Islamophobia

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After the tragedy of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine: anger, solidarity, and rejecting Islamophobia in France

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/10/2020 - 3:39pm in

In the wake of the horrific murder of a French high school teacher, President Emmanuel Macron is playing the Islamophobia card in hopes of distracting the country from his catastrophic failure to stem the tide of newly resurgent Covid-19.

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The post After the tragedy of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine: anger, solidarity, and rejecting Islamophobia in France appeared first on New Politics.

‘I’ Report on Macron’s Vow to Fight Islamist Separatism in France

Here’s another piece from the I about extremism, from last Saturday’s edition for 3rd October 2020. Written by their columnist Michael Rose, it discusses the announcement by French president Macron that he intends to fight against the separatism and extremist Islam in Muslim communities on the other side of la Manche. The article runs

President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.

France has struggled with Islamist militancy for years but the government is increasingly worried by broader radicalisation within Muslim communities. Officials cite the refusal of some Muslim men to shake women’s hands, swimming pools that impose alternate time slots for men and women, girls as young as four being told to wear full-face veils, and proliferation of Islamic schools.

More than 250 people have been killed on French soil over the past five years in attacks by Islamist militants or individuals inspired by Jihadist groups. “What we need to fight is Islamist separatism,” Mr Macron said during a visit to the impoverished Paris suburb of Les Mureaux. “The problem is an ideology which claims its own laws should be superior to those of the Republic.”

France follows a strict form of secularism which is designed to separate religion and public life. The principle was enshrined in law in 1906.

Many French Muslims have long complained of discrimination and marginalisation that have contributed to poverty and social alienation.

Foreign imams will no longer be able to train clerics in France and there will be tighter controls on the financing of mosques.

“There is a crisis of Islam everywhere, which is being corrupted by radical forms,” Mr Macron said. But he added France had a responsibility . “We have created our own separatism,” he said, citing the ghettoization of minority neighbourhoods.” (p.30).

We were taught a little about the French suburbs, the banlieus, or at least those in Paris, in Geography ‘A’ Level when I was at school nearly 40 years ago. I don’t know about now, but they were then hit by poverty and marginalisation. They were built simply to house people and so consist of nothing, or at least precious little, except tower blocks. It was assumed that the residents would go into the centre of Paris for their shopping and amusement, and so there are no, or very few, shops or local amenities. As for poverty and marginalisation, Ali A. Allawi describes the deprivation, poverty and underprivileged conditions of European Muslims in his book, The Crisis of Islamic Civilisation.

There’s also been much prejudice against Arabs and Muslims in France. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown described the very cold reception her mixed race family got there when they went for a holiday a few years ago in the Independent. I thought things had improved somewhat, as a few years later she wrote another piece about a recent holiday there in which she and her family were welcomed and treated with courtesy. There was also a series of anti-racist protests a few years ago, the name of which translates as ‘Don’t Touch My Mate’. This consisted of White young people showing their solidarity by standing up to racism and discrimination against their Black and Muslim friends.

But there has also been trouble with Muslim extremism and Islamist violence. Over a decade ago there were protests across France when the government ruled that under the doctrine of laicism, the official policy of French secularism, Muslim girls were banned from wearing the hijab in schools. This broke out despite leading French imams declaring that the ban didn’t contradict Islam and could be observed by pious Muslims. The insistence that girls as young as four should wear full-face veils is definitely extreme and not required by Islamic law. From what I remember from when I studied Islam at college as part of the Religious Studies course, girls up to seven years old can wear whatever they like. The dress requirements gradually come after they reach that age, and I think that they are only required to wear the full veil at puberty.

There have been fears about Islamic separatism in other European countries. In the 1990s there was controversy in the main Germany trade union organisation. This claimed that while the affiliated Muslim organisations or its Muslim members claimed to support integration, in reality they had a separatist attitude towards their non-Muslim brothers and sisters.

I also wonder if the accusation of separatism may not be literally true, in that some Muslims extremists may be pursuing a conscious policy of apartheid. I’ve written in previous posts how, when I was studying Islam, I came across passages in books published by British Muslim presses that demanded autonomous Muslim communities. And way back in January 2000, right at the dawning of the new millennium, the Financial Times included a brief piece featuring Anjem Chaudhry, who never met an Islamist terrorist he didn’t like. Chaudhry was then running an outfit called Sharia4Belgium, which wanted Belgian Muslims to have their own autonomous enclave with Arabic as it official language, governed by sharia law. Chaudhry’s now in jail for his support for al-Qaeda and ISIS. I don’t know if such demands are still being made by sections of British and European Islam following the 9/11 attacks and the government’s attempts to curb Muslim radicalism and promote integration. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was, somewhere, though the vicious Muslim firebrands like Kalim Siddiqui, who declared that British society was a monstrous killing machine and that killing Muslims comes very easily to non-Muslim Brits, seem to have gone quiet. The imam, who received Salmon Rushdie back into the faith, also recommended that Britain should train its own imams. When he was writing their was a shortage of Muslim clergy in Britain, and he was afraid that religious extremists from places like Pakistan were being allowed in thanks to this.

Macron’s comments also came at the same time that the Spectator published a piece claiming that the Swedish authorities had announced that immigrant communities in some of their cities were dominated by criminal gangs and had turned whole areas into a no-go zones. There was a war going on between a number of immigrant criminal gangs, in which firearms and even rocket launchers had been used. The Swedish chief of police had supposedly appeared on television to state very clearly that the immigrants responsible for the violence were not proper asylum seekers, but had come to the country simply to make money through selling drugs. This was apparently confirmed by the Swedish prime minister, Lofven, who said that his country would not be taking any of the former residents of the destroyed immigrant camp in France. Or so it has been claimed by right-wing, ant-immigration websites.

A few years ago the Islamophobic, ‘counterjihad’ websites Gates of Vienna and Vlad Tepes wrote pieces praising a book by the former mayor of one of the German towns. He claimed that his town had effectively been overrun by Muslims, who maltreated and forced out ethnic Germans. The book was widely attacked and criticised. They also claimed that Malmo in Sweden, or at least parts of it, had been taken over by Muslim immigrants and become violent, crime-ridden no-go zones for non-Muslims. I don’t know how true these reports are as they come from the racist right, websites which did have connections to the EDL. Certainly Fox News’ claim that British cities like Birmingham had been taken over by Muslims and were now no-go zones for White and non-Muslim Brits provoked widespread criticism and hilarity when they made it a few years ago.

