The ‘Islamist’

The diary of Faisal Haque, a British Muslim activist

Archive for July, 2007

Portillo in the Sunday Times on Terrorism

Posted by theislamist on July 29, 2007

Michael Portillo has penned an interesting piece in today’s Sunday Times. This follows on from the debate in Parliament earlier this week when Gordon Brown suggested that pre-trial detention may need to be extended beyond 28 days.

It appears that these issues have become very highly political – on the issue of the banning of HT the Government seems to now be sticking to the position that there is not grounds to do so, while the Tories are adamant that Blair’s promise to ban the organisation will remain a stick with which to beat the Labour Government.

While Brown may have been caught unawares in his first PMQs on the subject, this week he taunted Cameron by saying that Cameron had in fact thanked HT in correspondence over the crisis in the Middle East.

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Newsnight – Inayat Bunglawala 1 – Shiv Malik 0

Posted by theislamist on July 3, 2007

I am no big fan of Inayat Bunglawala by any means, but tonight’s Newsnight encounter with Shiv Malik was one for the books.

Newsnight’s coverage of Muslim community issues over the years has been interesting to say the least. Last night we had the newly reformed Hassan Butt ridiculously alleging that “most Muslims” believed that terrorist activity attracts divine pleasure and admission to paradise and that “anything that is not an Islamic way of life” is a legitimate target for attack. I remember last year’s hilarious piece on HuT that suggested, of all things, that they were going around mugging old grannies.

Shiv Malik, the journalistic darling of the neocons, has certainly changed his colours over the last 6 years or so. Some have accused him of having previously justified 9/11.  After 7/7 Malik telephoned a lot of employers of Muslim activists, to tell them that they were employing ‘extremists’. He was he pioneer of the “Shock Horror – Muslim doctor works for the NHS” tabloid stories that have dominated the papers in recent days.

On tonight’s Newsnight, I found Malik to be immature, childish and remarkably inarticulate for a journalist. He just asked stupid questions about what Bunglawala had been doing as a teenager with some old quotes from Trends magazine (those of you who are old enough will remember “Around the world with Inayat Bunglawala”).

On another note, Ali Eteraz has written an excellent article on the media’s recent love affair with “former jihadists”.

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“Al-Qaeda supergrass” Hassan Butt in the Observer

Posted by theislamist on July 1, 2007

Hassan Butt, the “Al-Qaeda supergrass”, has written an article in today’s Observer. He is the guy who has claimed to have sent arms to the Taliban, organised training for 200 British Muslims to fight in the Jihad, collected monies for terrorism, incited others to terrorism, encouraged attacks on political and military targets in the UK and associated with the 7/7 bombers.

The title of Butt’s article is remarkable – “My plea to fellow Muslims: you must renounce terror”. I wonder what the reaction of Christians would be if someone just quit the Ku Klux Klan and wrote an article saying “My plea to fellow Christians: you must renounce racism”, insinuating that racism is part of Christianity?

Readers of my blog will recall that I questioned why Butt had not been arrested over these string of offences. I also raised the possibility that Butt had been working for the security services and stated my belief that the “true purpose of Butt’s new found conversion is to instil fear in the masses so that they believe that there are tens of thousands of Muslims who are willing to become suicide bombers on the streets of Britain.” This would strengthen the government’s global war on terror and allow it to continue to erode liberties through ever more draconian laws.

The timing of Butt’s article is interesting – it comes following the terrorist incidents in London and Glasgow, as we approach the 2nd anniversary of 7/7 and in the week in which verdicts are expected in the 21/7 trial.

The arguments he raises in the Observer article are very similar to those of my old colleague Mahbub (Ed) Husain. Like Husain, Butt, ignoring the wealth of evidence to the contrary, blames “Islamist ideology” for terrorism. In a passage that could have been lifted verbatim from The Islamist, Butt writes, “The Muslim community in Britain must slap itself awake from this state of denial and realise there is no shame in admitting the extremism within our families, communities and worldwide co-religionists.”

I have no doubt that the simplistic analysis of Butt will be lapped up by some in the media and Government. The Government are keen to dismiss any sense of grievance amongst Muslims. In a documentary to be shown on Channel 4 tomorrow night, former PM Tony Blair, attacks “absurd” British Islamists who have nurtured a false “sense of grievance” that they are being oppressed by Britain and the United States. Blair says, ‘The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle is that we’re not actually fighting it properly. We’re not actually standing up to these people and saying, “It’s not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn’t justified.”‘ This is not the first time that Muslims have been accused of having “false grievances”.

I find it remarkable that following the deaths of 80 civilians on Friday in Afghanistan, there are some who still say “its not our fault”. After 7/7, in an insightful article, Seamus Milne, wrote, “The London bombers were to blame for attacks on civilians that are neither morally nor politically defensible. But the prime minister – who was warned by British intelligence of the risks in the run-up to the war – is also responsible for knowingly putting his own people at risk in the service of a foreign power. The security crackdowns and campaign to uproot an “evil ideology” the government announced yesterday will not extinguish the threat. Only a British commitment to end its role in the bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to do that.”

On a final note, Butt’s article, although superficial, appears to be very polished and linguistically well written. He is no literary genius and as has happened in the past (with others) it would be no surprise if the article was written for him. Ziauddin Sardar recently suggested that Ed Husain’s The Islamist seemed “to have been drafted by a Whitehall mandarin as a PR job for the Blair government”. It is also public knowledge that in October 2002, Denic MacShane, then a minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office “crafted a first-person piece [The Observer, 11th November 2001], supposedly by Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, which expressed the support of British Muslims for the attack on Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and find Osama bin Laden” (28th October 2002).

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