• Family

    • Liberal Conspiracy
  • Comrades

    • Andy Worthington
    • Angela Saini
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Cath Elliott
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr. Mitu Khurana
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feminism for non-lefties
    • Feministing
    • Gender Bytes
    • Harry’s Place
    • IKWRO
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Statesman blogs
    • Operation Black Vote
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The F Word
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Douglas Clark's saloon
    • Earwicga
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Rita Banerji
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • Southall Black Sisters
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head

  • The liberal-left Islamism argument rumbles on


    by Sunny
    20th April, 2009 at 9:15 am    

    This argument about how the liberal-left engages with Islamists doesn’t seem like it will finish anytime soon. To be honest I don’t want it to finish until I’ve laid out an entire range of arguments (I’m building up to them). Over the last few years the liberal-left has failed to develop a strong theoretical and practical framework for how the liberal-left should engage with Islamism to defeat terrorism - instead letting the shouting contingent on the right and the so-called ‘muscular liberals’ take over the agenda.

    For a while I didn’t mind because the Islamists were getting a free ride and not being challenged enough. But frankly the debate has gotten absurd in the last year or so. So I need to highlight why it’s become absurd and where the correct position should be.

    Anyway, Shiraz Maher has written a reply to Sunder Katwala on Harry’s Place. Now the point is that Nick Cohen has been firmly smacked down by everyone, including the Observer’s own readers editor. But Shiraz feels he has to defend his own reputation. Unfortunately he seems to want to deliberately antagonise the people he claims he wants to work with.

    I say this because he looks like he’s libelling the Fabian Society by accusing them of giving them a platform to Islamists, essentially by saying that Hizb ut-Tahrir are the same as the Muslim Council of Britain. That is a woefully bad reading of Islamist politics and I expected Shiraz to be a bit more nuanced. If he doesn’t believe that the MCB are the same as HuT - then he should make it clear, and then add on what basis one organisation should be boycotted and another hosted at an event. Let’s have an explicit criteria, not just a vague condemnation that they don’t believe in ‘British values’.

    Shiraz is of course playing that game of ‘condemnathons’ that I pointed out in my last article. Conspicuously, neither Martin Bright came back to me on why he was happy to have a platform on The Spectator magazine, and nor has Shiraz Maher explained why he’s happy to be hanging around with Policy Exchange.

    It’s also worth noting that Shiraz was challenged plenty of times by various bloggers in the comments section of that article, but he avoids responding to them. I’ll come back to all this soon - I’m sure Sunder will reply too.
    Ben Six has also piled in.


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: British Identity,Islamists






    68 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      New blog post: The liberal-left Islamism argument rumbles on http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4300




    1. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 10:17 am  

      “I say this because he looks like he’s libelling the Fabian Society by accusing them of giving them a platform to Islamists, essentially by saying that Hizb ut-Tahrir are the same as the Muslim Council of Britain. That is a woefully bad reading of Islamist politics and I expected Shiraz to be a bit more nuanced.”

      Indeed even more so since he is (he claims) ex-HT. It is from the great dishonesty of people like Ed Husain and Shiraz that they make such false accusations or call HT “wahabbis” things they know to be untrue as does any Muslim who knows these organisations.

    2. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 10:24 am  

      I say this because he looks like he’s libelling the Fabian Society by accusing them of giving them a platform to Islamists, essentially by saying that Hizb ut-Tahrir are the same as the Muslim Council of Britain. That is a woefully bad reading of Islamist politics and I expected Shiraz to be a bit more nuanced.

      Given that the Assistant General Secretary of the MCB attended a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood conference, and signed the following statement, it is pretty clear to all sensible liberal and progressives that the MCB’s leadership is very extreme indeed:

      7. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity.

      8. The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza, as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways.

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3866

      Is the MCB the same as HuT?

      No, they’re different organisations with very different tactics.

      HuT has worked outside mainstream and democratic organisations. By contrast, until very recently, it was the policy of the MCB to work within such organisations.

      Now, I believe that the Fabian Society has often attempted to stage events at which progressives challenge the MCB. It hasn’t given them a completely free ride.

      It is also fair to say that, until recently, it was not obvious to anybody but the most committed observers, that the MCB was an extreme and unrepresentative organisation that should be both challenged and shunned.

      However, that now appears to be the consensus position on the part of the Left of which the Fabian Society is a part. Therefore, I’m not sure why this argument is continuing.

    3. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th April, 2009 at 11:33 am  

      What I’m not too keen is the characterisations of these organisations that Hussein or Maher lack historical specificity, or genuine comparative analysis.

      If we are going to say that these organisations are the same, by what criteria are we saying they are? Just ideology? Organisational structure? Mobilisation strategies? Cultural framings? Lethal or contentious politics?

      My point in the comments to Sid’s post is that the credentials of being an ex Hizb-ut-Tahrir seem to be substitutes for a lack of intellectual rigour - the same rigour I find lacking in the discourse of HT.

      There seems to be a bigger problem here, and this relates to the blog wars between Daniel Drezner and Joseph Nye ( http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/04/18/nye_wars_episode_iii ): why do academics have so much difficulty getting heard in policy circles. There are plenty of academics looking at Islamist politics who have lots of interesting things to say which have real policy implications. Where are they, save for the few conference invites?

