In light of the recent mass murder in Manchester (May 22 2017) and the subsequent attack in London (June 3 2017), again we turn to the abyss to seek answers to myriad questions.
Maybe we’re asking how it could be that Salman Abedi was not part of the current intelligence picture, but was, instead, allowed to fall thru the cracks, until… until it was too late.
It’s a decent question, considering he’d been repeatedly reported to police and authorities (including reports made by Muslims; and his family).
More recently, to highlight that very point, he was labelled by Maajid Nawaz as a “walking red flag,” which obviously he was.
Or maybe we’re turning our attention, and rage, rightly or wrongly, towards Islam; towards moderate Muslims; or towards every aspect of Islam and its every adherent. Rightly or wrongly, but… maybe.
Regardless of where we place our attention, or how well we pose our questions (or how vilely, as many spewing their unrestrained hatred online demonstrate), or how intelligently we’re prepared to go about it… the questions continue to roll out in search of something sensible. Something our intellects can call home. Something we can latch onto — Not only to understand what escapes us, but, more to the point, to implement preventative measures for the safety, wellbeing and preservation of our future.
The Unenviable Task of Security & Intelligence Forces
Recent figures out of Britain contend that presently there exists the security monitoring of 3,000 suspects, determined as extremists. 3,000! Big number, hey?
Until you realize it’s drawn from a pool of 23,000! Drink those figures in for a moment.
Now tell me: How do you keep up with that?
I know on the surface that comes across as a reasonable question. A problem we ought address. But the thing is, if I may say, it’s so the wrong question.
Part of what we have to do is examine what’s needed in order to support the work of security and intelligence forces. Playing this numbers game is simply impractical. It’s also evidentially failing.
The answers — the solutions — rest with
Implementing Strategies at the Ground Roots Level.
Clearly, from the example of Abedi alone, reporting suspicious activity is not enough. Nor is the calling out of behavior.
As much as I’ll agree that that still needs to be done, if for no other reason than moral consciousness, Muslim leaders speaking out, condemning acts of Jihad (terrorsim), does little else. Little good. Sorry, but you have to face this reality.
For instance, Abedi’s Mosque in Didsbury, also known as the Manchester Islamic Centre, announced that the massacre “has no place in Islam or any religion.” If only that were true. If only they were speaking truthfully.
Strap Yourselves In, Folks
Now, I’m not about to make an idle point. So here’s the trigger warning:
If you’ve somebody sensitive to the truth nearby, you might want to put some distance between the two of you because many among us do not want to hear this.
It’s not just that Muslim leaders need to do more than condemn such atrocious acts. It’s more about how can you be sure if such a public condemnation is legitimate? [Did I just hear shots fired? Calm the fuck down.]
With this piece, I’m not oblivious to the fact that I run a huge if not typical risk. That risk being that as we often hear complaints that terrorist acts committed by Muslims are not sufficiently condemned by Muslim leaders, why am I going crook on instances of when some leaders do speak out?
Well, as you’ll see, I’m not blindly doing that. While the message (my message) is not mixed, the confusion comes from the fact that the sources and the motives behind them are both confused and confusing. That’s what’s mixed. And that’s what we’re looking at here.
A Case In Point
A fellow by the name of Farzi Haffar is the Didsbury Mosque’s Trustee. So far, so good. Except… Except for the fact he doesn’t shy away from posting and re-posting anti-Semitic tweets.
Having described Israelis as Nazis, Haffar has been condemned by former British Army commander Colonel Richard Kemp, who said Haffar’s tweets were “Incitement to hatred.” Not great for Haffar’s C.V. Like I care.
Consistent with this, is the fact this very same mosque ensures that they host speakers who platform from, to put it mildly, rather troubling positions. Take one such speaker,
Abu Eesa Niamtullah,
who owns some real gems:
“The problem of course comes … when you start to be more favourable to the people from your own nation and praise them, and support them, and look after them more so than the people from your primary nation which is the nation of Islam.”
In case anyone’s wondering why assimilation is doomed to fail.
“Jews have no humanity, no morality, no ethics, no religion, no guidance, no light, nothing.”
Even just a quick glance of the Quran evidences the doctrinal Islamic hatred for Jews.
“We want to warn our community that these secularists, that these liberal people who call themselves Muslims, are the biggest danger within our community. And we have nothing to do with them.”
Clearly, the pandemic of intolerance is not from the West.
“I am an absolute extremist in this issue in that I don’t have any time for the opposing arguments. Women should not be in the workplace whatsoever. Full stop.”
If that wasn’t enough, this from another of Didsbury’s speakers,
Muhammad ibn al-Kawthari:
“The reason for this impermissibility of saying peace (salam) to non-Muslims is not to show them respect. When one greets them for a need, it is not out of respect.”
“It has been prohibited (in this verse of the Qur’an) to make close friendship and have intimacy with the non-Muslims. There is nothing wrong in seeking the assistance of non-Muslims in order to fight a common enemy as long as the Muslims have the upper hand.”
