The problem is Blair, not Muslims


by Sunny
15th November, 2006 at 9:20 am    

In an earlier article on freedom of speech and expression, I said this right was our only real protection against state intimidation and preserving democracy and human rights. And yet it annoys me when most debates around FoS or civil liberties around Muslims, as if they present the real danger. No, the government does because only it has the absolute power to take away those rights.

A few weeks ago the government announced that the Freedom of Information Act was costing them too much money, time and hassle and so maybe scaled down. This is a brazen attempt at censorship but no real furore has followed.

Yesterday the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission said the same. Where is the outrage from our right-wing media defenders of speech? Nowhere by the looks of it.

The problem is this is only a part of the enroachment on our civil liberties. As Garry points out:

Last week, Sir Ian Blair and Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller launched what is obviously another coordinated attempt “prepare public opinion” for yet another round of authoritarian tabloid pleasing measures. Neither of these people is an elected politician but our great leader has no qualms about destroying the barrier which has historically existed between politician and civil servant and co-opting them into participating in his political strategies.

This dangerous dismantling of a crucial long standing distinction serves no-one but Blair and is likely to do long term damage to the British political process. He really is an unscrupulous self-serving git.

Quite. And there are other problems. A Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report on Monday said:

The government’s counter-terrorism campaign is often driven by party-political and electoral motives that are ‘submerging’ its own ‘sensible’ counter-terrorism strategy.

The actions of ministers, particularly Home Secretary John Reid, could have a ‘boomerang effect’ by alienating the Muslim communities whose trust and co-operation are vital.

Not Saussure has more. This is the nub of the problem. The ministerial dimwits currently in charge of formulating anti-terrorism policy are no help when all they seem to do is generate illiberal and idiotic policy measures that get us nowhere.

The MI5 chief’s speech, which detailed the extent of their surveillance activities, also alluded to the obvious in saying real peace lay in sorting out the Israel / Palestine problem. But given that Blair didn’t have the balls to admonish Israel when it invaded Lebanon, or push for it to negotiate with Hamas for a settlement, he cannot be seen as a bulwark against terrorism. He is making things worse.

These are the same intelligence services that pointed out Tony Blair’s own foreign policy “exacerbated” terrorism. Unsurprisingly he said little then.

Yesterday Newsnight aired a bizarre short film on how Omar Bakri and Hizb ut-Tahrir were helping radicalise people. Bizarre because halfway the focus shifted entirely from Bakri to Pizza HuT without any real point.

What I want to know is:
1) if everyone knew Bakri was radicalising youth, why didn’t the police or intelligence services, who have been banging on about terrorism for years now, not lock him up earlier? Political correctness? Gimme a break.

2) Notwithstanding criticism by Shiraz Socialist, it featured an imam trying to combat radicalism, who said the government ignored his proposals to help form a team of imams dedicated to combating radicals at universities.

Pull all these strands together and what do you get? A government that ignores sensible proposals (incl most made by the committee following 7/7) and yet rushes out policies and makes statements (about veils) that only patronise people. We get debates on how ordinary Muslims pose a threat to our freedom while the government is quietly installing more video cameras, trying to introduce ID cards, restricting the FOI Act and much more.

It’s a farce. You want to stop terrorism? Then work to get rid of Tony Blair.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs,Party politics






224 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. sabinaahmed — on 15th November, 2006 at 10:21 am  

    Sunny
    I couldnt agree more. That Newsnight film last night looked as if the reporter changed track half way and didnt find another direction.
    My main problem with the government policies is how everyone talks of immigration and terrorism in the same breath, as if they are interlinked.
    The fact is that there have been very big failures by the security services. When the alert level was reduced before 7/7, when people like Bukhari and Hamza were allowed free rein to preach hatred,and now that Bukhari allegedly is still enticing young men to voilence, and it takes a t.v.programme to bring it to the attention of all concerned.
    During the Northern Ireland crisis, survey showed that people in Scotland sympathised with the struggle.Did this make them all terrorists? Now we have a survey where so many people had sympathy with the 7/7 bombers.It surely doesnt mean that they are all going to take up arems.It sound as if the security chief is working on simillar notion. I find it hard to believe that there are so many terrorist cells in the country , if they are, then what is being done about them ? If last nights Newsnight was some indication of the efficiency of the MI5 then God help us.

  2. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:36 am  

    I dont think it’s as simple as getting rid of Tony Blair that will end terrorism. Rather simplistic sloganeering punchline there Sunny. As if Brown or Reid or Cameron or whoever won’t be susceptible to the same impulses.

    But the silence from certain quarters over this creep is interesting — as is the silence from other free speech campaigners.

    Let’s face it – the Islamists are twats, but they don’t half provide a distracting spectacle for taking the eye off other areas of concern.

    I hear that Omar Bakri Mohammad has been approached to star as the baddie, with Anjem Chaudhry as the ugly psycho sidekick, opposite Daniel Craig in the next 007 movie – Licensed to Fatwa.

  3. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:48 am  

    The problem Sabinaahmed, is that it is difficult to gauge exactly the extent of the problem. Unlike some people, I don’t view MI5 as a nefarious organisation pulling strings in league with media barons to make shadow demons to terrify wee children in their beds at noght —- I see them more as an institution with faults that gets things wrong but does its best.

    Clearly there is a major problem. Those that claim otherwise are either disingenuous, in denial, in sympathy, or lunatics. However, as you say, the extent of the problem is difficult to gauge, and so any decision to either believe or not believe Dame Edna Everage, uhhh, I mean Dame Eliza Manningham Buller is more or less down to your own discretion. How can we verify the number of plots and cells?

    My own instinct is that there are a large number of individuals involved in this, but I couldnt put an exact figure on it. The one person that persuades me the most is Lord Carlisle, the Liberal Democrat peer who is the independent reviewer of terrorist evidence — he has a track record of Lib Dem civil rights advocacy and is no government stooge, and he has said that the evidence presented to him in his capacity as ‘terrorist ombudsman’ was serious and extensive.

    Then it boils down to how much you want to believe in the actual solid figures presented (i would want to see more extensive polling before accepting the 100,000 figure sympathetically), and how much you want to blame the institutions trying to protect us for the problem we are in. I prefer to be critical of them to a certain extent, especially when they mess up, but focus my primary ire on the loathsome virus itself. You can orient yourself to believe that the police are the primary problem – their incompetence is a secondary effect of them trying to deal with the primary problem, and as public bodies they should be 100% accountable, without losing sight of what they are trying to protect us against.

  4. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

    Hi Jagdeep, I remember me and you disagreed as to the extent of the threat the last time this topic came up. I’m still highly uncertain about the numbers, not because MI5 is out to get us, but simply because the topic matter is vauge and ‘threats’ is a very loose term. There is also a fundamental issue with sympathising, and intent. Frankly a high proportion of British muslims, sympathising with 7/7 would be really dishearting, but still the link between actions and thoughts is missing.

    I really think the French are way ahead of us in terms of Wahabbi Fundamentalism intelligence, as they’ve been stationed in Algeria and other parts of North Africa for a while. WHilst the British have a commonwealth links with Pakistan and Bangladesh, there’s been no reason in the past to build up a strong intelligence network. Here’s a good evaluation of French Counter-terrorism activities:

    http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369780

    Concerning the government’s rhetoric, have a look at the Liberty Website, they’ve issued a statement, that covers a lot of the points Sunny is raising:

    http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/issues/2-terrorism/index.shtml

    PS, I know I’ve made a lot of spelling mistakes, don’t rub it in :)

  5. Nyrone — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:04 pm  

    Excellent string of points Sunny.
    and I would say that the headline is not simplistic at all, it’s merely a common-sense first step re-iteration of what most of us know and feel already.

    Sometimes the most simple statements are the most accurate and urgently needed.

  6. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Blair is part of the problem, but he is not the sole problem.

    Thanks for the links Sahil I’ll take a good look at them.

  7. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:17 pm  

    “I dont think it’s as simple as getting rid of Tony Blair that will end terrorism.”

    Maybe not. But I have this dream. Bush and Blair are no longer in power. Both USA and UK stop bombing the fuck out of insurgent countries. The wankers that incite terrorism see it as a victory. Peace ensues. Naive, yes. Impossible, no

  8. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 12:31 pm  

    You have a dream of the ‘wankers’ seeing it as a victory? The wankers were plotting bombing people before Bush and Blair decided to go on their missions. Naive? Definitely.

  9. Steve M — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

    And anyway, if the wankers did see it as a victory peace would most certainly not ensue. Quite the contrary.

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:22 pm  

    You don’t know that. Anymore than you knew going to war would do quite the opposite of ending terrorism any more than I can know whether terrorism would be a threat on such a global scale if you hadn’t

  11. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:25 pm  

    Predicated on the fact that they were active, blowing up innocent people by the thousands before the current war, it is a reasonable thing to assume that their ideology will not be satiated by the retreat from Iraq, a withdrawal that was bound to happen sooner or later anyway, even if they may modulate or reduce in some respects their psychosis to an extent.

  12. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    There was a programme on E4 on Monday night at 9pm discussing the roots of Al-Qaeda and OBL’s ongoing gameplan (the documentary was 2 hours long).

    Did anyone see it ? Amongst other things, it basically stated that most (not all) of what’s been happening is exactly what OBL has wanted all along — he’s been setting up traps and pushing the right buttons, and the West (especially the US) has been consistently falling for it.

    During the late 90s, he stated that his aim was to draw the US into a battle on “Islamic soil” which would be used to further the jihadi cause, vindicate the claims of the West being the “aggressors” against Muslims, and attract ever-more recruits to AQ’s banner.

    Guess which 3 countries he said would be the best candidates, and which he planned to destabilise ? Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan.

  13. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    You can’t really negotiate effectively with someone whose aim is the (“re-”)establishment of an Islamic empire stretching all the way to parts of Spain. Even worse if this will be used as a base from which to continue the jihad against the rest of the planet, if the aim is Islamic rule absolutely everywhere.

    If the above is true — and despite claims to the contrary, it’s a fact that jihadi activities were being planned well before 9/11 and also that HuT-type movements were active in British universities all the way back in the early 90s (hell, even I can remember plenty of Muslim students talking about “the coming jihad” and “Islamic rule in the West” etc) — then conflict with the jihadis was inevitable regardless of what the West did. A pretext can always be found — and this is exactly what has happened, and is still happening.

  14. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

    Jai I heard about that documentary. Ultimately, I think history will judge Bush and Blair to have been saps in respect of their policies after the Afghanistan war. They fell for it hook line and sinker. Bush’s agenda was actually anti American, in that he did not do what was right for America, but twisted his own ideologically driven agenda in the rhetoric of the struggle against Islamist terrorism. It is a true American tragedy that this dunce was in power when they needed a true leader and hero. Blair trails in his wake too.

  15. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    Really excellent article, Sunny. Reminds me why I like this site so much.

    As to the comments above, the point is that even if the central protagonists did have far more insidious and far-reaching aims and motivations and that Western FP was just a pretext, the problem is that they’re successfully recruiting others, not on the basis of a promise of global caliphate, but on the basis of the deep anger and resentment at Western FP.

    I mean Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are very careful to put across the message that their terrorist actions are only in resposne to Western terrorism. Why?