      There’s bigger extremist concerns to deal with right now: The BNP in the European elections.

    4. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 11:58 am  

      That is certainly true.

      However, nobody is suggesting that the BNP be co-opted into mainstream politics.

      Or arguing that attacking the BNP is a sign of deep seated racism.

    5. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 12:33 pm  

      Here’s a thought: maybe - just maybe - Tariq Ramadan and Iqbal Sacranie aren’t like the BNP.

    6. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 12:52 pm  

      I don’t know what the BNP’s position is on the execution of blaspheming authors or the stoning of adulterous women.

      What I do know is that there are very few on the centre Left who make excuses for the BNP.

    7. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:04 pm  

      David T
      “That is certainly true.

      However, nobody is suggesting that the BNP be co-opted into mainstream politics. ”

      No you just co-opt their ideas or rather the other way round.

      “I don’t know what the BNP’s position is on the execution of blaspheming authors or the stoning of adulterous women.”

      Do you know what the Chief Rabbi’s are? He has some pretty unpalatable views for left wingers too I bet - wonder how HP would react if a Rabbi was banned from talking at a left wing event ?

      hypocritical b*stards

    8. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

      David T
      “What I do know is that there are very few on the centre Left who make excuses for the BNP.”

      Very few on the centre left make excuses for Israel which is why you and your HP cronies arent Centre Left.

      “Or arguing that attacking the BNP is a sign of deep seated racism.”

      hehe

    9. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:16 pm  

      Funny that, because Tariq Ramadan opposes the stoning of women, and, while he behaved like a ludicrous twit, Sacranie didn’t, I think, support Rushdie’s death (skip to 9.20). Sure, I dislike a lot of their views, but I don’t no platform people ‘cos I think they’re being stupid. Indeed, if I think that they’re being interestingly stupid I think it’s better to scrap it out in the public arena.

      Ben

    10. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:28 pm  

      “Do you know what the Chief Rabbi’s are? He has some pretty unpalatable views for left wingers too I bet - wonder how HP would react if a Rabbi was banned from talking at a left wing event ?”

      I would never involve a conservative religious figure, rabbi or otherwise, in a progressive political event.

      Why would you want to?

    11. Cjcjc — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:30 pm  

      I thought Ramadan wanted a “moratorium” on stoning…

      I am glad to hear he’s come out more strongly…if he has?

      On the two occasions I have heard him in public I - and those around me - couldn’t make out what he was trying to say.

      And - trivially - I wish he would stop claiming to be an Oxford professor.

    12. Katy Newton — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

      Very few on the centre left make excuses for Israel which is why you and your HP cronies arent Centre Left.

      Er, excuse me. Since when did you get to dictate who is and is not centre left based on their stance in relation to the Middle East? Contrary to the efforts of various nutjobs on the left and right of all colours and creeds, being centre left isn’t a single-issue position - although I am aware that a lot of people, again on both sides, believe that being left wing now turns solely on where you stand on the Middle East. There’s a lot more to being left wing, centre or otherwise, than where you stand on Israel - like, say, 100 years of non-Middle-East related political theory, philosophy and history.

    13. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

      “I thought Ramadan wanted a “moratorium” on stoning…

      I am glad to hear he’s come out more strongly…if he has?”

      If you’re referring to his debate with Sarkozy, you’ve misunderstood him. He categorically stated that stoning - and, I think, the death penalty entirely - should “stop“. However, he claimed that he wanted a moratorium so that debate could “bring about an evolution in Muslim mentalities” and find “a consensus among Muslims“. The idea that a “consensus” is even necessary is faintly sinister, but he doesn’t seem to be anything less than unequivocal on the point.

      Source

    14. Sid — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:52 pm  

      Are you speaking of the same Iqbal “Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him? His mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks for forgiveness to Almighty Allah” Sacranie?

    15. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 1:55 pm  

      Yep; he was a ludicrous twit to say it, but it isn’t actually support for execution.

    16. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 2:00 pm  

      Well, he’d have been arrested if he’d called for his murder.

      Come on!

    17. Sid — on 20th April, 2009 at 2:05 pm  

      There are two things to note here. First, we can observe how the language of “community relations” has been twisted to support the entry of Islamist radicals into the UK. Second, there is an inherent double-standard; those who criticise the Prophet Muhammad should be silenced, killed, or worse, whereas those who advocate violence against civilians should be invited to conferences.

    18. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 2:06 pm  

      So, I have to presume that if somebody doesn’t say something it’s because they fear arrest…

      I think that’s an ad huh?minem.

    19. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 2:26 pm  

      It was a very carefully calibrated statement, as was Ramadan’s.

      It was the sort of statement you make when you’re trying to appeal to an Islamist constituency in front of a liberal and pluralist audience.

      If Nick Griffin said “Repatriation is, perhaps, too good for them”, what would you make of that?

    20. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:02 pm  

      “It was the sort of statement you make when you’re trying to appeal to an Islamist constituency in front of a liberal and pluralist audience.”

      Oh, that sort of statement. Well, yes, we’ve all been there: can’t quite advocate stoning so, deviously, you say the exact opposite! Or can’t quite demand execution so, wickedly, you don’t!

      So, what are you alleging against Ramadan and Sacranie, and what do you have to back it up?

      If Nick Griffin said “Repatriation is, perhaps, too good for them”, what would you make of that?

