed down the debate. And now you are complaining about them.

    Its always best to engage but reserve judgement. Better to listen to than drown voices.

    In any case debating with you would be like being snarled at by a dead sheep, so to speak. [On some issues].

  37. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:03 am  

    Dave #26:

    You implicitly equate “Arab” with “reactionary”, and explicitly equate “British” with “progressive [and] vernacular”. Nuff said.

    Oh dear. A quick lesson in English phraseology is in order I see.

    First: There is no implicit equation when using “Arab” and “reactionary” any more than is suggested by juxtaposing “British” and “reactioanry” implies all British are reactionary. I could be referring to the BNP specifically.

    Second: you really need to look up a dictionary to find out what vernacular means.

    Third: When using the phrase “progressive, vernacular (read: British) school of Islam” I am appealing for British Muslims to start just that, a British, progressive school of Islam. Is that so hard to understand?

    Here’s a racist concept for you: Foreign immigrants like me speak and write better English than natives like you.

  38. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:16 am  

    Refresh:

    I don’t want to close down any debate. Read what I wrote. And see what #26 says.

    So you PLAY the race card in comment #21. When you are asked to back up your miserable accusation you use another commenter’s (wholly incorrect) reasoning in a post in #26 to define your grievances. If you can call me a racist, you can use your own language to define your accusation, surely. And I’m still waiting on you to say how I’ve been racist.

    And what’s this playing the race card business? his sounds like the Clintstones’ accusation made of Obama

    What is this playing the race card business? I’ll tell you what it is – It’s calling someone a racist without the slightest intention to back it up but instead to use it to divert the discussion and ultimately to close down debate altogether.

    As for debating the points raised, all of it was said in the original posts some weeks back.

    The point of my post was to do with the Arab funding of the QF which has been withdrawn recently. How could we have discussed it in “the original posts some weeks back”?

    In which, if I might remind you, you decided that because you disagreed with me gave you every reason to support this think tank 100%. That I am afraid is when you closed down the debate. And now you are complaining about them.

    You’re a liar Refresh. How exactly did I close down debate? I found your arguments charectistically weak and fluffy, just more of your usual mewling about abstract slights and with your your usual whinging sentimentalism.

    And furthermore, I’m not complaining about the Quilliam. On the contrary I am saying that now that they have lost this Arab funding, they should rather regard it as a positive development. And as Halima has pointed out in #25.

  39. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:34 am  

    You’ve often mentioned that you have lived in several muslim-majority countries. Which countries were they and what were your experience? Good and bad.

    In Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and many of the Gulf States Southasians migrant workers are, to this day, treated like indentured slaves.

    There are still large numbers of Southasian, Phillipina and Indonesian nurses and maids who are subjected to the most heinous sexual and physical violence, with impunity.

    I have seen with my own eyes this happening Riyadh airport customs: Large groups of Southasian muslims fly in from Pakistan. God fearing men that they are, they bring along their Qurans and religious texts with them from their countries. The Saudi customs then rifle throught their bags, splurge out everything, shouting abuse at the men the whole time, They the flip through these texts, sneering and genuflecting, and then finally throw these books, qurans into a huge pile at the end of the room. Then a Southasian migrant worker cleaner comes along and brushes all the books up into a huge plastic bin to be collected later and destroyed.

    A Southasian professional (doctor, engineer, pharamcist) gets 20 to 30% less pay an Arab professional and up to 50% less than a US or UK professional WITH THE SAME EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS.

    I could go on. But if any of these things were to happen here to Southasians by white people, we can be sure that Refresh amongst others would be screaming “RACISM” at the top of his lungs.

    But when it’s being committed by Arabs to Southasians and Africans, we hear cries of “racist” from the chorus of apologists, directed at someone for mentioning that it happens.

  40. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:42 am  

    Sid,

    ‘You’re a liar Refresh.’ NO!!!

    Read that post in context. And read that specific thread again – and remind yourself how and why you declared you were going to be supporting them.

    As for the idea that its a good thing they’ve pulled out – shouldn’t you be seriously wondering about the calibre of people behind the organisation. Shouldn’t you have evaluated them a little deeper. Its not a good thing to always blame someone else.

    The think tank did not need to come out all macho to address the issues. And by the same token nor do you.

