Sunday, 30 September 2012


Sister Arzu Merali
All Quiet on the Western Front – the Loss of Radical Islamic Feminism at the Hands of Euro-Islam

By *Arzu Merali

Abstract: This paper contends that there has been a definitive and negative change in the trajectory of so-called Islamic feminism. This change has been effected in large part in the West, as part of the growing discourse of Euro-Islam, European Islam, indigenization of Islam, etc., a discourse that comes not from governments (though it is mirrored, applauded and rewarded by governments in the region) but from Muslim civil society, activists and intellectuals.

Keywords: Islamic Feminism, Particularism, Women’s Liberation, Muslim Women.

The characteristics of this change include: the move from expressing a universal but co-operative form of ‘feminism’ to a particularist one; the unusual aspect of that particularism as an expression of mutedness as opposed to empowerment, as a form of enclosure and ringfencing rather than an expression of solidarity or an attempt to work / speak / understand co-operatively; a positioning of this ‘feminism’ within an enlightenment rather than a critical and / or decolonial normative framework; an implicit rejection of liberation in favor of assimilation; expression as a peculiar interaction between Islam and the West; an aspiration for inclusion into an unsophisticated and idealized notion of the West and a perceived teleology of progress; a distinct lack of solidarity with other oppressed groups, whether gendered or ethnic or religious or class based; co-option and complicity with neo-colonial projects and policies.

The paper concludes with a re-evaluation of the Islamic feminist project in certain forms as one which has been hijacked and used to undermine the goal of women’s liberation per se and Muslim women in particular by denying Muslim women and by implication all women of color or those who express themselves in political opposition to Western norms and / or domestic and foreign policies, the right to define their own terms for liberation.


The trend for the indigenization of Islam to national and regional cultures is not new. Whilst cultural expressions of Islam have developed all across the world since the divine revelation marked out the period of the Prophetic era of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny), a common feature of these trends (both territorial and non-territorial) was the adherence to certain transnational tenets e.g. the concept of ummah (referring to the global community of Muslims as a single community of conscience (as opposed to an ethnos)) encompasses a sense of the unity and mutual co-responsibility of the world-wide Muslim community. Another commonly held and often politicized value was that of helping the oppressed. Qur’anic injunction deemed this so important as to be commanded, and to be commanded in support of anyone and against anyone so long as the criteria of oppressed and oppressor applies (Qur’an 4:75 And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper. (translation, Shakir))

Transcending all forms of tribalism and subsequently nationalism, these and other distinct features of Islam have occurred and reoccurred, either as a corrective to deviance amongst culturalized forms of adherence, as a form of political or social mobilization either by Muslim governance or as a corrective against un-Islamic governance by Muslim populations (Sayyid, 1997). This introduction does not seek to sanitize Muslim history; however, it is set out here to mark out a perceived distinction between other forms of indigenization of religion in the Muslim world (largely but not solely in the pre-colonial period) and the current state of the Muslim world based on a  post-World War II trajectory of normative political discourse. This distinction gives meaning to the author’s contention that a new wave of indigenization movements, namely those in Europe and North America and the effects of their outreach to the South, has meant the destruction or loss of radical Islamic feminism(s).

This paper sets out how, irrespective of stance on the current usage of the term, the idea of women’s empowerment and liberation through Islam, often referred to as Islamic feminism,  has been a cornerstone of Islamic revival in the twentieth century, and part and parcel of Islamic liberation movements. This political revival has been a serious challenge to neo-colonial projects masquerading as independence projects post-supposed decolonization. The alternatives offered by these movements included different variations of discourses on women’s empowerment and gender liberation, but all were transformative and involved adherence to and interpretation of sacred text, based on the belief that in the case of the Qur’an, these were Divine Revelation from the ultimate Justice, or in the case of hadith (the (collected) sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him))and seerah (the study of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)) words and examples of the exemplar and final messenger of the faith.

What is European Islam?

The movement for European Islam and also national Islam/s e.g. British Islam oftentimes has been led by or instigated by figures involved in such transformative and radical movements. Despite framing itself as a discourse of empowerment for diasporic communities in Western contexts to develop a positive identity beyond that of radicalized and essentialized victim (Ramadan, 1999), these movements have internalized certain concepts that run counter to the idea of transformation and liberation. This is nowhere more apparent than in the appropriation of the term Islamic feminism by these movements, explicitly situating these discourses in a different teleology than those of the liberation movements in the Muslim world. This is mirrored in other attempts to define Islamic liberation movements as akin to or adaptable to Western normative projects that supposedly underpin the realization of national democratic ideals post-Westphalia. Tamimi et al (1993) argue that such movements in Egypt, Afghanistan, Tunisia and Algeria represent such ideals, in direct opposition to the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the creation and success of Hizbullah. Ghanouchi (in Tamimi, 1993) argues that Islamists can work in existing structures, moving the Islamist framework away from transforming structures and towards full participation in, and therefore legitimization of existing structures. This represents a de facto acceptance of certain colonial narratives not least the limits and perpetual inviolability of so-called liberal nation state structures. Essentially it justifies the assertion that the End of History is the development of the liberal nation state as the last and most superior form of political organization (Fukuyama, 1992).

The transnationality of ummah is here subsumed by nation. The underpinnings of the nation as a Westphalian concept is, then, accepted as superseding other forms of political territoriality. It also reflects an acceptance that the colonial reification (the splitting up of the Khilafa and other Muslim political super states into nation states) and colonial hierarchies and hegemonic power structures based on the Treaty of Westphalia’s purpose are a marker of the European identity against an inferior and therefore conquerable ‘other’ (Nimako and Willemsen, 2011).

Other veins of the indigenization movement explicitly posit themselves as anti-political Islam and seek to oppose the traditions and expressions of Islam often associated with first generation communities of Muslim citizens. In the UK this is expressed as a rejection of South Asian mores (from which about 60% of the British Muslim community hails (Ameli and Merali, 2004a) and with it the political affiliations with Jamat-i-Islami movements. In continental Europe, the major communities this affects are those of Turkish and Moroccan heritage, though there are some possibly 50 other Muslim ethnicities represented in significant numbers across Europe and as many more of lesser representation. For the purposes of this paper, the discussion on European Islam will look at these communities which have significant presence in Western, Central and South Europe, and not look to Eastern Europe where there are many ethnically indigenous populations.

European Islam then seeks to distance itself from non-European forms of social mobilization and political aspiration and locates itself as indigenous. This is often expressed explicitly in the literature of certain organizations and projects e.g. The Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California states on the ‘About’ page of its website.

Indigenization of Islam in the West

By aspiring to produce scholars who understand the specific needs of contemporary societies, we believe Zaytuna College has an important contribution to make indigenization of Islam in the West. An indigenized Islam is of particular significance at this time when there is so much suspicion directed toward Muslims as illegitimate “outsiders,” while at the same time a demonstrated desire on the part of many in the West, especially in America, to create a more open, multicultural, and tolerant society.” ( accessed 19.12.11)

Whilst the college is based in the USA, its teachers and mission has been applauded by Western governments, particularly in the UK. These figures have been actively promoted by the UK government as part of its various programs to control dissent amongst Muslim communities whom it perceives to be radical or extreme (Thomson, 2004). We see then a transition from the 1990s when the terms European Islam and Euro Islam were coined in academia, to a move to the adoption of the terms by political figures, including erstwhile British premier Tony Blair (2005), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, incumbent British Prime Minister David Cameron (2011) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. We also see how the exponents of these terms have also been lauded by governments as serving in some case unwittingly an agenda that seeks to control Muslim interpretation, thinking and political self-determination even as minorities expressing citizenship within a non-Muslim state.

Whilst this critique is often rejected on the basis that the government policies that ally themselves with a European Islam project do so only to prevent violent extremism, a closer inspection of the actual terms of Muslim citizenship as set out by these governments reveals another agenda. An example is the speech commonly known as the ‘Rules of the Game have Changed’ speech by Tony Blair in 2005. In his speech he rejects the following ideas as incompatible with living in the West and charges Muslims to reject them or be rejected:

“They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all Westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations.”

