Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My translation: Criminalising Muslims in Britain

The latest article by the brilliant Abd al Bari Atwan, of the London based 'al Quds newspaper' translated into English by Maysaloon:


The British government is currently considering plans which target the Muslim community through categorising its members as either 'moderate' or 'extremists' as part of its anti-terror measures. This could result in the complete opposite of the intended effect and play right into the hands of the the phenomenon known as "Islamophobia" currently sweeping Europe and the United States, giving it an official capacity.

This new strategy, which will be announced officially next month, could turn into laws which reinforce current emergency legislation which has already taken effect, putting all the members of the Islamic community in Britain, which number between one and one and a half million, under surveillance and within the circle of suspicion. Those who will be considered "extremist" are all who fall under one or all of the following categories:

1. Whoever calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate or a unified Islamic nation.
2. Whoever calls for the establishment of Islamic law and promotes it.
3. Whoever believes in Jihad, or armed resistance anywhere in the world including the armed struggle to liberate Palestine against the Israeli military juggernaut.
4. Argues that Islam forbids homosexuality, and that whoever practices it will be punished by the Creator.
5. Refuses to condemn the killing of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Extremism" is another label for "terror" and whoever is stuck with this description could be treated as a terrorist in the worlds airports, harbours and in government agencies, and could be subject to arrest as a threat to national security. The lists of potential terrorists which have been compiled by the National Security Agency in the United States include the names of up to one million people, the vast majority of whom are Muslims, and who are subject to the most humiliating of treatment in American airports, this writers included amongst them.

The fact that they are even considering such lists, let alone plans to implement them, betrays a deep seated racist and exclusionary view of Muslims in Britain, reminding us of the Inquisition in Europe, or the McArthy witch-hunts in the United States, because they make every Muslim a suspect who has to prove their innocence, and condemns them beforehands for their beliefs and not their actions, labelling them as "extremists" because they exercised the right to think and committed themselves to the principles of their religion and its teachings.

This is a blatant intrusion into the religious beliefs of Muslims because their only crime was that they are Muslims who carry non-European names and faces. The Islamic law which is being criminalised by these proposals, and which sees that any who call for it or support it as an extremist, is one of the foundations of the Islamic faith. Even British priests known for their theological knowledge and insight, such as the Archbishop Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury called for their application in some scenarios and integrating some of its laws into British law. For this he was subject to the most vicious campaigns which almost led to his crucificion.

As for what is being said about homosexuality and Islams forbidding of it, that is not exclusive to Muslim extremists. Even the Christian faith is against homosexuality and forbids it, and there are millions of British Christians who deny it in the full light of day, and British law only decriminalised it forty years ago. Why are they [homosexuals] allowed their full rights, including marriage, and it is not allowed of others regardless  of their faith to oppose this in a democratic way?

We also do not understand why these British officials are opposed to the issue of calling for an Islamic caliphate and consider it a call to extremism. For Britain itself is a member of the European Union, with its own representatives in its parliament, as well as a member of NATO, then why does it forbid its Muslim citizens what it allows upon itself and its Christian citizens? Is the European Union halal and the Islamic Union pagan or heretical?

The most dangerous point in this racist and provocative plan is that which is related to Jihad and criminalising armed resistance, even in Palestine against Israeli bloody massacres which are carried out against innocent and unarmed Palestinians. Do the British officials wish for the Palestinians to present bunches of flowers to the killers of their children so that they would not be labelled as extremists? Jihad is an obligation to all Muslims if their land is under occupation by foreign invading forces. The British government itself supported Jihad when it was proclaimed by the Afghan Mujahideen to liberate their lands from the Soviet occupation, and the British capital London greeted the leaders of the Mujahideen as heroes and guests of its government such as Sheikh Subghat Allah Mujadidi for whom the red carpet was rolled out when he visited as head of a delegation of Mujahideen in the early eighties.

It is our right to ask the British government, and any other European government which follows in its footsteps, the same question but in a different way: What is its position towards members of the Jewish community who support the recent Israeli massacres in Gaza and justify it, after it resulted in the tearing apart of the bodies of 1350 people, amongst them 450 children? Will it categorise them as terrorist extremists too who stand in the trenches of a country which is perpetrating a war against humanity? The Islamic communities in the West generally, and in Britain in particular, are being subjected to a dangerous and provocative campaign which is no longer limited to only certain parties and extreme right groups, but is being directed by the highest of government committees too. This is sadly in complete contradiction  with the values of equality, justice, and democracy which count as the core of the modern European civilization whose proponents are trying to propagate and implement throughout the world and in the Islamic world in particular.

Islam is currently being used as a scapegoat, or one of the key tools which are being used by Western governments to promote a culture of fear amongst their own citizens, giving it the excuse and pretext to deny them the civic freedoms for which they have struggled for centuries to gain. These are the freedoms which played the greater role in the modern European rennaissence in all fields. Ms Stella Yemington, head of the British intelligence services (MI5), hit the nail on the head when she warned, in statements she had made recently,of turning Britain into a police state because of the interference of her ministers in the private lives of citizens and the surveillance of their telephone conversations and e-mail messages. Only three months before the British public awoke to news of a police search in the offices of an MP in the opposition shadow government, the confiscation of his computer and the examining of its contents, because he expressed doubts concerning the official figures regarding immigration and other issues, and this has been unprecedented here for centuries.

Such policies which gradually erode freedoms and civil rights for the citizen, converge in their results with the goals of terrorist groups which say that their hatred of the West is because their way of life which is based on freedoms, equality and justice. We are not exaggerating if we say that these policies serve terrorism, and increase the waves of extremism, sowing the seeds of hatred and a feeling of non-belonging in the midst of the Islamic communities, which would make some of their members an easy picking for those who might wish to turn them into human bombs. God forbid, unless this is what the present government is actually looking to achieve.

These proposals represent a grave danger on the security of the British citizen, as well as being in direct contravention to the most basic of human rights which are recognised by international treaties and agreements. For this reason it is important that all parts of British society join together to prevent them from being passed, for it will be considered as a black mark in their history, probably blacker than that on their American counterpart by events such as the torture in Abu Ghraib or in Guantanamo in Cuba.


Lirun said...

security profiling as such i dont mind because it does happen everywhere and it has merits..

but openly classifying people is repulsive..

i hope it doesnt go through too..

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