    And you do not challenge allegations that the MCB or some other organisation was responsible for this glitch. You could have sought clarifications. But you did not.

    As I said above, its getting stale.

    I don’t know how I’ve ended up at the keyboard after a few weeks of bliss.

  41. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:47 am  

    BTW your post #39 is much much more interesting, and worthy of debate.

  42. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:50 am  

    As for the idea that its a good thing they’ve pulled out – shouldn’t you be seriously wondering about the calibre of people behind the organisation. Shouldn’t you have evaluated them a little deeper. Its not a good thing to always blame someone else.

    How do we know that they’ve pulled out because they’ve realised that they can’t be found out funding a think tank that criticises reactionary mullahs like Qaradawi, who is a popular and well regarded in the Gulf States. Have you considred that?

  43. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:50 am  

    The think tank did not need to come out all macho to address the issues. And by the same token nor do you.

    If come out all macho means to rigorously take on asinine criticism head on, then so be it. If you’re going to call someone a racist or a neocon, you better be able to fucking back it up.

    As I said above, its getting stale.

    No one’s forcing you to come here and read this blog.

    BTW your post #39 is much much more interesting, and worthy of debate.

    Knock yourself out.

  44. halima — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:09 am  

    Is it just me or is ‘coconut’ a really lazy, offensive and racist expression?

    It is – like all stereotypes – lazy… But sadly I would be hurt if someone called me that.

    Saudi Arabia and human rights – I think universally is agreed and should be condemned. Absoloutely awful. I think the reason why South Asian migrants don’t take offense is this: many are used to rudeness and discrimination in their own countries and people defining you by your status and wealth and when faced with ‘rich’ Arabs they think that’s the way of the world – as perhaps lots of first gen immigrants did in the UK. I don’t know enough about the Philippines to comment – except know it’s pretty lawless.

    I have also heard some very bad racist stereotypes this month – and in fact all year, confirmed by friends in different parts of the world – as far out as remote outposts in the Pacific, about rising fuel prices in the world, blaming ‘those nasty “Arabs” and peoole dismissing the large Saudi donation to World Food Programme as naff – and wanting to clean their guilt etc.

  45. Dave — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:16 am  

    A quick lesson in English phraseology is in order I see.
    I’m well aware that the phrase “reactionary Arab” is not, in and of itself, racist. It could be simply used to distinguish from those reactionaries who are not Arabs and those Arabs who are not reactionary. Context is everything. And in this context it’s pretty clear what is being implied. I mean come on:
    a progressive, vernacular (read: British) school of Islam that is free (in every way) of reactionary Arab backwardness.
    I mean it’s very hard not to find a bit of anti-Arab racism lurking there. You draw attention to the word “vernacular”, ok, in the common tongue, whatever, except “British” isn’t a language, is it? I don’t think it’s much of a response anyway; the dichotomy between, on the one hand, the vernacular British and the progressive, and on the other hand, the reactionary, the backward, the Arab, speaks volumes.
    I am appealing for British Muslims to start just that, a British, progressive school of Islam. Is that so hard to understand?
    What’s hard to understand is the obsession over the “Britishness” as opposed to “Arabness” of such an institution. The former is no more progressive than the latter; British people can be progressive, but it rarely coincides with them going on about just how British they are.
    Of course it’s not just about one little phrase. The overall message of people like Ed Husein – and, given the above quote and the fact that your main criticism of him seems to be that he doesn’t go far enough, I gather this includes yourself – that progressive Muslims should focus on criticising elements of Muslim culture and recognise Western culture (“Britishness”) as the superior state towards which they need to progress (into which they need to “integrate” themselves), is hardly a progressive one, is it?
    Or had you not noticed the massive predations that certain Western nations are currently inflicting on certain Muslim nations, or the near-hysterical Islamophobia that underpins the whole War On Terror, or the tendency of politicians to find scapegoats in the form of immigrant communities?
    Here’s a racist concept for you: Foreign immigrants like me speak and write better English than natives like you.
    I’m sure you have a better grasp of British values too, or whatever the fuck we’re calling it these days.

  46. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:19 am  

    ‘If come out all macho means to rigorously take on asinine criticism head on, then so be it. If you’re going to call someone a racist or a neocon, you better be able to fucking back it up.’

