British Conservatives help ISIS


This 12 May 2015 video from Britain says about itself:

Russell Brand, Abby Martin: David Cameron: Islamophobia to Control You, Part 1.

This video is the sequel.

Since 2002, Right-wing White Terrorists have Killed More Americans Than Muslim Extremists: here.

By Seumas Milne in daily The Guardian in Britain:

By scapegoating Muslims, Cameron fuels radicalisation

Ministers foster terror with their wars. Now they attack liberties at home in the name of British values

Wednesday 24 June 2015 20.54 BST

The anti-Muslim drumbeat has become deafening across the western world. As images of atrocities by the jihadi terror group Isis multiply online, and a steady trickle of young Europeans and North Americans head to Syria and Iraq to join them, Muslim communities are under siege. Last week David Cameron accused British Muslims of “quietly condoning” the ideology that drives Isis sectarian brutality, normalising hatred of “British values”, and blaming the authorities for the “radicalisation” of those who go to fight for it.

It was too much for Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative party chair, who condemned the prime minister’s “misguided emphasis” on “Muslim community complicity”. He risked “further alienating” the large majority of Muslims fighting the influence of such groups, she warned. Even Charles Farr, the hawkish counter-terrorism mandarin at the Home Office, balked. Perhaps fewer than 100 Britons were currently fighting with Isis, he said, and “we risk labelling Muslim communities as somehow intrinsically extremist”.

But Cameron and his neoconservative allies are preparing the ground for the government’s next onslaught. The target will not be terrorism, but “non-violent extremism”. Next month, from nursery schools to optometrists, health services to universities, all will be legally obliged to monitor students and patients for any sign of “extremism” or “radicalisation”.

The new powers represent a level of embedded security surveillance in public life unprecedented in peacetime. We already know from the government’s Prevent programme the chilling impact of such mass spying on schools, where Muslim pupils have been reported for speaking out in favour of Palestinian rights or against the role of British troops in Afghanistan.

But the “counter-extremism” bill announced in the Queen’s Speech is about to take the anti-Muslim clampdown a whole stage further. The plans include banning orders for non-violent individuals and organisations whose politics are considered unacceptable; physical restriction orders for non-violent individuals deemed “harmful”; powers to close mosques; and vetting controls on broadcasters accused of airing extremist material. It’s censorship under any other name.

That was the view of Sajid Javid, then culture secretary, in a leaked letter to the prime minister earlier this year. But Cameron shows every sign of pressing ahead with what amounts to a full-blown assault on basic liberties. Most ludicrously, the new powers are defended in the name of “British values”, including “individual liberty” and “mutual respect and tolerance”.

But as became clear in the aftermath of the murderous Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, we are not all Charlie when it comes to freedom of speech. Anti-extremism powers will be used overwhelmingly against Muslims, rather than, say, non-Muslim homophobes and racists who have little interest in mutual respect and tolerance.

And they will fail, as their earlier incarnations have done, to discourage the small minority drawn to terrorism at home or jihadi campaigns abroad. Government ministers claim such violence is driven by “ideology” rather than injustice, grievance or its own policies. But, given that they refuse to speak to any significant Muslim organisation they don’t agree with or fund, perhaps it’s not surprising to find them in thrall to an ideology, neoconservatism, of their own.

Any other explanation for the terror threat would in any case implicate the government and its predecessors. In reality, it shouldn’t be so hard to understand why a small section of young alienated Muslims are attracted to fight in Syria and Iraq with Isis and other such groups. Jihadi “ideology” has been around for a long time. But there were no terror attacks in Britain before US and British forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and those behind every violent attack or terror plot have cited western intervention in the Muslim world as their motivation.

Isis has a different appeal to al-Qaida. It has taken huge stretches of territory using naked terror, destroyed borders and set up a self-proclaimed caliphate. In the Middle East it presents itself as the defender of Sunnis in a convulsive sectarian war. For a few young marginalised western Muslims, such groups can offer the illusion of a fight against tyranny and a powerful sense of identity.

But add in relentless media hostility, rampant Islamophobia, state surveillance and harassment of Muslim communities, and such alienation can only spread. In the past year, we’ve had the “Trojan Horse” Birmingham schools plot that never was, the ousting of an elected Muslim mayor of Tower Hamlets by a judge – including on grounds that he had exercised “undue spiritual influence” on Muslims – and evidence of an increasing level of anti-Muslim attacks. Islamophobia now far outstrips hostility to any other religion or ethnic group.