Although replete with stereotypes, these claims translate as the attempt to stigmatize and delegitimize? Muslim citizenship through political organization and dissent through Muslim grassroots support for the Palestinian struggle for liberation;

- The removal of troops from Western countries based in Muslim lands;

- Khilafah and also all types of pan-Islamic or indeed alternative forms of Muslim political organization

When tied to this agenda, the European Islamic project is compromised as deeply anti-liberatory and pseudo-assimilationist in the fact that it allows itself to be used to stifle Muslim individual and communal aspirations to political self-organization at every level unless it conforms to liberal notions of the self, civil society and the state in a Kantian manner (Seligman, 1992, p. 44), to the extent of removing the ethics from the public realm that has come to be known as civil society. Not only are Muslims denied normative agency, the conceptualization of civil society as a result of this targeting of Muslims was disrupted.  This disruption may initially apply to Muslims but affects the idea of civil society per se in the liberal nation state, eventually impacting everyone.

Another argument in defense of the works on European Islam, with some justification in the case of Ramadan in particular is that they seek good organizational and institutional practice within Muslim communities in Europe and this is no different to the indigenization processes that are replete in Muslim history. This argument suggests that Muslims must take the best of Western society as their own and discard a notion of cultural superiority. The rejection of asabiya (prejudice) is a basic tenet of Islam and in that sense, the rejection of cultural prejudices is admirable; however, the general trend to assert European institutions as better also has limitations that can be exploited.

Without rigorous critique of the assertions of superiority or an equivalent discussion about the good of other cultures including those from which minority communities hail, the idea of European organization and institution as both ahead in a singular teleological trajectory simply substitutes prejudice for internalized racism (Merali, 2012). It also places European Islam in a colonial discourse. Whilst it is feted as a warm inclusion to Western society in that it combines the best of both Islam and the West, in fact it simply replicates an orientalist discourse of Western superiority. Gema Martin Munoz argues that Spanish orientalism not only portrays Arabs and Muslims in demeaning ways, but that a second strand also glorifies the Golden Age of Spain under Muslim rule as unique because (in the discourse) it is a Spanish phenomenon set apart from the Arab and / or Muslim world, and it is this facet that makes it a special period of technological and scientific advancement and religious pluralism and tolerance.

This last point is key to the transformation of Islamic Feminism from a discourse of liberation to a discourse of assimilation.

Misnomers and Misdemeanours: What is Wrong with the Term Islamic Feminism?

Immanent in notions of European superiority is the idea of European women’s position as superior to that of other cultures, including all religious cultures. Huntington cites gender relation as one of the peculiarly superior facets of Western civilization in his clash of civilizations theory (1996), popular and populist historian Niall Ferguson (2011), charged with bringing British values into British education to counter anti-imperialist narrative also cites this as does British prime minister David Cameron, who seeks to judge Muslim civil society organizations against the criteria of respect for women’s rights, as if all other organizations implicitly do so, and that many Muslim organizations sinisterly do not (2011). All normative discourse is channeled through the lens of Enlightenment universalism.

The critique of this discourse as a tool of colonial hegemony is now entrenched in decolonial writing and expressed through decolonial liberation movements. Feminism stands charged as complicit with colonial hegemony in both its positivist and standpoint forms. Post-modern feminists charge standpoint feminism as privileging a specific cultural model of ideal womanhood from which the feminist standpoint is derived and are:

“fail[ing] to acknowledge their own situatedness and hence the ways they are implicated in and reproduce power relations—in this case, the presumptuous authority of white middle class heterosexual women to define “the standpoint of women”—to speak for all other women and define who they are. Feminist standpoint theorists, who claim an epistemic privilege on behalf of their standpoint, are thereby unmasked as asserting a race and class privilege over other women.” (Anderson, 2011)

It is an explicit contention from both academics and policy makers. Various schools of Western feminist thought have become complicit in this discourse.

Greer (1999) decries the change in focus of feminists: “In 1970 the movement was called ‘Women’s Liberation’ or, contemptuously ‘Women’s lib’.  When ... ‘Libbers’ was dropped for ‘Feminists’ we were all relieved. What none of us noticed was that the ideal of liberation was fading out with the word. We were settling for equality. Liberation struggles are not about assimilation but about asserting difference, endowing that difference with dignity and prestige, and insisting on it as a condition of self-definition and self-determination...”

She continues: “Women’s liberation did not see the female’s potential in terms of the male’s actual; the visionary feminists of the late sixties and early seventies knew that women could never find freedom by agreeing to live the lives of unfree men... Liberationists sought the world over for clues to what women’s lives could be like if they were free to define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate.”

Liberation as part of the feminist discourse is key to the placing of Islamic Feminism in its current context. The lack of journey and discovery as Greer outlines are two more facets that a critique of both positivist and standpoint feminism includes. The former aspires to male norms, the latter privileges the understanding, experiences and beliefs of a white, Enlightened woman.

Often women who are described as or self-describe as Islamic feminists are also wary of the term. It has certain stigmas associated with complicity in a Western model of thinking that forms part of a colonial narrative. Secular narratives of cultural superiority including ‘human rights’, ‘women’s rights’ and as a result ‘feminism’ stand charged with complicity with neo-colonial projects, just as Christian evangelism was complicit in the spread of empire. This stigma also defines self-description. This has a part to play in a further schism between academic practitioners as some refute the appellation Islamic and self-describe as Muslim feminists. This latter term then again brings ontological issues into play as to the genesis of feminism that affects Muslim adherents.

Greer’s contention regarding assimilation vs. liberation is the crux of the schism in understandings of and the current placing of Islamic feminism as an academic pursuit and practical project in contemporary times. Mir-Hosseini (2010) states that Islamic feminism is the ‘unwanted child of political Islam’. Whilst Mir-Hosseini’s work is often critiqued as generalizing ‘political Islam’ and ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ as deeply patriarchal and often stereotypical depictions of an orientalised Muslims society, her statement gives a historical context to the rise of movements seeking gender justice. Mir-Hosseini concedes that there are a substantial amount of women engaged in gender advocacy and gender justice movements who cite Islamic texts, yet refuse to be labeled as Islamic feminists or even as women’s rights activists. This last group of women is often not discussed in literature relating to Islamic feminism except at times as an example of the antithesis of Islamic feminism or supporters of a perceived patriarchal Islamic view. Yet the existence of these women is a key facet to understanding the broader question of the location of Islamic feminism i.e. the anti-colonial movement of the last century in particular. The various Islamic expressions against colonialism represented in movements as diverse as that which resulted in the Islamic Revolution in Iran, to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in its various national forms including Hamas (Jad, 2011) and even groups like HizbutTahrir have considerable female constituencies that actually support the aims of these movements. In the case of a movement like Hizbullah in Lebanon, many of these supporters defy the stereotypes of veiled, deeply religious and disempowered women that form the stock of orientalist stereotypes that are much discredited in various academic literatures.

In summary, whilst there are many and diverse movements for gender justice amongst women (and men) in the last hundred years, the term Islamic feminism is already limited in much academic literature in its application to only certain groups and certain ways of thinking. Those ways of thinking undermine the credentials of the academic regime in that they undermine a libratory aspiration.

From Universal  Islamic Feminism via the Particular to the Neo-Colonial

The claims of women calling for gender justice from Islamist oriented movements i.e. advocating a traditional or closely textual or re-envisioned or reformed politicized Islamic model e.g. in Hamas, the Islamic Republic, al-Adl wal-Ishane etc. have been noted to have increased women’s participation in the public sphere in a way that positivist feminist movements have been unable to; however, their subjectivity clashes with that of the universal standpoint by way of their ethnic and / or religious subalternization from the standpoint norm. However, these movements cannot be easily encapsulated within a postmodern framework in that the source of postmodern critique is the denial of essentialism. Islam and the claims of Islamic women in this group, are both essentialist and universalist, seeing liberation for women through Islam. Whilst the pragmatic approach of solidarity between women’s movements has an element of the co-operative strategies that many decolonial and post-modern movements urge using Rorty’s theory of solidarity vs. objectivity is one that some of these movements have adopted, the Islamic narrative remains one that seeks Truth by the command of Truth i.e. Allah swt. This does not mean that Islamic movements cannot work in solidarity or are being hypocritical, but the acknowledgement of their situatedness is not as straightforward as a more orthodox Rortian postmodern position, and marks a desire to work with other libratory movements with respect rather than accept their ideas as a particularist.

