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The UN says it is "deeply concerned" by numerous reports that China has turned the autonomous region of Xinjiang, homeland to the native Uighur population, into "something that resembles a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy."

A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard as a Muslim Uighur family walks past him in the Uighur district of the city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang region on July 14, 2009. (AFP Archive)

A UN human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy".  Gay McDougall, a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities were forced into "political camps for indoctrination" in the western Xinjiang autonomous region.

"We are deeply concerned at the many numerous and credible reports that we have received that in the name of combating religious extremism and maintaining social stability (China) has changed the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internship camp that is shrouded in secrecy, a sort of 'no rights zone'," she told the start of a two-day regular review of China's record, including Hong Kong and Macao.

China says Xinjiang faces a serious threat from militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority. A Chinese delegation of some 50 officials made no comment on her remarks at the Geneva session that continues on Monday.The allegations came from multiple sources, including activist group Chinese Human Rights Defenders, which said in a report last month that 21 percent of all arrests recorded in China in 2017 were in Xinjiang. 

Earlier, Yu Jianhua, China's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said it was working towards equality and solidarity among all ethnic groups. But McDougall said that members of the Uighur community and others Muslims were being treated as "enemies of the state" solely on the basis of their ethno-religious identity.

More than 100 Uighur students who returned to China from countries including Egypt and Turkey had been detained, with some dying in custody, she said. Fatima-Binta Dah, a panel member, referred to "arbitrary and mass detention of almost 1 million Uighurs" and asked the Chinese delegation:  "What is the level of religious freedom available now to Uighurs in China, what legal protection exists for them to practice their religion?"  Panelists also raised reports of mistreatment of Tibetans in the autonomous region, including inadequate use of the Tibetan language in the classroom and at court proceedings.   "The UN body maintained its integrity, the government got a very clear message," Golok Jigme, a Tibetan monk and former prisoner living in exile, told Reuters at the meeting.






New decree seeks to 'guide Islam', as crackdown against Muslims and Islamic symbols continues.


China is using western counter-terror strategies targeting Muslims as justification for its Uighur concentration camps


East Turkistan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, lies in the heart of Asia. The current territorial size of East Turkistan is 1,626,000 square kilometers (635,000 square miles), which is 4 times the size of California. According to official records in 1949, East Turkistan’s original territories contained 1,820,000 square kilometers of land. The Qinghai and Gansu provinces of China annexed part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of 1949. East Turkistan has a diverse geography. It has grand deserts, magnificent mountains, and beautiful rivers, lakes, grasslands and forests.

A brief history of East Turkistan and its people

East Turkistan is the homeland of the Turkic speaking Uyghurs and other central Asian peoples such as Kazaks, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Uzbeks, and Tajiks. According to the latest Chinese census, the present population of these Muslims is slightly over 11 million; among these, the 8.68 million Uyghurs constitute the majority.  However, Uyghur sources indicate that Uyghur population in East Turkistan exceeds 15 million.

East Turkistan is located beyond a logical boundary of China, the Great Wall. Historically, East Turkistan is a part of Central Asia, not of China. East Turkistan's people are not Chinese; they are Turks of Central Asia.  Records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years in East Turkistan. Situated along a section of the legendary Silk Road, Uyghurs played an important role in cultural exchanges between the East and West and developed a unique culture and civilization of their own.

Uyghurs embraced Islam in A.D. 934 during the Karahanid Kingdom. Kashgar, the capital of the Kingdom, quickly became one of the major learning centers of Islam. Art, the sciences, music and literature flourished as Islamic religious institutions nurtured the pursuit of an advanced culture. In this period, hundreds of world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged. Thousands of valuable books were written. Among these works, the Uyghur scholar Yusuf Has Hajip's book, Kutatku Bilig (The Knowledge for Happiness, 1069-1070) and Mahmud Kashgari's Divan-i Lugat-it Turk (a dictionary of Turk languages) are most influential.

East Turkistan was invaded by the Manchu Empire of China

The Islamic Uyghur Kingdom of East Turkestan maintained its independence and prosperity until the Manchu Empire invaded the nation in 1876. After eight years of bloody war, the Manchu Empire formally annexed East Turkistan into its territories and renamed it "Xinjiang" (meaning "New Territory" or "New Frontier") on November 18, 1884. Uyghur power, stature and culture went into a steep decline after the Manchu invasion.  After Chinese Nationalists overthrew the Manchu Empire in 1911, East Turkistan fell under the rule of the nationalist Chinese government. The Uyghurs, who wanted to free themselves from foreign domination, staged numerous uprisings against Nationalist Chinese rule and twice (once in 1933 and again in 1944) succeeded in setting up an independent East Turkistan Republic.

Political Background

Heavy-handed state repression of all activities associated by the Chinese government with "Separatism" has created a dire human rights enviornment for the Uyghur Muslim minority population of northwest China. Beijing has for more than a decade claimed to be confronted with "religious extremist forces" and "violent terrorists" in Xinjiang Province, a vast region one-sixth of China's land area.  Xinjiang is in fact a large, sparsely populated area that has been a site of heavy army and police concentrations since 1949, and is used as a base for nuclear testing, miliatry training, and prison labor facilities. The population of 18 million includes several Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic groups, of which the Uyghurs, numbering eight million, are the largest. The percentage of ethnic Han Chinese in Xinjiang has grown as a result of government policies from six percent in 1949 to 40 percent at present, and now numbers some 7.5 million people. Much like Tibetans, Uyghurs in Xinjiang have struggled for cultural survival in the face of a government-supported influx by Chinese migrants, as well as harsh repression of political dissent and any expression, however lawful or peaceful, of their distinct identity.

Reports from Xinjiang document a pattern of abuse, including political imprisonment, torture, and disappearance. Mosques are summarily closed and the Uyghur language is banned from use in universities. Uyghurs are subjected to compulsory unpaid labor in the construction of a pipeline planned to export local petroleum resources to other parts of China. Uyghurs also continue to be the only population in China consistently subjected to executions for political crimes, and these executions are often both summary and public.

A handful of small-scale explosions aimed at government targets over the past decade have been repeatedly invoked by the Chinese government, particularly since September 11, in support of its strike-hard campaign to crack down on separatism and terrorism. In policy pronouncements for both domestic and international audiences, the government has sought to establish that all separatism is tantamount to Islamic terrorism, and in fact uses the terms interchangeably. The state's efforts to extinguish the common desire among Uyghurs for autonomy or outright independence appear to have increased the alienation of the population and, some analysts speculation, the potential for future violent conflict.

Although human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International express concern over the deteriorating situation in Xinjiang, expertise on the region is so scarce that activists agree that without critical support from Uyghur-run human rights organizations, very little information from within Xinjiang will see the light of day. Some information collection and documentation has begun in a sporadic way in Uyghur communities across the diaspora, but the effect will be limited without the establishment the establishment of a human rights organization specifically focused on the Uyghur situation.

The world's next major human disaster is in the making in China. This time, we should act before it's too late.
Khaled A Beydoun
13 Sept 2018

Rwanda. East Timor. Myanmar. The world has a cruel habit of ignoring humanitarian disasters until it's too late. Old habits die hard, and the people targeted by state-led ethnic cleansing programs even harder. But the reports of mass concentration camps and the criminalisation of Islam inflicted upon China's Uighur Muslims should alarm anyone and everyone. Right now. 

In August, a United Nations human rights panel reported that up to one million Uighur Muslims were forced into grounds that resemble massive internment camps in Xinjiang - the autonomous region in western China home to approximately 10 million Uighur Muslims. Gay McDougall, who sits on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, claimed that up to two million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were forced into "political camps for indoctrination".

Escape from Xinjiang: Muslim Uighurs speak of China persecution

The scale of China's internment is staggering, with at least one in every 10 Uighur Muslim living in Xinjiang "disappearing into internment camps". The figure is even more staggering for those that have family or friends locked away for no other crime but practising a faith - Islam - in a region where this religion is categorically associated with subversion, separatism and terrorism.

But the internment of one million people in Xinjiang is only the tip of the ominous state architecture of ethnic cleansing against Uighur Muslims. The very phrases "internment" and "concentration camps" instantly conjure up images of the Holocaust or the rounding up of Japanese Americans during World War II. Potent analogies that spurred the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the Intercept to publish recent pieces documenting China's designation of Islam as a "mental illness," and its merciless objective to annihilate it by way of a sweeping system of ethnic cleansing, of which mass internment is only one part.

Yet, much of the world remains unaware of the horrors unfolding in Xinjiang. And even more, entirely unacquainted with a people trapped within the belly of a superpower bent on destroying them.

Who Are the Uighurs?
A portrait of Uighur Muslim history and identity highlights why China, a communist nation that enshrines atheism and privileges its majority-Han ethnic population, is committed to eliminating these people. The Uighurs are a stigmatised minority on two fronts: ethnicity and religion, and trapped within the precarious crosshairs of an Orwellian police state that views Islam as an affront to state-sponsored atheism and Uighur identity an obstacle to Han ethnic supremacy.

Uighur Muslims are indigenous to Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China that borders Mongolia to the northeast, and a myriad of Muslim-majority nations to its left. After briefly declaring independence in the early 20th century, Xinjiang - and a sizable population of Uighur Muslims - was annexed by communist China in 1949, and remains under its authoritarian control until this day.

In addition to religious affinity, Uighur ethnicity resembles and overlaps with that of its Central Asian neighbours, such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and other countries populated with predominantly Turkic peoples. The region is still called East Turkistan by Uighur Muslims. In line with this nationalist imagining, Uighur Muslims also have their own language, Uighur, formerly known as Eastern Turki, which is only spoken by the Uighur inhabitants of Xinjiang and populations in the diaspora. 

One million Muslim Uighurs held in secret China camps: UN panel

Elements within the Uighur population in China have sought to reclaim their independence, claiming indigenousness and persecution as bases for secession from China. In response, China promoted the mass movement of Han Chinese into the country's hinterland, including Xinjiang, which has effectively reduced Uighur Muslims into a minority on their native land, strategically preempting the possibility of independence.

The 9/11 terror attacks in the United States created new possibilities for China to suppress its Uighur Muslim population beyond demographic engineering. Lockstep, Beijing adopted the American Islamophobia enshrined by the Bush administration, and seized upon a "War on Terror" that conflated Islam with terrorism. With much of the world suspicious of Islam and the Global War on Terror fully deployed, China seized upon a ripe geopolitical landscape that enabled a relentless and robust crackdown on Uighur Muslims - honing in on Islam as the pathway to destroy a people refusing to trade in their faith, language and customs for the alternatives forced upon them by Beijing.

Criminalising Islam
Islam is central to Uighur identity, and religious expression intimately tied to language and culture. But the War on Terror enabled Beijing to target the religious identity of Uighur Muslims to not only stifle aspirations for independence, but push towards full-scale ethnic cleaning. The universal policing of Muslim expression, in Western and Eastern nations, allowed China to first "throw the Uighurs under the geopolitical bus." And in recent years, completely run them over with an interconnected set of policies that make American or French Islamophobia look pedestrian.

Yet, understanding the broad scale and depth of China's persecution of Uighur Muslims is fully revealed by its genuine objective: which is transformation and annihilation, not ferreting out terrorists. Criminalising and closely policing Islam, the most conspicuous and sacred identifier of Uighur identity, is how Beijing seeks to bring about that goal. In 2015, China restricted Uighur Muslim students, teachers and other civil servants in Xinjiang from observing the fast during the month of Ramadan, which extended beyond the public sphere by way of police intimidation and surveillance within households during the holy month. This ban was accompanied, according to Human Rights Watch, by routine state vetting of Uighur imams, close surveillance of mosques, the removal of religious teachers and students from schools, restrictions placed on Uighur Muslims to communicate with family or friends living overseas, and the screening of literature assigned to students in schools in Xinjiang. 

