ISIS Is ‘Failing’ And Becoming ‘Increasingly Desperate’, According To British Imams In Haqiqah Magazine

ISIS is becoming “increasingly desperate” and is failing in its mission to create a Khilafah for Muslims, as thousands of Syrians shun the terrorist group to seek refuge in ‘the West’, leading British Imams have said. The group, also known as ISIL and IS, is “losing” as Muslim civilians flee in their thousands and defectors abandon the terrorist orgainsation.

Contributions from British Imams in Thursday’s edition of Haqiqah magazine will explore why Muslims are fleeing Syria, rather than join the “welcoming arms” of ISIS. The magazine’s editorial highlights that both Muslim and non-Muslim ‘Westerners’ have raised millions of pounds for medical supplies, food, accommodation and clothing for those displaced from Syria.

Haqiqah states: “Now ISIS in their desperation are telling Syrians that they are committing a ‘major sin’ in Islam if they seek protection in the West. According to Daesh [ISIS], this makes thousands of Muslim refugees who are fleeing unspeakable oppression from Daesh, other groups and Assad ‘apostates’.”

Shaukat Warraich, editor-in-chief of Haqiqah, said: “Daesh is failing on multiple fronts, it is becoming increasingly desperate. The mass exodus of refugees has exposed their false claim of having established a ‘Caliphate’ for Muslims in the region.”

Angered by images of refugees fleeing the horrors of the terrorist group, Imams in Britain have written in the digital edition to emphasis their rejection of ISIS. Mr Warraich, added: “A global message needs to go out from every corner of the world rejecting Daesh.”

Shaykha Safia Shahid, contributing author of Haqiqah, said: “Through Haqiqah, British Imams and scholars, will make clear that Islam does not permit the killing of thousands of people, sexual abuse, and the destruction of mosques, churches and other religious monuments. Today, Imams from across Britain have come together to send a clear message. Daesh has no claim and legitimacy to the beautiful and compassionate teachings of Islam; we can see its web of lies unraveling.”

Tony Blair: Islamic extremists’ ideology enjoys support of many Muslims

The ideology which drives Islamic extremists has significant support from Muslims around the world, Tony Blair has warned. The former British prime minister said that unless religious prejudice in Muslim communities is rooted out, the threat from the extremists will not be defeated.

Speaking at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City, Blair said that while the numbers who engage in violence through groups like Islamic State are relatively small, many of their views are widely shared. “The conspiracy theories which illuminate much of the jihadi writings have significant support even amongst parts of the mainstream population of some Muslim countries,” he said.

“There are millions of schoolchildren every day in countries round the world – not just in the Middle East – who are taught a view of the world and of their religion which is narrow-minded, prejudicial and therefore, in the context of a globalised world, dangerous.”

Blair acknowledged that attacking ideas which resonate in parts of mainstream Muslim society could appear to be an attack on Muslims rather than just extremists, but he said such concerns have to be overcome.

“The reality is that in parts of the Muslim community a discourse has grown up which is profoundly hostile to peaceful coexistence. Countering this is an essential part of fighting extremism.”

Young British Muslims alienated by ‘us versus them’ rhetoric of counter-terrorism

The government’s “Prevent” counter-terrorism strategy is proving counter-productive, engulfing British Muslims further in the political rhetoric of the global “war on terror”. It has contributed to a growing moral panic between a British “us” and a Muslim “other”.

A hostile attitude towards Islam and Muslims and a tendency to associate Islam with intolerance and extremism, effectively asks British Muslims to decide whether they are Muslim or British by constructing these two facets of identity as incompatible.

Teenagers I’ve talked to for my research have told me they feel they’re not considered “British” because of cultural and religious differences and the colour of their skin. Yet they’re dismissed by Bangladeshis as “tourists”, “Londonis” and “British” and view their parents’ or grandparents’ country as a place of “holiday” and not “home”. They feel they don’t fit in to British society, yet experience cultural and language barriers with their closest relatives at home.

