Islam on Campus


by Sid (Faisal)
3rd November, 2008 at 7:48 pm    

The Centre for Social Cohesion has made a press release available on the relationship between the government and Muslim students in the UK. They have placed special emphasis on the Federation of Students Islamic Societies in the UK and Ireland (FOSIS), which is worth printing out in full:

From November the UK government will begin working with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies in the UK and Ireland (FOSIS) to try to better understand Muslim students. This policy is likely to backfire given that FOSIS are unrepresentative of Muslim students and regularly give a platform to extremist speakers.

The Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has announced plans to “commission a study exploring the views and attitudes of Muslim students in England” involving a poll of 1500 Muslim students and focus groups, overseen by a steering group consisting of representatives from the National Union of Students (NUS), the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and FOSIS.

FOSIS leaders are influenced heavily by a narrow form of political Islam, inspired by Islamist parties such as Jamaat-e-islami and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the group regularly gives a platform to extremist speakers at British and Irish universities.

In November FOSIS will give a platform to Dr Azzam Tamimi at universities in the UK and Ireland on at least three separate occasions. Tamimi will speak at the FOSIS Palestine Conference 2008 at Nottingham University on 1st November and two events at Trinity College in Ireland on “Islamic Revivalism in the 20th Century” and “Chronicles of Islamic Political Thought” on 7th and 8th November.

Azzam Tamimi is a senior member of the Muslim Association of Britain, the British wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has been criticised for his alleged links to Hamas and his public comments justifying suicide bombing and inciting jihad against non-Muslims. In 2006 he told one BBC interviewer: “if I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it.” Tamimi is also an opponent of Muslim integration. Speaking at an event in Manchester in August 2006 he told the audience, “We are Muslims in Europe, not European Muslims.”

Contrary to government beliefs, FOSIS is not representative of Muslim students. FOSIS represents and is made up of – as its name makes clear – Islamic Society (ISOC) members. A poll carried out by YouGov and the Centre for Social Cohesion of over 600 Muslim students earlier this year found that those active in their campus ISOC only make up 11.25% of Muslim students. The survey also found that active ISOC members are more likely to subscribe to Islamist beliefs as well as being more likely to support religious violence, punishing Muslims who convert to other religions and the introduction of a worldwide caliphate based on Sharia law.

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, says:

“The government is right to identify the need to better understand the Muslim student population. Muslim students hold a diverse and broad range of beliefs and opinions. However, relying on FOSIS as a consultative body and treating them as representative of all Muslim students, risks disproportionately empowering a small number of highly conservative, and sometimes Islamist, individuals at the expense of the majority of Muslims.”

“The government should treat Muslim students as full, equal and diverse individuals, rather than as a bloc who can only be addressed and understood through self-appointed representatives such as FOSIS.”

This is congruent with a survey the CSC has commissioned: Islam on Campus: A survey of UK Students opinions. An executive summary of which can be found here (PDF).

And here are some of the worrying results:

Support for Sharia law in the UK and a worldwide Caliphate:

  • Two fifths (40%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of Sharia into British law for Muslims.
  • A third (33%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of a worldwide Caliphate based on Sharia law. A majority (58%) of active members of campus Islamic Societies supported this idea.

Islam as a political project:

  • Over a sixth (15%) of respondents said that Islam as a religion and Islamism as a political ideology were part of the same thing, and that politics is a big part of Islam. A quarter of active members of campus Islamic Societies agreed.
  • Over half of Muslim students polled (54%) were supportive of an Islamic political party to represent the views of Muslims at Parliament. By contrast, over half (61%) of non-Muslims poled were unsupportive.

Views on women:

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of Muslim student respondents do not feel that men and women are fully equal in the eyes of Allah.
  • Female students (38%) were also more likely than males (27%) to perceive inequitable treatment of men and women in their local communities. While 37% of male Muslim students felt men and women were treated equally, only 26% of females felt the same.
  • The majority (89%) of Muslim students polled said that men and women should be treated equally, 5% said they should not and 6% were unsure.
  • Nearly three fifths (59%) of Muslim students polled felt it was important to Islam that Muslim women wear the hijab.
  • Active members of university Islamic societies (51%) were over twice as likely as non-members (25%) to agree that “women should wear the hijab – female modesty is an important part of Islam.”

Isolation on Campus:

  • 8% of Muslim students agree that “Most of my friends at university are Muslim because I have more in common with them than I do with non-Muslims”. However, this rises to 25% when active members of campus Islamic Societies are asked.
  • 40% of Muslims said that they thought that it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to mix freely.

Sectarianism:

  • Nearly a third (30%) of non-Shia respondents agreed that minority Shia Muslims are not true believers in Islam, as compared to 15% of non-Sunni students who were hostile to the notion that majority Sunnis are true Muslims.

Students tend to be politically idealistic at university but ardour dies away soon after they graduate and leave college or university and find themselves face to face with gritty realities beyond the leafy campuses. The question is, will most of these Muslim students lose their Islamist tendencies when they leave university? Or are these ideas and attitudes carried on by a fair number of Muslim students well after graduation?


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  1. sonia — on 3rd November, 2008 at 8:21 pm  

    very interesting Sid and good questions. I myself wonder about that about some of the characters I met at university and how their views have changed over the years.

  2. Ashik — on 3rd November, 2008 at 8:49 pm  

    Islamist politics in the UK tends to be most avidly followed by the university student demography amongst British Muslims. And even then mostly by British Pakistanis eg. HT. I guess the lack of life experience, youthful naievete and passionate belief in changing the world lead students generally to extreme ideologies which are strong on campus but don’t work in realityville. 20 years ago Marxism probably had the same allure. Young Labour is probably not revolutionary enough in comparison. Yet this demography is also the least likely to go out and vote.

    From experience Islamist politics through Islamic Societies on campus is shabby, disorganised and laughable. Many ‘brothers’ join up to get it on with the ‘sisters’. And they factionalise easily (like the Marxists). FOSIS are a very diverse bunch with some enlightened souls as well as hardcore Islamist types who adore Moududi and Qutb.

    At my University most Muslim students would only have anything to do with ISOC for Friday Juma nomaz (prayer) because they organised the prayer room. Many of my friends would walk out before the waz (sermon) would start about Kashmir, Palestine etc etc. Everyone knew that the guy in charge was a HT nut and avoided him.

    I think the CSC is right to target the Universities because it is this demographic amongst Muslims which is most exposed to Islamist sentiments which may lead to violence down the line with a minority. However, as the article states, no way are FOSIS and ISOC members representatiuve of the British Muslim communities out there. ISOC’s should stick to Islam and not indulge in politics. The Jewish JSOC’s need to do the same.

  3. MaidMarian — on 3rd November, 2008 at 9:01 pm  

    I remember when I went to university in the Midlands, starting in 1995.

    There was an active islamic society back then, but this particular university was far from a hot-bed of political activism and I don’t claim my experiences are indicative of the time. It would however be interesting to compare the % in the article over a more substanital period of time.

    Regardless. I lived a for significant part of my time there with an Islamic girl. She was a great person, the sort of person you would actually choose to live with. She loved university life, making an awful lot of friends of all religions (and none), joined in activities, sport etc, went out about five nights a week, drank like a fish, smoked – the full 18 years old in the mid-1990s student experience.

    It was not until the day we left university, the last time I saw her, that it became clear why she was so outgoing. The day she left she covered with Islamic dress (previously she dressed far from modestly), was literally bundled into a car by her male relatives saying nothing to anyone. She told her closest friends the night before that her wedding and future had all been arranged.

    Those three years were, in all probability the only three she was going to get to herself. In all the time we had known her we would never in a million years have guessed. Looking back, the only clue was that she avoided taking and being on photographs.

    Maybe she is now happy (goodness if life is at all fair she will be), maybe not. But the moment I saw her back being pushed into that car is the exact moment I concluded that ramming religious piety down the throat of anyone is always and everywhere wrong. The question is not whether they will lose Islamist tendencies. It is why they had them rammed down their throat in the first place, and I don’t care what the % say on the subject.

  4. Ala — on 3rd November, 2008 at 9:57 pm  

    This rings true with my experience of the ISOC. at probably the most ‘Muslim’ university in the country. The liberal Muslims avoided the nutters all together, but from what I saw, they portrayed Islamist tendencies and were quite puritanical. The majority of them are probably rebelling against their more lax parents by being more religious, but when they grow up, they’ll probably end up being bogged down by work, family and life like the rest of us.

  5. Don — on 3rd November, 2008 at 10:05 pm  

    So 60% of muslim students are less keen on sharia law in the UK than is the Archbishop of Canterbury?

  6. Boyo — on 3rd November, 2008 at 10:56 pm  

    They’ll mostly grow up, although if they can’t find jobs as a result of the economic crisis it could firm some of this up – i mean, what else is there to do? That could be an unforeseen element of “blow-back”.