While Xinjiang has rapidly devolved into an open-air prison for Uighur Muslims in recent years, the open observance of Islam would lead one directly to the most vile type of Chinese prison: an internment camp designed to "cure" one from Islam and crush the Uighur people.

Internment and the architecture of ethnic cleansing
Suppressing the observance of Ramadan sent a clear message to Uighurs during the most emblematic period of Muslim life: that expression of Islam will be punished with impunity. In turn, the state ban on Ramadan bludgeoned a cornerstone of Uighur culture and life, and beyond the holy month, pushed forward the state view that Islam is "an ideological illness" that must be more than just criminally prosecuted, but pathologically cured.

Internment camps, called "re-education centres" by the state, grew in size and number beginning in 2013. Within these overpopulated camps, state agents are commissioned to heal the illness (Islam) through a litany of horrors, including forcing Uighur Muslims toeat pork and drink alcohol (both of which are restricted by Islam), memorise and recite Communist Party songs, forced into gruelling work, enroll in Mandarin language courses and comprehensive trainings devised to extract their religion and culture from out of them. 

Locked up, uprooted far from home and family, 10-20 percent of the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang are currently experiencing or have endured the horrors of the largest network of internment camps since World War II. Those who resist while inside are tortured, and reports of deaths from family members and outright disappearances are widely documented. The majority of those interned have been men, and the Chinese authorities have supplemented the disproportionate incarceration of men with a policyforcing Uighur Muslim women to marry (non-Muslim) Han men. Further diluting the Uighur Muslim population and entrenching Han hegemony.

The threat of internment is a fear that hovers over Xinjiang like a black cloud and looms heavy in the mind of every Uighur Muslim. Indeed, "the detentions and the fear of detention have become an unavoidable fact of daily life." This fear is a weapon that the Chinese government has wielded to deter and intimidate Uighurs from exercising their faith, enforced by way of ubiquitous police in Uighur Muslim communities, tapping the neighbours, classmates and colleagues of Uighurs to serve as data gatherers and spies, and perhaps most nefariously, deputising Uighur children to monitor and implicate their own parents. Big Brother would be a severe understatement, as Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have enlisted virtually anybody and everybody inside of Uighur Muslim communities to partake in the project of uprooting Islam.

The crux of ethnic cleaning: Brainwashing children
Last week in The Atlantic, Sigal Samuel wrote, "China's crackdown has some Uighurs in Xinjiang worried that their own children will incriminate them, whether accidentally or because teachers urge kids to spy on their parents." Samuel's work helped spur discussion about the horrors taking place in Xinjiang beyond the internment camps, which created an entryway to learn about the other tentacles of China's ethnic cleansing programme; particularly those targeting Uighur children.

China's project of breaking up the family unit, the building block of Uighur Muslim society in Xinjiang, is achieved through the routine programme of marshalling children to report on the religious activities of their parents to (state-controlled) teachers. But also the formal institution of state-run orphanages, where the sons and daughters of interned Uighurs undergo a programme of cultural brainwashing and assimilation tailored for children. 

Within the walls of these orphanages, where "[children] between the ages of six months and 12 years are locked up like farm animals," Chinese authorities carry out what is perhaps the crux of their ethnic cleansing program: engineering an entire generation of Uighur Muslims to turn their back on their parents, religion and culture, in favour of the atheism, Mandarin language and Han customs privileged by Beijing. In turn, stripping the Uighur people from its very lifeline, its children, and paving a pathway towards the utter decimation of 10 million Uighur Muslims, and a nation that existed before the creation of the modern Chinese state.

Waiting for the world
On Tuesday, September 4, I released a tweet about the internment of one million Uighur Muslims that went viral, but more importantly, caught the attention of Uighur Muslims in the diaspora. A Uighur graduate student (whose name I will not share for fear of China seeking retribution against him or his family) in England contacted me, sharing intimate stories about the trials his family members and friends endured in the internment camps. Like so many, I took to the crisis because of the string of headlines documenting the internment of one million Uighur Muslims, alarmed by how scant coverage of it was in the mainstream media - and how the world was not only idle to respond, but largely unaware.

"We are waiting for the world," the student told me on Twitter, prefacing a statement that would reveal the gravity of the state violence unleashed on his people: "We are waiting for the world to know who we are," he finished. A basic plea that China efficiently seeks to keep concealed while systematically policing and punishing every trace of Uighur Muslim life. In order to comprehend the design of extermination China has placed upon Uighur Muslims, we must first know who they are as a people. They are a proud people, whose only crimes are living on a land that has always been their own and expressing a faith and culture rooted deep in that soil.

Acknowledging their existence, as a global community, thwarts the very essence of China's ethnic cleansing program: to reject Uighur Muslim identity, and remove them from memory. It is still not too late for us, all of us, to know who the Uighur are, and next, help to prevent the world's next human disaster. 


IN an interview with a Turkish television channel, Prime Minister Imran Khan completely sidestepped a question about the condition of Uighur Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang province. He admitted that he knew little about the issue, and, instead, preferred to focus on and highlight Chinese financial assistance and investment in Pakistan.

China is under stiff criticism for its alleged persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, especially Uighur Muslims. Freedom House’s 2018 country report on China classified it as ‘religiously-not-free’ on its freedom index. China is seriously concerned about this growing perception that hurts its efforts to promote a ‘soft image’ of China for a successful execution of its Belt and Road Initiative and other global commercial and strategic projects. Last week, China said that it welcomed UN officials to visit Xinjiang provided that they stay out of its internal affairs.

Pakistan usually avoids commenting on China’s internal affairs. But many Pakistani men, married to Chinese Uighur women, claim their spouses are being held in so-called re-education camps and are demanding their release. The issue has put Pakistan in a difficult position, mainly due to China’s huge investment in the country, as well as the extreme sensitivity of Chinese authorities to discussions on the subject.

Mystery continues to shroud China’s re-education camps, with authorities least interested in opening them up to independent observers. However, Chinese scholars claim that they are a part of the country’s countering violent extremism strategy, which was not built in isolation from rest of the world. They assert that China has designed its re-education strategy after carefully examining CVE approaches in practice in the West and Muslim world, which also employ similar community engagement programmes. Though they tend to justify their muscular approach by quoting examples from the Gulf, and South and Southeast Asian Muslim nations, the Chinese CVE strategy still appears highly politicised and opaque to Western practitioners and policymakers.

Much of the information about China’s re-education centres comes from West. Though the criticism has forced Chinese authorities to ‘release’ some information, it is insufficient to make a proper assessment. Last year, a state-run news agency published an interview of Shohrat Zakir, the Xinjiang governor, describing the camps as “professional vocational training institutions” for people influenced by terrorism and extremism who have not committed an offence warranting criminal punishment.

Similarly, in a seminar in China last November, local scholars explained China’s CVE approaches. Alluding to diverse and disparate CVE practices in different countries, they tended to conclude that no uniform or global CVE programme exists. One Chinese scholar presented a four-layered model based on the four principles of breaking, establishing, preventing and developing. ‘Breaking’ referred to isolating individuals from an extremist environment; ‘establishing’ meant introducing them to the true spiritual values of religion; ‘preventing’ was seen as educating; and ‘developing’ was interpreted as a skill development programme.

However, one of the best works available on the subject of China’s CVE strategy is by Zunyou Zhou, a Germany-based Chinese scholar. In a paper published in the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence in 2017, he noted that the Chinese CVE strategy is based on multiple approaches and, interestingly, that they consulted Western CVE and deradicalisation approaches extensively and then built their own, more muscular model. The approaches include ‘five keys’, ‘four prongs’, ‘three contingents’, ‘two hands’ and ‘one rule’. Viewed together, these approaches point to legal, religious, cultural, ideological, and scientific aspects of the deradicalisation effort, implemented by governmental agencies, public institutions and non-governmental organisations in the region.

The Xinjiang government has developed several programmes to target different groups of people, including those who are ‘radicalised’ as well as those who are not but considered vulnerable to recruitment. The ‘five keys’ — ideological, cultural, customary, religious and legal — give a long-sustaining solution to terrorism. The ‘four prongs’ refer to a combination of four methods: ‘squeezing by correct faith’; ‘counteracting by culture’; ‘controlling by law’; and ‘popularising science’. ‘Squeezing by correct faith’ refers to clarifying people’s understanding of Islam while ‘counteracting by culture’ means seeking effective and practical solutions to thwart extremism and guiding people towards secularisation and modernisation. The ‘three contingents’ refer to the policy of reinforcing three main groups of people the government can count on to maintain stability and security. The ‘two hands’ refer to the one ‘firm hand’ that cracks down on terrorists, and the other ‘firm hand’ that educates and guides Uighur people, and the ‘one rule’ means the policy of ruling Xinjiang according to the law.

The author also provides historical background on the evolution of the Chinese CVE strategy and mentions that it materialised in a policy document entitled Several Guiding Opinions on Further Suppressing Illegal Religious Activities and Combating the Infiltration of Religious Extremism in Accordance with Law, issued by Xinjiang’s CCP Committee in May 2013. The policy document was also referred to as ‘No. 11 Document’, and described the borders between ethnic customs, normal religious practices and extremist manifestations.

For the CVE strategy’s smooth implementation, the Xinjiang authorities have introduced new legal regimes, and the latest amendment (titled ‘Regulation on Anti-Extremism’) was introduced in April 2017 to ban a wide range of extremist behaviours. Under the new legal framework, authorities have launched many programmes including deradicalisation for prisoners, and social programmes for those who have engaged in terrorism or extremism but do not deserve criminal punishment.

The re-education camps — or ‘rehabilitation centres’ — have been created as a part of China’s social programming. These centres run through civil society groups in Xinjiang or through ‘Fang Hui Ju’ working groups, dispatched by the regional government, comprising practitioners tasked with winning the hearts and minds of the people.

For CVE practitioners, the Chinese model may have a lot of substance to learn from. But the Uighur problem is more complex than religious extremism, as it has added dimensions of ethnic, cultural and political rights. For Pakistan, the Chinese CVE model offers nothing to learn from except to find a way of resolving the issue of Pakistani citizens’ spouses held in these camps.



November event that sparked protests in Pakistan was scrapped over security concerns, says far-right Dutch politician


Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan protesters vow to blockade the city unless Dutch ties are cut over cartoon competition.



Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan's (TLP) is holding a "decisive march" from Lahore to Islamabad against Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders' announcement to hold a competition of blasphemous caricatures.
The TLP earlier announced that it will "stay on the streets until either the publication of blasphemous cartoons in the Netherlands end or the govt immediately ends diplomatic ties with the Dutch".

Comprising hundreds of supporters of the religiopolitical party, the rally started its journey on Wednesday and is now nearing Islamabad. 8pm update: The rally made a stop in Gujar Khan where TLP Chief Khadim Rizvi addressed the participants of the rally.  Earlier, the rally made a pit stop at Sohawa to offer Maghrib prayers before resuming their journey. Commuters are experiencing heavy traffic jams on routes leading to Islamabad because of the march.

Road accident claims two lives
Two people were killed and four injured when a trailer accompanying the long march participants experienced a brake failure which resulted in two containers crashing into one another, according to police.   The injured were shifted to THQ Sohawa hospital where the condition of one injured was said to be critical.

