British Muslim women against ISIS


This music video is about a song by a young Syrian Kurdish singer.

By Louise Raw in Britain:

The British Muslim women making a stand against Isis

Tuesday 30th September 2014

As the US-led coalition launches air strikes, LOUISE RAW talks to Muslim women who reject ‘Islamist’ extremism and misogyny

LOOKING at a huge, rather beautiful poster of a young Muslim woman wearing a vivid Union Jack hijab, I know I’m not in standard leftie territory — and that’s before Theresa May pops in to press the flesh.

Not many media launches are both timed to coincide with the school run and surrounded by heavy security either. But Sara Khan is used to doing things differently.

Khan is the driving force behind new anti-extremism group Making a Stand, launched last week in Whitehall.

She is also the Director of Inspire, a group which I note is described by the Guardian as a “women’s human rights organisation.”

I don’t particularly want to give Alan Rusbridger a heart attack, but women technically are human beings. There, I’ve said it.

And while an increasing number of men accept that “women’s issues” are everyone’s issues, there’s still a tendency to see anything particularly affecting the female population as niche.

If it affects Muslim women, it’s usually even more a case of Nothing to Do With Us.

Khan is not letting Britain off the hook that easily, however, and is trenchant on the wrong-headedness of using supposed “cultural sensitivities” as an excuse not to oppose extremism and gender inequality wherever they’re found.

On this basis I’d asked her to speak at this July’s Matchwomen’s Festival, and she did so passionately, happily answering some “Everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-Islam-but-were-afraid-to-ask” questions from guests afterwards.

However, she was criticised for Islamophobia by two delegates over her condemnation of the murder of Lee Rigby.

The line on such atrocities from some on the British left is that the West has only itself to blame for “retaliations” to its foreign policy.

She replied that she was a practising Muslim who rejected such violence as outside her faith. The same went for the radical preachers who encouraged it.

As for the Islamic “women question,” Khan says that those in favour of gender inequality “don’t know [their] own faith. The prophet’s wives weren’t submissive women.”

She is adamant that we will see more and more young British women joining Isis, and about where part of the blame lies.

“We need to educate women better to improve this marginalisation problem in Muslim communities. For far too long mosques have marginalised Muslim women and their participation.”

However she’s also keenly aware that the perception of Islam as the ultimate oppressor of women is manipulated by the far-right, which publicly condemns the religion on this pretext even as supporters attack Muslim women on the street.

Some women won’t speak out against gender-based discrimination even though they loathe it, precisely because to do so may fuel anti-Muslim attacks, of which they could end up the victims.

So they can be caught between a rock and a hard place, suffering both fascist violence and gender discrimination from within their own communities. The resultant trauma and alienation is a risk in itself.

Khan says: “We know Muslim women who wear the headscarf are more likely to experience attacks. Will that make them feel they don’t belong? Are they [joining Isis] because all they’ve come across in this country in Muslim communities is a narrow view of women?”

This is the sort of difficult, and potentially dangerous, political terrain Khan has to constantly navigate.

It goes without saying then that “making a stand” will have required considerable courage for at least some of the women present at the launch last Wednesday. This was underlined by a total advance publicity embargo launch for security reasons.

But Khan made it clear on the day that silence was no longer an option when young British Muslims were being drawn to Isis — and there have been reports of British female recruits joining the al-Khanssaa brigade, an all-women militia set up by Isis which punishes women for “unislamic” behaviour.

“They have bought into a pack of lies,” says Khan.

“They think they’re following Islam, but actually it’s a patriarchal ideology that seeks to treat women as second-class citizens.”

Making A Stand has practical proposals for British Muslim communities — they ask mosques to start treating women more equally, communities to take more responsibility for women and women and young people to speak out on social media using the hashtag #MakingAStand, to directly challenge Isis sympathisers.

Later, over lunch, I spoke to some of the women present about the causes of radicalisation.

Sufiya Ahmed, Tamina Mir and immigration lawyer Piya Mayenim identified multiple factors that they saw as contributing.

High unemployment and institutionalised racism which limited Muslim young people’s futures made them feel they didn’t belong in Britain.

The three women saw Isis as something of a trend, though no less dangerous for that.

A generation with generally more liberal parents could only rebel by becoming more extreme, and Mayenim was aware of instances of teenagers criticising their parents for being “too Western.”

The black-clad, macabre chic of Isis could seem an appealing alternative to Western decadence and consumerism.

