Gilligan has been exposed here (and here) to be one deceitful writer. His neocon motivations have led him to lie, deceive and distort, all with an aim to depict Muslims as sinister as possible and fulfil the neocon agenda.
In his latest piece, carrying an undertone of racism, he subtely maintains the “Muslim takeover” gist by starting out with the aspects which have been removed (Victorian buildings) and the group of people who haven’t: Muslims. His article provide cherry-pickings of his deceit, peppered with what seems like a sales-pitch for PREVENT and the Channel programme – he sets out the entire article with the typical, colonialist, “moderate” and “radical” or “extremist” dichotomy. We all know where we have heard this language before.
Gilligan wants to somehow show that “extremist” preachers at Al-Manar masjid are exerting an influence on youth there. In doing so he highlights the Muthana brothers who are now purportedly fighting with ISIS. The irony is he admits the link between the two aspects, (the masjid and the “radicalisation” of the brothers), is tenuous at best, stating:
“That’s not to say, of course, that they were necessarily radicalised at the mosque. But if you look at the kind of people who’ve been preaching there, it doesn’t seem impossible.”
He then proceeds to base most of his diatribe off the back of this unsubstantiated link. Typical Gilligan. *Sigh*
Gilligan Attacks Islam
However, the more serious problem is the picture of extremism which Gilligan paints. Firstly, he takes an easy shot at Shaykh Haytham al-Haddad, whose comments about Jews, apes and pigs is as distorted as the dodgy Iraq dossier he helped expose once upon a time and his own Trojan Hoax pieces. The next aspect which he uses as a marker for extremism is music. And this is where it gets interesting, because by doing so, the agenda which Gilligan is bound by, is exposed. The neoconservative RAND corporation document, Civil Democratic Islam: Islam Partners, Resources, and Strategies, which is the American forefather to UK’s PREVENT policy and sets out how to deconstruct Islam, states,
“The artificial over-Islamizing of Western Muslims can be corrected if attention and support are given to the other ways in which they express their identity: music, culture” p.42
“Sufis are not a ready match for any of the categories, but we will here include them in modernism. Sufism represents an open, intellectual interpretation of Islam. Through its poetry, music, and philosophy, Sufism has a strong bridge role outside of religious affiliations.” p.46
In other words music is a marker through which to push an agenda to reform or “democratise” Islam. It is for this reason that the Islamic view supporting the prohibition of musical instruments, which also happens to be an overwhelmingly majority view, cutting across all four Islamic jurisprudential schools, is being categorised as an “extremist” position.
This, once more, is not an attack on Shaykh Haytham or Ali Hammuda. This is an attack on Islam. Smacking of a colonialist tactic, it also contravenes international norms regarding minorities by giving prominence to a minority within a minority, at the expense of another minority:
“The diversity that exists within religious minority groups must also be recognized. The rights of every single member of such minority groups must be respected fully.” (Beyond freedom of religion or belief: Guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities”, A/HRC/FMI/2013/3, 26–27, November 2013)
The same applies to Saleem Chagtai’s comments which Gilligan quotes. The bigoted, inflammatory, extremely hate-inducing, stereotypically offensive, and racist comments his readers spout are far more unnerving than suggestion that Muslims should look beyond their ethnicity (which incidentally eliminates racism, not that the subliminally racist Gilligan would know). This would apply if “leadership” was understood from a neocon paradigm, where Secretary of States (like Michael Gove) force lies as facts and oppress an entire community. However Chagtai propounds the Islamic understanding of leadership. Gilligan, in producing his quote has stitched three separate parts of the lecture to produce the following quote:
“we as Muslims are not just another ethnic group, we are not just brown faces, and a different type of cuisine that we serve up to the masses in Western countries… We are not like the cattle, the sheep who sit around waiting for the bus or when we are in the supermarket queue… The Prophet said that the upper hand is better than the lower hand… our mandate is nothing less than to be leaders of mankind.”
The above sounds like another Trojan Horse plot, as Gilligan would like us to believe. However, the first part emphasises the need to be leaders. The second part is a hadith (upper hand is better than the lower hand). This is a hadith (saying of the Prophet peace be upon him) to do with encouraging giving to the community! It articulates that it is better give than to ask. By misquoting this in the context of demonstrating extremism and thereby attributing the extremism to the hadith, Gilligan has attacked the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him). Chagtai’s full quote is here:
“We should not be people who ask, because the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wassalam, said that the upperhand is better than the lower hand, he said that to a man who caming begging…”
He also says:
“Musims should not be demanding all the time.”
As for quoting an aspiration of being leaders of mankind as an example of “extremism”, Gilligan simply demonstrates his inherent neocon-driven bigotry against Islam and Muslims: as long as the white man leads, it’s all good. What happened to secular liberalism which on the international level propounds that,
“To foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society” (UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18)
Or is that for all but Muslims?
The question is what is leadership in Islam? In the same lecture Chagtai explains that everyone is a shepherd who are “responsible for your flock”:
“He (Allah) extracted us for humanity that we have to provide leadership in terms of calling people to Allah, to His Deen [religion] and by serving humanity.”
Given the context above, Gilligan’s deceiful nature is incredily manifest here. He stitches separate statements misleading the reader as to the context and conveniently does not provide a link. This is not journalism; this is pure hate-inducing propoganda.
Citing another aspect of Islam in the context of Al-Manar’s “extremist activities”, Gilligan rolls out a Facebook post reminding readers about “free-mixing” and “flirting” and the need to remember their Lord. Again, these are views held by the vast majority of Muslims and is founded in religious texts. In fact, these are aspects of religion found amongst orthodox Jewish communities and conservative Christians! His categorisation of these positions as “extremist” are extremist themselves and constitute an attack on Islam and the Muslim minority. It points to an ideological position held by the neocon anti-Islam Michael Gove, who regards Islamic practices as extremism, as attested to by Whitehall officials.
The proximity of views and the slavish coverage of the Trojan Hoax plot in synchrony with Gove suggests the two are very close.
Returning to the Muthana brothers, as a “journalist”, Gilligan has gone to town to report on what his “sources” (who is most probably Rashad Zaman Ali, which would explain Gilligan’s obsession over Salafis) in Counter-Radicalisation are telling him. He has also quoted some tokenistic “moderates” to support his narrative in his desperate attempt to somehow link the brothers to “Salafi” scholars. Will Gilligan chase the leads which indicate towards the fact that UK security services may have allowed the brothers to leave for Syria?
“Did they allow Aseel to travel to Syria in the first place? Were the two brothers harassed by the security services prior to their departure? Did Special Branch meet with the brothers in Turkey, and did they threaten them in a way that alienated them from the UK and their family?” (Asim Qureshi)
Gilligan the hype-whore? And real journalism? On a cold day in hell.