The Voting Dilemma

In the run up to the next General Election it’s always interesting to see how people will vote. This year’s surprise election looked like it was a forgone conclusion that Theresa May would hold on to the keys to 10 Downing Street. But as the weeks went along, people started realising that the Conservative Party aren’t as ‘strong and stable’ as they pretend to be. With the ‘dementia’ tax on the manifesto and Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity rising in the polls, it was clear Labour was a real contender. Then the Manchester attack happened. People felt worried and Labour started losing a bit of ground. Then the London Bridge attack happened over the weekend just six days before the general election, leaving us scared about the future of our country.

Both the terrible attacks where in total 29 innocent people died and many were injured, has caused vulnerability and fear amongst many. A lot of voters who were thinking about voting for another party because of the Conservatives hard Brexit approach, austerity, dementia tax to mention a few, are tempted to sway back to them because of this.

What really struck a chord with me was following the London Bridge attack, I watched Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan speak. You could see in both their demeanours, voices and body language how grief stricken they were. You could tell they were upset like anybody would and should be. I also watched Theresa May speak, and all I saw was anger, revenge and harshness. ‘Enough is enough’ she said whilst forgetting that she has been Home Secretary for five years followed by Prime Minister for two years. This happened on her watch. The last ten years have shown how the government’s counter extremism policy and foreign policy has NOT helped lessen extremism. It’s been a failure — if it had worked we wouldn’t have had these attacks. To do more of the same is not going to stop terrorism. A new approach is needed, a new leader is needed.

In one of the televised debates Jeremy Corbyn spoke about diplomacy and how the peace process in Northern Ireland came about with dialogue and a lot of hard work. This is the kind of leader we need. Somebody who has the experience and sincerity to really want to achieve peace. As Corbyn has said in the past, ‘ISIS didn’t come out of nowhere, somebody funds them, somebody buys their oil, somebody gives them arms. You’ve got to ask questions about the arms sales we’ve made to the surrounding states, you’ve got to ask the banks how this oil money is able to go in and out.’ These are the questions that need answering. Corbyn is well aware that you need to find the root of the problem before you can find a cure. It’s all well and good saying we need to clamp down on extremism but how are our young British people becoming radicalised? You have to look deeper into their psyche and delve into where their information is coming from and why. But that’s a discussing for another blog post.

If you look back at Corbyn’s voting record you’ll see he’s always been on the right side of history. Whether it’s voting against the Iraq war, against ID cards, voting for parliamentary reform, greater autonomy for schools..the list goes on.

It’s a tragedy that whilst most people recognise that Corbyn is a sincere and genuine politician — (something that we have been crying out for for years) but are still hesitant to vote for him. We have been disenfranchised by our politicians for years. As an electorate we have been moaning about MP’s and their corruption and untruths. And then when someone truly heartfelt and outspoken stands, we still won’t vote for him. We need somebody like Corbyn to take us into this global age of terrorism. We know Theresa May’s track record, why do we think anything will change? She sells arms to Saudi Arabia and actually says ‘this keeps people on the streets of Britain safe’. Huh? She will increase the defence budget and send our troops into yet another wartorn country, breeding more terrorism.

Yes it’s a risk but what is the alternative? A bad deal or no deal on Brexit? I trust that Corbyn will negotiate a softer Brexit so we stay in the single market, ensuring the best deal for us. The NHS is in turmoil and will only get worse with cuts and underhanded privatisation. For me there is no other choice except Corbyn. I have never voted Labour before and yes as a family we will have to pay more tax, but I am happy to do that because I know I’m voting for the right person for the right reasons. He is the only leader with genuine intentions to make our society better. The day we forego sincerity for something else, is a sad day for our country. It’s also tragic that we let high emotions dictate who we vote for rather than their credibility as a leader.

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The Syrian Problem

Talk of bombing Syria breaks my heart. Syria which used to be a beacon of culture and history in the Middle East is now a place of destruction and war. With 11 million of its citizens fleeing, Syria is in a mess. In order to solve any  problem we need to look at the root cause.

