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Mr Grumpy can now be found posting at christianaidwatch.blogspot.com
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Friday, July 22, 2005
Stand by for bleating about a 'shoot to kill policy'. I mean come on, if you've cornered a would-be suicide bomber on a crowded train, all you need to do is talk nicely to him and tell him you feel his pain...
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I particularly appreciated the way yesterday's Independent enabled Daw'ud Abdullah Mannion of Sheffield to present Al-Qa'ida's surrender terms to its readers:-
Osama bin Laden is very clear in his demands: remove western support for these evil tyrants in the Muslim world, withdraw the occupying troops and the attacks on the west will stop. It really is that simple. Muslims around the world are rightfully angry with the west, including Britain, and whilst our unjust foreign
policy continues, some of that anger will boil over into evil acts such as those seen in London on Thursday.
Is there still a crime of treason on the statute book, or did it get abolished as inappropriate to a multi-cultural society? I'm against capital punishment, but, as somebody recently remarked to me, they hanged Lord Haw-Haw.
Monday, July 11, 2005
From the 1950s to the 1990s Britain consistently derided and sneered at Arab nationalism, a reasonable patriotism that was secular, accepted the nation state, and was inclusive of non-Muslims. Right-wing politicians and professors ganged up to oppose Arab nationalism, hoping that thereby the ragged remnants of the British Empire would be given a further lease of life. They compared Nasser to Hitler.
Their amazing short-sightedness opened the way for the devout puritanical terror we see today. Their derision encouraged the shift of allegiance to the fundamentalists. They played a part in the blown-apart bus in Woburn Place. I bet they never apologise.
Bin Laden was not inspired by Wahhabism but by the writings of the Egyptian ideologue Sayyid Qutb, who was executed by President Nasser in 1966. Almost every fundamentalist movement in Sunni Islam has been strongly influenced by Qutb, so there is a good case for calling the violence that some of his followers commit "Qutbian terrorism." Qutb urged his followers to withdraw from the moral and spiritual barbarism of modern society and fight it to the death.
Western people should learn more about such thinkers as Qutb, and become aware of the many dramatically different shades of opinion in the Muslim world. There are too many lazy, unexamined assumptions about Islam, which tends to be regarded as an amorphous, monolithic entity. Remarks such as "They hate our freedom" may give some a righteous glow, but they are not useful, because they are rarely accompanied by a rigorous analysis of who exactly "they" are.
The story of Qutb is also instructive as a reminder that militant religiosity is often the product of social, economic and political factors. Qutb was imprisoned for 15 years in one of Nasser's vile concentration camps, where he and thousands of other members of the Muslim Brotherhood were subjected to physical and mental torture. He entered the camp as a moderate, but the prison made him a fundamentalist. Modern secularism, as he had experienced it under Nasser, seemed a great evil and a lethal assault on faith.
And we did nothing to stop the fascist bastard - er, progressive nationalist statesman, er... OK, I'm a bit hazy about the details, but I do appreciate that it's all my fault. And I'm really, really sorry.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Friday, July 08, 2005
Obviously there are no figures yet, but it is virtually inevitable that significant numbers of Muslims are among the dead and injured. I don’t see the slightest grounds for fearing that British Muslims will suffer anything in the coming days and weeks remotely comparable with what they suffered yesterday.
Let’s also remember the true story of the 9/11 backlash. Muslims killed in the WTC: hundreds. Murders in America suspected of being motivated by hostility towards Muslims: three (one of the victims was a Sikh). Murders in Britain: nil. Mosque burnings in New York: nil. Mosque burnings in America: nil (here are some American Muslims whining regardless instead of celebrating American tolerance). Mosque burnings anywhere: nil.
Then the Americans went into Afghanistan to remove the regime that had played open house to al-Qaeda. That’s when the real backlash began. In a series of attacks on churches in 2002 more than 40 mostly poor and marginalized Pakistanis paid the ultimate price for sharing George Bush’s religion. And then there was Bali…
I don’t believe more than a tiny minority of British Muslims are potential terrorists. But I do know that 15,801 East Enders made it possible for George Galloway to re-enter Parliament on a platform of open support for the people who are orchestrating bomb attacks in Iraq on a daily basis. I think they need to be asked whether yesterday made them more or less sure that they did the right thing. And let’s not have fainting fits over the news that people have been rattling the railings of Finsbury Park Mosque. True, the mosque has been under new management since February and should be given a chance to make a fresh start, but before then it was al-Qaeda’s London chaplaincy, where bombers made contacts and Abu Hamza al-Masri preached the sermons which led to his appearance in court on Tuesday facing 10 criminal charges. The Guardian may feel it is holy ground, but personally I think I can understand people feeling just a little peeved.
OK, I've said my piece. For more, read Norman Geras.