Ministers and their media allies downplay the role of “foreign policy” in Muslim radicalisation, against all the evidence. By foreign policy, they mean multiple western invasions and occupations of Muslim states, torture and state kidnapping on a global scale, and support for dictatorships across the Arab and Muslim world. That includes Saudi Arabia, of course, which shares much of Isis’s “ideology” and practices; and Egypt, whose ex-military leader, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, overthrew the elected president in 2013 and is soon to be welcomed to Downing Street.

Isis is itself the direct product of the US and British occupation and destruction of Iraq, and both countries back armed rebel groups fighting in Syria – as they did in Libya. So no wonder would-be jihadis get confused about who is on whose side. Western Isis volunteers are a disaster for Syria and Iraq, but so far they haven’t carried out return attacks at home.

That could of course change, not least as the government criminalises dissent, brands conservative religiosity “extremist” and, in the formulation of ministers, “quietly condones” Islamophobia. The British government has long fed terrorism with its warmaking abroad. Now it’s also fuelling it with its scapegoating of Muslims at home.

Headscarf, miniskirt, together against bigotry


This video from Belgium says about itself:

Muslim Girls Sent Home For What They Were Wearing

1 June 2015

In Belgium, 30 Muslim schoolgirls were sent back home on Friday, May 29, because they were wearing long skirts. The principal said it was a new rule, but he let them back in on Monday, skirts and all. Some are calling it religious discrimination.

Today at the railway station. A teenage girl, wearing a long headscarf; probably an Islamic hijab. She had her arm affectionately around the shoulder of the girl of about the same age next to her. Was that girl next to her her sister? A friend? I don’t know. I do know that other young lady did not cover her hair, and had a miniskirt on. Both young women smiled happily.

This was not a political demonstration at all. Still, a really good rejoinder against bigots who want to ban hijabs, miniskirts, maxiskirts, any types of skirts, trousers, shorts, whatever. Whether in Israel when it is forty degrees centigrade hot; in ‘new’ Libya; in France; in Belgium; or wherever.

Genocide of Rohingya in Myanmar


This video says about itself:

Attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (2013)

Government police attacks on Muslims in Myanmar instigated by extremist Buddhist monk U Wirathu. Graphic and violence content.

By Ramzy Baroud:

MYANMAR‘S SHAME

Tuesday 26th May 1915

The world’s most persecuted minority are being abandoned in their darkest hour, writes RAMZY BAROUD

“NOPE, nope, nope,” was Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s answer to the question whether his country will take in any of the nearly 8,000 Rohingya refugees stranded at sea.

Abbott’s logic is as pitiless as his decision to abandon the world’s most persecuted minority in their darkest hour. “Don’t think that getting on a leaky boat at the behest of a people smuggler is going to do you or your family any good,” he said.

But Abbott is hardly the main party in the ongoing suffering of Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic group living in Myanmar, or Burma.

The whole south-east Asian region is culpable. It has ignored the plight of the Rohingya for years.

While tens of thousands of Rohingya are being ethnically cleansed, having their villages torched, forced into concentration camps and some into slavery, Myanmar is being celebrated by various Western and Asian powers as a success story of a military junta-turned democracy.

“After Myanmar moved from dictatorship toward democracy in 2011, newfound freedoms of expression gave voice to Buddhist extremists who spewed hatred against the religious minority and said Muslims were taking over the country,” reported the Associated Press from the former Myanmar capital Yangon.

That “newfound freedom of expression” has cost hundreds of people their lives, thousands their properties and “another 140,000 Rohingya were driven from their homes and are now living under apartheid-like conditions in crowded displacement camps.”

While one may accept that freedom of expression sometimes invites hate speech, the idea that Myanmar’s supposed democracy has resulted in the victimisation of the Rohingya is as far from the truth as it gets.

Their endless suffering goes back decades and is considered one of the darkest chapters in south-east Asia’s modern history.

When they were denied citizenship in 1982 — despite the fact that it is believed that they descended from Muslim traders who settled in Arakan and other Myanmar regions over 1,000 years ago — their persecution became almost an official policy.

Even those who take to the sea to escape hardship in Myanmar find the coveted salvation hard to achieve.