The civil war in Syria started during the Arab Spring where groups of normal Syrians started protesting about the dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad. As Assad’s army started becoming heavy handed with its own citizens, shooting and killing them because they were rebelling against the government, groups started forging, and fighting against Assad’s forces.  Free Syria Army was one of the groups armed with weapons from America and Britain. Another one of those groups were Daesh (Islamic State) who were also fighting against Assad’s oppression and force. Fast forward three years and Daesh have conquered areas in Iraq and Syria, and putting it simply have lost the plot. With their violent tactics they’ve somehow managed to make Assad look like a good guy. When in fact he is not. He’s slaughtered more Syrians than Daesh have, and also used chemical weapons.

This is one of the main reasons I object to air strikes in Syria. In essence we are helping Assad (aka the Butcher) because we are trying to defeat his enemy too. Let’s not forget David Cameron wanted to wipe Assad out in 2013 because of the sheer butchery he’d imposed on his own people.

Another reason is that thought Cameron says there’s an end plan and strategy, he hasn’t said what. He’s acknowledged that we need to get rid of Assad after they’ve dealt with Daesh, but let’s be realistic, how will that happen with Russia supporting him? Will we have the resources? How can that happen without ground troops? We’ve been bombing Iraq for over a year and all that’s happened is that Paris, Tunisia, Beirut and Mali to name a few have been targets, not forgetting the Russian passenger plane departing Sharm El Sheikh.

I still believe dropping bombs will not only be counter productive, it will be a waste of money, not to mention the ‘collateral damage’ ie. more Syrian deaths. It’s a symbolic act of alliance to France, America and now Germany too to go ahead with the bombing. Taking a chance with our security just so our PM can join in with the big boys is irresponsible. There is no evident terror threat from Daesh in the UK. That’s something that has been confirmed, the evidence is insufficient. Yes Paris happened, but Paris is in France, who has been involved in military action in Syria and Iraq for a while now.

I fear that an attack will take place here after Britain join in with air strikes in Syria. I really hope I’m wrong but this move will make it inevitable.

So if we don’t bomb Syria, what should we do?

My answer is that we should withdraw all our troops from Iraq and Syria. In fact withdraw them from all Middle Eastern lands. If Daesh’s war is about reestablishing a warped version of the caliphate then let them. Because in reality they’re not going to get very far — the people don’t want their version of a militant, violent Islam, it just won’t happen. Kurdish fighters from Turkey are already fighting them on the ground. Let Turkey fight them. If they look east let Iran deal with them. On the other side is Jordan, Lebanon,  Saudia Arabia, Israel and Egypt— all countries that are equipped to deal with them. They all have armies, why does Britain and the Allies have to meddle and be involved? Let them have it out. It’s this meddling for decades that has led to the uprising of Daesh.

It may seem radical to suggest such a thing but it’s the only way to make this country safe, long term. If you want to preserve our security here in Britain then get our troops out. Their beef with the West is all about this — occupation.

The other solution is a diplomatic one or one which cuts off their supply to arms and money. Who is buying oil from Daesh? If it’s Turkey, then talk to Turkey. If it’s Saudi supplying weapons then talk to Saudi, after all they’re an Ally.  If it’s not their governments but individuals, then apply pressure on those governments to get that intelligence and do something to stop it. The reality is that there are solutions but the Conservatives want to go to war. They want the kudos and they want benefits which come from war — defence contracts and another foothold in the Middle East.

Tomorrow the government will hold the vote to see how many MPs in Parliament will back air strikes in Syria. If they vote yes which seems to be what is predicted then this is sending the wrong message to Daesh, one of violence and revenge, one that is inviting them to come and retaliate here on our soil.

War should always be the last resort, not the first.

 

 

 

To bomb or not to bomb?

David Cameron is at it again, trying to get support from the House of Commons for dropping bombs in Syria. This time to fight Daesh —previously known as ISIL, ISIS or Islamic State. I am calling them this because the word disassociates itself from the word Islamic and the religion of Islam. Some commentators have begun calling them Daesh which I applaud and to me it just makes sense.