It seems to me that nevertheless, even if these claims are exaggerated, there is nevertheless a real fear of Islamic separatism throughout Europe and that Macron is reacting to it in France.

One contributory factor, I have no doubt, is neoliberalism and the destruction of the welfare state. The French scholar, Alfred Kepel, advances this argument in his book on the resurgence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish fundamentalism, The Revenge of God. When Thatcher started her attacks on the welfare state in the 1980s, she hoped that it would lead to a resurgence of charity. This didn’t happen. But Muslims are obliged to support the poor through the zakat, the alms-tax paid to the local mosque. I think this concern to give to the local poor amongst Muslims isn’t confined just to their own community in Britain. There were Muslim restaurants giving free meals to the homeless at Christmas, and my parents bumped into a young Muslim woman, who was also buying stuff she could give to the food bank, in our local supermarket. But the support provided by the mosques in the absence of state aid does mean that communities may become more isolated and inward-looking.

If we really want to stop Islamic separatism, as well as White racism, not only should Britain and Europe take measures promoting racial integration, but neoliberalism urgently needs to be ditched. It’s dividing communities as it pushes people into real, grinding poverty. But there’s no chance of that, at least in this country, as the very rich are making too much money at the expense of the rest of us, regardless of our colour and religion.

A Letter to the Progressive International

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/09/2020 - 11:34pm in

When a new “Progressive International” invited Syria’s Yassin al-Haj Saleh to join, he was happy to accept. When he then submitted this letter for their publication, they ceased contacting him without explanation.

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The post A Letter to the Progressive International appeared first on New Politics.

Report Demands Reform of Major Public Inquiries

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 28/08/2020 - 11:28pm in

This is another interesting piece from Tuesday’s issue of the I for 25th August 2020. Written by Jane Clinton, it discusses the publication of a report by the Justice reform group demanding extensive reforms of major public inquiries. The piece, ‘Major public inquiries ‘need radical reform’ runs

The way the justice system responds to incidents ranging from the Manchester Arena bombings to the Grenfell Tower fire needs a major overhaul, according to a report.

Official investigations to discover what happened and how to stop it recurring are too slow, insufficiently concerned about victims and their families and too often limit the likelihood of preventing similar events in the future.

The report, When Things Go Wrong, by the influential Justice reform group warned public trust in how the justice system responds to deaths has been “eroded” and says a “consistent, open, timely, coherent and readily understandable” response is required to restore public confidence.

The report, chaired by former High Court judge Sir Robert Owen, who conducted the inquest and public inquiry into Russian poisoning victim Alexander Litvinenko makes recommendations for improvements. It highlights “costly delay and duplication” of a system that has “insufficient concern for the needs of those affected by disasters” with the bereaved and survivors “often left confused, betrayed and re-traumatised”.

It calls for a central inquiry team to run such investigations. “Previous experience has not been routinely captured,” it said.

It also calls for greater collaboration between investigating agencies to prevent those affected from having repeatedly to recount traumatic events. Sir Robert said that a system cannot provide justice if its processes “exacerbate the grief and trauma” of participants.

I think Sir Robert Owen and his group are right about the public having low confidence in official inquiries. It seems to me that we’ve seen them repeatedly used, especially by Boris Johnson and the Tories, as a way of whitewashing or trying escape the blame for their catastrophic decisions. The Grenfell fire, and the way its victims have been treated, with many still homeless years after the government promised that they’d be rehoused, is a case in point.

But I have absolutely no doubt that these reforms won’t be implemented by Boris. He’s used public inquiries himself as a way of deflecting blame and attention away from his government. It’s not just with major disasters, but also lesser issues like the allegations about islamophobia. There are revelations that the Tories are riddled with it, and the Equalities Commission was prepared to launch an inquiry. Until Boris said that he was going to launch one himself. So the Equalities Commission backed down. So far, there has been no Tory inquiry into islamophobia in the party, and I doubt there ever will be. But as Mike has pointed out, this incident also shows that the Equalities Commission is politically biased and unfit for purpose. It spent years trying to uncover the largely spurious anti-Semitism in the Labour party. But when it comes to casting the same critical glance over the Tories because of the very real, poisonous hatred of Muslims there, it does nothing.

And then there’s Boris’ promise at the time of the Black Lives Matter protests to do something about the Black community’s condition in Britain. This was going to be another inquiry. Just like Tweezer promised one.

The government has made too many broken promises, and arranged too many public inquiries to allow officials and senior MPs and government leaders to escape blame. The Justice reform group are right – the system’s reform is urgently needed. But Boris and co. will continue abusing it for as long as they can get away with it. And with a mendacious, complicit press and media, that’s going to be a long time.

 

Book Review: French Muslims in Perspective: Nationalism, Post-Colonialism and Marginalisation under the Republic by Joseph Downing

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/08/2020 - 9:36pm in

In French Muslims in Perspective: Nationalism, Post-Colonialism and Marginalisation under the Republic, Joseph Downing offers a new examination of the lives and experiences of French Muslims in the face of persecution, intimidation and marginalisation. Challenging and deconstructing widespread stereotypes and misconceptions, this well-researched book makes an excellent contribution and will be a good reference for scholars interested in exploring this area, writes Isa Ishaq Ojibara.

If you are interested in this book, you can listen to a podcast of the book launch, recorded at LSE on 27 November 2019.

French Muslims in Perspective: Nationalism, Post-Colonialism and Marginalisation under the Republic. Joseph Downing. Palgrave. 2019.

‘…Thus, Muslims have become the threatening internal other par excellence, who present not only an existential threat to physical security through terror attacks, but also a far wider and diffuse threat to the liberal democratic order of things in a Europe that still struggles with home-grown nativist fascism’ (2).

The above paragraph sums up the stereotypical construction of Muslims in the west, particularly after the 9/11 terror attacks on the US. The actions of Islamic extremists have contributed to the notion that Islam is against other civilisations of the world, particularly ‘western’ values of liberalism, democracy and the upholding of fundamental human rights; as a result of this perception, Muslims in the west have been victims of Islamophobia and discrimination. These stereotypes of European Muslims as criminally minded individuals who want to destabilise the centuries-long established cultural and civil fabric of western civilisation need to be constantly deconstructed and disproved, and Joseph Downing’s book has done just that.