  7. Sid — on 3rd November, 2008 at 11:05 pm  

    I would be interested to know which universities FOSIS has the widest influence. I couldn’t see a mention of that on the CSC site or on it’s artefacts.

  8. MaidMarian — on 3rd November, 2008 at 11:41 pm  

    Sid (7) – That is a very interesting point. It would also be interesting to see if there is a correlation between (say) BNP activity and muslim student activism. That is, do the extremes feed each other? The ‘where’ question is perhaps more germane that it first appears.

    It could also be turned around. It would be interesting to know if more politically apathetic universities have less active and strident islamic societies – does apathy breed apathy? It would be difficult to measure but interesting.

    It would also be interesting to see whether there is a correlation between the more ‘inclusive’ universities and stridency, or, of course, not.

  9. MixTogether — on 4th November, 2008 at 12:24 am  

    One thing I think should get more discussion is how to disrupt these Islamists from a moderate standpoint.

    We hear lots of scare stories about what these Islamist groups are doing, but how do we organise against them, without turning to extremism to do it?

    What are their sources of ideology, how do we counter them, what arguments don’t they like? Where does their money come from, and how can moderate students expose and attack their weak points in these campus societies?

    In short, how do you launch a moderate counter-attack to campus Islam?

    MixTogether is already a discreet advocate of allowing Muslim women to marry Christians and Jews, as Muslim men are. It’s a quietly radical strike against, erm, radicalism.

  10. billy — on 4th November, 2008 at 1:00 am  

    One thing I think should get more discussion is how to disrupt these Islamists from a moderate standpoint.

    Good idea. Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that these last few years.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Some interesting points made here. In my personal experience, I found that the majority of Muslims I made friends with on campus, spliff smoking, life-enjoying souls all, viewed the angry brigade with a mixture of indifference and embarassment. It’s a question of what degree people should actively involve themselves against a body of highly motivated, hardline ideologues who seemed to have an agenda of poisoning the atmosphere on campus between people of many different backgrounds. Occasionally, some Muslims just going about their everyday lives would feel intimidated by the sneers and comments of the burqa clad girls and the high blood-pressure boys. But how to organise against this presence, with all the many rhetorical sleights they play, all the little bullying strategies they employ when faced with criticism, is a very tricky question to answer.

  11. billericaydicky — on 4th November, 2008 at 9:58 am  

    Maid Marion,

    There is no evidence of any connections between the BNP and radical Islamic movements. Griffin is now actually taking a pro Israeli and Jewish line much to the disgust of the British Peoples Party/C18 dissidents that have gathered around http://www.skrewdriver.net.

    One of the staples of the BNP campaigns is objecting to mosques and to playing up Hindus and Sikhs as law abiding citizens.

    There was a period of cooperation in the early eighties between the NF and the Nation of Islam when the NoI started to organise in this country. Nick Griffin wrote a long article in Nationalism Today praising the group for its separatist policies.

    It has always amused me to come back from travels in Bangladesh, Morocco or wherever and never see a woman in a Burka and then to walk down the Whitechapel Rd and see them everywhere. They wearers usually had on three inch stilletoes and it was a debate as to whether the eye linerhad been applied with a bricklayers trowel or a plasterers!

  12. Ala — on 4th November, 2008 at 12:58 pm  

    MaidMarian, in my experience, Islamist activism is not locally reactionary and has very little to do with campus politics. My university had little political activity when i got there, and the ISOC pretty much lived in its own insular world. The prayer rooms acted like a sanctuary from the ‘fetid hedonistic mire’ Muslim students felt they had stepped into; and the ISOC seemed a bit like a SU club for prudes. When some leftist activism started, ISOC types had to be pushed to participate even when it was on issues that concerned them, like Palestine.

  13. Yusuf Smith — on 4th November, 2008 at 1:19 pm  

    According to the dmoz open directory, there are 2,696 further and higher education institutions in England alone. The size of that survey is 1,400 students. That’s less than one in every college. Doubtless they polled in fewer colleges than that, but the claim of such a study to be representative diminishes regardless of whether they simply polled students anywhere (because it fails to take into account the situation at any one college) or whether they conducted small surveys at individual colleges (because small surveys in large bodies of people are, by definition, not representative). The study is, therefore, yet another piece of garbage put out by the CSC to stir up hostility to Muslims.

  14. MaidMarian — on 4th November, 2008 at 1:42 pm  

    BillericayDickey – ‘Griffin is now actually taking a pro Israeli and Jewish line much to the disgust of the British Peoples Party/C18 dissidents that have gathered around.’

    Indeed. One may almost be tempted to argue that he is not articulating a political vision and seeking votes first and foremost. Rather he is seeing the divisions and the impression he is the man of the people as a primary objective with votes coming a distant second?

    You may disagree!!!

  15. Imran Khan — on 4th November, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

    It is interesting how the focus is on FOSIS but what about other religious groups and the speakers they attract? Surely that needs investigation as well for a complete analysis or do you just pick on Muslims organisations?

    Students tend to listen to a variety of speakers, didn’t the oxford union invite some unsavoury speakers but you don’t get complaints about European organisations and their speakers with the same ferocity as Muslim groups.

    What about Zionists speakers coming to Jewish groups and speaking of a greater IsraeL in violation of international law.

    Also you fail to state that Tammimi only advocates suicide bombing in Palestine which frankly is a poor position he takes. Either it is or isn’t allowed. We know it isn’t so to use the argument the Palestinians are ill-equipped hardly warrants merit.

    What about Evangelical groups from the USA who believe in Armageddon in the Middle East to bring forth the 2nc Coming? aren’t these as dangerous as the Muslim groups you mention?

    Surely if you want to combat extremism then you need to tackle the whole picture but by isolating Muslims you feed the extremists the propaganda they desire and don’t really tackle the issue.

    Your article is more fitting for Harry’s Place than here.

  16. billy — on 4th November, 2008 at 2:49 pm  

    The study is, therefore, yet another piece of garbage put out by the CSC to stir up hostility to Muslims.

    Do you think that there are Islamic activists operating on campuses in Britain who stir up hostility against non Muslims, Yusuf?

  17. Sid — on 4th November, 2008 at 3:42 pm  

    Yusuf Smith,

    Questioning the sampling criteria for the survey is a valid point. Which is why I asked the question of which universities FOSIS is most active or has the widest sphere of influence. The CSC must have data on this and I would be very glad to see it.

    I don’t however, agree with your conclusion that this is “yet another piece of garbage put out by the CSC to stir up hostility to Muslims”. In fact, as a Muslim myself, I reject that completely. Do you feel hostility is stirred up against you, as a white person, when articles on the BNP are published?

    Your point would only be true if all Muslims self-identified with radicalism. But as the CSC article righty asserts, “Muslim students hold a diverse and broad range of beliefs and opinions” and FOSIS is not representative of them. And yet the government is using them as *the* consultative body and treating them as representative of Muslim students. In other words, muslims in Britain will be represented by a group that is openly supportive of Jamaat-e-Islami, the Muslim Brotherhood and other supremacist groups. Do you find that acceptable?

    If you were really concerned with the welfare of muslims here in the UK, you would be busting a blood vessel about this ridiculous state of affairs rather than sniffing at the CSC.

  18. douglas clark — on 4th November, 2008 at 5:17 pm  

    It is really quite odd for the statistics to be the issue here. Lots of us are relying, today, on polls for the US election that are touted across the airwaves as being ‘good polls’ which actually have a smaller sample size than this one does.

    E.g. Survey USA polled California, which for the sake of this arguement we’ll take as an approximately 16 million to 18 million electorate and then says, with 95% confidence that Obama will beat McCain handily. with a margin of error of + or – 5%. Their sample size was 637 voters. This might seem counter intuitive, but at a 95% confidence limit an increase in sample size will only reduce the margin of error.

    Having checked over the actual report, their main methodology is listed on page 12.

    It seems that of the 1400 students that they asked YouGov to survey, 600 were categorised as Muslim and 800 as non-Muslim.

    In addition to this survey, they did face to face interviews or meetings at a total of twelve ‘high profile Universities with significant Muslim populations and active Islamic Societies.

    As some of the questions put, for instance those that described a viewpoint about an issue where the views of the Muslim Only group were required, the actual sample size can only be taken as the 600 accounted for above, not the headline 1400. This is still within normal polling limits. But, where I would have thought that there may be a risk of selection bias is if you only choose Universities with ‘high profile Universities with significant Muslim populations and active Islamic Societies’. That seems a bit chicken and egg to me.

    It would be interesting to see whether Messrs Thorne and Stewart, the authors, would be willing to comment here on their report.