      I’d think…

      “Hmm, what a nonsensical thing to say. Griffin likes Britain, so he patently doesn’t think repatriation is better. Besides, his party openly advocates voluntary repatriation, and advocated compulsory repatriation until seven or eight years ago, when he was leader. Hmm…and here he is, with David Duke, saying that he has to use milder language to sell his ideas, but that if he got hold of the broadcasting media he could promote the message that “every last one must go“. Yep, I seem to have built up a fairly clear case that he supports repatriation (far clearer than David T’s case against Sacranie and Ramadan, anyway. *Snicker*.”

    21. BenSix — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:04 pm  

      “It was the sort of statement you make when you’re trying to appeal to an Islamist constituency in front of a liberal and pluralist audience.”

      Oh, that sort of statement. Well, yes, we’ve all been there: can’t quite advocate stoning so, deviously, you say the exact opposite! Or can’t quite demand execution so, wickedly, you don’t!

      So, what are you alleging against Ramadan and Sacranie, and what do you have to back it up?

      If Nick Griffin said “Repatriation is, perhaps, too good for them”, what would you make of that?

      I’d think…

      “Hmm, what a nonsensical thing to say. Griffin likes Britain, so he patently doesn’t think repatriation is better. Besides, his party openly advocates voluntary repatriation, and advocated compulsory repatriation until seven or eight years ago, when he was leader. Hmm…and here he is, with David Duke, saying that he has to use milder language to sell his ideas, but that if he got hold of the broadcasting media he could promote the message that “every last one must go“. Yep, I seem to have built up a fairly clear case that he supports repatriation (far clearer than David T’s case against Sacranie and Ramadan, anyway. *Snicker*.”

    22. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:24 pm  

      Ramadan could not say

      “Stoning is not advocated by Sharia.”

      because he knows that the majority position - among Islamists at least - favours stoning.

      Neither could he say:

      “Sharia should not be the basis of a modern legal system”

      because, as an Islamist, he supports a Sharia system.

      Therefore, the best he could say, while maintaining his political position as a supporter of Sharia, was that such punishments should not be carried out for a while, until clerics could have a think about the issue.

      The importance of the stoning debate was not what it said about Ramadan’s view on punishing or executing adulteresses, by stoning or otherwise, generally or in particular circumstances.

      Its significance was that Ramadan could not say:

      “No country should execute or punish women for sex outside marriage. No country should enact this or any other aspect of Sharia”

      Look, instead, at what he did say:

      What does a moratorium mean ? A moratorium would mean that we absolutely end the application of all of those penalties, in order to have a true debate. And my position is that if we arrive at a consensus among Muslims, it will necessarily end. But you cannot, you know, when you are in a community…. Today on television, I can please the French people who are watching by saying, “Me, my own position.” But my own position doesn’t count. What matters is to bring about an evolution in Muslim mentalities, Mr. Sarkozy. It’s necessary that you understand….

      …Mr. Sarkozy, listen well to what I am saying. What I say, my own position, is that the law is not applicable–that’s clear. But today, I speak to Muslims around the world and I take part, even in the United States, in the Muslim world…. You should have a pedagogical posture that makes people discuss things. You can decide all by yourself to be a progressive in the communities. That’s too easy. Today my position is, that is to say, “We should stop.

      His own position does not count? Of course it effing counts! He is supposed to be one of the most influentual thinkers on such issues. Were he to have said:

      “Sharia does not permit this. If it does, we’ll do without Sharia”

      he would have carried many followers with him.

      Instead, he argues that do to so would be “too easy.”

      It woudn’t have been easy at all. It would have marked him out as an opponent of Islamism.

      But, given that he is an Islamist and still manages to maintain the support of parts of the progressive Left - despite his hugely conservative and reactionary politics - why should he abandon his most deeply cherished beliefs?

    23. David T — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

      He could even have remained an Islamist but said:

      “My version of Sharia is a humane one. There is no place in it for stoning”

      But he couldn’t.

      That’s because Ramadan knows that it isn’t up to him to state whether or not Sharia requires the stoning of adulteresses. It isn’t his views which count. It is the views of clerics.

      And that’s a very important point about his politics.

    24. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:40 pm  

      David T’s analogy of the MCB and BNP is false; a better analogy would be between the BNP and a zionist like himself.

      Both zionists and BNP beleieve in a racial state based around the idea of one race permanently ruling and having priveleges over others not of their race. In the BNP’s case its a “white state” -in the zionists a “Jewish state”. Where non-whites or non-jews are allowed to remain it is on temporary sufference and they are liable to expelled when the state demands it.

    25. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:42 pm  

      Sid
      “Are you speaking of the same Iqbal “Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him? His mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks for forgiveness to Almighty Allah” Sacranie?”

      Big deal- that was 20 years ago. Are you suggesting people are not allowed to or havent changed their views in 20 years? I wonder what yours were at that time- David T apparently wanted the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. He certainly doesnt now.

    26. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:44 pm  

      munir

      “Do you know what the Chief Rabbi’s are? He has some pretty unpalatable views for left wingers too I bet - wonder how HP would react if a Rabbi was banned from talking at a left wing event ?”

      David T
      “I would never involve a conservative religious figure, rabbi or otherwise, in a progressive political event.

      Why would you want to?”