French Muslims in Perspective: Nationalism, Post-Colonialism and Marginalisation under the Republic examines the lives of French Muslims in the face of persecution, intimidation and marginalisation and their struggle to provide evidence of allegiance to the state. As Downing rightly observes, the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015 ‘placed France’s Muslim population even more firmly in the spotlight that it had been subjected to repeatedly over recent decades’:

‘The national burka ban, the regional burkini bans, halal food provision in schools. It seems that barely a year goes by when French Muslims are not the subject of either a new raft of regulatory law or huge, normative, media polemic about how aspects of their daily lives should be structured under the secular republic’. (35)

Downing specifically outlines how different aspects of French Muslims’ lives are being regulated by various institutions of the state, despite ‘the commitment of article 1 of the French constitution of 4 October 1958, which states that the republic will ‘‘ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion. It shall respect all beliefs’’’ (36). Despite this provision and laïcité-secularism, on which the French republic, like most western democracies, was built, these have not in any way solved the problem of religion and ethnicity as they relate to the experiences of French ethnic minorities.

Downing analyses the assimilation policy of France in contrast to multiculturalism, which is often associated with western democracies. He posits that the notion of being ‘culture blind’, which assimilation policy sets out to achieve, ‘excludes’ minorities, especially migrants from North Africa, who are largely Muslims, and black migrants from West Africa. The diverse interpretation of laïcité and assimilation policy by different levels of government and institutions in France, which can vary ‘depending on their positionality and particular political interests’ (50), has created what Downing refers to as ‘many republics, many solitudes’. While many local and municipal authorities have named important monuments and streets after some Muslim figures as a way of redefining republicanism away from the national government, the creation of associations by the national government to address ethnic minorities, particularly black people and Muslims, ‘will provide an interesting insight into how the state seeks to deal with Muslims, but it does not represent a massive policy shift’ (49).

Downing outlines the contributions of French Muslims to the stability, progress and development of the republic, especially in the army and police. Downing extensively highlights the vital roles of French Muslim soldiers, ‘drawn from across North Africa [but…] rarely described as Muslim soldiers’, in the liberation of Marseille from Nazi occupation in 1944 and the independence wars in ex-colonies of France, like Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Despite many fighting as part of the colonial army in annexing and defeating the anti-French army in Algeria, French Muslims’ allegiance to the republic has been questioned, especially by far-right politicians who, at any given opportunity, doubt their loyalty to the flag.

Having given examples of how France treated Muslim soldiers who fought on its side, Downing examines the experience of the Harkis who sided with France during the Algerian war of independence. The war pitted the Harkis against their fellow Algerians, who later found themselves persona non grata in Algeria and were also denied entry into France and left to face persecution. It was only in 2003 that the Harkis were given national recognition. ‘At times, monuments have been extremely late to be constructed for Muslim troops, monuments have been repatriated from North Africa where the Muslim Harkis were left to be persecuted, or given centre stage in cities’ (90).

Downing observes that French Muslim service members, both in the police and army, were also victims of terror attacks in France. Their roles as defender of the republic and its values negate the far-right rhetoric that positions Islam as being in contrast with liberal values of the west: ‘Thus, the death of a Muslim in the service of the state is an important reminder that compatibility between Islam and European political systems is the overwhelming norm and not the exception or indeed even an impossibility’ (106).

Another area in which French Muslims have been stereotyped and wrongly constructed is the ‘Islamisation’ of the 2005 riots, in which the rioters were controversially referred to by former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, as ‘racaille’ (outcast/rabble), even though the rioters were diverse. However, Downing observes that it is paradoxical to the French political system to racialise protest in France. He posits that:

other events of anti-systemic direct political action, from the revolution of 1789 to the riots of May 1968 and most recently the action by the yellow vest “gilets jaunes” have been incorporated into a history that defines such direct action as a key part of Frenchness.

The belief that jihadism and insecurity in France is to revenge French atrocities in its ex-colonies is not entirely true; instead, it is as a result of France security policies as well as economic and political failure. These have created a group of French Muslims, black and Arab, who are economically deprived, poorly educated and vulnerable to jihadism. The eroticised portrayal of Muslim women (particularly in pornography, as Downing discusses) or as a group needing emancipation from men are additional stereotypes. Muslim men are often portrayed as violent towards women. Despite the high acceptance of rap culture in France, Muslim rappers have been constructed as ‘gangster’ and are alleged to promote violence through their lyrics. While France has celebrated the success of other controversial music artists like Serge Gainsbourg, it is not as welcoming to Muslim rappers who are often seen as promoting jihadism.

Furthermore, Downing points to the criticism and verbal attacks on French Muslims and black players as another form of politicisation of the French national football team. Any loss by the team in a major tournament has been linked to disloyalty on the part of the minority ethnic players. The national team has been criticised particularly by far-right politicians as losing its ‘Frenchness’ in being predominantly made up of black and Muslim players, and in 2011 the technical head of the French team was accused of calling for restrictions on the number of black and Muslim players to be called into the national team. However, the recent success of the team at major international tournaments, including the lifting of two FIFA World Cup trophies within two decades, has been seen as good for national integration. As Downing rightly states:

This gives insight into the public performance of Frenchness in football, where in this case triumph on the football field demonstrated that integration had been successful in France and anyone could reach the top of French society.

Downing’s long years of living, working and holidaying in France are evidenced in this excellent book, and his social scientific background helps in framing the methodologies and identifying the problems that need investigating. His method of applying multiple approaches to each area covered in the book makes this a great reference for anyone researching French Muslims. Even though Downing states his frustration at studying French Muslims as a homogeneous group, the book is more focused on those of North African origin, with black Muslims from West Africa largely excluded from the analysis. Nevertheless, this well-researched book makes an excellent contribution and will be a good reference for early scholars interested in exploring this area.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Banner Image Credit: Grande Mosquée de Paris (Guilhem Vellut CC BY 2.0). 

Feature Image Credit: People around and on the stairs leading up to La Grande Arche de la Défense, Paris. Photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash.