We talked about the government’s response to date. The Prevent initiative was launched in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11 2001 to counter radicalisation at community level, and continues to do so, but with significantly less funding under the coalition.

It hit another major roadblock in 2010 when it emerged that CCTV cameras placed in Muslim areas of Birmingham, 72 of them covertly, were partly funded by Prevent cash.

The resultant loss of confidence and trust was enormously damaging.

The women had also seen secular youth clubs close due to cutbacks, to be replaced with self-organised single-race or religious groups, decreasing cultural cross-pollenation.

Although May had come to praise the launch, there were no new commitments that day either — while promising the government would support Making A Stand “if you can do this” (ie counter and monitor extremism) we were left not knowing if this would mean an occasional fist-bump or anything more concrete.

I spoke also to Mehmoo Dah, an older Muslim woman living in sheltered accommodation who had travelled from Leicester for the launch.

She was visibly distressed as she spoke about the racism she says she personally experiences after every Isis incident, with locals saying: “You’re all terrorists.”

Khan has her work cut out for her, but is deeply committed to her mission.

“Extremist views from both sides blight the lives of British women and weaken our country,” she says.

“As a country that stands for equality, justice and women’s rights, we cannot allow extremists of any kind to deny British women their rights.”

Louise Raw is author of Striking A Light: The History of the Bryant and May Matchwomen’s Strike (Continuum). She will be chairing and speaking at the Freedom For Sussex 2014 Conference: Children and Young People on Thursday October 16 at the Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3PX, 10.15am-4.30pm (registration opens at 9.45am). For more information visit http://www.safeinsussex.org.

As US and allied warplanes continued to strike targets inside Syria, the Obama administration is marshalling support for a war that is more and more explicitly aimed against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rather than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): here.

This week, to bestow legitimacy on the US war on Syria, the US media suddenly discovered the coalition “leader”, Hadi Al-Bahrah, and highlighted his calls for US bombing of his country. But none of the US media mentioned the revolt against him and the call by his own Military Council to oust him: here.

Le Monde is serving as a mouthpiece of the French state’s war propaganda, trying to browbeat the public into accepting a massive, long-term escalation of war in the Middle East and Africa with mendacious claims that Paris and its imperialist allies are waging a “war on terror”: here.

British Muslims condemn Isis


This video from Britain says about itself:

We didn’t stop the Iraq war, so was 15 February 2003 pointless?

15 February 2013

Four people, including novelist Ian McEwan, remember the biggest protest in British history, when two million people marched in London to stop Tony Blair taking Britain into an illegal war against Iraq. The marchers in London, and many millions more around the world who marched on 15 February, did not stop the war. So what was achieved by protests?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Britain’s Muslim leaders condemn Isis

Saturday 12th July 2012

MUSLIM leaders in Britain have condemned the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), expressing their “grave concern” at continued violence in its name.

Representatives from both the Sunni and Shia groups in Britain relayed their message that the militant group did not represent the majority of Muslims.

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion.

“It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction.”

An open letter signed by more than 100 imams from across major theological backgrounds and cultural groups urged British Muslims not to travel to the war-torn regions.

The letter called on communities “to continue the generous and tireless effort to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq,” but to do so “from the UK in a safe and responsible way.”

Justin Welby warns of hysteria over threat of Muslim radicalisation. Archbishop of Canterbury says number of young people travelling to Syria is ‘extraordinarily small': here.

Scottish Jewish-Muslim anti-racist solidarity


This video says about itself:

EDL / SDL Nazi Salutes in Glasgow

Nov 25, 2009

Just 70 supporters of an English Defence League off-shoot called the Scottish (sic) Defence League marched in Glasgow on 14 Nov 2009, and were opposed by 1,500 Anti-Fascists from a broad coalition of community, political, religious, trades union and civil-rights groups, marching under the banner of Scotland United.

By Rory MacKinnon in Scotland:

Jews stand in solidarity with Muslims against fascist SDL

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Edinburgh’s Jews will not stand by while fascists threaten their Muslim neighbours, a leading figure in the capital’s faith community said today.

Sukkat Shalom chairman Norman Crane offered words of support today after the city’s council said it would let the far-right Scottish Defence League march down the Royal Mile next month.

The SDL, known for taunting nazi salutes and racist attacks, plans a provocative march through the heart of the international Fringe Festival on August 17 – and councillors hace approved the demonstration, saying police had reported “no significant public order issues” in recent years.