      So are you saying that during the 20s and 30s progressive movements on the left should have shunned working with Orthodox Rabbis against the threat of fascism or against militarism? Thats pretty extreme - that unless a minority community are all Hampstead liberals they should be left to the facsists.

    27. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:46 pm  

      Does anyone seriously think David T’s opposition to Sacranie or Tariq Ramadan is other than because they are critics of Israel?

    28. Sid — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:50 pm  

      I doubt anyone thinks *your* support of these cuddly Islamists is because you’re compelled by a sense of liberal equanimity.

    29. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:53 pm  

      “I doubt anyone thinks *your* support of these cuddly Islamists is because you’re compelled by a sense of liberal equanimity.”

      or that your opposition to them is based on the same.

    30. munir — on 20th April, 2009 at 3:56 pm  

      “First, we can observe how the language of “community relations” has been twisted to support the entry of Islamist radicals into the UK.”

      Nope nothing to do with that - more to do with immigration policy. Radicals liek Abu Qatada, Omar Bakri and Abu hamza had zero community support prior to entry and indeed were unknown- the Muslim community in this country being overwhelmingly South Asian rather than fellow Arabs.

      ” Second, there is an inherent double-standard; those who criticise the Prophet Muhammad should be silenced, killed, or worse, whereas those who advocate violence against civilians should be invited to conferences.”

      Does that include John” bomb bomb Iran” Mcain ?

    31. Sid — on 20th April, 2009 at 4:07 pm  

      Big deal- that was 20 years ago. Are you suggesting people are not allowed to or havent changed their views in 20 years? I wonder what yours were at that time- David T apparently wanted the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. He certainly doesnt now.

      Yeah, it was 20 years ago. Call it the impetuousness of youth.

      But has he mellowed with age?

      On BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze program, on 14 July 2004, Sacranie said that he believed that any defamation of Muhammad’s character should be illegal under the proposed law banning incitement to religious hatred that the MCB have been campaigning for.

      in 1996, the radical Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun, led by Omar Bakri Mohammed, was planning a rally in London. As controversy mounted over the event, especially when some of Omar Bakri’s more “colourful” statements made it into the press, the Board of Deputies of British Jews asked the Home Secretary to ban some particular foreign speakers coming to the conference, in particular members of Hamas and Hizbullah. In Muslim News (30 Aug 1996), Sacranie was quoted as saying:

      “The Board of Deputies of British Jews should seriously consider what action they take on this matter because of the detrimental effect on community relations which could result. Taking a hostile view towards scholars who wish to come to this country to present their points of view at a conference will not serve good community relations.”

      Sacranie has always been quick to use the spurious call of “community relations” to silence criticism of anti-British, anti-semitic and anti-minority “scholars”.

      On Jan 13 2005:

      “There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist. This is deeply offensive. Saying Muslims are terrorists would be covered [i.e., banned] by this provision.”

      “This provision” being the use of the religious-hatred bill to make it illegal to suggest that there is any such thing as a Muslim terrorist.

      Two weeks later his organization boycotted a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in London commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz 60 years ago. Of course, that wasn’t religious hatred, was it, Sir Iqbal? Oh no, no way. Astaghfir’llah!

    32. cjcjc — on 20th April, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

      He’s very sound on gay rights though…!

      And did I mention that Ramadan is not an Oxford professor.

    33. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th April, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

      I can tell you right now that Ramadan has minimal play within Islamist circles. His main audience is conservative Muslim youth, the kind you’d see at FOSIS events, not HT ones.

      Hizb-ut-Tahrir explicitly subscribe to a Huntingtonian view of the world. They positively cite Bernard Lewis ffs.

      I think Ramadan is involved in a framing exercise in which he is attempting to achieve a liberal goal with the minimum of discursive shifts. That’s actually quite a good communications strategy.

      Also note, that a moratorium on the death penalty is in our very own liberal discourse. We know full well that capital punishment is abhorent, but when we pitch that idea to those who need to implement it, we’ll state it more softly whilst still achieving the same effect.

      Since I don’t see people complaining about the language used re: capital punishment in the West, then I’m pretty sure complaining about Tariq Ramadan has little about maintaining fidelity to a cause rather than double standards, and a lot of essentialising.

    34. Adnan — on 20th April, 2009 at 4:25 pm  

      cjcjc @31

      Does this not count ?

      http://resources.theology.ox.ac.uk/staff.phtml?lecturer_code=tramadan

    35. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

      David T
      “That’s because Ramadan knows that it isn’t up to him to state whether or not Sharia requires the stoning of adulteresses.”

      I dont know where you got the idea that the punishment was only for adulteresses (perhaps you are confusing it with Jewish law) Its exactly the same for male adulterers. Unless you consider it worse that a woman is punished the same way for the same crime which is rather sexist.

      The requirements for its enaction are so exacting (4 upright witnesses need to see the actual act of penetration) to effectively render it a dead letter or make it more about punishing public indecency that anything else (a couple who wished to commit adultery could easily go and find a secret place).

      This is leaving aside the sharia notion of not exposing others sins (which has many examples in the lives of the early Muslims) and the Prophetic maxim “ward off the hudood by means of ambiguities”

      David T is a lawyer. Were someone to start discussing his area of law without having studied it he would rightly find it laughable. Yet here he is pontificating on points of Islamic law without ever having studied it with a trained Muslim scholar.