Their stories are stories of identity crisis, dislocation, alienation, exclusion and upheaval. There are struggles with poverty, deprivation, disengagement, disconnection from language and culture, racism, Islamophobia, the complexity of “home” and the question of “Britishness”.

At the same time, I’ve seen them create a new British-Islamic identity – a new Islam for a new generation. With its emphasis on banking, fashion, entertainment, travel, education – this new trendy and chic British-Islamic identity is highly modern, “western” and “British” in its outlook. The only difference is that many of these young people have a higher degree of spirituality and faith – and perhaps have more facial hair or wear the headscarf.

But they are living inside a moral panic that has been constructed by the government and the tabloid press that depicts British Muslims as the un-British, violent, irrational and terrorist “other”. I’d argue that instead, British Islam is actually a peaceful, spiritual and very “British” community.

Schools are one of the key sites of these tensions, particularly with the onus now on teachers to ensure they are teaching children “British values”. The coalition government introduced the Prevent strategy as part of counter-terrorism measures in 2011, but new legislation that came into force on July 1 formalised the strategy and gave the policy much greater prominence in English and Welsh schools.

Prevent remains problematic. Although the guidelines speak about tackling radicalisation and extremism in all communities, in practice there has been a disproportionately negative gaze and focus on the many Muslim communities across Britain – the vast majority of whom are hard-working, honest and law-abiding citizens.

This has been picked up by the National Union of Students whose “Students not Suspects” campaign is calling for a boycott of the government’s counter-radicalisation strategy. It argues that the policy will have a “chilling effect” on academic freedom, debate and free speech and also contribute further to a rise in Islamophobia and racial profiling of Muslim students.

The vast majority of people attracted to the ideology of terror, violence and murder suffer from deep social alienation and are psychologically disconnected from mainstream society. A study from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University suggests that among other complex motivations, righting perceived wrongs is a major terrorist motivation.

Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) launches “Counter-Terrorism Curriculum” in the UK

This week, the community organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) is launching a “counter-terrorism curriculum” in the UK, which aims to counter Isis recruitment. It is rooted in Islamic texts, drawing heavily on Quaranic verses and the hadith. MQI is run by the Pakistani theologian Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, who shot to prominence in the west in 2010 when he published the first ever fatwa against terrorism. He is the author of ten books on counter-terrorism, which emphasise the Islamic values of compassion, mercy, and peace.

The central idea of the curriculum is to counter extremist ideology through Islamic theology. It is based on the assumption that young Muslims are particularly vulnerable to radicalisation when they don’t know much about their faith, and fits in with MQI’s overarching aim of educating the masses about their religious rights and responsibilities.

“The curriculum can be used in schools, madrassas, mosques, to teach young people that Isis is completely opposite to what Islam stands for, and what Quranic and Prophetic teachings are,” Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for MQI says.

Would teaching a special curriculum stop young people supporting Isis? Photo: Getty
Would teaching a special curriculum stop young people supporting Isis? Photo: Getty

There are many reasons why people join radical groups such as Isis. Fervent religiosity is certainly one factor – and it is frequently ill-informed, as the case of the convicted terrorists who went to Syria with a copy of Islam for Dummies shows. But there are other factors too: the desire for adventure and glamour (Isis excels at online propaganda), social or economic disenfranchisement, the feeling of belonging that comes with membership of an extremist group, the attraction of a “noble” cause or mission bigger than oneself.

We don’t have clear data on who joins extremist groups and why, or on what works to prevent people from joining. In the most basic terms, this means that preventing recruitment requires a multifaceted approach. Theological teachings such as MQI’s curriculum may not be the magic answer to the problem, but they can certainly form an important part of the picture.

Muslims who stop shopping at Marks & Spencer could be radicals, warns top cop

Muslims who suddenly stop shopping at Marks & Spencer could be victims of radicalisation, Britain’s most senior Muslim policeman has warned.

