The following is the text of a lecture delivered by Richard Rogers on the 16th anniversary of the Liberation War Museum.
I feel extremely honoured to speak to you today as we celebrate the 16th anniversary of the Liberation War Museum. The Museum is a testament to a people’s desire to know and understand the difficult and painful episodes of its own history. Few communities around the globe can claim to have a history devoid of conflict or tragedy and dealing with the post-war situation has always been a challenge. Embarrassed or afraid of the truths that may rise to the surface, some call to forgive and forget the past, to ‘turn a page’, to leave the skeletons in the closet. Yet, time and again, this philosophy of repression has left too many questions unanswered, too much misunderstood, and has led history to repeat itself. In the former Yugoslavia, grievances hundreds of years old re-surfaced in the 1990s to result in one of the greatest tragedies in modern European history. In Rwanda, the echoes of colonial rule fuelled a divide that ended in a slaughter of almost a million people. Two decades after the First World War left Europe in ruins, Adolf Hitler managed to garner support for a second and even more devastating war. In 1971, Bangladesh was scarred by a terrible conflict that has not been put to rest. The way in which the people of Bangladesh approach this past will undoubtedly shape its future.
Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
It’s back. Now it’s over to you.
The Impunity of Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin
This weekend, the Daily Mail launched an editorial on the extradition order for Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin.
In 1971, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, whilst as a leader and organiser of the “Al Badr Death Squads”, abducted, tortured and murdered a number of Bangladeshi intellectuals and patriots, who were seeking self-determination and independence for Bangladesh. Following the defeat of Pakistan, Mueen-Uddin fled to Britain, where he has established himself as the pillar of the Bangladeshi British Muslim establishment, and the prime mover in Jamaat-e-Islam’s various front organisations in Britain.
Here are some excerpts from the Daily Mail report which we copy here, in case Mueen-Uddin’s lawyers, Carter Ruck, force the article to be removed to “protect the reputation” of their client.
One of Britain’s most important Muslim leaders – who has a senior role in the NHS – is to be charged with 18 murders by a war crimes tribunal in his native Bangladesh, investigators have told The Mail on Sunday.
Have a look at this exchange on facebook conducted between Musa Ibraheem, an American Muslim of mixed race ethnicity with Asghar Bukhari and his chums from MPACUK – regarding the use of the N-word. Mr Ibrahim identifies and deals with Bukhari’s racism so completely, there is little else to add. But Asghar is convinced he is justified to call a man a “nigger” because he has seen it used in a film biopic of Malcolm X, and even then, mistakenly so.
This is a press release by The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain would like to make public its support for Tom Holland’s Channel 4 documentary ‘Islam: The Untold Story’. We are indignant to learn that due to threats made on Holland, Channel 4 has cancelled a repeat screening of the historical inquiry into the origins of Islam similar to the kind of inquiry that has been applied to other religions and histories in Britain for many years.
The threats and concerted attempt to stigmatise the documentary and its producers by attacking its credibility and even legitimacy as a field of inquiry is nothing less than an attempt to impose a blasphemy taboo by stealth and coercion against programming that scrutinises Islam.
This is a guest post by Amjad Khan
The Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), which is in fact a front for Salafists and Islamists to promote bigotry dressed as dogma, has also produced a response to the now infamous Tom Holland documentary ‘Islam –The Untold Story’. It is, however, poorly constructed, highly personal and completely misses the point.
There is something quite depressing about the way Muslim activists type respond to anything Islam related that isn’t a glowing tribute to the wonder and beauty of it. Objectivity and rational reasoning based on standard methodology used by historians just isn’t welcome and those who try will be accused of setting out to fabricate lies and deliberately deceive.
It’s almost as if the believing mind simply does not allow for the possibility for there being other interpretations and hence anyone who produces one must be of unsound character and mind. Progress is such an environment is both difficult and perilous.
This is a guest post by Amjad Khan
Last week, Channel 4 broadcast a documentary entitled ‘Islam – the Untold Story’ which was presented by the renowned historian Tom Holland. Holland, who has also written extensively on the subject, attempted to piece together the early history of Islam using available historical resources rather than simply relying on Muslim accounts which, in any case, were produced many decades after events they speak about.
Since Holland came to a number of conclusions which, let’s say, strayed from the orthodox view of Muslim history as relayed by Muslims, he and Channel 4 have managed to attract the wrath of the defenders of the faith. This was inevitable, predictable and quite sad.
However, the press release from the ever reactionary ‘Ramadhan Foundation’ was a real treat. Not only was it semi-literate and nonsensical, it also contained serious errors, something it tried to accuse the documentary makers of. Here it is in full:
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:
By a brother from East London
It is now a well known fact that some of the people responsible for delivering the government’s Prevent programme are actually opposed to its core objectives. These people can be best described as ‘anti-Prevent Prevent leads’.
One such individual is Shaban Siddik. He was recently appointed by OSCT (Home Office) as the Prevent Manager for Ealing Council. He previously worked at Harrow Council as a Prevent Coordinator. Here are the highlights of his Prevent career so far:
- Supporting, promoting and working closely with Harrow Mosque. This institutions website promotes: Islamic Forum of Europe (an Islamist organisation that wants to replace UK Democracy with Shariah law), YMO (an IFE youth group), MCB, Islam Channel and Islam Expo.
- Setting up a ‘Muslim Youth Skills’ group and inviting Yvonne Ridley (Talibanette and Press TV broadcaster) to speak at its opening ceremony.
This is a guest post by Irtaza Hussain
Have difficulty in trying to see why religion gets a bad reputation amongst some people? No problem, just see the crimes done in the so called sacred name of it and see the justifications made by many for those crimes as well as the condition of the majority of its adherents to know how limiting it actually is to the lives of many. Of course, you can say that it’s their life and happiness is the primary goal but doesn’t that mean that people should be more educated in their own religion? What about the social mobility through education that many say has considerable significance? But it seems those questions aren’t very important. Apparently it’s too much to ask them to partake in such a task, some may not be up to it as I’m advised but I also have to consider the idea how intuitive it is as well as how important it is in changing our viewpoint.