Paris 13/11

In the aftermath of Paris, where 129 innocent people have been killed in bomb attacks the world seems to have come to a standstill. Whilst watching the coverage as it was happening, me like most Muslims were hoping and praying that ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) were not responsible. But deep down in our hearts we knew, and unsurprisingly ISIL have since claimed responsibility.

We are now expecting the backlash and reprisal attacks. One Muslim woman was already bottled in Fulham, London within 24 hours of the attacks in Paris, and a Muslim woman was abused whilst praying in Australia. This is just the beginning for when Muslim terrorists strike, life becomes increasingly difficult for all other Muslims, especially covered women who are not only identifiable as Muslims but also deemed as easy targets.

The hate on Twitter was immediate and immense, where I read many tweets like ‘Kill all Muslims’ and ‘Get all Muslims out of my country.’ Emotions are running high understandably but whenever an attack like this occurs some people think it is an opportunity to incite racial hatred. We’ve seen it before after 9/11, 7/7, Charlie Hebdo, innocent people die and then Muslims get the brunt of it.

What happened in Paris was sheer horror, it was gruesome and it was bloody but it also happened in Lebanon the day before. It also happened in Baghdad two days ago. Why don’t we care about these lives? Same group, same motives but different lives. Lives that aren’t white, lives that aren’t European or American, why do they matter less?

Is it because we think the Middle East is some medieval part of the world which we can’t identify with? Have we become desensitised to the deaths in the Middle East? Whether they die in Palestine, Iraq or Syria, why don’t we care as much? These are questions we all need to ask ourselves.

Is it because Paris is in Europe, which is geographically near to us or that we all hold special memories from our holidays in Paris? What about those who have family in Beirut or in Baghdad, what condolences have we offered them? Or is it simply because a white life is much more valuable than any other?

In October alone the UN says 717 people died and thousands were injured from acts of terrorism in Iraq. In our heads we can’t even comprehend such a number but this is the reality.

So why France? France along with the UK and USA are involved in air strikes in Iraq against ISIL. ISIL has said in its statement – this is a revenge attack for the military intervention in Iraq and Syria. Make no mistake and please do not believe the politicians who want you to think ‘ This is an attack on our freedom and our way of life.’ No it’s not, it’s revenge for joining Putin and Assad in attacking a shared enemy.

What is almost laughable if it wasn’t so ironically tragic is that Bashar Al Assad has killed more people than ISIL, yet we continue to ignore Assad. Assad has the backing of Putin so we are also indirectly assisting him in trying to destroy our shared enemy. The biggest powers in the world are trying to defeat ISIL and like with any war the enemy will strike back. And it has.

Things are bleak, for all we can do really is hope that the politicians in France, the US and UK don’t make any knee jerk decisions. Like George Bush did after 9/11 and invaded Afghanistan only to find Bin Laden many years later in a different country. Whatever they do decide, and chances are it will involve increased military intervention and violence in the region, only more bloodshed is to follow. Whether it’s our military sending drones to Iraq, or ISIL attacking European cities no one really knows the end game. No one really understands how to overcome the problem of ISIL and how it was created in the first place.

The only thing we can do is try and understand each other and unite against violence whether it’s in Baghdad, Beirut or Paris. Murder is murder regardless of the skin colour or religion of the victims, or the motives of the perpetrator.

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How Social Media Has Made Muslim-Bashing Completely Acceptable

I find it incredible that Islam and Muslims are interrogated and harassed on a daily basis over social media. It just doesn’t happen to people of other faiths. There are people who have Twitter accounts for the main purpose of vilifying and insulting Islam. There are hundreds whose profiles reflect this. Hiding behind the lines ‘British and proud’ or ‘English and proud’, people are happy to espouse muslim hatred.

Read the whole article on HuffingtonPost.com

The case for Abu Qatada

Abu Qatada you could say is a bit like a bad smell, he just doesn’t seem to go away. I recall generally just ignoring any press coverage about him, because I just didn’t want to give this man or his story the time of day. But recently after doing some research on Qatada, I’ve come to the conclusion that his story is the most slandered and misinformed story that the media has churned out.

Abu Qatada – (real name Omar Othman) won his appeal against his deportation to Jordan where he had been convicted on terror charges (not whilst he was actually present in court) based on evidence obtained by torture. The judge here believes Abu Qatada will not receive a fair trial in Jordan and his basic human rights will be violated. Instead of deporting him to Jordan he has been released on incredible bail conditions which include a curfew (4pm-8am), prohibition of using a car or public transport and prohibition of using a mobile phone, computer and internet. One paper had a picture of him getting into a car with the headline along the lines of ‘Qatada with a smirk on his face’. I don’t think these bail conditions constitute a reason to celebrate. The main points to remember are that he has been detained without charge for the best part of 10 years – the longest anybody has been kept in prison without a trial in this country. He has not been charged or convicted for any crime here.

They refer to him as a radical Muslim cleric, he may be, but where is the evidence? They say he incites hatred towards Jews, and apostates. Where are the videos where he tells Muslims it’s ok to carry out terror attacks? Why can we not see them? Where is the evidence?

The Daily Telegraph reported that one of Abu Qatada’s videos were found in the home of one the 9/11 hijackers. Anders Breivik agreed with a lot of Melanie Phillips ideas and quoted from her articles. He actually murdered over 70 innocent people in cold blood. Can we deport Melanie Philips based on this? She often has racist and Islamaphobic views and the audience she reaches is vast as the publications she writes for have huge readerships. Does this not also constitute incitement?

Abu Qatada has been referred to as Osamas right hand man. The Spanish judge who referred to him as this has actually been discredited as a judge, but this has been overlooked by the media. The most extraordinary fact that I have come to learn about Qatada is that he appealed for the release of British hostage Norman Kember in 2005. Kember was so grateful for this that he provided bail security for Qatada back in 2008. Qatada also appealed for the release of Alan Johnston who was kidnapped by gunmen in Palestine in 2009.

If Abu Qatada is so dangerous, why don’t the Americans want him? If he really is such a huge threat to national security, the authorities would not let Osamas ‘right hand man’ alone. If they can kill Osama bin Laden on the spot without a judge, jury or trial why can they not touch Abu Qatada?

Abu Qatada has been treated appallingly since he was first detained back in October 2002. Just think back to 10 years ago 2002, think of all the things you have done and achieved since then. Now think about Abu Qatada who has been behind bars, without a trial without charge for all this time. He has children, he has a wife. Now just think, what if he is actually innocent? 

You and I may still not care about what happens to him, but remember this:

First they came for the communists, 
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
 and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
 and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Muslim.
Then they came for me,
 and there was no one left to speak for me.