      What a tosser.

    36. cjcjc — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:05 pm  

      No - that “professorship” if it refers to anything refers to his visiting professorship at Erasmus.

      He appears to deliver no lectures at Oxford and his college - St Antony’s -lists him as a relatively low in their hierarchy “research fellow” (which his website morphs into “senior research fellow” - a distinction the college itself appears not to make) and as “Dr.” not “Prof.”

      Believe me, when a college has a Prof. on board they make sure thay list him/her as a Prof.

    37. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

      Sid
      ” Second, there is an inherent double-standard; those who criticise the Prophet Muhammad should be silenced, killed, or worse, whereas those who advocate violence against civilians should be invited to conferences.”

      So why is Daniel Pipes who essentially called for pogroms against Muslim minorities if people from non-muslim majority are attacked in Muslim countries invited to conferences?

      Why is Mark Steyn who wrote “Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography—except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out—as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.” invited to conferences?

      Why isnt the radio host Michael Savage who spews hatred against Muslims and has said “[Intelligent, Welathy People] are very depressed by the weakness that America is showing to these psychotics in the Muslim world. They say, “Oh, there’s a billion of them.” I said, “So, kill 100 million of them, then there’ll be 900 million of them.”"

      banned from the UK?

    38. Boyo — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

      You can’t libel an organisation Sunny, I thought the lawyer in DT would have picked up on that ;-)

    39. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:33 pm  

      Sid
      “Two weeks later his organization boycotted a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in London commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz 60 years ago. Of course, that wasn’t religious hatred, was it, Sir Iqbal? Oh no, no way. ”

      Not sure how insisiting that a day which emphasised and elevated the suffering only of one religion and people be renamed “genocide day” to recognise the suffering
      of ALL human beings (not just one religion and race) can be classified as “religious hatred”.

      How many Jewish organisations attended the 10th anniversary of the Srebinca genocide?

      “Astaghfir’llah!”

      hehe - reminds me of your comical “Allah wa Ta’ala”
      You’re such an expert you cant get basic Islamic phrases known to 5 years old right

    40. Dalman — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:36 pm  

      David T says ” is also fair to say that, until recently, it was not obvious to anybody but the most committed observers, that the MCB was an extreme and unrepresentative organisation that should be both challenged and shunned.”

      Or rather, “I’ve been trying to follow the Melanie Phillips line that all Muslims are not to be trusted, and the best way to do that is by trying to pin dirt on Britain’s main Muslim body to show that all Muslims are extremists, am glad its not only the BNP who are listening to me now.”

    41. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:44 pm  

      hehe Dalman youve got David to a T there

    42. Sunny — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:44 pm  

      Given that what Iqbal Sacranie said 20 years ago is so important without asking what he thinks now - why would you guys then take Shiraz Maher at his word? Unless you believe ppl can change

      Or you only believe ppl you like can change - and those you don’t like are just being fake. Bizarrely enough, I rejected that argument when I was supporting Shiraz and Ed. But clearly David and Sid haven’t thought through their own arguments.

    43. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

      Ben Six
      “However, he claimed that he wanted a moratorium so that debate could “bring about an evolution in Muslim mentalities” and find “a consensus among Muslims“. The idea that a “consensus” is even necessary is faintly sinister, but he doesn’t seem to be anything less than unequivocal on the point.”

      You perhaps arent aware of the background of this term and its significance in Islamic parlance - consensus (ijma) of the ulema (scholars) is one of the key sources of Islamic law (its the 3rd source after the Quran and Sunnah)

    44. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

      Sunny
      “Given that what Iqbal Sacranie said 20 years ago is so important without asking what he thinks now - why would you guys then take Shiraz Maher at his word? Unless you believe ppl can change

      Or you only believe ppl you like can change - and those you don’t like are just being fake. Bizarrely enough, I rejected that argument when I was supporting Shiraz and Ed. But clearly David and Sid haven’t thought through their own arguments.”

      Exatly. As Yahya Birt pointed out when discussing “The Islamist” (which was about HT in the 90s before Omar Bakri left to form al Muhajiroun) the book is all about how Ed Husein has changed yet he refuses to acknowledge that others also have changed in that time.

      People like Sid and David T or the QF seriously think that things Mawdudi or Hasan al Banna said in the 1930s
      are to be taken as MCB or Muslim Brotherhhod policies in 2009.

    45. KB Player — on 20th April, 2009 at 6:16 pm  

      Does anyone seriously think David T’s opposition to Sacranie or Tariq Ramadan is other than because they are critics of Israel?

      Having read David T’s posts at Harry’s Place for quite a while now, I would seriously think that David T’s opposition to Sacranie or Tariq Ramadan or any other Islamist is because they are theocrats (Islamic division) and whether they are critics of Israel is of little relevance.

    46. blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 6:19 pm  

      KB Player

      Having read David T’s posts at Harry’s Place for quite a while now, I would seriously think that David T’s opposition to Sacranie or Tariq Ramadan or any other Islamist is because they are theocrats (Islamic division) and whether they are critics of Israel is of little relevance.”