It was only 2013 when David wanted to bomb  Syria’s president Bashar Al Assad but didn’t get enough votes to go ahead. So now he wants to bomb Daesh in Syria and not Assad, even though Assad also wants to get rid of Daesh, as do the Russians, the French and the Americans. Practically everyone, so why does our PM want to get involved too? His appetite for bombing Syria has been there for over 2 years now and I worry it’s more to do with his street cred in the big wide world than anything else. I think it may be just so he can look like a big boy with all the other big boys in the playground. Let the world know that he’s no wimp, he is tough, powerful and important and has the balls to take on Daesh on their turf.

He claims it is because there is a real terrorist threat to Britain, and somehow bombing Syria will lessen that threat. For me that doesn’t make any sense at all. France have been bombing Iraq and Syria for a while and we all know what happened there. Russia is also heavily involved with arming Assad and intervening and their passenger plane was blown up in Egypt killing over 200 of its countrymen. How will it make our country safer? It won’t. I fear it will make the threat more urgent and real.

Britain dropping bombs in Syria is going to kill more Syrians civilians who have already endured over 4 years of war and persecution, creating a bigger refugee crisis which Europe has to deal with — the more bombs that are dropped, the more Syrians will want to leave. It will anger Daesh and spur them on to commit more atrocities most probably in Britain.

In the last ten ears or so, no military intervention by Britain in the Middle East has been successful. Be it Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya, lets face it, its been a shambles. The consequences have left a hot bed for breeding extremism and violence which has only escalated across the region since the invasion of Iraq. In a country like Pakistan, Islamic terrorism was almost unheard of prior to 9/11, but after the invasion of Afghanistan it too has become a breeding ground for extremists, and even has its own Taliban. How many  more countries are we going to bomb? With no exit strategy, you’d think history has taught us what not to do. But no, here we are again debating the same issues that we always debate after terrorist attacks.

The interesting thing is the value of defence companies in the FTSE 100 has gone up this week by 2%. Hmm so who is benefitting from dropping bombs? Not the Syrians, and certainly not us in the West who will be more vulnerable to the terrorist threat.

When Tony Blair went to war with Iraq in 2003, it was only two years later on July 7th when London was attacked by suicide bombers. Coincidence? I think not. The attacks and locations are planned and carefully thought out, they don’t just choose random cities. There is always a political cause with a specific target.

Bombing Syria will be counter productive and will only cause more death and destruction, and make our world a far more dangerous place.

 

 

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.

Charlie Hebdo — Clarifications and Questions

It’s been an incredibly stressful week for Muslims around the globe. The horrific shootings that took place in Paris last week seem to have dominated the news agenda. Despite 2000 people being killed in Nigeria, and Muslims killed and driven out of their homes in CAR, the 17 lives lost in Paris seems to be what everyone wants to talk about. When I say everyone I mean non-Muslims. Muslims are pretty fed up of the hypocrisy, Mehdi Hasan sums it up pretty well in his piece this week. The backlash since the shootings has been extortionate. From mosques being vandalised in France to people like Rupert Murdoch (perhaps one of the most powerful people in the world) stating Muslims are collectively responsible — Muslims are really feeling the brunt of this. We’ve heard condemnations from many Muslim scholars and organisations but what does it all mean and what are we really thinking? Here are some clarifications that I feel need stating.

