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  • The terrorism law for British Muslims


    by Sunny
    16th February, 2006 at 5:00 am    

    He could not do much about global poverty or debt, neither has he made Britain a more equal society. We can safely assume that Tony Blair wants his legacy to be the man who ‘stood up’ to terrorism and made the country safe.

    Despite a severe mauling in the press yesterday, particularly in the Daily Mail and The Independent, Tony Blair managed to win the battle in passing through a law on glorifying terrorism last night - by 315 to 277 votes.

    The Muslim Council of Britain is clearly disappointed that the law will “criminalise legitimate armed struggles against violent regimes”, essentially meaning they’ll have to be careful when expressing support for suicide bombers in Israel or terrorists in Kashmir.

    Just as the MCB has been using its close alliance with Labour to gain favour and consolidate its position as the “representative” for Muslims, Labour has been using the MCB as a stooge to show it cares while neatly ignoring its advice at critical junctures.

    Because neither are really willing to understand the cancer of terrorism, or work out a long term plan to deal with it, such badly planned laws are Labour’s response.

    Now that Anjem Choudhary is a regular media whore, it will be interesting to see how the MCB will resolve being on the same side as them.

    I’ve written more here.

    If you want to know what it will mean for civil liberties in general, I suggest checking up with BSSC world and Talk Politics.

    I don’t know if I should be a happy at seeing Inayat Bunglawala squirm, or cry at our loss of liberties.


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    1. Talk Politics

      China Syndrome

      This is my last word on the Terrorism Bill debate, I promise, until the Bill returns to the House of Lords, which should be sometime in early March: the 6th has, I understand, been mooted.

      I watched the latter stages of the debate on clause 3 of the…




    1. j0nz — on 16th February, 2006 at 7:43 am  

      Sunny,

      You should be a happy at seeing Inayat Bunglawala squirm. Definitely.

      Innocent Muslims constantly get “named and shamed” in the press, to later be released quietly due to a lack of any evidence.

      Hmm… Normally it’s due a lack of overwhelming evidence, but they are often far from innocent. They won’t prosecute for saying kill the infidels at the moment.

      Meanwhile innocent Asians will keep getting stopped and searched, Muslims will continue to be under the glare of security services and our civil liberties will keep getting eroded.

      Well…. yeah… but I’m no huge fan of Labour… but it’s not their fault! These are just facts Sunny! A unfortunate sign of the times… I think inevitably in the current climate things like glorifying terrorism will need to be legislated against.

    2. j0nz — on 16th February, 2006 at 7:47 am  

      Also quite an amusing Guardian article you link to with regards to reaction of Anjem Choudhary…

      It’s basically saying that extremist Muslims who want to glorify terrorism… Are against the anti-terrorism measures! No shit sherlock!

    3. j0nz — on 16th February, 2006 at 7:48 am  

      Damn ‘Guardian’. Anything but….

    4. Bijna — on 16th February, 2006 at 9:59 am  

      Here is that Asian word again.
      I am quite sure that the Chinese wont blow stuff up.

      Its the Saudi’s (New York), Pakistani’s (London) and Maroccans (Madrid) that blow stuff up.

      I say Pakistan is actually Arabic and so Middle East.

    5. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:08 am  

      The talk about construction of false narratives to curtail civil liberties adds a gloss of calculation and intelligence to what is happening - suggestive of people sitting in a room planning strategy on how to hoodwink everybody and pull the wool over our eyes to implement some grand scheme in a concerted manner - a simplistic and paranoid construct for those inclined to think in such terms.

      The truth is that Lord Carlisle, the independent adjudicator and monitor of national security evidence, a Liberal Democrat and a staunch civil liberties and civil rights defender, released a statement last week that made it plain that the threat posed by Islamist inspired terrorists is truly horrifying, that three plots since July 7th have been foiled, that the truth of the matter is that ministers have UNDERPLAYED the threat so as to not cause panic, and that it is inevitable that further suicide bombings will occur in the future.

      When you have this kind of dynamic, it is easy to dismiss what is going on, or to claim nefarious centralised cackling politcians plotting to oppress us all.