      Which is why he never posts about Jewish or Hindu theocrats and why he attacks left wing/socialist groups who stand up for the Palestinians

    47. Sunny — on 20th April, 2009 at 6:41 pm  

      Frankly, his position is irrelevant in this case, though David T does say:

      I would never involve a conservative religious figure, rabbi or otherwise, in a progressive political event.

      So in other words Jonathan Sacks can never be part of a progressive political event or a movement.

      Which frankly, is about as stupid as you can get if you’re trying to build a coalition on an issue.

    48. Sid — on 20th April, 2009 at 6:56 pm  

      Or you only believe ppl you like can change - and those you don’t like are just being fake. Bizarrely enough, I rejected that argument when I was supporting Shiraz and Ed. But clearly David and Sid haven’t thought through their own arguments.

      Yes people can change, why would I be lending my support to Shiraz and Ed if I didn’t think that?

      Iqbal Sacranie made some appalling statements during the Rushdie affair. The point is, his subsequent record does not show that he has changed his core ideas in any way for form. He has just become more polished in the way he says them.

    49. Sid — on 20th April, 2009 at 7:05 pm  

      People like Sid and David T or the QF seriously think that things Mawdudi or Hasan al Banna said in the 1930s
      are to be taken as MCB or Muslim Brotherhhod policies in 2009.

      I’m waiting to find any statements they are making independent of Maududi and al-Banna in 2009 which would have made sense in the 1930s.

      That was a joke.

      More seriously though, I think Yahya Birt is seriously concerned about the level of Islamist ideology that is prevalent in the Islamic Foundation today.

      I’m more concerned about the poisonous nature of mainstream Muslim discourse in Britain today which makes it almost impossible for Birt to find a way to to fight back the Islamist ideology in the Islamic Foundation without the loss of the IF’s credibility and indeed his personal standing in the community.

    50. KB Player — on 20th April, 2009 at 9:43 pm  

      Which is why he never posts about Jewish or Hindu theocrats and why he attacks left wing/socialist groups who stand up for the Palestinians.

      Islamic theocracy tends to attract attention in Britain, rather, by the actions of some of its followers in blowing people up, or attempting to blow them up. That makes it a slightly more glaring and obvious subject of study and comment. It’s an absurd argument to say that if someone is interested in British Islamism they should be equally interested in all theocracies.

      Another reason for being interested in Islamic theocracy is that it has been taken up by the far left and is also propagated or excused by left publications like the Guardian and the London Review of Books - something which has staggered some of us who consider ouselves left or liberal. Hindu theocracy and the kind of Christian theocratic movements that you get in the USA don’t really get pages of apologetics in the Guardian and don’t get the far left waving placards for them at demonstrations.

    51. Arif — on 20th April, 2009 at 10:08 pm  

      For me the arguments seem to hinge on visceral fears we have.

      Some Muslims sometimes are oppressive, some Muslims sometimes are oppressed, some Muslims sometimes are threatening, some Muslims sometimes are spiritually inspiring, etc.

      But we tend to focus on some aspects more than others - not necessarily because we are badly motivated. We all have some things which affect us more.

      The sight of Muslims being oppressed somewhere might hurt some greatly, and others don’t want to dwell on it, and others want to rationalise it because they might feel it serves another purpose.

      The sight of Muslims being oppressive somewhere similarly hurts some, leaving others unmoved.

      For me a positive engagement by the left would be to widen our sensitivities to oppression, particularly to look for principled solutions to suffering.

      From that perspective, I feel disappointed that Shiraz Maher, despite his past within HT, feels unable to debate with them. He really does perceive them to be devious rather than deluded. Perhaps he is right. But then how can he prove to those who genuinely disagree with him that he himself isn’t being devious, as some here clearly believe.

      The different factions in this debate are very suspicious of the good faith of other factions - and I mean the various lefty liberal factions - as well as being suspicious of the various rightwingers that other factions team up with (to fight whatever particular oppression they see as most threatening at this particular moment).

      There is a bigger picture, but we aren’t getting it by arguing over who has the worst allies. There needs to be space for discussion with good will and there needs to be boundaries of responsible speech and behaviour. Maybe we can be honest about the fact that we do not believe in complete “free speech” and set up boundaries (and goals) explicitly before each “platform” for discussion is created.

      It seems to me above we are discussing the best boundaries to have in a heated, personal and roundabout way which avoids the possibility of doing so in a principled, self-critical and constructive way.

    52. Don — on 20th April, 2009 at 11:00 pm  

      Maybe we can be honest about the fact that we do not believe in complete “free speech” and set up boundaries (and goals) explicitly before each “platform” for discussion is created.

      Could you be more specific? How would boundaries be decided and what of those who dissent to the boundaries?

    53. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th April, 2009 at 11:25 pm  

      Typically you could decide boundaries in two ways:

      a) Norms held and practised by civil society
      If boundaries didn’t feel right, then actors could negotiate with each other

      b) State-enforced norms
      Boundaries could only be negotiated through appeal to state structures.

      What would people like?
      The liberal-democratic model (UK and US) suggestion suggests a, whereas the civic-republican model (France) suggests b. Do we want to become more French?

      Even still, problems arise when an actor outside either of the two types of boundaries wishes to make a claim on the state, either through demands for recognition or through contentious or lethal politics.
      Everyone seems to disagree with the claims of the specific actors in this case, so the focus here is on demobilisation. The question then is which strategy is better; non-engagement or risk giving legitimacy whilst proceeding with engagement?

