Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.
i must start by declaring an interest here, not only as someone who supports a fair and equitable end to the arab-israeli conflict in which israel’s future is secured and a wider lasting peace in the middle east for all its peoples, but also as someone many of whose ancestors came from mosul and kirkuk in kurdistan. i have met many talented kurds and they have invariably been the sort of people who i could get along with and do business with; reasonable, rational and sensitive to the realities of history and politics.
for all these reasons, the issue of kurdistan has been close to my heart for a number of years; it felt very much to me as if it was a pipe-dream, given the geopolitical status quo. the basics are this:
What makes support for one Muslim cause ethical, politically correct and justified but not another? Why do large segments of the Left find it a moral obligation to support Muslim extremists like Hamas but have no qualms about ignoring the persecution and repression of ordinary, moderate Iranians by the Islamic extremist government?
Ghaffar Hussein attempts to unravel this quandary:
The politically active classes today, led by the liberal-left, take their shopping trolleys and enter the supermarket of political causes. The only causes that attract their attention from the shelves are those in which western governments are complicit or perceived to be complicit.
How else do you explain Palestine becoming a cause de celebre amongst young politically active students who couldn’t even point to Darfur or Kurdistan on a map? How else do you explain anti-globalisation protestors solely focusing on western targets whilst ignoring the excesses and state supported abuses of Chinese and Russian corporations?
we at the spittoon have for some time been a target for the not-very-impressive “spinwatch” site, which appears to be the hobby-horse of strathclyde university’s answer to bob pitt, dr david miller. dr miller, we hardly need remind you, appears to think that spittoon authors are without exception rabid “neo-cons”, by which he appears to mean some sort of catch-all imperialism of liberal democracy imposed by force of arms on the bucolic, picaresque and entirely pacifist natives of the middle-east and south asia. as if this wasn’t bad (or inaccurate) enough, we are also supposed to be apostles of islamophobia; apparently it isn’t clear enough to someone who is supposed to be an academic that what we oppose is the virulent political ideology known as islamism – as well as other forms of religious and political extremism; jewish, christian, atheist, muslim, ethnicity-based – we are equal-opportunity anti-extremists, or we certainly try to be.
Also posted in Anti Muslim bigotry, Blogosphere, Dodgy Policy Wonks, Education, European Fascism, Far Right Extremism, Homophobia, Identity Politics, Islamism, Moral relativism, Nutters, Racism, The Far Left, The Left, The Regressive Left
i came upon this notice in synagogue this morning. it makes interesting reading – as a piece of satire, of course, which i hoped and prayed it is, but unfortunately, on investigation, it isn’t, although it was, due to its over-the-topness, taken as such by the regulars, which was a relief. i know there are synagogues where it would not occur to anyone to think it might be satire – there is at least one commentator who sympathises, but nevertheless thinks it’s “overstated”!
the state of "yiddishkeit" yesterday
anyway, it appears to be (you can download it from here) from one of the increasingly odd sub-groups of the breslover sect of hasidim, who you may have seen in the recent tv documentary partying at their annual jamboree at the sect founder’s tomb in the town of uman in the ukraine. they are regarded as somewhat odd even by other hasidim (in a kind of sufi high-on-G!D hippy kind of way) but they are rather obsessed with the kabbalistic aspects of correct sexual activity, the piece itself being extremely revealing of the attitudes that filter through in much of the discourse from the haredi world, particularly the hasidic bits, so i thought i’d share it, with some translation and commentary:
Also posted in Esoterica, Exegesis, Farce, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion, Hermeneutics, Jewish Extremism, Laughs, Nutters, Obscurantism, Sectarianism, Sexuality
obviously, a great deal has been written about the riots to date and a great deal of predictable outpouring has also taken place. what i wanted to offer to this debate is, however, along more behavioural lines.
i have for some time been aware of the powerful analytical frameworks for bio-psycho-social systems developed by the american psychologist dr clare graves and systematised for practical application by don beck and chris cowan in the excellent book “spiral dynamics” (i’m not affiliated with anyone concerned, incidentally). at the risk of sounding like somewhat of a “fanboy”, as i believe it is called on teh interwebs, i am convinced it constitutes an important piece of intellectual real estate for the understanding of complex socio-political systems, particularly in behavioural terms.
