Thursday, September 17, 2009

Choudary: the best gift to the fascists

Both fascists and Islamofascists share the same goal, that is racial tension and social instability. By Stan.

The activities of the English Defence League have cause a bit of a stir as of late. Some commentators noted how the mess that kicked off in Harrow in response last weekend is going to "do no one any good".

It's quite obvious that the current climate is an extremist's wet dream. On one side, it's increasingly clear that the EDL are not the innocent lillies they'd like to come across as. Unless you're hearing-impaired, you may have heard "we hate the Muslims" and other assorted inflammatory insults at their demos. Their repeated pleas that they're "neither racist nor far-right" are as convincing as Michael Jackson's statement that he most definitely only had plastic surgery twice.

However, here's the big however. Some on the left are also getting carried away. Whether denial, delusion, or both, they insist on envisaging a kind of "tremendously militant" grand anti-fascist alliance with Muslim groups that doesn't exist.

The simple truth is that the type of violence and anger that erupted at Harrow is only going to play into the hands of the right-wing tabloids and right-wing groups that have made a political mission out of victimhood and paranoia.

If that wasn't enough, three days ago, Islamofascist and terrorist-supporter Anjem Choudary issued a video. Defined as "a special address to members of the English Defence League", it reiterated his firm aim to impose shari'ah law all over Britain and to have the Islamic flag fly over Downing Street (watch the disgraceful video peppered with usual talks of 'infidels' here).

More, Choudary lashed out at "socialists" and leftists stating, amongst other things, that they're only sticking up for the British Muslims out of political capital and that they should basically piss off.

The left and the vast majority of anti-fascists can't go on ignoring this.

Sure, Choudary represents a tiny little fraction of the Muslim population of Britain, but in the same way, the EDL and/or the BNP are not representative of the country's public opinion. However, the tireless way both fascists and Islamofascists are working towards the same goal, that is racial tension and social instability, is quite shocking.

Each time Choudary and pals open their gob that's extra votes for the BNP. Similarly, each time the skinhead oiks are heard singing anti-Muslim slogans dressed up as pissed-up football chants that's more Muslim people closing ranks, playing the game of the "us and them" peddlers.

Someone needs to take a step back, have a cup of tea and focus on real problems.

Also read: "Hooligans, racists, bigots: we don't want your help".

30 comments:

Thomas Byrne said...

Political capital is always the impression I've got when the SWP persist on banging on about Palestine as every single opportunity.

socialist sam said...

Here we are. Another excuse to have dig at the SWP and the socialists.
Thomas, but also Stan, and others.
There are people out there who care and may do things out of principle and not because they think they can recruit two extra party members.

The fact that you see politics (and life) cynically doesn't mean that everyone else does.

Some of my SWP mates actually stuck their heads above the parapet there both in Harrow and Brum, at risk of being beaten up and stuff. WHat have you done?

Thomas Byrne said...

And yet they refused to attend the protests for imprisoned Iranian Trade Union activists, when representatives from nearly all other socialist parties and trade unions were there.

The SWP actively appease the Iranian regime, having publicly defended it on PressTV amongst other things.

I believe greatly in compassion, but I believe it extends beyond who the latest media darling is. I notice none of the muslims/SWP students who weep over Palestine care for any other human sufferring going on in non muslim countries.

(Not to mention that Trots and marxism is generally just lolworthy)

Stan Moss said...

sam,
I'm not an SWP supporter, however my piece was not intended as a "dig at them" at all.

The issue goes beyond the SWP. Who cares about the SWP really?

I was talking about the Left's general lack of outrage at the inflamatory crap that comes from the Islamofascist and the total delusion of those who fool themselves that anything ranging from Harrow rioters to George Galloway's Press TV is part of a "big anti-fascist alliance".

This really puzzles me a lot. The neurotic relationship that entire chunks of the left have enjoyed with certain Muslim movements is something I will never understand.

