How not to deal with terrorism (pt 2)


by Sunny
22nd July, 2008 at 9:05 am    

On a recent blog post at Harry’s Place, one of the readers asked David T:

David, I know Sunny is a friend of yours but he is clearly losing the plot. Some of the recent stuff he wrote about the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Islam Expo was bizarre. There was a time when he was reliably hostile to the prumptions of Islamism but recently he seems to have become some kind of anti-anti-Islamist, preferring to focus his energy on attacking anyone who dares to point out the danger. Any insights into what’s going on?

To which David T replies:

No, I really don’t know. All I can say is that this isn’t the perspective of all the Pickled Politics bloggers at all.

It is a bizarre response for two reasons. First, David is a regular reader and should have seen this post where I explained my reasons for a subtle change in my own editorial direction.

Secondly, my post on IslamExpo was actually more about the Quilliam Foundation, and the essential point was no different to what I had already said when writing about QF’s launch.

Maybe it says more about the critics of Islamism, many of whom see any attempt to argue a middle line or defending ordinary Muslims as somehow pandering to radical groups. The two are not the same; David T knows this so I have no idea why he’s confused as to what’s going on. This site’s mission statement remains the same – its just that now I see this government and various “critics of Islamism” as more of a threat to our social cohesion than the “community leaders”. As I said earlier, I don’t believe in flogging dead horses.

And here’s another rub. I suspect that some people are more interested in fighting a cultural war than in anti-terrorism. The Quilliam Foundation example is important here for several reasons.

1) Several commenters on Harry’s Place, when reading about Demos holding a discussion at IslamExpo, said (Demos director) Catherine Fieschi liked to have tea with Islamists and some even made downright suggestive comments. Its this idiotic mob mentality that gives blogs a bad name. Catherine actually attracted a fair amount of criticism for openly and loudly supporting Ed Husain in the run up to QF’s launch. She was one of the main reasons I supported them too. Its this sort of baseless accusation-making that leads me to ignore most blogs when they talk about the various groups involved in all this area. Ed hasn’t exactly done himself favours either. For example at the Fabian Society annual conference he accused Shami Chakrabarti (Liberty) of sharing a platform with Hizb ut-Tahrir and had to withdraw his statement after a furious rebuke by Shami.

Ed has a bad habit of essentially taking a similar line to Melanie Phillips’ accusation that the British liberal-left will bend over and let Osama Bin Laden screw them if they were offered the opportunity. That doesn’t win him many friends and for this reason Catherine took a bit of a gamble by supporting QF.

2) What purpose will the Qulliam Foundation serve? This is an important question because several people commenting here said they’d be happy to see Ed and Maajid Nawaz as a counterweight to the likes of Azzam Tamimi on Newsnight. Guys, I have news for you – fighting the media battle is very different to an anti-terrorism strategy.

The likes of the July 7th bombers and such hardcore nutters have little interest in what the MSM is saying and are only likely to ignore Ed’s editorials aimed at them. People who believe otherwise are too obsessed with the westminster political/media village. Thankfully, the intelligence services and police are not and will in all likelihood work with conservative Muslim groups, maybe even Muslim Brotherhood types, for the purposes of anti-terrorism. The intelligence services will care less for who is saying what on Newsnight or in the Telegraph and more on how many cells they can track and crack.

To the same extent, I’m more interested in how many violent jihadis QF can bring into the fold and develop something solid along these lines. If Ed just focuses on telling off Azzam Tamimi through the comment pages of various newspapers, then I’m afraid the govt is wasting its time and money funding them (if it is). Muslim groups looking to represent the “silent majority” are dime a dozen these days. That isn’t to say I disagree with Ed (I agree with the QF crew on issues more than I would with the likes of nutters like Azzam Tamimi or Yvonne Ridley or Anas Altkriti), but to me that wasn’t the reason I supported the Quilliam Foundation initially. The culture war isn’t as important as a solid anti-terrorism startegy.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Civil liberties,Religion,Terrorism,The World






70 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Stop US Wars » Blog Archive » How not to deal with terrorism (pt 2)

    [...] Sean Gilfillan wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis site’s mission statement remains the same – its just that now I see this government and various “critics of Islamism” as more of a threat to our social cohesion than the “community leaders”. As I said earlier, I don’t believe in … [...]




  1. fug — on 22nd July, 2008 at 11:43 am  

    who gives a poop about what you say anyway?

  2. soru — on 22nd July, 2008 at 11:56 am  

    Someone is confused, possibly me. By what definition of the words ‘culture war’ and ‘anti-terrorism strategy’ does the IslamExpo come under the latter?

    Secondly, what role can democratic Islamism usefully play in an anti-terrorism strategy in a country where Islamists are less likely to win an election than the Monster Raving Loonies?

    It just doesn’t make sense as any kind of argument.
    Islamism in Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, wherever, is one thing. But in the UK, a peaceful Islamist position is inherently unstable. If you:

    1. set something up as highly desirable
    2. make it impossible to obtain by peaceful means
    3. only have weak and unpersuasive arguments why non-peaceful means are wrong.

    Then you are setting up an indefensible position, a looming artificial lake held back by a fragile dam. Terrorist are generally not ‘nutters’, they, or at least their key thinkers, are generally pretty smart, just starting from different assumptions and working with different facts.

    For someone who wants an Islamically-justified state radically different from the current UK one, terrorism is not the action of a nutter, but arguably the best available plan in the situation.

    The only likely bargain with that flavour of Islamist is the old one of ‘go bomb other countries, just don’t do it here’.

  3. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 12:22 pm  

    hey Sunny, you’re my brother and I love you and all, but the last post in this series about IslamExpo (‘How not to deal with terrorism (pt 1)’) was all about the failings of Quilliam Foundation, which was dealt with at length. The second post in this series (‘How not to deal with terrorism (pt 2)’), which is this one, deals with, erm, the the failings of Quilliam Foundation at length.

    I think we’ve discussed them at length haven’t we? This time round you wrote:

    To the same extent, I’m more interested in how many violent jihadis QF can bring into the fold and develop something solid along these lines. If Ed just focuses on telling off Azzam Tamimi through the comment pages of various newspapers, then I’m afraid the govt is wasting its time and money funding them (if it is).

    If anything, most people have misunderstood what QF’s remit is. Whatever it is, it is not about bringing “violent Jihadis” to it’s fold. Not unless you count bored, disillusioned and disgruntled ex-Hizbies but they can hardly be called violent by any stretch. Ideologically volatile with the potential of subverting large numbers of impressionable youth, but violent? I’m not so sure.

    QF’s role *is* to take on people like Azzam Tamimi or Yvonne Ridley or Anas Altkriti IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE. And that means in op-eds, on Newsnight and yes, in the Daily Mail. How many Muslim voices are actually doing that? Not that many, I’m sure.

    Their problem is that Ed suffers from the zealotry of the converted and his newest conversion happens to be secularism and anti-Islamism. Which is why he was foolish enough to take on Shami C. He was, of course, roundly bitch-slapped for his idiocy and rightly so. Where his aim needs work, his intentions are true.

    What we need from PP is less criticism (from you) of QF (at length, *sigh*) for criticising the anti-liberal and anti-democratic forces that are behind the organisation of IslamExpo – namely the affiliations to the Muslim Brotherhood of some of the organisers. We do (or rather should) not crticise IslamExpo as such or the good people who are participating but the ideals of some of the organisers.

    Do that and you will see that David T’s response is not bizarre at all but actually quite sensible.

