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What the Hell is Wrong With Us? A Muslim Response to America’s Failure to Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/05/2022 - 7:38am in

More times than I can remember, I’ve had to ascend the minbar and address a...

British Company Accused of Links to Police Persecuting Uyghur Muslims

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 11:36pm in

A new report from the NGO Freedom from Torture found that London Policing College has multiple links to Chinese institutions connected to the torture and genocide of the Uyghurs

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A private British company that offers police training is accused of links to police forces in Xinjiang, China, the province where it is alleged that Chinese police have subjected the Uyghur Muslim minority to torture and detention. 

A new report from the NGO Freedom from Torture has found that London Policing College (LPC) has Chinese partners with close connections to Xinjiang. One of its partnership projects received UK aid funding via the British Council 

The UK Government has described the human rights abuses in Xinjiang as “absolutely horrific”. It’s believed one million Uyghur Muslims are held in concentration camps in the region where they are subject to “re-education programmes”. Former camp detainees have alleged they were tortured and there is also evidence that Uyghur people are being used for forced labour, and that women are being forcibly sterilised, in what the US Government is now calling a genocide

In response, the UK Government issued guidance to ensure that British organisations are not complicit in, nor profiting from, human rights violations in the region. That the LPC has partnered with Chinese police institutions with links to Xinjiang, while in receipt of UK aid, raises questions on the efficacy of this guidance. 

Tracy Doig, Head of International Advocacy at Freedom from Torture, told Byline Times: “The UK Government has trumpeted its sanctions against Chinese officials over atrocities in Xinjiang, so it is deeply concerning that taxpayer money has been spent on partnerships with a Chinese police training provider that co-operates with its Xinjiang counterpart”.

Freedom from Torture published a response from the LPC in its report. It said “all our activities have been properly authorised and assessed” and that they have “not been involved in commercial activities with police academies or universities in China since at least 2019”. Freedom From Torture disputes this, saying it has evidence of LPC engagement with Chines institutions until late 2021. The partnerships were removed from LPC’s website last month. 

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From London to Xinjiang

Freedom from Torture’s investigation found that until April 2022, LPC’s website showcased partnerships with eight different universities in China – at least some of which have ties to policing in Xinjiang. 

These include a five-year partnership funded by UK-aid money through the British Council in China with Hunan Police Academy and Shanghai Police College. The former cooperates with, and has training exchanges with, Xinjiang Police College, which was sanctioned by the US in 2019 for its role in human rights violations. 

According to official guidance, an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Assessment should have been carried out on the partnership. However, the British Council informed Freedom from Torture that no assessment was carried out in relation to the LPC-led education project, despite the use of UK overseas development money. This raises questions about whether the UK Government was in breach of its own guidelines.

The links go deeper. The LPC is also a Vice-Chair of the Beijing-led International Forum on Police Education and Cooperation. Through this forum, the report states the LPC has been in "direct contact with Xinjiang Police College". What’s more, Freedom from Torture has found that the LPC partnered with China’s elite national policing university, The People’s Public Security University of China. The college provides training and personnel to police forces in Xinjiang. 

Rahima Mahmut, UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress, told Byline Times: “The failure to conduct substantial human rights due diligence on services linked to China results in the British taxpayer inadvertently funding the mechanics of genocide. I urge all implicated in this report, including the UK Government, to take immediate action to ensure all links to these violations are severed".

Counter-Terrorism

The Chinese Government carries out its atrocities against the Uyghur Muslim population under the guise of “counter-terrorism”, with propaganda claiming that Xinjiang is the “main battlefield” against “terrorism”. Its “Operation Strike Hard” against the Uyghur minority was launched in 2014, following an attack by a group of Uyghur men on a rail station. President Xi Jinping told local authorities to respond with “absolutely no mercy”. 

Since then, the arrest rate of Uyghur people has increased dramatically, with criminal arrests in Xinjiang making up one in five of all arrests in China – despite only representing one in 60 of the population. Uyghur Muslims are held in concentration camps, where they are allegedly tortured and abused. 

Analysis of medico-legal reports by Freedom from Torture’s expert doctors between 2012 and 2019 found that for seven Chinese nationals who had come to the UK for sanctuary, all incidents of torture had been carried out by police. Former detainees have accused Xinjiang’s police forces of carrying out the torture which includes electric shocks, being hung, and beaten. 

“Having translated dozens of testimonies from concentration camp survivors and those that have recently fled the region, I am well aware that police forces in China play an active role in the genocide currently being perpetrated against my people,” said Mahmut. 

Public reporting in China by the People’s Public Security University of China regarding its relationship with London Policing College has focused heavily on training in counter-terrorism training, with a particular emphasis on learning about the UK’s Prevent strategy. The controversial Prevent strategy has been much criticised for its focus on the UK’s Muslim community, its potential stifling of freedom of expression, and incidences where children have been referred to the scheme for showing solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

In contrast, the Chinese Government has praised the Prevent Strategy, saying that “the concept of preventative intervention … is especially important to maximally weaken the impact of terrorism”. 

Considering China’s praise for the UK system, and its disguising repression and genocide in Xinjiang as “counter-terrorism”, Freedom from Torture warns that there “appears to be a significant risk that learning and exchange on counter-terrorism with a British provider with close ties to the UK police and Government, is being exploited to legitimise abusive policies targeting minorities, and align them with global counter-terrorism efforts”.

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Werleman’s Worldview: India’s Hindu Nationalists are Following the Blueprint for Genocide

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/04/2022 - 8:47pm in

Attacks against Muslims since the start of Ramadan are part of a process of genocide unfolding in the world's largest democracy, says CJ Werleman

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When India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, secured a second term for his Hindu nationalist agenda in 2019, human rights experts sounded the alarm for a looming genocide – one threatening the existence of 200 million Muslims and 30 million Christians living in the world's largest democracy.

“There are early signs and processes of genocide" in both India and Kashmir, Dr Gregory Stanton – who warned of early signs of genocide in Rwanda, five years before it took nearly one million lives in 1994 – has observed. He believes that a Hindu religious gathering held in Haridwar in December 2021 "was especially aimed at inciting" such a genocide.