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

    Jagdeep, Bin Laden and co were the enemy before the war, of course they were. But the war gave them recruits. My hope is the recruits will be passified (to however small an extent) and if that means one less bomb anywhere on earth, that’s a good thing.

  17. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    Jagdeep, Bin Laden and co were the enemy before the war, of course they were.

    They were also our allies for the longest time.

  18. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    You know why they do that Anas. 9/11 was contextualised like that by jihadis, and they found a certain amount of support amongst some mainstream Muslims when seen in those terms. I know — I spoke to some Muslim acquaintances who justified it with recourse to those arguments. That killing people by the hundreds, by the thousands, is justifiable because some Muslims are angry at ‘foreign policies’.

    Nobody disputes that the foreign policy choices have acted as provocations and recruiting sergeants to jihadis. But the self-justifying hatreds that sends men to fly planes into buildings and blow themselves up on London buses will not be entirely mollified by the change of direction in Iraq or elsewhere.

  19. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    =>”they needed a true leader and hero.”

    Absolutely. I know this has been said a thousand times before, but they should have focused on Afghanistan (and the border with Pakistan) and just gone all-out after OBL instead of getting sidetracked with Iraq.

    =>”I mean Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are very careful to put across the message that their terrorist actions are only in resposne to Western terrorism. Why?”

    So that they can allegedly be “innocent victims who have the moral high ground” and claim that their actions are only in self-defence, and therefore “morally justifiable”.

    It’s a classic “blame the victim” tactic.

    (Hypothetical example) Imagine if I continuously needled you, to the point where you eventually snapped and retaliated, and I then used your reaction as alleged vindication of my assertion that “Anas has always been prejudiced against me, and now his aggression towards me proves my point”. Etc etc.

  20. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    Also, according to that documentary, OBL was angry about US troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. Apparently Mohammad said something about how there shouldn’t be an “infidel presence” there.

    From what I’ve read/seen on the topic, the fact that the Saudi government turned down OBL’s offer to provide support to liberate Kuwait and turned to the Western coalition instead upset OBL too.

    All this turned him against the Saudis and also played a significant part in his ire towards the West.

  21. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:05 pm  

    Jai, my point that it is all propaganda. The statements that al-Q put out is intended to elicit sympathy from Muslims, but most importantly to exploit the feelings of rage and anger most Muslims feel at Western FP: which in many cases is perceived as all out terrorism. So, the interesting aspects of Bin Laden and al-Z’s statements are the assumptions they make about their intended audiences.

    There was a program last week on Ch4 that explored the issue of Jihadi propaganda in the Arab world. The guy who presented the program came out with an interesting conclusion. The propaganda videos put out by militant groups only had a limited circulation, rather it was the material that was shown on mainstream Arab TV that had the most radicalising effect.

    This ties in to what I’ve heard from quite a few commentators, that for many Muslims most of the radicalising, the “brainwashing” occurs regardless of the efforts of extremist groups. Al-Q and others don’t have to expend much effort to exploit the already simmering rage and discontent.

  22. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    The statements that al-Q put out *are* intended to elicit sympathy from Muslims

  23. BevanKieran — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    Jai

    Post 9/11,a members of HuT in my department (Chemistry!!…don’t worry he wasn’t very good) were more interested in defending the Taliban and concerned about Algeria (where a democratically elected Islamist government had been overthrown) than Israel-Palestine or even sanctions on Iraq. From conversations his solution to the Israel-Palestine problem was the destruction of Israel. It is difficult to believe AQ will be satiated by a just solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict or a simple change in Britain and America’s foreign policy.

    Richard Dannett’s comments showed the blurring distinction between the civil service and politicians hasn’t worked completely in the governments favour. Also Army complaints (rightly so) of being under-equipped have been more vociferous during Blair’s term, simply by greater access of serving soldiers to the press, highlighted in Mark Urban’s “Master and Commanders” documentary.

  24. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:09 pm  

    OBL himself:
    “[The] call to wage war against America was made [when it sent] thousands of its troops to the land of the two holy mosques over and above… its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control. These are the reasons for the singling out of America as the targets.”

  25. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    “But the self-justifying hatreds that sends men to… blow themselves up on London buses will not be entirely mollified by the change of direction in Iraq or elsewhere.”

    Ah. But there was very little call for stupid, bored, angry arseholes like those 7/7 dicks to find their enemy in Blair & Britain before. They would have just joined a gang and died in a street battle or in a crackhouse otherwise. Making Britain go into war gave all such wankers who were happy to hate America from afar to take action as the enemy within

  26. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    AQ will be satiated by a just solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict or a simple change in Britain and America’s foreign policy.

    AQ may not be but the vast bulk of worldwide Muslim opinion will be.

  27. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:18 pm  

    The biggest single factor in getting moderate Muslim countries to support a new Iraq would be if there was progress on Israel and Palestine, as part of the strategy for the Middle East as a whole.

    For once I agree with the poodle.

  28. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    Anas, those turds have hijacked legitimate peaceful Muslim leanings. And when you legitimise their discourse, you get turd on yourself.

  29. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    Is it time for Israel yet? ;-)

  30. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Jagdeep don’t understand your point. I’m just stating the obvious, namely, FP is the best, most successful recruitment tool that militants have.

  31. DavidMWW — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Bartholomew has some interesting notes on the Pizza HuT section of Newsnight.

  32. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    Anas, I think you know what you mean.

  33. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

    Correction:

    I think you know what I mean — it’s difficult to tell when your restatement of those points becomes docile ascension to the twisted logic behind them.

  34. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:43 pm  

    I have that problem too. I don’t think I know what I mean but I hope you know what I don’t mean, if you don’t know what I mean

  35. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    Kismet – isn’t it usually what you double-mean? :-)

  36. Bert Preast — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:50 pm  

    “You want to stop terrorism? Then work to get rid of Tony Blair.”

    What do you mean here? Tony Blair is the cause of terrorism? Tony Blair is using terrorism as an excuse for his ultimate aim to turn the UK into a police state? Our work is needed to remove Tony Blair, the scourge of freedom, even though he’s going of his own accord in a few months? With the passing of Tony Blair terrorists will turn their attention to other countries?

    Why blame Blair and not islamists? Which other excuse would he use to further his dark designs if we didn’t have any islamists?

  37. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

    Look Jagdeep, I kinda know what you’re getting at: that I’m somehow legitimising jihadi discourse through arguing that some terrorists/extremists may well be motivated by anger at Western FP (anger at FP being legitimate grievance in itself).

    But I’m afraid you haven’t got much to go on when it comes to that particular accusation (if I’m understanding you correctly), and you’re doing yourself a disservice by making it.

  38. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Like it or not, Bush & Blair have been tirelessly promoting terrorism. They’ve been like slick city salesmen raising their profile and, heartened by the exposure, the terrorists have been keen to build on their reputation.

    Lose the saatch & saatchi of world politics and they’ll slowly lose their impact, like sherbert dips

  39. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    Anas, even though nobody disagrees that some aspects of foreign policy may act as the proverbial red rag to jihadis, it becomes difficult to tell sometimes whether you are not just a sap to the jihadi illogic.

    For example on another thread about this exact subject, after someone (maybe me) pointed out that the ideological roots and actual activities of the terrorists pre-date the current situation in Iraq, your repsonse was that ‘there were foreign policy issues then too’.

    It is at that razors edge when it is difficult to tell when your ‘explanation’ becomes tacit ascension to their discourse.

  40. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

    Anas, am I basically correct in saying that you are explaining the actions of the jihadis and their supporters, not justifying them ?

    These things can sometimes be misconstrued during discussions across the internet (I’ve fallen foul of having the finger pointed at me once or twice for the same reason), so it may be worthwhile for you to explicitly confirm the above in order to prevent any future misunderstandings by other people here.

  41. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:14 pm  

    I don’t think that’s necessary Jai. No intelligent person accepts any form of terrorism, but a clever person might want to consider why they do it

  42. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    Kismet,

    You’re right, but I get the impression that some people on PP may be misconstruing Anas’s comments about FP, Israel etc as tacit support for the terrorists’ actions, so it would be best for him to just clear the air explicitly for the benefit of everyone here (just so his stance is clarified “for the record”).

  43. Anon+1 — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    Is there anywhere you guys reccommend to read/watch the history of the middle east and surrounding countries from scratch + from an unbiased source.
    I cant make an opinion on this if I dont know the story so far. :)

  44. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:24 pm  

    ^^^Various books are available in the “History” section at Waterstones in central London, Bluewater, and Lakeside.

  45. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 3:34 pm  
  46. Isaa — on 15th November, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

    >>Is there anywhere you guys reccommend to read/watch the history of the middle east and surrounding countries from scratch + from an unbiased source.
    I cant make an opinion on this if I dont know the story so far.

    This is a must read:http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0575062754/ref=pd_rvi_gw_2/026-0003720-8462804

    It predates 9-11 so avoids the emotional garbage that has followed most middle eastern books since.

  47. Cheetah — on 15th November, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    Yeah, that book doesnt look like emotional garbage at all.

  48. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 4:31 pm  

    Anon asked for unbiased…

  49. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 4:48 pm  

    Just read the reviews of Isaa’s choice. Certainly read that one, but only if you read Abba Eban’s account of the formation of the State of Israel.

    Read 2 biased books, then form your own unbiased opinion.

  50. Sunny — on 15th November, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    These discussions usually go round and round in circles, so let me make a few points clear.

    Are there Muslim religious fanatics who want us killed even without Ira/Afganistan? Sure there are.

    Is Tony Blair’s policies “exacerbating” the problem? Yes, and the Joint Intelligence Committee said the same.

    Even without Iraq, we need to deal with and tackle religious bigots. The problem is that there is no point blaming ordinary Muslims because the vast majority hate Sheikh Omar Bakri. Rather it is the police and intelligence services that have failed to take a hardline stance against those nutters, and have been built up further by the media.

  51. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:29 pm  

    BevanKieran,

    =>”It is difficult to believe AQ will be satiated by a just solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict or a simple change in Britain and America’s foreign policy.”

    They will only be satisfied when their Khilafat is established and, quite possibly, when the entire planet has subsequently converted to Islam. Until then, there is no “solution”, alleged “grievances” will be used to bolster their cause and claims of acting in self-defence, and Muslims disillusioned by the West (or whatever part of the world they live in) and with dreams of glory, power and conquest will continue to be drawn to the cause, whether they are literally connected to AQ or just inspired by their ideology.

    The paradox is that AQ is acting in the name of Islam whilst directly contravening its principles for permissible warfare (and they’re tying themselves up into convoluted knots in order to justify this), so unless they are publicly ostracised and disowned by the rest of the global Muslim population — with no sanctuary or support anywhere in the world (and no caveats about FP or Israel/Palestine, or any of the other places where Muslims are supposedly being oppressed) — this heresy will continue.

    I don’t know what the traditional Islamic injunction is for a Muslim who commits atrocities while acting in the name of Islam, and what the appropriate religious punishment is meant to be, but perhaps the relevent Islamic religious leaders should look into it and go all-out to implement it.

  52. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:36 pm  

    Jagdeep:

    Anas, even though nobody disagrees that some aspects of foreign policy may act as the proverbial red rag to jihadis, it becomes difficult to tell sometimes whether you are not just a sap to the jihadi illogic.