Thomas:

". I notice none of the muslims/SWP students who weep over Palestine care for any other human sufferring going on in non muslim countries."
True. I think Claude wrote something here comparing the outrage whenever a US missile kills civilians say in Afghanistan and the total lack of interest whenever the Taliban slaughter an entire village. Such arguments don't go down well amongst the left for some reason.

You mention "Trots". But do you know any? I haven;t met a single Trot in my life and yet I keep reading about "the Trots".

Thomas Byrne said...

Newcastles SWP are self proclaimed trotskyites, heh. I've been to a meeting or two or theirs and usually stop for a chat when they're doing some stands in town.

septicisle said...

I have to disagree. Choudary is an idiot who represents precisely no one, and is not about to suddenly undermine community relations. The EDL on the other hand are expressly attempting to goad Muslims into attacking them, and succeeding, exactly what set off the riots in 2001. Choudary can be ignored while the EDL can't.

claude said...

septicisle,

"I have to disagree. Choudary is an idiot who represents precisely no one, and is not about to suddenly undermine community relations".

While it's true Choudary may not represent no-one may I remind you of 7/7 and what that did to potentiall undermine community relations?
Don't you think that Choudary and his henchmen repeatedly singing the praise of terrorist attacks can be poisonous?

I think neither should be ignored

septicisle said...

No, because unless they get given attention, which is exactly what they crave, no one even knows about their bullshit. As said, they should be treated like trolls: either ignored or ridiculed.

Tom said...

Exactly, Septicisle. Why link to the videos of an obscure irrelevancy and then tut-tut about their content? You're helping to promote it.

And why trot out Bush's term "Islamofascism"? A fascist is a fascist whichever religion or "culture" he tries to hide behind.

It's not "shocking" at all, it's perfectly predictable.

claude said...

Tom,

"Why link to the videos of an obscure irrelevancy and then tut-tut about their content? You're helping to promote it."

Be fair now, c'mon.
Virtually every single blog 'on the left' that reposted the ridiculous EDL video from the other day then went on "tut tutting" about it.
So your objection there doesn't stand.

Stop playing down Islamic fundamentalism. It does nobody any good.

Tom said...

Claude, I haven't seen any EDL videos because I don't read "virtually every single blog 'on the left'."

So my objection is still where I put it.

OK are you going to call the EDL "Christiano-fascists"?

I didn't think so.

Tom said...

Stop playing down Islamic fundamentalism. It does nobody any good.

Learn to separate political rhetoric from a religion. I don't care what his beliefs are. Sharia law is not about to happen in the UK, you'd have to be a paranoid wreck to think otherwise.

claude said...

Tom:
"Sharia law is not about to happen in the UK, you'd have to be a paranoid wreck to think otherwise".

True. But by the same token then, a BNP victory at the general elections is "not about to happen" either. They're "not about to" form a government and all the rest. The NF are "not about to" impose a fascist regime. But still you openly oppose the BNP and the NF (and rightly so), don't you?

So what sort of argument is yours?

Just because something "is not about to happen in the UK", (though I do recall 7/7 happening, ffs) that doesnt mean you shouldn't oppose it loud and clear.

And that includes the Islamofascists who share the following in common with the 'traditional' brand of fascism:

-patriarchal families;
-subjugated women;
-rampant homophobia;
-religion playing a central role;
-anti-abortion;
-a society repressive and intolerant of diversity; etc.

I referred to the term 'Islamofascism' because, in this case, all of the above is done in the name of Islam.

You say:
"OK are you going to call the EDL 'Christiano-fascists' ?I didn't think so."

Wrong. Because the term clerical-fascism has been around for a very long time, especially to identify catholic integralism as a basic tenet of far-right movements in the West.

For example, it was used historically to brand General Franco's dictatorship in Spain (also known as 'Nacionalcatolicismo') , and supporters of Mussolini whose main drive was religious 'purity'.