  4. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

    Sid – From the QF Website regarding their aims:

    “Expose and challenge the weaknesses, inconsistencies, and failings of Islamist thought and actions;”

    “Encourage current Islamists and extreme Wahhabites to sever ties with their movements and enter the fold of mainstream Islam;”

    How do they propose to do that? It won’t be via Newsnight.

    QF is already restructuring and has lost many of its advisors because of the approach they were taking. They now no longer list any advisors on their website. A worrying sign.

    Secondly the people you say they will be confronting mainly address issues such as I/P not the wider struggle of terror.

    I don’t always agree with Sunny but this time he is correct and his points and arguments provide a better conclusion than Dave T and HP.

    As regards QF, then I think that Ed Hussein’s approach won’t work and that Maajid Nawaz needs to take more of a lead.

    The best way for QF to succeed is to build grassroots support. This debate won’t be won on Newsnight and the more that they address issues on Newsnight and not on the ground the less the wider British community won’t be convinced by them.

    You know what would have been good is if QF went to IslamExpo and debated directly there. They say they are willing to debate anywhere so lets test that and see if they will go to these places and debate. IslamExpo would have been an ideal location for a debate.

    Like you I think QF can have an impact but they need to adjust strategy and that is all Sunny is saying. In that you’ll find when you really lok at things that he is perfectly correct and should be applauded for going against the grain early and saying so.

    This debate isn’t going to be won or lost on Newsnight or current affaits TV programmes it will be won on the ground and QF need to be part of both not just one.

  5. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 1:00 pm  

    This debate isn’t going to be won or lost on Newsnight or current affaits TV programmes it will be won on the ground and QF need to be part of both not just one.

    I agree with you Avi in part. Both sides of the battle must be fought, both “on the ground” and on the media. Someone like Sunny should understand that!

    Tell me how many “on the ground” organisations are going on record and being forthrightly critical of high-profile sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood such as Azzam Tamimi, Yvonne Ridley, Anas Altkriti amongst others?

  6. Bangladesh is wet — on 22nd July, 2008 at 1:17 pm  

    how many “on the ground” organisations are going on record and being forthrightly critical of high-profile sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood such as Azzam Tamimi, Yvonne Ridley, Anas Altkriti amongst others?

    Maybe you should grow some balls, stop hiding behind proxy names and step up to the plate.

  7. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

    Sid – “Tell me how many “on the ground” organisations are going on record and being forthrightly critical of high-profile sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood such as Azzam Tamimi, Yvonne Ridley, Anas Altkriti amongst others?”

    As I said QF needs to do both and not one. This is why I really really admire Alif-Aleph because they are doing things from the ground up.

    But in answer to your question about on the ground organisations that are critical, well that was Sunny’s point that Catherine Fieschi went there and did it. That isn’t an easy thing to do but she did it and then is getting criticised for it.

    The thinking of MB needs to be challanged on their turf as well as in the media. What you’ll find is that 8 years too late even Bush has realised this.

    Look there were organisations at IslamExpo that were promoting religious tolerance, they went there and did it. That is what you need.

    If all QF do is talk to the media then at some point ordinary Brits will ask the question about what is being done on the ground.

    If QF and HP won’t talk to these people then how do you change the outlook of these people and expose their thinking.

    If Demos and other orgs hadn’t gone to IslamExpo then how would ordinary Muslims have seen and heard alternatives? Maybe by Demos and other orgs being there it will make some of the people whom you list start to change their views. But that won’t happen if people won’t talk to them.

    Taking things further what if say someone like you had had the chance to talk to lets say Maajid Nawaz before he went deeply into HT then maybe things would have been different. Thus you do need counters to these oirgs and people talking to them.

    Bush’s Legacy is that no dialogue doesn’t work – it never has and it never will. People are seeing this now.

  8. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 1:44 pm  

    Soru and Sid have said pretty much everything I’d like to say.

    I do think that it is rather sad that you’ve moved from an editorial policy of attacking plural monoculturalism and supporting genuine multiculturalism: to one which focusses on the supposed interests of “brown people”.
    I found it all the more surprising that you supported Davis Davis’s quixotic right wing campaign for “traditional British liberties”. It looked as if you had surrendered a progressive perspective on civil liberties: although perhaps that was not what you intended to do.
    I also found other positions you’ve taken bizzare, particularly

    - calling an anti-clerical undergraduate at Clare College a “chimp”,

    - that business where you pretended that your erroneous criticism on Andrew Anthony/Anthony Andrews was ‘just a joke’ when you were shown to have mistaken a key aspect of his thesis.

    I can’t work out why you’ve taken some of these positions. My best guess is that you’re a man with an excellent feel for the political zeitgeist, and you thought it would do you good to position yourself in this manner. I mean, you can’t really believe this?!

    But, you know, blogging is all about having these little spats and squabbles. People like us like to argue and fuss about things. If you only ever said things I agreed with, I doubt I’d bother to read you.

    I don’t think the government has a snesible anti-terrorist strategy. The best anti-terrorist strategy, in my view, involves the following:

    1. Stop treating Muslims as a bloc. Challenge both White and Islamist bigots who try to do so. In particular, don’t employ strategies which are premised on the need to deal with Muslims as a “problem group”. Stress equality, citizenship, and the complex identities of British people instead.

    2. Take on the lie that there is a war against Muslims. Or a war against Islam. Deal with actual discrimination suffered by people instead.

    3. Put the money into detection; not into detention

    4. Er

    5. That’s it.

    The value of groups like the QF, and of the stuff that I have been writing (and you used to write) is this.
    We’ve moved from phase 1 of dealing with Islamist recruitment to phase 2.
    In phase 1, groups like the MCB and the MAB simply denied that they were Jamaat and Hamas/MB.
    In phase 2, the argument has shifted. Now, they’re more chilled about being identified as being part of this politics. However, they are positioning themselves as “the Islamists you can do business with”. The argument – bought into by Bob Lambert in particular – is that the State should cut a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood – domestically, in the UK – to keep Al Qaeda out. I can’t begin to tell you what a huge betrayal of British Muslims such a strategy would be: and what a disaster I think it will be for this country as a whole.

    This is the line which is being peddled, hard, to a section of the liberal establishment.

    I know something of the story about how Demos was “wooed” by the Muslim Brotherhood. It wasn’t Fieschi’s fault, and she probably wasn’t in a strong enough position to have stopped it even if she wanted to.

  9. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 2:09 pm  

    Dave T – Where Sunny is far ahead of you is that he has challenged the extreme religious thinking of many religious groups including Muslims, Hindu’s, Sikh etc.

    Look there is cause and effect. Some of the ideology that is being followed in Israel must be challenged as well for any coherant policy to be succesful at driving peole away from MB.

    The Israel is always right approach is what is driving these groups to recruit people as they can say look at what they are getting away with.

    There needs to be an overall policy and not just a minimalist one that pleases the neocon movement.

    The failure of the neocon approach is to say that you should only talk to a select few people and they are right.

    To defeat the Islamists means being able to show real progress on issues that they recruit upon such as I/P, Chechneya, Kashmir etc.

    The reason MB thrives is due to the failure to challenge the policies in a number of disputes.

    There is a cause for terror and that needs to be addressed as well. That cause is the failure to address issues such as I/P, Kashmir etc. for 50 years.

    QF’s approach is that this isn’t the problem of Muslims in the UK. But that argument isn’t going to win the day.

    No matter the rights and wrongs on both sides, in order to defeat terror then people need to understand why people turn to terror and that is because they see an injustice whether real or perceived.

    To defeat terror means the recognition of grievances and addressing these in order to eradicate that argument.