    For example on another thread about this exact subject, after someone (maybe me) pointed out that the ideological roots and actual activities of the terrorists pre-date the current situation in Iraq, your repsonse was that ‘there were foreign policy issues then too’.

    It is at that razors edge when it is difficult to tell when your ‘explanation’ becomes tacit ascension to their discourse.

    By which strange contortion of reasoning did you arive at the conclusion that my stating that foreign policy was a major factor in the radicalisation of Muslims pre-Iraq and pre-Afghanistan constitutes borderline approval of jihadist activities? In general what I’ve said on the topic seems to be fairly uncontroversial from an academic and intelligence point of view.

    Jai:

    Anas, am I basically correct in saying that you are explaining the actions of the jihadis and their supporters, not justifying them ?
    YES!

    You’re right, but I get the impression that some people on PP may be misconstruing Anas’s comments about FP, Israel etc as tacit support for the terrorists’ actions, so it would be best for him to just clear the air explicitly for the benefit of everyone here (just so his stance is clarified “for the record”).

    I’m pretty sure I’ve done so in here implicitly and explicitly plenty of times — and that’s in addition to what I’ve written in my blog. OK, here it goes, I do not,tacitly or otherwise, support the actions of terrorists, and that’s regardless of the cause in the name of which they commit terrorist actions

  53. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    Although Anas and I disagree on how Israel/Palestine can be solved, he has always been adamant that the ultimate aim is two states. At no time has he condoned terrorism.

  54. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 5:53 pm  

    Thanks Chairwoman :)

  55. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:02 pm  

    By which strange contortion of reasoning did you arive at the conclusion that my stating that foreign policy was a major factor in the radicalisation of Muslims pre-Iraq and pre-Afghanistan constitutes borderline approval of jihadist activities? In general what I’ve said on the topic seems to be fairly uncontroversial from an academic and intelligence point of view.

    First of all, I accept your disavowal of terrorism in good faith, 100%, unconditionally.

    Having said that, let me explain the razors edge to you next.

    When you actively disregard and argue against the discussions which involve looking at the many different possible explanations that lead to the radicalisation of men leading to the commiting of terrorist acts, as you did on Samira Ahmed’s thread, when you actually stated that to even discuss these things was an assertion of neo-con, neo-imperialist thinking, you discount all of those factors, and effectively say that the phenomenon is purely external, that the actors have no agency, that the self creating, self perpetuating ideology that may or may not be activated by grievances perceived or real is not a factor that comes into play. At that point you’re not really examining with honesty the internal dynamics of the death cult, you’re just restating the self-justifying jihadist logic – we kill because we have grievances – we decide what the grievances are, and we decide who we kill in retribution for those grievances.

    Just as it is easy to say that external factors like the Iraq war have not had an aggravating effect on the situation, thus falling into a line that accepts the ‘Harry’s Place/Pro War’ narrative without critique, so is it easy to do the same for the narrative of the jihadis. The Iraq war should be opposed for reasons that it is wrong, not because of the threat that we might be blown up, and certainly not because of the other grievance of jihadi troglodytes on other issues arising before 9/11.

    There were British lads involved in suicide bombing in Israel, Kashmir, Pakistan, and elsewhere BEFORE the Iraq war. A rigourous and robust critique of the moral logic of these people has to be formulated.

  56. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

    I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor… and surviving

  57. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    =>”At that point you’re not really examining with honesty the internal dynamics of the death cult”

    That’s basically what this whole thing is. You have a bunch of people contradicting the basic principles of Islam — yet acting in its name — so they’ve adopted a “make it up as you go along” approach to religion. I believe the non-canonical concept of “taqfeeri” (sp ?) is also involved — where Muslims decide who is and who is not a Muslim and, if they decide the latter, use this as justification to kill fellow-Muslims.

    I said this in post #51 — surely there must be suitable teachings in orthodox Islam jurisprudence regarding those who conduct warfare in the name of Islam yet violate the very principles they are claiming to be defending ?

    AQ’s actions should be creating global outrage amongst the worldwide Islamic community — that a group of heretics have created a cult, claimed that it is “Islam”, and are wreaking havoc worldwide.

    We all know about the “rage” against FP etc, and how this is used to justify the behaviour of terrorists and those who support their actions. Where is the “rage” against AQ ? Why aren’t thousands (millions ?) of Muslims, particularly out here in the West, publicly burning effiges of OBL and holding placards threatening his life for violating Islam ? Why aren’t there videos & “martyrdom tapes” of jihadis threatening to kill OBL for his actions ? Where are the “homegrown jihadis” wishing to travel overseas in order to hunt him down ?

    If there is such “rage” against FP, where is the rage against OBL & AQ ? Where is the “rage” against all the Muslims who are being killed by other Muslims ?

  58. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:42 pm  

    ^^^I’m playing Devil’s Advocate in the last 2 paragraphs, of course.

    =>”where Muslims decide who is and who is not a Muslim and, if they decide the latter, use this as justification to kill fellow-Muslims.”

    This is also a description of what I believe is an obscure religious principle which OBL and others of the same mindset use to justify their actions. By no means am I saying that this is widespread amongst the rest of the global Muslim community (including those in the UK) or that it is condoned by mainstream Islamic scholars and clerics. Just to make that clear.

  59. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    Dumb. What’s FP?

  60. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:52 pm  

    FP = Foreign Policy.

  61. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 6:58 pm  

    When you actively disregard and argue against the discussions which involve looking at the many different possible explanations that lead to the radicalisation of men leading to the commiting of terrorist acts, as you did on Samira Ahmed’s thread,

    Simple response: I wasn’t. To quote what I actually wrote:

    I don’t think that misogyny is enough of a factor, or “crucial” enough, in the creation of suicide bombers, at least not to the extent that it warrants substantially more coverage in the media…But, it’s clearly part of a trend amongst Western journalists who attempt to uncover the roots of radicalisation and terrorism that they will play up the role of different psychological factors in order to understand the phenomenom. Yes, these factors are oftentimes relevant, but this concentration on specific personality traits always comes at the expense of an analysis of the role that perception of Western foreign policy plays.

    As you can see my criticisms were very specific. You describe what I wrote in such absolutist terms, but that is to fundamentally misunderstand the point I was making

    when you actually stated that to even discuss these things was an assertion of neo-con, neo-imperialist thinking,

    I didn’t quite say that. I was claiming that the type of argument that someone called Caliban was pedaling might have been more effective at a certain point in time (which I characterised as the peak of neo-con/imperialist hubris), but that it no longer looked quite so plausible.

    you discount all of those factors, and effectively say that the phenomenon is purely external, that the actors have no agency, that the self creating, self perpetuating ideology that may or may not be activated by grievances perceived or real is not a factor that comes into play.

    I might be effectively saying that if I hadn’t said that I rejected that kind of thinking (see the quote above). This is why I call FP the chief motivating factor and not the only motivating factor.

    At that point you’re not really examining with honesty the internal dynamics of the death cult, you’re just restating the self-justifying jihadist logic – we kill because we have grievances – we decide what the grievances are, and we decide who we kill in retribution for those grievances.
    Just as it is easy to say that external factors like the Iraq war have not had an aggravating effect on the situation, thus falling into a line that accepts the ‘Harry’s Place/Pro War’ narrative without critique, so is it easy to do the same for the narrative of the jihadis. The Iraq war should be opposed for reasons that it is wrong, not because of the threat that we might be blown up, and certainly not because of the other grievance of jihadi troglodytes on other issues arising before 9/11.

    Again, that’s not what I argue at all. If you can find anywhere where I make this claim then I’d be impressed. I’m in agreement with Chomsky when he says:

    “[Those who want to reduce the threat of terror] will also distinguish carefully between the terrorist networks themselves and the larger community that provides a reservoir from which radical terrorist cells can sometimes draw. That community includes the poor and oppressed, who are of no concern to the terrorist groups and suffer from the crimes, as well as the wealthy and secular elements, who are bitter about US policies and quietly express support for bin laden, whom they detest and fear, as “the conscience of Islam” because at least he reacts to these policies, even if in horrifying and disastrous ways.”

    There were British lads involved in suicide bombing in Israel, Kashmir, Pakistan, and elsewhere BEFORE the Iraq war. A rigourous and robust critique of the moral logic of these people has to be formulated.

    Maybe I’ve made my position unclear before but for me morally, at least, there’s no controversy. Taking the life of an innocent civilian is wrong, and Bin Laden and his followers are mass murderers plain and simple. That judgement stands whether it’s from an Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, agnostic and atheist perspective.

  62. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

    That judgement stands whether it’s from an Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, agnostic *or* atheist perspective.

  63. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:08 pm  

    “I was claiming that the type of argument that someone called Caliban was pedaling might have been more effective at a certain point in time”

    ooh you’ve just given me an idea. I’m going to waste the next few months of my life writing yet another clumsy stab at a novel by constructing a pastiche based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where an innocent, naturally good person gets led astray by dark forces.

    I’m going to call it Caliban the Taliban

    I’ll be back in three months to blame you for ruining my life Anas ;-)

  64. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:11 pm  

    Looks like Muslims and Jews can work together on something after all.

  65. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    Yes, these factors are oftentimes relevant, but this concentration on specific personality traits always comes at the expense of an analysis of the role that perception of Western foreign policy plays.

    You are saying that such an analysis ‘always’ means an either/or discourse is propounded. That is not true. You are stigmatising even the proposing of such an analysis as motivated by a desire to discount foreign policy as the primary motivating factor – that to even raise this is ‘always’ for one reason only. That is an absolutist statement in itself.

    I was claiming that the type of argument that someone called Caliban was pedaling might have been more effective at a certain point in time (which I characterised as the peak of neo-con/imperialist hubris), but that it no longer looked quite so plausible.

    Effective for what? Caliban’s points have nothing whatsoever to do with neo-con/imperialist hubris. he is merely stating what I and others say, that an analysis that states FP is the sole motivating factor is untenable. Elsewhere in the thread you directly address Samira Ahmed herself and reprimand her for examining other issues regarding the internal dynamics of the motivations. Now you state yourself that you accept the internal composition of Islamist terrorism accords with an extremist self justfying hatred in search of an excuse, but it is only a matter of degree and a disagreement over proportion and perspective, so I ask, why contextualise the raising of these issues under the rubric of an attempt to lessen criticism of the Iraq war, for example?

    I can say one thing — positioning yourself as explaining why they are motivated to do what they do does not really explain your defensivness when emphasising and offering a rigourous critique of the ideological crisis with Muslim thinking that produces this. After all, it is an incredible kind of logic that jumps from having views on foreign policy to blowing up innocent people in London or anywhere else, to assuage the ‘grievance’ you feel, isnt it? The tipping point is not solely from the outside, although it may aggravate the situation in matters like the Iraq war, because British men have been carrying out suicide bombing for years before the Iraq war, and there is even evidence that they were involved in this movement before 9/11.

  66. sabinaahmed — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

    What I really find annoying is we keep hearing that the majority of Muslims are peace loving and decent, which no doubt they are.And that it is the minority who commit voilence.Why then the majority dont come out and protest and condemn all the voilence which is carried out in their name? Not only here but in most of the Muslim countries. Shias ans Sunnies killing each other in Pakistan,Iraq,Jordan and other places.
    The protest against the cartoons was so loud, but no one condemed the murder of a nun which was a direct result of that protest.
    Unless Muslims stop killing each other,and protesting as loudly when a Christian/Hindu/Jew is killed by someone of their faith ,they will never gain the trust and the respect of the world.And it is the demonising and isolation which is making them angrier.
    By the way,have just been watching the AlJazera news and current affairs programme. They had the Israeli prime minster answering questions sent by viewers, and they want ideas as to who should be a future guest.Any ideas?