The trajectory of some of the writers termed Islamic feminists in Iran exemplifies this tension but also the journey of Islamic feminism as a concept owned by such movements allied to a decolonial, anti-imperialist, Islamic / is a project to its entire opposite. Rahnavard (1987) decries women for having given up the hijab and capitulating to capitalist patriarchy dressed up as women’s rights, in her polemic calling on women in Iran to liberate themselves from Western cultural domination. A rejection of these cultural values to Rahnavard at that time was a way of throwing off the political shackles of oppression and spoke to the essential nature of woman demeaned by Taghut systems. Taghut being a Quranic term for systemic oppression or the oppressor system in a hegemonic not particular or situational sense. According to Mir-Hosseini (2011), in her interviews with Rahnavard and others in the 1990s, they had accepted the term Islamic feminist: ‘which they found an apt description – even if some of them did not yet accept the feminist premise of gender equality.’ In Mir-Hosseini’s description then, Rahnavard and others have fallen into a particularist trajectory vis-à-vis their claims in that by rejecting Mir-Hosseini’s idea of a ‘feminist premise of gender equality’ they were perceived as operating within some form of feminist discourse.

The development of a specific academic regime that advocated for Muslim women to be able to call for gender equality along this trajectory was again propounded and critiqued by other mainstream or traditional feminists as particularist. Particularist feminisms claim that there is no universal experience of women and that colour, race, cultural and religious heritage affect women’s experiences and also therefore can define or be meaningful in these particular women’s libratory movements.  As such there is no universal experience or methodology, however there is solidarity between particularist feminisms and their struggle for autonomy and liberation in a post-colonial framework.  The key idea of solidarity with other oppressed groups advocating particularist ideas of women’s liberation is not one that Islamic feminism in general holds too. This again marks it out from anti-imperial discourses and posits it as a discourse co-opted by male, white power.

In short, Islamic feminism was subsumed by a counter-revolutionary narrative. It had assimilated. The example of Islamic feminism in a counter-revolutionary Iranian context is germane to the idea of Islamic feminism as it operates within a minority European context. The conflation of demands by government and some writers between empowering women and rejecting certain transnational affiliations is distinct. The rejection of any critique of Israel is central to the demands of government in its dealings in the UK and Germany with Muslim civil society organization. This transition away from solidarity also reinforces mainstream cultural discourses that demean and subalternize Muslims and Muslim women in particular. Likewise, women’s organization purporting to bring feminism or women’s rights awareness to Muslims and those stating their own Islamic credentials in civil society on behalf of women frequently position themselves against so-called fundamentalists and radicals within the Muslim community, piggy backing onto a government agenda that targets foreign policy dissent. An example of how Muslim women’s expression can be usurped in this way is, a direct UK government initiative – a report called ‘She who Disputes’.  This exemplifies the interplay of the ideas of Muslim women’s expression and therefore agency through a government sponsored project.  As such its academic underpinnings and assumptions are critical in assessing how the language of feminism and Islamic feminism work to further mutedness. Whilst putting across a wide range of views that spanned the breadth of the UK, the report’s conclusion used terminology that set back the report’s credentials as a liberator text. Lamenting the prejudices of wider society, the report states: “Islamophobia makes a wide gap between the Muslim communities’ perception of who they are and the ways in which they are viewed by the host society.”

The depiction of Muslim women as guests in a ‘host society’ marks the academic lens through which this report was written, as one which, while claiming to give a voice to marginalized members of society, actually relegates their agency to that of a non-citizen or worse still, a guest. In short, this report gives voice to women only to marginalize them further.

Conclusion: Islamic Feminism as Mutedness not Expression

The questions posed around the idea(s) of Islamic feminism are reinforced further by a preoccupation with the idea that unless the advocacy of gender justice is done in such a way as to reinterpret classical texts to suit a modern realm, these are invalid / non-academic exercises that do not constitute a suitable subject for study and are not acceptable as normative projects for rights. Frequent critiques of Islamic feminism constitute charges such as those made by Moghaddam (2002): “Can there be such a thing as a feminism that is framed in Islamic terms? Is Islam compatible with feminism? Is it correct to describe as feminist or even as Islamic feminist those activists and scholars, including veiled women, who carry out their work toward women’s advancement and gender equality within an Islamic discursive framework?”

According to Moghaddam who situates herself as a mainstream western feminist, and also various Islamic feminist writers and groups, those who work within the framework of Islamic states or political Islamic projects are complicit in unspecified and generalized patriarchy that exhibits all the hallmarks of “Orientalist” stereotyping.

This is despite such movements being explicitly described by their followers as movements for liberation, often termed movements for the liberation of women through Islam. By enforcing certain definitions of who can be a feminist through the idea of reinterpretation in a modern context and in equivalence with existing norms of women’s equality from the West, Islamic women’s groups and advocates find themselves muted – unable to discuss liberation on their own terms, and instead, forced to speak in a meta narrative that is defined by power and the hegemonic norms of Western civil society. This is a dual realization of muted group theory exemplified in the first instance of women being precluded from speaking on their own terms and having them communicate with power in the language of male power (Kramaerae, 1981), but also the ethnic and religious group, who are dominated by majority power (Ameli et al, 2006b). Ameli et al (2006b) argue that the Muslim minorities suffer this in Western European context by not being able to express their aspirations for law or political organization in self-defined Islamic terms. Taking these theories further in the context of Islamic feminism, women of Islamic expression are being forced to talk in terms of ‘feminist’ discourse if their claims for gender justice are to be accepted as such. This gatekeeping of the terms of gender justice by the term and its adherents of ‘feminism’ has created a sphere where women (and men) are forced to use a term they do not accept as relevant. Mutedness is therefore implicit in the usage of the term Islamic feminism – rather than including Muslim women’s voices however disparate, who use Islamic terms for emancipation, the term is reduced to describing those women engaged in or purporting to be engaged in the reinterpretation of texts in a particular way. This does not have only academic or theoretical impact but also has practical and policy impact in the real world. An example of this is the tension in women’s movements including Islamic women’s movements in Morocco, the NGOs’ sector, the government and overseas aid. Rapp (2008) considers that:

“Islamism and women’s political participation are both relatively new developments in Moroccan history. Both trends arose after independence in 1956 and have served to reinforce one another in certain situations and repel one another in others. The rise of political Islam and women's growing demands to be more engaged in political life have occurred almost simultaneously in Morocco as the political playing field became more diverse and discourses on minority rights became increasingly common.”

As with Mir-Hosseni, Rapp posits that there is a tension between these two concurrent strands. Rapp however, quoting Utas et al (1983) highlights that there is a widespread but incorrect opinion in the West that women are not active in Moroccan public life. Based on her own fieldwork, Rapp argues that not only is women’s participation high, the bulk of increased women’s participation has come through the two main Islamic political parties, Al-Adl wa Al-Ishane (the Justice and Charity Movement) and the Party for Justice and Development (PJD), both of which, unlike other parties, do not operate a quota system. Nadia Yassin, the daughter of the leader of Al-Adl wa Al-Ishane is a prominent figure within the Islamic women’s movement and has called for women’s political participation as part of the core of Islamic values. Yet her status, despite her writings and activism as an Islamic feminist is contested, particularly by so-called secular feminists. This contestation is a microcosm of a wider contestation between Islam and the state, that has polarised Islamic political movements and secular movements in contestation over the political landscape. Charged with ‘hiding their real agenda’ on any number of issues including that of women’s rights (Rapp, 2008), so-called Islamists are denied legitimacy as a progressive force thus denying those women involved a voice at the ‘progressive’ table. This is compounded by international and national development work. Sibai (2009) highlights the cycle of negativity borne out of political manoeuvring in Morocco amongst the opposition:

“The battles in the political discourse and social action in Morocco in opposition to Islamists and progressive left, the latter appropriating the discourse of fear about Islam in order to neutralize his Islamist rivals, influence perceptions and discourses of Spanish technicians and reinforce the preconceptions with which the latter are close to the Moroccan reality. This may result in a non-cooperation with associations of Islamic courts.

Spanish technicians just as Moroccans play the same speech on the Islamists and construct analogies to those just mentioned, assimilating the Spanish left the Moroccan, so identified with her and put Islam as the "Other "in not shared values, or perceptions, or models of development, building on the whole there is a dialectic that draws a demonized image of the Islamists.”

Sibai contends that these views are key to the resourcing of civil society initiatives by international aid agencies related to governments (particularly Spain) in Morocco. By placing development funding at the disposal of those working on assimilative reinterpretation or Western feminist models, Western governments work against libratory and participatory projects.

The transfer and cycle of negativity to / from the mainstream Spanish political and social sphere can be found in the regurgitation for the need to assimilate Islamic feminism within a critique of political Islam through the Euro-Islam project. European Islam and the Westphalian Liberal Nation State projects have become synonymous and feed off each other.