Security, administrative arrangements in twin cities
The capital administration has brought in containers to secure the red zone before the protesters reach there.  According to a notification issued by the Islamabad Capital Territory's (ICT) police chief, force will not be used against the participants of the march, as per directives issued by the interior ministry and Islamabad chief commissioner.
The ICT police had requested 2,000 Frontier Corps (FC) personnel but so far only 700 have arrived to assist them.  The capital police have also requested 1,000 Rangers officials for their aid in case of a security crisis. According to DawnNewsTVsources, the capital police, following a meeting of its officials, also issued the directives to not let the rally enter the red zone.  Hospitals in Rawalpindi have been put on high alert by the district administration, whereas obstacles in their route have also been removed.

US Embassy says
The US Embassy has issued an alert for its employees, giving them August 30 (today) and August 31 (tomorrow) off "in anticipation" of the TLP protest.  "In anticipation of protests in Islamabad, locally employed US government personnel have been authorised to take liberal leave August 30 and August 31," the embassy's alert said.  The embassy has also advised its employees to keep a low profile, avoid the areas of demonstration and Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests and monitor the media for updates.

TLP withdraws countrywide protest call
The TLP had earlier given the call of a countrywide protest at 4pm. However, it later retracted the call, with its spokesperson Pir Ijaz Ashrafi explaining: "The protest call was given because our way to Jhelum was blocked but since it was cleared, the call has been cancelled."  He, however, warned that "the option of countrywide protests can still be used if obstacles are created anywhere on their route."   Ashrafi clarified that the party has not said no to negotiations with the government. "The negotiations have been underway since yesterday but they have not yet been successful," he said.  Ashrafi advised the federal government to "talk to TLP as the spokesperson of the Muslims".  "[Right now] the government is talking to us as if it is the spokesperson of the Netherlands," he added.      The religiopolitical party had attained notoriety after it effectively disrupted daily life in Islamabad for 20 days in November 2017. The PML-N government at the time had initiated several rounds of negotiations with the protesters, but failed each time. Under pressure, it had finally launched an operation to disperse the protesters, leaving at least six people killed and scores others injured.

TLP launches 'march' on Islamabad
TLP activists had kicked off the march on Wednesday afternoon after initially gathering at Lahore's Data Darbar. Reciting na`at and chanting religious slogans, the group crossed Kala Shah Kaku on the G.T. Road by midnight. Upon its arrival in Kamoke — some 25km from Gujranwala — the Khadim Hussain Rizvi-led rally was given a welcome by its supporters. 

 Police await govt directives to deal with TLP protest
The TLP workers spent the night in Gujrat and are expected to reach Islamabad capital Thursday night or Friday morning, Dawn reported.   TLP spokesman Pir Zubair Ahmad  told Dawn that over 100 buses, “countless” cars and pickup vans joined the march. "The protesters, who are now in thousands, would grow in numbers on the way to destination as many workers and smaller rallies were waiting on the Grand Trunk Road to join the main march throughout the 200-kilometre long journey."   Not revealing the whole plan, Ahmad said, “Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi is leading the march. The entire central executive body is also in the march and so are all leading names of the TLP. They will jointly announce the next plan once we hit the federal capital.”

PM forms committee to resolve matter
Following the rally's departure for Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan formed a four-member committee to resolve the matter.  Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq, the Punjab Law Minister Raja and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry comprise the committee, which is scheduled to meet the TLP leaders tomorrow.  "The committee will brief the TLP leaders on measures against blasphemous caricatures," said Qadri.  "The emotions of all Muslims against blasphemous caricatures are the same," Chaudhry, the information minister added. "A joint front is imperative against blasphemy."   He added: "We are trying to devise a joint strategy so that this issue can be dealt with effectively. We desire a peaceful resolution of this matter by the way of negotiations."   The religiopolitical party, meanwhile, has announced that its workers would "stay on the streets until either the publication of blasphemous cartoons in the Netherlands is stopped or the govt immediately ends diplomatic ties with the Dutch".  The blasphemous cartoon contest, scheduled for November, is being organised in the Netherlands by Wilders — a right-wing anti-Islam lawmaker who has been widely criticised for his activities. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has distanced his government from the controversial contest, clarifying that: "Wilders is not a member of the [Dutch] government. The competition is not a government initiative."

FM Qureshi discusses issue of 'blasphemous caricatures' with Dutch counterpart In a tweet on Wednesday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that FM Qureshi spoke with his Dutch counterpart to discuss the issue of "blasphemous caricatures".  "The FM expressed concern on the announcement of [the] abominable and sacrilegious competition by Geert Wilders," read the tweet, adding that the Dutch FM made it clear that his government was neither associated nor supporting the event.   FM spoke with the Dutch FM on  phone  to discuss the issue of blasphemous expressed concern on the announcement of abominable and sacrilegious competition by Greet Wilders.The Dutch FM said that hisgovernment was neither associated nor supporting the event

First round of negotiations with TLP
The demand for the envoy's expulsion was made during the first round of talks between TLP's top leadership and the government in Lahore.  Qadri and Basharat had represented the government in the meeting, while Muhammad Afzal Qadri, Allama Waheed Noor and Dr Amini from the TLP were also present.  Earlier, the religiopolitical party had urged the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government to not only "discontinue diplomatic and commercial relations with the Netherlands" but also "demand from other Islamic countries to do the same".   The TLP had also demanded that since the said competition's judge is an American national, "therefore, strict measures should also be taken against the US".

TLP's Faizabad stint
The religiopolitical party had attained notoriety after it effectively disrupted daily life in Islamabad for 20 days in November 2017. Protesters had occupied the Faizabad Interchange which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road, both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities.  The agitators had believed that during the passage of Elections Act 2017, the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath was deliberately modified as part of a larger conspiracy. The amendment to the oath had been deemed a 'clerical error' by the government and was subsequently rectified through an Act of Parliament.  

Nonetheless, TLP had demanded the resignation of key government figures for their role in the 'conspiracy'.   The PML-N government at the time had initiated several rounds of negotiations with the protesters, but failed each time. Under pressure, it had finally launched an operation to disperse the protesters, leaving at least six people killed and scores others injured.  
After the botched operation, the government had decided to call in the army for help. However, the army had refused to take action, and the government had turned to negotiations with the protesters and then capitulated by conceding to a number of their demands in return for an end to the protest.

German anti-fascists are asking for support and international protest around events in Chemnitz.  On 27/28 August, in scenes reminiscent of the 1991 pogroms in Rostock and Hoyerswerda, police in the east German state of Saxony all but lost control of the streets to the far Right in the former industrial city of Chemnitz, once a Communist stronghold. Far-right protests against immigrants and crime quickly turned into anti-foreigner riots, with many describing the current situation in Chemnitz, where the electoral far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is strong, as a pre-pogrom situation. As concerns mount that sections of Saxony’s police force are colluding with the far Right, Germany’s well-organised anti-fascist committees are mobilising. They are asking politicians, NGOs, anti-fascist committees and all concerned individuals in the UK to closely follow events in Chemnitz and, if possible, write to top state officials and the police in Saxony, as well as the federal interior minister, demanding action. As Ulli Jentsch, from the Anti-Fascist Press Archive (Apabiz) in Berlin, told IRR News: ‘Many thousands of anti-fascists and democrats have stood up against the Nazis in Chemnitz. They are in real danger in the days, and weeks to come, as the police, even if they wanted to, are unable to protect everyone. Every report from abroad is helpful.’

Chain of events
An English-language timeline of the violence in Chemnitz, can be found on the website of the newspaper Deutsche Welle and an even more complete version of events will be published on the websites of Apabiz and NSU Watch in the days to come. To summarise, the far Right started to mobilise after a fight at a local town festival on 23 August left a Cuban-German man, named only as Daniel H.,  dead from knife wounds and several others injured, with an arrest warrant issued for two men – one Syrian, one Iraqi. The first far-right mobilisation came after an online call from neo-nazis and  a local far-Right football hooligan association, Kaotic. Taking advantage of the tragic events during the street fight, they claimed that a German man had been stabbed to death because he was protecting women and that a second man had been killed. Let’s show the people ‘who is in the driver’s seat in the city’ they  boasted  on social media. The next day, 25 August,  the far-right anti-Muslim organisation Pro Chemnitz organised an official demonstration, with an estimated 8,000  far-right supporters met by 1,500 counter-protesters. During this demonstration, far-right groups broke into smaller mobs, with many masked men hunting down foreigners, with some shouting ‘For every dead German, a dead foreigner’ and making the Hitler salute. Security experts say there is evidence that the rioters had been mobilised from different groups around the country and probably elsewhere in Europe.

Criticisms of police grow
Initially, the police responded to allegations that they were unprepared for dealing with the violence because of cuts in police staff numbers, by stressing that although only 591 police officers were mobilised they had responded magnificently in the face of far-right violence and leftwing counter-protests. But their claims were quickly rebuked by Saxony’s Office for Protection of the Constitution which said that they had warned the police in advance that large numbers of extremists from across Germany, as well as football hooligans and martial arts fanatics with a known far right background, were expected in the city in the ‘low to medium four-figure realm’.

Then, on 29 August, the scandal involving police inaction escalated. The authorities announced that a judicial investigation for official secrets violations had been opened because the arrest warrant for the Iraqi man wanted in connection with Daniel H.’s murder had been leaked to the far Right  and tweeted by Lutz Bachmann, the founding member of Pegida. The photograph quickly circulated online via a WhatsApp group of the far-right movement Pro Chemnitz, which originally called the demonstration.

Saxony – a neo-Nazi stronghold
The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) has always had a base in Saxony and it was in another Saxon city, Zwickau, close to the Czech border, that the terrorist cell, responsible for ten murders, the National Socialist Underground first went underground in the 1990s. The far-right movement Pegida began in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, and it was in Dresden, too, that the Egyptian pharmacist Marwa El Sherbini, who was three months pregnant, was murdered in 2009 by a neo-Nazi in a courtroom.

Police officers in Saxony are largely drawn from a region of the former GDR that, until recently, was largely white and monocultural and there has long been concern that sections of the police have been colluding with fascists. After the NSU case, in 2017, more allegations of police collusion emerged during the trial of ‘The Freital Group’, an anti-migrant vigilante and terror group linked to a number of attacks on refugee accommodation, leftwing centres and politicians. Amid disquiet about soft-peddling from the local prosecutor’s office and allegations that the Saxony police not only knew about the group but failed to intervene, it emerged that at least one police officer tipped off its members about police operations. A federal prosecutor was called in to take over the investigation .

While institutional racism in the police has never been formally acknowledged in Germany, the signs are that Chancellor Merkel, who has indicated that she wants more involvement of the federal police in Saxony, recognises that Saxony’s police force is in urgent need of reform. But when will she take action, and what will happen in the meantime? Pegida have called yet another demonstration for the first weekend of September.  Ulli Jentsch implores us to ‘Ask questions of the police, ask questions of the government of Saxony. Ask them what they will do to stop this racist outrage and protect foreigners and refugees in this country.’

My thanks to Heike Kleffner for her help in preparing this article

Please register your protests to the  following: 
Roland Wöller, Minister of the Interior for the State of Saxony

Sächsisches Staatsministerium des Innern

Wilhelm-Buck-Straße 2-4

01097 Dresden


Petric Kleine,

President, State Office of Criminal Investigation, Saxony

Landeskriminalamt Sachsen


Ralph Schreiber

Government spokesperson for the State of Saxony

Archivstraße 1

01097 Dresden


Horst Seehofer, Federal Minister of the Interior

Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat

Alt-Moabit 140

10557 Berlin

Tel: +49 3018681-0

Fax: +49 3018681-12926


The $430m Statue of Unity is being seen as PM Narendra Modi's bid to undermine rivals in Nehru-Gandhi family.
Zeenat Saberin[/url]



Al Jazeera speaks to Neyaz Farooquee on his book, An Ordinary Man's Guide to Radicalism: Growing up Muslim in India.
Nehal Ahmed

Muslims, who make up about 170 million of India's 1.3 billion population, have faced attacks since Modi came to power in 2014 Pawan Sharma/The Associated Press New Delhi, India -

Since 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, tensions between Muslims and Hindus have increased in large parts of the country.    Muslims, who make up about 170 million of India's 1.3 billion population, have faced attacks after being accused of eating beef or killing cows, an animal considered sacred in Hinduism.  Modi's rise has further pushed Muslims towards marginalisation, leading many to suggest the community should withdraw from politics.