Tom said...

I suppose my "argument", if you want to call it that, has a certain amount in common with yours. I'm against the BNP and the likes of Choudhary. There's nothing to argue about there. I keep an eye on the clashes which the establishment newspapers are keen to call "race riots" too. I don't generally link to propaganda pieces aiming to stir up such clashes however. You may disagree, that's your prerogative.

I referred to the term 'Islamofascism' because, in this case, all of the above is done in the name of Islam.

Well, I was really addressing Stan who I believe wrote the post, and didn't mention clerical fascism or the "Judeo-Christian" posturings of the blogger Lionheart who was in at the start of these tossers' formation, then jumped ship.

Choudhary is a trained solicitor, not a cleric, unless you know differently of course.

It seems to me that you sully the reputation of the Muslims who died at the hands of the 7/7 plotters, on the basis that they may have come from "patriarchal families" in Iran, Afghanistan or London. They shouldn't have been murdered, simple as that. It doesn't make them fascists or their families grief any less important, do I really need to point that out?

Blair said "we know this was done in the name of Islam"

One of the victims went by the surname of Islam. It's sickening for Blair (or anyone) to use 7/7 as a basis to target her religion.

claude said...

Tom, I disagree, and I think you're getting bogged down in something incomprehensible...

What is so wrong with saying loud and clear that both EDL/BNP/NF and Islamic fundamentalists are noxious for social cohesion and peace?

See, fundamentally, you're talking as if Stan's piece and successive comments (including my own) were accusing "Muslims", as a whole, of extremism. No-one did such a thing. Far from it. Show me a single line that points towards that.

This blog has been extremely critical of the way tabloids are inflaming the situation by making that ill-informed equation daily, not to mention of psychotic scumbags like the BNP or the EDL.

However, for crying out loud, there is an issue with Islamic fundamentalism. And it's called Islamic fundamentalism, I don't see why you get irked about it.

You can downplay it by saying that they count for nothing, that they're pricks, that Choudary was "trained as a solicitor" (totally irrelevant), you can do all the whataboutery in the world. Fact is: there is a strand of Islam, an extreme one, a minority one, yet there is one, that in the name of their interpretation of religious texts is not interested in social cohesion, community relations, dialogue and peace.

Not long ago, Head of Muslim Council of Britain Sir Iqbal Sacrani said on the BBC that homosexuality is "harmful to society". He added that it is harmful "in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that comes along in a society - it is. It is not acceptable." He said that "he was guided by the teachings of the Muslim faith".
(BBC ONLINE NEWS LINK HERE). He was interviewed in his capacity as religious leader.

Now I think that's religious bigotry of the worst type. Religious, in this case, because it's said quoting "the teachings of the Muslim faith" as justification.

The same way there are some right wing Christian nuts who are, alas, very active in the US and spout out crap in the name of the Bible. They engage right-wing neanderthal politics driven by religious fanaticism.

What's wrong with saying that? Is anyone implying that all Christians are like that? Are we sullying Christians who have been victim of their abuse?

Again, I maintain, stop downplaying Islamic fundamentalism. You can fight Islamophobia and religious fundamentalism at the same time. It's the only way intolerance can be defeated.

Tom said...

I get the impression that you're against people having any religious belief at all, whereas I think that's a matter for them.

I don't agree with having "spokesmen" for separate "communities" or religions or anything like that. Why should his opinion carry more weight than any other? It's just the same as political parties.

You mentioned abortion earlier, I'm no longer a Catholic but I'm still not in favour of that. So what? I can't do anything about it and I'm not a woman anyway.

I can accept the term Islamic Fundamentalism as something real that actually exists. How is that downplaying it? "Islamofascism" is an insulting, broad-brush Islamophobic term, and disappointing for a blog which I agree, often has good points to make about racism in the press etc. I see you stopped using it when trying to explain your point of view, which is welcome. It seems to encourage the same us-versus-them "clash of religions" mentality that you often stand up against. Why do you say you can't comprehend this?