  67. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:19 pm  

    Borat!

  68. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:20 pm  

    Oops, the link didn’t come up:

    Looks like Muslims and Jews can work together on something after all:

    http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/11/09/jews_muslims_join_to_fight_gay_parade/

  69. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:23 pm  

    Charming! Great to see intolerant strands of Islam and judaism get together against the common enemy: the GAY!! Maybe Bush and the republicans along with Saddam will come as well.

  70. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:27 pm  

    Good old homophobia unting the wankers of the world. The fascists and the fundos should get together and go bowling…

  71. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

    “go bowling…”

    He He !!!!

    Fred Flintstone and all. My precious bunch of Trilobites hanging out, bashing gays. What a picnic that would make.

  72. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    You are saying that such an analysis ‘always’ means an either/or discourse is propounded. That is not true. You are stigmatising even the proposing of such an analysis as motivated by a desire to discount foreign policy as the primary motivating factor – that to even raise this is ‘always’ for one reason only. That is an absolutist statement in itself.

    I was referring to an analysis that I had characterised as being part of a trend of playing up the role of different psychological factors; and obviously if you’re playing up psychological factors, that means you’re going to downplay other factors. Plus, I wasn’t making reference to any desire on the part of those carrying out such an analysis, but only its result. In hindsight, maybe I should have changed that ‘always’ to ‘mostly’.

    Effective for what?

    Effective as an argument. I was referring implicitly to all the leaked intelligence reports here pointing to the effect of the Iraq war in terms of radicalising Muslims here.

    so I ask, why contextualise the raising of these issues under the rubric of an attempt to lessen criticism of the Iraq war, for example?

    Are you claiming I’m painting critics of my position as pro-war? Well, a lot of them are, I think that’s fairly clear. Some of them are anti-war. I don’t think I’ve ever claimed otherwise.

    I can say one thing — positioning yourself as explaining why they are motivated to do what they do does not really explain your defensivness when emphasising and offering a rigourous critique of the ideological crisis with Muslim thinking that produces this

    I’ll tell you what does maybe explain it, my anger at Western FP. I see the radicalisation of Muslim youth, and their subsequent exploitation by jihadists as a fairly predictable consequence of these measures — and I’m adamant about that. I think it’s one of the reasons why we need an ethical FP — the chief one being obviously that it’s ethical, but that kind of soppy thinking doesn’t usually wash for a lot of people. Maybe you see that as an attempt to absolve militants of responsibilty for their crimes, just as some conservatives see any attempt to link crime to poverty and deprivation as such, but that’s your lookout. Maybe you see some residue of sympathy for those militants, well as far as I’m consciously aware of it, I have none.

  73. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

    But the radicalisation of Muslim youth was taking place before the Iraq war, that was why Muslim youths from Derby and Hounslow went to Tel Aviv to blow themselves up outside a nightclub to kill Jews in Israel, it is why before 9/11 extremism was widespread, it is why before the Iraq war Muslims were radicalised in many ways including participating in suicide bombs. Your explanation is half cocked. You are in denial about the internal factors and agents that brainwash and disseminate a death cult ideology and have been doing so regardless of what foreign policy is being implemented.

  74. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

    OK, Jagdeep finally we get to the point where I repeat that FP was an issue well before Iraq.

  75. Don — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:56 pm  

    ‘why we need an ethical FP’

    Of course we do, but what constitutes an ethical FP to you or I need not be seen as such by extremists.

    By the way, the number of times you have condemned terrorism and stated that FP is one aspect among many is by now in at least double figures. Maybe if you set it to music people would catch on.

  76. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:57 pm  

    Jagdeep, the only point I can make is that while I can’t argue with you saying they were always going to target America and Israel, I can promise you they wouldn’t have struck Britain if we hadn’t gone to war

    People I know who still live in the subcontinent used to love Great Britain before the invasion

  77. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 7:59 pm  

    By the way, the number of times you have condemned terrorism and stated that FP is one aspect among many is by now in at least double figures. Maybe if you set it to music people would catch on.

    Lucky I’ve got such a good sense of humour, then. Isn’t it?

  78. El Cid — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:06 pm  

    A-hah Kismet,
    There is the rub.
    Does Britain just stay on the sidelines while the US and Israel is attacked, on does it stand shoulder to shoulder with the aforementioned?
    Thing is, Britain before Bush wouldn’t have been Britain if it hadn’t, now would it?
    So how much did they really love GB?

  79. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:07 pm  

    Anas you don’t address the ideology that transforms an objection to foreign policy into a motivation for carrying out terrorist acts – on that there is only silence.

    Unless you are going to offer a critique of the need for an ‘ethical’ stance on opposition to what you think is an ‘unethical foreign policy’ you’re going to continue being half cocked. Basically you are not even challenging the underlying assumption that says that it is alright to kill people because of ‘foreign policy’, even when I point out that this extremism was fomenting before the Iraq war. You contradict yourself — it is foreign policy that makes terrorists, but even before that foreign policy was in place, British Muslims were becoming terrorists. But then there was some other foreign policy that they objected to, and you carry on without even offering a critique of that justification. It is a self justifying, self perpetuating hatred in search of an excuse.

  80. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:15 pm  

    Perhaps it should be considered that in some cases, FP is an excuse (not a genuine reason) for the jihadis looking for some glory and meaning to their lives.

    Domestic example:

    1. Living with your extended family in suburban Luton (or wherever), working in the family business or stuck in some boring 9-5 office job, with an arranged marriage and 2.4 children etc, feeling like a second-class citizen in a country where you think you don’t really fit into the mainstream culture, and where you suspect many of the majority population harbours racist feelings towards you and your community…..

    OR

    2. Holy warrior on a mission for God, allied with a messianic, heroic leader who will be immortalised in the records of history, and who had the courage to face the arrogance of the infidels and “fight for Islam worldwide”, where you’re part of a titanic struggle for control of the planet, and if you die you go straight to Paradise.

    See what I mean ? Option 2 gives Zaf from Luton a chance to throw off his boring British Asian Muslim life and get involved in something he regards as “real” and “important”. Guts, glory, grandeur, being a part of history etc etc. Also payback for all those times he felt rejected by Western society (rightly or wrongly) and an outcaste/misfit within mainstream Western culture, and in some cases probably revenge for the colonial period too (in the case of attacks against/within the UK).

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:18 pm  

    El Cid, Great Britain should have done what Great Britain do best. Realise a specific organisation was targeting Israelis & Americans and told both countries that going to war in a place where that specific organisation didn’t have a stronghold would create far bigger organisations everywhere else. That’s what’s known commonly as ‘intelligence’. Then they’d send in James Bond

  82. Jai — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:23 pm  

    =>”But then there was some other foreign policy that they objected to, and you carry on without even offering a critique of that justification.”

    Exactly. How far back do you want to go ? The formation of Israel ? The bloodshed during the Partition of India & Pakistan ? The collapse of the Ottaman Empire ? The opportunistic expansion of the East India Company after the collapse of Mughal power ? The loss of Andalucia ? The Crusades ?

    How many “crimes against Islam and the Ummah” that you can claim the West has been involved with ? You can assert grievances against “Western Foreign Policy” for the last 1000 years if you wanted to (and OBL certainly does).

    I’m telling you, I knew of Muslims at university way back from the early 90s onwards who wanted to wage jihad against Britain and the West (and turn the UK into an Islamic state) because a) they felt like misfits within Western society, and b) they wanted revenge against Britain for the colonial period and for all the racism they had experienced in Britain themselves.

    How far back do you want to go ?

    Consider that “FP” may just be an excuse for many such people. It probably also gives some meaning to their lives, as discussed in post #80.

  83. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:23 pm  

    You contradict yourself — it is foreign policy that makes terrorists, but even before that foreign policy was in place, British Muslims were becoming terrorists.

    US+UK foreign policy pre-Iraq was broadly speaking to arm and fund repressive totalitarian regimes across the Islamic world (e.g., Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, IRAQ(!!!!!)), and to support, arm and fund(at least in the case of the US) Israel which was and is occupying a Muslim country and terrorizing its population. And then of course there were the effects of sanctions against the Iraqis after the war(a million dead mostly children). OBL knew how these themes were playing out in the Muslim world, that’s why he referenced them in his speeches prior to the Iraq war.

    I agree with Kismet above, the UK wasn’t so much the focus for the anger of the Islamic world, pre-Iraq, and yes, it has become much more of a target because of it.

    And no, foreign policy does not MAKE terrorists.

    Finally, how many times do I have to point out that it’s NOT alright to kill innocent people because of FP before Jagdeep finally deigns to believe me.

  84. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    When do I get the award for having a part in derailing the most threads on PP?

  85. soru — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:31 pm  

    an analysis that states FP is the sole motivating factor is untenable.

    This is pretty self-evidently true, given that this country has had a foreign policy towards the Islamic world since approximately the reign of Richard the Lionheart, and Robin Hood didn’t feature any suicide bombers last time I watched it.

    I think talking about ‘foreign policy’ as an abstract noun is always misleading. Say what you mean, what country you are talking about, which particular action you morally object to, which you think is particularly helping recruitment to which specific group, what the specific agenda and strategy of that group is, maybe even what should be done instead, and why that would be better.

    Otherwise you are just saying something that bin Laden, Blair and Galloway would probably all agree with. If noone would disagree with what you say, you are saying nothing.

  86. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:34 pm  

    “When do I get the award for having a part in derailing the most threads on PP?”

    May the best man win ;-)

  87. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:37 pm  

    This thread was supposed to be about how shit tony blair is.

  88. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:39 pm  

    Tony Blair’s shit. Like Bush, he’ll be soon forgotten and seem irrelevant. Joy

  89. Chairwoman — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:42 pm  

    Why would Israel want America to go to war in Iraq?

  90. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:46 pm  

    Tony Blair’s shit. Like Bush, he’ll be soon forgotten and seem irrelevant. Joy

    The mess those two bastards made won’t be forgotten so easily sadly.

  91. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:48 pm  

    If you say you dont think killing people because of forign policy is OK I believe you Anas. Trust me, I do. 100%. I am not accusing you of believing that. It’s just that there are some things that I want to discuss and consider as the sparks fly off the discussion.

    Here is my stance. The Iraq war was morally wrong and has contributed to the aggravating factors for extremist activity in the UK. However, the extremist seeds had already been activated to a lesser degree prior to Iraq and even prior to 9/11, and these seeds were violent and menacing to the lives of people. I believe in conjunction with a rigourous condemnation of Britain’s policy over Iraq, we need a strong critique of the actual ideological roots of Islamic extremism, otherwise we are not getting to grips with why some Muslims are turning towards that route to express their frustrations.

    Because at times it seems to me that as soru describes it, ‘foreign policy’ as an abstract noun is more a proxy word for a plethora of existential dilemmas that afflict the minds of Islamist extremists, which use genuine grievance as smokescreens and expressions for their crimes.

    What is lacking is the critique of the internalised ideology that converts generalised discontent with ‘foreign policy’ into a movement to carry out terrorist acts against innocents.