      In my view it is more clumsy blundering than calculation, and whilst we need to struggle to defend and monitor the way our civil liberties are curtailed, we also have to respect in good faith the judgment of people like Lord Carlisle and work out ways to address this problem without falling into the rhetoric of either side - especially not the conspiracy theorists who proclaim that everything is a figment of our imagination, or more dark and irresponsible, that the whole thing is part of a persecution of Muslims or a war on Islam.

    6. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:15 am  

      im thinking back ( perhaps not to clearly - its still too early in the morning) to some suggestion re: the ‘demonstrations’ - where strange people held up some funny placards and wasn’t it surprising how they got away with saying these very violent things?{ I think one of Sunny’s articles..}

      And now look, thanks to those idiots, Blair was able to stand up and say - ah well we don’t want ‘glorification of terrorism’ so we must have this bill cos look at what all those placards said.

      very interesting - playing straight into the hands of what mr. politician wanted. Makes me wonder - who the hell were all those people? How is it that these people were so stupid to not realizing they would be playing straight into the hands of politicians? Or… ?

    7. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:18 am  

      How is it that these people were so stupid to not realizing they would be playing straight into the hands of politicians?

      Precisely because, as you mentioned, they are STUPID

      Or… ?

      Or what? Tony Blair paid them to raise those banners so he could pass his legislation? It is perfectly possible to criticise all this without falling into weak and dull conspiracy theorising and suggestion.

    8. Jai — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:20 am  

      It’s truly ironic and hypocritical for individuals like Anjem Choudhary to complain about certain British laws limiting the freedom of his organisation and other like-minded individuals, when his own aim is to overturn the current liberal democratic British system and subsequently curtail the very freedoms he is currently exploiting.

      One of his colleagues from al-Ghuraba was on More4 news earlier this week; he was one of the people photographed with the offensive placards during “that” protest rally. Not only did he try to wriggle out of the accusation that he was not “literally” saying people who insult Islam should be beheaded, he then proceeded to a) claim that such individuals should be extradicted to Muslim countries for trial and punishment in the same way that the West wants to try OBL if he’s captured, and b) once again insisted that their aim is the “supremacy of Islam everywhere.”

      He was a little less psychotic in his manner than Choudhary, but the message was still the same.

    9. Bijna — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:22 am  

      Judging from the actions of the Western leaders
      (apologizing for and banning of cartoons),
      war on Islam is not going to happen.

      Unless those leaders are replaced,
      which would a few 1000 European corpses.
      Maybe if Iran nukes Europe.

    10. Don — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:36 am  

      ‘How is it that these people were so stupid to not realizing they would be playing straight into the hands of politicians? Or… ? ‘

      Perhaps the constraints on civil liberties, and the subsequent dissaffection among parts of the country, suits their purpose?

      Perhaps the demonising of muslims via the image of hairy nutters screaming for blood, and the subsequent growth of mistrust and hostility between muslim and non-muslim communities suits their purpose?

      Doesn’t need to be sinister, some people thrive on suspicion, hostility, fear so they seek to create it.

    11. Steve M — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:39 am  

      Tough legislation is needed not least to protect British Asians from British fascists.

      If there are indeed more bombings or terrorist activities in the UK, future incidents by placard-carrying morons could provoke a surge in popularity for the BNP at best, riots and indiscriminate violence against Asians at worse.

    12. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:42 am  

      Steve M

      Indiscrimintae violence against ‘Asians’ is already a reality. I think you are exagerrating when you talk of riots though.

    13. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:43 am  

      If there are indeed more bombings or terrorist activities in the UK

      Sadly, I think they are inevitable.

    14. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:46 am  

      hardly Jai i don’t think Tony would need to go out and ‘pay’ anyone - really that would be absolutely unnecessary. Since as you say people are stupid - very simple to ‘manipulate them’ - get the desired result and wham bam thank you mam - there you are.

      Such is the ‘tribal’ silly nature of humans-[ooh us vs. them - follow the crowd etc}. that anyone who happens to happen an overview of how us clowns work - which doesn’t take much -( you don’t have to be a social psychologist to see how mob mentality and fear of the other works -) can either decide to use it to their own advantage in gaining power if they so wish.

      what do you think Osama was upto? same sort of tricks. this is why it makes me laugh when people all get worked up about the Other and all sorts of stuff..Don’t they know they’re all ( on either ‘side’ ) playing up to their respective ‘Leaders’ who incidentally happen to want the same thing - power and veneration of their ‘people’.