The horrors that have taken place against Muslims since the start of Ramadan suggest that genocide is well underway in India.

The country now experiences daily mob lynching attacks, along with widespread calls for mass rape and mass murder from religious leaders and right-wing politicians, with the Government signalling its tacit approval in refusing to condemn the violence and hateful rhetoric against Muslims.

Social media reports of terrified Muslim families fleeing their homes and villages are as commonplace as videos showing thousands of sword-wielding Hindu extremists gathered outside mosques across the country, chanting anti-Muslim slogans and threatening bloodshed.

Since the start of Ramadan, Hindu nationalists have, through their actions, laid down a blueprint for genocide, and it goes like this. Hold hate rallies dressed up as religions processions to incite attacks against Muslims, mosques, and Muslim-owned businesses and property. When Muslims retaliate, capture it on video and share on social media, saying that 'Hindus are under attack' – before calling the police, who arrive on the scene and arrest Muslims and/or participate in the violence against them.

This blueprint was followed in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami on 10 April, prompting the country’s opposition law-makers to initiate action against rising anti-Muslim violence across the country. Haryana Congress Leader Aftab Ahmed described it as a “dangerous norm” to the National Commission for Minorities.

“Religious processions, including those on Ram Navami, were also taken out in the past, but back then you would have never seen youth brandishing swords or stopping outside mosques for 15 to 20 minutes to deliberately raise provocative slogans," he said. "Those slogans, by their very nature, are to incite violence."

He also accused the police of deliberately turning a blind eye to the violence. “It all started in Uttar Pradesh and now it has spread to other states as people in power there are now imitating the UP model," he added.

Videos shared on social media during the past week show police rounding up and beating innocent Muslims under the pretext of 'quelling communal violence'. Equally disturbing is footage showing authorities bulldozing Muslim-owned homes in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, the site of the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom, in which 2,000 Muslims were murdered on the watch of then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

“If Muslims carry out... attacks, then they should not expect justice," said Home Minister Narottam Mishra on 12 April, falsely accusing Muslims of starting the violence during Ram Navami.

In other words, these discriminatory home demolitions are being used to collectively punish Muslims for responding to violent attacks committed by pro-Government Hindu extremists, leaving already vulnerable Muslim families homeless – a move condemned by Amnesty International as a violation of international human rights law.

Ashhar Warsi, a Madhya Pradesh-based lawyer and human rights defender, has accused India’s ruling party of “disproportionately punishing people of one community without following any due process”, warning that this “sets a dangerous precedent”.

"The message is: if you question or challenge us in any way, we will come for you, we will take your homes, your livelihoods and take you down,” he added.

These demolitions meet the textbook definition of ethnic cleansing and constitute yet another tool in the Indian Government’s explicit intent to make life so unbearable for non-Hindu minorities that they feel as though they have no other choice but to flee the country.

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Silence and Complicity

President Modi, who was banned from entering the US because of his role in Gujarat’s 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom, has neither uttered a single word of condemnation nor made a call for calm.

He similarly remained conspicuously silent when pro-Government supporters within the Hindutva movement openly called for genocide in Haridwar several months ago.

His silence prompted 13 opposition leaders to release a joint statement last week, slamming the Prime Minister and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the wave of anti-Muslim hate crimes surging across India in the wake of the recent Hindu festival. 

“We are shocked at the silence of the Prime Minister, who has failed to speak against the words and actions of those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke our society," they said. "This silence is an eloquent testimony to the fact that such private armed mobs enjoy the luxury of official patronage."

The report also pointed to recent speeches made by several BJP law-makers, including one at which the crowd chanted: “When Muslims will be killed, they will shout Ram’s name!” 

For now, the number of Muslims and Christians murdered by Hindu mobs during the past few months counts only in the dozens – but the events of the past few weeks strongly suggest that these numbers are likely to climb into the hundreds and thousands during the remainder of the year, if not far higher.

Genocide is a process. It does not have a single starting point. In the 10 stages identified by experts, 'persecution' is stage eight and 'extermination' is stage nine. Based on recent events, it is reasonable to conclude that India has reached stage 8.5 – only a half-point away from what could be the world’s largest ever humanitarian crisis by a long shot.

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Macron and the Long March of the French Far-Right

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/03/2022 - 10:41pm in

Radical right-wing forces in France will not be buried by a second Macron presidency, says Shafi Musaddique

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Emmanuel Macron has become a force of nature in French politics in recent years – the apparent inevitability of his continued reign defining the country’s upcoming presidential election, set to begin in less than two weeks.

Macron has barely campaigned in what many of his critics have construed to be complacency, using the war in Ukraine to avoid TV debates with rival candidates. Le Monde has described this presidential race as a “phantom campaign” – a foregone conclusion with little need for candidates other than Macron, such is the assumption that he will take back the presidency without a fight. 

While there are grounds to assume, and hope, that the French will bat away the challenge of the far-right at the voting booth, such thinking remains a fool’s game. 

Anger continues to simmer in some quarters over Macron’s iron-fisted attempt to repel anti-vaxx sentiments in the country. Public backlash over fuel prices, the cost of living, concerns over the welfare state and the continued French obsession with immigration has made politics more uncertain across the Channel – even if the result of this election seems almost guaranteed.

But, most of all, apathy is the most dangerous emotion lingering over this French presidential cycle. 

“On 10 April there could be strong abstention from moderate voters who are anti-Marine Le Pen but hostile to Emmanuel Macron and this is the largest group in the electorate,” says Dominique Reynié, head of the influential Fondapol think tank.

“If they don’t turn out for the first round, thinking it’s a foregone conclusion, we just don’t know what the consequences will be. What we do know is that high abstention creates situations that are irreversible and weaken the democratic nature of the vote.”

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The Liberal Strongman

In 2002, a combination of voter apathy and protest votes saw a surprise first-round victory for far-right Jean-Marie Le Pen over the Socialist candidate. 