 European Islam as a counterweight to ‘political Islam’ has come to subsume ideas such as Islamic feminism, and by hijacking these terms it has removed their libratory content and aspiration for assimilation to predefined and established Western hegemonic norms. In this world, Muslim women, whether working in the platform of Islamic feminism or not, are still relegated to that of a guest and not an equal, despite all claims of equality.


* Arzu Merali is Co-Founder and Researcher, Islamic Human Rights Commission,


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Friday, 28 September 2012



Interesting article here by bro Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed about the apparent nexus between the pro-Qaeda types and the british state in the pursuit if the british state's domestic and foreign aims.

Bro Nafeez had some very brief discussions with me about a year ago whereby ironically and strangely he was supporting the same people he has been criticising for a long time - the Libyan rebels who have been backed by the british, usa and french intelligence services for many decades. (Bro Nafeez couldnt discuss for more than a few minutes and fled from the debate.)

These are the exact circles that bro Nafeez is talking about here in this article, so why he supported the same people he critiques is a mystery to me. Perhaps bro Nafeez just was high on the al-jazeera/nato crack as so many were which resulted and still manifests in some a total brain freeze when seeing what is taking place.

Bro Nafeez seems to not be supporting the Libyan rebels twin-brothers the nato/Gulfi-backed Syrian rebels, pointing to perhaps he has reflected that the mass lynching of Blacks and the 30,000 nato sorties in Libya is actually not a liberation. Who knows.

On another note, I think it is worth progressive people reflecting on the nature of the relationship of these pro-Qaeda types to the british state, and why progressives are defending some of them, with even some foolish people positing nato's man in Tripoli - Belhaj - as a human rights issue, rather than the lyncher of Libya for nato interests and promoting destabilisation for nato in Syria and beyond, which actually is what Belhaj is all about.

Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

Extradition: A Victory for Terror


"Special Branch agent and MI5 informant Reda Hassaine gave his handlers "scores of documents" linked to Hamza, containing "communications from GIA [al-Qaeda affiliated Armed Islamic Group] activists in Algeria" and "cells planning terrorist attacks in Britain." Yet none of the preceding evidence ever made it to court. No wonder Hassaine concludes that "terrorist recruitment and fundraising by Islamic militants" under Hamza's tutelage "were ignored for years by the British security services."

But he wasn't just ignored. During this period of terrorist training extensively monitored by MI5 informants, as journalists Sean O'Neill and Daniel McGrory document in their seminal book, The Suicide Factory (p. 229), Hamza was courted by the security services:

"Special Branch, the intelligence-gathering arm of Scotland Yard, had been talking to Abu Hamza since early 1997, when he was still preaching in Luton. In the classified records of the meetings he is referred to by the codename 'damson berry'. Unknown to the police, MI5 had also begun meeting Abu Hamza at the behest of French intelligence; he was given the MI5 code number 910... Confidential memos of meetings between the imam of Finsbury Park and his MI5 and Special Branch contacts reveal a respectful, polite and often cooperative relationship. There were at least seven meetings between Abu Hamza and MI5 officers between 1997 and 2000."

"...This is not a problem that has disappeared. Across the Middle East, US and British security agencies continue to facilitate the activities of al-Qaeda affiliated extremist groups as part of a regional covert anti-Iran offensive - a policy rooted in several decades of manipulating Islamist terrorist networks for geopolitical and geoeconomic purposes...."


white Society Gleefull at Salma Yaqoob leaving George Galloway and Respect

Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm
28 Sept 2012

Salma Yaqoob states that she has broken away from the Respect Party due to George Galloway's comments on julian assange's rape speculation. I am uninterested about the circus around dodgy white-boy assange, Wouldn't it be better to address our peoples concerns then getting involved with someone like assange who is at best a very strange political figure who is not necessarily anything relevant to anti-imperialist politics and could easily be someone working against us, and in my opinion most probably is an agent of one or more imperialist countries.

Salma states in this white mainstream article, the only real article whereby Salma has given any further explanation as to what is going on with this current predictable political mess. Why did Salma got to the white press to criticise Galloway? If she has not seen George face to face or even spoken to him on the phone about this matter as she states in the article, why not wait to do so and see if the issue is resolvable rather than going to the enemy press?

George's comments on assange were problematic, but the style and nature of the comment was not something that would necessarily surprise anyone who knows and has worked with George, especially for Salma this is not something new, so it seems obvious that other things are going on here.

While I consider George one of the most important anti-imperialist politicians, he does and says things which I may not agree with, and I have felt it important to state that I support George when he is an anti-imperialist, but not when he takes pro-imperialist positions like that on Scotland.

I never joined the Respect Party, but gave it support from the outside, and consider it probably the best political formation in terms of political parties that we have seen in the last decade. However, it is an organisation geared to electoral politics and in so doing it has not really had the focus of movement building or putting it another way, of developing grassroots organisation of Black and Brown communities in alliance with progressive whites. This is something which is absent in england.

It seems clear from the article that Salma is batting to get into either the green party or into the labour party:

"... I'm very open about supporting, for example, members of the Green party, or members of the Labour party, who share that progressive vision [...] 'Who's championing us, who's speaking for us?' There is a vacuum there. Labour is the natural home for those people, but it needs to not take that for granted, needs to infuse [their message] not just with a negative narrative of, 'Oh, the Tories are scary and let people down,' but actually with hope."

The green party are a white middle class organisation which supported the nato bombing of Libya last year, not really good for the north African environment, and worse for the Black and patriotic people of Libya who have been lynched in their tens of thousands, all of no concern to the green party.

Salma states that the labour party is the "natural home" of working class and Black and Brown people? This is the same labour party which took us into several wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone to name a few overt wars, with many covert wars being fought in every region of the Global South by the british state under labour.

This is the same labour party which was every bit as colonial towards South Asia / undivided India, who murdered out greatest freedom fighter Shaheed E-Azam Bhagat Singh in 1931 at the age of 23. This is the same labour party who conducted vaginal examinations (labour's callaghan government) on South Asian women.

If Salma is to join these white power organisations, she should be honest enough to state their exact nature, rather than white washing them.

The fact remains that Black and Brown communities have no movement that is addressing the basic needs and concerns of our communities. While a labour government would be less visceral in its class and white racist hatred against communities in britain (although it proved in the last spat of labour governments to be more visceral in its genocidal foreign policies than the tories) than the current government, historically labour has always been forced only by means of Black and Brown power movements to respect us, and actually labour has always had a policy of co-opting our people and struggles to neuter, white wash them and turn them into their opposites.

In the bigger picture our peoples dont need people going into these useless political parties. Salma is obviously free to do what she likes, but lets be a little bit honest about the motivations and reality of these political moves.

White society is very excited that Salma has broken away from Respect and George, the white supremacist orientalism projected in the media around this issue is palpable, from left to right, from left wing websites to right-wing islamophobic websites we have white people pushing forward the narrative: 'pretty nice Muslim woman Salma Yaqoob leaves horrible misogynist George Galloway and considers coming back to where she belongs, under manners of our white power organisations like the greens and/or labour'.

It's patronising and sickening, but Salma seems to not only not to protest or reject these dynamics and representation, but seems to be happy to feed into them.

Our communities need long term, consistent, assertive and honest representation for our rights against the british white power structure. From where this will come, it is only us ourselves who can develop it, no one else will.


I am making moves to contact these communities in South Asia. Sukant Chandan - Sons of Malcolm

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Sister Lauryn Hill in 2000 at the age of 25yrs old, delivers this lecture to a hall filled of what seems like mostly white young people.

One can hear Sis Lauryn's wisdom from the the first Fugees album Blunted On Reality (which I bought as it was released) dealing with all manner of spiritual, political and cultural challenges facing her and other young Black people. Of course, facing adversity is nothing new to Lauryn as from the age of 13 she faced down this incredibly intimidating situation of being booed (and not in the good way we 'boo' in london!) in front of hundreds of people here at this live show.

The lecture shows how Sis Lauryn benefited from the very supportive and loving relationship with her mother (present in the audience) as well as explaining that her mother imparted clear and consistent moral and ethical principles unto Lauryn. Sis Lauryn emphasises, and uses the film The Matrix to illustrate her points, the importance of us not being victim to internalising the white power structure within us.

Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm

Monday, 24 September 2012


The "freedom" and "democracy" that Mr Belhaj has delivered with nato for Libya

Bonkers Article by Belhaj in the white empire-liberal guardian Newspaper

Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm
24 Sept 2012

Abdelhakim Belhaj worked for nato in overthrowing Gaddafi's Libya. Some will jump up that he is his own man and he was not working for nato. However, everyone knows the Libyan rebels didn't stand a chance if it wasn't for the biggest war machine that humanity has ever known that conducting the blitzing and massacring, some 30,000 nato sorties flew to burn Libyan soil and people, some 50,000 people were killed as a result. If nato hadnt intervened, the conflict would have ended in weeks with a whole lot less death, injury and trauma that it otherwise tragically has experienced.

There has been an article printed in the brit white power structure's newspaper - the guardian, Belhaj's name put as the author. It's likely that Belhaj hasn't written this piece and is written for him by one of his foolish white lawyers or admirers in england, or one of his 'comrades' in 'jihadi' pro-Al-Qaeda circles in England. (It has to be stated Al-Qaeda is not an organisation as such, but rather concentric networks of the most violently sectarian groupings of those inspired by the Saudi-promoted version of Islam).

How anyone can trust a word of what this likely agent of the mi6 and cia is baffling, as this is the man who worked for the west in Afghanistan, was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (long known to be backed by mi6, cia and french intelligence services), was widely known as an Al-Qaeda affiliate, but then apologised to the Libyan Jamahiriya for his terrorism activities, thanked Saif al-Islam Gaddafi only a few years ago for releasing him, and now Belhaj moans about being tortured by the Jamahirya when Saif Al-Islam states on video to the Zintani militia who captured him that Belhaj is lying that he was tortured, rather on his release he was given a seafront home and a 4x4 vehicle. Between Saif Al-Islam and Belhaj, if you see their track records, Saif Al-Islam is the more believable party than the likely roaming free agent for western intelligence agencies - Mr Belhaj.

Belhaj now wants to sue to british authorities for their role in handing him back to the Jamahirya for suspected terrorist activities, but at the same time works for nato in keeping Libya as a hell-hole  conducive to the recolonisation of Libya by white imperialism, pointing to the type of game of footsie that goes on between nato states and Al-Qaeda types. Sometimes, like Belhaj, nato promotes them, and sometimes when they have done outlived their usefulness to nato or stray off the script they are assassinated as in the case of Yahya Libi earlier this year or of that of Anwar Awlaki late last year. The fact that no former Al-Qaeda supporters can see the obviousness of this games itself raises some interesting issues which cannot be gone into here.

It is really important that those young militant Muslims who, out of the loyalty to their peoples being attacked by nato imperialism, start sympathising or even trying to involve themselves in pro-Al-Qaeda circles should try and reflect on what Al-Qaeda type groups actually are: entrapment organisations against Muslim youth who are encouraged in many ways by white imperialism to carry out the latter's strategic interests and then the same Al-Qaeda militants are criminalized and face extradition to the usa, will be banged up for life in jails like Bagram and Gitmo, not to mention that Al-Qaeda activities leaves countless people and families devastated in terms of those victim to the traumatic divisions Al-Qaeda wreaks in those places it is active

Now to the article 'by' Belhaj:

"The despicable murder of the US ambassador in Benghazi was a horrific shock to Libyans, as it was to Americans."

This first line in the article betrays the submissive mentality Belhaj has towards nato, as Belhaj says not a word against the much more brutal killing of Gaddafi himself, who was bombed by a yankee drone, and then bombed by a french airstrike, then the Libyan rebels showed the world their modus operandi throughout the conflict in the killing of Gaddafi by his many hour long lynching and sexual assault - all on video for the world to see. stevens lynching by those who had been brought to power in Libya exactly by people like stevens, however brutal it was, was nevertheless a lot more milder in comparison. stevens death was for Belhaj a "horrific shock" whereas Gaddafi's lynching was 'liberation'. Makes sense of that if you will.

"We are fully aware that this despicable hate film, Innocence of Muslims, does not reflect the American people's views, and that the producers of this film are an extremist minority. The unequivocal condemnation of the film by US officials made this quite clear. Indeed, a careful analysis of the situation suggests that there is no conflict between our peoples. Rather, a hate campaign led by a small number of extremist Islamophobes has led to unacceptable counter-reactions by small extremist groups. As in the US, these extremists do not reflect mainstream opinion. The vast majority of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims expressed their disgust and dismay through peaceful, legitimate means."

Here we can see that Belhaj seems to have been advised by his white and western-based friends that this narrative of 'we know all you guys don't hate us' is the best approach. Everyone knows this is nonsense, and that Islamophobia and hatred for Muslims is a widespread social phenomenon amongst western whites. Why Belhaj is trying to spin things otherwise is because he is a very small junior partner to white imperialism's agenda in Libya and he knows it, therefore he must peddle the illusion that he likes the west, and needs the west for political survival.

"The colonial and postcolonial eras have been marked by mutual mistrust: we need a real change in policies as well as mutual respect and a genuine dialogue."

Someone should remind Belhaj that he has helped nato recolonise his country, so all this talk of mutual respect is just Orwellian (ironically Orwell himself was working with the british intelligence services too, which is Orwellian in itself!).

"The revolution that overthrew the Gaddafi regime was an armed revolution and a war. The Libyan people sacrificed the lives of tens of thousands in order to attain their freedom."

If by "revolution" Belhaj means a nato bombardment of his own country, OK. And if by "freedom" Belhaj actually means that nato along with Behaj and his rag-tag allies of the rebels have succeeded in Belhaj's own admission of that "the state is virtually absent", then OK.

One should add also that Belhaj was a revolutionary who oversaw the mass persecution of Libyan Black people and non-Libyan African Black people. Belhaj's faction and others were responsible for totally wiping out the town of 30,000 mainly Black Libyans in Tawergha. The torture state which nato and the likes of Belhaj rule is well documented by amnesty international and human rights watch, although these same white-imperialist 'human rights' organisations were the ones perpetuating many a war crime in Libya by promoting every lie coming out of the nato propaganda machine.

"The painful incident in Benghazi can be attributed, at least in part, to the weakness of the state, which the Gaddafi regime destroyed over the course of its 42-year rule."

Gaddafi destroyed the Libyan state over 42 years? Although a very young state, being under constant war by the imperialists Libya managed to achieve the highest living standards of any given African country. This cannot be achieved without a functioning state. A cursory comparison between the Jamahirya and today's Libya leaves no one in doubt that the Jamahirya was a better place on all social, cultural, political indicators. There is actually no comparison whatsoever.

"Today, we see the workings of the first elected parliament in the history of Libya."

'Democracy' and 'parliamentary democracy' enforced on Libyans by nato and their minion-rebels is clear: mass persecution of Blacks, mass torture of rival militias, mass lynchings of Black people, anyone suspected of anything that the torturers and death squads (militias) accuse them of, Libya as a base for further nato operations in the region. This is what nato democracy looks like which Belhaj is promoting.

"… it is unwise for the US to send drones into Libyan airspace or naval destroyers to its shores: such steps will only increase tensions. Drones are not only provocative and illegal in international law but have also led to the killing of many innocent civilians in other countries that has had a serious impact on how the US is perceived in the region."

This is interesting, according to Belhaj drones kill people in "other" countries, whereas I suppose drones didn't and don't kill Libyans? It is widely known that drones were used throughout the nato war against Libya. So again, see how Belhaj covers for nato in them deploying drones on Libya and Libyans.

"Libya's sovereignty must be respected, in spite of what has happened. There should be trust in the Libyan justice system and their ability to pursue and prosecute the criminals. The Libyan government has already taken action and arrested suspects.

What is needed from the international community at this critical juncture is assistance to help Libya achieve stability and complete its transition to democracy without any intervention in internal Libyan affairs. Any such intervention can only complicate the situation."

There currently and in the forseeable future no Libyan state, even Belhaj admits that, everyone knows Libya is a torture-state and a nato holding base for further operations in the region.

The nato intervention in Libya has been clear in Libya since the first days in February 2011 when the british sas were caught in Benghazi, when british foreign minister William hague said "Gaddafi has fled to Venezuela", and then shortly after a few weeks the nato bombs started dropping.