  92. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:48 pm  

    Doesn’t Omar Bakri look a bit like a koala bear?

  93. Anas — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:52 pm  

    we need a strong critique of the actual ideological roots of Islamic extremism

    Other than that when it justifies terrorism and violence against civilians it is utterly immoral and dangerous, and in that respect utterly condemmed by mainstream Islamic authorities?

  94. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 8:59 pm  

    Well yes, we know that — the critique on moral, ethical, religious and even political grounds as to why the conflation of Muslim grievance with an ideology that posits Islam engaged in a millenarian religious war is wrong and abject.

  95. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:05 pm  

    All I want for christmas is a thesaurus :-(

    You make me want to be a better man Jagdeep

  96. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:07 pm  

    Dont tell anyone about this site Kismet:

    http://badpuns.com

    Just for you.

  97. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:10 pm  
  98. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:10 pm  

    You are officially my superman. I’m glad we’re kept apart by this screen because I fear if I you were to gaze unto you, I may just gay back at you

  99. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:12 pm  

    Ah bollocks. Nothing like a typo to fuck up a quip. You get the idea. But thanks. Really. I’m gonna pun porn all night. Where’s that box of kleenex?

  100. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:13 pm  

    punliners. Ha ha ha ha ha

  101. Jagdeep — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:13 pm  

    All the pun porn for you to practise punnilingus with.

  102. El Cid — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:18 pm  

    good grief

  103. Sahil — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:19 pm  

    My 7 dorks, please stop !!! :)

  104. Kismet Hardy — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:20 pm  

    sorry el cid. or should I say hell seed? sorry

  105. El Cid — on 15th November, 2006 at 9:25 pm  

    are you taking the piss out of my mum’s accent? :)

  106. Russian089 — on 15th November, 2006 at 11:50 pm  

    Anas.. you keep repeating that you consider FP the main tool for recruiting terrorists.

    Well the involvement in Afghanistan is also FP – are you against this as well and do you simply prefer the taleban to rule the place instead?.

    Certainly you also see and hear OBL refer to afghanistan when inciting hatred towards the west.

  107. Anas — on 16th November, 2006 at 12:26 am  

    From what I hear, we’re pretty close to actually doing a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan at the moment.

  108. dogbrain — on 16th November, 2006 at 1:35 am  

    tony blair is not to blame

    3 million asians (a sizeable portion of the population) and most of the coconuts on this website not only elected but reelected blair

    asians fall into two categories

    the vast majority who didnt even care about iraq coz it didnt affect there bmws, and reelected blair coz of the excellent state of the economy; and a few extremists who wanted to punish britain and its voters INCLUDING their fellow blair-voting asians; they support 7/7.

    maybe 7/7 was necessary to create the backlash from the government against asians to finally get asians to get involved in the political issues and hopefully help to elect a more pacific government at the next election

    so both blair and 7/7 have been good for finally bringing an iota of political consciousness (and conscience? or is that expecting too much from asians) to the normally selfserving not-given-to-much solidarity apolitical asian community at large.

  109. Nick — on 16th November, 2006 at 7:45 am  

    Coming into the debate late in the day but… does anyone know what the situation vis-a-vis FoS and civil liberties is in the US and France? Personally I am very much for the adoption of a US-style constitution that, without going into Euro-style windbaggery, guarrantees FoS etc. My point is – if the Americans seem to get along well enough WITH FoS etc, why can’t we?!

    Also – as for blame… well its a semantic issue really, isn’t it Sunny?

  110. lone star — on 16th November, 2006 at 8:33 am  

    This is one of the best posts I have ever seen.
    But can you blame one man for everything? I don’t know enough about the FOI to comment on that part of the topic, but I think the warnings listed were ignored by everyone, and everyone will suffer.
    I blame the media for alot of the problems we are facing by focusing so much on all the bad parts while not giving a voice to the other side, like some suspense thriller. Before 9/11 I can’t remember ever thinking about Islam even once, there were problems that were ignored. Now I see it everyday … all bad. People started adding to that on their own, increasing the fear, I see hateful anti-Islam blogs everywhere now, and most of what they say is unimformed one sided truth. I have searched blogs from muslims in the middle east and else where …as of yet none I have seen call for the destruction of democracy, and none of them support terrorism or extremists, in fact ones from pakistan are the most against it, but they do ask us to stop, because you can not bomb an idea. I think the answer lies in someone either realizing or excepting the fact that what we are all doing is only making it worse, and try something else, which does not mean give in or ignore the problem again. dogbrain makes a good point … though the middle eastern blogs are ok, a few British Islamic fourms are a different story …. not with the people yet but with the teachers …. they can’t wait for Blair to go, one is calling all to vote for labor, cause they are a weak stupid party, They say it’s their foot in the door of politics….. is that a new warning that will be ignored?

  111. Rav — on 16th November, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

    dogbrain

    Please don’t talk about ‘Asians’ when you are discussing the categories of peopel who supported Blair and who might have ‘supported’ 7/7. You mean Muslims becuase NO SIKH OR HINDU SUPPORTED 7/7.

    OK? The rest of your post is pathetic facile nonsense. oh maybe terrorist bombings had a good ending because it made Muslim more political oh wow goody gumdrops lets blow up more innocent people.

    Do you understand? Dont use the word ‘Asian’ if you are going to type CRAP like that. Speak for Muslims but dont include Sikhs or Hindus in that kind of bool sheet analysis.

  112. Anas — on 16th November, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    lol. If you are going to type crap make sure not to include Sikhs and Hindus in that, just Muslims.

  113. Rav — on 16th November, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    Well people can type crap but when it comes to talking crap about suicide bombing and support for that amongst ‘Asians’ the fool who types it needs to be corrected sharpish!!!!

  114. Isaa — on 16th November, 2006 at 4:13 pm  
  115. Cheetah — on 16th November, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

    Just under 80% of Muslims polled see the current situation in Palestine a cause for radicalization in the UK.

    Hooray! Let radicalisation on the streets of Britain caused by a dispute thousands of miles away begin! As a non Muslim I am personally feeling myself getting radicalised by Muslim atrocities and oppressiveness around the world. Do I have your sympathy, people?

  116. Jai — on 16th November, 2006 at 5:59 pm  

    =>”3 million asians (a sizeable portion of the population)”

    That’s quite an exaggeration — at the last count, there were a little over 2 million Asians in Britain, not 3.

    And 2 million people does not constitute a “sizeable portion” of the total British population of 60+ million.

    This reminds me a little of the way some armchair-jihadi/khilafat types keep increasing the alleged number of Muslims in Britain and worldwide every time they talk about some issue relating to them. The figures seem to rapidly increase exponentially !

  117. William — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

    Jagdeep

    Thanks for making so many good points

    It’s refreshing to read posts that recognise that we are dealing with a complex composite of conditions for what’s going on with all this. It is not just FP
    or religion it is also the minds and perceptions of people.

    by the way

    Because at times it seems to me that as soru describes it, ‘foreign policy’ as an abstract noun is more a proxy word for a plethora of existential dilemmas that afflict the minds of Islamist extremists, which use genuine grievance as smokescreens and expressions for their crimes.

    I don’t know how close this is to what you say but could it be said that it is easy to scapegoat a genuine culprit.

    Perhaps we should have a debate that disusses the fine points of when it is right to kill or not. FP? what FP.

  118. William — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    Jagdeep

    I forgot to say I saw the roots of Al-Qaeda programme. If OBL wants to stoke a fire then we have fallen right into his trap.

    also when you say

    (Hypothetical example) Imagine if I continuously needled you, to the point where you eventually snapped and retaliated, and I then used your reaction as alleged vindication of my assertion that “Anas has always been prejudiced against me, and now his aggression towards me proves my point”. Etc etc.

    Good point.

    I don’t know much about psychiatry etc but this is sometimes the double bind of the psychopath. Make enemies to fight.

  119. Chairwoman — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:15 pm  

    Sunny – Why should Israel negotiate with an organisation that says it is dedicted to its destruction? What an assinine statement. And frankly it is none of Tony Blair’s business who Israel negotiates with. Nor is it yours, or Anas’s or mine. And do you know why? It is because we neither live, nor vote, nor pay taxes in Israel.

    Frankly I’ve had enough of the one-sidedness that this blog has recently assumed, with some notable exceptions. While I personally feel the way some Islamic states conduct their affairs, both foreign and internal is ‘regretable’, I reserve the right to criticise, which I will do without threats of violence, but that is the limit of my influence. Change can only come from within. There is no justification for action against either the citizens or government of this country, because of the actions of a foreign state. It shouldn’t even be considered. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of British history and/politics will be aware that this country always hedges its bets and supports both sides. It always will do, because that’s at what the British are best, hypocrisy.

    Certainly the erosion of civil liberties and the curtailment of freedom of speech have absolutely nothing to do with Muslims or with Israel. What point were you trying to make? There are three seperate issues here, only one of which has any real relevence to people living in the UK, Anas excepted.

  120. Jai — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:18 pm  

    William buddy,

    I’m not sure about #117, but the quotes from #118 were by me, not our friend Jagdeep (who has also made some superb points, of course) ;)

    I said on the other thread too that, no doubt in many cases, the current conflict probably gives the jihadis concerned some “meaning” in their lives.

  121. Chairwoman — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    Jai – This is not like me, but my dander is up, sod the Jihadis.

  122. William — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Sorry Jai

    You made good points then

    In these long threads I copy then forget were I got it from.

  123. Refresh — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    Rav too bloody right.

    But Anas is correct too to point out that the fool has no right to offer it as a muslim viewpoint. Surely Sunny amplifies that point in the header. Why should Dogbrain be given the ‘authority’ to have spoken for muslims let alone Asians?

    He does not speak for them. I wonder if he really is one himself.

  124. pounce — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    Oh give it a rest. Until the Muslims (And I was born a Muslim) stop playing the victim card and actually start accepting that a lot of the blame they are getting (and have been getting) is because they cannot clean their own house.
    You bitch about everything and say you are unable to sort out the idiots amongst the faithful. Yet if anybody else tries to sort out your mess then they are Racists.
    (Yeah right, how many Muslim girls do you see dating a non muslim (never mind a black man). Denial isn’t a river in Eygpt. Once you accept that there are idiots out there who pander to the dream of a mythological Islamic state which will solve all the worlds’ problem and expose them for the religious bigots they are. Then the sooner this planet can move on to a better world.

  125. Refresh — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    Sunny – this your best item to date.

    Anas, Jagdeep is in denial and you will not shake him. Its how he entered the fray in the long and distant past of about 2 months ago.

  126. Jai — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    No problem, William — and thanks for your positive response to my earlier comments.

    Like I’ve said a couple of times before on PP, I think that some of these extremists need a decent psychiatrist. And some anger-management therapy.

  127. Jai — on 16th November, 2006 at 6:56 pm  

    Come to think of it, the anger-management suggestion was actually by Jagdeep, but I fully agree with it.

  128. El Cid — on 16th November, 2006 at 7:12 pm  

    HELLLLOOOOOO? He’s going anyway, sooonish enough

  129. Jagdeep — on 16th November, 2006 at 10:37 pm  

    Hi Refresh!

    *blows kiss at Refresh*

    Cheers William, I like your posts too.