Le Pen senior ultimately lost that election, but the spectre of the far-right lives on via his daughter, Marine, who may well disrupt Macron’s procession with a more sophisticated strategy than her failed 2017 campaign.

Disillusioned masses from the old left, alongside those in French industrial towns where many feel left behind, are already campaigning for Le Pen on the back of a new ‘normalisation strategy’, with less public focus on immigration and more consistent campaigning on the cost of living.

There is no hope of a renaissance from a splintered left, unable to rally around a united campaign or leader. 

The fact that the French far-right remains the biggest challenger to Macron should be a glaring alarm signal to all those who abhor its politics. Regardless of an unlikely far-right win, the implications will be far deeper, and far longer reaching, than this election.

The arrival of Eric Zemmour, a far-right ‘celebrity’ – with overtly Islamophobic ideas – has led to Macron lurching further right in a bid to appease voters. Zemmour’s ‘zero immigration’ vision and his ‘great replacement’ theory – describing the supposed Islamification of France – is poisonous, and Macron is by no means immune.

Macron sees Islam through a Christian lens, publicly stating that he believes Islam needs its own ‘Enlightenment’ period. In a televised clip that went viral last year, the French Interior Minister described Le Pen as “too soft” on Islam – a sign that within Macron's administration, a hard-line approach to religious diversity is deeply embedded.

Should he succeed, Macron would be the first President to win a second successive term in two decades. But re-election is no guarantee that liberal values will succeed under his second presidency. And so it is imperative that he, and by extension France, is closely examined on its values and ideals. 

There are two narratives of Macron at play; Macron the superhero, and Macron the vacuous meddler. 

Macron’s decision to keep talking to Vladimir Putin as the bombs rain down on Ukraine has divided opinion in Europe. It is an attempt to frame him as a liberal strongman: the one man capable of facing down Putin (despite much evidence to the contrary).

Yet, Macron’s unilateral, non-collaborative approach has alienated key Baltic and Nordic allies most at risk from Russian animosity.

Estonia Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, whose own family was deported to Siberia by Russian invaders in 1949, lifts the veil in an eye-opening interview with the Financial Times

“I feel there is a strong wish to be the hero who solves this case, but I don’t think it’s solvable like that,” she says.

Macron has adopted a similar modus operandi in his messiah-like ‘reworking’ of Islam in France. With the introduction of his ‘Charter of the Principles of Islam in France’ and the creation of a National Council of Imams, he hopes to stop “separatism” against the state.

Signatories are called to renounce ‘political Islam’ and to no longer criminalise apostasy – concepts that the vast majority of French Muslims do not believe in. Many among the French Council of the Muslim Faith have refused to sign up to the charter.

Macron’s pet projects and keynote infamous “Islam is in crisis” speech all amount to a leader who values political performance more than ideological convictions – echoing the playbook used by Boris Johnson. He wants to portray a simple version of the world and domestic affairs in which he, alone, is a vigilante fighting for justice.

Without ideological convictions, however, it seems unlikely that France will be able to halt the long march of the far-right.

On the surface, it may seem as though political dangers will recede in France if and when Macron wins a second term. But, the election distracts from the underlying forces shaping French politics, and the current President’s inability to resist the temptations of reactionary, populist ideas.

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The Real Trojan Horse: Beware Russians Bearing Gifts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/02/2022 - 2:15am in

The Real Trojan HorseBeware Russians Bearing Gifts

As Russian troops reach Kyiv, state terror is rained on innocent civilians. Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu explore why the British Conservative Party has ignored Putin’s violent extremism in the mother of all intelligence failures 

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It must have seemed like a good idea 20 years ago. The former Soviet Union had broken up. Russian state assets were being chaotically privatised, with millions of coupons handed out to the Russian people being hoovered up by smart young businessmen (and they were nearly all men). A new class of billionaires was born, running a raft of shiny new corporations.

Not only would the City of London act as clearing house for all those lucrative contracts and share issues, it would be a concierge to the Russian super-rich. They would fund our universities and museums. They would buy up our top-tier properties, football teams and politicians. Their children would attend our private schools and elite universities. We would convert the families of former communists into a new class of free-market entrepreneurs and philanthropists. 

And so Londongrad was born. So too was the first step of a widespread national kompromat. 

We didn’t check inside this gold matryoshka that had been wheeled through the gates of the city. We didn’t inspect the real sources of the wealth – exfiltrated from hijacked natural resources or direct from the public coffers of the Russian state – or do due diligence on the mafia or KGB connections of this new oligarch class who were anything but ‘free market’. 

But why would we? As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson wined and dined with these slavic super-rich and welcomed the hike in property prices. He even encouraged them to sue journalists in the London courts. The lawyers, the PR firms, the events managers, the lobbyists and consultants – everyone was making money. But we weren’t only laundering the dirty riches of Russian oligarchs, we were also importing their values. 

Even by 2008, as he invaded Georgia, Vladimir Putin was bringing his buccaneering oligarchs to heel, with mysterious deaths or imprisonment awaiting those who didn’t comply.  

In 2014, the mood took a darker turn. The Ukrainians had risen up to throw out their Russian proxy kleptocrat, Viktor Yanukovych. The Russian President, having returned to ensure two decades of continued power, had defied the post-war European order by annexing Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine.


Putin Holds Upa Dark Mirror toBoris Johnson
Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu

By this point, people should have realised there was something suspicious in this golden matryoshka that had landed in our city. 

Many did. In 2017, one of this article’s authors attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) hearing chaired by Labour MP Chris Bryant, where he and Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr, along with the writer Peter Pomerantzev, outlined the real nature of Vladimir Putin’s kleptocracy and its long-term agenda to undermine the rule of law, NATO and the European Union.

But the warnings fell on deaf ears. 

Instead, the Trojan horse was wheeled into the heart of the citadel, close to Conservative Party headquarters, where a riot of high-net worth dinners, political donations and lucrative job offers resulted.  