According to some, the perception of Muslim is restricted to wearing skull cap, praying five times a day and so on and so forth.

The political situation in the country and increased anti-Muslim prejudice forced Neyaz Farooquee, a young Muslim scholar and journalist, to write his first book, An Ordinary Man's Guide to Radicalism: Growing up Muslim in India. The memoir, Farooquee says, tries to clear the many myths and stereotypes about Muslims in India and highlights the diversity within the community and their lived  reality.   Incidents - like the demolition of the medieval-era Babri mosque in 1992 by Hindu nationalist mobs and the 2008 police encounter in a Muslim ghetto in India's capital, New Delhi - that the book mentions has changed the relations of Muslims with the Indian state.

The demolition of Babri mosque - a watershed event that mainstreamed India's Hindu far-right groups - deeply affected the psyche of Indian Muslims leading to their distrust of the state institutions.

The memoir, Farooquee says, tries to clear the many myths and stereotypes about the community[Al Jazeera]

Published exactly 10 years after the 2008 New Delhi encounter, this work provides its readers with a transparent view of the making and unmaking of the controversial encounter, after which the generalisation of Muslims of the area as "terrorists" or "terrorist sympathisers" continues to haunt them.  The memoir evocatively depicts the atmosphere he grew up in, in a remote village in eastern Bihar state. His grandfather taught him about writings of Kabir, Allama Iqbal, Amir Khusru, Guru Nanak, Chanakya and many more, highlighting the plurality of knowledge sources.

Not In My Name: Indians protest attacks on Muslims

"At 20, you don't understand the complexities of identity and citizenship. The work in a way focuses on how the 2008 encounter shook my trust in the state. I am sure it's true for many people in the locality," Farooquee told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera spoke to author Farooquee in New Delhi.

Al Jazeera: What is it like growing up as a Muslim in India?

Neyaz Farooquee: It bogs down young Muslims like us - where to draw a line between the assertion of your identity and defence of your identity.

Al Jazeera: Why do you think Muslims are under attack from Hindu far-right groups?

Farooquee: Anti-Muslim bigotry has been normalised in the democratic process of the country under Modi. It is an attack on the Constitution, not merely on the Muslim community. Muslims are not asking any special favour, they are merely asking what is provided by the Constitution.

Hindutva (the Hindu supremacist ideology professed by the ruling party) needs an enemy to survive, and hence, Muslims are their prime enemy.

Al Jazeera: What do you mean by the word "radical" as you mentioned in your book?
So, my point is that if you are going to call me a radical, I will also call myself a radical - now go and deal with it, because I am tired of explaining my innocence and proclaiming patriotism.  But that was an angry reaction.

Muslims are usually slapped with terms like 'anti-national', 'Pakistani', 'terrorist', which I have rebutted in my book

On one level, I am trying to warn that if you ghettoise people, it will create a homogenous set of ideas and mindset. And this is true for every form of ghetto, be it of disadvantaged sections like Muslims and Dalits or of dominant castes like Brahmins. That's not healthy for any society, that's a warning sign.  On another level, the title is more of a satirical take on the understanding of Muslims by society at large

Al Jazeera: You have mentioned demolition of the Babri Mosque and controversial Batla House encounter. Why did you choose to talk about these two incidents?

As a byproduct of the incident, a few positives things came out, too. Enrolment rate of Muslims improved, they started demanding their rights, and began to question their leaders. It was in some sense politicisation of the community, which became aware of its place in the society.

What is behind India's epidemic of 'mob lynching'?

When the Babri mosque was demolished, we were too young to understand what was going on. Cases like the shoot-out in my locality, on a personal level, were a big reason for my politicisation, and I am sure it's true for a lot of Muslims.

Al Jazeera: You refer to Jamia Nagar, a sprawling ghetto of Muslims in New Delhi, as "The Hideout". Please elaborate.

I came to Jamia Nagar in 1997 and saw this place growing up with me. The Gujarat riot of 2002 brought demographic change in this area. Earlier, Jamia Nagar was full of lower middle class and was a populated with small-scale industries, but 2002 compelled the affluent Muslims, who lived in mixed colonies in other parts of Delhi to shift to the area, strengthening the ghettoisation process. It completed what had started after the Babri mosque's demolition in 1992.

Al Jazeera: How have the last four years of Narendra Modi government been for minorities?


Muslims are stereotyped as a dirty, uneducated, violent mass of people

The saddest part is that the marginalisation of Muslims is happening through the democratic processes - the Modi-led lower house of the parliament has the least number of Muslim MPs since independence, and there is not a single Muslim representative from Uttar Pradesh, where the largest number of Muslims live. Democracy was not supposed to alienate, it was supposed to empower every individual.

It's not news any more that Muslims are being pushed to the margins. Even big Bollywood stars such as Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan are
 attacked and trolled and dubbed anti-development after they question bigotry.

Al Jazeera: How do you think your book will help in dispelling myths and stereotypes about the Muslim community?

Farooquee: Though the book is about my experience, many Muslim youths will be able to connect with it. I have got feedback from many young readers and almost all of them said they could see themselves in my story.

As a Muslim, my upbringing was influenced by Kabir, Chanakya, Guru Nanak, Prophet Muhammad, Ram, Iqbal and so on. But according to some, the idea and perception of Muslims are restricted to wearing a skull cap, praying five times a day and so on and so forth.

In reality, Muslim children are taught "Sare Jahan se Acha" (The Most Beautiful Place on the Earth is India), "Is khaak se uthe hai is khaak me mileng" (Have Risen From This Soil, Will Mingle in This Soil[written in Urdu language], but society does not recognise it, or is hardly aware of it. Muslims are usually slapped with terms like "anti-national", "Pakistani", "terrorist", which I have rebutted in my book.

Al Jazeera: What is the message in your book?

Farooquee: Muslims are not seen as normal people who are in search of livelihood, education and dignity like millions of other Indians. They are stereotyped as a dirty, uneducated, violent mass of people. The whole point of the book is to treat an individual as an individual. Muslims are not playing victim, they are the victim.

I hope readers will empathise with the arguments that am making in the book.

Kevin Barrett

Republic of Islamophobia by James Wolfreys; Pub: Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2018, 208 pages

Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.” That idealistic slogan hyping freedom and inclusiveness is the official motto of two modern nations, France and Haiti (the latter, ironically, was born in a slave revolt against the former).
Despite the persistence of their national motto, French people today are growing increasingly unfree, unequal, and ungiven to brotherly love. According to Jim Wolfreys, a Senior Lecturer on European Politics at Kings College London, the French drift away from freedom and equality has produced a sick society infected by an ever more widespread, ever more normalized, ever more delusional racist scapegoating of Muslims.

In Republic of Islamophobia, Wolfreys traces the French anti-Islam insanity epidemic from its colonial past to the endless “war on terror” that has reshaped history since September 11, 2001. Wolfreys correctly points out that the French war on terror “predates 9/11. Its origins go back to the Republic’s colonial mission, whose tropes and reflexes were revived in the early-1990s as the Algerian civil war spilled over into France, leading to an intensification of state security provisions and, as Paul Silverstein notes, ‘the interpellation… of Franco-Maghrebis as ‘Muslims,’ a hailing that has been abetted by the larger public drama around the hijab’” (p. 2).

One of the limitations of Wolfreys’ book, like so many others from professors and “respectable” publishers, is its willingness to heap scorn on some lies while seemingly protecting others from scrutiny. First let’s consider the Islamophobic myths that Wolfreys is willing to expose:

• The pretext that France’s 2004 law prohibiting religious attire in public is religiously neutral, when in fact it is nothing more than a symptom and weapon of Islamophobia.

• The claim, repeated in high school textbooks, that France’s vaunted tradition of laicité (secularism) has always been about preventing religious expression in public, when in fact the opposite is true, “the 1905 law, so frequently cited today in support of the new secularism, meant more, not less, freedom of expression” (p. 92). As Wolfreys explains, the whole purpose of the 1905 secularism law was to nullify the French government’s residual de facto recognition of Catholicism as France’s official religion, thereby allowing Protestants, Muslims, Jews, non-religious people, and other minorities the right of full and complete expression of their religious views, affiliations, and identities in the public square. That right, granted in 1905 and respected until the anti-hijab law of 2004, is now a dead letter.

• The claim by Islamophobes that Muslims spilling over into the street during Friday prayers is equivalent to the Nazi invasion and occupation of France, even though such spillovers happen in only a very few of the 2,300 masjids in France due to French government’s hindrance of much-needed construction of new masjids (by comparison, France has 36,000 Catholic churches, maintained at government expense despite being largely devoid of worshippers).

• The pretense that French Islamophobia is not racist because it provides a legitimate critique of religion, when in reality it is used indiscriminately against people from North and Sub-Saharan Africa regardless of their degree of religiosity (in racist newspeak “Muslim” often translates as “brown-skinned immigrant”).

• The myth that the new wave of “populist” racism is a spontaneous phenomenon emerging naturally from white working communities, when in fact it is the strange fruit of an orchestrated public relations campaign led by elites, who inflict racist brainwashing on workers to conceal neoliberalism’s destruction of the working class and to legitimize Zionism’s crimes.

• The false assertion that white workers become racists because they are in close contact with immigrants, when in fact studies show that this is not the case. The truth is that voters for the Islamophobic National Front tend to be not white workers who live and work with immigrants, but rather those who are unemployed, homeless, or otherwise economically stressed.

Wolfreys is to be commended for exposing the fact that the tidal wave of Islamophobic racism washing over France is the product of a toxic neoliberal-Zionist publicity campaign. But he fails to confront the most sordid details of that campaign — details that would, if exposed, cause the whole campaign to implode.

I am referring, of course, to Islamophobia-inciting false flag operations, notably those of September 11, 2001, and the French follow-up operations of January 7 and November 13, 2015. No student of Islamophobia can fail to be aware of the magisterial work of 9/11 scholar David Ray Griffin, whose series of 13 books on the subject definitively exposes the neoconservative coup d’état that unleashed the Islamophobic demon. Likewise, no serious student of Islamophobia in France should be ignorant of the facts discussed in my two edited books We Are NOT Charlie Hebdo and ANOTHER French False Flag — facts which taken together show that the French government and mainstream media are lying outrageously about the terror events of 2015, which appear to have been 9/11-style false flags à la française.

Wolfreys, a gainfully-employed university lecturer, apparently knows that looking at such facts with honesty and accuracy would likely destroy his career; so he begins his book with the following sentences, “Something was out of kilter. Fifty world leaders had gathered on 11 January 2015 to commemorate the journalists killed in the Charlie Hebdo offices on 7 January and the police officer and shoppers murdered at a kosher supermarket over the following two days.”

Something was, of course, out of kilter; but so is Wolfreys’ opening. First, he mistakenly tells us that the police officer killed during this period died at the kosher supermarket, where he and shoppers were murdered “over the following two days.” In fact the kosher supermarket hostage-taking and shooting incident did not transpire “over two days.” It happened on a single day, January 9. And no police officer was killed there. Yes, one police officer was allegedly killed by kosher supermarket shooter Coulibalay on the previous day, January 8. But this is not the “policeman shooting” that everyone remembers.