  1. Murder is a sin. It is haram (not permitted) in Islam. Blasphemy is a punishable crime in Islam. But the punishment can only be carried out within a legitimate Islamic state, after a fair trial has taken place and only then by the appointed executioner. The shootings were unislamic on so many level. For a start France is not a Muslim country nor does it have Islamic laws. Secondly a normal citizen is not under any circumstance permitted to go and murder people they believe have committed blasphemy. I hope I’ve cleared that up? So if you hear Muslims condoning the shootings then they are ignorant of Islamic teachings and have let their emotions run away with them.
  2. Just because I think Charlie Hebdo is a blasphemous publication, doesn’t mean I want the writers/cartoonists dead. I hate the rubbish that Charlie Hebdo print in the name of satire. I AM NOT Charlie. For me Charlie Hebdo represents racism, Islamaphobia, anti-semitism and vulgarity. 
  3. The Prophet Muhammad NEVER responded with violence to anyone who hurled abuse at him verbally or physically. Examples of how he dealt with haters are can be found here.
  4. Depictions of any prophet of Islam are not looked at favourably. I have blogged about the reasons why. To explain further, the Prophet Muhammad is as important to us as a parent. He is our role model, we emulate him and live our lives by following the Quran and using his examples as our moral compass. He was kind, humble, patient and tolerant. From how to eat to how to pray, his example dictates a Muslim’s daily activity. To then go and insult, make crude jokes about him, you can begin to see why Muslims would get upset. Upset, frustrated and provoked are some of the feelings you would feel if somebody kept mocking and insulting your loved one over and over again. Out of 1.8 billion Muslim some will lose their mind and commit violence. Not justified but it should explain why we get so upset. Also note not all Muslims care, some do and some don’t. We are a diverse bunch. The cover of Charlie Hebdo after the shootings showing an upset Prophet Muhammad stating ‘you are forgiven’ and ‘I am Charlie’ didn’t offend me. The actual depiction may offend some people — the image shows Prophet Mohammad with beady eyes and a big nose. Not flattering but then caricatures never are.
  5. There is no such thing as true freedom of speech or expression. In Germany, it is a crime to deny the holocaust, in France pro-Palestinian marches were banned this year after so many Palestinians were killed by Israel, and in the UK a man was convicted for burning a poppy. There are many examples. Many things are distasteful and offensive and editors make decisions every day about what they should print and what they shouldn’t. They don’t want to offend anybody deliberately, which leads to my next point. 
  6. We are British, and the one thing British people don’t like doing is offending. We maintain a stiff upper lip if we don’t like anything. That’s not to say we should always be politically correct, but be mindful of people’s sensibilities. Why is that such a bad thing? Why should we seek out to offend a minority? What is one going to gain out of it? It’s not British and it’s not clever. Perhaps the French don’t have this in their culture? This is not a curtailment of freedom of speech. As journalist and novelist Will Self said on Newsnight — ‘Freedom of speech is a right, and with every right comes responsibility.’ Absolutely spot on, just because we are allowed to make disgusting jokes about somebody, does that mean we should just for the sake of it, without thinking about how it will affect thousands of people?
  7. The media has really whipped up a frenzy with the continuing news coverage of the Paris shootings. Giving attention to terrorists is what they want and we are giving them exactly that. Who were the killers? Were they just evil men who hated the West or was it more to it then that? Finding out what drove them to commit such a dreadful act is important and relevant. Writing them off as evil enemies of freedom is not helpful. The root cause of their actions must be examined. Their background and their upbringing all count.
  8. Stop asking Muslims to apologise. The more you ask ordinary Muslims to apologise the more cheesed off they’re going to get. Christians weren’t asked to apologise for Christian fundamentalist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people so why the double standard? The impression I’ve got over the years is that if I don’t say anything as a Muslim it means that I condone it. Where does this logic come from and why does it apply to Muslim crimes only? 

I’m going to leave it there for now and hope to have a weekend free from terrorism talk. More next week!

    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.

    9/11 Ten Years On

    Everybody likes to recall what they were doing on 9/11. It is a day in history that has truly changed the world. If you can’t remember what you were doing that day, you may as well have been living on Mars.
    I have spent the last ten years going through a whirlwind of emotions. From shock, to guilt, to denial, to sadness.
    I’ll be honest, the day the hijackers flew the planes into the twin towers in New York city, I remember a few people, chuckling. Not realising the severity of the attack, some Muslims were secretly smug about the fact that the Americans have been attacked on their own soil. It was nothing to do with Islam the fact that they felt this, it was because people felt that it was about time America experiences some destruction too, given what some of the Muslim world had been going through. The next few days following on from 9/11, nobody was smiling, as the death toll went into thousands. If anybody knew that so many people would die, I don’t think those initial feelings would have come into play. I don’t think even the hijackers anticipated such success. The fact that Muslims were being blamed for this attack as a whole rather than a few loopy extremists was hard to bear, and still is.