      Ooh and we don’t ‘alf make it easy for ‘em.

      Chortle..

    15. Jai — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:48 am  

      Sonia,

      =>hardly Jai i don’t think Tony would need to go out and ‘pay’ anyone”

      “Jai” and “Jay Singh” are two different people…..;)

    16. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:50 am  

      er i meant in response to Jay Singh’s comment ..not Jai’s comment

    17. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:51 am  

      conspiracy theorising? :-) simply politics with a small p..

    18. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:52 am  

      yes sorry Jai - i noticed..apologies!

    19. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:54 am  

      what do you think Osama was upto? same sort of tricks. this is why it makes me laugh when people all get worked up about the Other and all sorts of stuff..Don’t they know they’re all ( on either ’side’ ) playing up to their respective ‘Leaders’ who incidentally happen to want the same thing - power and veneration of their ‘people’

      Right….and?? What is the upshot of this grand philosophy? That ‘we’ (all those people who are opposed to extremism) are no different from ‘them’ (supporters of Bin Laden)??

    20. Jai — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:00 pm  

      Easy mistake to make Sonia ;)

      However, with regards to what my namesake is saying, in this particular instance there really is an “Other” — not the global Muslim community as a whole, but certain elements within it. Nobody is forcing OBL to submit his periodic diatribes against the West, or promote attacks against civilian Western targets, and my views about Anjem Choudhary, HuT and the like are already clear.

      We cannot say that there is not a real & present threat when events over the past 5 years have indicated otherwise, along with statements straight from the horses’ mouths. Whether or not their aspirations are actually viable is, of course, possibly an entirely different matter — but unfortunately, they do exist.

    21. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:07 pm  

      Jay Singh - the upshot of this grand philosophy is that if people realized that then for example - u might not have had so many silly people reacting to the cartoons and going around burning embassies and whatnot. Or going to war with each other. Or becoming a terrorist.

      Isn’t that worth trying to get people to think about?

    22. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:08 pm  

      Very Simple Really. Possibly so simple hence that’s why its overlooked.

    23. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

      Yeah Sonia it is worth thinking about. But I don’t know how much it helps to clarify these issues and particularities.

    24. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

      Jai - that’s the whole point about this -its a self-fulfilling prophecy - make people on either ‘side’ feel like there is a ‘side’ and that they are bein seen as the ‘Other’ and sooner or later they will start behaving like that.

      that’s why this sort of thing is so dangerous. Like i go and talk to a bunch of muslims who feel they are under threat from the ‘West’. And then you listen to other people from the ‘West’ who say the same thing but reverse. Both have a point. As violence has obviously been perpetrated on ‘either’ side. There is always a ‘threat’ anywhere. But if they stopped trying to ‘radicalise’ this feeling of a threat -it might stop there. It might just be a feeling that hangs around. Or equally it might lead to a conflagaration.

      i can’t believe more people don’t think about the social dynamics that lead to war or aggression.

    25. sonia — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:17 pm  

      anyway its clear to me that its pretty difficult for most people to be reflexive enough about their own groups and society in general.

      but without that degree of reflexivity we humans risk continuously externalizing the ‘problem’ - and going round and round and ROUND the mulberry bush.

    26. Iain — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:17 pm  

      Jay,

      Indeed lets not forget that brown-faced people have been victims of indiscriminate violence long before the problem of the Islamists raised their ugly heads in the West proper- by ‘ordinary working class’ racists rather than organised fascism as well.

      It was and is still called ‘Paki-bashing’ oop North whether from Pakistan (boo-hiss) or not. However this was not then nor now about Islam and yet that is precisely what the islamists are getting their two’pen’orth in about.

      Let alone the broken record about the ‘oppression’ of the porr ickle Palestinians.

      Now who said, ‘Terrorism justifies oppression’. Not the same Asian bloke who condemned all political violence and pursued an exemplary non-violent and highly successful campaign of civil disobedience.

      I wonder how much ‘humiliation’ and ‘oppression’ those that claim to speak for the Umma would be facing if violence wasn’t their prefered and default policy consistently and without provocation.