    I think I am correct to say that you do use stereotypes.

    As for your experiences in the middle east – would you say that it has coloured your views of ALL arabs?

  47. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:26 am  

    As for your experiences in the middle east – would you say that it has coloured your views of ALL arabs?

    Like I said, try and do that in the UK and see how far you get. But considering you have never even heard of the abuses I have listed in #39 goes to show that these events are commonplace and is not accompanied by the equivalent of an Arab Guardian bringing it to front page news. The Arabs don’t consider their racism worthy of comment. Now tell me if that is indicative of a universal problem or not?

  48. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:26 am  

    ‘How do we know that they’ve pulled out because they’ve realised that they can’t be found out funding a think tank that criticises reactionary mullahs like Qaradawi, who is a popular and well regarded in the Gulf States. Have you considred that?’

    Considering it is one thing, but presenting it as near fact is another.

    Being macho and being resolute are two different things. One is posturing, the other is usually based on a considered view.

  49. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:30 am  

    Considering it is one thing, but presenting it as near fact is another.

    I didn’t say it was a fact. I said it was worth considering all sides. In fact I said without the a statement from the Gulfies, it’s all speculation. You on the other hand have confirmed that your verion of the events is enough to condemn the Quilliam Foundation permanently. That isn’t posturing?

  50. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:31 am  

    By the way Refresh, you still have not said how I was being racits. Stil waiting for your definitive reasons.

  51. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:33 am  

    ‘Now tell me if that if means the problem is univeral in the Arab world or not?’

    And that is what makes you the messenger the problem. Is it universal? From Marrakesh to Beirut? Damascus to Sana’a? Gaza to Iraq? Rich and poor?

  52. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    Dave, a word of advice: when in a hole carry on digging yourself to Australia.

  53. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:36 am  

    Refresh, have you ever heard reports of Arab racism towards Southasians coming from the Beirut press? Have you heard of the pay differential between African, Southasian, Arab and European professionals in the Damascene press? Have you even been to Arabia and seen a poor migrant worker’s living conditions? Have you seen the number of rapes of South East asian nurses reported in Al Jazeera?

  54. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:37 am  

    Once again Refresh, you still have not said how I was being racist. Still waiting for your definitive reasons. Or were you playing the race card for effect?

  55. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:43 am  

    ‘You on the other hand have confirmed that your verion of the events is enough to condemn the Quilliam Foundation permanently. That isn’t posturing?’

    No because I waited to hear what they had to say. I also wanted to understand who was backing them.

    And the first ever interview they gave was agressive and did not explain what they were about. Other than attack their fellow guest – Tammimi. Which you might recall I named in our dialogue at the time – and immediately you called me a supporter of terrorists.

    And you try to tell me I try to close down debate.

    You sir are a charlatan

  56. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:46 am  

    And you try to tell me I try to close down debate.

    Loud and clear and well exposed right here on this thread. You called me a racist and haven’t been able to come up with one iota of concrete evidence. You’ve gotten away with years of mewling and insinutation. Now back it up.

  57. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:47 am  

    #45

    I think Dave’s laid it out admirably.

    I would be interested in your response to my #51.

    ‘You sir are a charlatan’

    Was for effect.

  58. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:51 am  

    Dave seems to be more tied up with the inherent problem of the definition of “Britishness” and other semantical problems. He also seems to have backed off calling me a racist but has resorted to the woolly “Implied racism”, whatever the fuck that means.

    It’s especially weak, but very telling, that you’re using his arguments to back up your accusation.

    You seem to be apologising for Arab racism however.

  59. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:55 am  

    Why don’t you read my original post on the subject and see what I said to you. Neither of us actually called you racist. But its a nice one to go into a spat with.

    All the same your #58 is laced with irony.

  60. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:56 am  

    Be a man, do the honourable thing, and retract your accusation.

  61. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 1:57 am  

    But I do want to see if perhaps you are. Hence my other questions.

    How about responding to my #51.

  62. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 2:00 am  

    Got to go, cocoa time. We shall continue tomorrow.

  63. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 2:02 am  

    Well if you’re going to expend so much energy defending Arab racism, what exactly does that make you?

    And yes, defending Tamimi is apologising for terrorism, since he is a self-confessed and self-appointed apologist for terrorism himself. As is Qaradawi, who uses Quranic interpretation to legitimise suicide bombing.