It started under David Cameron, but continued under Theresa May and accelerated under Boris Johnson.

Donors linked to Russia – some directly tied to Putin – were handed access to senior ministers in exchange for money. The Conservatives have accepted £2 million from Russia’s super-rich alone since Johnson became leader. And this is not to mention the direct intervention of the Russian Embassy, through numerous meetings with Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign group, in the Brexit referendum

After the APPG in Parliament in 2017, a senior Conservative who well understood Putin’s malign intent responded to the question of why the Conservative Party was not making more of Russian interference in British politics with the answer: “You’ll make it about Brexit. Don’t make this a way of derailing Brexit.”

The Second Kompromat

And so the second political kompromat was born. 

The role of Russian interference was played down, even by those who opposed Putin, because it might have compromised Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. In terms of the Homeric myth and the siege of Troy, this is akin to the moment the Greeks hidden in the wooden horse were allowed to walk back through the city and open the gates to the invaders. 

The influx of Russian cash, access and influence has only increased in the past five years since that session in Parliament.

Valiant attempts to sound the warning, such as the Intelligence and Security Committee’s 2019 Russia Report, were suppressed, with Boris Johnson going through elaborate and unprecedented manoeuvres to prevent its publication. 

The report found that “Russian influence in the UK is ‘the new normal’ and there are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene, and accepted because of their wealth… This level of integration – in ‘Londongrad’ in particular – means that any measures now being taken by the Government are not preventative but rather constitute damage limitation.” 

No damage limitation was done. 

The previous year, the recommendations of a landmark report on fake news and disinformation by a parliamentary committee led by Conservative MP Damian Collins were also ignored.

The Trojan horse was wheeled into the heart of the citadel, close to Conservative Party headquarters, where a riot of high-net worth dinners, political donations and lucrative job offers resulted

They recommended the UK equivalent of the US ‘Foreign Agents Registration Act’ to stop foreign money distorting domestic politics. Not only has this never been mooted in Parliament, the Johnson Government has actively sabotaged the proposal to toughen up the investigative and legal powers of the Electoral Commission by planning to disarm it. Recent amendments to prevent foreign donations have been shot down in parliamentary votes by the Conservative Party. 

For at least five years then, Britain has allowed Vladimir Putin a free hand to interfere in domestic politics. This cannot have but been a signal to him that the UK Government was compromised, and unlikely to intervene in his other ‘military-technical’ plans. 

For five years, as his air force, special forces and mercenaries honed their skills in places such as Syria and central Africa, Britain did nothing to extirpate his influence at home or abroad. And now the cost of that is becoming clear – paid in the blood of innocent Ukrainians and the biggest conflict in Europe since the last devastating world war. 

Selective Extremism

The inability to predict or pre-empt Vladimir Putin’s plans to redraw the map of Europe is one of the greatest foreign intelligence failures of recent times – on a par with the false claims that Saddam Hussein of Iraq had immediate access to weapons of mass destruction which justified the invasion of 2003.

But what of domestic intelligence?

Given the attacks of 9/11 in the US, the bombing of London in 2005, and a worldwide surge of Islamic extremist violence, it is understandable that there was a focus on ‘homegrown’ terrorism connected with the Muslim community. But an obsession with Islam, starting with Blair’s Labour Government introducing its ‘CONTEST’ counter-terrorism strategy – including Prevent – seems to have been at the expense of countering the growing threat from Putin and his proxies. 

Amid a wider culture of blatant Islamophobia aided and abetted by Britain’s right-wing press, in the years since, the focus on extremism in the name of Islam has continued – with the controversial Prevent strategy disproportionately targeting Muslims. It has not been successful. The leader of the 2017 terror attack in London Bridge and his brother were engaged with the scheme, as was the suspect in the 2021 killing of Conservative MP David Amess.

The Islamophobia at the core of the Government’s counter-extremism is the subject of a new podcast from Serial and the New York TimesThe Trojan Horse Affair – lifting the lid on the consequences of a fake letter alleging an extremist Islamic takeover of Birmingham schools in 2013. 

Although regarded as a hoax by authorities at the time, separate concerns raised about schools in the area led to the expansion of Prevent – with the then Education Secretary Michael Gove placing a duty on public sector workers to refer any concerning behaviour to the scheme. The result included one nursery raising concerns about a four-year-old who drew a “cooker bomb” that was actually a cucumber. 


Boris Johnson AllowedRussian Interference in the UKas Putin Prepared For War
Adam Bienkov

At the same time as the narratives around the Trojan horse letter were preoccupying Britain’s national politicians and the media, Vladimir Putin was annexing Crimea and invading Donbas. 

Was this not a form of extremism? Or Putin’s previous actions in Moldova or Georgia? What about when 298 people were killed after flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine? Or when British citizen Dawn Sturgess died after spraying perfume containing a nerve agent Russia used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury? Perhaps the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London was not extreme enough? Or Putin’s interference in America’s 2016 Presidential Election? Why was such a blind eye turned to the extremism of Vladimir Putin’s Russia? 

One answer seems to be the prejudice of the Conservative Party. Not only is Islamophobia rife and unpunished within the party, the obsession with Brexit and problems of the EU has blinded its leaders to real dangers. 

“If you want an example of EU foreign policy-making on the hoof and the EU’s pretensions to running a defence policy that have caused real trouble, look at what has happened in Ukraine,” Boris Johnson said two years after Donbas was invaded.

The deep ties between the ruling Conservative Party, Russian money, the City of London and oligarchy mean that any response by Johnson’s Government to the invasion of Ukraine is utterly compromised. It is too little, too late.

Vladimir Putin is an extremist. He has invaded a democratic country posing no threat. That Britain’s ruling clique allowed their own oligarchical sympathies and extreme tendencies to embolden a dictator is Britain’s real Trojan horse.