 


Vile! Priti Patel Withdraws Funding to Britain’s Only Centre Against Female Genital Mutilation

Yesterday, Mike over at Vox Political put up a very telling piece, which reveals precisely how low on their priorities is protecting vulnerable British girls from FGM. Priti Patel, the smirking minister, who believes it’s perfectly acceptable to conduct her own foreign policy for states such as Israel behind her own government’s back, and thinks that British workers should suffer the same horrendous wages and working conditions as the exploited masses of the developing world, because they’re too lazy, has decided to cut the funding to this country’s National FGM Centre. This was set up five years ago to combat Female Genital Mutilation, otherwise known as female circumcision. Feminists have also described it as ‘female castration’ because of its truly horrific nature. It’s the only centre protecting girls from communities across the UK from it. The centre’s head, Letheen Bartholomew, warned that FGM will not end if it is forced to close because of the cuts. Mike quotes her as saying:

“We will not be there to protect the girls who need us. We know that FGM is still being practised in communities across England.

“There are still girls who are being cut and so will face a lifetime of physical and emotional pain. It is a hidden form of child abuse.”

Mike connects this to the sadism in the Tory party generally, and their need to inflict pain and suffering on innocents. He also points out that Patel herself wanted to deport a girl so that she could undergo this truly horrific practise. There’s no way it can be decently described in a family blog, and it does seem to vary in severity. At its worst it leads to a lifetime of agonizing medical problems and health issues, including childbirth.

One of the communities in which girls are at risk is my own city of Bristol. A few years ago the local Beeb news propgramme, Points West, carried an item about girls of African heritage, who left vulnerable to it, and the courageous efforts of campaigners from these communities to combat it. This was when it was a pressing issue and voices were being raised across the country demanding that it should be fought and outlawed. And now that we find that the outrage has calmed down and it is no longer in the public consciousness, the Tories are doing what they have always done in these circumstances: they’re quietly ending it, hoping that nobody will notice. It’s served its purpose, which was to convince the public, or the chattering classes or some section thereof that the Tories really do hold some kind of liberal values, and are prepared to defend women and people of colour. But like everything they do in that direction, it’s always essentially propagandistic. It is there to garner them votes and plaudits in the press and media. And once it’s done that, these and similar initiatives are always abandoned.

Patel’s decision also shows you how seriously Johnson takes the general issue of racism and racial equality after the Black Lives Matter protests: he doesn’t. Not remotely. Remember he was going to set up an inquiry to deal with the issue, just like the last one the Tories set up under May when the issue raised its ugly head a few years ago. I admit that FGM is only one of a number of issues affecting Britain’s Black and BAME communities. It may not the most common, but it is certainly one of the most severe to those affected and there should be absolutely no question of the Centre continuing to receive funding. Young lives are being ruined. But Boris, Patel and the rest really can’t care less.

Part of the motive behind the Black Lives Matter protests, it seems to me, is that Britain’s Black communities have been particularly badly affected by austerity and neoliberalism. They aren’t alone – there are plenty of Whites and Asians that have similarly suffered. But as generally the poorest, or one of the poorest, sections of British society, which has suffered from structural racism, the Tories attacks on jobs, wages and welfare benefits has been particularly acute for them. It has contributed to the anger and alienation that led to the protests a few weeks ago and such symbolic acts as the tearing down of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol.

But now that the protests seem to be fading, the Tories are showing their real lack of concern despite the appointment of BAME politicos like Patel to the government.

And underneath this there’s also a very hypocritical attitude to the whole issue of FGM on the political right. Islamophobes like Tommy Robinson and the EDL use it to tarnish Islam as a whole. It’s supposed to show that the religion as a whole is dangerously misogynist, anti-feminist and fundamentally opposed to modern western conceptions of human rights. In fact the impression I have is that FGM isn’t unique to Islam, but practised by various African and other cultures around the world. Islamic scholars have said that it has no basis in Islam itself, but is a pre-Islamic practice that was taken over as the religion expanded. There have also been attempts by campaigners in this country and the European Union to pass legislation very firmly outlawing it. A few years ago there was even a bill passing through the European Parliament. But UKIP, whose storm troopers had been making such a noise about FGM and the fundamental incompatibility of Islam and western society, did not rouse themselves from their habitual idleness to support the motion. And this was noticed at the time.

There seems to be a racist backlash coming on after the Black Lives Matter protests. The Tories are trying to recruit members on the internet by stirring up concerns about the waves of illegal immigration. Over the past few days there have also been pieces stuck up on YouTube about this, and related issues from the usual offenders at TalkRadio, Julia Hartley-Brewer, and ‘Celebrity Radio’ Alex Belfield. My guess is that if we wait long enough, FGM will be revived once again by the right as another metaphorical stick to attack Muslims and brown people.

But all the while it should be remembered that the Tories wanted to tell us they were serious about tackling it. They weren’t, and aren’t.

And that tells you all you need to know about their attitudes to race, women and the poorest members of society generally, regardless of gender and ethnicity.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/08/02/tory-cut-killing-uks-only-centre-to-stop-female-genital-mutilation-is-in-line-with-priti-patels-behaviour/

 

2001 Private Eye Article on Israeli Assassinations and Atrocities Against Palestinians, Americans, and Lebanon

Keir Starmer has shown himself determined to purge the party of any and all critics of Israel on the utterly specious grounds that they are automatically anti-Semites. They must be, despite the fact that very many of them are self-respecting Jews and equally self-respecting non-Jewish anti-racists. This is because the Israel lobby and the British establishment and media have declared that anybody who supports Jeremy Corbyn and/ or shares his conviction that Palestinians should be allowed to live in peace in their traditional homeland has to be a horrible Jew-hater and a Nazi. Even if, like Corbyn, Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Mike, Martin Odoni and any number of others, they are determined anti-racists. So let’s remind people just what the Palestinians are facing, and why criticising Israel is entirely legitimate and is based on what the Israeli state and its armed forces do, not because they’re Jewish.