  130. Refresh — on 16th November, 2006 at 11:53 pm  

    Jagdeep the last time I got blown a kiss, I was also offered an expensive meal.

    I have a few free evenings.

  131. Refresh — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:20 am  

    Denial Vs. Truth and Reconciliation:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1950245,00.html

    A tale of a corrupt cause and a noble people.

  132. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 8:55 am  

    Well there’s an obviously impartial author.

  133. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 8:58 am  

    That was my last comment on this issue. I will leave the Israel/Palestine issue to the rest of you.

  134. Kismet Hardy — on 17th November, 2006 at 9:28 am  

    I think some of the problem might have something to do with the israel and palestine conflict

  135. Kismet Hardy — on 17th November, 2006 at 9:29 am  

    Or as I like to call it ‘the middle east crisis’

  136. Jai — on 17th November, 2006 at 9:54 am  

    Refresh,

    Are you a dude or a dudette ?

  137. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

    Chairwoman, excellent post # 119!

  138. Katy — on 17th November, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    You want to stop terrorism? Then work to get rid of Tony Blair

    I’m no fan of Tony Blair, but who exactly do you plan to replace him with? The Americans might be happy to elect a party whose platform consists entirely of “We can’t possibly be any worse than the current regime”, but I like opposition parties which have identifiable principles and policies, thanks.

  139. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 1:37 pm  

    Refresh that was a truly excellent article. Unfortunately it’s not only Israeli intellectuals who are complicit in the ongoing disaster and terrorisation of the Palestinian people. I wish the Israelis (and its two largest allies) would allow the Palestinians some of the basic respects Chairwoman is so adamant we should all accord the Israelis.

    I’ll get a lot of flak for saying this, but given that the footage of what is currently ensuing in Gaza is receiving a lot of coverage in the Arab and Muslim media (the Guardian’s article on the English Al-J channel claimed it gave heavy coverage to Gaza on its first day), what is now happening in I/P will be a large factor in the radicalisation of a lot of Muslims. And that’s largely because most of the rest of the world is standing by (including the leadership of other Arab nations) and letting it happen.

  140. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

    Anas, you won’t get flack for saying that. Muslims can be as radicalised as they want about Israel and Palestine. But if they blow themselves up on buses, trains, planes and cite that as an excuse for their evil, then those who play along with that rhetoric (oh the poor loves, they just couldnt help themselves!) and their advocates will get a lot of flack, and desevedly so.

  141. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    Yes, I agree Jagdeep. But the same should be said for apologists of state terrorism too; those who excuse some of the evil that is going on or has gone on in this world by, for example, arguing that the states that perpetrate or fund and arm these actions are democratic, or by spurious calls to security.

  142. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Oh good Anas, you agree, well done. I was just about to write a post explaining the mechanics of the justification for terrorism and collective guilt that your post exemplifies, but seeing as you have stated that you agree with me, then that’s marvellous.

  143. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    Phew, what a close shave.

  144. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    Anas – Democracy only means that the government was elected. It is no indication that said government will act any more sensibly than an imposed one.

    Have you had a look at the UK lately. And I am not talking about FP. I am talking about the NHS, if you visit my site, you will read about my trials and tribulations with that august organisation. I’m talking about education, Mr Blair obviously took ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ seriously. I’m talking about indirect taxation.

    This government is a failure. It failed to bring in any policies that would benefit the man in the street, while failing to do anything that would encourage real economic growth. Gordon Brown deals with the economy like people deal with their credit cards, he just moves things around, but never actually resolves anything.

    A failure in every way I can imagine. And a bitter disappointment to boot.

    Certainly we should be getting rid of and blaming Mr Blair, but the radicalisation of Muslims is almost the least of his sins.

  145. Kismet Hardy — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    “Phew, what a close shave”

    Jagdeep, the best a man can get

  146. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    Democracy only means that the government was elected. It is no indication that said government will act any more sensibly than an imposed one.

    My point exactly!

    Certainly we should be getting rid of and blaming Mr Blair, but the radicalisation of Muslims is almost the least of his sins.

    I think the Iraq war probably fits that bill.

  147. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:13 pm  

    Jagdeep – Just seen your #137. Thank you :-)

  148. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:23 pm  

    Anyone see Newsnight’s much hyped-up expose of al-Qaida last night? Much of it was uninteresting but it did make two very important claims. One was in its portrayal of the extent of the British authorities’ laissez faire attitude to Abu-Qatada and other British based militants. But even more shocking than that was this — well, shocking to an extent: anti-torture campaigners and human rights activists have been pointing it out for ages.

  149. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

    #146 OOps, I mean, the Iraqi war is the greatest of his sins.

  150. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    #148 I’m being very elliptical today, I mean:
    anti-torture campaigners and human rights activists have been pointing out for ages that information given under torture can be extremely unreliable and untrustworthy.

  151. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

    Do you ever feel that banging your head against a wall for half an hour would make about as much sense as anything else that’s happening in the world today?

    Or is it just me?

  152. Kismet Hardy — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

    Don’t bang your head, silly. Find a tiny little crack in the wall and slip your cock in (you can borrow mine chairy). it helps if you get plastered first

  153. Jai — on 17th November, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

    =>” But even more shocking than that was this ”

    Which is exactly what William and I were talking about earlier, regarding that programme on E4 a few days ago. The whole thing’s been a calculated trap.

    However, it places a different spin on the notion that the UK & the US fabricated motivations to invade Iraq, if their actions were — at least in part — actually driven by “fake evidence” planted deliberately by Al-Qaeda to provke an invasion. Doesn’t it ?

  154. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

    Kismet – The Chairman used to say that some men would do it with a jam jar full of wet bread (sorry everybody, and particularly Katy), but I think your suggestion would have completely baffled him!

  155. Jai — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    Katy no doubt thinks she’s wondered into an online “Twilight Zone” version of Absolutely Fabulous or Meet the Fockers…..

  156. sonia — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    now good points in your post Sunny.

    “welcome to the machine” that is the nation-state.

    of course you’re right when you say that the nation-state has the power to take away your rights – to free speech – and of course – other rights – such as right to a fair trial. And any other right.

    Getting rid of Tony Blair may seem like an option – but in the long run – it hardly makes a difference does it? whoever else will be in ‘charge’ of the nation-state will be able to be up to the same old sort of thing. as far as i can see – therein lies the real problem – we’ve got such a fucked up understanding of governance of our form of social organization – that too much power lies in the hands of a few – they can take away the rights of the rest of us – in the name of nationalism – in the name of the nation-state.

    and we call it a democracy!

    how amusing. *chortle chortle* if that ain’t the problem then hell i don’t know what is.

  157. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    Even the program last night had it that there were voices in the British/American intelligence services who were questioning the value of the information that had been extracted. But obviously the search was on at that time for any availabe pretext no matter how dubious as part of a pre-determined strategy to attack Iraq in order to fulfil wider geo-political aims. In other words, Bush and Blair were very open to having the wool pulled over their eyes, in that sense you could almost say they were colluding with the militants. Therefore I don’t know how much of a trap it was.

  158. sonia — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:13 pm  

    yeah the democratic element simply seems to be in the ‘elect’ part – you know – elect yourself a virtual dictator . it’s like hiring someone for a job and a) not having any say in what the hell they actually do in the job and b) not being able to sack ‘em when it’s obvious that they lied about everything they said they were going to do and instead of sticking to the job description, are doing something completely different.

    it’s only in the context of the nation and government that this appears acceptable – normally – it would be seen to be completely ludicrous.

    i’m sorry – but that is the CRUX OF the matter. we can argue about everything else till the cows come home..

  159. sonia — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

    and we won’t get anywhere. so till we get our heads out of the sand and realize we have incredibly fucked up systems of governance we give the grand name of Government – we may as well just get stoned and dance around and be completely apolitical. cos it ain’t gonna make a SHIT bit of difference. x will get into power and do the same thing. y will get into power and do the same thing. z will get into power and do the same thing.

    ?! see any patterns folks??!

  160. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    I personally love the fact that Chairwoman and Katy have such a mature and loving relationship — they seem more like sisters in that they can crack risque jokes without blushing. There is no way that I could relax like that with my parents who are typical Indians in that they don’t like bawdy humour. Even today if people start kissing on screen when we’re watching TV I feel ashamed. Although I have a funny tale to tell you. Once my friend was typing in the channel on the remote control for a Punjabi radio station so that his grandfather good listen to religious music, and by accident he typed one digit wrong, and got onto one of the XXX channels showing the ten minute preview of Hot Lesbian Housewives – Full Hardcore Action.

    So be extra carful with your Sky remote control, guys.

  161. sonia — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:19 pm  

    and the big fat dystopic nihilist in me says – i can’t see any bright easy solutions. i daresay neither can anyone else. admitting that we can’t is still a step up than pretending that the underlying system is fine, and that some personality x is the problem, and that party y will solve it, if we had policy z in place.

  162. sonia — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    “I personally love the fact that Chairwoman and Katy have such a mature and loving relationship — they seem more like sisters in that they can crack risque jokes without blushing.”

    yeah Chairwoman and Katy rock!

  163. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

    lol, Jagdeep.

  164. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:23 pm  

    For interests sake what was the channel number, so that I know to avoid it?

  165. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

    Jagdeep – it only goes so far. If anything that Harry Enfield called ‘conjugal unpleasantness’ appears on the television, we both cover our eyes and scream ‘No, no!’ while frantically searching for the remote and blushing.

    How did Punjabi grandpa react to the Full Hardcore action? Jewish grandpa would have expressed disgust, turned away, but wouldn’t have been able to resist a little peek.

  166. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:27 pm  

    I dunno — although the XXX Horny Dildo Swinging Teen Sluts channels are around the 900 region on Sky last time I checked, uhh, I mean, the last time I accidentally stumbled across them when the wife was asleep.

  167. soru — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

    #150 that seems a strange conclusion to draw from that article, unless you believed that al qaeda members would never ever lie unless they were tortured.

    In general, that gets back to my point about ‘foreign policy’ as an abstract noun. If, as the French guy claims, what AQ wanted was saddam to be deposed, so they could profit from the aftermath, then they could truthfully say ‘foreign policy’ was their motivating factor. Tolerating Saddam, acknowledging him as the ruler of Iraq, was indeed a foreign policy.

    But I don’t think it’s what the average Guardian reader thinks of when they hear the phrase.

  168. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 3:33 pm  

    Chairwoman, Punjabi grandpa had a similar reaction to Jewish grandpa I imagine, although my friend informs me that he recovered the situation quite quickly after realising his faux pas, and may have been able to persuade Punjabi grandpa that the three seconds of activity was actually a Richard Attenborough wildlife programme of the kind that he so enjoys watching —lions fighting chimpanzees, tigers fighting crocodiles, that kind of thing. Plus grandpa had removed his bifocals so it is likely there was significant blurring of the flailing pink and brown arrangements, although I’m not sure the sound effects were as susceptible to explanation in that manner.

  169. Anas — on 17th November, 2006 at 4:48 pm  

    The evidence for #92.

  170. Jai — on 17th November, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    Jagdeep & Chairwoman,

    I recall there being a very funny sketch on “Goodness Gracious Me” about the same thing once — where an Asian family’s sitting around watching TV together, and everyone suddenly starts trying to change the topic and divert everyone else’s attention whenever anything remotely “naughty” appears on TV (including wildlife programmes).