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‘International Community has Moral Obligation to Act Now’: Indian Diaspora Groups Hold Summit on Preventing Genocide

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/02/2022 - 9:24pm in

‘International Community has Moral Obligation to Act Now’Indian Diaspora Groups Hold Summit on Preventing Genocide

As the persecution of Muslims in India continues apace, CJ Werleman reports on new attempts to prevent an atrocity

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A video emerged on Tuesday on social media showing a Muslim man in his late 20s pleading with his captors to spare his life – a plea for mercy that ultimately went ignored. Moments later he was brutally beaten to death by a Hindu extremist lynch mob that kidnapped him on rumours that he was smuggling beef.

If Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered anything to his fellow countrymen, it’s these mob lynching attacks – a crime that was largely unheard of in the country before his rise to power in 2014, with 97% of all cow-related killings occurring on his watch.

Mob lynchings, along with other forms of vigilante justice, hate crimes and discriminatory laws, are why experts, including Dr Gregory Stanton – a man who predicted the Rwandan genocide three years before it occurred in 1994 – are warning that the preparation for genocide is now well underway in India.

Dr Stanton has pointed to the Islamophobic rhetoric of Modi and his party – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – the Citizenship Amendment Act, which targets the citizenship of Muslims, the revocation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, and calls for genocide from Hindu nationalist leaders at a recent religious gathering in Haridwar.

Dr Stanton has said that the level of discrimination Muslims face in BJP-ruled states is akin to that endured by the Rohingya under the Myanmar Government.

With election season underway in the country’s largest state Uttar Pradesh, where BJP rules with an iron first, anti-Muslim rhetoric has reached fever pitch. Last week, an elected law-maker vowed to “circumcise” every Muslim man who “looks at our [Hindu] women”. Many of his colleagues have said even worse.

“We are warning that genocide could very well be happening in India,” Dr Stanton told the Indian American Muslim Council last month.

His warnings have been echoed by human rights defenders in India and abroad. Several months ago, Time magazine asked ‘Is India Headed for an Anti-Muslim Genocide?’ It answered its own question by comparing the dehumanising language the Nazis used against Jews in the 1930s with the way BJP members refer to Muslims as “traitors”, “termites” and “pests”.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum identified India as the second most likely country to experience mass killings in 2022.


Disinfo LabAn Online Hindu NationalistDisinformation Campaign
CJ Werleman

The Resistance

But while genocide warnings are now commonplace, what’s even more concerning is that no action seems to be forthcoming in preventing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Contributing to this state of affairs is cold-hearted real politick, which has led Western democracies and Muslim-majority countries, excluding perhaps Pakistan, to remain silent towards the Indian state’s persecution of its largest religious minority. For them, India’s considerable economic power and geopolitical importance is a force too great to mess with.

This has left the daunting task of designing and implementing genocide prevention strategies in the hands of those at the sub-state level.

Against this backdrop, Indian diaspora organisations around the world have partnered with internationally-recognised human rights organisations and civil society groups to host a three-day virtual summit, ‘India on the Brink – Preventing Genocide’, starting on 26 February. 

The goal of the summit is to raise awareness about the rapid deterioration of human rights for Muslims and other religious minorities in India, with the aim of encouraging policies that can safeguard lives.

“The international community has a moral obligation to act now to prevent a cataclysmic turn of events in India, where millions of Muslims and other marginalised communities are already living in fear,” says Dr Stanton, who’s co-chairing the summit.

Indian American Muslim Council executive director Rasheed Ahmed has described the summit as an “urgent call to action to safeguard peace, pluralism and justice for all Indians”. He added: “We yearn for a better world where religion and spirituality are wellspring of love, compassion and a shared ethic of the sanctity of life, and not hate and mass violence.”

To this end, the UK’s Atrocity Prevention Working Group has a role to play, given its experience in working with the UK Government on matters relating to the prevention of genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina. 

“A coordinated, coherent and well-implemented atrocity prevention strategy can save countless lives and stop history repeating itself,” observed Labour MP Fleur Anderson, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, in a recent op-ed for Byline Times.

While Anderson was referring to the escalation of hostilities from Serb nationalist leaders towards Bosnian Muslims, her recommendations to the UK Government could easily be made for India too – such as tackling hate speech, religious supremacism, religious division, and divisive policies.

Clearly, neither the UK – nor the rest of the international community – can afford to sit on its hands and wait. The warning signs of genocide in India are clear. If we are truly committed to the promise of ‘never again’, we must act now.

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Two-Thirds of Conservative Councillors and Chairs Accused of Islamophobia Remained in Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 16/02/2022 - 11:30pm in

Two-Thirds of Conservative Councillors and Chairs Accused of IslamophobiaRemained in Party

Max Colbert investigates the lack of action taken by the party on accusations of racism and Islamophobia

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Almost two-thirds of Conservative Party councillors and association chairs investigated or suspended in recent years for making racist or Islamophobic statements or actions have been reinstated or remained in post, an investigation by the Byline Intelligence Team and The Citizens has found.  

As part of the investigation, 83 reports were analysed, 56 of which were made from 2019 onwards, of active party councillors or Conservative association chairs being formally investigated or publicly apologising for racially charged activity, overwhelmingly on social media. 

Of these, 51 (61%) were not forced out of the party, 21 were permanently suspended or expelled, and 11 resigned before investigations into their actions could be completed.

Council members have remained in post after sharing, among other things, inflammatory content from far-right organisations like Britain First and the EDL, making references to British “no-go areas” practising Sharia law, calling for a worldwide ban on the hijab, and insinuating that Muslims are trying to “invade the UK”. 

Anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate had previously identified 40 cases where “prejudiced and discriminatory actions by Conservative Party officials, activists, and members have resulted in either short-term suspensions or no action at all”. 

This evidence contradicts the comments made by Boris Johnson during the 2019 General Election campaign that the Conservatives have a “zero tolerance” policy on Islamophobia. He told reporters at the time that “obviously whenever we have an incident of antisemitism or Islamophobia or whatever in the Conservative Party, we take a zero tolerance approach… We have a one bounce and we deal with it approach to this.”

The findings come shortly after Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani claimed that she was sacked from her role as Transport Minister in 2020 because party whips said that her “Muslimness” was “making colleagues uncomfortable”.