Scotland Yard commander Mak Chishty said that teenagers who unexpectedly stop drinking, socialising with friends or wearing western clothes could also be becoming extremists. Mr Chishty said the danger of radicalisation in Britain today is so steep that he fears even his own children could be influenced by propaganda from terror groups.

 

The stark warning came as the Mr Chishty used a Guardian interview to justify more intrusion into Muslims’s “private space” to counter extremism. It comes with hundreds of Britain’s having fled to the Middle East to join Isis, also known as Islamic State, amid fears they could return to commit terrorist atrocities in the UK.

 

Britain’s security services have recently foiled a number of well-developed terrorist plots to kill policemen in central London. The current terror threat issued by the Home Office is “severe”. “We need to now be less precious about the private space,” Mr Chishty told the paper. “This is not about us invading private thoughts, but acknowledging that it is in these private spaces where this [extremism] first germinates. The purpose of private-space intervention is to engage, explore, explain, educate or eradicate.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW: Dutch professor Jean Tilly compares recent controversial student protests to Muslim radicalism

Background information:

The high ranking Dutch University of Amsterdam (UvA) had been occupied by unsatisfied students for months (since February 25th) before being violently cleared out by the riot police last week. Students were camping in the occupied “Maagdenhuis” which is the main administrative building of the university. Critical students and university professors unified themselves in a new movement called “De Nieuwe Universiteit” (English: The New University) criticizing the university management for their neo-liberal policies and focus on financial revenue. Some of the main demands of the occupiers are more democratization in the university and more influence in the decision making process and university policies for students and teachers. After the violent clearing out by riot police the movement’s latest demand is for the university management to vacate their positions. UvA professor of politics Jean Tillie was interviewed by the Dutch newspaper Het Parool. In the interview Tillie makes comparisons between radical students and Muslim radicals. What follows is a full translation of the Dutch interview. To read the interview in Dutch follow this link:

http://www.parool.nl/parool/nl/4/AMSTERDAM/article/detail/3943357/2015/04/02/Moslimradicalen-Ook-radicaliserende-studenten-zijn-een-gevaar.dhtml

The interview:

Muslim radicals and radicalized students are almost the same

Jean Tillie, professor of politics at the UvA, expects a radical group will unify itself in the student protests. And he warns. In radicalism we can observe democratic phenomenon but it can also be innovative. If students radicalize we all [trans. i.e. prominent figures] visit them in order to profile ourselves. But when Muslims radicalize we view that as a security threat.

The joy over the “Maagdenhuis” started when Jean Tillie (54) saw a picture of parliamentary members Mei Li Vos (Partij van de Arbeid / Labour Party) and Jasper van Dijk (Socialistische Partij / Socialist Party) in conversation with students in the occupied administrative room of the UvA college-chairman Louise Gunning. On the picture you can see someone in the background looking at books about administrative thought.

Tille has been doing research on radicalism for years. When thinking of radicalism people mostly think of Muslim radicals. This is not fair, he thinks. Student who are occupying the “Maagdenhuis” should also be seen as radical. So what then is a radical? “A large amount of distrust towards established elites, combined with an interest in their thought.” This is symbolized by the person in the background of the picture studying the bookshelves.

Do politicians then associate with radicals?

“I can say so because I used to be a radical anarchist. Aside from that radicalism may exist in a democracy right? It is not the same as extremism. But behind radicalism may lurk potential innovative changes. If students radicalize we [i.e. prominent figures, trans.] all visit them because we want to profile ourselves. But if Muslims radicalize we view that as a security threat.”

You think that is hypocrite?

“Radicalism can have something in and of itself that can be revitalizing and innovative. But it also contains democratic phenomena, even if the persons involved claim to be autonomous. I have never experienced democratic people as with the anarchists.”

“The terminology that is used I also find embellishing. My colleague professor Ewald Engelen pleads for the establishment of a “commission of truth” at the UvA [‘waarheidscommissie’ in Dutch. A term used for the commission responsible for the research on the infringement on human rights during the Apartheid regime of South Africa, trans.]. ‘Exactly!’ I think at such a point. Because through that you are actually saying that the UvA college board – just like the regimes of South Africa and Uganda – should be taken to account for their past mistakes, should get out of their position as an elite with an us-and-them mentality, and should reconcile themselves with those who actually give them their worth. In that way you can also see the value of the radicalizing professor, dangerous for powerful elite that operates in the shadow!”