  19. Refresh — on 4th November, 2008 at 5:33 pm  

    Douglas,

    Where’s your commitment?

    You should be in a 6 hour queue somewhere instead of PP’ing!

  20. douglas clark — on 4th November, 2008 at 5:56 pm  

    Refresh,

    Heh. They haven’t made Scotland a State – yet.

    What is with this five hour queue shit anyway? I know they’ve got a few votes to cast, but it’s easy enough to work out how long on average it’ll take a voter to complete and figure out how many voting stations they need. I reckon someone got scared of the cost when they did the sums.

    Anyway, I like Obama because I don’t think he’s nuts. And doesn’t chant Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, even if it was just a stupid joke. But frankly, apart from not getting us blown up, which is a huge plus in my book, I don’t think he’ll make a huge difference to thee or me….

  21. Imran Khan — on 4th November, 2008 at 6:00 pm  

    Sid – Who should the government talk to then? FOSIS has the infrastructure in place to assist the government in reaching out to Muslims.

    They are not ideal but they are all there is. Every ISOC in the country is connected with them.

    The government is pushing Qulliam in other spheres which is backfiring as Muslims are not happy.

    You can only change ideology once you engage not by standing on the outside lecturing in. They’ve tried that and failed.

    FOSIS is all that is there at the moment so if you want to counter extremism you need to go through them or not engage.

    FOSIS as you don’t appear to know is an umbrella group and has many different organisations linked you are focussing on just two. They also have Jimas which preaches against violence as an affiliate so it isn’t a bad vehicle for the government to use.

  22. Sid — on 4th November, 2008 at 7:01 pm  

    Imran Khan:
    FOSIS is all that is there at the moment so if you want to counter extremism you need to go through them or not engage.

    This is very self-contradictory, I’m afraid. FOSIS is in the business of interfacing with and facilitating individuals who, by their own admission, represent radical and extremist Islamist organisations. No can dispute what the CSC has written about their links with Azzam Tamimi, not least FOSIS themselves.

    An analogy: If you wanted to encourage anti-fascism in the UK, would you make the BNP your primary point of call?

    This is another stupid failure by the government to engage with Muslims.

  23. billy — on 4th November, 2008 at 7:17 pm  

    Sid – Who should the government talk to then?

    Quite apart from the excellent reasons that Sid outlines above, specifically regarding FOSIS, I just want to reply to your question in particular.

    The whole idea that the government should ‘talk to’ anyone as a priveliged organisation is deeply flawed, and beyond a notional idea of the government canvassing a wide range of opinions from people on any issue, it is actually a loathsome and morally mis-shapen idea.

    Muslims are not separate from the body of British society. They are not a foreign government requiring interlocuters to speak on their behalf, self-appointed interlocuters, I might add. They are not remedials who require translators to translate for them to their own government. Muslims are individuals who upon reaching adulthood can attain the franchise and vote in elections just like everyone else. They are not separate from the British body politic.

    Those who want to appoint themselves as special speakers on behalf of Muslims are self appointed, unrepresentative bodies who seek to create the impression that Muslims are a unified blob of humans who are so distanced from their fellow British people that only they can act as gatekeepers and spokesmen.

    It is odious for the presumption inherent in this — presumptions of separatism, presumptions of the need to continue this separate impulse, the continuing impulse to exaggerate the separateness of Muslims, and lastly, it is odious for the power grab they make, and the condescending, patronising attitude inherent in the idea that Muslims need to be spoken for to a government that is theirs, that they are a gang of aliens sitting in the corner of a room without individual agency or connection to everyone else in Britain, and that they have a special need of remedial concern, that no other group in Britain has.

  24. persephone — on 4th November, 2008 at 8:00 pm  

    @ 10 all the little bullying strategies they employ when faced with criticism

    and

    @ 21 You can only change ideology once you engage

    If students are whispering & making comments at the more moderate muslims then the university needs to treat & deal with that behaviour as bullying regardless of the personal beliefs/religion of the bullies. It should not be given credence (or any organisation seeking to represent it) by calling it an ideology.

    @ 23 Agree that treating muslims as a group only results in their being perceived as separate which, from the majority of muslims I have known, they do not want. Plus this only fuels racism. It is tantamount to lumping irish catholics into a group because their ‘ideology’ may mean they are potential IRA terrorists

  25. douglas clark — on 4th November, 2008 at 8:46 pm  

    Interesting thread this:

    From the questionaire, pages 25 and the rest:

    Are you a member of you Universities’ Islamic society has 65% saying no, and 10% at Universities without an Islamic Society whatsoever. So that’s 75% of Muslims at University that aren’t members.

    Of that remaining 25% who are members, 54% were not very active or completely inactive.

    So, we’re down to about 12% who are active.

    And folk want the leaders of that 12% , an even smaller sub-group probably around 1.5%, to lead everyone who self identifies as Muslim?

    Can’t see it myself.

  26. Refresh — on 4th November, 2008 at 10:27 pm  

    This government will not be able to engage with anyone, except with itself, Martin Bright, HP, Policy Exchange and Centre for Social Cohesion. Or an agent of their creation.

    No one else can possibly have anything relevant to say.

    This is year four of these pointless debates.

    There is a sure fire way of engaging everyone but given the government’s deceitful handling of the ‘communities’ agenda, they do not have the credibility necessary.

    How can it whilst the giggling, sniggering idiot Hazel Blears sits on the other side of the cabinet table?

    That was a clue by the way.

  27. fugstar — on 5th November, 2008 at 2:34 am  

    Ah yes, all that extremism, keeping prayer rooms tidy despite brothers best efforts not to dry their feet properly, organising elegant night prayers, getting the better reciters to share their talents, dealing with member’s problems with a immense levels of care and devotion, doling out free iftari to hungry students, dealing with all the crap antagonists throw on campus, collecting donations to build wells in Vietnam, doing fairtrade stuff with the chaplaincy, knocking the socks of RAG year in year out, wandering about painting people with perfume, engaging in join scriptural readings with Christians and Jews….

    Thankyou CSC for letting the british public at large know what we are all about!

    Problem with totting up the ‘not so’ ‘active’ muslims on campus is that its meaningless other than for producing a dubious coeficient for ‘unrepresentativeness’. Maybe one might propose ‘representing’ the poor tyrannised ‘unrepresented’ mass of aggreable moderates. How amusing.

  28. billy — on 5th November, 2008 at 6:01 am  

    blah blah blah coefficient sneer blah victimhood persecution complex *sneer* blah blah sarcasm how typical yadda yadda yadda how amusing la-di-da sarcastic contempt colonialism chipmunks yeah yeah yeah so-called representatives blah blah sneer tum-ti-tum-tum

  29. douglas clark — on 5th November, 2008 at 6:38 am  

    Well, how should the UK engage with Muslims? Or indeed, should it engage with any religious minority whatsoever, as it seems to be a nation at peace with it’s essential agnosticsm?

    Why should anyone care about someone else’s religion?

    And that has got to include those of the same sect. There is clear control freakery going on here. Do they have dibbing rights on what you think? Are we just supposed to be sheep at the well of the more religious? Here is the great Bard on the subject:

    http://www.robertburns.org.uk/Assets/Poems_Songs/holy_willie.htm

    This is no way to think. Which, if you think otherwise, was the whole point.

    This country fools itself into a Christian twist, when it really isn’t Christian anymore. The point being, that this is, at least, a country of non-believers, and at best a country of atheists, who let secularists run rampant over our very democracy.

    But whilst we, the majority, are not sufficiently organised to take on a ridiculously small group of secularists, we do have the power to cry ‘bullshit’ when we see it.

    You got the power, and we are ignored. Frankly, it is a political gap that has to be bridged. There is a huge defect in UK politics, of folk come to that, that see’s subservience of our real viewpoint, agnostic, atheistic, as something like gays coming out of the closet.

    Roll on, ‘agnostics for change’ taking Fresher folk away from these nutters.

    I am an atheist, and I approve this message.

  30. douglas clark — on 5th November, 2008 at 6:48 am  

    Fugstar,

    Problem with totting up the ‘not so’ ‘active’ muslims on campus is that its meaningless other than for producing a dubious coeficient for ‘unrepresentativeness’. Maybe one might propose ‘representing’ the poor tyrannised ‘unrepresented’ mass of aggreable moderates. How amusing.

    What is funny about it? It appears to be true of how unrepresentative that group is. Quite why you think turning statistical theory on it’s head – e.g. lying – should support your case is, well, stupid, or something.

    Best regards with the rest of your life.

    dougie.

  31. fugstar — on 5th November, 2008 at 10:36 am  

    Every union has an election process. and you know that politics and organisational life there is an unevenness of participation. So your line of reasoning goes nowhere and your appeal to something quantitative and ‘scientific’ is characteristically malicious.