One day Libyans will traverse the path set down for them by the heroic resistance leader against the colonialists Omar Al-Mukhtar and Muammar Gaddafi who within a year of the September 1969 Al-Fatah Revolution got rid of the british and yankee military bases (the yanks having had their biggest military base in the MENA region at whelus field air base until Gaddafi booted them out), nationalised the oil, untied the tribes and kept them united until the nato operation last year, set about an immediate and impressive process of developing the Libyan education system, housing etc, and provided the world anti-imperialist movement with more support than any other smaller country of Global South. In the meantime, the people of Libya are left with total lackeys of nato who are given help and cover by some of the most dangerous white imperialists you can find - white liberals of the type of the guardian, amnesty, hrw and silly white liberal lawyers who are peddling this pathetic nato narrative in assisting Belhaj.


Iran's Pre-Emptive Threat is a Sensible and Intelligent Move
Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm
24 Sept 2012

If one looks back to the last fifteen years or so at white imperialism's open war and manufactured coups - both soft coups and military coups - against the countries of the GlobalSouth, we can clearly see that the GlobalSouth has no effective collective self defence at resisting these aggressions and turning the tide against white imperialism. white imperialism manages to pick off our peoples and nations one by one with the rest of the GlobalSouth watching this devastation as historical observers for the most part. The fact remains that we have no real leadership in the GlobalSouth that shows how we can successfully beat back and defeat imperialist offensives.

Yes, we have historically important anti-imperialist moves by the BRICS, ALBA, BASIC, SCO etc, these are massive tectonic movements for limiting and containing mostly on the imperialist-economic front, this is the anti-imperialism of our technocratic elitist anti-imperialist leadership. Calling it technocratic elitist is not to denounce them, but to indicate the nature of this leadership, it is a leadership which might not like small nations of the GlobalSouth being picked off and decimated, but they show no interest in developing means means by which to develop an effective self-defence mechanisms. Muammar Gadafi tried to raise the development of an internationalist military defence pack of the GlobalSouth nations, but leaderships of Latin America did not take up this project.

We have seen nation after nation fall to white imperialism, some of the biggest offensives being: Yugoslavia (1999), Iraq (1990-2003), Afghanistan (2001), Honduras ('soft-coup' 2009), Libya (2011), Paraguay ('soft coup' 2012). This is aside from the fact that on the cultural front, our leadership is still being defeated and being trampled all over by white-imperialist-cultural colonisation of our peoples minds. We have to date no self-defence and liberation strategy on the cultural level.

While the bigger economic situation in the world is the slow sink of worldwide white imperialist economic domination, it is important to remember what Minister Louis Farrakhan says: "the white man knows Black will rule the world, but he also knows that Black people don't know this", similarly, white imperialism or 'the white man' knows his time is up, but he also knows that the Black&Brown world have not got a real clue of how to defeat imperialism once and for all.

The BRICS, ALBA, SCO, BASIC etc show smugness, why smugness? Because they have no plan to stop their own closest allies from being picked off one by one by one, but act like they do have the answers and approach. Unless and until there is a new generation revolutionary leadership that can meet these challenges, white imperialism is on course to continue to knock out our positions one by one or the foreseeable future. A new generation leadership needs to go on the offensive, it needs to not only oppose, but push back the positions of white imperialism against us.

At the same time, we must not fall for some of the bombastic rhetoric of some of our leaderships, Latin America is often held up as the most advanced left-nationalist and socialist leadership of any region in the world, and it is just that. However, also the fact that or Latin American family cannot withstand soft coups against its allies in Honduras and Paraguay in the last year shows in reality how weak and precarious our anti-imperialist leadership actually is.

This new generation leadership must also assist the peoples of the GlobalSouth within the imperialist heartlands. The world anti-imperialist movement has a massive weapon it its hand in as much it has massive communities within babylon. Malcolm X was assassinated in large part because he was successfully bringing the leadership of the GlobalSouth to directly support our peoples within the imperialist countries. Similarly, one of the main reasons Muammar Gadafi was lynched by nato and its slave-rebels was that he was always ready to give power and backing to initiatives of GlobalSouth communities fighting for Black Power and anti-imperialist liberation within the imperialist countries. A new generation leadership must go back to the strategies of Malcolm X, Gadafi, Che Guevara, Fanon and others, there is no other viable strategies for liberation and victory that have been shown other than these.

The latest white imperialist offensive has been transmitted through the 'Arab spring' which resulted in clearing a path or imperialist recolonisation of Africa and the 'Middle East' in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and the resultant impact on Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, all of which is in large part preparation for the massive military war on Iran.

In this regard I have been advocating that the GlobalSouth implement measures to safe guard our resistant positions, independence and sovereignty which is profoundly lacking, and in a world whereby our side of the GlobalSouth has to use asymmetric warfare to close the gap between our collective fire-power which still does not come close to that of the conventional fire-power of nato or even just the usa. In this context the Iranian threat to pre-empt the war against it by launching a pre-emptive war against the zionist state is not only sensible but it is a total necessity if we are not to be decimated once again.

One cannot tell how much this statement from Iran is just bluster or to what extent it has real motivation and intent by it. In conventional terms Iran is no match for the usa or nato, but the Iranians seem to be developing strategies and tactics of asymmetric warfare to try and defend itself with its sights set on blocking the Gulf, Hizbullah could join in and launch a war of self-defence and liberation against the zionist state and other imperialist interests.

Time will tell how this will all unfold, one thing is for sure, it is going to be very ugly and much worse than the wars on Iraq and Libya.

There is no time like the present, and the GlobalSouth should be putting into place real mechanisms for its own survival, but imperialism is also clever enough (or is our side unwise enough? probably a combination of both) to know it must lynch those leaderships that are making concrete plans for collectivising across nations real anti-imperialist mechanisms to defeat imperialism, such as this strategy of Saddam Hussein and Gadafi's many plans to clear out imperialism from the GlobalSouth especially his plan for the Pan-African Dinar currency which would have smashed the dollar in world financial markets as the Dinar was gold equivalent, whereas the dollar actually has no value but is still the main world currency due to british and usa world domination through military terror, white mailing and bribing.

Like the West African proverbial Sankofa bird, we must return to the the effective strategies for liberation to then go forward for our collective liberation. I am loyal to our technocratic and elitist anti-imperialist world leadership, they are a historic juggernaut on our side, but this is not adequate for all the challenges facing us.


Iran may launch pre-emptive strike on Israel, conflict could grow into WWIII - senior commander


An Iranian military official has warned that military conflict between Iran and Israel could “turn into World War III.” He added that if Israel “is putting the final touches on attacking Iran,” a preemptive strike against Tel Aviv would ensue.

Israel “cannot imagine” the force of Iran’s response if Tel Aviv attacks it, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iran’s Arabic-language television network. “It will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration,” he said.

Hajizadeh added that Iran does not see this happening at the moment because he does not believe that Israel will conduct an attack without its strongest ally – the United States.

If America does decide to back an Israeli plan to strike Iran, Hejizadeh insists Tehran will retaliate against both Tel Aviv and Washington.

“Tehran will definitely attack US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan…there will be no neutral country in the region,” Hajizadeh said. “To us, these bases are equal to US soil.”

The statement comes after the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said that a war between Iran and Israel “will eventually happen.” Jafari did not speculate on a possible date or location of the war.

"If they begin [aggression], it will spell their destruction and will be the end of the story," Jafari told local news agencies.

Jafari’s deputy backed up his statements, telling Fars news agency that Iran will not start a war with Israel, but will respond to provocation.

“Iran’s defensive strategy is based on the assumption that we will engage in a war, a massive battle against a global coalition led by the US,” Deputy Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami said.

"If the Zionists act against Iran, it will be a historic opportunity for the Islamic Revolution to wipe them off the world's geographic history," he continued.

The latest statements come in response to Tel Aviv’s threats to strike Iranian nuclear facilities. Israel insists that numerous sanctions have failed to curb Tehran's alleged nuclear weapons program.

On September 2, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused world powers, including the US, of failing to draw a “clear red line.”

“Until Iran sees this clear red line and this determination, it won’t stop advancing its nuclear program. Iran must never be allowed to acquire nuclear arms,” Netanyahu said.

The Obama administration refused to meet Israel’s demand. On September 14, President Obama said that there would not be any “red lines or deadlines” because “there remains time and space for diplomacy.”

The statements coincide with US led anti-mine sweeping exercises currently taking place in the Persian Gulf. The drills are being interpreted as a show of force – warning Tehran not to disrupt vital oil routes in the Strait of Hormuz.