    The whole thing is quite accurate — people immediately diving for the remote control and scrambling to change the channel.

  171. Katy — on 17th November, 2006 at 4:54 pm  

    A word of advice for all you fellow members of matriarchal societies:

    Do not – I repeat – do NOT be in the room with your mother when Channel Four screen either “My Penis and I” or “The World’s Biggest Penis.”

    Listen to me. I am telling you this for your own good.

  172. Kismet Hardy — on 17th November, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

    (frantically looks through TV Times)

  173. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

    Where’s his euculyptus branch?

  174. Jagdeep — on 17th November, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    You’ve been rumbled Kismet, they saw your TV appearances.

  175. William — on 17th November, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    160# 165# 168# 170#
    Jagdeep, Chairwoman, Jai etc

    I think in my family it’s the other way around. My mom and stepdad have even watched porn. Something I
    thoroughly disapprove of. I really should give them
    a good talking to!!!!

  176. miraxx — on 17th November, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Hmmn, porn. Dirty, inevitably german or scandinavian, mags belonging to my brother that my typically indian mum (never told us what our privates were called ) would find ( indian parents are never above snooping around in kids’ rooms)and lock away in somewhere which I found and got off. Easy part: females werent supposed to be sexual. Not really.Feel sorry for my brother who is probably repressed now cause his porno all ‘disappeared’.

  177. Chairwoman — on 17th November, 2006 at 6:40 pm  

    Mirax – Be grateful, a Californian woman of my acquaintance told her daughter to call it her ‘punkie’! Surely no name is better than that.

  178. miraxx — on 17th November, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    punkie sounds quite sassy; having no name is definitely worse. My sisters’ made up a word that means happiness – sort of – khush- for their daughters’.

  179. Refresh — on 17th November, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

    Well this is the ultimate derail.

    As for Blair – he should have gone before the last election. He should then have been forced out at the Labour Party conference.

    As for Katy’s implicit suggestion that there is no choice beyond Blair – this is the card he’s played at every turn.

    The best thing has to be to kick Labour out – let it be the lesson the politicos need and deserve that lives abroad are as valuable as lives at home.

    Clare Short clearly has a point – a hung parliament might give us, the people, some control over the executive. Parliament itself clearly has none.

    Cameron or Blair; Cameron or Brown have nothing to offer in the long term. Tactical games between the two major parties is irrelevant.

    Blair blaming everything on muslims for the sake of staying in power is an other deceit. What is even more powerful is that the people know and understand the games these thugs play. And its a great relief that more and more people treat everything that comes out of their mouths and that of their placemen and women with the utterly deserved contempt.

    But to turn this contempt into electoral strength is the goal of the progressives.

  180. Refresh — on 17th November, 2006 at 11:08 pm  

    Jai,

    Dude or dudette? Does that mean male or female; man or woman?

    Never been able to appreciate the dude / dudette epithet. A friend of mine returned from a 10 year stay in the US and uses that regularly. Haven’t got the heart to tell him, that as an engrezi, the term almost turns my tum. But he means well.

  181. Leighton Cooke — on 18th November, 2006 at 12:36 am  

    Hi Sunny!

    What do you guys think of the burqa? I’m thinking of the proposed Dutch ban and I’m sitting next to an American friend who thinks the ban is a good idea. I don’t. If a woman wants to cover her face that’s her business not mine. Would be curious to know your opinion.
    BBC

  182. Leighton Cooke — on 18th November, 2006 at 12:41 am  

    Hi Sunny!

    What do you guys think of the burqa? I’m thinking of the proposed Dutch ban and I’m sitting next to an American friend who thinks the ban is a good idea. I don’t. If a woman wants to cover her face that’s her business not mine. Would be curious to know your opinion.
    BBC

  183. Jai — on 18th November, 2006 at 10:16 am  

    Refresh,

    =>”Dude or dudette? Does that mean male or female; man or woman?”

    Yes.

    So which one are you, eh ? I keep getting confused about whether you’re a geezer or a geezarni.

  184. too late — on 18th November, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

    ‘You want to stop terrorism? Then work to get rid of Tony Blair.’

    Its too late for peace talks from the sounds of this video. Muslim hate campagin against the nonmuslims.

    Watch the shocking video.

    http://www.obsessionthemovie.com/12min.htm

  185. Katy — on 18th November, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    I seem to recall that Refresh is all man. ROAR!

  186. William — on 18th November, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    too late

    Thanks for that link. Yeah it is scary but it is still very focussed and dramatic. Maybe a bit alarmist. Also I am not sure how far to go with all the comparisions with the threat of Nazi Germany. They had an industrial war machine with which they could invade other countries. In this respect I doubt
    if even a few muslim countries together could take on
    Europe. Any significant threat would be via terrorism.
    Hopefully this can be contained. The biggest problem may be if say more UK muslims are radicalised as they
    are here with us. I must admit I went to Islamic Society meeting a couple of years ago (just to try and learn etc)and didn’t see much radicalisation. In fact my first impression was that they were a bit
    shy. But then that is just my experience.

  187. Kulvinder — on 19th November, 2006 at 8:30 am  

    What do you guys think of the burqa? I’m thinking of the proposed Dutch ban and I’m sitting next to an American friend who thinks the ban is a good idea. I don’t. If a woman wants to cover her face that’s her business not mine. Would be curious to know your opinion.

    James I abolished sumptuary laws because they were idiotic, divisive and ultimately a threat to his reign. Noone since (well noone of worth in britain anyway) has been moronic enough to suggest the reintroduction of sumptuary laws would be a good thing.

    If i remember correctly the lunatic puritans of america kept their laws because, god forbid, anyone acted differently.

    I die a little everytime anyone suggests its a good idea for the government to dictate how an individual should dress.

    In the name of sanity who would welcome government interference on what an individual wears?

  188. Isaa — on 19th November, 2006 at 11:12 am  

    too late,

    I see that the video gets the endorsement of Pat Robertson:

    “[This] excellent movie . Outlines in chilling detail the danger which we all face from fanatical Islam.”
    Dr. Pat Robertson
    Founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Inc.

    For anybody who doesn’t know who this ‘holy’ man is, here are some further quotes from him:

    “If anybody understood what Hindus really believe, there would be no doubt that they have no business administering government policies in a country that favors freedom and equality.”
    –The New World Order, page 219

    The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.
    – Pat Robertson, fundraising letter, 1992

    “[Islam] is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then if need be destroy.”
    –The 700 Club, February 21, 2002

  189. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

    Kulvinder no women would wear a burkha willingly. so lets bin the libertarian argument.

  190. Chairwoman — on 19th November, 2006 at 12:39 pm  

    ZinZin – There are a whole lot of people out there of various persuasions who believe that wearing fancy dress makes them exceptionally devout.

  191. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    There is a better way of banning the burkha and that is on health and safety grounds. Try crossing the road in a burkha.

    Chairwoman don’t be facetious.

  192. Douglas Clark — on 19th November, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    ZinZin,

    I hesitate to mention this but I seem to recall that vitamin D deficiency was blamed some time ago on Asian women going for the full burkha. With the lower intensity of sunlight oop North, full coverage means, at the very least, they should be taking supplements.

    The nearest I can get to a reference is this:

    http://www.clinicalanswers.nhs.uk/index.cfm?question=4359

  193. Rav — on 19th November, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    I hesitate to mention this but I seem to recall that vitamin D deficiency was blamed some time ago on Asian women going for the full burkha.

    No, not ‘Asian’ women, ‘Muslim’ women. Sikh and Hindu and Christian and Buddhist women from an Asian background have NOTHING to do with Islamic practices like the burqa. Thanks.

  194. Chairwoman — on 19th November, 2006 at 2:30 pm  

    ZinZin – I am not being facetious. I refer not only to burkhas, but to the bizarre outfits worn by orthodox members of my own faith, Plymouth Brethren and the Amish. And I have no doubt there are more out there if I could recall them.

    All these people think they, and their clothing, have a special connection with the Almighty.

  195. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    The burkha is more than fancy dress. Try wearing one its not a funny peice of attire.
    As for it having a special connection with the almighty many muslims consider the burkha excessive so religious arguments are rather weak. There is no comparision between the burkha and other forms of religious attire. The burkha is positively harmful to the women wearing it.

  196. Douglas Clark — on 19th November, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

    Rav,

    I told you I hesitated to mention it ;) !

  197. Chairwoman — on 19th November, 2006 at 3:58 pm  

    ZinZin – I appreciate everything you say, but except for people, and it will always be women, who are forced to wear whatever bizarre clothing their male relatives/society insist upon, a holier than thou statement is being made.

  198. Don — on 19th November, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

    Or a political one.

  199. Ravi Naik — on 19th November, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

    “I die a little everytime anyone suggests its a good idea for the government to dictate how an individual should dress. In the name of sanity who would welcome government interference on what an individual wears?”

    What if I decided to go to the other extreme: wear no clothes at all? Do you still think the government has no saying in the matter?

    The full burka is the result of a backward culture not religion, where women have little or no rights. It would be a completely story if men would wear it as well.

  200. Kulvinder — on 19th November, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

    Kulvinder no women would wear a burkha willingly. so lets bin the libertarian argument.

    Obviously the ones that wear burkhas aren’t women then, so whats the problem?

    What if I decided to go to the other extreme: wear no clothes at all? Do you still think the government has no saying in the matter?

    Obviously you should be allowed to walk around naked. The average clubbing gear is far far more provocative and overtly ‘indecent’. Theres nothing wrong with the human body, if you wanted to walk around naked you should be allowed to.

    The full burka is the result of a backward culture not religion, where women have little or no rights. It would be a completely story if men would wear it as well.

    Theres a certain irony in calling a culture backward, then banning its practises on a whim.

  201. Ravi Naik — on 19th November, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    “Theres a certain irony in calling a culture backward, then banning its practises on a whim”

    You find an irony that a progressive culture bans backward practices, such as full burkas?

  202. Sunny — on 19th November, 2006 at 5:50 pm  

    The assumption that women who wear burkhas obviously don’t want to wear it… – where did it come from?

    I believe Netherlands has banned the niqab, not the burkha. The latter is simply a longer and more loose piece of clothing. In case you folks forgot, Shabina Begum spent two years fighting the courts for her right to wear it at school. So please, no silly assumptions. The libertarian argument is very very valid here. We don’t need the government dictating what people should or shouldn’t wear except in extreme circumstances or when it affects work.

  203. miraxx — on 19th November, 2006 at 5:59 pm  

    Sunny you are tripping yourself over the jilbab re the luton case; the burkha is a face obscuring full veil as commonly worn in afghanistan.

    I feel that a secular government would be well within its rights to ban the niqab in the areas within its jurisdiction ie state schools, courts, frontline government agencies, on driving licence/id photos etc. But it is over-reaction on the part of the Dutch to ban it on the streets too.

  204. Ravi Naik — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

    So I take it you disagree with the Dutch government to ban the niqab, and that you don’t think such attire is an extreme circumstance which affects work, social interaction and integration?

  205. miraxx — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

    >>Theres a certain irony in calling a culture backward, then banning its practises on a whim.

    But there’s no apparent irony in a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ thinker such as yourself refusing to address the point raised – that women disproportionately bear the brunt of men’s sexual and religious inadequacies.