I found this ‘Letter from Israel’ in Private Eye’s edition for 30th November – 13th December 2001. This was a time when the Eye didn’t flinch at criticising Israel, even when outraged Zionists complained that it was being anti-Semitic by doing so. The Eye has said that the ‘Letter From…’ pieces are written by journalists from countries described, so that this piece, although anonymous and possibly reworked by someone else in the Eye to cover up the author’s identity, comes from an Israeli journo. And it’s a long list of Israel’s attacks, not just on the Palestinians and their leaders, but also the Americans and Lebanon. It runs

Terrorism is the topic of the year, and whatever the current focus, history shows that we in Israel have a certain historical experience.

Take the bombing of American targets. Our chaps bombed the US cultural centres in Cairo and Alexandria as early as 1954, planning to let Abdul Nasser’s new Egyptian government take the blame. Unfortunately the scam went wrong and our defence minister Pinhas Lavon had to resign, though the director-general of his ministry, Shimon Peres, managed to hang on. Today he is Ariel Sharon’s foreign minister.

Or take political assassinations. If you ever wondered why Yasser Arafat’s lieutenants are hard to understand, the answer it simple: we shot most of his organisation’s top foreign language speakers. In fact in one glorious year, 1972, our Mossad secret service managed to kill both the PLO’s political representative in Rome, Wael Zouetar, and his counterpart in Paris, Mahmoud Hamdan.

Admittedly we make the odd mistake. There was the embarrassing 1974 incident in Lilienhammer, when a Mossad hit squad shot dead Moroccan waiter Ahmed Bouchiki in front of his heavily pregnant Norwegian wife, having mistaken him for a PLO man.

Still, we maintain a sense of proportion and have never believed in simply takinig an eye for an eye. In 1982 when an assassin from the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon wounded (but not killed) our London rep, Shlomo Argov, we invaded Lebanon and more than 20,000 people there died, mostly civilians.

Then there is the bombing of local public buildings, one of our specialities. In recent months we have shelled not just West Bank police stations, but hotels, an orphanage and the Bethlehem maternity hospital. (Not that many Palestinian women reach the hospital. Our boys at the checkpoints surrounding their townships are particularly mistrustful of women claiming to be in labour and so refuse to let them through).

None of this would have happened, of course, if the Palestinians would agree to live happily while surrounded by our soldiers and settlers. But they won’t and we must protect ourselves. Not for us any lily-livered effort to apprehend the actual perpetrators. We prefer hostage taking. This is certainly what we did when some Palestinians recently shot that nice man, ex-general Rehavam Zeevi, the founder of a party whose sole platform is the expulsion of all Arabs. Such a view had resulted in his being invited into Mr Sharon’s government as a tourism minister.

Anyway, whenever that sort of thing happens we just hold the entire population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip at gunpoint and station tanks in their streets. Then we smash the place up (just look at Manger Square after we finished with it!) and kill a few dozen locals of mixed age and sex.

And, oh yes, we also use helicopter gunships to blow to smithereens any Palestinian we suspect of planning any attacks on us, though not usually the actual perpetrators. Those we expect Yasser Arafat to hand over, in exchange for the goodwill we have shown in our peace talks with him, which have been dragging on for a mere eight years. Why are those Palestinians in such a rush?

That we have spent those years building thousands of new settler homes in the West Bank is a mere accident, not a lack of sincerity. True, this may have involved confiscating Palestinian land, arresting its owners and shooting demonstrators, which slows down agreement; but it makes sense: we just like holding peace talks so much we never want them to end.

Of course, we cannot negotiate with just anyone, and so we are currently helping improve Arafat’s administration by picking off any unsuitable figures. And we don’t just mean military men: one of those killed by us was Dr. Tahbed Thabed, the director-general of the Palestinian health authority.

In the 19 years since then, we’ve had the blockade of Gaza and now Netanyahu has declared his intention of seizing 1/3 of Palestinian land on the West Bank. But organisations like the Chief Rabbinate, Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jewish Leadership Council, the entirely wrongly named Jewish Labour Movement, whose members don’t have to be Jews or members of the Labour Party, and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, founded to bolster British support for Israel after the bombardment of Gaza, will denounce anything more than the mildest, token criticism of Israel’s actions.

The Israeli state has been engaged on a decades-long campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, and many of its own citizens have protested against it. Israel is a country. It is not, and never have been, synonymous with the Jewish people, no matter what law Netanyahu passes to claim that it is. Criticising Israel and its leaders is not anti-Semitic, no matter how much the Board and the Chief Rabbis howl that it is.

And Starmer has no business kicking genuine anti-racists and opponents of anti-Semitism out of Labour, simply for supporting the Palestinians. And especially not when he is tolerating real, anti-Black racists and islamophobes.

Sometimes to the Authorities White Lives Don’t Matter Either

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 4:53am in

There was outrage at the end of last month when Jake Hepple, an employee at Paradigm Precision, an aerospace engineering firm took exception to the Black Live Matter movement. Hepple  flew a light aircraft over the Etihad stadium shortly after a matched had kicked off between Burnley and Manchester City, incensed at players from the two sides wearing shirts with the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ to support the movement, and so. The aircraft flew a banner across the sky declaring ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’. Despite initial statements by the police that no crime had been committed, this was seen very much as an example of hate speech. Hepple’s partner, Megan Rambadt, was sacked by her employer for making comments such as  “I love Burnley but I must admit it’s pretty grim, that town centre is like a foreign country. Needs sorting” and “They need sending back on banana boats, stinkin bastards”. Hepple was also dismissed from his job soon after, with Paradigm Precision declaring that it did not condone or tolerate racism in any form. Apart from the stunt, it was revealed that Hepple had strong racist views of his own. Unite Against Fascism went through his Facebook page and found that he supported the EDL and had been photoed standing with its former fuhrer, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson. He had also posted these racist comments “Why would anyone in their right mind pay £90 for the new England shirt when it probably cost a company full of tree swinging spear throwers about 80p to make? Not a chance I’m paying that” and “I’m not even going to go into detail of how fucked up Sharia Law is, which is what some ‘people’ want in this country, absolutely mental this government”.

Burnley’s captain Ben Mee condemned Hepple’s stunt, saying “Fans like that don’t deserve to be around football … We’re ashamed, we’re embarrassed. It’s a minority of our supporters – I know I speak for a massive part of our support who distance ourselves from anything like that”. The Mirror also reported that those responsible for the stunt would face a lifetime ban from the Burnley ground. The club said “We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor”. Hepple himself was defiant, tweeting  “Thanks a lot, no apology will be coming out as I’m not apologising for stating that white peoples lives matter as well”.