American officials insist that the exercises were entirely defensive in nature and not directed at any particular country.

As tension continues to mount between Israel and Iran, Tehran continues to insist that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Sacked G20 PC Simon Harwood accused of attacking and racially abusing girl, 12


Emilie Diakiese at the age of 12 when the pig brutalised her and her family

Disgraced cop allegedly beat schoolgirl around the head and called her family “African village people”.

THE disgraced police officer sacked over the death of Big Issue seller Ian Tomlinson has been accused of racially abusing and attacking a 12-year-old girl.

Simon Harwood allegedly beat Emilie Diakiese around the head and called her family “African village people”.

On Monday Harwood, who has been cleared of manslaughter, was sacked for ­using ­unnecessary force against Mr ­Tomlinson, who died after being pushed to the ground at the G20 protest in 2009.

Emilie, now 19, is suing the force for malicious prosecution, false ­imprisonment and assault.

The psychology student says Harwood attacked her for asking him to return her father’s mobile phone after he was wrongly arrested.

She claims he dragged her into a police car without shoes on, which injured her feet, punched her in the head and racially abused her.

She says it happened on January 6, 2006 when Harwood spotted her dad John ­walking in Lambeth, South London, and arrested him, confiscating his mobile phone and taking him to the family’s home.

Emilie, who is originally from the ­Democratic Republic of Congo, told a friend that Harwood accused them of being in the country illegally.

A phone call to the Home Office ­confirmed they were not, but she told the pal: “He seemed angry that he was wrong about us and ­continued to make racist ­abusive ­remarks saying, ‘You African village people’.”

As the PC was about to leave Emilie asked if her dad, who did not speak English very well, could have his mobile phone back.

She claims the officer then pushed her against the wall, tried to drag her down to the ground and handcuffed her. She said she was dragged into the back of a police car and her leg was gashed on the door.

Then she claims Harwood – who faced 10 complaints during 12 years in the Met and Surrey police forces – punched her several times in the head.

“I was terrified, screaming at him to let me go,” she said. “My wrists and arms were hurting so much from the handcuffs and my feet were bleeding. Then in the back of the car he started punching me in the back of the head.”

Emilie now aged 19

At Wimbledon police ­station Emilie was charged with using threatening words and ­behaviour and ­assaulting a police officer­. ­Balham Youth Court found her not guilty.

The family complained to the Met who wrote to them saying the claims were “discussed with the officer”.

Solicitor ­Jules Carey, of Tuckers  Solicitors, who is representing Emilie’s family, said: “The Met ­recently admitted their vetting ­procedures were flawed. It is now time for them to admit that ­disciplinary procedures are also hopelessly inadequate.”

Scotland Yard said: “The public complaint was received on January 19, 2006 and it was ­locally resolved. The complainant said PC ­Harwood punched her, accused her of forging immigration ­papers and told her to go back to her own ­country. We have ­received correspondence from her solicitors.”

dirty pig


Fear of a Brown Planet have nearly complete their first national tour of england, and it was a sell out ('only selling out I do is sell out tour' - Paris/P-Dog). The brothers (Nazeem Hussain and Aamer Rahman) from Fear of a Brown Planet bring a scathing hilarity to their observations of Asian and white life, interaction and politics. Sons of Malcolm fully endorses their show and project.

Sukant Chandan

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


British blowback and the killing of the US ambassador in Libya

by Nu'man Abd al-Wahid*

[This article was first published here]

Inevitably and tragically the United States has once again experienced a blowback of a policy not of its sole provenance.

On the evening of 11th September 2012 the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed in Benghazi alongside three other Americans apparently during demonstrations against an internet video clip defaming the Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic religion's last prophet. His killing was also on the heels of the announcement that al-Qaeda's second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi had been taken out by an American drone.

The ambassador is officially said to have died of asphyxiation after an armed group stormed the compound of the American mission. Currently the finger of blame points to an Islamist-Salafi militia, Ansar al-Shari'ah, as the culprits behind the fatal deed.[1]

Members of the militia had originally and quickly taken up arms during the uprising against Gadhaffi's rule. Gadhaffi had made wild threats on television against the demonstrators and western media erroneously and falsely reported that his troops were committing rape crimes and employing foreign "African" mercenaries to do his violent bidding. Yet the only known foreigners in the early period of the uprising were the captured British MI6 agents.

Overlooked during this period was not only the racist lynching of black Libyans and Sub-Sahara African migrant workers by some of the demonstrators but also the fanatical calls of the British media, especially the right wing media, for the United States to lead an intervention in Libya.

My initial focus here is deliberately on the main bugles of Britain's right-wing media, the Daily Telegraph and the Times because by virtue of, at least circulation figures, they are the most consequential.

A mere eleven days after the uprising, 26th February 2011, the British media reported that there was a British and French plan to impose sanctions on Libya at the United Nations.[2]

In the week commencing 28th February 2011, the British media stepped up the tempo in promoting intervention. In the London Times, Deborah Haynes, reported that "Britain was ready to use force".[3]

The report went on to say that:

"Going further than any world leader, David Cameron said yesterday that he had ordered General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, to work on how to impose a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace. Fighter jets would shoot down any encroaching Libyan aircraft..."

In the London Telegraph, the British urge to drop bombs on Libya was dressed up as a western initiative to do so: a report claimed that the "West is ready to Use Force against Gadhaffi."[4] For David Cameron, the elected British Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

"…Gaddafi's departure was Britain's "highest priority", adding: "If helping the opposition would somehow bring that about, it is certainly something we should be considering.""[5]

As such certain individuals close to the British military informed the readership that it was ready for a 'Libyan mission'.[6]

British plans for intervention hit a stumbling block according to Christopher Hope of the Telegraph, when other world leaders shunned the idea.[7]

In the right-wing media, the British urge to intervene was coupled with another bout of British Obama-bashing.[8] British militarism is not keen on Obama. The British right-wing media seemed to have identified that the American administration and specifically Obama, as not being as enthusiastic as they in wanting intervention in Libya.

 "Waiting for Washington" declared the The London Times in late February as it praised the 'success' of Geroge W. Bush and Tony Blair in the 'War on Terror' and compared their decisiveness and clarity with Obama's "hesitancy".[9] In another editorial titled the "Essence of Indecision" the paper urged Obama to show "leadership" and referred to ex-Defence Secretary Robert Gates's rebuke of David Cameron's call for military intervention as "inglorious". Naturally, because the Obama administration wasn't then keen on intervention it accuses it of "sowing discord" amongst the western alliance as well as insubstantially accusing Gadhaffi of using foreign mercenaries and child soldiers.[10]

On the 10th March 2011, a report in the London Times, confirms that it is Britain that is taking the lead in wanting intervention and delightedly declared that there is a "glimmer of hope" in the Obama administration in that it is maybe coming round to seeing the Libyan situation their way:

"...British and French officials seeking quicker action from the US, the White House distanced itself for the first time from a policy tied to UN approval, creating a chance for rapid movement after indecision by the White House."[11]

The following, day on the 11th March, a report in the London Telegraph openly queried the nature of Obama's strategy:

"Is it cowardice? Is it indecisiveness? Or is it clever diplomacy?" before concluding that because of

"America's size and military power, the American president does not have the option to remain neutral indefinitely…"[12]

As we all know, the Great Britain, the United States's former imperial master, has always known what's best when it comes to what direction American foreign policy should take.

A comment piece, in the Sunday Telegraph on the 13th March, contrasted Cameron's urge to intervene in Libya with Obama's "paralysis". The author goes go on to "hope" that Obama "follows Cameron's lead, as Clinton followed Blair's lead in Kosovo". However, the writer does possess the honesty, to argue that intervention is in Britain's interests:

"The argument for intervention in Libya is not purely or even primarily humanitarian, however. Even if one sets aside its importance as an oil-producing nation, Libya remains central to Britain's strategic and commercial interests in the region."[13]

It is only natural that the Telegraph editorialized over the next couple of days that Obama's "silence" is "hurting the West" (the 'West' here is a generic metaphor meaning British interests). One of the ways the silence is hurting the 'West' is because: "…staying out of other people's quarrels in the most volatile and oil-rich region on the planet is not a realistic foreign policy."[14]

Is the London Telegraph truly arguing that other people's resources belongs to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, whose head of state wears a crown partly decorated with blood drenched and stolen jewellery, the most famous being the Kohinoor diamond from India?[15]

On the 16th March The London Times once again accuses Obama of dithering or as it says, Obama "hovers and havers" while the British are attempting "to get support for more robust action."[16]

Almost synchronically, both the London Times and London Telegraph reported that David Cameron, the elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is finding it "frustrating" working with Obama.[17]

Did the journalists who regurgitated Cameron's feelings in their respective reports, sit at the same governmental briefing meeting?