    There’s an an idea for a resistance-against-an evil- state campaign of solidarity : why don’t you blokes so much in sympathy for the niqabis don one too until the laws are scrapped?

  206. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    The assumption that women who wear burkhas obviously don’t want to wear it… – where did it come from?

    Erm… that was me.

    As for Shebina Begum it was her brother a member of Hutr who wanted her to wear the jilbab.

    Banning the Burkha is doing women a favour in my view. So any libertarian arguments are just nonsensical especially if a young girl is wearing a burkha. A young girl would not have made that decision for herself her parents would have done so this makes a mockery of any libertarian defence.

  207. Sunny — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:14 pm  

    why don’t you blokes so much in sympathy for the niqabis don one too until the laws are scrapped?

    This is not about sympathy but having consistent standards. Libertarians don’t want the state to dictate what people can or cannot wear unless it harms others. The burkha or niqab don’t (sorry, I got confused there with jilbaab, you’re right miraxx) so it is facile to say this stops integration. There are much bigger issues that lead to segregation: white flight, council schemes, govt policies and media demonisation. Can we outlaw those first?

  208. miraxx — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

    So you are a libertarian Sunny? You are equally against british laws that ban public nudity?

  209. Don — on 19th November, 2006 at 6:32 pm  

    ZinZin,

    I think you are being too simplistic here. There are many reasons for a woman to assume facial covering, although I can’t think of any which I would consider ‘good’ from my viewpoint.

    As Chairwoman pointed out, for some it is a ‘more pious than thou’ affectation. Others may wear it as a political statement (probably the case in the Shebina Begum incident). Some may indeed have been pressured into it, or have internalised that social pressure. Some may be recent arrivals and will take time to adapt, or indeed may see it as a screen from an alien and threatening world.

    ‘ A young girl would not have made that decision for herself her parents would have done so’

    I suspect, although without evidence, that many parents are disturbed if their daughter suddenly decides to for the full covering, especially if she has become politicised.

    Face covering, for whatever reason, is unacceptable in many situations (banks, airports, secure areas, while driving) but an outright ban is a counter-productive over-reaction.

    There are places where such covering is de facto compulsory on pain of savage punishment. Those who voluntarily assume it might want to consider a little solidarity with those who face beatings or acid should it slip.

  210. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 7:05 pm  

    Don
    Your right i am being simplistic because the holier rthan thou position is nonsense. I doubt the veracity of claims that women who wear veils or burkhas are more likely to reach paradise/heaven than non-wearers of veils or burkhas who are currently burning in hell if you buy this argument.

    I favour a ban on the burkha because it is a symbol of the oppression of women and a confirmation of their second class status within Islam. Any secularist, liberal or libertarian can not defend it on the grounds of choice. I can call for a ban because i am in favour of equality those defending the burkha/veil are in effect defending the second class status of women this is intolerable. It also sends a signal to the fundis that we mean business and will defend our values.

  211. William — on 19th November, 2006 at 7:11 pm  

    There are plenty of women who have made statements that they have chose to cover themselves by choice and this includes the Burkha. There are also those who would hate it. Those who have chose it have given
    a variety of reasons including feeling safer, away from the gaze of men. It’s all down to choice as long as it doesn’t harm anyone, interfere with work etc.
    Even the work argument there are questions. There was the argument recently about the Solicitor who wore it
    in court. Apparently some said they couldn’t hear her.
    Well it’s only a piece of cloth!!

    There are other arguments of course to do with modesty etc but it puts the responsibility on
    women. Why not intstead encourage men to wear blinkers. How much of this is all to do with ownership
    of women by the men in some quarters. Some men can be
    really insecure can’t they.

  212. Don — on 19th November, 2006 at 7:33 pm  

    Of course the holier than thou position is nonsense, but people can believe nonsense if they so choose. It is iniquitous nonsense, because if the idea gains wider currency it will increase pressure on other women to follow suit, whether they like it or not.

    I’ve never heard the claim that it increases the chances of Paradise, I’m not sure it works that way. Maybe it does, religion is rife with nonsense.

    I quite agree that the burkha/veil is a symbol of the suppression of women, but focussing on the symbol is not going to help change the reality.

    At the risk of being twee, I remember one of Aesop’s fables they told us at school;

    http://www.acornbook.co.uk/books/only_when.htm

  213. Kulvinder — on 19th November, 2006 at 8:18 pm  

    You find an irony that a progressive culture bans backward practices, such as full burkas?

    I find it beautifully ironic that a society that considers itself ‘progressive’ would consider a change in law based on the premise that it can comprehend every decision an individual makes.

    But there’s no apparent irony in a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ thinker such as yourself refusing to address the point raised – that women disproportionately bear the brunt of men’s sexual and religious inadequacies.

    That doesn’t make any sense, there is no ‘apparent irony’!!

    I’m unsure how women could disproportionately bear the brunt of mens sexual and religious inadequacies, who bears the ‘other brunt’ hermaphrodites??

    There are laws that prevent one person threatening another if he or she does not dress in the manner they wish. But if an individual wishes to dress as they want, it is not the place of law to act in a similar manner to the person above.

    We advocate choice; we do not mimic those we legislate against.

    There’s an an idea for a resistance-against-an evil- state campaign of solidarity : why don’t you blokes so much in sympathy for the niqabis don one too until the laws are scrapped?

    For the same reason i don’t walk around naked even though i don’t object to others doing so.

  214. El Cid — on 19th November, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

    It may be twee Don but I liked it.
    Regular readers of this fine blog will know how much I hate the burkha and niqab. But banning it? That’s just stupid and wrong. A symbol of gender oppression it may be but some dim women actually want to wear it. Who am I to stop them?
    Of course, there’s no way that you should be able to work in a people-facing profession while wearing it, and shop keepers should have the right to refuse people entry for security reasons and those who are burka-klad should have to de-burkarise when showing their passports and have to yield to searches where bags are habitually searched, etc.
    Take the piss and make sure the rights of the majority are prioritised? You bet. But ban the burkha outright?
    No way. I guess it’s a bit like the passive smoking debate.

  215. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 8:50 pm  

    Kulvinder point 213

    But there’s no apparent irony in a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ thinker such as yourself refusing to address the point raised – that women disproportionately bear the brunt of men’s sexual and religious inadequacies.

    That doesn’t make any sense, there is no ‘apparent irony’!!

    I’m unsure how women could disproportionately bear the brunt of mens sexual and religious inadequacies, who bears the ‘other brunt’ hermaphrodites??

    Homosexuals for starters are persecuted on the grounds of disgust. Women are persecuted and oppressed on the basis that they may lead pious men astray. The burkha is a choice made by men so that women may not lead them into temptation.

    The libertarian argument is based on the supposition that it is a womens choice it is not. In calling for a ban you are defending the rights of women. Its perfectly feasible to take the libertarian line but all have to be equal.

  216. El Cid — on 19th November, 2006 at 8:58 pm  

    Sorry Zin-Zin
    That’s a bit of burkha point to me
    i.e. I just can’t see it

    (Hope your sides aren’t splitting again)

  217. Kulvinder — on 19th November, 2006 at 10:38 pm  

    Homosexuals for starters are persecuted on the grounds of disgust. Women are persecuted and oppressed on the basis that they may lead pious men astray.

    Its a tangential point but your post was about ‘men’ and ‘women’, homosexuals are just a subset of each.

    The burkha is a choice made by men so that women may not lead them into temptation.

    In every single case?

    The libertarian argument is based on the supposition that it is a womens choice it is not. In calling for a ban you are defending the rights of women. Its perfectly feasible to take the libertarian line but all have to be equal.

    The libertarian argument is based on the fact that it is impossible to say that every woman is forced to wear a burkha.

    Equality is not a definitive measure of libertarianism, it is possible to have equality across society without heeding the individual.

    The choice of the woman in wearing what she wants is paramount. Those that force women to wear a burkha and those that forcibly remove it are held with equal contempt.

  218. ZinZin — on 19th November, 2006 at 11:34 pm  

    Damn you El Cid i am going to need stitches.

    Kulvinder lets reduce the argument to does anyone want to wear such an uncomfortable garment. No-one wears clothes that don’t fit them especially shoes that do not fit them as that will leave you with nothing more than a lifetime of chiropodist appointments.

    A Burka Ban may be welcomed by Muslim women and i am loath to ban such a garment or anything else for that matter but it will help women resist the fundis. In short i believe it will protect women and the state should always protect the vulnerable that is a valid argument along with your libertarian approach.

    This will be my last word as i am guilty of derailing the thread.

    Good article Sunny.

  219. Kulvinder — on 20th November, 2006 at 12:32 am  

    Kulvinder lets reduce the argument to does anyone want to wear such an uncomfortable garment.

    I’m not sure what comfort has to do with anything, but yeah people wear uncomfortable but fashionable clothes all the time.

    No-one wears clothes that don’t fit them especially shoes that do not fit them as that will leave you with nothing more than a lifetime of chiropodist appointments.

    I don’t think the market in high heels is in danger of imminent collapse. Or about to be banned for being unnatural and dangerous for that matter.

    In short i believe it will protect women and the state should always protect the vulnerable that is a valid argument along with your libertarian approach.

    Theres an argument that the vulnerable should be ‘taken care of’ by private charities, and not the state, but its tangential to the thread.

    I don’t believe all the women concerned are in a vulnerable position.

  220. Don — on 20th November, 2006 at 1:05 am  

    ‘I don’t believe all the women concerned are in a vulnerable position’

    Neither do I. What proportion is acceptable?

    ‘the market in high heels’ False analogy. Obvious reasons.

    If the veil being assumed as a fashion/political/super-pious statement contibutes to increasing pressure on pushing otherwise unwilling women into the veil, how is that a libertarian position?

    There are situations where the veil is the difference between life and death. Choice is not an issue. Banning it here would be stupid, but proponents should accept responsibility for effectiively sanctioning that.

  221. Kulvinder — on 20th November, 2006 at 2:38 am  

    Neither do I. What proportion is acceptable?

    The government should never interfere! As a related point i believe in the legalisation of drugs.

    False analogy. Obvious reasons.

    No-one wears clothes that don’t fit them especially shoes that do not fit them as that will leave you with nothing more than a lifetime of chiropodist appointments.

    ?

    If the veil being assumed as a fashion/political/super-pious statement contibutes to increasing pressure on pushing otherwise unwilling women into the veil, how is that a libertarian position?

    Because the choice is still yours!

    There are situations where the veil is the difference between life and death. Choice is not an issue. Banning it here would be stupid, but proponents should accept responsibility for effectiively sanctioning that.

    I’m unsure what you’re suggesting, women would be killed for following the law?

  222. Joanna Emery — on 23rd November, 2006 at 10:48 pm  

    Dominic Whiteman and Vigil exposed!

    http://vigilexposed.blogspot.com

  223. sonia — on 6th December, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    clearly there is no such thing as a ‘progressive’ society. ! that’s what i find flawed – you can’t make blanket statements like that. even saying someone is a ‘progressive’ individual – we can’t say that even. its like saying someone is ‘good’ or someone is ‘bad’ – don’t work sorry – that’s old hat, traditional way of understanding human beings. we all have the capacity to do different things – some of them might be ‘progressive’ and some of them might not be.

  224. Allister — on 11th December, 2006 at 7:10 am  

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.