Three weeks ago, Ghani said that an unnamed official – later revealed to be former Chief Whip Mark Spencer – told her that she “wasn’t loyal enough to the party as (she) didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations”. Spencer refuted Ghani’s claims as “completely false” and “defamatory”. 

Despite his disavowal, Downing Street has ordered the Cabinet Office to investigate the claims, a move welcomed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The watchdog warned that “if we are not satisfied with progress, we will not rule out the use of our legal powers”. But the EHRC also faces pressure to launch a wider investigation into Islamophobia in the party.

The Muslim Council of Britain issued a statement in late January, reiterating its earlier calls for the EHRC “to carry out a full inquiry into the party”. It said that, while it agreed with recommendations from the Conservatives’ own previous Singh investigation into discrimination in the party, which confirmed the scale of the problem, it was “disappointed that the investigation failed to address the root cause of the problem; a recognition that there is institutional Islamophobia and racism in the party”.


Islamophobia is Endemicin the Conservative Party
Adam Bienkov

The investigation highlighted that, between 2015 and 2020, the party’s central database recorded 727 incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination. It also found that, where discrimination was experienced, it was “most likely to have occurred at the level of a local party association”.

As the report highlighted: “Systems for identifying discrimination and the handling of complaints at local party association level are weak, with no common understanding of the process, and with association chairs expressing low confidence in the system.”

The findings were condemned by Conservative peer and former co-chair of the party Baroness Sayeeda Warsi as a “whitewash”. While the report highlighted that 68% of all incidents relating to protected characteristics cited anti-Muslim discrimination, it concluded that Islamophobia was not institutional. Baroness Warsi disputed these findings, claiming that anti-Muslim sentiments stretched “from top to bottom”

The Singh Report followed repeated calls for action on Islamophobia within the party after multiple dossiers compiled by groups like Hope Not Hate and the Muslim Council of Britain, which have shed light on hundreds of instances within the party, from membership level to sitting MPs.

Byline Times has already shown that, within the Conservative Party, Islamophobic rhetoric has been deployed within the senior ranks of the party – with sitting MPs and the Prime Minister himself having used Islamophobic language without consequence. Indeed, at least 18 Conservative MPs, including Boris Johnson, have faced criticism in the past for doing so.

A poll carried out by YouGov for Hope Not Hate in 2020 further found that 57% of Conservative members had a negative attitude towards Islam, that 66% of those who backed Boris Johnson in 2019 believed the conspiracy theory that ‘there are no-go areas in Britain where Sharia law dominates and non-Muslims cannot enter’. Meanwhile, 58% of Conservative members said that there is little or no discrimination against Muslims in Britain, versus 31% who disagreed.

Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) did not respond to Byline Times’ request for comment.

This article was produced by the Byline Intelligence Team – a collaborative investigative project formed by Byline Times with The Citizens. If you would like to find out more about the Intelligence Team and how to fund its work, click on the button below.

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Islamophobia is Endemic in the Conservative Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/01/2022 - 10:38pm in

Islamophobia is Endemic in the Conservative Party

New allegations made by the Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani are the latest evidence of endemic Islamophobia in Boris Johnson’s party, reports Adam Bienkov

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Boris Johnson on Monday announced that the Cabinet Office will investigate allegations of Islamophobia made by Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani against the Government.

Ghani alleges that a Government whip told her that she had been sacked from Boris Johnson’s Government in 2020 due to colleagues feeling “uncomfortable” about her Muslim identity.

The Conservative MP and prominent supporter of Johnson, Michael Fabricant, deepened the row on Sunday by making further inflammatory comments about Ghani.

Fabricant, who has previously faced allegations of Islamophobia himself, suggested that Ghanis’s claims “stinks”. He told Sky News: “For her to say that someone had said it’s because she’s a Muslim – I mean she’s barely someone who is obviously a Muslim. I had no idea what religion she is.”

Ghani’s allegations are just the latest in a long line of claims of Islamophobia levelled at the party and the Prime Minister himself.

Here are some of the key incidents that show how Islamophobia has become endemic in the Conservative Party.

Boris Johnson Called Muslim Women ‘Letter Boxes’

The Prime Minister has a long record of making bigoted comments about Muslim people and Islam.

In 2018, the then Foreign Secretary wrote a piece for the Telegraph comparing Muslim women to “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.

He wrote that “it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes”, adding that any female student who appeared at school or in a lecture “looking like a bank robber” should be asked to remove it.

There was a surge in hate crimes towards Muslim people in the UK in the weeks following his column, according to data compiled by the group Tell Mama.


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Boris Johnson said ‘Islam is the Problem’

In the wake of the London bombings in 2005, Johnson questioned the loyalty of British Muslims and insisted that the country must accept that “Islam is the problem.”

“It will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to Britain,” he wrote.

“That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.”

In particularly inflammatory comments he added: “What is going on in these mosques and madrasas? When is someone going to get 18th Century on Islam’s medieval ass?”

Boris Johnson said Islamophobia is ‘Natural’

In 2005, Johnson wrote in the Spectator magazine that he believed it was only “natural” for the public to be scared of Islam.

“To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia – fear of Islam – seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke,” he said.

“Judged purely on its scripture – to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques – it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.”

Zac Goldsmith’s ‘Dog Whistle’ Campaign Against Sadiq Khan

In 2016, the then Conservative candidate for London Mayor Zac Goldsmith ran what some Muslim colleagues in his party labelled a “disgusting” campaign against Labour’s Sadiq Khan.

During the course of the campaign, senior Conservatives accused Khan of associating with supporters of ISIS, labelled him “radical” and even suggested that he supported Sharia law.

Goldsmith, whose campaign sent out leaflets to other ethnic minority groups falsely suggesting that Khan would put their family jewellery at risk, described the Labour candidate as a “real danger to London”.

On the eve of the election, an editorial by Goldsmith was published in the Mail with a headline urging Londoners not to hand victory to a party “that believes terrorists are its friends” – accompanied by a photo of a blown-up London bus.