On 17th March, The Times in an editorial claimed that Obama is nowhere to be seen and also seems to be threatening that there would be "consequences" for his treatment of European opinion. They further argued, not for the first time, that Obama has been a "brutal disappointment".[18] That is, he has disappointed the British urge to war or is even, God forbid, a liability to British warmongering.

On the same day the Times included a report which confirms that it is Britain and France which have taken the lead in tabling a UN resolution to implement a no-fly zone.

Enough pressure seems to have been exerted on Obama by not only the British but also members within his own administration to intervene. The United Nations adopted a no-fly zone over Libya which was clearly and practically interpreted (or misinterpreted) by NATO to be the spearhead of the "rebels" as they consolidated their positions in Benghazi and advanced into Tripoli before pulverising Gadhaffi's hometown Sirte with Apache helicopters.

It was known all along that the "rebels" included a good proportion of Islamists and specifically members of the, al-Qaeda affiliated, "Libyan Islamic Fighting Group"(LIFG). Indeed, a central figure in this group, Abdel Hakim Balhadj, soon became the "Emir" of Tripoli after NATO led the way in displacing Gadhaffi's forces.  

In the mid-nineties British military intelligence were said to have co-ordinated an assassination attempt with Libyan Islamists on Colonal Gadhaffi and hosted Libyan Islamist up until the London Tube bombings of July 2005. In this period Britain's MI6 and the LIFG were drawn together in their mutual hatred of Gadhaffi.[19]

This co-ordination with Libyan Islamists was merely a specific case of Britian's relationship with the political Islamism which actually runs very deep in history. After all it was the British Empire which armed the Salafist, Saudi-Wahhabi clan when it captured Riyadh in 1902.[20]

However, for Great Britain, two issues arose with taking the lead in instigating intervention in Libya. The first was that it had 'uneasily' left Britain "exposed", as a British minister informed the Times.[21]It would have been much better to remain in the background so if there are reprisals no-one would blame the UK for initiating the intervention.[22]

The strategy of not being exposed or seen also runs deep into Britain's imperial history. In the nineteenth century Lord Cromer based his rule of Egypt on the concealment of political realities which behind the scenes "was only known to a few" and he prided himself on the fact that he remained "more or less hidden and to pull the strings."[23]

The second issue was no sooner than had the military intervention began than Britian (and France) had to crawl back to the United States to bail them out. Or as former U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said, "The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country. Yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the US, once more, to make up the difference."[24]

This clearly abysmal performance of the European states during the intervention has not deterred or dimmed David Cameron, who had let be known that he found it "frustrating" working with Obama and the British media which had openly asked whether Obama is a 'coward', from wanting another intervention in Syria.

And naturally, once again Cameron, is "frustrated" in that he cannot do more to intervene in Syria.[25]Even the killing of the American ambassador in Libya by an Islamist groups has not deterred the British media from clamouring for intervention in Syria.

Lecturing the United States on what its interests are is a British forte and if these interests happily coincide with British global interests, then that is nothing more than a quaint geo-political synchronicity. Iran, the Economist magazine informs in its latest issue is a "committed" enemy.[26] Obviously, the origins of why Iran became an enemy is best left unmentioned. The British initiated coup of 1953 against Iranian democracy, which the Americans bought into (or "dipped their beak" into as Funnici said to the young Don Corleone) and which Obama referred to in his Cairo 2009 speech has no place in this narrative.

As the Economist continued to advocate intervention in Syria over the cold body of the American ambassador, it does so on the basis that "anti-American violence thrives under the tyrants and dictators"[27]. Putting aside that the death of the American ambassador occurred almost a year after Gadhaffi's lynching and also after democratic elections in Libya, the real historical fact is that anti-American violence largely thrives when the United States unquestioningly inherits and applies the strategies and policies of its former imperial master. Whether that be employing political Islamists to target governments perceived to be unfriendly to the United States, overthrowing Iranian democracy or supporting the British-Zionist colonisation of Palestine project.[28]  Indeed, when United States in 1956, helped to bring to a halt the British led invasion of Egypt it briefly enjoyed a period of popularity.
The London Times and Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister and Britain's leading warmonger, have now joined the Economist in showing disdain for the killing of the American ambassador and are prioritising and demanding more American intervention.[29]

The stark issue now is whether the United States will continue listening to its former imperial master or will it accord Arabs the space and non-interference to shape their own future as in Egypt and Tunisia and not in accordance with British interests as in Libya and possibly Syria?


[1] Chris Stephen, 'You know who controls Benghazi? Nobody', The Guardian, 15th September 2012, pg.27 and Martin Fletcher, 'Ambassador's killer 'planned raid with al-Qaeda'', The London Times, 17th September 2012, pp.26.

[2] Jon Swaine and Bruno Waterfield, "UN Plans sanctions to turn up heat for Gadhaffi", Daily Telegraph, 26th February 2011.

[3] Deborah Hayne, "Britain ready to use force to free Libya", The Times, 1st March 2011

[4] Robert Winnett, James Kirkup, Nick Meo and Bruno Waterfield "The West is ready to Use Force against Gadhaffi", Daily Telegraph, 1st March 2011.

[5] ibid.

[6] James Kirkup and Richard Spencer, "Army ready for Libyan mission...", Daily Telegraph, 5th March 2011

[7] Christopher Hope, "Cameron plan for no-zone shunned by world leaders", Daily Telegraph, 2nd  March 2011

[8] The British right-wing media have had intermittent spouts of Obama-bashing since Obama's election. The first bout was when he removed the Churchill's busk from the Oval office and another was the way he treated Gordan Brown in the early part of his presidency.

[9] Editorial, "Waiting for Washington", The Times, 26th February, 2011

[10] Editorial, "Essence of Indecision", The Times, 4th March, 2011

[11] David Charter, Roland Watson and Giles Whittel, "Britain pushes US to agree no-fly zone", The Times, 10th March 2011.

[12] Anne Applebaum, "Libya: Gaddafi is about to force Barack Obama's hand", Daily Telegraph, 11th March 2011.

[13] Matthew D'Ancona, "David Cameron knows what to do about Libya, but does Obama?", Sunday Telegraph, 13th March 2011

[14] Editorial, "America's silence is hurting the West", Daily Telegraph, 17th March, 2011.

[15] Raja Murthy, "India wants its crown jewel", Asia Times, 5th August 2010.

[16] Editorial, "Leadership Needed", The Times, 16th March 2011.

[17] Phillippe Naughton and Deborah Haynes, "Cameron calls for 'leadership' on Libya as rebels lose ground", The Times, 16th March 2011 and Editorial, "America's silence is hurting the West", Daily Telegraph, 17th March, 2011.

[18] Editorial, "Deserted by Obama", The Times, 17th March 2011.

[19] Mark Curtis "Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam", London, Serpent Tail, 2010, pg. 225-231

[20] Gary Troeller, The Birth of Saudi Arabia, London, Frank Cass, 1976, pg.20

[21] Will Pavia, Roland Watson and Giles Whittel, "Britain welcolmes US change of heart over Libya no-fly zone", The Times, 17th March 2011.

[22] ibid.

[23] Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, New York, Meridian Book Inc., 1958, pg.214

[24] Ian Traynor, "US defence chief blasts Europe over Nato", The Guardian, 10th June 2011.

[25] Niall Ferguson, "The British Prime Minister is coming to Washington.", Newsweek, 12th March 2012.

[26] Editorial, "Murder in Libya", The Economist, 15th September, pg. 11.

[27] ibid.,pg.12

[28] Nu'man Abd al-Wahid, "Britain's denial of democracy and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.", Mondoweiss, 20th June 2011 and my "An account of the Guardian's racist endorsement of the Balfour Declaration.", Mondoweiss, 30th April 2012.

[29] Editorial, "Arab Autumn", London Times, 17th September 2012, pg2 and Haroon Siddique, 'Tony Blair says west must rachet up pressure on Asad', The Guardian, 17thSeptember

*Nu'man Abd al-Wahid is a UK based freelance Yemeni-English writer specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World. My focus is on how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its interests in the the Middle East. A collection of articles are posted at