    It means:

    Addressing the issue of foreign policy.
    Addressing all religious extremism and not just a select few.
    Encouraging grassroots programmes and not media hype.
    Listenting to people.
    Admitting mistakes such as the claim of WMD’s in Iraq.

    If the Blair years taught us anything it is that the approach of not talking to people or addressing issues doesn’t work.

  10. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

    Er, right on dude.

  11. shariq — on 22nd July, 2008 at 2:17 pm  

    “Their problem is that Ed suffers from the zealotry of the converted and his newest conversion happens to be secularism and anti-Islamism.”

    Very good point

  12. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 2:19 pm  

    But here’s the point. Secularism is good. Islamism is bad.

  13. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 2:27 pm  

    Sid – “Tell me how many “on the ground” organisations are going on record and being forthrightly critical of high-profile sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood such as Azzam Tamimi, Yvonne Ridley, Anas Altkriti amongst others?”

    As I said QF needs to do both and not one. This is why I really really admire Alif-Aleph because they are doing things from the ground up.

    That does not answer the question Avi. Some sharing of tasks is good. QF can do one, and your much lauded organisations “on the ground” can and should do the other.

  14. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 2:36 pm  

    But here’s the point. Secularism is good. Islamism is bad.

    Ed is simply making up for lost time when he was an Islamist drongo. Not necessarily a bad thing.

  15. soru — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:13 pm  

    To defeat terror means the recognition of grievances and addressing these in order to eradicate that argument.

    It wasn’t within the power of the 19C British Empire to address the problems of Chechnya. The other examples might have made sense in the 1940s, but that’s nearly as far from now as the Franco-Prussian War was from Partition. In 2008, Her Majesty’s Government has only marginally more influence over Kashmir, or I/P, than the Portsmouth Polytechnic student union. What can be done, mostly is being, with room only for adjustments at the edges.

    When dealing with non-nutters, reality-based arguments have a natural advantage. You can very rarely persuade anyone directly. What you can sometimes do is make them take note of self-evident facts about the world, ones they can check against their own experience and sources.

    One such fact is that there isn’t any unified ‘Western world’, a single body analogous to the 19C British Empire. Something that could solve all political problems, but, out of greed, racism and spite, is choosing not to.

  16. Andrew — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:24 pm  

    The battle against extremism will be won down on the street – not in newspapers and TV studios. The Quilliam Foundation needs to think about this.

  17. fugstar — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:36 pm  

    Muslims wont accept secularism as their own social vision, the two are oxymoronic. Secularism is from the christian tradition. ok you get some freaks who think its a temporary fix, but probe them and their social vision doesnt exclude God, revelation, prophethood etcetera, there temporary secularism is more a function of the lameness of other visible options. In secular contexts like the uk, we accept the nature of things as they are.

    MCB/MAB/JI arent the ones blowing stuff up in london or the united states. Mistaking them for the problem rather than another issue altogether is really dumb indeed. criminally dumb because it castrates advancement of understanding.

    My favourite stall at the islam expo was from the Gulen movement, civic spirituality sounds kinda interesting.

  18. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:39 pm  

    A good starting point, for example, might be to ensure that Muslim Brotherhood front orgs – like Altikriti’s “Cordoba Foundation” – don’t get local authority funds.

    The Cordoba Foundation managed to persuade Tower Hamlets to give them £19,000 to help combat extremism. However, as the Cordoba Foundation is run by extremists, it put on a speaker meeting with Hizb ut Tahrir instead:

    http://tinyurl.com/5ug5ku

    There are a variety of things that we can do to fight extremism. One part of it – perhaps only a small part of it – is to make sure that local and national government isn’t tricked by extremists posing as moderates.

  19. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

    Muslims wont accept secularism as their own social vision, the two are oxymoronic.

    Sid

    You’re a Muslim. Do you accept secularism?

  20. Sunny — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

    David T:

    I do think that it is rather sad that you’ve moved from an editorial policy of attacking plural monoculturalism and supporting genuine multiculturalism: to one which focusses on the supposed interests of “brown people”.

    I’m not merely interested in the concerns of “brown people” because I do write about other issues too. But this blog has always been about giving space to progressive voices from an ethnic minority background – you knew this from the day it started.

    It seems to me somewhat that you’ve been supportive when it attacked the people you also disliked, but when I challenge the actions of people you’re generally supportive of (say, the Labour govt, other “anti-Islamists”), then you think it becomes ethno-centricism. I’m not sure if this is true but sometimes it looks that way.

    I’m happy to explain in each case in detail why I take that position. But there’s no denying in my case that I’ve always been defensive of how British ethnic minorities are portrayed / talked about in the media and other discourse. That isn’t ethnocentricism any more than Melanie Phillips or Daniel Finkelstein writing about Jewish affairs is.

    I found it all the more surprising that you supported Davis Davis’s quixotic right wing campaign for “traditional British liberties”.

    It was a single issue campaign and I thought his position was closer to mine than the govt’s was. Was it not for you? We had a huge debate about it on LC, as everyone saw, and I ended up supportive the Green candidate, who was more civil libertarian than he was. Civil liberties aren’t always a left/right issue.

    I also found other positions you’ve taken bizzare, particularly

    - calling an anti-clerical undergraduate at Clare College a “chimp”,

    - that business where you pretended that your erroneous criticism on Andrew Anthony/Anthony Andrews was ‘just a joke’ when you were shown to have mistaken a key aspect of his thesis.

    Those aren’t “positions”. Those were ad hominems.

    You also say:

    1. Stop treating Muslims as a bloc. Challenge both White and Islamist bigots who try to do so. In particular, don’t employ strategies which are premised on the need to deal with Muslims as a “problem group”. Stress equality, citizenship, and the complex identities of British people instead.

    2. Take on the lie that there is a war against Muslims. Or a war against Islam. Deal with actual discrimination suffered by people instead.

    sure – I agree with this. My point is that now, increasingly, its the right and other so called “anti-Islamists” who keep treating Muslims as a bloc and take the line that its a war against Muslims. Will you criticise them as much as you criticise the Islamists who do the same?

    Sid:
    QF’s role *is* to take on people like Azzam Tamimi or Yvonne Ridley or Anas Altkriti IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE. And that means in op-eds, on Newsnight and yes, in the Daily Mail. How many Muslim voices are actually doing that? Not that many, I’m sure.

    Hey, I have no love lost for these people. People can criticise them as much as they want, it wouldn’t bother me.

    But my problem is that the way Ed phrases a lot of his criticism means he loses support from more liberal politicised Muslims, who should be tacitly supporting his endeavours. QF was primarily about anti-terrorism too. And if he just focuses on a media strategy, then there was no reason to bring about all those imams together – they could have carried on as before since both had a profile in the media anyway.

    I’m not focused here on QF… there are other things I want to talk about, I’m just building up to it.

    For the record, I’ve not defended IslamExpo anywhere.

  21. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:46 pm  

    MCB/MAB/JI arent the ones blowing stuff up in london or the united states. Mistaking them for the problem rather than another issue altogether is really dumb indeed. criminally dumb because it castrates advancement of understanding.

    So as long as they’re “blowing stuff [i.e. people] up” in other countries, that’s fine?

    As long as they’re saying “Brothers, the only solution is to blow stuff up, but make sure you don’t do it here”, they’re part of the solution?

    I certainly want to “understand” them. Then I want to defeat them!