Wolfreys completely erases from history the celebrated “policeman shooting” that proves the official story of the Charlie Hebdo event is fraudulent: the alleged shooting of Ahmed Merabet, captured on video — apparently by a pre-positioned Israeli surveillance team — as alleged Charlie Hebdo shooters Saïd and Chérif Kouachi fled the magazine offices after the massacre.

Wikipedia, whose accounts of sensitive topics are controlled by professional propagandists, describe this “shooting” as follows, “An authenticated video surfaced on the internet that shows two gunmen and a police officer, Ahmed Merabet, who is wounded and lying on a sidewalk after an exchange of gunfire. This took place near the corner of Boulevard Richard-Lenoir and Rue Moufle, 180 metres (590 ft) east of the main crime scene. One of the gunmen ran towards the policeman and shouted, ‘Did you want to kill us?’ The policeman answered, ‘No, it’s fine, boss’, and raised his hand toward the gunman, who then gave the policeman a fatal shot to the head at close range.”

The actual video may be viewed here. It clearly shows that no such “fatal shot to the head at close range” was fired. Instead, the “gunman” fires a blank round, consisting of paper or cotton, that impacts on the sidewalk approximately one meter from the head of the “victim.” Had the victim actually been shot with an AK47 from close range, his head would have exploded into pink mist. Yet the “fatal shot” has no impact whatsoever on the victim’s head! Instead, it can be seen raising a small cloud of dust on the sidewalk a meter away from the head — not the massive and hazardous cratering of concrete shrapnel a real bullet would have triggered — showing that it was merely a blank round.

Clearly this “escape scene” was play-acted and filmed for propaganda purposes. French investigative journalist Hicham Hamza has traced the provenance of the leaked video — like the leaked “blood heart” photo of the victims of the 13/11/15 Bataclan nightclub shooting, and the 14/7/16 “truck attack” footage from Nice — to Israel, whose bloody fingerprints are all over these and dozens of other “Islamic terror” public relations stunts.

Why won’t Wolfreys and other mainstream academicians and journalists report these and so many other similarly damning facts? The sad answer was given a century ago by Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

By succumbing to Sinclair’s dilemma, Wolfreys limits the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and relevance of his otherwise solid analysis of French Islamophobia.



If Tariq Ramadan can not get due process, then there is no hope for other Muslims living in France. The case of Professor Tariq Ramadan, who faces rape charges in France, ceased to be a normal case several months ago. The dire treatment of Ramadan has led to an outpouring of support for the accused. Whether it’s because of the lack of due process, the absence of an impartial judicial framework, the skewed media coverage led by the same French media and cultural ‘icons’ who spearheaded smear campaigns against Ramadan over the past two decades, and above all the inhumane treatment – there is every reason to believe now that the case against Ramadan is politically motivated.

From the outset, a string of judicial irregularities occurred including: the complete isolation of Ramadan during the first 45 days of detention without even granting him access to family members; denying him access to his own court records; denying him the right of a presumption of innocence; the court's failure to provide him with appropriate medical treatment as he suffers from multiple-sclerosis according to several medical reports, including that of the prison’s chief-doctor, and the judges’ refusal to question the credibility of the plaintiffs’ shaky version of events.

The first plaintiff‘s case (Henda Ayari) is a flagrant example since she changed her version of the alleged events twice and failed to provide an exact date and place of the alleged rape. In the second case, the plaintiff Paule-Emma A. (designated as Christelle) hasn’t been able to prove any of her allegationsagainst Tariq Ramadan. As for the third case, Mounia Rabbouj, the court dropped the charges against Ramadan after the plaintiff failed to provide credible evidence. 

To make matters worse, the French court continues to dismiss all requests for bail submitted by Ramadan's lawyer, under the pretext that he could either flee abroad or put pressure on plaintiffs and witnesses. These factors cast serious doubt on the credibility of the investigation and the impartiality of the judges in charge of the case. This begs the question, if this is not an attempt of political assassination conducted by the French intelligentsia, judiciary and the state against Ramadan, what could it be then?
Another equally important question is: why Tariq Ramadan? And who stands to benefit from keeping him in detention and thus silencing him?

Why Tariq Ramadan?
Ramadan represents a school of intellectual thought that challenges and dismantles the anti-Islam discourse propagated by the Islamophobic French elite. One of the key characteristics of Ramadan's doctrine is to encourage French and European Muslims to act as full citizens, to question their governments on socioeconomic policies, to refuse injustice and discrimination, and to demand social equality. He also calls on governments to pursue policies of social equality and adopt anti-discrimination laws.

In his book, “Islamic Ethics: A Very Short Introduction”, Ramadan highlights the need to initiate interfaith and intercultural dialogues with regard to common moral values in order to question the role of religion, the state and economy in dealing with issues surrounding social and economic inequality. With the exception of a few fine minds like the prominent French sociologist Edgar Morin or the writer Alain Gresh, French media and the intellectual corpus oscillated between ignoring Ramadan, to publicly questioning his role as a Muslim in the public sphere.  

Those who benefit from keeping Ramadan in detention
For almost two decades now, a number of French politicians and media pundits have tried to undermine Ramadan's discourse by accusing him of ambiguity, demagoguery, doublespeak and anti-Semitism. They have strived to keep his intellectual contribution to the public debate in France limited to only matters pertaining Islam.  

Framed as the ‘Muslim intellectual’ by most French media outlets, the aim being not only to alienate his French audience but also to distort Ramadan’s image and weaken his intellectual credibility and narrative. Apart from the French far right party (Le Front National), which upholds racist and Islamophobic views, the overwhelming majority of those who systematically oppose Ramadan’s ideas, and who regularly carry out smear campaigns against him whenever he takes a stand for the rights of France’s discriminated Muslim citizens or condemn Israeli crimes against Palestinians, happen to be close to pro-Israel circles in France.

They include figures such as Bernard-Henri Levy, Alain Finkielkraut, Eric Zemmour, Frederic Encel, Gilles Kepel, Jean-Pierre Elkabache and many others. Some, like the journalist Caroline Fourest, who for years has been leading a smear campaign against Ramadan, are directly involved in the case against him. Since the beginning of the affair, she has been actively promoting the plaintiffs’ version of events on media platforms.

Another media pundit who played a key role, among others, in demonising Ramadan is the French-Israeli paparazzi journalist Jean-Claude ElFassi who closely collaborates with the French magazine l’Express. He went so far as to threaten the third plaintiff’s brother in the event he provides to the court exculpatory elements in favour of Tariq Ramadan.

It is worth pointing out here that l’Express is among the most widely circulated publications and is owned by French-Israeli Patrick Drahi, also the owner of a media empire, including the Israeli TV channel “i24”, French newspaper “Liberation”, “RMC” radio and “BFM” TV channel. These outlets have relentlessly been promoting the plaintiffs’ allegations and attacking Ramadan.

Accordingly, keeping Ramadan in detention, and therefore silencing him, is serving the very interests of those who for years struggled to shut him out and discredit his reputation among his audience. The reason being; during countless debates, media encounters and interviews, Ramadan was cleverly able to expose their hypocrisy and double standards towards France’s Muslim citizens and the Palestinian cause.

Therefore, Ramadan’s absence allows them to have a free reign to spew their Islamophobic, racist and anti-Palestinian narratives, since Ramadan is almost the only intellectual who dares questioning and dismantling their lies and propaganda. However, the way Ramadan’s case has been handled – or rather mishandled- by the French judiciary will likely have serious consequences for the justice system in France. By embracing, or being influenced by, the anti-Ramadan narrative propagated by the anti-Ramadan lobby, French justice risks losing its credibility.

Ramadan’s case proved that the principle of impartiality, intrinsic to any judicial institution, is at stake in France today due to attempts to politicise the justice system or allowing political considerations to override the need to uphold justice.  This might result in a loss of confidence in how the French justice system operates, in the short, medium and long term, especially among French citizens of Muslim faith. 
Muslims will no doubt wonder, if justice can be withheld for someone so high profile as Tariq Ramadan, what chance do they have?

Is France aware that the case against Ramadan may result in a serious social crisis as a segment of French society, already facing discrimination, may feel that even the justice team may one day work against them. Many could not help but compare Ramadan’s case with that of the two ministers Darmanin and Hulot, both accused of sexual assault and yet remained in office.

Going forward the serious lack of due process in Ramadan’s case opens the door to a dangerous era in French history. In a so-called free democracy, which France prides itself on, the justice system has began to appear flawed and politicised. The court of well funded media campaigns trumps the court of law. A dangerous precedent with far reaching consequences.

Will France be able to put an end to this farce that has become Ramadan’s case? 
The answer to this question depends almost exclusively on the political mindset that runs France today, and that does not seem to be aware of the disastrous long-term social consequences that this affair might leave behind. 


The authorities in France are coming under international pressure over their treatment of Muslim academic and philosopher Tariq Ramadan who is being held in custody pending investigations into a series of allegations pertaining to sexual misconduct. Scores of internationally respected public figures have joined the growing calls for justice for Ramadan, who they fear is being denied fair treatment simply because he is a Muslim. The Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford vehemently denies all of the allegations.

Ramadan, a vocal supporter of Palestinian rights, is the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna who in 1928 founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He was born in Switzerland in 1962 after his father, a prominent figure in the movement, was exiled by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Could the demonisation of the Brotherhood by allies of France in the Middle East be the reason for the treatment of Tariq Ramadan, or his support for Palestine?

Whatever it might be, the growing campaign in his support asks a simple question: Is there one form of justice for Muslims in France and another for everyone else? The French authorities are being pressed to grant Ramadan his most basic human and civil rights by campaigners, who were boosted this week by a new group of signatories including Professor Noam Chomsky, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Malian Minister Aminata Traoré, historian Joan W Scott, Leila Ahmed of Harvard University, journalist and essayist Michel Warshawski, and, from Switzerland, Jean Ziegler, vice-chairman of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Read: Brother of Tariq Ramadan ‘forced to leave’ France

They are demanding Ramadan’s right to the presumption of innocence, a fair and equitable judicial procedure, and to fair treatment by the French justice system which has treated those accused of near identical crimes in a very different manner. The appeal also emphasises the fact that besides the isolation he has endured for months, Professor Ramadan also suffers from multiple sclerosis and neurological complications for which he continues to be denied appropriate medical treatment.

Just last week, protesters demonstrated outside French embassies around the world calling for his immediate release from prison and his right to due process. There is a growing opinion that Ramadan’s treatment stems largely from the fact that he is a Muslim holding a number of high profile academic positions: he is, for example, a visiting professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar and the Université Mundiapolis in Morocco, as well as a senior research fellow at Doshisha University in Japan. He is also the director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), based in Doha.

Ramadan stands accused of rape by a group of women who came forward at the height of the global #MeToo scandal and has already undergone a public trial by elements of the Islamophobic French media who can’t even get the Swiss-born academic’s nationality right. While most of the Western world view the academic consistently as a liberal scholar — his books back this up — the French authorities and some local journalists seem to think that they’ve captured a Bin Laden-type figure.

The fact that Ramadan flew to France voluntarily and went to the authorities himself is being overlooked in the stampede to vilify him. That was five months ago and his lawyers point out that he is still being denied access to his full legal file. The much-lauded French health sector is failing in its treatment of his multiple sclerosis, they add.

Read: France’s destabilising role in the Middle East

All of this is a far cry from France’s proud boast of being the home of liberté, égalité and fraternité, which might explain why so many leading figures from the world of politics, media, arts and academia have come together to sign an open letter pointing out French double standards over the handling of the Ramadan case.

