Review of the Year August 2014: UK Muslims condemn ISIS after Foley beheading

Following the apparent beheading in August of US journalist James Foley by a British jihadi Muslim organisations and prominent individuals underlined their opposition to ISIS, their repudiation of Western foreign policy and their rejection of the notion of “collective Muslim guilt.”

The Muslim Council of Britain – the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation – condemned the actions of ISIS.

In a statement the MCB said: “Today we express once again our rebuke of this reprehensible organisation. We are horrified at the abhorrent murder of James Foley, a reporter who initially went to the region to expose the human rights abuses of the Syrian regime. ISIS has murdered this man for no reason at all.

“Each day ISIS seeks to carry out an act more barbarous than the day before, craving the oxygen of publicity to give credibility to their heinous acts. We condemn unreservedly their psychopathic violence, whether it is on minorities, on civilians, or on fellow Muslims.

Meanwhile CAGE, which campaigns for the victims of the War on Terror, chose to focus on Western foreign policy

“It comes as no surprise that The Islamic State have today effectively declared war on the United States,” CAGE said.

“The haste with which the West has stormed into Iraq makes one wonder if they have learned anything from the last decade or so. This is a threat the West created and in many ways is now sustaining by its belligerence.

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“The beheading of James Foley was not only a crude means of propaganda, but also an insight into the political grievances held by members of IS. The orange jumpsuit, the condemnation of America for their latest Iraq intervention, the appearance of a Briton: these are all reminders that Western occupation and human rights abuses are at heart of what is taking place in that country now.”

Muslim organizations also attacked British media values in the wake of what they see as a clamor to tie their faith to the Islamic State’s apparent murder of James Foley.

Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, told the Anadolu Agency that a narrative existed among “right-wing media and some politicians” that Muslims are not doing enough to combat extremism.

“But we have been speaking out since 9/11,” underlined Shafiq. “We condemn the murder of James Foley, but not because the British press tells us to, but because our faith tells us to.”

And Massoud Shadjareh from the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission said to AA that as human beings we “don’t expect Christians, nationalists or socialists to apologise for [Adolf] Hitler.”

“If ISIL self-represents as Islamic or Muslim or any other Islamic term, it neither gives them Islamic credibility, or connection with Muslims around the world; including those who seek political solutions through Islamic political and social organisation.”

British fighter killed in Syria

On August 10 it was announced that a former supervisor at Primark who went to fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) was killed in Syria.

Muhammad Hamidur Rahman, 25, was one of an “estimated” 500 Britons who joined the Syrian rebels in their fight against Bashar al-Assad.

Muhammad Hamidur Rahman
Muhammad Hamidur Rahman

Rahman, from Portsmouth, was shot dead in a gun fight a day before Eid, said his family.

His father, Abdul Hannan, 52, a restaurant worker, said the family received a text message from a friend of Rahman in Syria who informed them that their son was dead.

The latest killing brings the death toll of British fighters in Syria to 19, according to terrorism experts at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College, London, which monitors the war in Syria.

Rahman is the second British fighter from Portsmouth to die in Syria. The first was his friend Iftekhar Jaman, 23, who died in December.

Katie Hopkins

Muslim organisation MEND asked people to write to The Sun newspaper to urge it to sack media personality Katie Hopkins after she tweeted what many considered to be racist and Islamophobic statements.

MEND – which encourages British Muslims to engage in politics and media – said Hopkins’ outbursts hit a new low and offended thousands of British Muslims.

katie hopkinns tweetIn two tweets in August to her nearly 200,000 followers Hopkins insulted the Prophet Muhammad (saw), said she suspected Muslims think it is ok to “rape young white girls,” and said the Rotherham child abuse scandal was about race and “Pakistani rape of white girls.”

Hopkins is one of The Sun’s weekly columnists and former reality TV contestant on The Apprentice and I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here. She regularly appears on mainstream TV channels to espouse her views. She has also criticised Ramadan and advocates the banning of the burqa.

In a statement MEND said Hopkins “made vile and false accusations in a tweet against the Prophet Muhammad (saw)… This ’new low’ for Katie comes just weeks after she tweeted messages about cupcakes and guns during Ramadan disparaging Muslims who were fasting through the month and ridiculing Islam.”

US air strikes

On the international scene President Barack Obama announced in August that the US would make any “necessary targeted strikes” against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq.

“When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” said Obama.

barack-obama-said-all-the-right-things-in-his-first-comments-on-a-syria-strikeUS military planes flew over northern Iraq to drop relief supplies to thousands of civilian refugees fleeing attacks by the Al Qaeda splinter group, a senior defence official said shortly before the US president was expected to make a statement.

“The aircraft that dropped the humanitarian supplies have now safely exited the immediate airspace over the drop area,” he said, after food and water were delivered to Yazidi families outside Sinjar.

A series of ISIS attacks in that area and further east in the Sinjar area near the Syrian border had displaced tens of thousands of civilians.In the latest advance, ISIS or the “Islamic State” extended its control over northern Iraq and moved within striking distance of autonomous Kurdistan.