    54. Faisal — on 20th April, 2009 at 11:48 pm  

      Everyone seems to disagree with the claims of the specific actors in this case, so the focus here is on demobilisation. The question then is which strategy is better; non-engagement or risk giving legitimacy whilst proceeding with engagement?

      Nicely analysed. I think the latter strategy has been tried to death since the mid-90s which has led to the divisive and pernicious state we currently find ourselves in. So I would tend to suggest we give the latter a good try.

      Granted that even before we can get to that stage we still have to come to a mutually acceptable decision on what constitutes “contentious or lethal politics”.

    55. Naadir Jeewa — on 21st April, 2009 at 12:16 am  

      I just follow Tilly et al. with their definition of contentious politics involving “interactions in which actors make claims bearing on someone else’s interests (contention), leading to coordinated efforts on behalf of shared interests or programs (collective action), in which governments are involved as targets, initiators of claims, or third parties (politics).” More here: http://tinyurl.com/ccs67s

      Lethal politics arises when real violence “forms part of claim making’s central rationale.”

      Have more to say, but I should write a frakkin blog post about it really.

    56. DocMartyn — on 21st April, 2009 at 12:33 am  

      blah — on 20th April, 2009 at 5:01 pm

      David T
      “That’s because Ramadan knows that it isn’t up to him to state whether or not Sharia requires the stoning of adulteresses.”

      I dont know where you got the idea that the punishment was only for adulteresses (perhaps you are confusing it with Jewish law) Its exactly the same for male adulterers.
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      Except that men are buried to the waist and women above the breast. If you free yourself, you are allowed to go free.
      Not many women actually manage to dig themselves out of the pit, whereas many men do.

    57. Arif — on 21st April, 2009 at 6:42 am  

      Don, I was thinking that you and I might have different boundaries and either negotiate a common set of boundaries between each other before engaging in public debate on an issue, or if we fail to agree, then talk to different people who do agree.

      This is not a formula for every discussion, but just a suggestion when we feel too suspicious of each other to engage with one another, to try to make explicit what it is specifically which we disagree about. In that way we can keep in proportion the grounds of our disagreement, rather than turning it into a generalised hostility.

      We also make our values explicit, for which we can then be held accountable - are we consistent in the application of our values? And if not, then either we do some heartsearching about our motives and accept we have to change our boundaries or behaviour, or we accept that suspicion of our motives will grow.

    58. munir — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:16 am  

      DocMartyn
      “Except that men are buried to the waist and women above the breast. If you free yourself, you are allowed to go free.”

      What? where did you get that from?

    59. munir — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:24 am  

      KB Player

      “Islamic theocracy tends to attract attention in Britain, rather, by the actions of some of its followers in blowing people up, or attempting to blow them up. That makes it a slightly more glaring and obvious subject of study and comment.”

      So why are the actions of Muslim religious groups overseas so frequently commented on ?

      And extremist Hindu and Jewish groups raise money here to kill in their home countries- so why isnt that an issue for Britain?

      “Hindu theocracy and the kind of Christian theocratic movements that you get in the USA don’t really get pages of apologetics in the Guardian ”

      They do in right-wing anti-Muslim press

      “and don’t get the far left waving placards for them at demonstrations”"

      Their countries arent being attacked and occupied by others- Muslim countries are.

    60. munir — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:30 am  

      Sid
      “Iqbal Sacranie made some appalling statements during the Rushdie affair. The point is, his subsequent record does not show that he has changed his core ideas in any way for form. He has just become more polished in the way he says them.”

      So how about Inayat Bunglawala who has substantially changed his views on things like freedom of speech and gay rights? This is clear from anyone who reads his CIF column. Hasnt changed you responding to him with the same knee-jerk “he’s a jammati-Islamist” reaction which characterises your writing.

    61. munir — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:52 am  

      Arif
      “From that perspective, I feel disappointed that Shiraz Maher, despite his past within HT, feels unable to debate with them”

      Its the same with Ed Hussein who on a couple of occassions has pulled out of public discussions when he found HT members were involved ! This from a man who has set up a “think-tank” to combat HT!! Anyway who cares what happens to taxpayers money as long as the gravy train keeps rolling.

      The reason Shiraz and Ed dont debate is almost certainly because they cant. Members of HT have shallow knowledge of Islam (its mainly sloganeering) and so having been through that school they arent able to effectively argue with them from an Islamic viewpoint.They can try from a secular nonreligious one but that is unlikely to engage the audience. A good scholar would wipe the floor with them.

      What needs to be understood about Shiraz, Majid and Ed is their motivation. It seems they simply want power prestige and a platform and joined HT for this. Now theyve junked HT but have found what they desired in other vehicles . Its just an ego trip (how else could you explain Ed writing 3 different articles on how he has been threated-as if he is the centre of the universe). Many people have left HT without feeling the need to join forces with Islamophobes and demonise the Muslim community.

    62. Faisal — on 21st April, 2009 at 10:50 am  

      So how about Inayat Bunglawala who has substantially changed his views on things like freedom of speech and gay rights? This is clear from anyone who reads his CIF column. Hasnt changed you responding to him with the same knee-jerk “he’s a jammati-Islamist” reaction which characterises your writing.