“In Myanmar, they are subjected to forced labour, have no land rights and are heavily restricted. In Bangladesh many are also desperately poor, with no documents or job prospects,” reported the BBC.

And since many parties are interested in the promotion of the illusion of the rising Myanmar democracy few governments care about the Rohingya.

Despite recent grandstanding by Malaysia and Indonesia about the willingness to conditionally host the surviving Rohingya who have been stranded at sea for many days, the region as a whole has been “extremely unwelcoming,” according to Chris Lewa of the Rohingya activist group Arakan Project.

The stories of those who survive are as harrowing as those who die while floating at sea, with no food or water.

In a documentary aired late last year, Al-Jazeera reported on some of these stories.

“Muhibullah spent 17 days on a smuggler’s boat where he saw a man thrown overboard. On reaching Thai shores, he was bundled into a truck and delivered to a jungle camp packed with hundreds of refugees and armed men, where his nightmare intensified. Bound to shafts of bamboo, he says he was tortured for two months to extract a $2,000 ransom from his family.

“Despite the regular beatings, he felt worse for women who were dragged into the bush and raped. Some were sold into debt bondage, prostitution and forced marriage.”

Human rights groups report on such horror daily, but much of it fails to make it to media coverage simply because the plight of the Rohingya doesn’t constitute a “pressing matter.”

Human rights only matter when they are tied into an issue of significant political or economic weight.

Yet somehow the Rohingyas seep into our news occasionally, as they did in June 2012 and later months, when Rakhine Buddists went on violent rampages, burning villages and setting people ablaze under the watchful eye of the Myanmar police.

Then Myanmar was being elevated to non-pariah state status, with the support and backing of the US and European countries.

It is not easy to sell Myanmar as a democracy while its people are hunted down like animals, forced into deplorable camps, trapped between the army and the sea where thousands have no other escape but “leaky boats” and the Andaman Sea. Abbott might want to do some research before blaming the Rohingyas for their own misery.

So far, the “democracy” gambit is working, and many companies are now setting up offices in Yangon and preparing for massive profits.

This is all while hundreds of thousands of innocent children, women and men are being caged like animals in their own country, stranded at sea or held for ransom in some neighbouring jungle.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries must understand that good neighbourly relations cannot fully rely on trade and that human rights violators must be held accountable and punished for their crimes.

No efforts should be spared to help fleeing Rohingyas, and real international pressure must be enforced so that Myanmar abandons its infuriating arrogance.

Even if we are to accept that Rohingyas are not a distinct minority, as the Myanmar government argues, that doesn’t justify the unbearable persecution they have been enduring for years and the periodic acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

A minority or not, they are human, deserving of full protection under national and international law.

While one is not asking the US and its allies for war or sanctions, the least one should expect is that Myanmar must not be rewarded for its fraudulent democracy as it brutalises its minorities.

Failure to do so should compel civil society organisations to stage boycott campaigns of companies that conduct business with the Myanmar government.

Ramzy Baroud is the author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. He is currently completing his PhD studies at the University of Exeter. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

As delegates from 19 countries gather today in Bangkok for a meeting on “irregular migration in the Indian Ocean,” more evidence has emerged of the horrors facing thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Burma fleeing persecution and poverty. All of the countries attending the meeting, in one way or another, bear responsibility for their plight: here.

Life inside a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh: here.

Religious violence in Asia


This 2012 video is called ROHINGYA in Arakan, Burma. Al Jazeera Investigates – The Hidden Genocide.

From the International Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands:

Religious violence in South(East) Asia: domestic and transnational drivers of intolerance against Muslim minorities

Date & time
15 June 2015, 09:15 – 17:00 hrs

Venue
VU University Amsterdam, Metropolitan Building room Z-009
Buitenveldertselaan 3, Amsterdam

The seminar
The majority Buddhist and Hindu societies of South(East) Asia are not traditionally associated with conflict and intolerance. Yet recent years have seen a surge in international reports of religious tensions and violence by Buddhist and Hindu majorities towards Muslim minorities in the region. India’s political leadership since 2014 has long been associated with repressive practices and episodes of violence against Muslim minorities. In Sri Lanka, Muslims have been an often forgotten minority during the conflict, and a rise in hostilities against them has been reported since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

The government of Myanmar has long repressed the Rohingya minority, but in recent years this hostility has spread to the larger population, with Buddhist monks playing a seemingly significant role in inciting hate speech and violence against Muslims and their perceived supporters. In Southern Thailand, long-standing grievances of the Muslim population have largely remained unaddressed by the central government. In all these cases, religious diversity has been perceived as a source of nationalism and conflict, but also as a starting point for peacebuilding efforts.