    Any terrorists on campus are those who serve in the occupation army btw. eventually that needs to be stopped. how can you serve in an army of another country and hold citizenship of another. hmm.

  32. Sid — on 5th November, 2008 at 11:09 am  

    What billy said #23. Spot on.

    No one is saying FOSIS should not embrace fascist organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Jamaat-e-Islami. No one is saying they should not idolise religious supremacists like Azzam Tamimi. They are free to make those choices.

    What I *am* saying is that the government is being willfully duplicitous by making FOSIS a consultative body and treating them as representative of all Muslim students.

  33. MaidMarian — on 5th November, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    douglas clark (29) – ‘Why should anyone care about someone else’s religion?’

    I see where you are coming from there, but…

    When there is religious strife that extends, it would seem, to a willingness to detonate suicide bombs on public transport regigious concerns are difficult to ignore.

    I see the point you are getting at, but the idea that we have the luxury of pretending that religion is neutral in this case seems a bit fanciful.

  34. bananabrain — on 5th November, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    i guess things haven’t moved on very much since i was at manchester in the early 90s.

    I guess the lack of life experience, youthful naievete and passionate belief in changing the world lead students generally to extreme ideologies which are strong on campus but don’t work in realityville. 20 years ago Marxism probably had the same allure.

    ain’t that the truth about all student politics. strong on gesture, strong on ideology, strong on language, but resolutely impractical.

    no way are FOSIS and ISOC members representative of the British Muslim communities out there. ISOC’s should stick to Islam and not indulge in politics. The Jewish JSOC’s need to do the same.

    in my experience UJS only really bothers with student politics because people are always trying to marginalise jewish students on campus. the oddball red-green alliance of malcontents made up of the SWP and islamists have always, since as long as i can remember, spent their time trying to get student unions to declare zionism to be racism, twin their campuses with palestinian campuses, ban israeli academics, produce, flags or anything else to do with israel and, recently, this has turned into a campaign to ban JSOCs altogether, initially from anti-racist activities and then from the union because they “discriminate ethnically” against non-jews and support “a racist, apartheid imperialist regime”, which has in the past extended to verbal harassment and taking photographs of people at UJS stalls at freshers’ fairs. i know people will probably manufacture reasons to object to this, but as far as i know the JSOCs’ interest in politics is entirely defensive. i mean, can anyone point at one single motion that has been introduced by a JSOC in the first instance to politicise the campus? you look at the actual facts. it is ALWAYS an aggressive move by the SWP or GUPS or the islamic society that kicks things off.

    What about Zionists speakers coming to Jewish groups and speaking of a greater IsraeL in violation of international law.

    what about an example of a JSOC doing this that we can examine then, rather than an unsupported generalisation?

    The whole idea that the government should ‘talk to’ anyone as a privileged organisation is deeply flawed, and beyond a notional idea of the government canvassing a wide range of opinions from people on any issue, it is actually a loathsome and morally mis-shapen idea.

    surely this is only the case if the organisation is not really representative of a group as a whole, as opposed to unrepresentative as detailed in douglas’s point #25? otherwise, wouldn’t you have to ban not just (for example) the jewish board of deputies, but also the BMA, the RCN and all unions?

    Any terrorists on campus are those who serve in the occupation army btw.

    gosh, i wonder who you mean.

    how can you serve in an army of another country and hold citizenship of another.

    that is actually a valid question, i think, as long as it isn’t asked in a “have you quit beating your wife?” kind of way – and also covers working for, say, foreign “resistance” organisations…. i thought that dual nationality wasn’t allowed nowadays, so presumably the same legal principle ought to cover national service?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  35. Imran Khan — on 5th November, 2008 at 6:56 pm  

    Sid – The fact is that you are using overblown examples to make your point which in reality have very little with what goes on at ground level.

    Most ISOC’s will do a few events and for that they’ll borrow a series of intoductory materials from FOSIS which outline Islam – thats it.

    It is very easy for people to label any Muslim organisation as extremist. Tamimi has appeared on Newsnight so should the government stop talking to the BBC??

    FOSIS is well run by volunteers who want to reach out and explain Islam. That is about 99% of their work and the 99% most people will see. The 1% you and I disagree with but due to polarisation then Muslims want to hear about their brethren in Palestine. You may or may not care about them, but many Muslims do.

    The best way to change FOSIS is by working with it and eradicating the unsavoury views rather than standing outside and saying we won’t talk. Your policy example is that of George Bush and after 8 years that policy has been discarded as useless in America and it is time to do the same here.

    The government achieves nothing by not talking to Muslim organisations and you should know that when they tried to impose Quilliam on the Muslims it failed. So they have gone back and adjusted strategy.

    bananabrain – “what about an example of a JSOC doing this that we can examine then, rather than an unsupported generalisation?”

    Easy look at the talks at JSOC’s about Israel and the west bank and the majority defend Israel’s actions and occupation which is in violation of international law and UN Security Council Resolutions.

    At some JSOC’s Rabbi’s who defend the rights of Palestinians have not been treated very kindly shall we say.

    The simple fact is that this is a polarising issue on all sides. But one side is subject to accusations of extremism.

    On the wider scale how can community harmony be achieved without talking and engaging with the community.

    Muslims are now subject to smears and slurs and things are so bad that it is thought of negatively if Muslims stand for high office as we have seen in the statements in the USA.

    I say it is time for the ISOC’s and JSOC’s to reach out to each other and not base their entire relationship on a single issue.

    BTW I am not criticisng the JSOC’s but am querying why one can support their brethren and one can’t – that was my point. People hide behind the notion that one is a democracy but that doesn’t mean the other side cannot be supported.

    The problem as I see it is that with a glimmer of peace then if that peace comes into being the links that are needed to maintain that peace won’t be there because people have spent all their time fighting each other across the world on which side is right.

  36. Ashik — on 5th November, 2008 at 10:16 pm  

    I think many of the views expressed by Muslim student respondents to the CSC survey are held by Muslims as general mainstream beliefs as opposed to being indicative of support for political Islam. For example, Muslims tend to oppose apostasy very strongly (more than the 50% me thinks) and respect let alone acceptance for homosexuals (their fate is apparently hell-fire) is almost non-existent (much more than 25%); while the majority of Muslims would object even to the idea of Shia praying alongside Sunnis in the same room (hence Sunni & Shia have their own mosques in the UK and most other places).

    The difference between ordinary mainstream Muslims and the politically motivated minority is for example, the former may not believe that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle choice but follow a ‘live and let live’ attitude. Always remembering that who is and is not a good Muslim is for Allah (SWT) to judge and His compassionate and merciful names. The latter want religious injunctions against homosexuals carried out judicially ala the Caliphate model eg. to be thrown off a mountain or hanged or whatever.

    One suspects that the CSC study was not conducted anonymously. Those percentages should be much higher. Even non-practicing Muslims (and some Christians & Jews) still have religion-influenced cultural issues/baggage regarding homosexuals and apostates.

  37. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2008 at 12:20 am  

    fugstar @ 31,

    Every union has an election process. and you know that politics and organisational life there is an unevenness of participation. So your line of reasoning goes nowhere and your appeal to something quantitative and ’scientific’ is characteristically malicious.

    My line of reasoning says that 75% of Muslims are not members of their Universities’ Islamic Society. That is three quarters of the folk surveyed.

    What would also be useful to know is whether or not there is an annual charge, say 50p or something, to remain on the list, or not. Or whether, as I suspect, that if someone signs up for free, during Freshers week, then they are a useful statistic whether they subsequently engage with the Islamic Society, or not.

    Given that apostasy carries quite heavy penalties in the Muslim faith, I am actually quite heartened that a substantial majority of young, intelligent, self identifying Muslims, don’t allow themselves to become a useful statistic.

    Don’t know why you see me as “characteristically malicious”, but there you go.

  38. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2008 at 3:24 am  

    Ashik @ 36,

    It’s an opinion poll! It is the opinions of the folk that were surveyed. Clearly, it is not consanguineous with either your point of view or mine. But it is their point of view.

    So, hard luck.

    Muslims not scary shock!

  39. Imran Khan — on 6th November, 2008 at 7:10 am  

    Douglas – Apostasy carries a heavy penalty only in certain circumtances, the death penatly to which I think you refer is only carried out in exceptional circumtances.

    What you’ll find is that today it is many ignorant Muslims who know little about the faith who go on about it but it applies in certain circumstances. So if someone moves away from the faith then it isn’t automatic that they are executed.

    I may be wrong but I think people can leave the faith as long as they do not cause problems for the Muslims and in general leave Muslim countries and do not interfere with the running of that land.

    The death penalty only applies where there is a danger of social upheavel.

    In any case in non-Muslim countries then the faith doesn’t enforce all of its own laws and thus the penalty for apostasy doesn’t apply because the Muslim community may not have the capacity to carry it out legally.