    27. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

      Sonia

      We can think about the social dynamics that lead to war or agression, no problem there. lets think about them. But in this case it just seems to be an example of forelock tugging. There are real issues here - of suicide bombing aggression and an ideology of extreme nastiness and hatred that leads to terrorism. It will be good to link hands and make daisy chains for each other and put flowers in our hair. But in the meantime we should not preclude the fact that there is a social menace that needs to be addressed. It should be possible to criticise the legislation without falling into relativist generalisations.

    28. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:22 pm  

      Iain

      Did you want a response from me or were those just generalised comments?

    29. Jai — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

      Sonia,

      I think we’re falling into a chicken-first-or-egg argument here.

      9/11 — or the terrorist attacks in the couple of years preceding — was as a result of jihadists basically making the first move (even though some of them may claim otherwise). Western countries, and Western society as a whole, were not involved in some kind of “War against Islam” before that, and in fact I’d say that they’re still not (not yet, anyway, although if the jihadists keep provoking everyone then that may well change. Personally I think the Danish cartoon controversy is one example of changing attitudes in some quarters).

      It’s the jihadists themselves, and their supporters, who have been classifying themselves into an “Other”. And this has been going on for a long time before 9/11.

    30. Sunny — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

      I wonder how much ‘humiliation’ and ‘oppression’ those that claim to speak for the Umma would be facing if violence wasn’t their prefered and default policy consistently and without provocation.

      That I agree with.

    31. Sunny — on 17th February, 2006 at 12:28 am  

      Jay Singh - the problem with your analysis is that you take the government at face value. The ricin incident - where are the convictions? Where was the ricin? Believe it or not, there wasn’t any! Same with the Manchester united blowing up plot. You maybe willing to take eveyrhing the government says at face value, but given that we have been lied to over the proof for going to war in iraq, and subsequent plots, I’m a tad bit more cynical.

      Civi liberty campaigners and others have pointed out that he doesn’t say much about what exactly happened, with regards to the investigation in Scotland (for which he wanted the police to be able to hold them for 90 days), and the apparent attacks.

      For the case in Scotland, the police held those guys for 14 days and spent 1million on an investigation which got them nowhere. Now, I want terrorists and potential terrorists locked up behind bars, but people like j0nz and the police sometimes make the assumption that its better to just lock up a Muslim person incase they may turn out to be a terrorist. Of course, in over 90% of cases the whole case collapses and no one gets convicted.

      To me thats a good justice system but bad policing. What we need to do is not change the justice system or the laws (though they are being changed already, this one was a farce like the religious hatred law), but what we need is better policing.

      Everybody wants short term fixes, and refuse to learn from the Irish example.

      I’ll post more about the implications of this law tomorrow if I get a chance, but its worth reading BSSC world and Talk Politics.

    32. Jay Singh — on 17th February, 2006 at 12:47 am  

      Sunny

      Why do you think I take things that the government says at face value?

    33. Sunny — on 17th February, 2006 at 12:54 am  

      released a statement last week that made it plain that the threat posed by Islamist inspired terrorists is truly horrifying,

      we also have to respect in good faith the judgment of people like Lord Carlisle

    34. Jay Singh — on 17th February, 2006 at 1:05 am  

      I still don’t see where you surmise that I take everything the government says at face value.

      My post was about the how our knee jerk reflex should not be to place discussion of the legislative issues in a framework and narrative of conspiracy or to say that they are motivated by a reckless desire to curb civil rights.

      As it happens, I think this ‘glorifying’ clause is superfluous - don’t legislate if law exists to cover the offence already. I see it more as blundering and clumsiness than anything else. Plus, I don’t see what the Iraq evidence has to do with this - they are separate issues (unless you do believe there is a central cabal pulling the wool over our eyes). And I also don’t think that the words of Lord Carlisle should be dismissed so swiftly. He is not part of the government.

    35. Siddhartha — on 17th February, 2006 at 1:29 am  

      Sunny

      I’m still in the process of formulating my ideas on this one, and there are far too many going back and forth to make this issue go away quietly.

      What I am certain about is this: legistation that will make discussions and information posted onto websites and blogs be brought under the terrorism laws are not going to protect anyone from terrorism but in fact make it illegal for people to openly discuss material or spuriously post offensive material - which will only make the issues behind terrorism more of a black box than ever. This will only serve to create a further climate of fear and loathing thanks to the obscuring these issues that such laws will inevitably cause.