Defenders of Due Process for Tariq Ramadan (DDPTR) ask for nothing more than justice and fairness for the academic. Nobody is asking for special treatment, favours or bending of the rules for him; nor are they sitting in judgment of his guilt or innocence. I know, because I have also signed up to the campaign, as have people like Ken Loach, Amina Wadud, Professor Emad El-Din Shahin, Dr Sami Al-Arian, Karen Armstrong, Professor Stephen Chan, Hamza Yusuf, Professor Richard Falk and Dr Norman Finkelstein. We all feel that justice is neither being served nor acted upon.

None of us is arrogant enough to assume a magisterial role or usurp the position of the French judiciary, but in the preliminary process for any trial the defendant must surely have their human rights acknowledged and recognised. It is not unreasonable to think that a country still haunted by the vile “justice” of the Algerian Casbah would want to uphold the highest standards of humanity and legal due process.

The reality is that Ramadan’s treatment is very different to that of non-Muslim men facing similar charges. The evidence of this is clear for all to see. Minister of Public Action and Accounts Gérald Darmanin, for example, and Minister for Ecology and Solidarity Transition Nicolas Hulot are the subjects of early investigations into rape and sexual assault allegations by more than one woman. Unlike Ramadan, these two were interviewed briefly and then allowed back into the workplace where they continue to serve in government; there has certainly not been any suspension from duties pending further enquiries at this stage

Consider also the case of Englishman David Matthews, the father-in-law of Pippa Middleton – the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge and sister-in-law of the future king – who has been accused of rape; the victim in question is underage. Matthews is now back in Britain, unlike Ramadan, pending further enquiries.

Like Ramadan, it must be said, all three men vigorously deny the allegations against them. 
No one in France seems to be able to explain why Tariq Ramadan is being treated differently, or why the French authorities have trashed his most basic human rights and, even though he presented himself for questioning voluntarily, denied him bail at the preliminary investigative stage.

Read: Colonialism as a concoction of France, Israel and the PA

I believe that he is being treated differently to Matthews, Darmanin and Hulot simply because he is a Muslim. This highly respected intellectual and academic is most definitely not a serious candidate for jumping bail if for no other reason than that he is so well known that he would have nowhere to run or hide.

Sadly, unless the French authorities know something that the rest of us don’t, it looks as if their justice system has been blinded by an unbridled hatred of religion in general, and Islam in particular. If the authorities refuse to make some serious changes in the way that Ramadan is being treated, we can only conclude that France has two levels of justice: one for white, establishment figures, and the other for Muslims, no matter how cultured, eloquent and European they might be. Every French citizen should be concerned that Professor Ramadan’s lawyers have been forced to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the inhumane treatment meted out to their client at the hands of the judiciary in the Fifth Republic.

Oxford Don or Don Corleone, it doesn’t matter. Tariq Ramadan needs to see France’s liberté, égalité and fraternité in action, or we will be able to say with even more certainty that French justice is seriously flawed, especially if the defendant is a Muslim.



Mark Curtis   

The thousands of pieces of evidence that Curtis has amassed and structured into this remarkably coherent book, present a convincing picture of a country that has been (and continues to be) put at risk through the machinations of unseen and unaccountable people working for secret organisations, whose motives and strategies are as opaque as they are questionable. Yet, even if their purposes remain opaque, there has been an remarkable consistency in the nature of their plottings over the century since the break-up of the Turkish Ottoman empire and the establishment of the nations of the Middle East that were created largely by the British in pursuit of a "divide and rule" policy designed to retain control over the oil wealth in the region. 

Curtis presents clear evidence that throughout its post-colonial history, beginning even as far back as the 1920s, British governments and Civil Service have exploited Islam and Islamic fundamentalism for its own (obscure) purposes - from the establishment of the Saudi kingdom; the division of India in 1948 to create the strategically useful Muslim state of Pakistan; to the support of the Muslim Brotherhood during Nasser's control over Egypt; to the backing of both sides during the Israeli-Palestinian wars; to the active support of terrorists (including Bin Laden) during the Afghan-Russian war; to the support of KLA and other terrorists during the Bosnian and Kosovan wars. Even after the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, Britain continued to harbour known terrorists on its shores, giving them a safe-haven from American, French and other prosecutors. 

The other consistency in the story is that like the US in its terror campaigns against democratically elected popularist and nationalistic governments in Central and South America, Britain has consistently given support to brutal dictatorships in the Middle East and Asia and actively suppressed nationalist parties and organizations, and undermined popularly elected governments, at the cost of many hundreds of thousand (or, more likely, millions) of innocent lives. Presumably Britain's elite continues to pursue such policies, but since the secret services who mastermind such activities, do not publicise what they are doing or planning, and since British governments of every ilk seem to acquiesce unquestioningly in whatever MI6 and MI5 do in the name of "public service", it is unlikely that we will ever know what has been going on until it is too late. 

Curtis deserves the greatest credit for piecing together this immensely complex jigsaw of evidence. He also deserves credit for his bravery in publishing his findings. It's hard to imagine that there are not many people both within the British secret agencies and amongst the multitude of terrorist groups that he names, who would like to see him silenced. I urge everyone to read this book. It's not a pleasant read, but it's an essential one. 

Mark Curtis continues to trawl through formerly secret or widely unknown official papers, and uses them to reconstruct a compelling picture of the way in which the British establishment has consistently acted through the years to protect what it sees to be its interest. This geopolitical "strategy" to use perhaps too polite a word, has had grave consequences for hundreds of thousands (actually probably rather millions) of citizens in other countries who arguably have had the chance for peace and security snatched away from them. This book is essential background reading on what is now happening in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and with ISIS etc, and to the present (continuing) political fixation on so called islamist terror. 

What would be interesting is to read the counter-arguments, if anyone is willing or able to articulate them, in a well researched and referenced study, arguing i.e. that this foreign policy has been successful and was the right approach at the time, and we are right to be continuing similar policy now, in light of the obvious consequences. 

Mark Curtis following up from the highly recommended "Web of Deceit" has with "Secret Affairs" provided a comprehensive and powerful expose of the UK governments collusion with extremist & radical Islam in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Gulf states, Indonesia, the former USSR, the Balkans, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iran etc often in order to overthrow moderate secular regimes. All in order to control oil and sell weapons and other dodgy trade deals. 


For the second time in a row, Donald Trump has been bestowed with the prestigious honour of being named the ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ at the 2018 Islamophobia Awards. The distinction comes as no surprise with his ‘Muslim ban’ that placed travel restrictions on Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. Earlier this year he shared a series of Islamophobic tweets to his 40+ million followers from Britain First that were clearly designed to stoke hatred toward Muslims.

Trump lost out on winning the ‘International’ category and was beaten by ally and friend Benjamin Netanyahu. The two have enjoyed a great relationship with highlights such as the decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognise it as the capital of Israel. The event saw Israel murder several Palestinians who protested the move. Other shortlisted nominees in the same category included Saudi Arabia and Aung Sang Su Kyi.

The major hit on UK television, BBC’s ‘Bodyguard’ was a clear favourite and easy winner in the ‘Book/Movie/TV Series’ category. In a warped attempt at being subversive and ‘progressive’, the show fell into the same traps and stereotypes that have hounded Muslims for decades. American series ‘Roseanne’ was also shortlisted as well as Channel 4’s ‘My Week as a Muslim’ which saw a white woman dress in prosthetics and makeup to appear more ‘Muslim.’

Though there was tough competition in the ‘News Media’ category, Daily Mail reigned triumphant, beating out its competitors: LBC, The Sun and journalist Melanie Phillips. The ‘UK’ category saw a special win with the Conservative Party getting the gong but not without a very honourable mention to the recent Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Johnson remarked not too long ago that Muslim woman wearing the burqa looked “like letter boxes.”

The Islamophobia Awards took place on Sunday, 11 November.

Notes to editors:

SHORTLISTED nominees :


– Tommy Robinson

– Katie Hopkins

– Conservatives

– Sadiq Khan

Book/Movie/TV Series:

– My Week As A Muslim

– Bodyguard

– Roseanne

– ‘No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You’ by Raheem Kassam

News Media:

– Daily Mail

– The Sun

– Melanie Phillips



– Benjamin Netanyahu

– Donald Trump

– Aung Sang Suu Kyi

– Saudi Arabia

Islamophobe of the Year:

– Donald Trump


It’s Monday evening and I am still annoyed, and frankly alarmed.  I am still thinking about the finale of the BBC Drama series Bodyguard that aired in the UK last night, precisely because it highlights how it just gets harder by the minute, to be a Muslim represented or included in the national conversation.  I have written about the ten key narratives of Islamophobia in the UK, and alarmingly Bodyguard packs up and rolls quite a few into a the very small space it made for the Muslim characters in the show.  Out of ten it ticks the boxes of seven, with a particularly misogynistic gaze cast on its Muslimah fatale, Nadia.

Muslims as disloyal and a threat to internal democracy

Islam as a counter to ‘Britishness’ / ‘Fundamental British Values’

Muslims and ‘extremism’

Muslims as a security threat (and therefore in need of regulation by way of exceptional law, policy and social praxis)

Muslim misogyny and perversion and the oppressed Muslim woman

Muslims as subhuman and unable to socialize to ‘human’ norms

Immigration and the demographic threat

This is despite the fact that the programme’s writer, Jed Mercurio, I believe honestly thought he was helping.

To write this, I have wrenched myself away from Twitter and the conversations calling out the disappointingly lazy ending to a drama that has convulsed the nation and which, arguably became a cultural phenomenon, engrossing the entire nation and getting viewing figures last heard of when there were only four or five terrestrial TV channels.  That’s what makes what happened so relevant.  In summary a story that promised and largely delivered big twists and turns, positing the ideas of major conspiracies of state, involving the Home Secretary and or the Secret Services and or the Police in particular SO15 (the notorious anti-terrorism squad) and maybe with a bit of organised crime thrown in, drew together the nation in endless conversations of not just who did but how. Despite knowing it’s ersatz realism, I hoped this would be an exploration of the potentials and actuality of serious rights violations, and structural violence form the state against its citizens, whether veterans, Muslims or activists. All of it is set against the backdrop of the introduction of even more draconian laws as part of the anti-terror regime.  When you do the type of work I do, it’s less ersatz and more real.

There were warning signs early on.  I was panicked by the representation of peace activists, based very obviously on actual people and groups.

The Riz Test called out the shows-like-bodyguard-perpetuate-muslim-stereotypes-we-created-the-riz-test-to-show-how-dire-representation-is-a portrayal of the character Nadiya, and failed the show early on its representation of Muslims.  The writer, Jed Mercurio responded that we should wait until the end before making judgements.  So we did.  In the end: it was a bent copper, a radicalised ex-veteran and peace campaigner unironically turned assassin (yes, you did read that right) and wait for it, an oppressed Muslim woman who turned out to be, drum roll please, not oppressed just your regular overeducated Muslim woman engineer terrorist, what did it.

According to Mercurio, he had upset the stereotype apple cart by making Nadia the master bomber and exploding (excuse the pun) the oppressed Muslim woman myth.  Er, well not really.  This isn’t the David Cameron [url=]“can’t speak English” Nadia, but the Michael Govian “Celsius 7/7” Nadia.  You don’t need to fear Nadia not being able to speak English thus allowing her sons to be radicalised.  She will do the job herself. Couldn’t she have just been a doctor?  A scene shot in Central Middlesex Hospital which is located in the London Borough of Brent was strangely bereft of people of colour.

More than anything I am hurt on a personal level having invested just over six hours watching it, and I don’t know how much longer discussing it, reading tweets about it, and getting dragged into this five week national pastime of choosing or creating any number of wild theories of whodunit (my personal favourite was the Romeo and Juliet theory, would that it had been so).  Instead I found out that I am not part of that conversation (again), and that however much I felt part of this silly conversation – a who dunnit on the scale of ‘Who Shot JR’ (bear with us if you are under 40 years of age) – actually I was entirely left out.