While much attention is being paid to transnational networks of radical Islam, anti-Muslim sentiments in the religious and political sphere are also acquiring a transnational character, and international media increasingly report on supposed cross-border alliances between religious extremists from various sides. This seminar will analyse these developments by comparing regional dynamics and local circumstances, and look beyond the simplistic notion of religions that cannot co-exist. Historical patterns and newly emerging trends will be discussed in order to contextualize the rise in hostility towards Muslim minorities in the South(East) Asian region in recent years. What has been the role of governmental and non-governmental forces such as religious leaders and the media in this process? To what extent are these sentiments created by cross-border networking, and how are they linked to specific political transitions or domestic policy imperatives?

Download the programme and abstracts

Attendance is free of charge, lunch and drinks included.

The speakers
Prof. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Iselin Frydenlund, PRIO/University of Oslo
Dr. Matthew Walton, University of Oxford
Dr. Khin Mar Mar Kyi, University of Oxford
Dr. Alexander Horstmann, University of Copenhagen
Dr. Ward Berenschot, KITLV Leiden

Registration
If you would like to attend the seminar, please register via the form on our website by 10 June.

Contact
For enquiries about the seminar, contact Ms Martina van den Haak, m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl

Ban Islam, French Sarkozy party politician says


This video says about itself:

French Muslims Fear Backlash, Increased Islamophobia After Charlie Hebdo Attack

9 January 2015

Muslims across France are fearing a backlash after Wednesday’s attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine. Several mosques have been attacked. A bomb exploded at a kebab shop in Paris. We speak to Muhammad El Khaoua, a graduate student in international relations at the Paris Institute for Political Science. He grew up in the outskirts of Paris where he was involved with different grassroots associations, including Salaam, a student association dedicated to promoting interfaith dialogue and a better understanding of Islam. Also joining us is Lebanese-French academic Gilbert Achcar, professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

French mayor suspended after calling for Islam to be banned

Robert Chardon tweeted the extreme view as part of a discussion with former president Nicolas Sarkozy

Ben Tufft

Sunday 17 May 2015

A French mayor has been suspended from his party after calling for the country to ban Islam.

Robert Chardon, the UMP

Nicolas Sarkozy‘s party

mayor of Venelles in southern France, tweeted: “The Muslim religion must be banned in France” and added that anyone practising the religion must be “immediately escorted to the border”.

He also claimed Islam will be banned in France by 2027.

The tweet was part of a discussion former president Nicolas Sarkozy began with the public, using the hashtag #NSDirect. …

UMP Vice-president Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet announced the party was suspending Mr Chardon pending a procedure to remove him from the UMP. …

Initially, it was thought the tweet had been sent after Mr Chardon’s account had been hacked, but the mayor confirmed he sent the extreme message.

Recently the mayor has been treated for cancer of the mouth and came to his radical proposals during this period.

“During my treatment, I’ve been thinking and I came to this conclusion. Islam should be banned in France, but also a Marshall Plan should be established to allow those who want to practice the Muslim religion to do so in their home country,” he told Le Monde.

Mr Chardon became mayor of the small town of Venelles in 2012 after the death of his predecessor.

USA: Former 3rd District Congressional Candidate Admits Plotting Armed Militia Attack, Firebombing Of Muslim Community In New York. Robert Doggart’s Plans Included Burning Down A School, A Mosque And A Cafeteria, According To Federal Court Documents: here.

Cartoons and Islamophobia in the USA


This animated cartoon by Mark Fiore in the USA says about itself:

Pam Geller’s Islamification

13 May 2015

There are only so many ways you can say, “shooting cartoonists is wrong and free speech is great.”

Feel free to check out my previous responses to cartoonists being attacked or Muhammad cartoons being drawn. When I heard about the “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, I was curious about who would organize such a “festival.” (Having organized a cartoon festival myself, I think you can hardly call a two-hour meeting a “festival,” but I digress.) You can read more here.

Anti-Muslim protester at ‘Draw Mohamed’ rally has change of heart after Arizona mosque visit: here.