Remembering Bhashani, Bhola and Political Possibilities

37 solar cycles ago Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani returned to his maker after a long political career struggling for social justice through British Occupied India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

45 years and 5 days ago the south of what is now Bangladesh was struck by a Cyclone which devastated communities and killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Allahumma grant them high station and us the collective wisdom and resources to fortify our communities with justice.

The 24 minute UK documentary below centres a team of British Army Engineers as they arrive without much of a clue of what is going on around them.

The film does feature a moving prayer, a rescue story, the long wait for a Pakistani Officer to arrive and some telling banter with East and West Pakistani officials.

The following 13 months is, as they say, history, though that period could have unfolded in any number of ways.

Maulana Bhashani was an elderly and unwell man at the time of the cyclone, receiving treatment in Dhaka. Awaking miraculously the next day he propelled himself to the disaster zone to greet, console and understand what had happened. Returning to Dhaka he delivered a galvanising call and a tremendous bollocking to central government.

His cry of Long Live Independent East Pakistan came from these gatherings and many say this speech act was critical to what happened afterwards even though Bhashani spent most of the Bangladesh War being sat upon by the Indian Government. There will be prayers and conferences in Tangail, provided the ruling party doesn't ban them like they have in the past, the 'secular' left will celebrate him as their totem, unreconstructed Muslim nationalists and (m)islamists will generally dismiss him.

Alternatively, many of believers will smile, sit and marvel at the oath Bhashani's spiritual-political disciples would utter upon and how understanding him unwinds the deceptive secular-religious elite politics of these unpleasant times.

“I give an undertaking that in Allah the Supreme I profess firm belief. 
I will believe with certainty that Rasulullah is the sent messenger. 
I will abide by all the regulations pertaining to the permitted and disallowed, as propagated by the Messenger.   
I will not bow my head to anyone besides Allah.  
I will endeavour tirelessly  to establish socialism, the only way to relieve all forms of human extortion and embezzlement.   
I will join the volunteers corps of the peasantry to eradicate from society all forms of imperialism, capitalism, feudalism,  usury and corruption. 
I will perform litanies, contemplation, meditation,  prayers and fasting… according to the tariqah of Qadria,  Naqshbandiya,  Chistiyyah. 
Every year on the 19/20th January 5 Magh I will attend the large seminar at Santos, Tangail and assist in the advancement and progression of the Islamic University.”
There is a university named after Maulana, primarily dedicated to Science and Technology, but like all institutions in Bangladesh, hardly free to flourish.  Still, it is really important to imagine the possibilities for learning, research and training at such an outfit, unwashed by flags for counter-tyranical, spiritual, social, physical and ecological learning.


Hasina takes a Dutch Trip

The ruler of Bangladesh arrived home in Dhaka from the Netherlands after a three day visit during which she went to vegetable markets, and discussed collaboration over national security and the Delta 2100 Plan.

As far as I can tell, she wasn't greeted with street protests as Egypt's ruler Sisi was in London this Thursday. I hear that European refrain, that she was praised for Bangladesh's development gains.  Which is rather odd, given that her regime has massacred civilians and continues to torture, kill and deny political rights to its opposition.


The Bangladeshi (Shapla Chottor) and Egypt (Rab'aa) state crime scenarios bear more than just a passing resemblance. They happened just a few months apart, on the back of the mass manipulation movements of Shahbag and Tammarod respectively. They tell the story of Muslims marshalling War on Terror production values, to turn other Muslims into dead meat.

There is crucial difference though. Whereas the Egyptian State massacred protesters in broad daylight, the Bangladesh State could only do it in darkness.

[Incidentally, Egypt and Bangladesh are linked by the 1973 war. Basically, Mujib sent the Arabs some tea and Anwar Sadat decided to send him some tanks in return. These tanks, which didn't have shells in at the time, were instrumental in Col Faruq and Rashid's 1975 coup against Mujib.]

Back in the UK, and I am yet to detect that Corbynistas have been able or willing to join the dots between Sisi, Hasina and trouble. The generally Bangladeshi Labour vote doesn't appear to be in jeopardy, at least now that things have gone post Lutfur Rahman, and we should know by now not to await deliverance from the white left.  In fact, the Bangladesh Awami League has an actual MP in the UK Parliament. Here's an Awami League produced and uploaded video of freshly elected Tulip Siddiq introducing herself and giving a shout out to her aunt, who has left hundreds of widows and mourning mothers in her wake. Didn't she do well?

Somewhere in a parallel universe there is a Begum Rokeya writing a short story about this called Sultana's Nightmare.


An important Bangladeshi political truth is the shitness of the opposition.  Last Eid, a visibly ageing Khaleda Zia visited London and clearly radically changed the world with her speech and entourage. Her party has never been so useless, with leaders either jailed, bought off, good for nothing or surrounded by bigger idiots than themselves. Her son is lucky enough to exhibit all of these great qualities.

Meanwhile, the principle local representatives of Islamism 1.0, Jamaat are keeping a low profile. Without a structure to nurture creative leadership/membership or support independent thinking they are pretty much crippled by internal constraints, as well as external oppression and 1971 ishoos

So given the Business As Usual case of depoliticisation, developmentia and determinism, I was wondering what kind of future the people at Delta 2100 were imaging for Bangladesh.


The year is 2050, and Bangladesh is a middle income country running on Adaptation Hush Money, Remittances and the back breaking sweat of 200 million brows. In light of the 2040 climate refugee crisis and India giving them the finger, the country was turned into an NGO and the capital renamed to Bracottabad. Monsanto and Syngenta have innovated genetically modified khichuri that glows in the dark, making all Bangladeshi's predisposed to chetona or visible to India's Border Security Force. The universities still churn out studies gloating that religiosity is an impediment to development whilst barring religiously educated people from competitive entry exams. That Dutch land reclamation project is still going slow and nowhere, and all the Bangladeshi engineers finally got those high skilled visas to leave, but don't worry, Bangladesh has finally got that Ministry for Intersectionality Chelsea Clinton was campaigning for.


Climate Change, the Protection of Life and the need for Decolonial, not neoliberal, intervention.

This week the Bolivian city of Tiquipaya hosted the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Protection of Life.

A much needed counterpoint to the UN framework, this was the second meeting of its kind, five years after the first in 2010. If the attendance of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and a French Foreign Minister (Chair of the forthcoming Paris talks) is anything to go by, the global power establishment is making  greater efforts to ignore/coopt/defang it.

Here are a few videos about it, one from Telesur, a Pan Latin American news channel, and another by a pretty dismissive White American journalist.


An English translation of the declaration coming out of this gathering can be found here, and will act as an important reference point, just like The Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth. It elaborates on issues that the previous Declaration mentioned and develops some new threads; from the social values (not) built into Climate Science, spirituality in Socio-Ecological relations, the commercialisation of nature and the formation of some kind of International Earth Rights Legislature.

Its a great read and learning resource, like the current Pope's Laudato Si. Critique is centred on capitalism, though colonialism does feature to some extent, racism gets a single passing reference but unfortunately white supremacy is unmentioned, yet without it is Climate Change even possible?


Back in London, OpenDemocracy, a political blog site, is beginning to host voices articulating the colonial continuities that express themselves through climate change, and a Climate Change-themed Friday prayer service(stunt) by Muslim NGOs in Parliament Square reassured some, and inflames neocon Islamophobia industry ( not going to link to that odious website).


Londoner Samiun Rahman: Trapped in the Bangladesh Injustice System

This is a resource page which will be updated as the situation develops

One minute you are trying to settle a family land dispute...then
25 year old London cab operator Samiun Rahman's ordeal began last year in late Septamber, when he was arrested in Bangladesh under dubious circumstances and accused of recruiting Bangladeshi fighters for Jabal al Nusrat and ISIS (who were at war with each other at the time). Samiun had been visiting Sylhet to address some kind of family land dispute. Roughly half the cases in the Bangladeshi courts concern land disputes, and its doubley tricky to get what you want done if you aren't there at the best of times.

"Let's Skin the Cat" says Hasina
The arrest was in time to accent the Prime Minister of Bangladesh's "Partners in the War on Terror" song at the 2014 United Nations General Assembly. Unfortunately, until we arrange otherwise, Hasina Wajed and her Awami League rule over Bangladeshis.  An excerpt of her speech to the UNGA on the 27th September 2014 are quoted below. For her, the global agenda against terrorism and extremism is a useful fig leaf to justify annihilating her political opposition.
"Terrorism and extremism remain major impediments to global peace and development. My Government maintains a 'zero-tolerance' policy to all forms of terrorism, violent extremism, radicalization and religion-based politics. We remain firm in our resolve not to allow any terrorist individual or entity to use our territory against any state. 
The anti-liberation forces continue to remain active in destroying the progressive and secular fabric of our nation. They resort to religious militancy and violent extremism in every opportunity. Under the direct patronage of the BNP-Jamaat Alliance Government from 2001 to 2006, they coalesced to form terrorist outfits, that perpetrated bomb and grenade attacks killing secular political leaders and activists."
"We've no idea what he's facing" says family
Samiun has been detained without trial in Bangladesh for a year now, his family forced to pay safety bribes, and prevented from seeing him. He is under mental distress as reported in a recent Observer article,
“We’ve no idea what he’s facing,” said Mrs Rahman, “which makes it doubly hard. Nobody has seen any evidence against him, even at his bail hearings, where bail has been refused.” She only hears news of him after consulate visits. “Physically he is fine, but mentally he is not doing so good. If someone is held like that in prison for over a year, of course it takes its toll on you; anxiety and depression creep in. He was such a laid-back, easygoing man before this. Fun to be around."
“I don’t believe for a minute he will get any kind of fair trial, and I don’t think it is working in his favour that he is a British citizen, as it suits the Bangladesh government to say that terror is coming in from overseas, that it’s foreigners coming in to commit crimes in the country. These people are simply politically motivated. Samiun doesn’t agree with violence or violent people and it’s very strange to hear his name used in connection with these terror groups.”
Analysing the press coverage

Incidentally the Guardian ( the Observer's anti-Corbyn sister paper) is one of the papers that helped to stitch him up and has institutionalised Islamophobia regarding all matters Bangladesh. Quite an accusation, but it is evidenced by the Guardian's cover-up of the 2013 Dhaka Massacre,and its reliance on likeminded misleading gatekeepers.

It was the motley crew of Shiv Malik, Saad Hammadi and company that wrote a stinker of a piece on Samiun last year, which took the official account at face value.  They did not even feel responsible enough to correct their churn when informed.

The Telegraph, whose Dhaka correspondent David Bergman happened to be in the Dhaka court when Samiun was there, was slightly better, reporting words of the accused and his family.

A BBC video report interviewed a member his family in Sylhet and reported there was a police raid on his home in Holborn on the 29th September. Yo its credit they included a contribution from a CAGE spokesman about taking regime pronouncements with a pinch of salt.

Bergman, blogged about Samiun twice in the following days, first with Samiun's full account to his question in court, and then a few days later focussing on the political benefit to the government of the detention and discrepancies between Samiun's and the official account. Samiun reports that the police detained him on the 24th September from his ancestral village home in Habiganj, while police say they arrested him coming off a train from Sylhet terminating in Dhaka late in the evening on the 28th.

News of how Samiun's jailer in Habiganj extorted money from his family, and the stage management of the arrest were reported by the Independent later in November. It seems that other than occasional visits to check he's not dead, that the UK government is doing sod all. I wonder how they would behave if the victim was white?

Forced disappearances, and (if you are very lucky) reappearances are very common in Bangladesh today, from opposition politicians like late Ilyas Ali, garments activists like late Aminul Islam,  and witnesses in the War Crimes Tribunals, to random Londonis, they tell us about the level impunity with which the state and its enforcers behave.

Samiun's case is not even the craziest involving a UK national. Over the summer following the high profile murder of a blogger, the police pinned it 58 year old Tawhidul Rahman from London who has bad mental health, and who they had detained kidnapped three months previously. His sister, Dr Nasera Begum filed the paperwork to prove it.

What is to be done?
Samiun is basically a young man who had straightened his life out, who has become a pawn in a cruel game between venal elites. He could be anybody. For what its worth, his case needs a strong, ever widening community campaign behind it. A few threads come to mind that might matter.

Ensure that people and networks are more widely informed about the case. Awareness remains low, both amongst relevant campaign communities and the wider Bangladeshi and Muslim communities. There is a kinda cute Justice for Samiun webpage, and the London-based campaign group CAGE pushed out a bilingual press release with good context in August but there is precious little else out there. I have hyperlinked to most of it in this post but do feel free to post more stuff in the comments.

Reach out to support the families affected by this. The mother of a friend affected by an unjust long and cruel detention and extradition told me with great sadness that 'Our friends are afraid to see even our shadows'.  Fear of institutional/social recrimination is a powerful barrier to dignity and mobilisation.

Enrol the concern and support of justice-orientated politicians. By politicians I don't just mean the elected parliamentary sort, but those people you expect leadership, courage and determination from. Does the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn actually mean anything here, or is the party hobbled by the current autocrat's niece being one of his MPs? UKcentrism aside there are many able people who can eat in Bangladesh who chafe under its injustice system, and yearn for a transformation.

Stress the need for justice for all detainees in Bangladesh, especially those victimised by the Global War on Terror and the Awami League's battle to stay in power. The injustice system and political prisoner situation in Bangladesh cannot be ignored and shouldn't.


Stop Sadiq Khan

New Labour, Same Danger

About one eighth of London's voters are Muslim, which is about four times the margin of Boris Johnson's last Mayoral victory. It is almost as if they count.

The other day, a Professor and an Activist blogged each other's stakeholders over the relative merits and demerits of Muslims putting George Galloway or Sadiq Khan as first choices in the 2016 London Mayoral Elections.   It was quite a dull duel hosted by "Muslimwise", a venture of the School of Spies, Prevent and White Supremacist Epistemology.

Our people are soft on Sadiq Khan, simply because he is Muslim, not completely stupid, and therefore perceived as a positive in-of-himself. Critical awareness of him and the political liability that he constitutes has not been developed. Thanks to his recent opportunism however, this message is finally getting through to more people.

What's wrong and what did he do?

To get straight to the point, Sadiq Khan is a slippery little shit. It is unwise to vote for him at any level of preference. Despite this, he is fairly likely to win the position, so I think its useful to dwell on his negatives here for a while.  Whether you simply don't vote for him, pass this on, or peel away from his support group is up to you, but you can't say nobody told you so.

Today, Slippery Sadiq stabbed Jeremy Corbyn, the freshly elected Labour leader, in the press (Sunday). He stabbed him in the Palestine with Anti-Semitism and in the Flag-worship with the national anthem and Ireland. Although its hardly a London decision, Khan, a former human rights lawyer, pledged his support for the UK's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme and its membership of NATO, the biggest killing machines in human history.

Ah, The Brown Sahib's Burden!

Remember, this is the man assigned by Labour to strategise how best to neutralise the threat posed by the Green Party at the last election ( voteswap anybody?), and who worked closely with the establishment to ensure the Tower Hamlets Coup . A man who will always choose his career over something important.


NGO Facility girl

Liberally drawn,
Mediocre pawns,
Of Multicultural Theatre,

Enwhitened noise,
Colonial decoys,
Careers a prominent feature.

To this growing genre,
Of coopted creatures,
I pray alternatives reach you.


Jumma Mubarak and Reflections on the Islamic Climate Declaration

Who said the Art of Shadow Puppetry was dead?
Earlier this week, several mainly western NGOs held an event in Istanbul to develop and launch a joint, Islamic declaration on Climate Change.

I previewed it here.

The webcasts of the gathering were quite difficult to make any sense of, but the corporate communications teams have been busy and successful in messaging the symposium into the mainstream media. To be fair, many people just want a good news story about Muslims, and this air conditioned NGO theatre provides that.

Insofar as it is a confusing distraction from reality, the Islamic Climate Change Declaration functions in the same way as a few score people taking a well publicised Climate Change themed Dump on the Ummah, in order to attract Development Dung Beetles.

This is our Inconvenient Truth

Mistakeholding onto the rope of Allah

I have spent some time raising money and investing in one of the organisations (IR), watching it squander its human resources and grow to embody neoliberalistan, even while helping many people at the same time. It is not that I disagree with Islamic Relief's right to exist unharrassed, but it is important not to foul up the waters for others, blag your way through seriously complex issues and assume the role of a misleading gatekeeper. This is basic ummahtic adab.

It must be hard, being an Islamic Muslim NGO in such an Islamophobic, securitising and secularising environment, but it is harder if you are a street kid in Dhaka trying to survive to the next day without a policeman raping you, or a family in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa trying not to get drone bombed or massacred, perplexed that these UK brothers are patronising you with DFIDy climate adaptation hush money.

Pardon the spelling. [Credit: MTA]
Organisational work in the world is fraught with contradictions and it is harder to stand back and peel away when you find yourself in the position of believing that you are helping Muslims as part of your rizq ( Divine worldly provision). I don't think this malaise is particular to the Muslim experience, it just sucks because its mine.

The Story of The Whistling Lion

The turning point came for me regarding IR came when the organisation spazzed out a few years back over Assed Baig's exposure of a betrayal of mission to relieve people in Somalia. It came just after the scandal at the London-based Muslim Youth Helpline, where the leadership used the extremist card to cover its own incompetence, and subjected its victims, who were unpaid volunteers, to lawfare. On the face of it, IR is a less precarious an organisation than MYH, with much more support and understanding from the Muslim community, so one would have hoped they would have responded more wholesomely.

In my generally inconsequential judgement, instead of admitting fault, they went on a character assassination rampage, suggesting that their corporate image was far too important to them, and that they were not to be mistaken for the selfless inspiration of the Edhi Foundation and the urban justice martyr Parween Rehman of the Orangi Pilot Project. Kudos to it IRs founder Dr Hany for all he did, and all the sincere stuff they have got right over the years, but we do need different vehicles now, and for old vehicles to transform.

The trustees, individual donors, staff and management still need to reflect on Relief-gate and avoid believing their own and their sector's BS. Why do we lionise the Chelsea Manning's and Edward Snowden's and flame our own truth sayers? Because its hard that's why.

Perhaps self-preservation might provide better motivation. There are actually malevolent actors out there collecting evidence to screw Muslim organisations when the time suits them. Can folks learn what the ex Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman and company failed to?

Another thing that Relief-gate casts doubt on is the competence of airdropped and 'embedded' observers of development(ia) "field" work to understand what is unfolding before their eyes "on the ground". We could say that Nabi Khidr taught Nabi Musa this vital lesson.

This is why it is difficult for some, if not many, people to take IR's climate stuff at face value, despite the many lovely humans, barakah and sincerity that inhabits the place.

Back to the Declaration

Formatting facepalm
The text, when it came, was strewn with crucifix's, as if to convey a mystical sense about its inspiration and audience.

Another alarm bell rings when you search for the word justice and you only get the job title of the Lutheran participant.

1400 years of Islamic scholarship, coloniality, white supremacy and reparations were neither invoked nor addressed, lending the proceedings the odour of the vacuous tokenism that characterises this sector.

Enter The Corporate Nafs

The thing about developmentia, which is an inhibitor of our decolonisation so far, is that its so blatantly expressed in public communications.

On the promotional video reel --> , notice how the actual environmentalist, Fazlun Khalid, is featured hurriedly in order to make way for the IR advert for incorporation into the (white) world of  institutional donors.

I couldn't help but dwell on the exclusion of Black voice and the violation of the BDS campaign. And no, its not a petty operational oversight, its actually how this perverted theatre works, through us, to reproduce itself before we even clear our throats.

Its worth bearing in mind that,
  • A 2 degree average temperature rise across the globe will probably cook Africa by 4. 
  • The body of Black Liberation theology is a critical dialogue partner for the Muslims, 500 years plus downstream from 1492 and worse.
  • Current levels of global Negrophobia and Islamophobia amongst humanity suggest that Climate Refugee 'Concentration Camps' in the future are a real possibility. 
  • The spiritual reality of the batin and the zahir, the internal and the external plays out here. It is the turmoil inside some very powerful people has created this institutional, racist climate violence.

Reading the Text

The declaration text was a slight improvement on the draft, which was overly focused on Mitigation and European climate agenda. For a start, Adaptation to climate impacts featured (once). Some of the technical terms were defined  ( through they were unnecessary) and the diversity of the Muslim Ummah's experience of the impacts and contributions of climate change was acknowledged.

Happily though Islam does really shine through sometimes, despite the clunkiness and slapdash composition of the document which still gets bogged down in bullet points.

That triplet of Allah's name's is always going to be inspiring,  Al Khaliq, Al Bari, Al Mussawir - The Creator, The One Who Creates Out Of Nothing,  The Bestower Of Forms.

For the intellectually and spiritually underwhelmed
If you are looking for something a bit deeper, and mistook the stunt for something serious, I'd recommend the Ecology and Environment chapter of Tariq Ramadan's 2009 Radical Reform for a coherent, enlivening and practical read, and all of Seyyed Hossain Nasr's writings and lectures on the topic since the 60s. For creative depth and an idea of what could have been and could still be, there is always The Brethren of Purity's spiritual fiction novel The Case of the Aminals Versus Mankind before the King of the Jinn from the third Century of Islam.

GMOs and The Rights of Creation
One of my major beefs regarding the Istanbul Declaration is that it does not speak directly about Genetic Modified Organisms, which are and will continue to be foisted upon vulnerable societies as a Climate Solution. Farmers in Bangladesh and other places could do with a hand resisting this stuff, as their governments will kill them if they legitimately protest like UK groups do.

Our critique can be spiritual and jurisprudential as well as based on the malevolent corporate intention and health risk arguments. Other Muslim voices have stressed that our Rights of Creation discourse resonates with the Rights of Nature idea from the 2010 Cochabamba Declaration. Although the rights of ants to undisturbed habitation was affirmed in Istanbul, the Rights of Creation discourse wasn't developed enough. It has fascinating legal and scientific implication that I hear the People's Republic of Duriana have been exploring.

MSM Coverage
The coverage of the event has almost entirely been in 'the west', and its interesting to see how different agencies interpret it. Many are picking up on the total decarbonisation line, which apparently makes it strong. The twitter hashtag(firullah) is #Muslims4Climate

Ummahtic Tumbleweed.
Meanwhile I don't think anybody in the Muslim majority countries noticed. But what even if they did?

One question I haven't seen addressed is that often the civil society gangsters in such countries don't really like Islam, so nonsecular work is dismissed and denigrated to the point of hamstringing institutions, scholarship, dehumanising people and massacring them. This is very much the case in Bangladesh at present and gives a sadistic comedy value to Adaptation, Development and Disaster Risk Reduction there.

So What Now?
What I would like to see happening is not a bunch of western Muslim NGOs acting as UN Climate subcontractors, and getting their mates to retweet, but political and epistemic movement. One of the prerequisite of transformative adaptation that Tariq Ramadan points out is "The full and equal integration of all available knowledge".

We cannot really afford for the next generation of Muslim activists, scholars and political movements not to have a decolonial ecopolitics.

I believe that the next climate theatre is taking place in Paris, Oh Allah you have such a rich sense of irony.



My Jeremy Corbyn Resource Page

With some (corporate) opinion polls and analyses suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn could end up leading the Labour Party, many in the Labour-Tory establishment are busy shooting down that very possibility, whilst many others, call them the Loving Left, generally not of the establishment, are gaining confidence.

Meanwhile, in the world of government, the Conservatives are having a whale of a time, taking a dump on child poverty, ditching carbon mitigation incentives and framing the oppressed migrants in the Jungle Camp of Calais with old fashioned white supremacy. 

The public could use a strong opposition with some spine right now, and I feel that a Corbyn-led shadow cabinet, with social movements behind it, could produce that pressure and a platform for some sound ideas to gain wider appeal. 

I am quite fond of Corbyn, who I think has spoken at the majority of the public demonstration and rallies I have ever attended. He is the kind of person that a constituent can approach at any time and place, and he doesn't piss off people like Galloway does. He will appeal to Middle England, because he is a product of Middle England, and how decent it can be. I would hate for him to get Robin Cook'd or Dr Kelly'd.

We do not live in a fair world and mustn't expect defeated political foes to surrender upon the result of a vote. The Tower Hamlets Coup showed us what Labour, the City and the Conservatives are capable of. Currently the Labour Party is spamming its members and surveilling social media profiles of new arrivals for evidence of 'entryism' and 'infiltration'.

Which is why, rather that wetting oneself with glee, supporters and people of good will might best be advised to prepare for counter measures, and strengthen the assemblage of movements, people and resources underlying this political moment. 

I'm going to list Anti-Corbyn Propaganda here...

Terrorist Sympathiser
Soviet Throwback
Tory Wetdream


The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium: Khidr Shrugs

Climate Change is big trouble. As an Indian Muslim solar engineer from the USA put it to me recently, it will make what is happening in Syria look small in comparison. It is primarily a consequence of the system of fossil fuelled industrial development ushered in by European colonialism. The transformations required for human and non-human societies to address climate change with justice and dignity are pretty mind boggling.

Al Khaliq ( Creator), Al Bari ( Evolver), Al Musawwir (Fashioner)

The Muslim context is weird as ever. Let's think of it as a Qur'anicly ecological cosmology, and a set of growing embodied practices, traditions and texts in living connection to places, environments and peoples bearing a variety of colonial wounds, capabilities and power relations. Like much of the world, for the historical Ummah, the post1492 period has largely been one of political, intellectual and industrial annihilation at the hands and systems of European colonial aggression.

Add to this the reality that the Muslim position (Obese oil sheiks, national elites, NGO developmentees and diasporas aside) is largely still at the negatively impacted, trapped but perhaps unknowing victim level and you might say that, we have 'a lot of work to do'.

It is very important not to serve as the developmentor's developmentee.
Growing numbers of Islamic Society graduates don't seem to get it though.
( Source: The Developmentia Project)
Which is why I am not pouring green algae all over the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium that will take place next week in Istanbul, just a bit. After all, many critical minds within the UK Muslim community are legitimately pissed over a certain organiser's commitment to public relations, anti-politics and neoliberalism over service, depth and cooperation.

Great British Fake Off?

Given that Nabi Khidr (our Green Man) taught us the difference between the apparent and the real through Nabi Musa, I sometimes wonder why 'ecoIslam' is such a PRfest. Then depending on mood, whether eco and green prefixatives are just forms of Preventitude

A Summit in Istanbul, the Symbolic Centre of the Muslim Ummah

The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium is being organised predominantly by western NGOs, Muslim and otherwise, including Birmingham-based Islamic Relief Worldwide and IFEES, US-based Greenfaith and Beirut-centred Climate Action Network ( nice bunch of briefings and positions). I wish the gathering receives and delivers justice and wisdom, and will be tuning in.

The proceedings will be live cast here  (below) on Monday and Tuesday, tweeted on #Muslims4Climate and promises to launch a finalised Islamic Declaration on Climate Change. While not the first globally orientated Muslim statement on climate change, I don't expect anything as beautiful as the Pope's recent publication of social doctrine on social, spiritual and ecological justice Laudato Si (Praise Him), in fact I just hope it is a significant improvement on the first draft.

Highlights from the schedule, detailed here, include. (NB. Istanbul time is 3 hours ahead of BST)

  • A 5 minute opening remote address by Prod Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the spiritual and intellectual legend who has been writing about Islam, secularism, science, the sacred and the environment since the 60s. Monday 1045-1050 (Careful you dont blink or you will miss it.)
  • A session of Climate Solutions and the Power of Faith, featuring IIED and ICCAD's Saleemul Huq and CAN's Mohammed Adow. Monday 1130-1300
  • A short series of interventions from 'Muslim Faith Leaders'. Tuesday 1005-1020.
It is what it is, hopefully by the end of it some less familiar voices will be more familiar. Its not like they are going to march through Gezi Park crying 

Labbayk Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk.

What should be, however is another activity, where by the social, scholarly and political movements of Islam and the Muslims sensitise, hone and exercise their eco-politics and their creation-relations. It is not as if there is any lack of interpretive stimulus, whether through the experiences of Kelantan's floods, Karachi's recent heatwave or the coastal erosion and salinisation of Khulna.

A Decolonial Dua

Owner of Judgement, Everlasting, Protecting Friend
forgive us those foolish decisions,
which enclose noble futures,
as we make our way to the minbar.
Guide us in our knowledge adventures,
beyond the accumulation of certification
to generation, political epistemic emancipation.
Protect us from developmentors on the watchtower,
and their developmentees,
Preventing us, from helping us
Selling poverty pornography and non answers.