    Since then, Muslims have been trying hard to separate themselves from the ideology that breeds these terrorists. Because the fact is, it is a minority who have these ‘extreme’ thoughts. The Muslim world is over 1 billion strong, how can it possibly be blamed for the action of nineteen so-called Muslims?
    Since 9/11 the growth in groups of ‘Islamists’, ‘Muslim extremisms’, ‘Jihadis’, call them what you like, has increased enormously. This growth can only be attributed to the resulted action taken after 9/11. The ‘War on Terror’ was detrimental to Muslim civil society. It might have been called the ‘War on Islam’, that’s what it certainly felt like. Attacking Afghanistan and Iraq has been the cause of much of the terrorism carried out in the name of Islam since 9/11. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, and understanding why 9/11 happened, America lead by George W Bush undertook a war which has caused more fatalities than the event it was being avenged for. In the search for Osama Bin Laden, the war in Afghanistan then became an operation to ‘liberate’ Afghans. Following on from that Iraq was invaded based on fabricated intelligence stating it was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Then it was to remove Saddam Hussain, and then the cause became ‘liberating’ Iraqis. The American government talks about it’s successes in both regions. What an insult to the families of those soldiers who have lost their lives. What a slap in the face on the thousands of Iraqis who have lost their family members. Children and women, no one has been spared. Just the amount of depleted uranium shells lying around caused by the Gulf War and the current Iraqi war has left a generation of Iraqis with deformities and disabilities. The worst thing is that Muslims are being killed by other (so-called) Muslims in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan, who had little to do with anything has lost thousands of civilians from bomb blasts, suicide bombings and drone attacks from America. Are you with us, or against us? This was the impossible question that Pakistan had to answer. By being ‘with’ America, Pakistan has suffered such loss and destruction, and created a breeding ground for terrorists. Terrorists who want to destroy their own country and kill their fellow citizens. In Islam it is not permitted to kill anyone let alone another Muslim. So how do these terrorists, commit these acts in the name of Islam? Many have little choice. Many young men are drawn into these groups because they are poor and have no other aspirations in life. Similar to gang culture amongst black youth in London, joining an extremist group gives young men a sense of belonging, rebellion and averting their energy into something they think is positive. Of course they are not sold the ideology of violence as an extreme ideology. They are sold it as ‘jihad’. ‘Jihad’ meaning ‘struggle’ and not holy war, which is often how it is translated. It is certainly true that all Muslims are obliged to perform Jihad. I.e. they are asked to ‘struggle’ to become a good Muslim, to spread the word of God by doing good deeds. Sometimes that means rising against oppression and injustice. This is what the recruiters of these groups use to brainwash young men. That and a promise of entrance to heaven and of course those blasted virgins that we hear about so much. And if they actually go the whole hog, and blow themselves up, they are often promised that their family who are left behind will be rewarded money and safety afterwards. This perhaps is the biggest incentive for suicide bombers, rather than those virgins or hatred for the West. There were no such thing as suicide bombings in Pakistan prior to 9/11. Those people who talk about success, and how everything has been worth it because Osama Bin Laden is dead, are severely detached from reality. Osama Bin Laden is one man, and what he’s left behind is a warped ideology that only the desperate and bored share and want to be a part of. We’ve seen from the Arab spring, that change can come in the Arab world in the form of peaceful protest from the people themselves. Unfortunately this has also lead to yet another invasion led by NATO into Libya, freeing the Libyans from Gaddaffi. What this invasion will turn into, only time will tell.

    All I want to say today is, that the harm that 9/11 has caused to Islam is immense and irreversible. Today we shouldn’t just mourn the tragedy of losing 3000 or so lives in New York, but also the thousands of lives lost as a consequence of military action as reprisal for 9/11. I hope God guides these terrorists who think they are doing God’s work, but are infact tarnishing Islam and making ordinary Muslim’s lives difficult. I pray that America thinks hard about their foreign policies, because at this rate the future is looking very bleak.