    It is a complex area and most Muslims don’t understand it!

  40. bananabrain — on 6th November, 2008 at 9:23 am  

    Easy look at the talks at JSOC’s about Israel and the west bank and the majority defend Israel’s actions and occupation which is in violation of international law and UN Security Council Resolutions.

    At some JSOC’s Rabbi’s who defend the rights of Palestinians have not been treated very kindly shall we say.

    i asked for specific examples. i’ve never heard of either of these things happening and you’re still using generalised allegations. either put up an example, or stop trying to make out that JSOCs support the occupation. remember, the JSOC has an obligation to represent *all* the jewish students and a lot of students are nothing like this stereotype of the militant right-winger you seem to be trying to create in order to make the ludicrous excesses of islamic student politics seem less disproportionate. in my experience, UJS studiously avoids taking political stances in support of any particular position. so frankly, i don’t think you have a leg to stand on here.

    I say it is time for the ISOC’s and JSOC’s to reach out to each other and not base their entire relationship on a single issue.

    what a piece of fecking doublespeak. it is the ISOCS that refuse to have any contact because they are invariably controlled by extremist nutters who are in bed with the SWP nutters. it was like that when i was at university and it is obviously no different nowadays. how about NUS as a whole trying to have a relationship with JSOCs which isn’t based on people trying to ban jewish students from the union and stigmatise anything to do with israel or zionism?

    i feel i must applaud an impressive piece of sheer bloody chutzpah.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  41. Trofim — on 6th November, 2008 at 9:55 am  

    I think people can leave the faith as long as they do not cause problems for the Muslims and in general leave Muslim countries and do not interfere with the running of that land.

    You mean if someone decides to stop being a Muslim, all they have to do is leave the country, if they want a quiet life? That’s reassuring!

    Incidentally, if you want Muslims to become part of “mainstream” society, you couldn’t do better than emulate a woman the other night on TV. There, in the audience of Top Gear, apparently with a friend, was a woman in hijab. True, she was partly obscured by Michael Parkinson, but I looked carefully, and am sure she was wearing a headscarf (white). She and her friend both appeared to be enjoying the jokes. That’s the sort of thing which makes all the difference to most people, not anything the government does. Perhaps they planted her there, and there’ll now be one ever week.

  42. Sid — on 6th November, 2008 at 10:51 am  

    It is very easy for people to label any Muslim organisation as extremist. Tamimi has appeared on Newsnight so should the government stop talking to the BBC??

    What a ridiculous piece of whataboutery! You do realise that the BBC is a media outlet not a “representative umbrella organisation”, don’t you?

    FOSIS is well run by volunteers who want to reach out and explain Islam. That is about 99% of their work and the 99% most people will see. The 1% you and I disagree with but due to polarisation then Muslims want to hear about their brethren in Palestine. You may or may not care about them, but many Muslims do.

    There are more issues that affect Muslims directly than Palestine, if you would only care to remove the blinkers and look around. Many Muslims are interested in the status of women’s rights in Muslim-majority societies. Many Muslims are interested in the welfare of minorities in Muslim-majority societies. FOSIS may or not care about them, but many Muslims do.

    The best way to change FOSIS is by working with it and eradicating the unsavoury views rather than standing outside and saying we won’t talk. Your policy example is that of George Bush and after 8 years that policy has been discarded as useless in America and it is time to do the same here.

    I have no interest in trying to change FOSIS or dictate to it who it should support or idolise. You want to support Azzam Tamimi, that’s your business. But any organisation that has chosen to support individuals and organisations which sanctions violence against innocents, amongst other things, should NOT be chosen by the government to be representative of mainstream muslims in the UK.

  43. Sid — on 6th November, 2008 at 11:01 am  

    In any case in non-Muslim countries then the faith doesn’t enforce all of its own laws and thus the penalty for apostasy doesn’t apply because the Muslim community may not have the capacity to carry it out legally.

    It is a complex area and most Muslims don’t understand it!

    And by that, you are suggesting that you do, of course.

    Are you actually saying that a Muslim country that is undergoing “social upheaval” should allow the death penalty of apostacy? Have you actually thought this through before you suggested it or is this a “scholar’s” directive?

    Do you intend to apply this to the other shari’a laws as well, such as the punishment of stoning for adultery?

  44. Imran Khan — on 6th November, 2008 at 1:07 pm  

    Sid – “You want to support Azzam Tamimi, that’s your business.”

    I didn’t say that I support Tamimi so kindly stop using outright lies to make your point. I have been civil with you and expect the same in return. If you cannot behave in a civil manner then kindly don’t respond to posts.

    As regards conversion our of Islam I did say that was my understanding but you are bullying to imply I am saying something else.

    Bananabrain – I will post some examples later but no doubt you’ll make some comment to sweep them away and say its all ok.

    In your world it is always the Muslims who are wrong and excessive and Jews are perfectly fine.

    If the ISOC’s are controlled by extremists nutters then that shouldn’t stop the JSOC’s trying should it? That would then expose the ISOC’s for what they are. I haven’t been involved in ISOC’s but I’ve seen some in London try to reach out and not make much headway with the JSOC’s.

  45. Imran Khan — on 6th November, 2008 at 1:27 pm  

    Bananabrain – “UJS studiously avoids taking political stances in support of any particular position. so frankly, i don’t think you have a leg to stand on here.”

    If they are not taking political stances in support of any particular position then how do you explain:

    http://www.union.ic.ac.uk/scc/jewish/israel.php

    http://brunelstudents.com/jsoc/content/index.php?page=50485

    I could go on but clearly they are not as benign as you incorrectly imply and they are taking positions.

    You’ll attempt to pass this off as insignificant but it is going on and they are actively political thus your statement isn’t correct.

    Now I say again I disagree with the position of ISOC’s as you describe and it is one of the reasons I didn’t participate in an ISOC. But JSOC’s are not studiously avoiding taking political stances in support of any particular position as you imply. They are Pro-Israel and ISOC’s are Pro-Palestinian and this is a major issue which causes a lack of interaction.

    You can deny it but it is there.

    I can carry on posting more examples from both sides but the point is that there needs to be some move away from this.

    Not all ISOC’s are run by rabid extremists as you imply. Many are well run and build good relations but you won’t want to admit that because it goes against the picture you want portrayed.

  46. Sid — on 6th November, 2008 at 2:43 pm  

    I didn’t say that I support Tamimi so kindly stop using outright lies to make your point. I have been civil with you and expect the same in return. If you cannot behave in a civil manner then kindly don’t respond to posts.

    I didn’t say you did support Tamimi, so calm down. My comment was directed at FOSIS and its members.

  47. Imran Khan — on 6th November, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    Sid – Ok fair enough. I apologise for my misunderstanding.

  48. bananabrain — on 6th November, 2008 at 3:44 pm  

    imran:

    clearly they are not as benign as you incorrectly imply and they are taking positions.

    i’m not implying anything. i’m stating straight out. actually, i’m struggling to see what it is on the pages that you link to that you are objecting to.

    on the imperial one it says:

    Negotiations with the Palestinians has been rocky but hopes were raised with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. However the peace plan now lies in tatters after the recent Intifada. Although Israel withdrew all soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

    i agree this could be called one-sided, but they’re not mentioning suicide bombers, kidnappings or kassam rockets and they are implicitly admitting that settlers are part of the problem. i struggle to see how they are being in any way controversial – unless maintaining jewish ancestral, religious and historical links to the land is what you object to.

    as for the brunel one, is it this you have a problem with?

    Douglas Murray, bestselling author and political commentator, speaking this Tuesday evening on why he defends Israel.

    i don’t know douglas murray, but the fact that he is talking about “why” implies that some people wouldn’t understand why he *would* defend israel. again, this implies that he has a case to answer and can hardly be characterised as one-sided.

    the only mention of the palestinians i can find is:

    Israel Debate Series with Naomi Benari. The title is “The Plight of the Palestinians” – really interesting – not your usual Israel debate

    and, again, i struggle to see why you would have a problem with this. i’d be delighted to see an islamic society discussing the plight of, say, iranian jews.

    They are Pro-Israel and ISOC’s are Pro-Palestinian and this is a major issue which causes a lack of interaction.

    and this, right here, is your major problem. why are you assuming that being pro-israel precludes being pro-palestinian? i’ll tell you – it is because in your adversarial, dualistic, simplistic little world, being pro-palestinian necessarily implies being anti-israel. and this is, quite simply, the reason why ISOCs find it impossible to engage with JSOCs, because it would require a MAJOR shift in their comfortable little worldview.

    to sum up, these examples are not only rubbish, but actually make my case for me, because they show just how considered and moderate the stance JSOCs take *is* – in comparison to the anti-zionist hysteria of the ISOCs. and, more to the point, by this point:

    In your world it is always the Muslims who are wrong and excessive and Jews are perfectly fine.

    you are showing that you have no idea of my positions on this matter. i suggest you re-examine your approach to this debate.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  49. Imran Khan — on 6th November, 2008 at 10:13 pm  

    Bananabrain – First of all you wrongly claimed that JSOC’s were non-political. I showed this is incorrect so now you are shifting stance and saying it isn’t so bad. If JSOC’s are non political then why does Brunel need to do Israel Advocacy? You can’t have it both ways either they engage in the subject which you know they do but implied they didn’t.