Mr Crane said he could not understand why the march had been allowed – “freedom of speech, I suppose.”

But he had attended an emergency meeting with anti-racist activists on Monday evening and would “strongly support” any counter-demonstration.

Mr Crane said he understood the way in which groups like the SDL played on tensions in the Middle East in order to present religious conflicts as inevitable in multicultural communities.

But Jews and Muslims in Edinburgh could play a powerful role “in opposition to that message.”

He said: “The more we’re seen to stand together, the better.”

Fellow worshipper Catherine Lyons warned against dismissing far-right groups as irrelevant.

“The EDL and the BNP may seem like insignificant minorities, but, we [are] reminded, the nazis entered the Reichstag with 2.6 per cent of the vote in 1928,” she said.

The pledge follows a statement from the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities last week condemning “the irrational hatred” directed against Muslims.

“We deplore the message of hate of those who seek to stir up racial and religious tension and express our solidarity with all those who are the target of their warped views,” it said.

Mosque opens doors after fascist threats


This video from Britain is called EDL nazis.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Mosque fights racist threat by throwing open doors

Monday 27 May 2013

A Yorkshire mosque has responded to racist threats by throwing open its doors and inviting in the public, writes Peter Lazenby.

The mosque in Bull Lane, York, learned that fascist English Defence League (EDL) thugs planned to target it following the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich by two self-proclaimed “jihadists.”

Muslims across Britain were among those who condemned the killing, but the soldier’s death has been exploited by the EDL, British National Party, National Front and other fanatics to attack mosques, make racist attacks and fight with police.

When users of the York mosque heard of the EDL threats they decided to stage an open day.

Around 100 local people responded, dwarfing a tiny gathering of EDL supporters nearby.

Mosque elder and York University Professor Mohamed El-Gomati said: “Rather than have a shouting match outside we invited people in to have a discussion and show solidarity over a cup of tea with us.”

See also here.

New York Islamophobe murders Hindu


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Sikh faith is the fifth-largest religion in the world, and there are as many as half a million members in the United States. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Sikh Americans faced many of the same discriminatory conditions as Muslims and Arab Americans. Because of their distinct appearance, they were visible targets of violence and harassment. Democracy Now!’s Jaisal Noor filed this report, produced with Free Speech Radio News.

Post-2001 there is a wave of Islamophobia; basically: xenophobia.

It killed Sikhs, murdered by far Right extremists who know so much about Islam that they ignore the difference between Islam and Sikhism.

It meant a surge in prejudice against Italian Americans, many of whom have dark eyes and dark hair like Muslims supposedly have.

It meant a surge in prejudice against Sephardic Jewish immigrants in the USA.

It meant a surge in prejudice against the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the world, who had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist atrocities and who rejected them.

A non-Muslim Indian Dutch journalist got in trouble with United States police, as part of a witch hunt against what US extreme Rightist Ann Coulter called “swarthy males”.

And now, from the New York Times in the USA:

Woman Accused of Hate-Crime Murder in Subway Push

By MARC SANTORA

Published: December 29, 2012

A 31-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in connection with the death of a man who was pushed onto the tracks of an elevated subway station in Queens and crushed by an oncoming train.

The woman, Erika Menendez, selected her victim because she believed him to be a Muslim or a Hindu, Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said.

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare: Being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.

In a statement, Mr. Brown quoted Ms. Menendez, “in sum and substance,” as having told the police: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.” Ms. Menendez conflated the Muslim and Hindu faiths in her comments to the police and in her target for attack, officials said.

The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and, according to a roommate, was raised Hindu.

Mr. Sen “was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself,” Mr. Brown said. “Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions should never be tolerated by a civilized society.” …

Mr. Sen, after years of saving money, had opened a small copying business on the Upper West Side this year.

Ar Suman, a Muslim, and one of three roommates who shared a small first-floor apartment with Mr. Sen in Elmhurst, said he and Mr. Sen often discussed religion.

Though they were of different faiths, Mr. Suman said, he admired the respect that Mr. Sen showed for those who saw the world differently than he did. Mr. Suman said he once asked Mr. Sen why he was not more active in his faith and it resulted in a long philosophical discussion.

“He was so gentle,” Mr. Suman said. “He said in this world a lot of people are dying, killing over religious things.”

In Britain, big uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta