SOAS sudensFaduma Hassanand Feyz ismaldscuss he mpaco he wa onBsh Muslms.
Te so-called ‘War on error’ is nowa decade old. Far rom making ita saer and more tolerant place,the war has made the world moredangerous and less democratic. Inorder to justiy the billions spent onarms and killing, the war on terrorhas provided politicians – romdictators to neo-cons – the pretextor attacking ordinary people.Muslim communities across thecountry have suered the brunt o these attacks: Britain has witnessedan upsurge o Islamophobia in thepast decade. By instituting stop andsearch measures that target Muslimyouth, and by implication attackingMuslim culture, the Governmenthas created an atmosphere orIslamophobia and ar right groupsto get a hearing.
Fuel o ascss
Fascists and racists like the BritishNational Party (BNP) and theEnglish Deence League (EDL)have been revitalised by the waron terror and the portrayal o Muslims as the main enemy. It is tothe credit o groups ghting againstIslamophobia, including Muslimcommunities and campaigns suchas the Stop the War Coalition andUnite Against Fascism, that thelikes o the EDL are still marginal.Media collusion is also part o theproblem. In a recent ComRes survey,29% o people surveyed blamed themedia or the rise o Islamophobiain the UK.Te Norway attacks are a goodexample. Amongst the conusion,the one certainty seemed to be thatthe killings were, and had to be, thework o an Islamic undamentalistgroup, probably Al-Quaeda. Tenit emerged that it was in act thework o Anders Behring Breivik,a Norwegian right-wing extremistwith anti-Muslim views.
Now the Con-Dem Governmenthas renewed a key part o Labour’s‘counter-terrorism’ strategy underthe same name – Prevent. One aimo this is to work with institutions,including universities, which,as Home Secretary heresa May recently wrote, are ‘vulnerable toradicalisation’.University managementsand Muslim societies are beingencouraged to identiy individualswho are potential ‘extremists’ andwho do not subscribe to ‘British values’. Te Con-Dem Governmenthas extended the deinition o ‘extremism’ to include anyone whoholds ideas
consider extremistand liable to lead to illegal activity.But there is almost nounderstanding, amongst thosewho advocate Prevent, o the linksbetween oreign policy choices,in particular the wars Britain hasought in Iraq, Aghanistan, andnow Libya, and the growth o extremism. At the same time, ourcivil liberties – and especially thoseo Muslims – are being attacked.
Cvl lbees heaened
In 2008, Rizwaan Sabir and HichamYezza at Nottingham University werearrested and released without chargeor downloading a copy o the so-called ‘Al Qaeda raining Manual’,a document that is reely availableon the internet, including rom USGovernment websites. From theGovernment’s perspective, identiy yoursel as a Muslim and you’re like-ly to be labelled a ‘potential terrorist’.Universities should be reethinkingspaces, where ideas can be debatedwithout ear or intimidation. I theGovernment was serious abouttackling extremism in universitiesand wider society, it would not occupy Muslim countries, and it would notwaste billions in the process.Tis year, our ght against eeincreases has to be a central parto challenging the Government’swhole austerity plan, and it mustbe waged alongside a vigorouscampaign against Islamophobia.We must expose the lies behindthe war on terror and the backlashagainst British Muslims.en years o war have takenthe veneer o the War onerror. It is little more thana brand to obscure greedor both power and money.You only have to scratch thesurace to see how weak thearguments are.Amidst the propagandais the democracy argument,the idea that democracy can and should be imposedthrough the barrel o agun on people too ecklessto achieve it themselves.Muslims who are supposedly incapable o reeingthemselves have boggeddown the world’s greatestsuperpower with littlemore than Kalashnikovsin Aghanistan, andoverthrown Western-backeddictators in unisia andEgypt.
I we look at the invasion andoccupation o Aghanistan,the test run or Iraq, we can seemore o this hypocrisy. Oneclaim by the UK/US coalitionwas that Aghanistan mustbe invaded to improve thelives o women – as i warhas ever improved the lot o women.en years on, theadministration put in powerby the West has passed a lawallowing husbands to reuseood to their wives i they do not satisy them sexually.While a senior US military igure, when questionedover President Obama’sNobel-winning escalationo the war, explained thatthe President could not beconcerned with the ‘trivialate o women’.Te lies do not stop. TeUS claimes it has withdrawnrom Iraq, leaving it ademocracy. But it ails tomention the 50,000 UStroops and 94 military basesthat remain, and that there isull oreign control o oil.In Libya we see a similarpattern. A month beore thebombing began, the UK wasselling weapons to Gadda, aone-time avourite son o theWest, to use against his ownpeople. Disrupting Libya’srevolution and backing acollection o ormer Gaddamen as the new power inLibya is done on the pretenceo ‘protecting Libyans’.
the wase o wa
At the same time, SaudiArabia, run by ‘riends’whose excesses would makethe aliban shudder, invadedBahrain unchallenged, to dowhat Gadda was doing inLibya: crush pro-democracy demonstrators.All this is paid or by us,and it is here that we cancalculate the impact o wars abroad. Each Cruisemissile ired into Libyacosts £1 million. Each dead‘insurgent’ in Aghanistancosts $1 million.US military aid paid tothe government o Pakistan,incidentally, is then lteredthrough the Pakistaniintelligence to the Pakistanialiban, thus unding theweaponry and operationswhich kill Western troops.How much are we willingto sacriice or oil, proit,and US power?
Aghansan: enyeas o kllng
Joe Glenon, ome solde, conscenousobjeco, and now suden a Leeds Me, eplanswhy we should all jon he taalga Squae massan-wa poes on 8 Ocobe.
Mass Assembly, taalga SquaeSauday, 8 Ocobe 201112 noon onwadsten Yeas On: toops ou o Aghansan, CuWaae no WelaeCalled by Sop he Wa, CND, and BshMuslm inavewww.anwaassembly.ogwww.sopwa.og.uk 020 7801 2768