    In your world, to criticise either of them is racist! Why? Because they are Arabs? Fine, but when we point out that some of the worst HR injustices in the world today are being committed by Arab institutions and governments, your retort is we are being racists and “dealing in stereotypes”.

    And you say *we’re* getting stale?

  64. Dave — on 31st May, 2008 at 2:43 am  

    Hung up on semantical problems?
    you really need to look up a dictionary to find out what vernacular means [in the context of "progressive, vernacular (read: British) school of Islam that is free (in every way) of reactionary Arab backwardness."]

    Spuriously “playing the race card” to stifle debate?
    Here’s a racist concept for you: Foreign immigrants like me speak and write better English than natives like you.

    You throw up a false dichotomy between the progressive and the Western on the one hand, the reactionary and the Arab on the other, in the tradition of centuries of orientalism and against the backdrop of the West’s War on (Muslim) Terror.

    When pulled up on this, you accuse your opponents of legitimising racism and of debating in a dishonest manner. Digging a hole? Most of the retorts that come to mind are best left in the playground. This is stale indeed, but as you point out I’m under no obligation to continue. Bye then.

  65. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 3:00 am  

    Dave,

    Context? Ok. The word “vernacular” in this *context* does not mean “British vernacular of Southasian Islam” – which suggests oppression but “South Asian vernacular of British Islam” for Southasian British Muslims. This would be the agency of progressive values such as separation of religion from politics, religious pluralism, protection of minorites and gender parity. Values which are sadly disintegrated from the religion that we have inherited from the Arabs and which, in the last 30 years at least, has been wrested from us by politicised reactionary movements as a result of a re-exposure to Arabian religious movements of Wahhabism and Salafism.

    Secondly you seem to be coming from a world where the only racism you recognise is that understood as “Orientalism”, as defined by Edward Said – specifically, Western *cultural* de-qualification of the non-European. But what you’re unwilling to consider, for whatever reason, is that Arabian cultural de-qualification of Southasians also exists. This has not been given the same kind of sympathetic contextualisation in the West that Orientalism has benefitted from but that does not make it any less real for Southasians either here or in Southasia. And it isn’t getting any funding for research in Arab universities!

    It is almost impossible for Southasian muslims who have been born and brought up here in the the West to be aware of Arabian culpability of massive HR abuses in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf states etc. The very long and very boring debate with Refresh right here on this thread – where he has called me a racist for merely bringing this matter up, should be illustrative of that. Southasian Muslims here grow up to believe that Arabs are *always* the victims of Western oppression and that cultural and religious loyalties means allegiances are forged in one direction only. Hence Southasian Muslims are very sympathetic to the issues of Palestine and Iraq, because of perceived feelings of Muslim solidarity and support of the “downtrodden Arabs, victims of Western hegemony and Orientalism”. But conversely, Arabs in general, are ignorant or oblivious or frankly, apathetic, towards Southasian Muslim oppression by their own institutions.

    Following on from there, recognising the existence of institutionalised Arab racism and oppression of non-Arabs (both Muslims and non-Muslims) either of migrant workers or non-Muslim minorities (the Copts for example) in Arab lands by Arab governments and institutions is much harder to stomach, let alone accept, by most British Southasian Muslims. Raise your hands Refresh, fugstar et al.

    The problem is largely due to exactly the way Halima has brilliantly put it in #44:

    South Asian migrants don’t take offense [to] this: many are used to rudeness and discrimination in their own countries and people defining you by your status and wealth and when faced with ‘rich’ Arabs they think that’s the way of the world – as perhaps lots of first gen immigrants did in the UK.

  66. halima — on 31st May, 2008 at 6:56 am  

    Unfortunately though same migrants also suffer in the same way in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore…And again they don’t question things. And also Hong Kong prisons are full of prisoners of African descent who are denied right to trial and no-one is caring because they can’t afford lawyers. And the Lebanese in DRC and Liberia treat Africans in a terrible manner, too. The list could go on.

    I don’t know that others on this thread would deny that migrants get a very rough deal in non-western countries. The trafficking of people across the globe is major business – and perhaps its the darker side to the global war of talent in the world.

    The other strange thing with all these countries with large migrant in-takes is that the governments in question (with exception of Singapore perhaps) set up informal, semi-legalised prostitution quarters so that the migrant men can get some release without taking up relationships with local ladies (and men). Strange. And the organised prostitution in DRC is of Lebanese women.

    Singapore, on the other hand, prohibits Phillipino workers from having relationships and the terms of her work permit say that if she gets pregnant she has to leave the country immidiately. Hmm.

  67. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 9:02 am  

    Your posts #63

    And you want a retraction?

    Enough!

    What you need is a handler.

  68. Katy Newton — on 31st May, 2008 at 10:12 am  

    You implicitly equate “Arab” with “reactionary”, and explicitly equate “British” with “progressive [and] vernacular”.

    Bzzz! Straw man alert. There is nothing “racist” in what Sid has said (there never is anything racist in what Sid says, and I speak as someone who has disagreed with him on a regular basis for three years), for the very simple reason that he’s not talking about “race”. He’s comparing schools of religious thought, one of which is (loosely) Arabic and one of which is Southasian/British. It is perfectly legitimate to him to say that he finds one school reactionary and one progressive. I am quite sure that there is an element of oversimplification in his description and I would think that that’s because this is a blog post and not a PhD thesis. You might not agree with him but it is intellectually lazy and morally reprehensible to try to shut him up with the R-word.

  69. Sunny — on 31st May, 2008 at 10:21 am  

    No because I waited to hear what they had to say. I also wanted to understand who was backing them.

    Yeah right Refresh, you were full of scorn from the minute I posted something on them. Please spare us the “I always try and be neutral until I know everything” rubbish.

  70. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 11:16 am  

    ‘I am quite sure that there is an element of oversimplification in his description and I would think that that’s because this is a blog post and not a PhD thesis.’

    And therein lies his problem.

    Let him talk about different schools of thought, and not Arabs per se.

  71. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 11:18 am  

    ‘Yeah right Refresh, you were full of scorn from the minute I posted something on them.’

    Not quite the minute you posted, but after the interview on Newsnight.

    They blew it.

  72. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 11:29 am  

    Let him talk about different schools of thought, and not Arabs per se.

    Because the minute I turn the topic to Arabs per se, you will want to use the race card to turn it to “different schools of thought”.

    You argue in bad faith. You apply one rule to yourself and another for others. You haven’t been able to back up your accusation of racism and yet you apologise for Arab racism by refusing to acknowledge that it even exists towards Southasians and Africans. Nice.

  73. douglas clark — on 31st May, 2008 at 11:51 am  

    There were a series of posts – on here I think – about the treatment that SE Asian guest workers got in the Gulf States. It was not pretty. Just denying it is to fly in the face of that evidence.

  74. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    JEDDAH, 26 October 2007 — A 37-year-old Filipino beautician is being treated at a hospital in Jeddah for serious injuries she suffered after falling from a building while trying to escape alleged maltreatment from her employer.

    Officials at the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah yesterday said Myrna Salvador was admitted to Dr. Baksh Hospital in the Mina district of the city after suffering a fractured spine and hip. She was brought to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon by her employer’s driver and another worker.

    Salvador, a single mother, left her two young children with relatives in the northern Philippine province of Bulacan when she was recruited by Samba Services agency to work at a beauty parlor owned by her employer, Malika Al-Otaibi, in Jeddah for a salary of SR1,500 a month.

    On arrival in Jeddah last Sunday, Al-Otaibi reportedly told her at first “in a nice way” to work as a maid for the family for a SR750 monthly salary.

    Salvador said she was brought to her employer’s Al-Nahda Dress Shop in the Mahjar district where she was asked to sign a new contract stating she would work as a maid. When she pointed out that she was hired as a beautician as stated by her contract that was authenticated by the Saudi Embassy in Manila and the Philippine Overseas Employment Office (POEA), the employer reportedly became angry and beat her up in front of her children and other workers at the dress shop.

    “She slapped me and beat me up with a ladle. Even her daughters were crying ‘miskeena, miskeena’ but she refused to stop,” Salvador recounted from her hospital bed.

    Al-Otaibi then reportedly ordered Salvador be locked up in a room, without any food. However, on Wednesday, she managed to climb out of a hole and attempted to climb down but slipped and fell, fracturing her spine.

