Tag Archives: is

The Sun: United Against IS (A Review)

Where The Sun front page, and editorial fail, my initial skepticism is reassured by Sara Khan who delivers on how to challenge extremists.

Right now Britain and about 60 countries are committed to undermining ISIS. Fascists that use religious nationalism to bring Sunni Muslims together under a caliphate. It includes flag waving, and demanding that all muslims of various sects unite.

With that in mind The Sun front page stood out:

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A right wing tabloid uses religious nationalism to bring all people of faith together as one nation. It includes a cut out flag (Page 3), and demanding that all people of faith unite.

Strength through unity. Unity through faith.

The blood runs cold, that the answer to fanatical religious nationalism is religious nationalism lite. That such an image concept, that has caused such misery in the world, might serve to combat extremism is insulting to those that think about it’s execution. Those of no faith appear to have nothing to say about fighting religious extremism, according to the blurb.

However, open the paper and a different story emerges. The editorial begins:

THE Sun today calls on Britain to unite against the murderers of Islamic State.

Whatever your faith — or if you have none — you can help crush the greatest evil of modern times.

The arrest of a suspected IS terror cell in the UK and the slaughter of aid worker Alan Henning show why we must stand together.

We must help snuff out the warped ideology of IS and stem the flow of Britons to its ranks.

Britain is a beacon of tolerance, a mainly Christian country that embraces all religions. IS seeks to destroy that unity by sowing the hatred that acts as its recruiting sergeant. We mustn’t let it happen.

Cheers for remembering us of no faith this time. But then the faux pas that we are mainly a Christian country. That does not bare scrutiny. A Christian Country destroying an Islamic State. That will make borderline radical Islamists stop in their tracks. Not.

We are mainly a no faith country, that embraces religious freedom for all including those of no faith. Equal citizenship is not a matter of religion, or your politics, or even whether you think we should be fighting this war or not. Here we celebrate freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.

The young woman on the front page could choose to wear the hijab. Under ISIS, the Niqab is mandatory with armed thugs demanding women keep their faces covered. The celebration in the UK is not our faith, but our ability to live voluntarily by our conscience in matters of belief. We may manifest our right to religious expression and identity. As equally, we may denounce religion. Free speech – it lets you speak out against hate.

Thank goodness for Sarah Khan, director of Inspire, saving the day in the paper:

People of a non-Muslim faith can help in this fight against IS by stamping out hate as a whole. IS plays into the fears that some people have about the Muslim faith and burn the bridges within our society.

If we respond by promoting hate to each other we are letting them win. They want Muslims to feel marginalised so they will want to join their twisted cause.

We need to say we’re not going to allow you to destroy us and we say that by not tolerating hatred or violence to anyone.

The common theme here is to make a stand against any hatred or extremism. It’s not what it means to be British.

Exactly what this blog stands for.

The aim of #makingastand are worth supporting:

Through #makingastand we commit ourselves to rejecting terrorism and violence practised in the name of Islam. Together we will:

Challenge hatred and extremism wherever we find it.

Exert influence in our Mosques and communities.

Create local support networks and partner with statutory agencies.

Equip our communities with counter-narratives and help families identify the signs of radicalisation.

Spread the word with the use of the #makingastand campaign.

If you follow the link above you will see a familiar image. The blurb next to it this time brings out a positive image of challenging extermisim.

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Sara Khan and Inspire have been given a huge platform. Please help to support, and take action.

Ok I still hate The Sun, and considering it’s past headlines this may strike some as insincere. But Iram Ramzan is right when she says the front page does grab your attention despite it’s flaws. The counter narrative just went public in the best selling tabloid newspaper against religious extremists and the far right.

That in itself is cause for some optimism, in the tabloids wobbled first steps on the issue.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

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ISIS and Fighting Clerical Fascism

The need to fight fascism and prevent genocide are as close to self evident truths as humanity might wish to invent. When both present themselves in the form of ISIS the question is how, rather than why, they must be destroyed.

Yet those siren voices are calling: the west must not get involved. Iraq and Afghanistan are painted as strategic failures. We need to point out not intervening in Syria gave the space and time for ISIS to emerge.

That non intervention made it too easy for Islamists to paint a narrative: the west were not getting involved because spilt Muslim blood means nothing compared to the flow of oil. Assad was slaughtering his people, even using Chemical weapons and air strikes on the civilian population.

You can imagine the videos, too disturbing for mainstream media, used to recruit people to fight back. The world community was found wanting. As too often it is when massacres and appalling suffering happen.