  22. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:54 pm  

    It seems to me somewhat that you’ve been supportive when it attacked the people you also disliked, but when I challenge the actions of people you’re generally supportive of (say, the Labour govt, other “anti-Islamists”), then you think it becomes ethno-centricism. I’m not sure if this is true but sometimes it looks that way.

    It was you who started talking about the interests of “brown people”, as if “brown people” were a bloc, whose interests were best served by voting Tory!

    On balance, I think I’d have backed the Green as well. But if you’d said “Brown people should vote Green”, I’d have been just as horrified: because it appeared to fly in the face of everything you’ve been arguing for, to date.

    My point is that now, increasingly, its the right and other so called “anti-Islamists” who keep treating Muslims as a bloc and take the line that its a war against Muslims. Will you criticise them as much as you criticise the Islamists who do the same?

    Of course. I am fighting a battle on two fronts.

    It isn’t “anti-Islamists” who run the “Islam is Islamism” line. It is a reductionist position taken by bigots who have fixated on Islam, in all its forms and manifestations, which I utterly reject and repeatedly argue against.

  23. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 3:59 pm  


    Sid

    You’re a Muslim. Do you accept secularism?

    David

    I accept secularism. Millons of other Muslims also accept it and they have also shown that they prefer governments they have elected and which operate under secular constitutions. They do not want to live under a Khilafa or a Majlis Shura. Muslim people have demonstrably shown that they do not want governments run by non-revisable religious law which places women and non-Muslim co-nationals as second-class citizens.

  24. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:01 pm  

    Thank you Sid

    Fugstar – does that answer your question? Would you like any more assistance from us?

  25. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:04 pm  

    Dave T – “Er, right on dude.”

    Glad you agree.

    Sid – For QF to be a credible organisation they need to do both. That was my point. Yes Aliph-Aleph is doing work in one area at the grassroots in bringing together Jews and Muslims but it isn’t the area that QF is in.

    So QF need to do that to earn credibility. Otherwise they just become another voice.

    I think QF can do well but it needs to add a dimension. The reason I say this is because with Sufi Muslim Council they took the same approach and soon lost the attention.

    Bare in mind that QF is losing ground and support from advisors so they need to re-adjust and get back on track.

    I’d actually also like to see major mosques play a part in each city but that may not be that easy.

    But if you know the people at QF then it is worth asking if they plan to do more within the Muslim community. Maybe they’ve realised this and are already working on it.

  26. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:10 pm  

    Sid – For QF to be a credible organisation they need to do both. That was my point. Yes Aliph-Aleph is doing work in one area at the grassroots in bringing together Jews and Muslims but it isn’t the area that QF is in.

    I don’t accept that they do need to do both any more than Aliph-Aleph needs to challenge proxies of the Muslim Brotherhood operating in the UK in the UK press. Since you think it does to be credible, can you tell me what Aliph-Aleph is doing taking on the likes of Tamimi, al-Tikriti?

  27. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:11 pm  

    Dave T – “So as long as they’re “blowing stuff [i.e. people] up” in other countries, that’s fine?”

    No it isn’t. Equally though there needs to be a similar policy for allies that when they blow up people that is to be condemned be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel or anywhere.

    The problem is the inequality of condemnation. As an example when an attack occurs in Israel Bush speaks personally to condemn it. When Palestinians are attacked a low level spokesperson speaks to condemn it.

    What kind of message is that sending.

    All killing of people is to be condemned equally forcefully. That can then make a change.

  28. Sunny — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:14 pm  

    It was you who started talking about the interests of “brown people”, as if “brown people” were a bloc, whose interests were best served by voting Tory!

    Saying that “brown people” should vote Tory is no different generally to saying Londoners shouldn’t vote Ken Livingstone – because in both cases you’re making a case for why taking a particular political position is in their interests. That is certainly what I was doing.

    “brown people”, like Londoners, have shared identities that sometimes come into play depending on how they are perceived. If the sus laws had come into force again, would you say black people shouldn’t be advocating mobilising politically against them?

    If the case had been to specifically to say we should vote Tory because “white people” are a problem, then it would have been ethnocentricism comparable to asking white people to vote BNP.

  29. Hermes123 — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:16 pm  

    David T and Sunny, You two are like little kids in a fucking playground. Is this really what blogging is like? Why don’t you just pick up the phone and talk to each other?

  30. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:17 pm  

    Sid – Aliph-Aleph aren’t in this area at all they are a Jewish-Muslim dialogue area the example was that they do work at grassroots to highlight how important this is.

    Look SMC took the same approach and where are they now. You couldn’t watch Newsnight without them being on there and now not much.

    So my argument is that QF need to do more than just the media area to develop as a force for change.

    It is just my opinion.

  31. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

    Sid – Aliph-Aleph aren’t in this area at all

    what “area” are we exactly talking about here?

  32. cjcjc — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:41 pm  

    Is this really what blogging is like?

    Yes – see below

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2008/07/the-first-blogg.html

  33. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:43 pm  

    Sid – QF are in the combating extremism area and Alif-Aleph are in the Jewish-Muslim Dialogue and Friendship area.

    My example of Aliph-Aleph was to highlight that work at the grassroots is the most effective and media is a nice to have. At some point the media will pick up grassroots work but equally at some point the media will pick up and criticise QF for not doing enough at the grassroots.

    I just think that QF need to build a broad base be in themselves or in partnership with other organisations.

    Maybe they need to become a partner with say major mosques so QF talk to the media and help the mosques talk to the grassroots. Just a thought.

  34. Sid — on 22nd July, 2008 at 4:50 pm  

    yes I agree that the onus is on *all* organisations to pool their strengths and forge partnerships. It doesn’t help to criticise *one* single organisation for failing to do this.

  35. bananabrain — on 22nd July, 2008 at 5:09 pm  

    David T’s response is not bizarre at all but actually quite sensible.

    exactly, except with the following caveats:

    3. Put the money into detection; not into detention

    this is like saying you’re only going to detect and treat MRSA, rather than prevent it happening in the first place. for that you need engagement on the ground. i am starting to think that perhaps some of the same organisations who do the detection work need to get into the prevention game. in the jewish community this would mean that some of the organisations that are concerned with anti-semitism actually need to widen their remit into dialogue which, incidentally, would help to avoid unpleasant accusations that they have a perverse incentive to exaggerate the extent of the problem. i’d like to talk with you about this offline, david – perhaps this is a piece that might end up in the JC. i’ll obtain your email address….somehow.

    In 2008, Her Majesty’s Government has only marginally more influence over Kashmir, or I/P, than the Portsmouth Polytechnic student union. What can be done, mostly is being, with room only for adjustments at the edges.

    i agree – there’s a lot more i want to write on this, but i have to go now – but i’ll just say that avi cohen is *so* obsessed with bringing equivalence with israel into every argument that i am starting to wonder what is up with him and thinking that maybe his name needs to go back in quote marks. like people say, i don’t exactly see how the UK can do more to influence stuff in israel it doesn’t like than, say, having gordon brown stand up in the knesset and tell them that they have to start evacuating illegal settlements in the west bank. oh, what am i thinking – he did exactly that yesterday! what next? should the british government start sponsoring “anarchists against the wall” or “rabbis for human rights”?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  36. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

    BB – “i agree – there’s a lot more i want to write on this, but i have to go now – but i’ll just say that avi cohen is *so* obsessed with bringing equivalence with israel into every argument”

    I often wonder if you actually do any of the work in interfaith that you say you do because if you did then you’d understand what I am saying.

    If you bothered to read and comprehend what I said then you would bloody well understand my point that the equivalence is what organisations such as Muslim Brotherhood etc. say and hence these issues need to be addressed alongside the issue of combating terrorism.