As I always say, if someone is a killer or a fascist or whatever, I don't care where he worships. It's irrelevant. I can't see you convincing me otherwise.

claude said...

"you're against people having any religious belief at all
Not true and totally gratuituous on your part. I'm against those who in the name of a religion set out to oppress and discriminate.

Those who, in the name of a religion, segregate women in the kitchen or kill their daughters because they're going out with someone of a different creed (like a Moroccan chap in Italy last week. He stabbed to death his 18-year-old daughter because she was going out with a non-Muslim Italian). That is vile.

"You mentioned abortion earlier, I'm no longer a Catholic but I'm still not in favour of that.
I'm anti-abortion too. But I'm in favour of freedom of choice and a legislation that doesn't bring unsafe back alley practices.
Incidentally, may I remind you that, in the name of the Bible, last June some christian fundamentalist nutters (link here) murdered a doctor in the US.

That is wrong. Murder is always wrong. But when done in the name of a relgious text I find it even more hideous, hateful and incomprehensible.

Islamofascism. I stand by the term the same way I do when clerico-fascism is discussed.

"Clash-of-religion" mentality, you say.
And I start thinking of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the chap who came to see Ken Livingstone, a cleric and leader at the European Council for Fatwa and Research, who in defiance of every humanitarian instinct, has justified the taking of civilian hostages and the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. He expressing anti-Semitism worthy of Adolf Hitler, and urged to "Destroy the usurper Jews".
To quote civil right campaigner Peter Tatchell, "[Al Qaradawi] does not say destroy Jewish settlers and soldiers oppressing Palestinians, but destroy "the" Jews – all of them".

"Qaradawi also sanctions domestic violence against disobedient wives; blames rape victims who do not dress with sufficient modesty; and supports the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (which involves cutting the clitoris of young girls; denying them full sexual pleasure in later life)".

When one calls that type of religious fundamentalism (amongst other things) "Islamofascism" and you choose to see it as a "broad-brush Islamophobic term, then it's simply your ill-informed interpretation of it.

"if someone is a killer or a fascist or whatever, I don't care where he worships."
Neither do I. Unfortunately though, the problem is some people openly, brazenly and proudly claim that they are actually killing in the name of their religion. In which case, it's time you remove the wool from your eyes.

Stan Moss said...

Sorry to butt in but I noticed someone mentioned my name.

I'll repeat the final two paragraphs of my post with added emphasis:

"Sure, Choudary represents a tiny little fraction of the Muslim population of Britain, but in the same way, the EDL and/or the BNP are not representative of the country's public opinion. However, the tireless way both fascists and Islamofascists are working towards the same goal, that is racial tension and social instability, is quite shocking.

Each time Choudary and pals open their gob that's extra votes for the BNP. Similarly, each time the skinhead oiks are heard singing anti-Muslim slogans dressed up as pissed-up football chants that's more Muslim people closing ranks, playing the game of the "us and them" peddlers".

Tom berates me for not mentioning clerical fascism when talking about EDL-types. But religion in this case doesn't seem to be their main point, whereas it is for people like Choudary or Bakri.

The EDL (which I despise, hope that's clear) seem to be ranting more about "the country" and making it more of a nationalist (some would say racial/racist) issue. Sure, some bloggers or some BNP people also mention "our Christian roots" and all that jazz, but it doesn't seem at the core of their politics.

Tom said...

Stan said: Tom berates me for not mentioning clerical fascism when talking about EDL-types. But religion in this case doesn't seem to be their main point,

I'm not claiming that they're all skinhead vicars. Don't be daft. I'm saying you're playing into the hands of these Islamophobes by lazily defining political extremists by a religion which they don't own or have the rights to. The word "Islamofascism" is a controversial term, for good reason, and I'm entitled to object to it. If you keep using it I'd suggest you will probably alienate Muslims.