See Zelo Street: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/burnley-banner-man-will-be-banned.html

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/06/burnley-racists-employer-hard-choices.html

Unfortunately, Hepple has a point. The police and the authorities all too often have a needlessly aggressive attitude to Blacks and have shown apathy and indifference to their murder. This was also shown a week or so ago when the Met police stopped Black British athlete Bianca Williams and her family, dragging her and her husband out their car and seizing their baby on the suspicion that they were carrying drugs. They weren’t, and the rozzers’ behaviour served to stir up even further resentment against the police and the stop and search policy following the killing of George Floyd in America.

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/07/bianca-williams-and-tory-racism.html

On Thursday at 9.00 pm, ITV are showing again the 1999 drama, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, about Lawrence’s parents, Neville’s and Doreen’s battle to get justice for their son after he was killed by a White gang in a racist attack back in 1993. At 8.00 pm, before the drama begins, the commercial broadcaster is showing a programme Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed? hosted by Rageh Omaar ande Anushka Asthana and with a panel of experts debating this question following Floyd’s death in Minnesota and the corresponding wave of protests around the world.

Older readers of this blog will remember the murder, and the scandal of the Met’s own racism and incompetence in failing to prosecute the youths responsible despite the overwhelming evidence against. Part of the problem may also have been police corruption, as the young perps were the sons of leading London gangsters. The scandal was front page news for weeks, months and years afterwards and there was rightly a major outcry against it. Private Eye, however, published a couple of separate articles revealing that a young White and an Asian man had been also been murdered into two different unprovoked racial attacks. And the Met had behaved in exactly the same way, steadfastly refusing to do anything to investigate the murders and prosecute the perps responsible.

Unlike Stephen Lawrence, these murders garnered no coverage and no media or public outrage. They were forgotten.

And the real elephant in the room here is the Rotherham Asian grooming gang scandal. For well over a decade, a gang of taxi drivers of mostly Pakistani origin had been grooming, raping and exploiting as prostitutes White girls from a care home. The police and local authority had been repeatedly told about it, but had refused to take action. Instead, at least one of the girls had been offered Urdu lessons to somehow help her. One of the cops responsible for this debacle stated that they didn’t act because they didn’t want to start a riot. This scandal has naturally provoked even more outrage, and since then more grooming gangs have been uncovered. It’s been a gift to the racist right, and Tommy Robinson was running up and down the country exploiting the trials by posting his own highly prejudiced take on them on the internet, thus risking a mistrial. He was thus hauled up before the beak himself on contempt of court charges after he filmed himself commenting on the trial of one of these gangs outside the court, and trying to interview them as they were being ushered in.

Academics and anti-racists have stressed that these gangs are not representative of the Asian community. One academic specialising in these issues posted a piece on the Net showing that Asians are no more likely to be predatory paedophiles than Whites. The point has also been made that Islam was not a motive in the crimes. They were simply a case of sick people abusing messed-up, vulnerable children. One Asian journo or celebrity was also outraged by the cops’ attitude in fearing that their arrest would spark riots. He maintained that British Asians wouldn’t have objected to the arrest of the offenders and would not have rioted. He may well be right, but as quoted by the papers, the cop in question made no mention of who would be doing the rioting. He just said they would start. He might have felt it would give White bigots an excuse to attack Asians.

The point here is that the police and authorities refused to take action because they feared a breakdown in what may be described as ‘community cohesion’ because of the races of the attackers and the victims. The girls didn’t matter, because they were White.

Although these crimes have been revealed and other similar gangs uncovered, arrested and tried since then, the Rotherham scandal remains. According to right-wing commenters, there is supposed to be a report on the grooming gang that has not been published. I don’t know if that is the case, but if so, it’s a scandal in itself. I doubt such a report would show that racial and religious motives were behind the assaults, as the islamophobes claim. They suggest that the decision not to prosecute or take action went all the way up to Blair’s or Gordon Brown’s government. If that’s the case, then its suppression – if that has happened – is almost certainly due to the authorities trying to protect their rear ends.

Now I certainly don’t begrudge the Lawrences the attention they managed to focus on their son’s murder and the disgusting conduct of the Met police. I am simply trying to make the point that sometimes the police and authorities also won’t take action against the abusers and killers of people of other ethnicities. The Black Lives Matter protests in some areas, like Cheltenham, have extended to include other ethnic minorities. But they all seem to believe that crimes against Whites are universally and automatically investigated to a higher standard than those against people of ethnic minorities. But this doesn’t seem to be the case.

There should be outrage when the police fail to prosecute perps in crimes where race is a factor, regardless of the ethnic background of the victim. It shouldn’t matter if the victim is Black, White, Brown or whatever, no-one should die from racist attacks and their murderers go Scot free, or young people repeatedly abused and assaulted with impunity.

If the victim of a racist attack is White or Asian, then people should unite across the racial divide to condemn the attacks, just as they should if the victim were Black. As the Black Lives Matter protesters stress, the movement does not mean that White lives don’t matter.

But unfortunately, sometimes White lives are ignored because of their race. And that should cause every bit of outrage as the culpably negligent attitude towards Black.

 

Lobster: Ruth Smeeth Was American Agent

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 2:49am in

Robin Ramsay has updated his ‘View from the Bridge’ column for the current issue of the online parapolitics/ conspiracies magazine, Lobster. And one of the interesting pieces is about Ruth Smeeth, the nasty piece of Blairite trash who accused Marc Wadsworth, the Black anti-racist activist, of being an anti-Semite. As you will recall, it was because Wadsworth embarrassed her in a meeting by pointing out she was passing information onto a Torygraph journalist. Smeeth then accused him of an anti-Semitic trope, that of the disloyal Jew. Wadsworth didn’t know she was Jewish, and what he said about her was in any case correct. She was passing material on to a Tory journalist, and that had absolutely zilch to do with her ethnicity or religion. One suspects that the real reason she smeared Wadsworth was because he was yet another supporter of that horrible leftie, Jeremy Corbyn. This led to the spectacle of Wadsworth being hauled before a Labour Party kangaroo court, while a posse of White Blairite women descended on the proceedings to demand something be done about him. To some people, this looked very, very much like White anti-Black racism, and explicit comparisons were made to racist lynchings in the American deep south.

