Normalising the American Islamophobic Fringe: Niall Ferguson and his Neocon Attack on Islam

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Neocons relish a good tragedy. In a screed published prior to the 9/11 attacks, a cabal of neocons argued that the US Armed Forces could only be made resurgent through “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – a new Pearl Harbor”. Soon after the 9/11 attack the neocon David Brooks noted how the attack was positive for cultivating “an unconsummated desire for sacrifice and service”. Unsurprisingly, soon after the Westminster attack, the Times took the opportunity to milk the event and direct all narratives towards Islam and Muslims.

Niall Ferguson, a neocon, penned a particularly vitriolic piecerelying on three reports. The opinion piece has also been published in the Boston Globe.

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Do the Anti-Islam/Neo-Nazi T-shirts Sold by UK Military Charity Indicate towards a Wider Problem?

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1st Knight charity founder Andy Linihan

An undercover investigation by the BBC Scotland found that a military charity which raises funds for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was selling anti-Islamic and Nazi-themed items.

According to the report, the founder of 1st Knight Military Charity, Andy Linihan, was selling a Velcro badge which is designed to be placed on uniforms or baseball caps. Underneath the picture of an assault rifle were the words “72 Virgins Express”, which meant, according to Linihan, the shooting of suicide bombers. One T-shirt had a picture of two naked women, a pint of beer and a pig. It read: ‘Pork-eating, beer-drinking, womanising infidel’. The charity volunteer explained:

“They’re not allowed to eat it are they? These Muslims. Pork-eating, beer-drinking – basically it’s against their religion. Womanising – they’re not allowed to womanise, are they? And yet they call us infidels.”

Other merchandise included Nazi-themed T-shirts and hooded jumpers emblazoned with neo-Nazi emblems.

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Apologists for terror or defenders of human rights? The Cage controversy in context

Crosspost: Tom Mills, Narzanin Massoumi, and David Miller

Last week, in a widely trailed speech, the Prime Minister laid out the government’s counter-terrorism strategy for the next five years. It is necessary, Cameron explained, to challenge the idea that political violence is rooted in ‘historic injustices and recent wars, or… poverty and hardship’.  Terrorism, he said, is caused by ‘extremist ideology’, which his government is determined to confront.

There was little new in Cameron’s speech, which simply affirmed in strong terms the authoritarian drift of counter-terrorism policy. Influenced by the security apparatus and its supporters in Parliament, and by neoconservative think tanks, such as the Henry Jackson Society, and (partly) state funded propaganda outfits like Quilliam, policy makers have become increasingly preoccupied with ‘non-violent extremism’ rather than political violence. Officially this is portrayed as a political campaign against ‘intolerance’. Thus Cameron claims that his government will be facing down ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’ by asserting ‘basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality’.

‘For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society’

On the face of it this seems agreeable enough. But the actual policy is another matter. As was pointed out in a recent letter to which we were signatories, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 will ‘mean that individuals working within statutory organisations must report individuals suspected of being “potential terrorists” to external bodies for “de-radicalisation”‘. In effect, the government has drawn the entire public sector into its controversial counter-extremist agenda, meaning that public servants once responsible for the welfare of citizens – including children – must now monitor their behaviour, appearance and political views, feeding into the most unaccountable and repressive elements of the state. Since 2014, 400 children, even as young as three-years-old, have been referred to the government’s ‘Channel’ programme for ‘de-radicalisation’. The true political implications of the policy, which has now passed into law, were made clear in May when Cameron told the first meeting of the National Security Council: ‘For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone”.’  So much for liberalism.

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Anne Marie Waters, Sharia Watch and Far-Right Extremism

Anne Marie Waters Sharia Watch

In all honesty, up until recently she was an unknown obscure who did not have much relevance in my life. However, Anne Marie Waters caught my bored eyes as she nestled between Quilliamite Usama Hasan and Zionist hate preacher Sam Westrop, in a discussion program which discussed the neocon deflective postulation that “Islamism” poses the greatest to the world. But where some neocons obscure their hate for Islam behind linguistic gymnastics of “Islamism”, Waters boldly declared Islam itself to be the problem,

“the idea that Islamism can be completely separated from Islam I think is problematic to say the least.”

Later in the same discussion she trivialises Islamophobia as “a phrase used to shut down any criticism of anything to do with Islam”. Perhaps she should trivialise Islamophobia and its realities directly addressing the many women who are attacked by white, non-Muslim and – like Waters – right-wing for being Muslims because of the hate directed at Islam and Muslims thanks to extremist ideologues like herself. And make no mistake, Anne Marie Waters hate for Islam as a religion is unfettered and focussed.

From Extreme…

Maryam Namazie’s view of Islam is not dissimilar to Waters’. Thus both were suited for each other at the organisation “One Law for All” (OLFA), a front organisation for the anti-Islam Worker-Communist Party of Iran.

During her time at OLFA she made shockingly anti-Muslim remarks, loaded with prejudiced, reductionist assumptions. In one particular lecture she claims “criminal cases” occur in the context of “Taliban-esque” Sharia courts, which is patently false (See here from 10:50). In the same diatribe of a lecture Waters, in supporting the French ban on the niqab cites an unverifiable conversation with a French parliamentarian who stated that because of the French ban many women were now happy that they didn’t have to wear the hijab. In responding to the contention “what about women who do want to wear it, she replies

“why do you care about the women who want to wear it than the women who don’t want to wear it?”

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