    You just come on here to derail any chance of understanding how to bridge the gap that is emerging.

    The UK can do much more than it is to bring about peace as can the USA. But the will isn’t there.

    I give up and can’t be bothered any more to comment on your nonsense. You clearly don’t want to see any progress and are simply here to defend the status quo.

  37. Nyrone — on 22nd July, 2008 at 5:39 pm  

    @ Avi #4

    “You know what would have been good is if QF went to IslamExpo and debated directly there. They say they are willing to debate anywhere so lets test that and see if they will go to these places and debate. IslamExpo would have been an ideal location for a debate.”

    I completely agree with this..and for the record, I think Sunny has a much smarter, practical approach to getting to the root causes of these problems than people give him credit for. He’s correct on QF, and sooner or later most people will begin to realize this…

    Could someone please explain to me what the general exposure and audience of Azzam Tamimi or Yvonne Ridley are? They get quoted on every single thread about Islamists…are they currently building bombs in cellars as we speak? or are they the usual suspects that people textually highlight robotically when we refer to the invisible ‘threat’ we are all apparently under every second of every day in this country from the bogeymen…

  38. Imran Yusuf — on 22nd July, 2008 at 5:42 pm  

    The Israeli Fanclub – ” In 2008, Her Majesty’s Government has only marginally more influence over Kashmir, or I/P, than the Portsmouth Polytechnic student union. What can be done, mostly is being, with room only for adjustments at the edges.

    i agree – there’s a lot more i want to write on this, but i have to go now – but i’ll just say that avi cohen is *so* obsessed with bringing equivalence with israel into every argument”

    So your are saying that the UK can’t demand implementation of UN Resolutions from the Jewish State but demands it of Muslims States.

    Why did Iraq have to comply with UN Resolutions according to the UK and Israel doesn’t?

    You are saying the UK can’t demand the halt of illegal colonization of land.

    So the UK can demand things of Zimbabwe and Iraq and others and threaten them with sanctions but it can’t do the same with Israel?

    Frankly you are talking complete and utter rubbish because it suits your agenda to say the UK can’t do anything.

    The UK can do a lot if it chose to. The fact that it doesn’t is what fuels anger and resentment.

    So why couldn’t Gordon Brown stand up in Knesset and tell Israel to give back all Arab land in accordance with the will of the international community and law?

    Why can Israel ignore international law?

    Why can’t Brown put sanctions on Israel for violating international law, and UN resolutions? Then you say he can’t do much.

    If the USA and UK can’t be fair then why sit on the UN Security Council and ignore resolutions against Israel?

    Hardly a role model for international diplomacy huh?

    Pretty dumb arse comment from a continuation of a pathetic situartion.

  39. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 5:52 pm  

    Now this is very very surreal.

    Here is the website of the company for which Karadzic was working.

    They claim to be able to “cure depression and help diabetics, asthmatics, epileptics, autistics and sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis”.

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/07/22/dumbledore/

    With a sort of shiny metalic dildo.

  40. fug — on 22nd July, 2008 at 6:06 pm  

    David T,
    If thats your measure, thats cool for you. It is not what you think, however. It has more to do with personal abdication of a very difficult task coupled with disapointment/disgust with stagnant islamic praxis wrt sharia and politicing.

    The uk context demands respect for political traditions present in the land, not an abdication from the search for better paths over all time and all space. I see why many would like to bring in the later aspect. Its cheap.

    Less kanjoos and petty folks might actually express some pride in the hundreds of chocolate coloured folks who worked hard to arrange the Expo over the past two years. It was a bit girly from what i saw, but im sure it’ll get more interesting as it matures and learns from itself. Its more of a family thing.

    and no, your assistance was not requested.

    QF(majid and ed) actually run away and hide when they are engaged with. even most clued up white people recognise their fatal flaws. doesnt stop QF from using people and people using QF though.

  41. David T — on 22nd July, 2008 at 6:25 pm  

    If thats your measure, thats cool for you. It is not what you think, however. It has more to do with personal abdication of a very difficult task coupled with disapointment/disgust with stagnant islamic praxis wrt sharia and politicing.

    This is not written in English.

    The uk context demands respect for political traditions present in the land, not an abdication from the search for better paths over all time and all space.

    No it doesn’t.

    I’ve got no respect for crap “political traditions”, particularly ones involving the enactment of the unchanging will of whatever eternal deity you’re following this week.

    We’ve got plenty of practice dealing with

  42. soru — on 22nd July, 2008 at 6:34 pm  

    So the UK can demand things of Zimbabwe and Iraq and others and threaten them with sanctions but it can’t do the same with Israel?

    In reality, the UK was unable to get the UN to agree to a course of limited travel sanctions against 14 named individuals, at a time the Zimbabwean regime is openly killing civilians.

    Why can Israel ignore international law?

    If Zimbabwe can ignore it, who can’t?

  43. Will — on 22nd July, 2008 at 7:26 pm  

    Sunny -

    Here is a link that may interest you regarding the kind of engagement Ed has going on, and the terms of it

    http://blog.islamicforumeurope.com/?p=67

    Best

  44. Leon — on 22nd July, 2008 at 7:36 pm  

    I just think that QF need to build a broad base be in themselves or in partnership with other organisations.

    Given the nature of funding streams this is about as realistic a hope as…

  45. marvin — on 22nd July, 2008 at 7:41 pm  

    So Sunny, you have concluded that the left in this country is no longer in bed with Islamism, the bizarre policies been discredited, no need to shout about it any further?

    So it’s now the Right that’s causing the problem, by keep going on about it, when the issue has been done & dusted already by the left?

  46. Josh Brian — on 22nd July, 2008 at 7:43 pm  

    Soru – Zimbabwe isn’t occupying and building on anyone else land is it now. Zimbabwe is a recent issue not a long term issue.

    Why does America and the UK expect countries to back them when they won’t deal with their own allies?

    The UK has a moral responsibility to sort out the issue as they partitioned the land. The USA has a moral responsibility because they are funding the settlements and don’t tell me they penalise Israel because they just give them more money then penalise them a little bit.

    They spoke of the need to for the will of the UN to be enforced at the time of Iraq, well enforcement of UN Resolutions pertaining to the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are even more overdue. Why does Israel get away with being asked to negotiate and given billions in subsidies and preferential treatment for violating international law and UN resolutions. Damn right Brown could do more and should do more to force Israel to obey international law.

  47. marvin — on 22nd July, 2008 at 7:53 pm  

    Imran Yusuf

    So why couldn’t Gordon Brown stand up in Knesset and tell Israel to give back all Arab land in accordance with the will of the international community and law?

    Ah, a nice non-controversial topic!

    How did Israel come to be in possession of the land formerly part of Syria, Egypt and Jordan?

    Also, who exactly should the land be given to? The Palestinians? Surely that’s not giving it back to it’s previous owners? Unless Arabs are one big monolithic bloc. As we all know the Palestinians are adored in Jordan… etc etc

  48. fug — on 22nd July, 2008 at 9:50 pm  

    who is asking for your truck?

  49. Shelina Zahra — on 22nd July, 2008 at 10:02 pm  

    David T, you’re not going to like this question, but we need to have it discussed. You say:

    But here’s the point. Secularism is good. Islamism is bad.

    Who decided that?