    “They are Pro-Israel and ISOC’s are Pro-Palestinian and this is a major issue which causes a lack of interaction.”

    Actually if you read my comment and didn’t go off one and overeact – yet again, what I said was that typically they take these positions. I didn’t say they didn’t have other positions. But it is these positions that then cause the problems.

    Let me put it to you this way – many large Muslims organisations highlight NETUREI KARTA, yet this is a tiny movement and their position is hardly going to achieve peace – agreed? My point is that Muslims by taking this position are not engaging with the people they need to engage with.

    My point about ISOC’s and JSOC’s was that their percieved positions are block to interaction and they need to overcome this, move forward and build bridges. Instead of seeing the comment for what it was you just go off on one.

    “you are showing that you have no idea of my positions on this matter. i suggest you re-examine your approach to this debate.”
    No your poison is perfectly clear and are simply here to bash the Muslims.

  50. bananabrain — on 7th November, 2008 at 10:04 am  

    First of all you wrongly claimed that JSOC’s were non-political.

    no, i didn’t. what i said was:

    in my experience UJS only really bothers with student politics because people are always trying to marginalise jewish students on campus.
    and

    as far as i know the JSOCs’ interest in politics is entirely defensive.
    that’s not the same thing at all, so don’t try and make out that it is.

    If JSOC’s are non political then why does Brunel need to do Israel Advocacy?

    i’m not saying they’re non-political, i’m saying their politics are defensive. can you not read, or do you just prefer to make up an argument you would like me to have made so you can attack that instead? what i said was (and i fail to see how it is any way unclear) that:

    the oddball red-green alliance of malcontents made up of the SWP and islamists have always, since as long as i can remember, spent their time trying to get student unions to declare zionism to be racism, twin their campuses with palestinian campuses, ban israeli academics, produce, flags or anything else to do with israel and, recently, this has turned into a campaign to ban JSOCs altogether, initially from anti-racist activities and then from the union because they “discriminate ethnically” against non-jews and support “a racist, apartheid imperialist regime”, which has in the past extended to verbal harassment and taking photographs of people at UJS stalls at freshers’ fairs.
    in other words, universities (and particularly unions) are full of doctrinaire quibbledicks with too much time on their hands and israel is always the most convenient whipping boy. i mean, FOSIS doesn’t even have a darfur campaign – but UJS does. nooooo, let’s have a go at the zionists, that doesn’t demand much imagination. i would be amazed if anyone could show me one of these mean-minded little spats that has ever been *started* by a JSOC to marginalise an ISOC. like i said above:

    can anyone point at one single motion that has been introduced by a JSOC in the first instance to politicise the campus? you look at the actual facts. it is ALWAYS an aggressive move by the SWP or GUPS or the islamic society that kicks things off.
    *that* is why israel advocacy is required. more to the point, israel advocacy is not at all the same thing as demonisation of the palestinians, let alone the delegitimisation and harassment of muslims on campus.

    what I said was that typically they take these positions. I didn’t say they didn’t have other positions. But it is these positions that then cause the problems.

    and i have asked you three times to specify precisely what positions it is that you think cause problems and you have failed to proffer even one. that is because you are making generalised allegations based on mistaken assumptions. if you can’t give an example of a position taken by a JSOC (and, like i said earlier, pointing me to a website is not an example if i can’t find what it is on the website actually supports your point of view) then you should modify your position.

    Let me put it to you this way – many large Muslims organisations highlight NETUREI KARTA, yet this is a tiny movement and their position is hardly going to achieve peace – agreed? My point is that Muslims by taking this position are not engaging with the people they need to engage with.

    agreed. now show me a similar tiny movement that prevents JSOCs engaging with “the people *they* need to engage with”.

    My point about ISOC’s and JSOC’s was that their percieved positions are block to interaction and they need to overcome this, move forward and build bridges. Instead of seeing the comment for what it was you just go off on one.

    no, i analysed the comment and found it to be based on nothing even slightly specific, nor did you offer any evidence. i have shown that the position you “perceive” JSOCs to be taking is based on your assumptions, not actual evidence, but you seem unable to accept that your view is therefore mistaken.

    No your poison is perfectly clear and are simply here to bash the Muslims.

    how ridiculous. are you avi cohen in disguise or something? there are few people more committed than i to moderation in these matters and to full and equal participation of muslims as citizens of the UK and the world. i am a great admirer of almost all things islamic. you don’t know me – and with this attitude, it is no wonder that FOSIS and its defenders come across as such paranoid, unreasonable, hysterical victimhood-mongers (if that’s a word). no wonder the normal, moderate muslims find ISOCs embarrassing. plus ça change…

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  51. Imran Khan — on 9th November, 2008 at 11:45 pm  

    Bananabrain – “how ridiculous. are you avi cohen in disguise or something? there are few people more committed than i to moderation in these matters and to full and equal participation of muslims as citizens of the UK and the world.”

    Are you Bibi Netanyahu in disguise? You talk vaguely of peace but in reality every chance you get you bash Muslims and Muslim organisations without the same level of self analysis of your own people’s viciousness in rule and the brutality of the occupation.

    You are Always quick to point the finger then hide behind your claim of “cooperation”. What a joke as we’ve never seen any evidence of this – why not?

    “hysterical victimhood-mongers” – comical from someone who continually talks nonsense and uses the victim card so often it is worn out from you continually throwing it in the ring at every debate.

    Frankly you are like a person who complains whenever anyone else is wrong but go MIA when your own community is at fault and you’d rather choke than admit fault. Tell me when did you ever criticise other than Muslims?

    If you actually read what I said then you’d know I chose not to be part of Fosis and also have criticised them here which is more than you’ve done for Jsoc’s with your whitewash.

    I am for dignity for the Jsoc’s and Isoc’s and want them to talk. In between firing your poison you just want a bunch of yes people to agree with you.

    Frankly you are here simply to whitewash and nothing more.

  52. bananabrain — on 10th November, 2008 at 10:50 am  

    imran:

    Are you Bibi Netanyahu in disguise?

    i am not a fan of his to say the least and we share virtually no opinions that i know of. i don’t think i’ve said anything which would indicate otherwise. if you would lump me in with someone like that it definitely shows how little you pay attention to what i’ve actually said.

    You talk vaguely of peace but in reality every chance you get you bash Muslims and Muslim organisations without the same level of self analysis of your own people’s viciousness in rule and the brutality of the occupation.

    i don’t think you’ve actually read very much of what i’ve written either here or elsewhere to make such an ill-informed comment. besides, this is whataboutery of the highest order, as we’re actually talking about student politics, not the middle east. i am sure in any case you feel free to criticise the policies of the israeli government without, say, mentioning the sort of stuff the syrians and iranians get up to.

    i note further that you have failed to give ANY concrete examples to back up the sweeping generalisations you have made despite my asking you repeatedly to do so and must therefore conclude that you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You are Always quick to point the finger then hide behind your claim of “cooperation”. What a joke as we’ve never seen any evidence of this – why not?

    perhaps it’s because a) you don’t know me offline and b) because you’re not spending a lot of time at http://www.interfaith.org, where i do a lot of my online dialogue activities.

    someone who continually talks nonsense

    not what the other people here seem to think, whether they agree with me or not.

    uses the victim card so often it is worn out from you continually throwing it in the ring at every debate.

    again, i’d have to ask for actual examples, but based on this debate so far that doesn’t seem to be your own strong suit.

    Tell me when did you ever criticise other than Muslims?

    er…. practically all the time. i recently set up an organisation that spends a great deal of time criticising the status quo in the jewish community and suggesting ways in which things could be changed.

    If you actually read what I said then you’d know I chose not to be part of Fosis and also have criticised them here which is more than you’ve done for Jsoc’s with your whitewash.

    it’s not relevant whether you’re part of FOSIS or not. you’re the one getting personal about this, not me. i have simply pointed out that your “they’re both as bad as each other” thesis is not, in fact, supported by the information about the JSOC side, evidence to the contrary not having been made available by yourself despite numerous invitations to do so.

    I am for dignity for the Jsoc’s and Isoc’s and want them to talk. In between firing your poison you just want a bunch of yes people to agree with you.

    so do i. however, the *evidence* suggests that your description of me would be far more appropriate for the ISOC/SWP axis of error.