This attempt to play on fears about Khan’s Muslim identity was pushed by senior figures in the party, including David Cameron and Theresa May.

Following criticism of the tactics, the current Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch dismissed them, posting on Twitter: “Why should Sadiq Khan get a free pass from hanging out with extremists just because he is a Muslim?”

Goldsmith was later made a life peer in the House of Lords by Boris Johnson.

Islamophobia Goes ‘Right Up to the Top’ of the Conservative Party

In an interview with me in 2018, the Conservative peer and former co-chair of the party said that Islamophobia goes “right up to the top” of the Tory Party.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who served in David Cameron’s Government, said that Islamophobia was “very widespread” in the party but was being deliberately ignored for electoral reasons.

In comments that echo those made by Ghani at the weekend, Baroness Warsi also said that she was told that her Cabinet colleagues felt “uncomfortable” with her presence in Government.

“I remember being told once in Cabinet [that] ‘colleagues are uncomfortable with the amount of notes you’re taking around the Cabinet table. You seem to take a lot more notes than anybody else’,” she said.

Later, when Baroness Warsi became a minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, one of her aides was taken aside by an official working for the Conservative Party and told to “keep an eye” on her due to unspecified concerns the party had.

At the time, Baroness Warsi’s claims were dismissed by Theresa May’s Government.


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Anti-Muslim Content Shared By Conservative MP

The Conservative MP Bob Blackman faced no action from the Conservative Party after sharing an anti-Muslim article on Facebook.

Blackman shared the article headlined ‘Muslim Somali Sex Gang Say Raping White British Children “Part of their Culture”’ back in 2018.

The MP, who previously said that he had retweeted another anti-Islam post “in error”, later deleted his post and said that he regretted “any upset” he had caused.

Conservative Party Members Believe Racist Myths About Muslims

Anti-Muslim bigotry is widespread among Conservative Party members, a poll conducted in 2019 suggested.

Among other things, the YouGov poll found that of those surveyed:

  • 43% of Conservative Party members “would prefer to not have the country led by a Muslim”
  • 45% believe that “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”
  • 67% believe that “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law”
  • 39% believe that “Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain amongst the Muslim community”

Responding to the findings, Hope Not Hate’s campaign director Matthew McGregor said: “From the grassroots to the great offices of state, Conservative members buy into racist myths”.

An Endemic Problem

The above claims are just some of those that have been levelled against the Conservative Party in recent years. However, rather than take them seriously and work to solve the problem, both Boris Johnson and his predecessors have dismissed the issue and sought to attack those making allegations.

In the hours following Nusrat Ghani’s revelations, Johnson’s Government also sought to do this. The Chief Whip, Mark Spencer, identified himself as the individual alleged to have made the comments to Ghani and denied the allegations as “defamatory”. Downing Street also released a statement seeking to undermine her claims by saying that she had failed to make a formal complaint when she first raised the issue.

However, the fact that Ghani chose not choose to make a formal complaint is unsurprising, given that she says she was also warned that doing so would see her career destroyed.

Of course racism and Islamophobia exists in all parts of the public sphere. However, it is exactly this sort of dismissive reaction at the highest levels of Government which suggests that there is an institutional problem within the Conservative Party.

At the time of writing, it is still unclear exactly what the terms are of the Cabinet Office inquiry that has been launched into Ghani’s claims or how rigorous it will be.

The results of previous investigations into the party are not encouraging however.

The Conservative Party’s own 2021 investigation was critical of its handling of the issue and identified remarks made by Johnson and Goldsmith that were problematic. The report, produced by Professor Swaran Singh into how the party deals with discrimination complaints, found that there was “evidence of discrimination” in the Conservative Party, but that it was “not systemic”. It also specifically dismissed claims that the party was “institutionally Islamophobic”.

It remains to be seen whether this latest investigation will go any further.

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The post Islamophobia is Endemic in the Conservative Party appeared first on Byline Times.

Islamophobia in America’s Democratic Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/12/2021 - 10:45pm in

Islamophobia in America’s Democratic Party

CJ Werleman explores how a campaign to challenge the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco was roiled by contesting claims of misogyny and anti-Muslim bigotry

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It’s no secret that the modern-day Republican Party (GOP) has become a vehicle for white supremacy in the Donald Trump era. The party of Abraham Lincoln now openly and vociferously champions “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions,” a fig leaf to discriminate against non-white people, particularly Muslims.

What was once whispered about Muslims and people of colour in the dark shadows of the Internet is now yelled by elected Republican officials in the chambers of the United States Congress, where their Muslim counterparts are nicknamed the “Jihad squad” and Islamophobic tropes are inserted into every day political discourse.

Last month, Lauren Boebert (R-CO) joked in front of a room full of voters that she shared an elevator with American Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MI), and that when a DC Capitol police officer came running towards them, she told the officer, “She doesn’t have a backpack, we should be OK”.

Less known and almost totally ignored by the mainstream political news media is the way in which Islamophobia and white supremacy permeates quietly but perniciously within the Democratic Party.

When I asked Shahid Buttar, a Muslim immigrant and lawyer to compare the two major political parties, he said, “anti-Muslim bigotry within the Democratic Party is at least as severe as within the GOP, and arguably even worse”.

“No doubt, Lauren Boebert’s joke was incredibly offensive by insinuating a smear that Muslims are threats to national security. By comparison, however, tropes about the misogyny of Muslim men may appear less hatefully damaging, but they rely equally on stereotypes cast about the same community,” says Buttar, who claims the Democratic Party weaponizes Islamophobia against Muslims who challenge the party’s elites.

How does Buttar know this?

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Last year, Buttar became the first Democrat in 33 years to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for her San Francisco seat in a general election after winning the top-two primary. On 14 July 2020, the San Francisco Chroniclechronicled Buttar’s meteoric rise in an article titled, “Pelosi Ignoring Calls for a Debate,” which reminded voters the country’s second highest-ranking Democrat has not debated an opponent since her first race for Congress in 1987, and that online petition – “Tell Nancy Pelosi: Stop Dodging Debates” – had attracted more than 6,000 signatures.