Must politicians always associate themselves with groups that are radical?

“The offices of the management board should always be open. Even for students. And especially for radical renewers. As a politician you should get excited by such means. You must be able to connect aims and means.”

How did such things happen in your time?

“I’ve been a squatter and an anarchist for eight years. I participated in the crowning riots [i.e. the riots during the crowning of the former Dutch Queen Beatrix in 1980, trans.]. When I became 24 years old I stopped. Now I am 54. So I have had thirty years to think about it. And this is my conclusion: leftist radicalism is the same as rightist radicalism is the same as Muslim radicalism. But if it is from the Muslim community, from low educated youth, we tend to act hypocritically and untrusting. If it is about right-radicalism it already becomes much more complicated – take the examples of Breivik and Hans Janmaat [a former extreme rightist Dutch politician, trans.] – and if it is from the leftist community then listening is suddenly seen as a value…

The reasoning of activists is: the elite does not want to listen. Sometimes more radical actions are necessary to be able to achieve something.

“In my time as an activist we also we also organized rather firm actions. And did it have a result? Yes. If we take a look to the anarchist movement – that got little money and support – the profits were not minor. We were against nuclear energy and a further development of nuclear power station did not come to pas. We were against cruise missiles but unfortunately we stumbled upon deff ears there. You could say the housing has improved but not that squatters have been stigmatized as extremists and isolated their public support and because of that their engagement has been lost.

The occupiers of the Maagdenhuis say that it has not been up until now that they are being heard. Before the protests there was no serious discussion going on at the universities.

“If you want to be really effective it takes a much longer process. Then you should have a look at educational programs and departments. And you should translate the radical movement into renewed and better politics. It is not until then that the movement becomes meaningful. So the students should above all be persistent.

Must the students leave the Maagdenhuis?

“No. My proposition is that if you can warrant your own sympathetic aims you don’t have to go away. It was not up until now that serious conversations took place with the college board. I expect a slow recuperation of the communicative trust between the elite who at first did not want a conversation and the group of radicals who are careful of an all-to-quick settlement without the political renewal I just spoke about. If they will leave de “Maagdenhuis” a new divide will come into existence between the elite and the people and a disappointed ever more radicalizing group of students.”

What will happen with such a hardened group?

“It is a very uncomfortable story. Such a hardcore group could be further stigmatized, which was already seen during the student demonstrations and for which a ritual from 1969 was criminalized. Then it becomes extreme. It remains attractive to fight for justice. It is the attraction of democracy, dissimilar to what the racist and aristocratic Le Bon claimed about the mass. Something you get from beautiful human things such as sex of dancing but also through commercial surrogates such as drugs and violence – opium of the people – to obstruct them from real democracy.”

You eschewed violence. Why did you yourself stop being an activist for peace?

“I became a father. But a few years before that another incident happened. We were at a big party in the squatting house “De Groote Keijser” and supporters of the extreme-rightist Hans Janmaat – who just won a seat in parliament – were also present. They celebrated this by beating up a black friend of mine. It became a huge fight and I almost died: I was hit in the face with an iron rod. When I was recovered and returned into the movement people reacted as if I was whining. I was simply the victim of an international struggle. Romanticism withers away in such an activist movement.”

Date: 02-04-2015

– Translated by Jeroen Vlug –

Imams from Amsterdam start website for youth, against radicalism

Five imams from Amsterdam are starting a ‘peaceful jihad’, consisting of a website and meetings where youth can ask questions, to prevent them from radicalizing. They say they want to make clear what the correct meaning of jihad is. Not ‘war’, as many people in general and Muslim youth think, but: ‘striving.’