    Despite Salvador’s condition, Al-Otaibi, who was at the shop at the time, told her driver to take Salvador to a police station and have her deported. “Fortunately, her husband took pity and insisted that I be brought to a hospital instead,” Salvador told Arab News.

    Contacted by Arab News on her cell phone yesterday, Al-Otaibi at first denied knowing Salvador. But when told that Salvador broke her back while escaping from their villa, Al-Otaibi said: “She is just a woman who came and ran away.”

    She said Salvador came all the way from the Philippines with the intention to escape, encouraged by her mother who works in Jeddah.

    “She broke the metal bars on the window and threw herself off from the roof,” she said, denying that she physically abused Salvador. “She got hurt because she jumped from the window.”

    Asked if it was true that she tried to force her beautician employee to work in her house as a maid, Al-Otaibi angrily replied: “Stop asking me about her, whoever wants to commit suicide is free to do so. I have workers working for me for more than 20 years. Nothing like this has happened before,” she said before hanging up.

    Less than 10 minutes later, she telephoned Arab News and threatened that if any of her comments were to be published then she would see to it that the newspaper is closed down.

    In a heavy Moroccan accent, before abruptly hanging the phone, she screamed: “I’ll show you what Moroccans can do.”

  75. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:07 pm  

    From HRW:

    Women employed as domestic helpers are particularly vulnerable to forced labor, as well as physical and sexual abuse, and all women are subject to additional restrictions forbidding driving, access to certain public places, and “immoral behavior,” including walking alone, not wearing a head scarf, or being in the company of a man who is not a relative. Punishments for the latter include imprisonment and flogging.

    These restrictions foster other abuses, because they give employers leverage to force foreign workers to accept wages and working conditions other than those specified in their contracts. Workers regularly report that their employers failed to honor contracts signed in their home countries, including failing to pay wages for months at a time, placing them in lower paid and lower skilled jobs, requiring them to work longer hours than specified, and reneging on promised housing, repatriation, vacation leave, and other benefits. Even contracts that are honored typically contain provisions that can be easily abused, including requirements that workers pay their own travel costs if they are dismissed for incompetence, accept any other work assigned by the employer, refrain from engaging in any outside work, be available to work any additional hours required by the employer, and not be or become pregnant.

  76. Anas — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:21 pm  

    Tariq Ramadan was quite vocal in his criticism of the British Muslim deference to Arab scholars and religious figures when I went to see him speak a couple of years ago. And he made exactly the same point about the widespread, brutal often inhuman mistreatment of South Asian migrant workers in Saudi, etc and about how little attention it gets here among British Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi Muslims — especially those who tend to idealise Arab societies as paragons of Islamic authenticity (this was to an audience of mostly Scottish Pakistanis mind). This was part of his argument for a European/British Islam, one that fits into its specific geographical, cultural context.

    Not too sure about the Quilliam foundation though.

  77. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 12:30 pm  

    Thank you Anas, that has been my point precisely.

    The QF angle was not to conflate British Islam with the Quilliam Foundation, though I now see that this might have been a cause for misunderstanding for some. But that they (the Quilliam Foundation), now thay they are free of their Arab paymasters who have skee-daddled, should develop their remit in the direction of developing a religious and legal consensus amongst Southasian British Muslims which is vernacular in nature and free of this misguided deference to Saudi religious authority.

  78. Refresh — on 31st May, 2008 at 5:22 pm  

    But Sid your point isn’t that precisely at all. Talk about bad faith.

    I told you that the points you raised in #39 was worthy of debate.

    But you now go on to say that I support or excuse it.

    You don’t actually know what I think of that do you?

    But because I did not go down yet another dark alley with you does not let you off the hook.

    You are using examples of repulsive behaviour as an excuse for your own regressive attitudes.

    Yes if you want a ‘British’ Islam, it ain’t coming from that foundation.

  79. Sid — on 31st May, 2008 at 5:38 pm  

    Refresh, I think we’ve said everything we need to say [to each other]. Our individual positions towards reactionary Arab backwardness, amongst other things, are as clear as day.

  80. Desi Italiana — on 3rd June, 2008 at 5:29 am  

    “freeing Western Muslims from “the cultural baggage of the Indian subcontinent and the political burdens of the Arab world”.”

