Why not to use the “Muslim World” term

In the much-vaunted delivery to Muslim delegates in Cairo last week, President Obama’s speechwriters scored a small but significant point. They did this by making the conscious decision to have Obama avoid using  the term “Muslim world”, wisely replaced instead by other terms like “Muslim majority countries” or “Muslim communities”.

To me this is just good style, an attention to detail and a healthy sign that the US administration is cognisant that the useage of “Muslim world” is a shoe-horning into one easy-to-pack term the totality of 1.5 billion people all speaking dozens of languages and dialects from every possible racial background and political stripe and stratified into untold numbers of of spiritual sects and sub-sects. If Obama’s address to Muslims, which has global repurcussions, can make a respectful nod to their localised diversity, it can only be a good thing.

Mehdi Hasan, a senior political editor at the New Statesman, does not agree.

Posted in Identity Politics | Tagged | 15 Responses

Men questioned in UK over white supremacist terror plot

Nicky Davison, an 18 year old from Durham County, accused of plotting a terror attack, appeared in Westminster court yesterday.

Nicky – initially arrested for inciting racial hatred – and his father, Ian Davison, were arrested on the 6 June 2009 under the Terrorism Act 2000, on suspicion for being part of a global network of white supremacist terrorists, plotting to attack ethnic minorities by using the deadly substance ricin. A tiny grain of ricin is enough to kill someone if they came into direct contact with the substance. Police found in the men’s home a jam jar that contained the poison, and is believed to have been kept in a kitchen cupboard for two years.

In uncovering the white supremacist plot, Durham’s assistant chief constable Mike Barton rightly stated “This shows that the terrorist threat in the UK is real and present.”

Posted in Anti Fascism, Feature, Terrorism | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why Islamism will not succeed in Bangladesh

This is a guest post by Raziq

Many Islamist groups exist in Bangladesh today. Among them are: Islamic Oikye Jote, Hizb-ut-Tahrir and (the largest one) Jamaat e Islami. The Islamist goal in Bangladesh is to create an Islamic state which will impose its version of Shariah on the land. The next step would be to unite with other Muslim countries and create an Islamic super state which will eventually take over the world. The call for Muslim unity however does not resonate well with the Bangladeshi people. After all Bangladesh was created after a bitter struggle with what was then West Pakistan. The Muslim on Muslim violence that followed left any hopes of Muslim unity in tatters. These events however have not deterred them and they are still working towards their goal.

Posted in International Affairs, Islamism | Tagged | 17 Responses

Do Muslims have Special Needs?

This is a guest post by Ibn Khaldun

Are Muslims a ‘special needs’ case?

An increasing amount of attention and tax payers’ money is being paid towards initiatives which focus on Muslim issues. Muslim participation in politics, Muslim achievement in education, Muslim women’s participation in mainstream life etc. etc. No other faith group or ethnic group is being lavished with such attention and funds. We now even have the YMAG (Young Muslim Advisory Group) which allows young Muslims in sit in on government consultations and put their views directly to Ministers. There is a whole plethora of initiatives to train Imams, to teach them English and about British society in general.

Posted in Misc, UK Politics | 2 Responses

The old new face of British politics


Fascist MEP, Andrew Brons

Andrew Brons of the BNP is the second of two newly elected MEPs in the Euro elections. The other, of course, is Nick Griffin. There is more on Brons from HopeNotHate.

Brons, 61, started his nazi career in the National Socialist Movement, an organisation that was deliberately founded on Hitler’s birthday by Colin Jordan, the British nazi leader who died in April aged 85. NSM members were responsible for an arson campaign against Jewish property and synagogues in the 1960s.

Brons appears to have approved. In a letter to Jordan’s wife, Brons reported meeting an NSM member who “mentioned such activities as bombing synagogues”. He declared: “On This subject I have a dual view, in that I realise that he is well intentioned, I feel that our public image may suffer considerable damage as a result of these activities. I am however open to correction on this point.”