      Or rather, characterises his writing. Though Bunglawala is far more a Muslim Brotherhood Fool to Sacranie’s Jamaati Lear.

      The reason Shiraz and Ed dont debate is almost certainly because they cant. Members of HT have shallow knowledge of Islam (its mainly sloganeering) and so having been through that school they arent able to effectively argue with them from an Islamic viewpoint.They can try from a secular nonreligious one but that is unlikely to engage the audience. A good scholar would wipe the floor with them.

      The whole point is we are trying to move away from the model of representation by religious identity, which has nothing to do with the individual’s proficiency sof acred knowledge or arbitrary notions of personal piety. That should be for the personal space.

      And the contradiction here, is that our present Islamic worthies and community leaders are not required to demonstrate these qualities either, so why should anyone else?

      What needs to be understood about Shiraz, Majid and Ed is their motivation. It seems they simply want power prestige and a platform and joined HT for this. Now theyve junked HT but have found what they desired in other vehicles . Its just an ego trip (how else could you explain Ed writing 3 different articles on how he has been threated-as if he is the centre of the universe). Many people have left HT without feeling the need to join forces with Islamophobes and demonise the Muslim community.

      Even if that were correct, there are glaring inconistencies to your rules-based rating system. You could rather say that Bunglawala and Sir Iqbal Sacranie are even more gluttonous of limelight and “prestige”. Why don’t you apply the same simplistic rule of thumb to them?

      Although, I do believe Sir Iqbal is crying out for a good Hello! spread sometime soon.

    63. faisal — on 21st April, 2009 at 10:54 am  

      Lethal politics arises when real violence “forms part of claim making’s central rationale.”

      Have more to say, but I should write a frakkin blog post about it really.

      Naadir, go for it, write it up. I’m sure Rumbold could be convinced to ‘guest-post’ it here.

    64. Rumbold — on 21st April, 2009 at 11:04 am  

      Sounds good. Just send it to rumbold[at]pickledpolitics.com and I will have a look.

      Obviously use the @ instead of [at].

    65. Naadir Jeewa — on 21st April, 2009 at 1:47 pm  

      Will do. Thanks.

    66. Imran Khan — on 21st April, 2009 at 4:27 pm  

      The hypocracy here is that those people complaining about even Political Islamists and their influence from abroad are themselves influenced by bodies and organisatiosn abroad.

      The hypocracy here is that those organisations who say Islamists want to counter democracy are themselves demanding final say on who can and cannot talk to the government - hardly democratic itself.

      The hypocracy here is that those organisations sayign that Muslims shouldn’t be concerned with their fellow Muslim abroad do not apply the same thought to other religious groups.

      The hypocracy here is that those saying that political Islam is dangerous ignore the equal danger of other political religious movements.

      The hypocracy here is that the right wingers whilst claiming to be liberal are far from it.

      “Ed Hussein” and Majid Nawaz promised debate with HT any time and place and yet have been extraordinarily careful to avoid it. Its all for show.

      These same people hype up the threat of Islam to keep the money rolling in and the gravy train going.

      The very limitations they demand of Muslims and Muslim organisations is not applied to other religious groups. That itself is hypocritical at best and racist at worst.

      The whole point of democracy is that everyone can have their say and engage in the political process. That can hardly ring true when self-appointed guardians acting like dictators are deciding who can and cannot be spoken to.

      What DaveT fails to address is that the very arguments he applies to Muslim Organisations also apply to Jewish ones in similar ways. One he says is to be confronted and one he says nothing about.

      How exactly do DaveT and Sid propose that the frustrations that breed extremism are stopped when the very real issues which breed extremism are ignored?

      How do they propose that Muslims are engaged when they are acting as the Guardians alongside “Ed” QF, Shiraz etc. who have little if any presence in the Muslim Community?

      How can people like DaveT and Sid seriously think that QF can counter extremism when it won’t even open its events up to ordinary Muslims?

      The Hypocracy here is that Sacranie is being vilified for his calls against Rushdie and his book and we are told that he should be allowed his say no matter how bad it is - this is the rule when bashing Islam.

      Yet when Muslims say unsavoury things and bash others then that isn’t to be tolerated. Double standard?

      Either have fair rules for all or have none but not a biased selection.

      The problem here is that most peoiple are lecturing Muslims and not engaging them - there is a huge difference. The Muslim Community won’t be lectured to by DaveT and his friends anymore than the Jewish Community will be lectured to by Sacranie and his like. One would be termed free speech and the other anti-semitism.

      Whether people like it or not Israel/Palestine is a real issue and it needs to be resolved justly. The fact is that thanks to the neocon rhetoric western powers are mute and lack the will to resolve this issue. The Peace Envoy is hardly fair himself and his one sided bias is causing more problems. We need an honest broker to resolve this issue not a past it, washed up neocon puppet.

    67. Imran Khan — on 21st April, 2009 at 4:33 pm  

      DaveT - “is also fair to say that, until recently, it was not obvious to anybody but the most committed observers, that the MCB was an extreme and unrepresentative organisation that should be both challenged and shunned.”

      DaveT - will you also be taking the same approach with the new right wing government in Israel? Will you be taking the same stance to ban the new Foreign Minister of Israel as you have regarding the President of Iran?

      Why should the new ultra-right wing government in Israel not be challanged and shunned according to your own rules?

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

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