Claude said: Murder is always wrong. But when done in the name of a relgious text I find it even more hideous, hateful and incomprehensible.

You can find it anything you like, it's only an emotional reaction leading to an opinion that's personal to you, and doesn't change what happened. I repeat, Claude, it's not something being done "in the name" of anything that's wrong. It's the act itself. If you won't accept the fact we'll not agree on it.

Stan Moss said...

You know Tom,
when the Iraq war started I went on several demos with placards saying "not in my name".

Yet your argument is the equivalent of demanding that every commentator and opponent of the war stopped saying "the Americans" but only "the US government propped up by those who back the war - but not all Americans".

But in fact, even though it was for everyone to see that opposition to the war was quite strong both in the UK and in the US (as well as various EU countries), people still felt the need to say "not in my name". For better or for worse, it's the way politics works.

George Prick W Bush would get all lippy about the Axis of Evil, us and them, clash of civilisation and all that shit. We thought, fine, let's just show the world that this is not going to represent all of us.

Likewise, when Choudary, Bakri, Qaradawi and various clericsc call for an all-out war and rant against the "infidels", it is important that the greatest majority of the Muslim people who disagree with them actually stood up to them and said "not in my name".

Unfortunately, very few do. Yasmin Alibhai Brown, respected progressive writer, is a welcome exception. This is what she wrote two months ago:

Today control freaks who claim they have a special line to the Almighty have turned our world dark. Neo-conservative Islamic codes spread like swine flu, an infection few seem able to resist.

The disease is progressive. It started 20 years ago with the hijab, donned then as a defiant symbol of identity, now a conscript's uniform. Then came the jilbab, the cloak, fought over in courts when schoolgirls were manipulated into claiming it as an essential Islamic garment. If so, hell awaits the female leaders of Pakistan and Bangladesh.


you say:
"it's not something being done "in the name" of anything that's wrong. It's the act itself."

You're splitting hairs there. It's the act itself alright, but then you have to investigate and tackle the reasons that brought those people to commit those "acts".

Incidentally, I notice not a single word came from you in condemnation of Qaradawi, Choudary, and the groups they represent. I hope I'm wrong, but perhaps you don't find their views repuslive enough to feel the need to express any disagreement?

claude said...

Tom, I reckon you're a bit confused.

This is you earlier at 4:45pm:

[in response to: ]"'Stop playing down Islamic fundamentalism. It does nobody any good'.

Learn to separate political rhetoric from a religion. I don't care what his beliefs are."


then at 6:55pm you went:
"I can accept the term Islamic Fundamentalism as something real that actually exists."

These people go on about "infidels" every other words. When you say "Learn to separate political rhetoric from a religion." it sounds very very lame.

When you say:
I'm saying you're playing into the hands of these Islamophobes by lazily defining political extremists by a religion which they don't own or have the rights to.
I think you have the wrong target in mind. Again, you need to address that to the people who claim to speak by default in the name of Islam.

Tom said...

Stan. It's great that you went and marched against the Iraq war. I didn't but I was and am against both that and the Afghanistan one. Most (even moderately) informed people realise that governments don't do what is best for the mass of the population within their borders. It's called democracy, for some reason. I'm sure we could go into this subject at length if we must.

Please don't tell me what you consider to be "the equivalent" of my argument. It looks like you're just changing the subject.

But as a matter of fact, I do think it's quite important to be careful with words, and the examples you give are valid. What's wrong with accuracy anyway?

You say Alibhai-Brown is an exceptional case, and I tend to agree, in that she's one of the very few Muslims allowed a column in the print version of a major newspaper (not the website ghetto). She uses the term "neo-conservative Islamic codes", which is a tad more thoughtful than "Islamofascist" isn't it?

You know yourself that "raving nutjob fanatic" makes a better story than "reasonable person you might meet every day" for the media. Comedian Omid Djalili pointed this out perfectly and very funnily. How many are given the opportunity to do the same?