“After the 2020 primary, Buttar emerged as Pelosi’s first real threat to her seat ever,” said Greg Firenze, a San Jose-based pollster, who pinned Buttar’s rising poll numbers to the success of Bernie Sanders, who shares Buttar’s progressive ideology. “More left-leaning candidates were beginning to win on the local level, especially around here. He was rising”

Three days after the 14 July article in the San Francisco Chronicle, however, the Buttar campaign was hit by a bombshell, after Emily Jones, a long-time Democratic Party operative and former finance director for Buttar, told Gloria Berry, a Democratic Party organizer, that progressives should withdraw their support for Buttar because he had sexually assaulted a woman named Elizabeth Croydon 20 years earlier, saying he “poked her from behind with an erect penis”.

On 21 July, Croydon published an account of her accusations against Buttar in a blog titled, “Shahid Buttar Repeatedly Sexually Harassed Me,” claiming he “repeatedly” pursued her for sex.

“We on the left must hold ourselves to a higher standard as we are committed to creating a just and equitable world, free from sexual misconduct, misogyny and bullying,” Croydon wrote. “The left can do better than Shahid Buttar”.

The very next day the San Francisco Chronicle published and stated her unverified accusations in the headline, reading, “Shahid Buttar, Nancy Pelosi’s Election Opponent, Accused of Sex Harassment”.

The article and allegation left Buttar’s campaign in ruins, particularly because they fed into negative stereotypes about misogynistic Muslim and brown men pursuing white women.


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Shortly thereafter, however, Buttar’s accuser – Elizabeth Croydon – became the object of suspicion, when the Independent Political Report discovered she was “well-known for lying or fabricating stories against people in the past,” with nearly two dozen progressive and independent activists in Washington DC signing an open letter to denounce Croydon’s history of “going after innocent people”.

“The accuser is well known in the D.C. social-justice community. Unfortunately, this troubled individual has a long history of fabricating attacks against innocent people,” reads an excerpt from the letter dated 24 July 2020.

Similarly, the Intercept was unable to corroborate Croydon’s allegations, saying it had “interviewed multiple sources who recounted having disturbing interactions with her that caused them to question her credibility”.

More damning still is evidence that suggests Buttar was subjected to a coordinated attack by Democratic Party officials to help shield Pelosi from a fiercely contested race.

“The more she [Emily Jones] talked, the more fishy it sounded. Every time I asked for proof, she responded with new, bizarre accusations that didn’t prove anything,” wrote Gloria Berry in a recent article for the San Francisco Bay Review. “When I asked her for details about what happened, the story didn’t add up, and she kept making racist remarks that sounded fishy”.

Berry, an African American, says that while she has come to expect white supremacist tropes from right-wing pundits, she describes racism and bigotry among San Francisco’s most progressive corners – including Democratic Socialists of America, Harvey Milk Club and the Berniecrats – as “devastating”.

“I observed some of the most traumatizing and personal examples of racism in the form of false accusations made both towards me and others. False accusations are a classic tool of white supremacy, harming so many Black and Brown people across all levels of society going back to the roots of our country,” she writes.

Buttar, who has vehemently and repeatedly denied sexual harassment accusations against him, told me, “This saga has been more frustrating than I can possibly describe, especially as I’ve watched the discourse around issues like election integrity, race, white supremacy, and anti-Muslim bigotry proceed without acknowledging how deeply and widely those rots have festered, or how they’ve already intersected in ways with crucial implications for public accountability of a system whose corruption is precisely what I set out to challenge”.

Buttar is not alone in accusing the Democratic Party of ingrained racism and Islamophobia, with Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim American congresswoman from Michigan, accusing her own party of doing little or nothing to protect the country’s three Muslim lawmakers from Islamophobic attacks and smears, saying, “I know this would be somewhat shocking for some, but I think Islamophobia is very much among the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party”.

Despite Buttar’s traumatic ordeal, however, Buttar is running against Pelosi again, contesting her seat in the 2022 mid-terms, while also waging a defamation and election integrity lawsuit against the San Francisco Chronicle for lending legitimacy to smears on which the character assassination campaign against him relied upon.

“I’m confident that San Francisco will make a more informed choice if voters have a chance to hear the facts, both about the incumbent’s policy record and the establishment’s attempt to neutralize a political threat from the Left by resorting to racist character assassination,” he said.

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The post Islamophobia in America’s Democratic Party appeared first on Byline Times.

Ethnicised Religion and Sacralised Ethnicity in the Past and the Present

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/02/2018 - 1:22am in

An expert panel discusses the phenomenon of ethnicisation of religious identifications focussing especially on the nexus of religious, ethnic and national identifications in colonial, anti-colonial and postcolonial settings from Ireland to South Asia. The commonly invoked phrase 'Islam is not a race' forms a ubiquitous racist trope that represents Islamophobia as a legitimate political critique of religious ideology, rather than a form of ethnic and religious prejudice. Yet in spite of such rhetorical acrobatics, it is clear that we are observing an ‘ethnicisation’ of Islam in 'the West' – the hegemonic transformation of hugely diverse 'Muslim' populations into an allegedly singular community, defined in essentialising racist terms. Hidden behind the language of a binary between 'Muslim' and 'British'/'European'/'Western' 'culture' and 'values' – viewing these as fixed communal essences, rather than endlessly variable phenomena reproduced in the material practices of everyday life – this ethnoreligious essentialism-come-racism has gained ever-increasing acceptance in mainstream political discourse. Islam forms a particularly salient example today, but the ethnicisation of religious identifications is a phenomenon with a much broader transtemporal and global history. So at this round table on 'Ethnicised Religion and Sacralised Ethnicity in the Past and the Present', we will discuss this phenomenon, focusing especially on the nexus of religious, ethnic and national identifications in colonial, anti-colonial and postcolonial settings from Ireland to South Asia.