    Frankly you are here simply to whitewash and nothing more.

    *yaawn* yes, that’s it. deary me.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  53. Imran Khan — on 10th November, 2008 at 6:14 pm  

    Dear Mr. BananaBrain,

    It was you who started all the attacks not me. I observed that the major issue dividing ISOC and JSOC was the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. As I felt and still do that there needs to be mutual outreach to overcome this. I made no judgment of right or wrong.

    It was you who charged in and started hurling accusations.

    Now let me tell you that in the past I have tried to invite JSCO’s to events and I can’t even get a response to invitations. So your claim that JSOC’s would love to but are beleaguered is in my experience untrue. They fail to engage at a local and national level with Muslims. Why I don’t know but this is a fact as I have truly tried and very politely without even so much as a response. So don’t always say it is Muslims who need to do more as there are ones that do.

    As regards evidence I can provide it but so far am holding off because the discussion was about FOSIS and thus the problems that are there with them need focus. However there are many problems with other groupings and my question remains why are those not highlighted.

    Again if you chose to be even a bit critical then you would know that JSOC’s in fact could do better in interaction with Muslims even those who are being idiots. All the main JSOC does is run to the press as often as it can rather than working through problems and that my friend will antagonize people when it is over minor things.

    In addition events here and in the USA where JSOC’s regularly respond harshly to Rabbi’s who advocate peace.

    It you want dialogue then I support you – tell me how and I’ll help but don’t always go painting one side as the innocent and one side as the aggressor both need a kick up the backside. I fully agree the Muslim side needs a far greater kick but don’t always batter people that are trying to help because it doesn’t help your cause.

    Now be serious tell me what the Muslim community need to do for better relations with the Jewish Community?

    Do mosques need to open up more?
    Is there a need for greater understanding?

    Lets see concrete suggestions for improving relations and also helping FOSIS to get rid of the things you dislike.

    Come forth and advise – you clearly have a contribution but please try and be positive instead of your usual additives.

  54. Imran Khan — on 10th November, 2008 at 6:23 pm  

    One other point Mr. BananaBrain it is your community and your JSOC’s in the USA who are asking for the removal of Qur’ans and Hadith from University websites because they disagree with some points and yet few in the Jewish community stand up and complain about that – what about freedom of religion there?

    There are aspects of the Torah we gentiles don’t like but you don’t see Muslims asking for it to be banned or taken down at University websites.

    The nonsense exists on both sides and needs to be stopped. FOSIS here is no different to JSOC’s in the USA.

    Many of the calls to ban Islam emanate from the Judeo-Christian community and rarely are challenged.

  55. bananabrain — on 12th November, 2008 at 9:06 am  

    It was you who started all the attacks not me.

    er, no it wasn’t. all i said was that the JSOCs’ interest in politics was overwhelmingly defensive. it was you who started making personal attacks based on no knowledge whatsoever of my positions (comparing me to netanyahu, for feck’s sake!)

    I observed that the major issue dividing ISOC and JSOC was the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

    oh, come on. the major issue JSOC are concerned with is the attempts by the FOSIS/SWSS alliance to marginalise and even threaten jewish students on campus using boycotts, campaigns and demonisation, with the occupation (which i can tell you plenty of jewish people are plenty concerned about, particularly students) as the only point of engagement. in other words, it’s all based upon the presumption that jewish students have to justify their presumed support for the occupation – the whole thing is all about “when did you quit beating your wife?” no JSOC would be interested in engaging with this the same way as no ISOC could reasonably be expected to participate in an engagement based solely around, say, “HBT and qutbist groups such as al-muhajiroun and their links to al-qaeda”; there is very little to discuss or dialogue about, all it is is a condemnation session.

    I made no judgment of right or wrong.

    do you actually think you can justify this statement? i’m astonished.

    Now let me tell you that in the past I have tried to invite JSCO’s to events and I can’t even get a response to invitations. So your claim that JSOC’s would love to but are beleaguered is in my experience untrue. They fail to engage at a local and national level with Muslims. Why I don’t know but this is a fact as I have truly tried and very politely without even so much as a response.

    now we are getting somewhere in terms of specifics. perhaps you might like to tell us the subject of one of these events so i can try and work out why they wouldn’t have responded. i get the feeling from your comments so far that it might have been something like:

    “Dear JSOC, your members would be welcome to participate in a dialogue session entitled ‘Why Are Israelis Absolute Bastards And Why Should We All Condemn Zionism?’ to be held in front of a baying crowd of lefty wing-nuts and rent-a-beards at the Union, please get in touch” – of course i am exaggerating a bit here, perhaps what you did was nothing of the sort, but perhaps you can therefore understand why specifics are important. you’d be amazed how many people think that such an event would constitute “dialogue” or “reaching out”.

    So don’t always say it is Muslims who need to do more

    that’s not what i’m saying at all. i am saying that ISOCs in my experience have no idea how to engage in dialogue, partly because they are so obsessed with bans, boycotts and other manifestations of meaningless gesture politics. dialogue is a very different beast indeed.

    As regards evidence I can provide it but so far am holding off because the discussion was about FOSIS and thus the problems that are there with them need focus.

    well, until you do provide it you are merely trading in unsupported generalised condemnation which means there isn’t much to talk about beyond “sez you”.

    However there are many problems with other groupings and my question remains why are those not highlighted.

    because that is called “whataboutery”. for example, we should be able to criticise (or even praise) the current government for what it is responsible for without people demanding that we must, at the same time, criticise the opposition for what it did when it was in power, or criticise the french government for its policies in the same area. it’s like demanding that any discussion on renewable energy must include a condemnation of the tactics of greenpeace in relation to, say, nuclear power, or indeed the tactics of the french government in relation to, say greenpeace. it distracts from the main point by creating this cloud of irrelevancy.

    Again if you chose to be even a bit critical then you would know that JSOC’s in fact could do better in interaction with Muslims even those who are being idiots.

    i agree. dialogue in general is simply not taken seriously enough, because the atmosphere on campus is so tense and adversarial. perhaps if we dialled down the rhetoric (or stopped jumping into bed with the trotskyists at every opportunity) something productive might be able to take place.

    All the main JSOC does is run to the press as often as it can rather than working through problems and that my friend will antagonize people when it is over minor things.

    “minor” things? like banning the JSOC? like regular resuscitation of the “zionism is racism” canard? like banning all israeli academics regardless of political affiliation? like continually singling out jewish students for harassment which tips into outright intimidation and threats at *freshers week*? you don’t think that’s a matter for the press if the university authorities are incapable of taking action? sometimes, indeed, it’s a matter for the *police*.

    In addition events here and in the USA where JSOC’s regularly respond harshly to Rabbi’s who advocate peace.

    i’m not talking about the US, because i don’t claim to know how the JSOCs operate over there and besides, that community is far less beleaguered and certainly more right-wing. and you have STILL, despite several invitations to do so, provided even one of these rabbis’ names! come on, imran, this isn’t that hard to do.

    It you want dialogue then I support you – tell me how and I’ll help….Lets see concrete suggestions for improving relations and also helping FOSIS to get rid of the things you dislike.

    ok – for a start, you could support genuine dialogue organisations such as alif-aleph. you may already do, of course. you could try and understand that you *cannot* initiate real dialogue about israel/palestine out of thin air, it always turns into self-justification. what you do first and foremost is build RAPPORT, build genuine FRIENDSHIP, ideally by working on a shared, neutral project TOGETHER (i suggest a local renewal project, imagine the message sent by jewish and muslim students working together to clean up graffiti, build a playground or repaint a local school) and only then, AFTER everyone concerned has invested some social capital in personal relationships, israel/palestine can finally be allowed to become the “elephant in the room” so that you can talk about it with your new friends, who you will be far more careful with than if they were a random bunch of people waving placards and shouting slogans from the other side.

    and before this can happen, you must eject the people who are not really interested in solutions and have nothing personal invested in the situation, i.e. the loony lefties. the socialist worker element has never contributed a single thing to any debate, all they do is work themselves up.

    Now be serious tell me what the Muslim community need to do for better relations with the Jewish Community?

    the same as the students, only it should be easier because the socialist idiots aren’t raising the temperature. shared local projects, because after all we’re part of the same communities, followed by visits to each others’ places of worship, schools etc and you can then let actual encounter groups flow naturally out of that.

    Do mosques need to open up more?

    i personally would support the twinning of mosques with synagogues (and churches, jews and muslims tend to behave better in the presence of christians!) as a first step, it could be sponsored by local authorities.

    it is your community and your JSOC’s in the USA who are asking for the removal of Qur’ans and Hadith from University websites because they disagree with some points and yet few in the Jewish community stand up and complain about that – what about freedom of religion there?

    i am for freedom of religion. i can understand that universities have to have control over policy on their websites, i think having religious materials on a religious studies department site is very different from having it on, say, computer science “territory”. it depends on the case. it’s hard to be general, i’d need specifics.