The former head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, writing in his Times column, revealed that Smeeth is now the head of Index on Censorship, ‘the global freedom of expression campaign’. Phillips also claimed that, because of her accusation against Wadsworth, she received 25,000 abusive message in two months. According to her, 20,000 of those came in the first 12 hours. Ramsay’s sceptical about that claim, as even if she could open and read them at a rate of ten a minute, it would still take 33 hours. Put that way, it does indeed look like a very dodgy claim. It shows the Blairites are still keeping up the smears that its only the Labour left that’s making threats and hurling abuse. While it’s wrong to send abusive texts, I don’t really have much sympathy for Smeeth. The victims of the anti-Semitism smears, and especially the Jewish victims, have also received horrendous abuse. Jackie Walker has had people send her messages telling her that she should be lynched – a horrendous thing to say to a woman, whose mother was a Black civil rights worker – and that she should be cut up and put in bin bags. Phillips himself also has form when it comes to dubious statements. Tony Greenstein has called him an ‘Uncle Tom’ on his blog for his weak attacks on racism, and Zelo Street has several times discussed how Phillips has made Islamophobic remarks and retailed bogus stories smearing Muslims.

But what is really interesting is the revelation that Smeeth was an American agent. This comes from a leaked cable from the American embassy in 2009 that ran

‘Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Burton Ruth Smeeth (strictly protect) told us April 20 that Brown had intended to announce the elections on May 12, and hold them after a very short (matter of weeks) campaign season.’ (emphasis added).

Which has caused Ramsay to ask what it was that she had done or offered to do to become a confidential source for the American embassy.

See: https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster80/lob80-view-from-the-bridge.pdf

This also shows just how powerful were the forces working to undermine Corbyn. But because that cable came from Wikileaks, it will be discounted as a mere conspiracy theory, if not totally ignored altogether, by the British political and media establishment.

 

 

Why So Few American Muslims Serve in the US Military

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/06/2020 - 1:22am in

With long and seemingly endless conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa, the United States Armed Forces is constantly struggling to meet recruitment targets for its wars. One group that is greatly underrepresented in our armed forces is Muslim Americans; fewer than 10,000 troops list their faith as Islam, accounting for just 0.3 percent of personnel. This is despite large and active recruitment drives to hire Muslims – particularly Arab Americans – to serve as intelligence officers, translators and in other key roles in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Muslims are among the fastest growing minority groups in the United States, their numbers increasing from 2.35 million in 2007 to 3.45 million in 2017, around 1.1 percent of the total U.S. population. Yet, if the military genuinely wishes to recruit more Muslims, it has been slow to accommodate their needs. Very few bases have Islamic prayer services, and only five of the Army’s roughly 2,900 chaplains are imams. For decades, Muslim soldiers were forced to shave their beards and made to eat meals containing non-Halal meat and even pork, although this has begun to change.

However, there is more to the question of why so few Muslims serve in the military than simply a lack of tolerance. There has, for a long time been a strong strain of anti-war, anti-imperialist sentiment within American Islam, as Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, explained to MintPress News.

If you go back to the Nation of Islam’s days, which includes Muhammad Ali resisting the draft, many Muslims have looked at the interventions of the American military abroad as being immoral and conflicting with the teachings of peace and justice within Islam. So there is a long tradition of African-American Muslims in particular being skeptical of how America exerts its military strength abroad,” he said.

 

9/11

The majority of Americans do not know even a single Muslim, according to a survey by Pew Research. However, the events of one day – September 11, 2001 – put Islam on the national agenda like no other. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Islamic groups immediately denounced Osama Bin Laden’s attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., suspicion of America’s Muslim population – or anyone who looked passably Middle Eastern – rocketed across the country. “Post-9/11 America isn’t exactly the most welcoming place for Muslims,” Walid said. President Bush famously announced that the United States was on a new “crusade” in the Middle East, and the heightened levels of covert and overt hostility from the state led increasing numbers of American Muslims to question the military’s role in the world.

Affraz Mohammed

Affraz Mohammed, right, is pictured in his dress blues with another Marine. Photo | Courtesy | Affraz Mohammed

For Muslims already serving in the armed forces, that day seemed to change everything. “Discrimination got crazy worse after 9/11,” said Affraz Mohammed, “You served your country honourably, you had great positions in the military. And now, here it is that you are being discriminated against by your own country.” Mohammed, a native of New Jersey, joined the Marines in 1997 due to a lack of opportunities elsewhere. “In America, people say we have choices. But not many have lots of choices. In the ghetto, how much choice do you really have,” he asked MintPress. Born in Trinidad and with Indian Muslim ancestry, he served honorably for seven years, rising to the rank of sergeant.

 

On trial for my religion

Like many veterans, he suffered greatly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But unlike others, his trauma was not from combat: it was from how he was treated at home. In 2002 another Marine pressured him into buying his AK-47 assault rifle. He had originally come to (legally) buy a handgun, but the Marine was insistent he take the Kalashnikov instead, and for an extremely low price. As soon as he accepted, he was swarmed by government agents and charged with buying an illegal, fully automatic weapon. He was stripped naked, tortured and held incommunicado.

His Marine-corps appointed lawyer told him to plead guilty, but he resisted and the case went to trial, where he was found unanimously innocent. The weapon he bought appears not to have been fully automatic anyway, while prosecutors had filed documents listing two different serial numbers for the gun, raising further suspicions about the validity of their case. While he was officially on trial for an illegal weapons charge, he maintains that his real crime, in the eyes of the establishment, was “being a brown-skinned Muslim with the last name Mohammed.”

Many of his fellow Marines were not happy with him, and rumors spread that he was a terrorist. He was harassed, woken up in the middle of the night, called “Mohammed the Taliban Marine,” and fellow Marines constantly warned that he would be the victim of a friendly fire incident. He left the service in 2004, having never been sent to the Middle East. Since then, he claims that the police, Department of Homeland Security, FBI and other agencies constantly harass and try to provoke him, informing his neighbors and relatives about his supposed danger. He also told MintPress he has been blacklisted by several agencies and is flagged as a risk when flying.