Didsbury Mosque Has Been,
as has Salman Abedi, linked to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group; has also hosted speakers calling for aggressive opposition to gay men and women; and has been a place where funds were raised (by asylum granted Salah Mohammed Ali Aboaoba) for the al-Qaeda linked group.
So, sorry to say, hearing the Didsbury Mosque publicly condemning any act of terror — or having it take ‘shots’ at Abedi — is simply falling on my deaf ears. Words aren’t just cheap in this case. They’re intentionally deceptive, as the contradictory actions repeatedly prove.
Problem Is, It Doesn’t End There
The mainstream media have cemented themselves, permanently, as the great enemies of the truth. You know this already.
They push — and the greater public willingly buy — an agenda that would be benign, if it were only empty rhetoric, but is in fact deleriously malignant and far more dangerous than many among us suspect.
You know this bit well: It comes in the shape and form of the reckless brandishing of shut downs towards anybody who speaks out. We find ourselves labelled as Islamophobes, racists, and bigots. And this comes, no less and without the loss of irony, from the loud and proud groups of apologists, sympathisers and deniers.
On that, Ali A Rizvi said:
“Islamophobia’ is a misleading word that conflates criticizing ideas (right) with demonizing people (wrong). Over there, they use blasphemy laws to shut us up. Over here, they smear us as bigots to shame us into silence.”
So, just as quickly as out come the candles and flowers and vigils, so too do we see the diversion tactics. At moments of our greatest grief, this technique strikes. Then some of us — many of us — adopt it as our belief that Islam, all of it, is what it’s pushed on us to be.
This Disease Also Infects Government Programs
A woman by the name of Samiya Butt (unfortunate name, I know) holds a position as co-ordinator with Prevent — The British government’s counter-terrorism unit. Miss Butt, ironically as you’re about to see, is responsible for allocating funds locally in Manchester to combat radicalisation.
However, this doesn’t stop her publicly showing support for extremists: Specifically, MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development). In September 2015, MEND organised a 200-strong march in east London to protest against Prevent.
One of Butt’s Facebook friends is MEND’s director, Azad Ali.
This piece of work has vocally supported the killing of British troops, and praised al-Qaeda ideologues and recruiters, such as Anwar al-Awlaki, who also favors railing against democracy:
“ … If it (democracy) means at the expense of not implementing the Sharia, of course no one agrees with that.”
Although we could rightly go on about Samiya Butt (and Azad Ali), let’s leave it here:
In a position of power, at least financially, we have a taxpayer-funded individual who, instead of doing the right thing to protect British citizens from extremism, not only promotes extremist groups, but also shows support for the very group (MEND) that’s calling for Muslims to boycott the Government’s counter terror strategy (Prevent). Not helping.
Before calling me out on the Prevent programme, let me say that it’s most certainly not without its flaws. But now’s not the time to get derailed. We’ll examine Prevent elsewhere.
Let’s Shine a Light on the Glaringly Obvious:
When you have so-called Muslim leaders saying one thing while doing another; and when you have organisations such as Prevent, established to do one thing, while it’s appointed coordinator does the opposite — You’re not going to positively impact upon the moderate Muslim population. Right?
So, the take home message here is to be acutely aware of where any condemnation of terrorism acts come from.
If a Mosque such as Didsbury says one thing while doing a whole lot more differently, questions then have to be asked as to just how much a contribution is being made to worsen the problem.
I guess, you could argue, if places such as this were more heavily restricted, if not removed (no, not a typo: removed), would not the breeding grounds for radicalisation be lessened? It’s an argument worth examining, don’t you think?
Before We Finish Up, One for the Trolls:
I am not one who tolerates being accused of blaming all of Islam or all Muslims for acts of Jihad.
So, let’s be clear: Jihadists are those fighting a holy war for the sole purpose of bringing the entire world under the domination of Islam. That is, the caliphate. It’s not new. It’s not going to be given up on. It’s not going to die a natural death. There is simply no room to move on it. No flexibility about it. No reform of it possible.
That is the danger, the threat, that faces all those of us (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) who don’t comply with and submit to what is clearly a violent, politicised ideology drawn from the very same scriptures that peace-loving, so-called moderate Muslims take their faith.
So, no: None of this means all Muslims; nor all Mosques; nor all Islam. And to prove it, I’ve never asked for nor expected moderate Muslims to apologize or be held accountable for the actions of Jihadists.
But, by all means, those few among you who feel compelled, go right ahead and draw your longbows.
I’m terribly fond of what Maajid Nawaz said:
“Counter terrorism is not to be confused with countering the extremism that breeds it. Here is where the real work lies. And it is this harder task of challenging Islamist extremism within our communities that most politicians, so-called community leaders and media voices are shying away from.”
So, comrades, we need to talk about this, so do tell me what you think. Do we need to insist that Islamic leaders do more than just verbally oppose acts of terror; of Jihad?
Should we not insist that if they want our support, our camaraderie, that they must take the necessary steps to prove to us that they oppose all the acts of Jihad being committed in the name of Islam?
Should we accept anything less than the necessary opposition from the Muslim community, particularly its leaders, to that which is presently demonstrating, without question, that Islam is anything but the religion of peace that many among us purport it to be?