Posted in Anti Fascism, UK Politics | 4 Responses

Ban Hussein Ye

This article by Habibi is cross-posted from Harry’s Place


Later this month a “dawah” (propagation) campaign will get underway in the UK. It is the first big venture of a new outfit, the Islamic Education and Research Academy, or iERA. Events are scheduled in Brighton, Bristol, Manchester and London.

Have a look at one of the speakers – Malaysian cleric Hussein Ye (sometimes spelled Yee). He was trained at the Islamic University of Medina in Saudi Arabia and is considered a Wahhabi in Malaysia. This clip opens with an invocation:

“May Allah help all the mujahideen, especially in Palestine, especially in Iraq, and wherever they are, who fight to protect human rights.”

Ye goes on to claim – in a speech delivered in 2006 – that America has “no hot proof” of who carried out the 9/11 atrocities. Then he slips in this little observation:

Posted in Antisemitism, Islamism, Your View | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

Europe’s faith hinges on its secularism

The question: Is Europe’s future Christian?

[My piece was originally posted in Guardian's Comment is Free: Belief]

The influx of people from a variety of cultures to Europe has seen Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others practicing their faith as they see fit. Coupled with these relatively new religious practices there is an increasing sense of a lack of faith amongst Christians.

Before the 17th century, Christian religious wars tore Europe apart. Partly, this bitter history has meant that Europe’s post-Westphalian political order has been based on secular and liberal visions for the organisation of society, intended to eradicate the prospect of religious conflicts. Disagreements between peoples of different faiths and belief systems are no longer defined and debated in theological terms, but on the democratic plane.

Posted in Freedom of Expression, Identity Politics, Secularism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Secular State and Abdullahi An-Na’im

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a talk delivered by the eminent scholar Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im.

Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim

Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

An-Na’im is Professor of Law at Emory Univerity of Law. The Sudanese scholar currently lives and works in the US and specialises in the synergy and interdependence between human rights, secularism and Shari`a. In a thirty minute talk (followed by thirty minutes of Q&A) he compressed the ideas of forty years of study which he put together in his last book, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a.

Professor An-Na’im began by clearing the ground of misunderstanding and fallacy by setting forth definitions of ‘Secularism’, ‘State’, ‘Community’ and ‘Shari`a’. Secularism for An-Na’im does not mean atheism or humanism although he respects those who subscribe to these ideas. For him secularism is the formal seperation of religion from state institutions. He is in favour of the secular state not secularised society.

Posted in Democracy, Secularism | Tagged | 2 Responses

Hook’s bad seed

It is always heart-warming when you see the sons follow the principles and example set by the father.

Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri was jailed for seven years in 2004 for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred. It is possible that his three sons will be joining their old man in prison for their involvement in the theft of “luxury cars”.

Hamza’s sons, Hamza Kamel, 22, and Mohammed Mostafa, 27, helped to run the two-year operation with the cleric’s stepson Mohssin Ghailam, 28.

Mostafa, of West London, was jailed for three years in Yemen in 1999 for links with a terrorist group. He has admitted two counts of fraud over the use of a false identity to secure a £12,000 loan against a BMW and to get keys for another BMW on April 26 and May 28 last year.

Posted in Crime | 2 Responses

British hostage killed by al-Qaeda

In a disgusting act of ‘jihadi’ terrorism, UK national Edwin Dyer was killed in the Mali border after being kidnapped by an al-Qaeda group in North West Africa, the al-Qaeda Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Announcing the killing on a militant website, the barbarians said:

“The British captive was killed so that he, and with him the British state, may taste a tiny portion of what innocent Muslims taste every day at the hands of the Crusader and Jewish coalition to the east and to the west.”

Edwin Dyer, along with one German and two Swiss tourists, were kidnapped in Niger, North West Africa, in January. AQIM wanted the British government to release Abu Qatada – described as  ‘Osama bin Laden’s right hand man awaiting extradition to Jordan – from prison, and warned that they would kill Dyer if the government refused, giving the government 20 days to comply. The men were kidnapped by tribesmen and sold to the militants in Mali. Later the German and one of the Swiss nationals were released but the other is still being kept hostage.

Posted in Democracy, Terrorism | Tagged | 5 Responses
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