    If your response is “Islamists blow things up” then I need a bit more from you – because (a) not all Islamists are terrorists – even Maajid Nawaz admitted this (!!!!) and (b) Islamism appears to refer to any Muslim who participates in politics and (c) secularists blow things up too

    It’s all too easy to call someone an Islamist these days and shut down any debate

    http://www.spirit21.co.uk/2008/07/only-proper-muslim-is-non-political-one.html

  50. Avi Cohen — on 22nd July, 2008 at 10:19 pm  

    “Also, who exactly should the land be given to? The Palestinians? Surely that’s not giving it back to it’s previous owners? Unless Arabs are one big monolithic bloc. As we all know the Palestinians are adored in Jordan… etc etc”

    Well if you chose not to twist things to suit your agenda you’d know even the former owners have said that it shoud be given to the Palestinians in the case of the West Bank and Gaza and Syria wants its land back.

    So that proves your argument is pure fantasy and simply designed to avoid peace.

    If Jordan has decided this then why the bloody hell do you have to keep bringing up this line when you patently know that Jordan and Egypt have said this.

    Syria has said the Sheebaa Farm should be given to Lebanon.

    So pray tell me what is your excuse for avoiding the issue of who to give it back to when the residents and previous owners are in bleeding agreement about what to do.

    Even the Israeli Government isn’t trying that line because they know this isn’t even an issue. So where does that leave you.

    Shelina – “It’s all too easy to call someone an Islamist these days and shut down any debate”

    Thank you – that is the whole purpose of the approach. Anyone who is a threat to the status quo gets called an Islamist and hey presto no need to negotiate. Then you can claim the old adage there is no one to talk to so we can carry on building.

    What worries this lot is that Jews are now starting to see for themselves what is going on and aren’t accepting the lines that this lot peddle.

    Check this out:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/21/israelandthepalestinians

    This is what is worrying them. The fact that Jews are no longer accepting these lines. Thus the only way is to call people Islamists or question their Judaism if they stand up to this nonsense. Then they talk about Western values of free speech whilst denying Jews and Muslims that very right to see what is going on. Even Olmert has said that thye want to overthrow him because he is striving for peace.

    Then they do a bit of interfaith work to feel good about themselves and harp on about that whilst denying people the right to strive towards peace. Yep great lets keep the status quo and do abit of interfaith work to cover what we are doing.

  51. soru — on 22nd July, 2008 at 11:30 pm  

    The UK has a moral responsibility to sort out the issue as they partitioned the land.

    A moral responsibility, a glass of water and a dash of charisma can get you an eloquent speech.

    I assume Brown in the Knesset had the glass of water.

    Islamism appears to refer to any Muslim who participates in politics

    By similar standards, secularist could mean Saddam, terrorist could mean Mandela, and up could mean down (e.g. “I’m going up the street”). This kind of facile argument, ‘someone somewhere used a word in a particular way so that is what the word can mean so that is what you mean by it’, is a pointless exercise in intellectual masturbation. It can, in theory, produce any desired answer. It’s just that, in practise, it always seems confirm the initial knee-jerk response.

    It’s all too easy to call someone an Islamist these days and shut down any debate

    That kind of stupid argument-by-labelling pretty much always sucks (expect in extreme cases of bigotry tending to mental illness, the people Sunny wisely deletes and DaveT for some reason lets run rampant).

    Far better to point out the actual problems with an argument. For example:


    The only way to get rid of them is for everyone together – including Muslims and the government – to isolate those horrible violent activities as outside the philosophy of Islam. There is no need for a ‘proper’ interpretation of Islam, because these activities are not to do with Islam.

    If Islam is political, and non-pacifist, then it has within its scope the morality of political violence. It can’t ignore the situation, any more than mathematics can claim to answer all arithmetic problems but refuse to say what 6 + 7 is.

    It’s entirely within the scope of a civil government to attempt to address those issues of civil peace by consensus-building, institutional funding, prioritisation of policing, and other democratic means. You can’t remotely claim religious immunity, let alone racial equality, as reasonable grounds for opposing such initiatives in principle.

  52. David T — on 23rd July, 2008 at 9:33 am  

    David T, you’re not going to like this question, but we need to have it discussed. You say:

    But here’s the point. Secularism is good. Islamism is bad.

    Who decided that?

    In the West, the people decided that. Much of the history of European society, since the Enlightenment, has been a move towards democracy, equality and respect for fundamental human rights; against autocracy, hierarchy, and religious power.

    This is not to say that religion has no place in the lives of people in a secular society. It does. In fact, faith prospers in secular societies. Secularism is not about opposing religion. It is about rejecting the temporal authority of a particular religion over those who not subscribe to that religion.

    It is possible that you’ve mistaken “secularism” for “athiesm”. If so, we’re not necessarily in disagreement.

    There are a number of problems with non-secular systems of government, but the top three are as follows.

    First, God has not given us a rulebook for running a society. Certainly, theocrats think that God has: but the incompetence, corruption and misery that characterises the regimes which they run suggest that they’re wrong about this. Moreover, apolitics which uses religious texts as the starting point and touchstone when trying to solve contemporary problems suffers from terrible sclerosis and lack of flexibility.

    Secondly, theocratic societies tend to intrude unreasonably into the private lives of citizens. Much as some people like the certainty and security of living in an authoritarian regime, most people tend to cherish their autonomy.

    Thirdly, people are schizmatic. Even people who favour theocracy tend to disagree with each other about what god wants them to do: and are likely to object to the enactment by other groups of theocrats of their understanding of god’s will. You’ll have this problem in even a predominantly monocultural society: but in a multicultural and pluralist society, the problem presented by theocracy is huge.

    That said, I don’t object to theocrats participating in pluralist democracies. They should do so. It is educative for them to do so, and encourages compromise. The less flexible they are, the more likely they are to fail, lose popularity and ultimately power. Theocrats sometimes engage with democracy in the hope that they’ll achieve their goals gradually. That does worry me: but at least it is being done in the open and can be challenged and organised against.

    I might put this up as a little post on Harry’s Place.

  53. David T — on 23rd July, 2008 at 9:43 am  

    Specifically – and I’ve read your article here – the problem with IslamExpo was this.

    It may well have been an opportunity to “engage with forty thousand Muslims who want to create and settle into a comfortable peaceful British Islam”.

    However, it was organised by a group which is an emination of the Egyptian clerical fascist party, the Muslim Brotherhood. The CEO of the company, Mohammed Sawalha was identified by the BBC 2 years ago as a fugitive Hamas commander, and is described on the MB website as Head of the Political Unit of the International Muslim Brotherhood in the United Kingdom.

    I don’t know if you knew that. I don’t know if you regard it as a bad thing that an Egyptian clerical fascist party, with a policy of the targeted murder of civilians and Muslims who oppose them, organised such an event.

    However, you should be horrified: just as I would be if it turned out that a Festival of British Culture was run by people with links to Combat 18!

    That is why Government ministers couldn’t attend. I mean, would you want them to attend a similar event organised by a White fascist party?

  54. David T — on 23rd July, 2008 at 9:52 am  
  55. joe90 — on 23rd July, 2008 at 10:22 am  

    However, you should be horrified: just as I would be if it turned out that a Festival of British Culture was run by people with links to Combat 18!

    That is why Government ministers couldn’t attend. I mean, would you want them to attend a similar event organised by a White fascist party?