I said I was against Choudhary already, you did read that I hope. I don't have to "condemn" Qaradawi, just because you invite me to. What do you mean anyway? Condemn him to death? Condemn him to not having free speech? He condemns himself as exactly what he is with his own words. Not only Livingstone but also his crony Ian Blair have spoken up for this creep, in Blair's case because of the strength of numbers he can command. That fits the accepted definition of fascism because it involves two people in positions of real actual power, pandering in effect to mob rule.

But I'm not qualified to decide who is a "true" Muslim and who is not. I share your apparent view that that's better done by those within Islam itself.

Tom said...

Claude, now you're just being contrary for the sake of it. You can't just tell me to "stop" this or "you need to" that and expect me to jump to it. We might as well leave it at that.

claude said...

Irshad Manji is another brave person and a Muslim feminist who gets accused of Islamophobia (!).

In a 2004 interview with Johann Hari she spoke of "the fight between progressive Islam and the Islamofascists."

Irshad said:
"It's insane that I get sometimes accused of 'Islamophobia', or offering comfort to people who hate Islam," she quickly adds, anticipating my next question. "I like to respond to that by talking about Matthew Shepherd [a young gay man who was recent crucified and burned to death in Wyoming]. I say to my good-hearted liberal friends, would you have let these yahoos get away with insisting that gay-bashing is part of their culture and as a result they deserve immunity from scrutiny on that front? Well, why is misogyny and homophobia in Saudi Arabia any different? No, it's up to us Muslims in the West to drop reactionary charges of racism against the whistleblowers of Islam - people like me and your heroic colleague Yasmin Alibhai-Brown - and lead the charge for change."

These are the people who need our support. Pointing out that Choudary was "trained as a solicitor" is just ducking the issue, Tom.

Tom said...

It't not just Islam that's the problem in Saudi Arabia as you know fine well. It's the regime put in place by our regimes. Many of the princes are reported to be homosexual and much worse than that.

Tom said...

Pointing out that Choudary was "trained as a solicitor" is just ducking the issue, Tom.

No Claude, I genuinely thought you were under the impression that he himself was a cleric and speaking with such authority.

I see him instead as a rabble-rousing would-be politician because of his legal training, and his wish to enact legal reform.

claude said...

Tom, I don't really care what Choudary's past training was. Fact is, in the last few years he is been involved in preaching religious hatred and he's arrogantly tried to speak on behalf of Islam. Every one of his sentence he motivates with references to 'holy books' and the rest.

Actually, I just found out that in September 2006, Choudary and about 100 people demonstrated outside the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral in London with banners such as 'Pope go to hell' and 'May Allah Curse The Pope'. The SIOE/EDL managed 12 people in Harrow.

Numbers aside, though, Choudary's Islamists extremists and the EDL/SIOE really seem to have an awful lot in common.

It is shocking however, that some people on the left keep denying things. On this same thread (17 Sep), septicisle said:

"Choudary is an idiot who represents precisely no one, and is not about to suddenly undermine community relations. The EDL on the other hand are expressly attempting to goad Muslims into attacking them."

One is downplayed, one isn't. My view is that we need to keep the same approach when we talk about both sides. They are both equally vile, poisonous, inflammatory and fanatical.

Tom said...

Fair point, I'm not an expert on English politics by any means so it's useful information to me.

Were you aware of Bakri's "burning cross" stunts? Who does that remind you of?

http://jihadwatch.org/archives/006399.php

Apologies for the source however.

claude said...

"Who does that remind you of?"

Dunno...Sinead O'Connor? US troops in Iraq?

Jihadwatch is a bad source, true. They have a tendency to just regurgitate Daily Mail or Sun "stories".

Tom said...

The geographically/geometrically challenged British media was full of waffle about a "burning cross" on the London map in July 2005. I wonder where they get their ideas from?