According to Mohammed Ercharrouti, chairman of the Board of Moroccan Mosques in North-Holland’, radicalized youth have weak theological knowledge, which makes them amenable to the ideas of radical organizations.

The Three Silences of Islam in France

A number of Muslim leaders have spoken up within the last week condemning the violence of the Islamic State, an initiative that Jean-Marie Guénois looks at with caution.

In his recent op-ed he states that the initiative launched by Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, and Patrick Karam, president of Coordination for Eastern Christians in Danger (Chredo,) should be approached with “caution.” Together they launched the “Call of Paris” to condemn “with force and without any ambiguity” the abuses of the Islamic State against the Christian population in the East.

 
Guénois states that “the caution can come from the overflow of verbal condemnations of jihadists that feeds a sound box that is already full. Saudi Arabia, The Arab League haven’t they joined the chorus of complaints in the last few days? This global bubble of violent protests seems to be split, powerless, on the bloody sword blade that is more than ever brandished by these combatants.”

He adds that “Islam is a very sensitive issue for an anxious French public opinion. It is highly charged. Therefore, some don’t want to write a blank check to Islamophobia in our country, but others encourage it.”

Guénois suggests that the overwhelming amount of precautions and denunciations can lead to “indifference in the face of a genuine international scandal. Gross negligence when Christians undergo a mass ‘cleansing,’ as was reported Tuesday, because they do not think or believe in the right way according to the police of Islamist thought.

He states that it is important to closely follow the international conference scheduled for the end of the year “to see if it will be real or symbolic operation.”

Concerning a French plan: “Why are Muslim networks of mosques and different associations unable to detect and foresee the comings and goings of the 800 young jihadists of which the Minister of the Interior still possesses an accurate count? They come from real families, known in their neighborhood. First silence.”

He continues, “Concerning a international plan: Who finances and really controls this self-proclaimed caliphate and who does it benefit? Second silence.”

And finally: “Concerning a theological plan: all Muslims agree that these combatants ‘have nothing to do with Islam,’ but they claim it constantly. What is wrong? Third silence.”

Valls: The Republic stands alongside Muslims

June 26, 2014

Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated, “It’s up to Muslims themselves to act, to refuse fundamentalism and radicalism, which use religion to spread hate and terror. And in this fight—and I want to acknowledge the beautiful text published by the French Council of the Muslim Faith, the Republic will always be on their side.”

His support was voiced at the exposition “Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca” presented at the Arab World Institute in Paris. Valls presented in front of several prominent Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders.

“This is a nation that recognizes the greatness and diversity of Islam,” said Valls. “This is a nation that also says that Islam has its place in France, because Islam is a religion of tolerance, of respect, a religion of light and of the future, miles away from those who twist and corrupt its message,” he stated.

The Prime Minister affirmed that “as in each year,” he would have the opportunity to meet Muslims at the meal breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan.

He promised to send Muslims “A message of confidence; a message which underscores that France is a land of freedom that respects all beliefs, and one that considers the fact that Islam is the second largest religion as an opportunity for France.”

The uncontrolled return of Jihadists from Syria is alarming the Spanish police

March 22, 2014

 

The Spanish intelligence services admitted for the first time that there are Jihadists, belonging to the Al-Qaeda cells returning from Syria to Spain. These are young people willing to do the jihad in Spain after being trained in weapons and explosives. ” We do not know how many have gone and how many of those who have returned. That is the danger, we do not know what we should know. Nobody is able to give reliable figures,”acknowledges a member of the General Information Office.

” The potential danger is brutal. They are people who have already killed. (…)Returnees are the biggest security problem we have, “said a Spanish police official.

So far the only known case of a returned Jihadist is of Abdeluahid Sadik Mohamed, born in Ceuta, age 28, married with two children aged 5 and 6 years old. He participated in the assault on the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad ( Iraq ) to free 500 jihadist prisoners and also participated in the heavy fighting in Syria before he was stopped at the airport of Malaga, in January 2014.

 

El País: http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2014/03/22/actualidad/1395507832_135409.html