      Government is using the smoke and mirrors of protection of society from Islamic Terrorism as a means to erode civil liberties which have taken hundreds of years of struggle and empowerment.

      You’ve, perhaps unfortunately, used the feckless shenanigans of the MCB, MAB and the crazy long beards to reinforce the idea that since these are the kind of people who are protesting against the Terrorism Bill. What this does is reinforce the impression that since the usual suspects are speaking out against the erosion of rights of Muslims, it must be a good thing after all - but that will be a mistake. Because this bill and others that will inevitably be brought in its wake will encroach upon the rights of all people at some stage or another long after the Islamic bogeyman effect has dissipated.

    36. Sunny — on 17th February, 2006 at 1:29 am  

      I don’t believe there is a central cabal or a global conspiracy pulling the wool over our eyes, but I take govt / political pronouncements with a pinch of salt.

      Lord Carlisle is a politician (hence to be treated with care), and was part of that attempt at Scottish ‘terrorists’, which is why he’s pushing for these laws.

      This isn’t a knee jerk reflex, all the papers today were angry at the govt for making new laws which do nothing to further protect us, but muddy the waters further.

      Reading more on how this law could be interepreted will make it clearer how it is a desire to curb our civil liberties.

    37. Eric — on 17th February, 2006 at 1:31 am  

      If we get rid of the monarchy, I want Jay to be President. :-)

    38. Siddhartha — on 17th February, 2006 at 1:34 am  

      If I win the pools, I want Eric to be my Benson.

    39. jamal — on 17th February, 2006 at 10:13 am  

      This law is flawed.

      Will this mean that we can lawfully express support for slaughter and torture by UK troops in Iraq, but not by Iraqi’s? That we can express support for Israeli slaughter and abuse in Palestine, but not by Palestiniens? etc, etc…

      …and what about the terrorist murals in belfast.. will arrests be made for those?

    40. Jay Singh — on 17th February, 2006 at 10:57 am  

      Eric

      I already have delusions of grandeur. Please don’t feed them!

    41. Siddh James — on 18th February, 2006 at 2:52 pm  

      From Craig Murray, comes this eye-opening real-life abuse of the new Terrorism Laws:

      Citing the “Prevention of Terrorism” act, British Police have arrested and interrogated three of the stars of the award-winning film “The Road to Guantanamo”, together with the three ex-Guantanomo detainees on whose story the film is based.

      Acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom (“A Cock and Bull Story”, “24 Hour Party People”, “Welcome to Sarajevo”) had been showing the film at the Berlin Film Festival, where it has won a number of top awards.

      Full Sory

      So this is what the Anti-Terrorism powers inevitably comes down to: Cutting out dissent, gagging artists.

      Does anyone see the hypocricy in making Muslim protests into a Freedom of Speech issue. But when artists take up issues that spotlight Guantanamo Bay, its the Terrorist offence. Shades of McCarthyism?

    42. El Cid — on 18th February, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

      Yeah, the govt did lie in order to sell the Iraq War.
      There’s little doubt about it now.
      But even before the post-9/11 trust broke down between us and them there was also a formulaic tendency in some liberal quarters to cast every official warning of a “terrorist threat” in a sceptical light.
      I remember a much publicised BBC reportage that suggested the govt was exaggerrating, even inventing, the threat in order to frighten us and to justify more police powers.
      And then bang, bang, bang, bang — 7/7.
      One is gullible if one always believes the govt, but one is surely stupid if one thinks they always make things up. In a working democracy big lies tend to get found out. Whether voters then forgive a govt or not, or let it pass, is another question.

    43. Siddh James — on 18th February, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

      And for those who miss my weekly Harry’s Place kvetch:

      When the Danish Cartoon brouhaha was cited as threat to the institution of Freedom of Expression, how many HP threads do you think were written to stir up the HP echo chamber of commenterati into a frothing, baying , mob of new patriots incensed that the protests were a threat to at least one cornerstone of Liberal Western values? I counted at least a dozen. There have been at least as many which have indirectly alluded to the cartoons, and on top of that, its still being kept in the consciousness of HP readers with a post or another regularly bobbing up that deals the issue.

      How many do you think will deal with the curtailment of Freedom of Expression of artists, and be sympathetic to artists such as Michael Winterbottom, as a result of the Terrorism laws?

      Less than zero?

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