    - How about a festival celebrating a racist war crimes theorcratic regime david t?
    Israel 60 counter-demonstration
    Picasa Web Albums

    And here is what happens to someone who dares raise their voice in public against this ghastly unsecular racist affair that was allowed by the British authorities to pollute our public spaces -
    Police dive on diva
    01 July 2008
    Jews sans frontieres

    Mind you,
    it was only yesterday david t disappeared in a cloud of zionist hasbara trying to defend his favourite theocratic war crimes state.
    See especially Comment No. 33 -
    STOP THE BNP’S FESTIVAL
    Socialist Unity
    22 July, 2008

    The British Prime Minster himself is a patron of the ethnic cleansing organistaion, the Jewish National Fund, which has close links to the racist war crimes theocratic state of Israel.
    I am sure david t, like his partner in racist supremist ideology, Melanie Philips, will be appropriately horrified that someone dares criticise their favour gang of religious racist thugs abroad.

    all the best PP!

    ps
    have you seen this report -
    JOMEC Research Channel 4’s Dispatches Programme
    Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
    07 July 2008

  56. Sid — on 23rd July, 2008 at 10:48 am  

    #52 – can’t argue with that. But I won’t be surprised if people will.

  57. joe90 — on 23rd July, 2008 at 11:57 am  

    test

  58. joe90 — on 23rd July, 2008 at 12:02 pm  

    However, you should be horrified: just as I would be if it turned out that a Festival of British Culture was run by people with links to Combat 18!

    That is why Government ministers couldn’t attend. I mean, would you want them to attend a similar event organised by a White fascist party?
    - said david t.

    How about a festival celebrating a racist war crimes theorcratic regime david t?
    Israel 60 counter-demonstration
    Picasa Web Albums

    And here is what happens to someone who dares raise their voice in public against this ghastly unsecular racist affair that was allowed by the British authorities to pollute our public spaces -
    Police dive on diva
    01 July 2008
    Jews sans frontieres

    Mind you,
    it was only yesterday david t disappeared in a cloud of zionist hasbara trying to defend his favourite theocratic war crimes state.
    See especially Comment No. 33 -
    STOP THE BNP’S FESTIVAL
    Socialist Unity
    22 July, 2008

    The British Prime Minster himself is a patron of the ethnic cleansing organisation, the Jewish National Fund, which has close links to the racist war crimes theocratic state of Israel.
    I am sure david t, like his partner in racist supremist ideology, Melanie Philips, will be appropriately horrified that someone dares criticise their favourite gang of religious racist thugs abroad.

    all the best PP!

    ps
    have you seen this report -
    JOMEC Research Channel 4’s Dispatches Programme
    Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
    07 July 2008

  59. Random Guy — on 23rd July, 2008 at 1:39 pm  

    @52: “In the West, the people decided that”

    [with much hounding and steering from the media and politicians]

    I like how you portray the enlightenment and steering towards democracy etc. when we are living in a time where inequality is what defines the world we live in.

    Everything is so relative. Never mind, you do make good arguments.

  60. Sunny — on 23rd July, 2008 at 2:16 pm  

    I’m not going to disagree with the idea that secularism is preferable to Islamism (or any religious rule) in ANY society. Secularism is not atheism, though people on both sides (atheists, religious) like to pretend it is.

    But I do think there is a legitimate question about the sort of Muslims the govt would like to listen to….

  61. cjcjc — on 23rd July, 2008 at 2:35 pm  

    @52: “In the West, the people decided that”

    [with much hounding and steering from the media and politicians]

    What??

    In fact the hounding, ie resistance, came from those in power (aristocracy and clerics).

  62. Ravi Naik — on 23rd July, 2008 at 3:32 pm  

    But I do think there is a legitimate question about the sort of Muslims the govt would like to listen to….

    How about the sort of individuals who understand that Britain must remain a secular democracy? That to me is the litmus test that separates moderates from radicals, regardless of whether you are talking about Muslims, Christians or atheists.

    There cannot be a compromise on this issue.

  63. bananabrain — on 23rd July, 2008 at 5:28 pm  

    avi:

    I often wonder if you actually do any of the work in interfaith that you say you do because if you did then you’d understand what I am saying.

    i do understand it. i just don’t agree. you sound like my mother.

    the equivalence is what organisations such as Muslim Brotherhood etc. say and hence these issues need to be addressed alongside the issue of combating terrorism.

    presumably you would then agree that the issues that other extremist organisations harp on about like, say the BNP or, to choose a random example, david icke, also need to be addressed, wouldn’t you? but i don’t think you’re saying this at all. by this logic, we would have to assume that all viewpoints, no matter how deranged, should be taken seriously when setting government policy. or are you suggesting that only deranged viewpoints associated with groups with a propensity to commit acts of violence should be taken into account? i would be inclined to say, as someone did above, that what can be done is, by and large, being done. of course there is more that could be done to criticise particularly idiotic or brutal actions by short-sighted, macho israeli politicians, but if you ask me effective pressure is far better applied through the wallet.

    You just come on here to derail any chance of understanding how to bridge the gap that is emerging.

    yes, that’s exactly what i do. it’s nothing to do with pointing out how the tactics that some people would suggest would be completely ineffective and nothing more than doctrinaire gesture politics, of course. portsmouth student union is perhaps more relevant than you suggest.

    The UK can do much more than it is to bring about peace as can the USA. But the will isn’t there.

    perhaps the will is tempered by the desire to not have your foreign policy dictated by the muslim brotherhood.

    You clearly don’t want to see any progress and are simply here to defend the status quo.

    that must be why i criticise it so much and suggest pragmatic alternative courses of action.

    You know what would have been good is if QF went to IslamExpo and debated directly there. They say they are willing to debate anywhere so lets test that and see if they will go to these places and debate.

    i rather agree with this, to be honest; there is little to be gained from refusing to debate with people on principle.

    now is it me, or do “imran yusuf” and “josh brian” both write very similarly to “avi cohen”? all three of them seem to find it very difficult to put a question mark at the end of the question. i can’t see i.p. addresses – would one of the mods mind taking a look? i’m not trying to “out” you or anything, avi, but if you aren’t really who you say you are, i would quite like to know why you think that’s necessary; i don’t mind who you are.

    How did Israel come to be in possession of the land formerly part of Syria, Egypt and Jordan?

    these territories were, as i understand it, conquered during the ’48, ’67 and ’73 wars, none of which israel actually started. in other words, they lost them in a fair fight. except, at the time, it wasn’t a terribly fair fight, but the israelis won anyway despite being outnumbered, outresourced and outgunned. i’m not sure what the legal thing is to do with a piece of territory you took in a defensive war. the stupid thing to do is try and treat it as if there’s no further debate to be had, which is what the stupider sort of israeli politician tends to do.

    Thus the only way is to call people Islamists or question their Judaism if they stand up to this nonsense.

    i agree with this to a certain extent. i detest the phrase “self-hating jew” and part of the reason i get away with making the criticisms that i make of how israel behaves itself is that nobody who knows me could question my commitment to judaism. i’m not questioning the judaism of, say, miriam margolyes or harold pinter. however, i am sad that the only time these people find it convenient to identify themselves as jewish is when they have some criticism to make of israel. i mean, come on, guys – take the bad with the good.

    If Islam is political, and non-pacifist, then it has within its scope the morality of political violence. It can’t ignore the situation, any more than mathematics can claim to answer all arithmetic problems but refuse to say what 6 + 7 is.

    what a sound way of putting it. the same could be said of judaism.

    First, God has not given us a rulebook for running a society. Certainly, theocrats think that God has: but the incompetence, corruption and misery that characterises the regimes which they run suggest that they’re wrong about this.

    hur, hur, hur. how very spot on.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  64. joe90 — on 23rd July, 2008 at 5:31 pm  

    How about the sort of individuals who understand that Britain must remain a secular democracy?…

    …There cannot be a compromise on this issue.

    But Britian isn’t a secular democracy, is it?

