Yesterday 5 Pillarz intended to publish a story about how furious British Muslim groups were about the two British soldiers who’d been convicted of sexually and racially abusing Afghan civilians, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.
It would be an easy job, we thought. Just scour the Muslim organization websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for statements of outrage, copy and paste them, and stick them on the site.
But the only problem was … er… there were no statements, no howls of outrage. No nothing.
And this was from the same organizations and prominent Muslim individuals who were jumping over each other to issue apologies for the murder of the British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich. A murder which had nothing to do with the Muslim community and, quite frankly, for which no Muslim organisation should have apologised. In so doing, they simply re-inforced the perceived link between Islam and terrorism.
Here’s a quick reminder of what these animals in uniform did and what “punishment” they received.
At a military hearing in Germany, one British soldier admitted pulling an Afghan boy’s hand towards his crotch; the other admitted racially abusing an Afghan man.
The court was shown video footage of the incident, which took place near a checkpoint, showing the former serviceman with a child surrounded by other soldiers and laughing as he said “touch my special place” several times.
He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,000. The soldier also admitted insulting another Afghan child.
Another soldier – a serving lance-corporal – admitted he was involved in having an Afghan man photographed with a racially-offensive sign, which read “Silly Paki”.
But their patrol commander was cleared of failing to deal with the offences. The three men have been granted anonymity amid fears naming them would endanger them and their families.
To his credit Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation did speak out and condemned the punishments, saying they sent out the message that Afghans are worth less than other human beings. Moazzam Begg of Cageprisoners also highlighted the injustice, rightly saying that it is this kind of activity which radicalizes Muslims.
Personally, I’ve long thought that the British army has a serious problem with Islamophobia within its ranks. A lot of the abuse that Muslims tend to get on social media comes from serving or former British soldiers. I suppose there’s a simple reason for this – when you’re engaged in military action in Muslim countries you are taught to hate the enemy. And in this case the enemy are Muslims. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that a fair amount of British soldiers hate Muslims.
As for the British Muslim organizations which fail to reflect the anger of ordinary Muslims over stuff like this, I think they should perhaps get in touch with their constituencies rather than jump over themselves to please those who hold positions of power.