Affraz Mohammed

Affraz Mohammed, holding rifle, is pictured during a Marine Corps training exercise. Photo | Courtesy | Affraz Mohammed

“I stood up to the empire that everybody is afraid of. I stood up against the highest government agencies all by myself and came out on top. That inspires people to stand up for their rights, if they get to know about my story. So what they’re trying to do is make sure I don’t have a positive story or a positive image,” he said, when asked why he believes the government is still going after him. Despite this, he remains proud of his service and fiercely loyal to the Marines and says his training helped him through his ordeal.

When asked if Muslims are welcome in the military, Mohammed was blunt, “They’re not,” he said. “Because of the current situation. If we look back at history, during the Second World War, even the Japanese-Americans serving in the armed forces were being scrutinized. So if we look at our past, it has a lot of information; any time a military is fighting against another country, those people automatically become enemies.”

 

Endless Wars

By the “current situation,” Mohammed is referring to the 19-year occupation of Afghanistan, the 17-year occupation of Iraq, and multiple conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, the large majority of which are Muslim-majority nations. Even today, the Trump administration continues to increase tensions with Iran, sparking fears of another long and bitter war.

“My brother did 20 years in the Navy, and he had it worse than me. When the Iraq War started in 2003, and his peers were saying ‘put him in jail because we are going to kill his people.’ So the racism is there and it is brutal,” Mohammed added. For so many American Muslims, the prospect of going to war with their own country of origin or that of their close friends is unpalatable, to say the least.

Walid, a member of the Michigan Muslim Community Council Imams Committee, explained that,

For those Muslims who are immigrants or children of immigrants and are underrepresented [in the military], most likely feel a sense of alienation from the American military for similar reasons. If we look at the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians that were killed during that time, and the use of drone bombings that killed high percentages of civilians and the extrajudicial assassinations via American drones; these are factors that I believe have stopped many American Muslims from joining the U.S. military.”

Inside the armed forces, Muslims are often suspected of being disloyal and often are the targets of their superiors’ prejudices. Last year, Sgt. Cesilia Valdovinos was forced by a senior non-commissioned officer to remove her hijab while at a briefing. She had previously complained of being made to cook pork and of being labeled a “terrorist” by another soldier. In 2016, Marine Corps recruit Raheel Siddiqui leapt to his death after being constantly hazed and bullied by drill instructors during training. One instructor reportedly labeled him a “terrorist” and had slapped him a number of times. He was also known to have forced other Muslim recruits into industrial clothes dryers and turned the machine on. While the official verdict was suicide, Siddiqui’s family contested the decision. Mohammed suffered similar treatment at training, with instructors punishing him more than others, attempting to sow division between him and his peers, encouraging others to fight him, calling him a “towel head,” and placing sand around his bed to “make him feel more at home.” As stated previously, Mohammed is originally from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, and of Indian extraction, but knowledge of geography is not many Americans’ strong suit.

Walid suggested that if Siddiqui had been from a different religion or race, the story would have become a “national scandal” and there would have been a senate committee hearing. But, “when it comes to Muslims, the anti-Muslim bigotry is overt and subtle,” he said.

 

The “reality of systemic racism”

When the parents of a Humayun Khan, a fallen Muslim-American soldier spoke up against Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, he mocked them, implying Khan’s mother was silent as a result of Islam’s backward practices and repressive attitude towards women. While he scandalized many in the punditry class, a majority of Americans supported the ban on entry to the United States, such is the level of demonization of the religion in media and public life. 1 in 9 Americans say they would refuse to accept a Muslim as a neighbor and 41 percent believe that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths, with nearly two-thirds of Republicans polled saying that a great deal of Muslims are anti-American, and 16 percent saying almost all are. The same survey found that Americans are far more likely to hold Islamophobic beliefs if they do not know any Muslims personally.


Khizr and Khan Ghazala speak at the 2016 DNC in Philadelphia in front of a photo of their son, Marine Corps veteran Humayun Khan. Photo | Reuters

As a result, Muslim Americans are much more likely to hold liberal economic, political and cultural views, with only 13 percent identifying with the Republican Party at all. Three-quarters say they face a lot of discrimination living in the U.S. “I don’t think it is limited to the military at all,” Walid told MintPress. “I think it goes back deeper beyond religion to an issue of systemic racism that takes place in America. Muslims are a faith group, but we are predominantly seen as people of color and non-white in the American imagination. And the reality is that non-white people in America have never been treated equally in American institutions. That is the historical reality.”

There is perhaps no better example of this than Minnesota Congressperson Ilhan Omar. As a black, African, refugee, hijab-wearing Muslim democratic socialist woman, her existence is a bingo card for bigots. A study published in November in the Social Science Research Journal found that roughly half the tweets mentioning her contained some kind of hate speech.

Omar has drawn public attention as an outspoken critic of the police’s role in the killing of George Floyd. However, less well-known is how authorities’ surveillance of Muslims contributed to his death. Since the days of the Nation of Islam, black Muslims have been targeted by law enforcement and the secret services as an enemy of the state. Minneapolis has one of the largest populations of black Muslims in the United States, due in part to its large Somali community. Under Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism program, Minneapolis was plied with cash and equipment to surveil supposedly radical extremist groups, leading to a situation where blackness became to be seen by police as a crime in itself. As Venessa Taylor argued in The Progressive, state surveillance of Muslims “paved the way for George Floyd’s murder.”

While the U.S. military does want and need to recruit soldiers from Islamic and Arab-American background, they have also been fighting decades-long campaign against Islamic groups in Muslim-majority countries, leading to a heightened level of casual and toxic Islamophobia within its ranks, alienating many Muslim Americans who might otherwise consider joining. Soldiers are trained to see brown-skinned Muslims as the enemy, meaning those who join their side are subject to abuse or mockery. Still more of a question for other American Muslims is whether any war, especially these wars are worth fighting and dying for. Considering the dearth of Muslim recruits, It appears that, for many, the answer is “no.”

 
Feature photo | A combination photo shows Affraz Mohammed during his time in the US Marine Corps. Photo | Courtesy | Affraz Mohammed

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Why So Few American Muslims Serve in the US Military appeared first on MintPress News.

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