    There are aspects of the Torah we gentiles don’t like but you don’t see Muslims asking for it to be banned or taken down at University websites.

    not the point. the point is as above with regard to university website politics. if you want to discuss this in detail, come over to http://www.interfaith.org and you’ll be welcome to do so there.

    The nonsense exists on both sides and needs to be stopped. FOSIS here is no different to JSOC’s in the USA.

    perhaps i ought to clarify. i’m talking about JSOCs here, not in the UK. like i said earlier, the US community is both better organised, stronger and more right wing. however, there are still places (particularly at the more left-wing campuses like berkley) where a situation comparable to the UK prevails.

    Many of the calls to ban Islam emanate from the Judeo-Christian community and rarely are challenged.

    again with the sweeping statements. the word “judeo-christian” doesn’t actually mean anything. and there certainly is no such thing as a “judeo-christian community”. give me a specific example and i’ll tell you how i’d challenge it.

    apologies for the delay, i’ve been out of town.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  56. Imran Khan — on 14th November, 2008 at 3:37 pm  

    Dear Mr. Bananabrain,

    First of all you complain about me making sweeping generalisations then proceed to do the same.

    “er, no it wasn’t. all i said was that the JSOCs’ interest in politics was overwhelmingly defensive. ”

    Nonsense. JSOC’s interest in politics has been there to promote Israel since long before Muslims got organised so your statement is hardly fair. It is defensive I agree in some aspects due to the goings on of some students but not all of it can be defined as defensive. Advocacy for Israel has been going on longer than calls for boycotts and bans.

    “oh, come on. the major issue JSOC are concerned with is the attempts by the FOSIS/SWSS alliance to marginalise and even threaten jewish students on campus using boycotts, campaigns and demonisation, with the occupation”
    In the first case it is wrong to marginalise and threaten any students so Jewish students have a right to be protected from this. If Jewish Students are concerned about the occupation then why not try and set-up a joint event to voice anger at this and maybe build from there – just a though and I am not saying this is the solution but maybe by showing concern openly that can help the situation.

    Being brutally honest if you talk to a lot of Muslims, when they hear Jews showing concern for the Palestinians then many will say they didn’t know Jews held such views.

    now we are getting somewhere in terms of specifics. perhaps you might like to tell us the subject of one of these events so i can try and work out why they wouldn’t have responded. i get the feeling from your comments so far that it might have been something like:

    “Dear JSOC, your members would be welcome to participate in a dialogue session entitled ‘Why Are Israelis Absolute Bastards And Why Should We All Condemn Zionism?’ to be held in front of a baying crowd of lefty wing-nuts and rent-a-beards at the Union, please get in touch” – of course i am exaggerating a bit here, perhaps what you did was nothing of the sort, but perhaps you can therefore understand why specifics are important. you’d be amazed how many people think that such an event would constitute “dialogue” or “reaching out”.”

    Err actually the event wasn’t anything to do with Israel/Palestine, politics etc. It was merely to learn a bit more about Muslims nothing more just to engage and build friendship. Didn’t get a single reply from any JSOC in London. I even phoned and was told someone would be in touch shortly and didn’t hear a thing. That was over 5 years ago.

    “well, until you do provide it you are merely trading in unsupported generalised condemnation which means there isn’t much to talk about beyond “sez you”.”
    As I said I don’t want to derail the thread. Do a search on Google UK for JSOC’s and Palestinians and you’ll see.

    “because that is called “whataboutery”. ”
    Erm it isn’t “whataboutery” it is a legitimate question. One community is under a microscope and others can do as they please. If there are extremist messages across any community that should be questioned rather than one.

    “i agree. dialogue in general is simply not taken seriously enough, because the atmosphere on campus is so tense and adversarial. perhaps if we dialled down the rhetoric (or stopped jumping into bed with the trotskyists at every opportunity) something productive might be able to take place.”
    Look it takes two to talk. I accept Muslims need to improve their approach and in cases awful behaviour. Equally JSOC’s do as well to a lesser extent and to actually talk.

    At work a young man joined recently, fresh from University. At my workplace the relationship between Jews and Muslims is really good and we can talk about all issues without getting overheated. The young Jewish man came in and said he wanted to debate Zionism with anyone and said that he had been influenced at university and his views on Palestinians was they don’t exist and are a political creation. So is that aggressive type of approach not the fault of the ISCO or JSOC. His approach was so poor that noone took him seriously. So is that defensive politics he has been taught?

    “minor” things? like banning the JSOC? ”
    No but minor things like students placing palestinian flags on a JSOC stand which was reported nationally a few years ago. Hardly a thing to run to the press about.

    “i’m not talking about the US, because i don’t claim to know how the JSOCs operate over there and besides, that community is far less beleaguered”
    Isn’t the Muslim and Palestinian community more beleagured, politicians won’t talk to them. Teh media ignores their plight.

    You won’t talk about the US because there they are beleaguring the Muslims.

    “you have STILL, despite several invitations to do so, provided even one of these rabbis’ names! come on, imran, this isn’t that hard to do.”
    As I said go to Google and do a search you’ll see and if you don’t then I’ll come to your interfaith board and tell you. Try Cohen.

    “ok – for a start, you could support genuine dialogue organisations such as alif-aleph. you may already do, of course. you could try and understand that you *cannot* initiate real dialogue about israel/palestine out of thin air, it always turns into self-justification. what you do first and foremost is build RAPPORT, build genuine FRIENDSHIP, ideally by working on a shared, neutral project TOGETHER (i suggest a local renewal project, imagine the message sent by jewish and muslim students working together to clean up graffiti, build a playground or repaint a local school) and only then, AFTER everyone concerned has invested some social capital in personal relationships, israel/palestine can finally be allowed to become the “elephant in the room” so that you can talk about it with your new friends, who you will be far more careful with than if they were a random bunch of people waving placards and shouting slogans from the other side.”

    Ok – fine but when will the dialogue point be. The Chief Rabbi whenever any substantive issue about the Palestinians is about to happen always say not now. So the date for debate and moving forward never arrives. In the meantime the situation for the Palestinians gets worse and land is grabbed so a solution gets further away. So tell me when is the point to move forward because from the senior Jewish community it have never arrived to date.

    As regards Alif-Aleph many people in the Jewish community feel it goes too far and hasn’t the founder been a bit ostracised?

    “the same as the students, only it should be easier because the socialist idiots aren’t raising the temperature. shared local projects, because after all we’re part of the same communities, followed by visits to each others’ places of worship, schools etc and you can then let actual encounter groups flow naturally out of that.”

    Yes except here we have the neo-con and rigth wing idiots who say Israel can do no wrong so should they be excluded as well and they raise the temperature as well but no one talks of excluding them – why not?

    “i personally would support the twinning of mosques with synagogues (and churches, jews and muslims tend to behave better in the presence of christians!) as a first step, it could be sponsored by local authorities.”
    Twinning – That won’t ever happen. Better to have a friendship project. Reason is the communities are too conservative.

    “i am for freedom of religion. i can understand that universities have to have control over policy on their websites,”
    Oh come on this is selective and you know it but you can’t bring yourself to admit it. David Horowitz – President of the Freedom Center has led this campaign. Muslims haven’t asked for hate passages of the Torah to be banned and if they did then Horowitz would hide behind anti-semitism. The fact that the Jewish community won’t stand up and counter the extreme is their midst is a worrying trend and one you sadly hide behind is right wing.

    So if Universities need to control their websites then lets have hate passages from Torahs removed from University websites? Agreed or will that be anti-semitism?

    “not the point. the point is as above with regard to university website politics. ”
    That is the point there are elements in the Jewish Community in America who are exporting their ideas who want to ban things in Islam they don’t approve of and noone says anything. You fail to understand that they are using position and power to bully another community and you are letting them do it by staying silent.

    “again with the sweeping statements. the word “judeo-christian” doesn’t actually mean anything. and there certainly is no such thing as a “judeo-christian community”. give me a specific example and i’ll tell you how i’d challenge it.”
    Many of the rigth wing Christian and Jewish organisations in Amerfica say clearly that Muslims are not the the Judeo-Christian or Germanic ideals.

    http://www.judeo-christianalliance.org/

    http://www.thejudeo-christianview.com/

    http://www.shalomjerusalem.com/heritage/

    Even John McCain referred to it:
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/08/19/mccains_judeo_christian_values_reference_puzzles/

    So did The Jerusalem Post
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017586344&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

    I am afraid both communities have housekeeping to do and one is constantly told it needs to (Muslim) and the other isn’t.

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