    Ugh– I hate this kind of thinking. I’ve come across this strand of logic from sub-continentals (not often, but every once in a while). Religion does not transcend various other factors (regions, socio-economic status, politics, etc). To divorce religion from culture is rather stupid, I think. And I don’t understand why people get so upset with the immense diversity present in how religion is practiced. There is absolutely nothing wrong with regional products of a religion that is shared across borders.

    I also think allegations of Sid being racist are specious arguments. Various human rights violations have been documented (and I myself have written about them). Sid tying in racism that Southasians face in countries which seem to hold sway over well-greased political ideologies propagated on a global scale, and SOME (not all– a tiny minority) Desis thinking that religion can somehow nullify socio-cultural differences and looking towards Islamic scholars and actors who are based in Arab nations as the “true” heirs to Islam which should be the models to emulate to get rid of the “cultural baggage” emanating from Southasia (read: Hindu and non-Islamic religions, though if these believers were smart enough, they’d see that the “non-Islamic” and “Islamic” are very hard to separate, given the interweaving of all of these various religions in the subcontinent) is not being racist. It’s an irony that I think should be highlighted, but NOT be the defining way of framing the discussion of Southasian migrants in the Gulf countries, and other Arab nations (see below).

    The only objection I have to the whole framing of the issue is that it’s not only Desis who identify themselves as Muslims that get treated like shit in the Gulf States. Sri Lankan women get abused in Lebanon– and not all of them are affiliated as Muslims. Likewise, in Qatar, Nepali migrant workers are exploited as hell, and they are overwhelmingly Hindu. So rather than framing the issue within the terms of religion, it is better to look at other factors (global economy, migration, racism, Southasia as a region in the place and context of global political economy).

    I do, however, appreciate Sid’s use of “South Asia” as one word– Southasian. You go, boy :)

  81. Desi Italiana — on 3rd June, 2008 at 5:38 am  

    While we are on the topic of purging “Islam” of Southasian “cultural baggage”, this link provides an overview of purists from several religions in the subcontinent (ie Hindus trying to rid “Hinduism” of “Islamic” practices):

    http://ecumene.org/IIS/csss05.htm

  82. Abu ??? (too Arab for you) — on 4th June, 2008 at 8:29 am  

    “For some reason it is a weakness to be Anglicised (”coconut”) but it is a virtue to be Arabised (”jazaak-allah-khair, ya akhi”)”

    Firstly my apologies if someone has addressed this point earlier, but with so many posts, I was not going to read them all..

    On the point of Arabised: The Author obviously fails to understand why Muslims use the words he cited as examples, their meaning and use is linked to the traditions of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings be upon him) and have nothing to do with the fact Arabs use them. There are other words that many ‘southasian’Muslims use for the same reason.

    Over the past 15 years, there has emerged a greater awareness of the Muslim identity, which has led many Muslim to turn to their faith with greater vigor, they naturally began to study core subjects including Arabic language, which with any language is best developed through practice, coupled with study of the traditions of the prophet (may the peace and blessings be upon) him)means, they incorporate this into their daily vocabulary, this is as the author rightly points out, lingua sacra..(I wonder if the author is Italian or becoming Italianised {sic})…

    Generally speaking, those described as Arabised, are those practicing their religion and not every ‘southasian’which goes along way to explaining this behaviour..

    The argument of superiority and inferiority plays no part in my opinion and if it does, we are grasping to experience’s of a very few..

    Finally, why we talking about Ed the duck? The Arabised
    Nawaz (the author may have a case there) and their band of merry men, if the home office party had anything to do with it…….

  83. Sammy smith — on 7th June, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    It seems that many people were/are taken for a ride by these Quilliam folks, here is one of their comrades in arms, now openly admitting in court that he made up the whole story in order to sell books and make money:

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1184614595/bctid1578617152

  84. bikhair — on 7th June, 2008 at 9:52 pm  

    Be serious Sid. You SouthAsian Muslims would still be ass backwards with or without the nasty and wierd Arabisms.

  85. Refresh — on 7th June, 2008 at 11:13 pm  

    Bikhair, now its your turn to cast racist aspersions?