I can hear well rehearsed responses, of it’s fiction, everyone understands that, it was great drama, the actress playing Nadia had great facial expressions (wasn’t there another Nadiya, a real one, with great facial expressions too?)  We should care because this incredible cultural moment that brought so many people together, did so at the expense of those voices who needed to be included the most.  By that I don’t just mean Muslims, who were scarce bar bomb making lady Nadia (I think there were: suspected bomb making hubby; suspected bomber parliamentary researcher; some dodgy e-fits but that’s it in a drama set on the streets, shops and hospitals of London).  I also mean a ‘Muslim’ politics.  This is the demonisation of both Muslim participation in society in ways which are uncontroversial e.g. as parliamentary researcher (in this show a suspected bomber who is forgotten rather than exonerated), or the missing doctors and nurses in the hospitals, but also a ‘Muslim’ politics e.g. being against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as with Andy Apsted, a radicalised ex-veteran whose PTSD is used to explain his descent into political violence.  His leadership of a group ostensibly committed to peace is shown to be actually a cover for his violence now turned against the state he once fought for.  Bung a hijab on him, we all know where this type of demonisation started.  And that’s key.  Because Islamophobia is not based on reality, just as any racism it works in its own illogic.  Islamophobia is not just about Muslims but as with all racisms rises when there is a project or current of ‘nation’ building in the old fashioned colonial sense of ‘one nation, one religion, one ethnicity’.

Where there is no unanimity, because, well there shouldn’t be, an idea of it can only be created by positing the idea to the so-called majority of being what they are not.  In this case they are united by virtue of not being Muslim, and anything that shows Muslimness, be it dissident politics and or peace movements, it’s all ‘Jihadi’ mate.

And this is rising all across Europe, cross-fertilising across borders and being internalised in parts of the Global South where Muslims are in minority and majority situations.

I do understand, really I do, that this was Jed Mercurio’s idea of empowering not demonising.  Had we not been in an era of violent racisms reasserting, it may even have worked, but context is everything and this feels like it was done in a vacuum.  If by any chance he does get to read this, then please Jed, read this work on counter-narratives to Islamophobia.  It talks about this issue in depth, and how even well-meaning attempts can go badly wrong.  Then there is of course The Riz Test, and the IHRC report from over ten years ago on just the same thing, and Jack Shaheen’s Reel Bad Arabs, and the list goes on.  I know Mercurio has consulted extensively on issues of policing, now it’s time for more extensive consultation on Islam, Muslims and people of colour per se.  Maybe we can have a bit of redress in Line of Duty with a hijab wearing (uncorrupt) DI  interviewing suspects of the same rank or lower!


Xenophobic far-right leaders like Tommy Robinson are radicalising scores of British youth, and the media in the UK is more than happy to provide him with a platform to do so.  “Not a terrorist until proven Muslim” has become a social media hashtag cause in its own right, and serves to illuminate how the media and political class applies a patently double standard to the way it reports acts of politically or racially motivated violence, with the label “terrorist” reserved almost exclusively to Muslims.

Likewise, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that racist whites can incite violence and extremism in a way that Muslims are not, as evidenced by the manner in which British authorities and the media have treated the cartoonish Islamic extremist Anjem Choudary compared with the equally clownish anti-Muslim hate preacher Stephen Yaxley- Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson).

Despite their respective absurdities and shameless attention seeking, however, both Choudary and Robinson have and continue to radicalise broken young men into carrying out acts of violent extremism and terrorism, but whereas the former went to prison for his dangerous and inexcusable rhetoric, the latter is feted as the legitimate voice of the political far right. When the judge sentenced Choudary and his accomplice Mohammed Rahman to 5 and half years in prison in 2016 for inciting terrorism, he said, “I regard each of you as dangerous. You show no remorse at all for anything you have said or done and I have no doubt you will continue to communicate your message whenever you can,” adding, “The jury were sure that you knowingly crossed the line between the legitimate expression of your own views and the criminal act of inviting support for an organisation which was at the time engaged in appalling acts of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Robinson, the founder of the English Defense League, an anti-Muslim street gang that mobilises violent flash demonstrations, vandalizes mosques, and openly threatens Muslims in public places, continues to be feted by publications and pundits on the right, with Stephen Bannon, US President Donald Trump’s former chief-of-staff, describing him as the “backbone” of the United Kingdom.

Think about that for a moment. The man who orchestrated Trump’s winning presidential campaign lauded a man whose racist hate group is linked to Anders Breivik, the guy who slaughtered 77 Norwegian students to violently protest against what he described as the “Islamisation” of Europe, a conspiratorial theme championed loudly by Robinson.

If Choudary inspired some to take up arms against non-Muslims in the West, then a similar claim can also be made against Robinson, who has directly motivated or been the dominant source of inspiration for many who have carried out acts of terrorism against Muslims.  When 48-year-old Darren Osborne drove his van into a group of Muslim worshipers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London, killing one and injuring a dozen others, jurors to his trial heard that it took a month of digesting Robinson’s social media posts and videos for him to become “obsessed” with Muslims.

“Osborne had grown to hate Muslims largely due to his consumption of large amounts of online far-right material, including, as evidenced in court, statements from EDL leader Tommy Robinson, Britain First, and other,” said Mark Rowley, the outgoing Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Worse – Robinson excused Osborne’s act of terrorism by blaming the mosque for “creating terrorists and radical jihadists and promoting hate and segregation,” essentially defending it as a “revenge attack.”

On Monday, a video showing the beating and torture of a 16-year-old Syrian refugee at a high school in the UK went viral, with his attacker dragging him to the ground by the neck, despite his already broken arm wrapped in a cast. The bully also mockingly waterboarded the Syrian boy.

A glance of the alleged attacker’s Facebook account reads like an online shrine to
Robinson and groups associated with the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant far right, including Robinson’s English Defense League.  On Wednesday, Robinson took to Facebook to seemingly excuse the youth who viciously attacked the Syrian refugee child by citing unsubstantiated claims of “English children being bullied out of Almondbury School by Muslim gangs,” while also falsely claiming the victim had attacked a girl at the same school.

One can only imagine the media freak-out and hysteria were a Muslim to excuse those who carried out the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing in London. For Robinson, however, it’s business as usual, with his brand of inciting violence and terrorism again being completely ignored by both authorities and political elites. In fact, instead of condemning Robinson for inciting terrorism, the media provides him a platform to demonise Islam even after one of his loyal devotees has carried out a terrorist attack against Muslims, like the way ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ program invited him on as a guest the day after Osborne rammed his van into a dozen Muslims, allowing him to falsely claim the Quran justifies terrorism, even though Osborne had been inspired by Robinson’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Later, when Osborne was found guilty, Robinson appeared on BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ program, and as Richard Seymour observed, “Asking no difficult questions – grotesquely in the circumstances – they handed Robinson a platform to play the martyr.”   We already know the role social media platforms play in radicalising and mobilising terrorists, but it would appear authorities are fixated exclusively on those who incite “Islamist” terrorist attacks, while completely ignoring those who incite others into violent extremism on the far right. This should be alarming given hate crime against Muslims in the UK has soared 40 percent in the past year, and despite the fact the Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley, recently warned the increasingly organised nature of far-right movements, describing them as a “significant part of the terrorist threat.”

But until now, however, only Muslims are targeted for inciting terrorism, not racist hate preachers like Robinson, but if the UK wants to get serious about ending violent extremism, it can no longer afford to fixate on the former while ignoring the latter.
Muslims across the world persecuted, abused and murdered by Muslim and non-Muslim regimes

What is happening to Muslims around the globe? In China they are put into concentration camps, in Myanmar they are slaughtered en masse, in Indiathey have been the targets of systematic pogroms, in Israel along with Christian Palestinians they are mowed down on a daily basis, in Europe and the United States they are subject to increasing demonisation and persecution.  The fate of Muslims in their own homeland is not particularly rosier. From one end of the Muslim world to the next, Muslims - in Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in particular - live under tyrannical regimes, ruthless dictators, murderous military juntas, with their most basic civil liberties and human rights denied. In Yemen, they are being slaughtered and subjected to man-made famine by the Saudis and their partners - and if one journalist dared to raise his voice he is chopped up to pieces in his own country's consulate.  

What is this? What is going on? What does it all mean?

Chinese gulag
Let's begin with China. How are we to fathom the criminal, vicious, atrocities of the Chinese authorities in their Muslim gulags? "If ethnic cleansing takes place in China and nobody is able to hear it, does it make a sound?" asks Josh Rogin, in a  poignant piece for the Washington Post.  " That's what millions of Muslims inside the People's Republic are asking as they watch the Chinese government expand a network of internment camps and systematic human rights abuses designed to stamp out their peoples' religion and culture."  The numbers and the very idea are staggering: the UN reported that more than one million Uighurs are in detention in "counter-extremism centres" and at least two million are in "re-education camps".

In another investigative piece, BBC reports: "China is accused of locking up hundreds of thousands of Muslims without trial in its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people willingly attend special "vocational schools" which combat "terrorism and religious extremism". That "terrorism and religious extremism" bit belies the malignant intent of these camps.  

In another report, we read, "Muslims forced to drink alcohol and eat pork in China's 're-education' camps." The same reports further add: "The psychological pressure is enormous when you have to criticize yourself, denounce your thinking."  These are not just journalistic reports. "British diplomats who visited Xinjiang," Britain's foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has told parliament , "[we] have confirmed that reports of mass internment camps for Uighur Muslims were 'broadly true'." 

Myanmar genocide and beyond
Then we come to Myanmar. The massacre of Muslim-majority Rohingya in Myanmar under the watchful eyes of the Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has horrified the world but been kept apace for years now.  Since 2016, Muslim-majority Rohingya in Rakhine State have been the targets of Myanmar armed forces and police, which have been accused of ethnic cleansing and genocide by the United Nations, International Criminal Court officials, human rights groups, journalists, and governments including the United States

WATCH: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh too traumatised to go back home (2:24)

Then we go to India. The roots of Hindu violent mobs attacking Muslims in India is of course as old as British incitement of communal violence to sustain their own rule. The list of systematic Muslim massacres is gruesome: From 1964 in Kolkata and 1983 in Nellie to 1987 in Hashimpura all the way to the Gujarat slaughter of Muslims in 2002, in which Narendra Modi, who is now the prime minister of India, was accused of orchestrating the violence.    

Now look at Palestine: Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike have been the subject of systematic ethnic cleansing in their own homeland now under the occupation of the European colonial enclave of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son has recently said h e'd "prefer if all the Muslims leave the land of Israel". Facebook temporarily banned the despicable thug from his habitual racism and deleted that call for genocide. But he was just airing what his father and other Zionist warlords have been practising for decades in Palestine.    

Let's move to the other side of the globe: The historic xenophobia of the racist white supremacists in the US, the chief supporter of the Israeli settler colony, resulted in two major and many more US-led invasions of Muslim states in which hundreds of thousands of Muslims were slaughtered. When Americans freely and openly elected Donald Trump, he unleashed the most hateful campaign of terror and intimidation against Muslims in the United States. His infamous Muslim ban, sustained by the US Supreme Court, is the legal manifestation of this abusive treatment of Muslims.  

In Europe too, the historic hatred of Muslims rooted in their version of Christianity have now reached epidemic proportions among racist, xenophobic, and proto-fascistic movements, best evident in the Brexit crisis but equally staged in the rest of Europe.