China ban

Meanwhile, Chinese officials in Karamay banned the wearing of the hijab, niqab, burqa and “youths with long beards” from public transport until the end of a local sports event.

The prohibition on the Islamic dress code would last until 20 August.

In a report by the Karamay Daily, which was carried by national media outlets, officials listed “five types of people” who would be banned from public transport.

They are Muslims wearing headscarves (hijab), veils (niqab), burqas, clothes with the star and crescent moon symbol, and “youths with long beards”.

Muslim Uighur women who wear the hijab, niqab, burqa are banned from using public transport until August 20.
Muslim Uighur women who wear the hijab, niqab, burqa are banned from using public transport until August 20.

“Passengers who do not co-operate, particularly the ‘five types of people’, will be reported to the police,” said the report, which added that all commuters would be subject to bag checks.

“The security measures will ensure social stability and protect the lives, property and safety of citizens of all races,” said the report.

The province of Xinjiang, which is home to the Muslim Uighurs, has witnessed an increase in violence in recent months.

The latest unrest in Xinjiang took place on 28 July in Yarkant County, also known as Shache.

Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua said a group armed with knives and axes stormed a police station and government offices. It said 37 civilians and 59 attackers were killed

But a Uighur human rights group has disputed that account, saying that police had opened fire on people protesting against a Ramadan crackdown on Muslims.

Opinion and analysis

Commenting on the resignation of Baroness Warsi from the government over the Gaza crisis, 5Pillars editor Roshan Muhammed Salih said Warsi wasfiercely ambitious, fiercely loyal to her leader and the Conservative Party, willing to use her “Muslimness” to advance her career and deliver votes for her boss, and ready to apply pressure on community representatives if they stepped out of line.
Roshan wrote:Warsi was the first Muslim to serve in a British Cabinet, the third Muslim minister and the first female Muslim to serve as a minister in the UK – despite the fact that she never won an election.”Over the years she became one of the faces of British Islam, and was often called upon to represent the “Muslim view” on high-profile media appearances. In short she was probably the most influential and powerful Muslim woman in the country.

Baroness Warsi
Baroness Warsi

“But despite all that I always thought that Baroness Warsi was hopelessly out of touch with the community itself. Let’s face it, how many Muslim Tory voters are there that are out there, let alone Muslims who would actively want to espouse Tory party policy on the doorstep?

“Sure, she might have marched against the Iraq war in 2003 but that didn’t stop her backing a host of government domestic and foreign policies since 2010 which the Muslim community by and large rejected.”These included the Prevent policy which is supposedly designed to combat violent extremism, which Muslims across the board have denounced as an ideologically-driven project which effectively spies on Muslims from cradle to grave.

“Then there were the foreign policy disasters since the outbreak of the Arab Spring – the bombing and destruction of Libya, the destabalisation of Syria, the economic war waged against Iran, the propping up of dictatorship in Bahrain. All of which Warsi publicly backed.

“Yet despite her loyalty to the Tory project over and above concepts such as truth and justice, Warsi still found herself attacked by the Islamophobic right-wing media and even opponents within her ranks.”

Making fun of ISIS

And finally, in a satirical article journalist Hassan al Katib poked fun at British Muslims who go and fight for ISIS.

He asked: “Are you young and naive? Just finished a boring university degree perhaps? Are you the sort of person who’s itching to swap your British citizenship for a “Muslamic” one? Or maybe you’re looking for something more worthwhile than arguing on Facebook with Sufis about whether Milad is haram?

“Well I have just the answer for you young lad!

“Takfirism has become the favourite sport amongst Muslamic people in the last few years. Next time someone disagrees with you, on absolutely anything, just make takfir on them! How dare they disagree with you! Your uni degree obviously qualifies you more than most Islamic scholars out there. So what better way to do this than to join like-minded takfiris all gathered together under one banner?

Anjem Choudary
Anjem Choudary is known for making takfir

“But these guys don’t stop at takfir…

“They exterminate! Killing, destroying, and ethnically cleansing has recently become a very fun and well paid job. Those shrines, mosques, churches, religious minorities and Muslim apostates obviously need to be destroyed. How on earth did the Companions (ra) of the Prophet (saw) miss them? No matter, you can put them to shame by showing how much more Muslamic you are. Just don’t forget to say “Takbeer” when you chop or blow their heads off.

“The demonization of Islam and Muslims is just not enough, you’ve got to demonise Islam even more! How dare the Western kuffar do that when the oh-so holy Muslamic warrior, like you, can do it tenfold. This is your opportunity to distort and violate the teachings of Islam…and do it on camera for the whole world to see!

“Your ideal dream of a massive Caliphate that would spread to the four corners of the earth is really going to come true! Just look at what the Great Caliph Osama Bin Laden achieved; he has a state encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the Caucuses. Boko Haram have the whole of Africa right under their control (with Al-Shabab controlling regions in eastern Africa, and Ansar al-Sharia controlling all of north Africa). Even our friend Anjem Choudary has established Muslamic law in London.

“So what the heck can go wrong?”

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