Also posted in Blogosphere, Civil Rights, Communalism, Crime, Democracy, Education, Ethics, Exegesis, Human Rights, Identity Politics, Media, Misc, Moral relativism, Multiculturalism, Political Correctnes gone mad!, Politics, The Far Left, The Left, The Regressive Left, UK Politics
we at the spittoon seem spend a lot of time both criticising people who appear to be disingenuous, swivel-eyed fundamentalist weasels and their stooges, as well as calling for honest, open-hearted dialogue and support for a stronger, more liberal society in which both jews and muslims have a role to play, not just as citizens, but as jews and muslims. we believe both in the robust defence of liberty and the principles of democracy as well as aspiring to a better, more peaceful future in which people of differing religions, cultures and points of view will be able to live together – call it a messianic vision, if you like, or even “roddenberry-lite”, but we don’t see why people can’t “sit under their vine and fig-tree, with nobody to make them afraid“.
Also posted in Anti Muslim bigotry, Antisemitism, Blogosphere, Civil Rights, Democracy, Entryism, Freedom of Religion, Human Rights, Identity Politics, Interfaith, Islamism, Jewish Extremism, Multiculturalism, Racism, UK Politics
This is a press release issued by British Muslims for Israel
Press Release: British Muslims for Israel condemns Jerusalem Bomb Plot
British Muslims for Israel condemns the terrorist attack in Jerusalem today. Such acts of indiscriminate violence are never justified, hurt the cause of Palestinians and harden public opinion in Israel.
Hasan Afzal, a spokesperson for British Muslims for Israel says “Today’s attacks seem to be of a piece with the extreme violence perpetrated against Israelis in the last few weeks. First we had the Itamar massacre, then a barrage of rocket attacks from Palestine into Israel and now the attack in Jerusalem. These attacks hurt all sides, and help no one.”
Afzal added “Recent events have shown that groups such as Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade are determined to kill indiscriminately and use ordinary Palestinians as hostages to their cause. We urge all British Muslims to condemn these senseless attacks which block any attempts for peace and ruin the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians”.
Now is the time to protest against the decision by the APPG to allow entry of the Islamict extremist aligned group ENGAGE because of the actions of irresponsible politicians Peter Bottomley, Simon Hughes, Steven Timms and Sadiq Khan who have been deluded by ignorance, political cowardice and electoral cynicism and their wilful inability to distinguish mainstream Islam from extremist Islam. You can oppose the presence of the ENGAGE in the APPG.
There is much to be alarmed about with the political background of the pro-Islamist pressure group, ENGAGE
- There is a real danger that ENGAGE will seek to prevent non or anti-Islamist Muslims from participating in the APPG.
- It could also use the APPG as a platform to attack not those who hate Muslims but those who are critical of Islamist political parties.
- Such developments would undermine the potentially important findings and recommendations of the APPG.
This is a guest post by a brother from Wales
Asim Hafeez was born and raised in Birmingham. As a student he studied at Swansea University in South Wales. He worked as a nightclub doorman/bouncer in both places. During his time at Swansea University he discovered Islamic activism and eventually, through the force of his personality, became an activist preacher. He regularly spoke at the Swansea Mosque
, a Salafi
In April 2002 Asim joined the Welsh Assembly Government as a race and religion advisor. He then went on to Head the Equalities unit before taking the lead for the Community Cohesion Strategy. In 2007 Asim became the Prevent Coordinator for the Welsh Assembly Government. In this capacity he was responsible for helping to fund an organisation called the ‘Muslim Council of Wales’ (of which he was also a member). This organisation is believed to have received funding commitments to the tune of £255,000 despite it having cooperated with Islamist groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir. To date the money given to the Muslim Council of Wales has not resulted in any useful outcomes. Asim has also spoken publically as a representative of the Muslim Council of Wales on many occasions. What is very concerning is that whilst he was publically representing this organisation, he was also helping to fund it through his role as Prevent Coordinator. This issue raises serious questions and deserves to be investigated. The results of an initial FOI request on this matter can be found here.