That was the draw – the reality is crucifying, beheading, and sexual slavery. Still, you get your rent paid, canned goods and free health care. Welcome to the theological fascist military outfit that is ISIS.

A military power that controls territory about the size of England, spread over two countries. Controlling sufficient oil supplies it can create an effective internal market to keep the finance coming. Let alone hard currency from oil smuggled out. Money on the side kidnapping.

Mehdi Hasan said we should not call them a military power – they don’t have a navy among other things (nothing gets past Mehdi). But “bunch of thugs” as he prefers really does not explain them. This is a death cult of well led fascist fanatics.

They have routed larger armies. Such is the terror and effective command structure brought in by previous military Baathists that were kicked out with the fall of Saddam. Deny people a stake in the new order, they have no allegiance.

The death squads roaming Iraq, and the sectarian violence presented the opportunity for ISIS to launch their attack on a disintegrating state. Coming as liberators, promising Islam as in the golden age. Dealing out justice to the foes of the faith, by The Book.

The secular Muslim heritage, the mysticism of Sufis, a spiritual Caliphate – they are forgotten on this rampage. Universal human rights are absent. This is total war as they enlarge their territory. Imposing clerical fascism. The Art of War with Jihad coupled with modern tactics. Announcing they were now a geographical Caliphate was a message.

A message for political Islamists that envisage a unified Islamic empire that can defend and promote one theological Islam to the world: we have done it join us. Even now, some ask if the territory can be kept intact with the defeat of ISIS.

Those siren voices again. To use the murder, pillaging and atrocities of ISIS for the realisation of an Islamic caliphate that might undo the old colonial powers. As if ISIS were an eraser for the lines that western imperialists drew on the map as they carved up territory.

So of course you will have the likes of Anjem Choudary belittling the carnage, and Dilly Hussain saying Yazidi were fleeing tax dodgers, and Mo Ansar saying this could give birth to a good Islamic state. Islamists hope that people will rally up against their incompetent and dictatorial rulers for an Arab Winter to freeze the whole of the Middle East and South Asia into a theological ice block of uniformity. Even some Islamists that are against ISIS hope a thaw sees a different set of theocrats in charge one day.

Political Islam has laid the ground work for a caliphate to be seen as a requirement for Muslims. The misrule by secular despots and incompetent clerics has made many buy into this vision.

How many have to die for theological hedgemony? As many as it takes. So the question then becomes why antagonise the US and UK by beheading their citizens?

The risk is ISIS want a final confrontation. A battle to end all battles. Set up the theological state, Allah is meant to be the Ace in the Hole. They believe Muslims will flock to their banner to finally rid the infidel once and for all. At last the unity of Muslim people, and the final victory of ISIS. The Caliphate remains.

We can and must denounce fascism in all it’s gory forms. Theological fascism should be no exception. Not only denouncing ISIS but the caliphate they wish to create. Too many people, Muslim and non Muslim, have died because of this nightmare.

People have to decide their own governments and way of living. That cannot be done while living under the shadow of a sword. Fascism always rises when a vacuum is created. You know it when you see it; totalitarianism, military conquest and complete obedience to the state. If the alternative is anarchy or a status quo that crushes them, people will flock to the banner.

Make no mistake. People like Russell Brand will say terrorist attacks increase if we drop bombs on Muslims, and we will keep having the same problem unless we leave well alone. Others will claim this is about war profits for the US military industrial complex. Those siren voices will say this is not our fight, we will make the situation worse. They will even try to tell you this is not about religion – no matter how many times ISIS say it is.

If all we do is drop bombs we will not defeat ISIS. The ideology of Islamism has to be shown for what it is. It needs to be challenged – a counter theological narrative so Secular Muslim heritage can reassert itself. Where we have failed is in challenging political Islam throughout the world. By our governments not standing up for the oppressed people in allied Muslim majority nations, we have lost the moral high ground.

Too often we went with what was expedient. Siding with bloody dictators. John Kerry is doing the same again with Egypt. We wonder why the Islamist narrative appeals to people when we ourselves shake the bloodied hands of mass murderers, while calling them a friend.

This is not going to be easy. There is no quick fix, and this is not the starting point we would wish. Muslims and non Muslims have to work together to defeat political Islamists. As a coalition is built to deal with ISIS, we need one that tackles theocrats, mad mullahs, and extremism.

If you care about human rights, sexual equality, democracy, pluralism, the separation of religion and state – it is time to saddle up for the battle of ideas. Do not let clerical fascists claim religion as a cover for their insidious actions in the public space.

Religious freedom must not be a gateway for a bunch of thugs to abuse.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

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