In Australia too, where Prime Minister  Scott Morrison just recognised west Jerusalem as Israel's capital, anti-Muslim racists enjoy wide-spread support among xenophobic nationalists. He is in the good league of the notorious Australian MP Pauline Hansonwho believes her country is about to be "swamped by Muslims."  

Darkening horizons  
But Muslims killing Muslims is not any less evident on the global scene. Saudi Arabia and its sidekick, the United Arab Emirates, have led a coalition of Muslim states to slaughter tens of thousands of Yemenis and drive millions more to starvation. Yes, the US and Europe are chiefly responsible for arming these Arab countries, but it is the Arabs who are pulling the triggers and dropping the bombs.  

In Syria, it is first and foremost Bashar al-Assad (and his Russian and Iranian backers) who are responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians and driving the rest to refugee camps in and out of their devastated homeland.

Yes, the US, Israel and multiple Arab states are equally guilty of the mayhem in Syria, but the net result is the massacre of more Muslims in Syria. Turkey's war with the Kurds amounts to even more Muslims murdering Muslims. In Egypt and Iran too, the ruling regimes have had no qualms maiming and murdering their own citizens in prisons or in the streets.     

No doubt in each and every one of these circumstances one can come up with multiple and varied explanations as to what is happening to Muslims. One must make a distinction between the 're-education' camps in China and the Muslim massacre in Myanmar and the Saudi-led slaughter in Yemen, the incremental genocide Israel is committing in Palestine, and Bashar al-Assad's mass killings in Syria.

But the net result is the same, there is a pandemic of Muslim cleansing around the globe, what amounts to incremental and cumulative genocide, in part committed by Muslim rulers and despots. That pandemic needs urgent attention - perhaps even a UN-sponsored conference. There is no single cause but there is a field of hatred and Islamophobia in which Muslims as Muslims or Muslims as humans or Muslims as critical thinkers or Muslims as defiant agents of their own destinies are seen as the enemy that must be neutralised, pacified, killed, and eradicated.  

The centre and periphery
The epicentre of this Muslim cleansing in its current gestation is no doubt the rise of Islamophobia in the US and Europe rooted in historic hatred of Islam and Muslims in the European context. And this fear and loathing of Muslims is the extension and mutation of the historic fear and loathing of Jews writ large and rendered global. The pathological roots of Euro-American Islamophobia are rooted in their endemic anti-Semitism. 

With Islamophobia, however, that European disease has shifted its target and become global in the age of globalisation. Since medieval European Christianity, both Jews and Muslims have been sources of fear and hatred in Europe. With the Holocaust, the European hatred of Jews came to a genocidal crescendo. With the writing of Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations (1993), Muslims have almost completely (but not entirely) replaced Jews as the civilisational other of the thing that calls itself "the West".  To be sure in between that medieval version and the current gestation we have the agitation of Muslim-Hindu hatred in India during the British colonialism.  

In his book titled Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, Nicholas B Dirks has demonstrated how what is globally coded as "the Indian caste system" was in fact the product of the encounter between India and British colonialism, when under British rule, the caste system became a stable term subsuming diverse forms of social formations. Even more so is the Hindu-Muslim communal violence deliberately exacerbated to serve the British colonial rule.  

Therefore, the affinity between Hindu fundamentalism and European and US racism is hardly surprising. As Aadita Chaudhury has recently argued: "white supremacy and Hindu nationalism have common roots going back to the 19th-century idea of the Aryan race."

What is happening in China is also aided and abetted by European and US Islamophobia, which offer the convenient cover. The anti-Uighur campaign is framed in the Western language of anti-terrorism and deradicalisation.  That religious bigotry in China is also underlined by an equally poisonous ethnic element whereby Chinese imperial arrogance is dead-set to consolidate a Han hegemony over all other ethnicised communities.

In manufacturing a robotic labour and consumer person, China seems determined to erase any sign of cultural or human resistance to its mechanical project, very much on the dystopian model Herbert Marcuse anticipated in his One-d imensional Man (1946). Any deviation from a servile human consumer that does anything other than manufacturing Chinese labour and expansion of state capital is a waste of time and must be eliminated.  

That dystopian nightmare is now spreading around the globe with the speed and in the form of Western-style Chinese Communist party-inspired capitalism. Communism was not destined to be the end of capitalism. Capitalism was the end of Communism. That very sentence spells out the monstrous chimaera our humanity faces today.

White supremacy and Hindu nationalism have common roots going back to the 19th-century idea of the 'Aryan race'

Over the last few years, especially after Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 US presidential election, we have been witnessing the normalisation, and rise, of a white-supremacist, ultranationalist brand of right-wing politics across Europe and the United States. While the shift towards extreme right alarmed many across the world, far-right ideologues of the Trumpian era swiftly found support in a seemingly unlikely place: India

Many members of the so-called "alt-right" - a loosely knit coalition of populists, white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis - turned to India to find historic and current justifications for their racist, xenophobic and divisive views. Using a specific, "white nationalist" brand of Orientalism, they projected their fantasies about a racially pure society onto the Indian culture and in response received a warm welcome from Hindu fundamentalists in India. While an alliance between the Hindu far right and the Western alt-right may appear confounding on the surface, it actually has a long history, going all the way back to the construction of the Aryan race identity, one of the ideological roots of Nazism, in the early 20th century. In the 1930s, German nationalists embraced the 19th-century theory that Europeans and the original Sanskrit speakers of India who had built the highly developed Sanskrit civilisation - which white supremacists wanted to claim as their own - come from a common Indo-European, or Aryan, ancestor. They subsequently built their racist ideology on the assumed superiority of this "pure" race.

Savitri Devi (born Maximiani Portas), a French-Greek thinker and mysticist who later became a spiritual icon of Nazism, helped popularise the idea that all civilisation had its roots in this Aryan "master race" in India. She travelled to India in the early 1930s to "discover the source of the Aryan culture" and converted to Hinduism while there. She quickly integrated herself into India's burgeoning Hindu nationalist movement by promoting theories that support privileged caste Hindus' superiority over Christians, Muslims and unprivileged caste Hindus in the country. In 1940, she married Asit Krishna Mukherji, a Hindu nationalist and Indian supporter of Nazism who had praised the Third Reich's commitment to ethnonationalism, seeing commonalities between the goals of the Hitler Youth and the youth movement of Hindu nationalism, Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS). 

Devi worked as a spy for the Axis forces in India throughout World War II and left the country after the defeat of Nazi Germany using a British-Indian passport. In the post-war period, she became an ardent Holocaust denier and was one of the founding members of the World Union of National Socialists, a conglomeration of neo-Nazi and far-right organisations from around the world. Devi still has a strong influence over the Hindu nationalist movement in India. Her 1939 booklet titled A Warning to the Hindus, in which she cautions Indian nationalists to embrace their Hindu identity and guard the country against "non-Aryan" influences, such as Islam and Christianity, is still widely read and highly regarded among Hindu nationalists. Perhaps not surprisingly, recently Devi and her theories have also been rediscovered by right-wing ideologues in the West and she is now considered an alt-right icon.

However, the current connection between far-right groups in the West and Hindu nationalists is limited neither to Devi's teachings nor the old myth of the Aryan race.
Today, the two groups share a common goal in eroding the secular character of their respective states and a common "enemy" in Muslim minorities. This is why they often act in coordination and openly support each other. 

In the US, the Republican Hindu Coalition, a group with strong links to the Hindu nationalist movement in India, has been rallying behind President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policies, like the Muslim ban and the border wall. Trump's campaign strategist and prominent alt-right figurehead Steve Bannon once called India's Hindu-nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Reagan of India.

Meanwhile, in India, a far-right Hindu nationalist group named Hindu Sena (Army of Hindus), which has been linked to a series of inter-communal incidents in India, has been throwing parties to mark Trump's birthday. The group's founder even claimed that "Trump is the only person who can save mankind."  

In Canada, far-right Islamophobic organisations such as Rise Canada, which claims to"defend Canadian values" and combat "radical Islam", are popular among Hindu-nationalists. The group's logo even features a red maple leaf rising out of a lotus flower, which is often associated with Hinduism.

In Britain, the National Hindu Council of Temples (NHCTUK), a Hindu charity, recently caused controversy by inviting far-right Hindu nationalist Tapan Ghosh to speak at the parliament. Ghosh has previously suggested the UN should "control the birth rate of Muslims" and said all Muslims are "Jihadis". During his visit to the UK, Ghosh also attended celebrations of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, with cabinet ministers Amber Rudd and Priti Patel, and met the former neo-Nazi leader Tommy Robinson. On top of their shared Islamophobia and disdain for secular state structures, the destructive actions, protests and aggravations of Hindu nationalists and the Western far right are also very much alike.

In November, the government of the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is led by the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), proposed to build a statue of the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya, where the historic Babri Masjid was illegally demolished by Hindu nationalists in 1992. Only a month earlier, the same government pulled off a massive spectacle, having a helicopter drop off individuals dressed as Ram and Sita at the Babri Masjid site to mark the start of Diwali celebrations.  The sentiment behind these apparent attempts to intimidate Muslims and increase tensions between communities was in many ways similar to the far-right, white supremacist rally that shook Charlottesville in 2017. The neo-Nazis chanted "You will not replace us" as they marched through the streets of Charlottesville.

Turkish Foreign Ministry says it "expects Chinese authorities to consider Turkish people’s reaction over serious human rights violations."   Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman slammed Chinese authorities’ systematic assimilation policy towards Uighur Turks, saying it is a "great embarrassment" in a written statement on Sunday.  Spokesman Hami Aksoy said, "Systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities towards Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity."    “It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks, who are exposed to arbitrary arrests, are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centers and prisons,” Aksoy said.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah brings more from the Turkish capital Ankara.

“Uighurs, who are not detained in the camps, are also under great pressure. Our Uighur-origin citizens living abroad cannot hear from their relatives living in this region,” he added. Turkey invites Chinese authorities to respect fundamental human rights of Uighur Turks and shut down concentration camps, Aksoy said.  “We also call on the international community and UN Secretary-General to take effective steps to end the human tragedy in Xinjiang Region,” Aksoy added.

He also mentioned about Saturday’s death of Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit. “In such an environment, we’ve learned with great sorrow that dignified poet Abdurehim Heyit, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for his composition, died in the second year of his imprisonment,” he said.  “This tragic incident has further strengthened the Turkish public's reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang Region.”  The Foreign Ministry spokesman voiced Turkey's expectation from Chinese authorities to consider reactions of Turkish people over serious human rights violations.  

China’s Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.  China stepped up its restrictions on the region in the past two years, banning men from growing beards and women from wearing veils and introducing what many experts see as the world’s most extensive electronic surveillance program, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Up to 1 million people, or about 7 percent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.  In its last report released on last September, the Human Rights Watch blamed the Chinese government for a “systematic campaign of human rights violations” against Uighur Muslims in northwestern Xinjiang, an autonomous region in the country.  According to a 117-page report, the Chinese government conducted “mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment” of Uighur Turks in the region.  Islam is one of the five religions officially recognised by the atheist Communist party. The country is home to some 23 million Muslims, but restrictions on them are intensifying.

Who is Abdurrehim Heyit ?

Abdurrehim Heyit, an Uighur poet and a musician renowned with his songs narrating the Uighur history and culture was born in Kashgar city of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in 1964. Heyit, who studied at a Fine Arts School in Kashgar, became a world-renowned poet in a short time with his songs that he sang with his string instrument.  Also known by many people in Turkey, the prominent musician performed a concert at Gazi University in Turkey's capital Ankara, in 2015.  Heyit had been detained in Urumqi, in 2017 without being charged with any crime and sentenced to 8 years in prison.  He was in prison when he died.

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