  86. Abu?????? — on 8th June, 2008 at 1:55 pm  

    To the Moderator…

    Why has my previous post (a response to Sammy’s point) re: Quilliam folks taking all for a ride been removed……?????????

    It was on your site last night….

  87. Response to Sammy — on 9th June, 2008 at 1:48 pm  

    re: Taken for a ride!!

    I agree with Sammy’s point re: Quilliam taking us all for a ride: Many of the reborn modernists who have seen the light and are against ‘Islamists’ (whatever that means) are inspired by MONEY AND FAME far beyond any sincere discourse for the betterment of society as with the case of Mr Butt ( refer to Sammy’s link)

    Take Ed, grand claims of membership in HT to promote his book and then countless sources have highlighted he was never in the inner circle of HT (as a member)but a mere wannabee who lived out a fantasy to promote his book, same delusioned world as Mr. Butt.

    Then there’s Mr. Nawaz..time in prison, comes out, goes back to the organisation he claims he came to distrust and disagree with whilst in prison, then what were you doing at their events for a year..the answer..waiting for the right amount of money to be offered or maybe Mr Nawaz thought, had he come out of prison and decided to leave HT, many may brand him a coward so played the waiting game, either way hardly sincere…

    Another in the ‘fame & fortune game’: Mr Rashad Ali claims his deep study made him see the light, I have heard on many blogs and some individuals have mentioned that, Mr Rashad was engaged in illegal activity and consequently suspeneded or expelled from HT..overtime resentment grew inside Mr Rashad and money came to take all that away…suddenly he became a scholarly figure researching, ummm age old arguments which a modern sense of vigor, hardly sincere discourse…guess money does that…..

    Sammy you hit the nail onthe head!!!

    I think all issues should be discussed to find the truth but with these people who happened to come out as Money is increasingly being made available to deflect the goverments denial that Iraq and Afghanistan have made the world a more dangerous place and a breeding ground for violence…then sincerity is lost as the truth is also lost…

  88. BeingNice — on 10th June, 2008 at 9:29 am  

    No to get overly involved in this back and forth but actually arab journalist have covered the racist and appalling treatment of gulf states towards asian workers, exposing the suffering and struggle of migrant workers (daily star in Egypt has done a some recently criticising Saudi Arabia for not signing the UN convention for protection of human rights of migrant workers). I don’t know if you speak arabic but a few (admittedly not enough) articles have even appeared in the heavily controlled arabic language press.

    There have also been independent films made about the treatment asian maids (I saw a strong film ‘maid in lebanon’ a recent festival film).

    I think you’ll find that Gulf States also treat arabs from poorer countries badly though perhaps not as harshly as migrant workers. Even professional Arabs working in the gulf will earn less than westerners – including Asians with British passports.

    So yes Its appalling that more isn’t done to protect the rights of migrant workers in the Arab world, that more Gulf Arabs don’t even know about it but as someone said earlier there are other issues, migration, racism and economic power, its not just an inherently cultural Arab thing.

    As a southasian I lived in worked in North Africa and didn’t have any problems with the Arabs I met in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, however the way say Jordanians treated newly impoverished Iraqis or Egypt’s treatment of Sudanese refugees was shocking. I was made aware of this by Arab activists and made me realise that there are other factors at play. They’re also the ones who spoke most angrily at the treatment of Asian workers in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, but again they have limited power beyond organising demonstrations and raising awareness.

    So please don’t fall into the ‘all arabs’ mistake because its unfair and you guys are better than that.

    Now please don’t hurt me :)

  89. Sid — on 10th June, 2008 at 10:07 am  

    BeingNice, all good points. One point that I want to make is that I was not suggesting that *all* Arabs regard Southasians as untermenschen on an individual basis.

    What I said was that the Arab coutries that have had the *most* contact with Southasians have implemented institutional racism towards Southasians and Africans. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf States are by far the worst offenders and the worst examples of violent and sexual oppression of migrant workers occur there. And I agree with you that little or no such problems exist in North African and Maghrebi Arab countries.

    The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Southasian countries are always on the backfoot to these rich Arab states because they need the foreign exchange that the migrant workers are generating. So they are loathe to create difficulties such as establishing checks on human rights violations.

    But what is it about Muslim Southasians which regards Saudis and Kuwaitis as the greatest Muslims since post-Prophetic Muslims? Any clues?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.