The past couple of weeks have been quite eventful in the context of the “reformist” deformist attack on Islam. There is no longer a need for a smokescreen of social issues behind which to mount the attack. It seems to be the case that the events like the actions of ISIS have provided a sufficient pretext to renew the call to deform Islam. This, despite the fact that scholars from different theological backgrounds have continually expressed their revulsion at ISIS activities, not as a matter of political expedience but through Islamic textual deductions.
The Conveyor Belt to Disbelief
Neoconservatism has been at the forefront of pushing a reformation, or as I call it, a deformation in Islam, particularly after the onset of the Iraq War. Leading neocon and architect of the disastrous US foreign policy, Paul Wolfowitz stated on the eve of the Iraq war,
“We need an Islamic reformation and I think there is a real hope for one”.
The fountains of traditional Islamic learning also came in for neocon smear. In a speech at Georgetown University on the 30th of October 2003, Wolfowitz described madaaris (Islamic schools) as “schools that teach hatred, schools that teach terrorism” while providing free “theologically extremist teaching to ‘millions’” of Muslim children.
One of America’s most prominent Islam bashers has a long history of making things up.
Crosspost: Max Blumenthal
While promoting her new book, Heretic, on a March 23 episode of “The Daily Show,” Somali-born author and anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali made a staggering claim: “If you look at 70 percent of the violence in the world today, Muslims are responsible,” she told host Jon Stewart.
Stewart did not demand any evidence and Hirsi Ali provided no citation. However, she made a strikingly similar statement in a March 20 essay previewing her new book for the Wall Street Journal: “According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” Hirsi Ali wrote in WSJ’s Saturday Essay, “at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims.”
I contacted the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a leading British foreign policy think tank, to inquire about the source of Hirsi Ali’s statistic. According to IISS Media Relations and Communications Officer Kat Slowe, IISS did not explicitly state such a figure in its research.
Peter Oborne, former chief political commentator at the Daily Telegraph, in a sequence of articles for Open Democracy has shed significant light on the demise of standards at the Telegraph titles drawing attention to the paper’s refusal to publish his investigative pieces on the behaviour of the Charity Commission towards British Muslim charities and the paper’s woeful neglect in coverage of the banking scandal engulfing HSBC allegedly to avoid losing valuable advertising revenue.
In our view, Andrew Gilligan and his derisory brand of ‘investigative’ journalism is further evidence of the “fraud” by the Telegraph titles on its readers who are fed a regular diet of shoddy journalism. Gilligan’s mudslinging at British Muslim organisations is well known. Lesser attention, however, has been paid to the number of times his ‘investigative’ pieces have been shown to be lacking in substance. Unfortunately, British Muslim organisations do not possess the kind of financial clout that large business corporations may be able to exercise over the Telegraph’s print output and so spurious allegations and unfounded accusations continue to be printed.
Gilligan’s form of non-violent extremism takes the curious shape of paradox peppered with paranoia. For example, in light of the Education select committee’s report this week on the so called ‘Trojan horse plot’ in Birmingham schools, it is useful to reflect on the number of articles Gilligan wrote elaborating on the ‘extremism‘ present in the schools, the actors involved and how the Sunday Telegraph “revealed the truth behind the plot”. Contrast this to the important finding by the select committee, and affirmed by the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, in an interview with The Muslim News last year, that “ No evidence of extremism or radicalisation, apart from a single isolated incident, was found by any of the inquiries and there was no evidence of a sustained plot nor of a similar situation pertaining elsewhere in the country.” Have we seen a retraction of the specious allegations Gilligan made in relation to the schools? Of course not. Have we seen an apology from the Telegraph for allowing articles without substance to be published and thereby committing a “fraud” on its readers? Of course not.
One of the incidental effects of the conclusions drawn by the Education Select Committee inquiry into the Trojan Hoax allegations, is the further exposure of establishment propagandist, Andrew Gilligan’s deceit and anti-Muslim bigotry. His last piece attacking a Muslim head teacher at Small Heath School, in Birmingham, on the most spurious of grounds continued the now officially disproven “takeover” theme. His one-sided diatribe was comprehensively exposed on this blog.
The blog was written prior to the publication of the Ofsted report. However, the report for the school has now been revealed, and so has the extent of Gilligan’s proliferation of lies and spin designed to discredit the Muslim head teacher at Small Heath School. It is time revisit his anti-Muslim propaganda.
Gilligan wrote that the school was to be placed into special measures “as fears grow of a resurgence of the ‘Trojan Horse’ plot”. As already mentioned, the Select Committee found no evidence of a plot; the sentence amounts to nothing more than fear-mongering.
The reports of late around the increases in anti-Semitic reporting have primarily centred on Palestine, with Andrew Gilligan for instance, attempting to forge a link between the rise in attacks and Muslims Islam.
This came to a more emphatic, anti-Muslim assertion made by a Jew amongst the audience on BBC’s Question Time (05/02/2015), who stated that (at 57 minutes),
“There is a strong correlation between the rise of Muslims in Britain, and the rise of anti-Semitism… we don’t how many come from Muslims and how many don’t, but I suspect, there is a very strong relationship.”
The assertion was calmly made as though it was a statement of fact, yet it was admitted that the actual figures were not known. An unsubstantiated attack on the Muslim minority, no less.
In my piece on Gilligan, I highlighted how Gilligan focussed entirely on Muslims and Muslim behaviour. He also dragged in Muslim organisations and individuals in what was a Salafi-bashing piece, a nod to RICU directives, presumably. After reading Gilligan’s propaganda material, it would be understandable why the gentlemen in the audience relayed his anti-Muslim thoughts in the manner he did.
To Defend Our Beloved Prophet, Let Us Exemplify His True Ideals Say Imams
Following the shocking murders in Paris, condemned by Muslims all over the world, and subsequent moves to depict the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once again, Imams from the UK and abroad have come together to issue the following advice to those concerned about the depiction.
For Muslims, love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a NECESSARY part of our FAITH. He is dearer to us than our parents and children. We prefer him to our own self.
- Accordingly we regret and are naturally hurt by the depiction of our Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace), a great personality held in high esteem by 1.8 billion Muslims and millions more, in such a manner.
- Muslims do believe in freedom of speech. And they do respect the right for people to say what they believe to be correct. However, freedom of speech should not be translated in to a duty to offend. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that absolute freedom of speech does not exist. There are laws to protect the dignity and properties of people. We urge governments, civil society and our media to foster a culture of mutual respect and unity, not one of division and disdain.
- Most Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset by the republication of the cartoons. But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved Prophet (peace and Blessings be upon him) is the best and immediate way to respond.
An interesting exchange which can be listened too here with James O’Brien in which the demand for apology from Muslim is comprehensively deconstructed. For those who want to dig a little deeper, the notion of “identity” of a community and its underlying assumptions were reciprocated to expose the caller’s inherent bias. Simply put, one wouldn’t ask another community to do the same. Singling out Islam and Muslim is discriminatory and xenophobic. As an example, see the reactions to Rupert Murdoch’s incrimination of all Muslims. As already highlighted in the social sphere, racism is a social contruct which moulds, changes and reemerges in different guises, yet the underlying xenophobia remains the same. A quote from a previous blog written on xenophobia, is most apt: