The weaponization of LGBT concerns is not new in the West. In 1994 the US military reportedly sought to develop a “gay bomb” that would be spread by the Air force behind enemy lines. The aim was ultimately to increase distraction and reduce military efficacy. In the runup to the 2003 Iraq invasion, the CIA floated the idea of shooting a fake video of Saddam cavorting with a teenage boy. The aim? Destabilisation of his regime. More recently, Israel has been using LGBT promotion as propaganda to deflect focus from the suffering of Palestinians.
This mode of abusing a contentious issue to cause disruption in pursuit of an agenda seems to be surfacing in a recent set of events in the Saltley area of Birmingham.
Once again, the area has become ground-zero for Muslims becoming the subject of national debate. Per the norm with such “debates”, the negative framing sees Muslims couched as the regressive aggressor battling enlightenment, equality and the “victim”; in this case a white gay headteacher who is, he professes, merely teaching what is law.
There was tragic irony in the recent words of the NUS President Megan Dunn. Allow me to elucidate.
Dunn, capitulating to the pressure mounted by the neoconservative lobby – constituted of William Shawcross, Peter Clarke, George Osborne, and fronted by David Cameron – pleased the gleeful “native Muslim informants” over at Quilliam when she dissociated from CAGE, perhaps trying a little too hard in the process. She stated that the dissociation with CAGE was due to NUS’s policies on “anti-racism, anti-fascism and how we define anti-Semitism”.
It has to be an epic form of hypocrisy. Amnesty International, after shamelessly being bludgeoned into publically distancing themselves from CAGE, now have their name on the Henry Jackson Society website. Abbas Faiz, senior research at Amnesty International South Asia is a listed speaker alongside neocon Haras Rafiq of Quilliam Foundation, and HJS’s very own Rupert Sutton at an upcoming event.
Gita Sahgal was paraded in the papers as the person who challenged Amnesty’s association with CAGE. Sahgal’s attack on Moazzam Begg was rooted in her bigotry toward Islam and Muslim in particular. The essence of her attack was ideological; Begg, she argued, subscribed to “a set of ideologies” which supported discrimination and violence. These were all responded at that time and are covered in my blog in detail.
It did not matter that CAGE advocated due process and rule of law. Neither did it matter that it campaigned against detention without trial and torture. Amnesty suffered amnesia regarding these aims when it decided to distance itself. What mattered was reputation under the façade of a defence of human rights. It sent an unequivocal message: a Muslim cannot campaign within the human rights paradigm, even if his calls support the causes of this very paradigm.
What acutely demonstrates the utmost bigotry of the faux liberals is the ear-drum-bursting silence on the “association” between HJS and Amnesty. As I argued early last year, human rights is often a stick used to beat the Muslim minority with. Islam is singled out and indeed, this is even “rationalised” by the likes of Sahgal and co.
The calumniations against CAGE have continued unabated to delegitimise their government-shaking statements and concerns through the right-wing, neoconservative and Zionist media outlets. Most of these articles, if not all have tried to construct a strawman portraying CAGE as the “supporters of terrorism”, but have been unable to provide legitimate academic refutation of core arguments posited by the organisation. The “experts” which have come forth to protect their failed theories are primarily the politicians, as well as cheap hacks climbing up their professions through the well-beaten, Muslim-bashing career tracks, and opportunist human rights “activists”.
One of these “experts” brought out against CAGE is fundamentalist, secularist, feminist, extremist, anti-Muslimist, (why not eh?) Gita Saghal, (formerly of Amnesty International), who’s claim to fame is slandering Moazzam Begg, Asim Qureshi and CAGE in 2010. By bandying her name, the media has been seeking to undermine the credentials of CAGE (see, inter alia, here, and more recently the “expert” in the Jewish Chronicle, here), whilst failing to address the claims against the security services. Shamefully capitulating to media pressure, Amnesty have stated that they are “reconsidering their relationship with CAGE”, and that campaigning with CAGE will be “highly unlikely in the current circumstances of seeing the kind of public statements that are being made [by Cage].” Incidentally these “kinds of public statements” have been supported by leading intellectual, Noam Chomsky.
For an organisation which seeks to work with facts rather than smears, it really is a testimony to the pervasiveness of the anti-Muslim hysteria, where allegations, circulated en mass, can be treated as the truth if the subject of those allegations is Muslim.