    Britain has a monarchy as its head of state to which democratically elected representatives must swear an oath to, rather than to the people who voted for them.

    The British Monarchy is also the head of the Established Church, the Church of England, many of whose religious prelates sit in the House of Lords.

    The British Monarchy is also the head of the British military whose members must swear a personal oath of feality to her Maj the Queen.

    all the best PP!

  65. Avi Cohen — on 23rd July, 2008 at 11:03 pm  

    BB – “perhaps the will is tempered by the desire to not have your foreign policy dictated by the muslim brotherhood.

    You clearly don’t want to see any progress and are simply here to defend the status quo.

    that must be why i criticise it so much and suggest pragmatic alternative courses of action.”

    More nonesense from someone claiming they criticise but has in the past admitted that he feels he has to behave like Dershowitz. No one is asking for foreign policy to be dicated by the Muslim Brotherhood they are asking for a just solution.

    The point is you rarely criticise you just come here and defend the actions of Israel on the majority of occassions.

    You’ve admitted that you feel the need to do this so why now try and claim you critise when you rarely do.

    Your classic whataboutery and avoidance of whta to do with land and your misrepresentation of the power of Israel when the land was taken shows your bias for whta it is. The Americans after promising the Arabs they would be even handed flew in $2 bilion worth of arms for Israel so your nonsense that they were outgunned and outresourced is simply fiction.

    The Arabs have never had military superiority over Israel and the USA has promised they never will. So your arguments are simply fantasy.

    The only real weapon the Arabs had at the time was an oil embargo – yeah real threatening when the Americans warned that they would invade to preserve oil supplies.

    “i can’t see i.p. addresses – would one of the mods mind taking a look? i’m not trying to “out” you or anything, avi, but if you aren’t really who you say you are, i would quite like to know why you think that’s necessary; i don’t mind who you are.”

    As someone pointed out to Dave T, ip addresses are regularly reused by suppliers. If you don’t mind who I am why the hell do you work with Dave T to put quote round my name? Why do you insist that if I say something you both don’t agree with I can’t be Jewish?

    Does your blind defence of Israel mean that your values are more or less Jewish than mine?

    I mean I even sat your bloody test a while back which stoped your nonsense for a while but now because I criticise the approach your back to your crass nonsense and further more are siding with Dave T.

    I wasn’t intending to reply to much more of your nonsense but felt it necessary to answer a few of your silly claims.

    As Israeli negotiators have said they don’t need people like you as their lawyers they need people that will move them to peace.

    If Jews are not prepared to criticise the increasingly extreme approach being forced upon them by a small band of people then as I have warned you in the past in a generation or two that will come back to haunt the Jewish people because as the Chief Rabbi said when he finally spoke out the values of Judaism are no longer compatible with the values of Israel. That point is here now and you can pick one side or the other but not both. The Chief Rabbi sees that and he is a staunch defender of Israel, the last Chief Rabbi saw it and you go against two leading theologians and carry on with your approach, and do a bit of interfaith work and claim you are making a difference. You’re nowhere near making a difference you are maintaining a situation which is no longer compatible with the values of Judaism.

    So stop questioning those that are trying to shift Israel and Jews towards the values that need to set us apart and question yourself in light of what the two Chief Rabbis have said.

    Other than that I frankly am fed up with your nonsense and really don’t give a damn what you think of me. I stand up for the values and dignities of all people including those in whose destiny we now control. It is a shame more people can’t do the same.

  66. joe90 — on 24th July, 2008 at 9:21 am  

    How did Israel come to be in possession of the land formerly part of Syria, Egypt and Jordan?

    these territories were, as i understand it, conquered during the ‘48, ‘67 and ‘73 wars, none of which israel actually started.

    1948 – Israel wasn’t attacked becuase it didn’t exist. When it did declare itself to be in existence it was already occupying or attacking areas that did not belong to it, as it had agreed to under the UN Partition Plan.

    1967 – Even Menachan Begin admitted that it was Israel that struck first. Israel knew it would beat its opponents in about week. The CIA and other foreign intelligence services put the figure even lower, at abour 3-4 days.

    1973 – War was started by Egpyt inititially, its true, but only becuase Israel was illegally occupying part of Egypt and refuse to make peace. Illegal military occupation is a war crime and is in itself an act of aggression.
    Egpyt was driven to war by Israeli intransigence and refusal to make peace and hand over what didn’t belong to it.
    Egypt did not attack Israel but attacked Israeli military forces occupying its land – a perfectly legitimate form of self-defence under international law.

    all the best PP!

  67. Avi Cohen — on 24th July, 2008 at 10:02 am  

    Joe90 – uh oh you are in trouble now, next they’ll be asking for your ip address and checks to see if it matches mine so they can claim that you and I may be the same person.

    The victor gets to write history as it suits them. Then they’ll do a bit of interfaith work to say they want to build better relations without the necesary understanding of the issues needed to resolve this.

    Actually at the outset of the partition, Israel was given lots of financial and military help covertly and the Arabs never had a chance. This was acknowledged even in the Evening Standard – one of the most pro-Israeli newspapers. The British Government secretly sent ex-military people to the area to help and fight for Israel. These were World War 2 vets and battle hardened.

    In more recent times in the late 50′s or 60′s and in violation of UK law the UK government sent components to make nuclear weapons via Norway to Israel. The Blair Government had been so Islamicised that it refused to order an investigation into this issue and quietly let it slide once it emerged witht he release of archives. This actin was in violation of UK and international law and the so called Islamicised Government wouldn’t investigate.

    It is worth noting that the Israeli Military Leadership when the West Bank and Gaza were taken wanted to return it straight away because they forsaw these problems but the civilian government decided against this. The West has paid billions to allow the colonisation of land against international law and anyone who dares to speak out against this is attacked as was highlighted in the Guardian.

    It is worth noting that some of the leading Jewish Intellectuals who supported IJV have been called all sorts of names and attacked in print without any recourse and here as well some fairly nasty and unsavoury attempts are being used against people who speak out including asking editors to view ip addresses and questioning people’s religious status.

    That shows the lengths people will go to whilst at the same time those that love the status quo stick together to allow little discussion and openly discuss writing articles in the major Jewish publication of the country.

  68. Avi Cohen — on 24th July, 2008 at 10:20 am  

    BTW This is what the Chief Rabbi who is such a staunch defender of Israel that he alienated many Jews who wanted to see progress for peace.

    “You cannot ignore a command that is repeated 36 times in the Mosaic books: `You were exiled in order to know what it feels like to be an exile,’ ” Rabbi Sacks said. “I regard that as one of the core projects of a state that is true to Judaic principle. And therefore I regard the current situation as nothing less than tragic, because it is forcing Israel into postures that are incompatible in the long run with our deepest ideals.”

    Rabbi Sacks said, “There are things that are happening on a daily basis which make me feel very uncomfortable as a Jew.”

    So tell me when I speak out and you question my religion and you request from editors ip addresses then whose values are compatible with Judaism? Look carefully at the words of the Chief Rabbi and also at the words of other notable Rabbi’s and tell me that what I say is incompatible with being a Jew?

    Tell me that the warnings given by many Rabbis and Military people that the actions are unsustainable over a prolonged period and incompatible with Judaism. The fact that people who speak out and have their religion questioned what this is compatible with?

  69. Random Guy — on 24th July, 2008 at 1:07 pm  

    Not to mention that continuing horrible actions over a long period only leads to an increase – not a decrease – of the threats you face?

    @61, cjcjc

    You completely missed my point.

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.