3.12.15

Sixty odd electoral decapitations, or something more creative?

MPs in the British Labour Party voting for government proposals to bomb Syria.

I advocate reverse doorstepping to give them the respect they deserve.

Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East), Ian Austin (Dudley North), Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West), Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), Margaret Beckett (Derby South), Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree), Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Alan Campbell (Tynemouth), Jenny Chapman (Darlington), Vernon Coaker (Gedling), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford), Neil Coyle (Bermondsey & Old Southwark), Mary Creagh (Wakefield), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Simon Danczuk (Rochdale), Wayne David (Caerphilly), Gloria De Piero (Ashfield), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South & Penarth), Jim Dowd (Lewisham West & Penge), Michael Dugher (Barnsley East), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston & Halewood), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar & Limehouse), Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East), Caroline Flint (Don Valley), Harriet Harman (Camberwell & Peckham), Margaret Hodge (Barking), George Howarth (Knowsley), Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), Alan Johnson (Hull West & Hessle), Graham Jones (Hyndburn), Helen Jones (Warrington North), Kevan Jones (Durham North), Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South), Liz Kendall (Leicester West), Dr Peter Kyle (Hove), Chris Leslie (Nottingham East), Holly Lynch (Halifax), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham & Morden), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Conor McGinn (St Helens North), Alison McGovern (Wirral South), Bridget Phillipson (Houghton & Sunderland South), Jamie Reed (Copeland), Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East), Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West), Joan Ryan (Enfield North), Lucy Powell (Manchester Central), Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North), Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge), John Spellar (Warley), Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Anna Turley (Redcar), Chuka Umunna (Streatham), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Tom Watson (West Bromwich East), Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) and John Woodcock (Barrow & Furness).

BuT

Of course a post industrial white party in the opposition of a fading imperial power was always going to have a problem stopping western revenge attacks after the pre climate conference violence in France.

And

Turkey and Iran, and your respective social constellations are the keys.

May your elites interbreed, interests align, hearts bond strongly and skills grow masterfully together.

1.12.15

Tony's 99

There aren't enough cards in a pack,
Or violence with which to attack,
Blair's line of defence to Assad,
Through Tony Benn's son's revenge bombing charade.

For what it's worth I wish Momentum good LUCK,
This tradition's destroying the earth,
Boiling grannies alive on sustainable jive,
Pouring bombs on the darker nation's hurt.

What to do, what to do, what to do,
From all we have learnt since 2002,
Assemblage & rhizome, let's transform this biome,
Not (further) poison those dear Syrian's stew.

17.11.15

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.

7.11.15

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.

DELTA, FOXTROT, INDIA, DELTA

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.

WITHOUT OPPOSITION

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.

BANGLADESH VISION 2050

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.

15.10.15

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).


11.10.15

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.

20.9.15

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.



13.9.15

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.

21.8.15

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.

#LearningFromFailureMatters
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.

20.8.15

17.8.15

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...

Paedophile
Terrorist Sympathiser
Soviet Throwback
Tory Wetdream


12.8.15

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.



1.8.15

Salahudin Quader Chowdhury: No Executable Code is Associated with This Line

Earlier this week prominent Bangladeshi opposition politician Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury lost his appeal at the Bangladesh Supreme Court against the death penalty for convictions by the country's International Crimes Tribunals ( ICT). He has been in government detention since 2011, and the international press has detailed the torture he experienced at the hands and instruments of the British trained Rapid Action Battalion.

Hailing from a political family based in the port city of Chittagong, known as Islamabad in Mughal times, Chowdhury has served as an MP on 7 separate occasions and was a close adviser to the former BNP Prime Minister Khaleda Zia during her last stint in office. He was in his early twenties during the 1971 war year and according to his witnesses who made it through the tribunal's clumsy rigging, had been in West Pakistan for the duration of the period of the crimes for which he was convicted. The problem is that the Tribunal and the Supreme Court, with their characteristically warped view of the world, has refused to acknowledge his absence from the scene, as corroborated by many of his peers.

Given the maddening BS that we have been expected to swallow regarding people in 1971, BS thats resulted in the judicial murders of Abdul Quader Mollah and Muhammad Kamarazzaman, I think its high time to review the horror stories woven around Salahuddin Quader Choudhury in 1971 and unearth greater truths buried in the rubble of the Bangladesh Motanarrative.

A Roundly Criticised Show Trial

For years before the current Awami League regime came into power on the back of a diplomatic coup, I never thought that fair investigations, trials and resolutions would be possible. I felt that it was just an game of political emotional blackmail on account of the national liberation mythology.  It is a real pity that such a lot of lives, reputations and human horsepower have been dissipated to produce such injustice, but it goes with the territory and didn't have to be inevitable, we(pl) made it this way.

Criticisms of the conduct and integrity of the tribunals have been made by many of humble and of privileged backgrounds. For example there is the independent review by Geoffrey Robertson QC , the Economist of London's coverage of the chairing judge's collusion with a partisan activist and Bangladesh's favourite son-in-law David Bergman long archive of the tribunal's proceedings. Just a fortnight after he was given his original death penalty, an Early Day Motion was tabled in the UK Parliament highlighting the lack of due process in his trial and that of the late Abdul Quader Mollah, who was executed a few months later. It was signed by 32 MPs including people like Jeremy Corybn, Peter Bottomley, Diane Abbot and Michael Meacher.

A distinct political lineage to Year Zero 71sterism

SQC, or SaKa as he is alternatively known, is one of Bangladeshi society's intriguing characters. He represents a genealogy of politics that predates the rise of the Awami League and has never really been scared to give them the finger. His symbolic capital and privilege are independent of Liberation 1971 events and the rise of Bengali Nationalism. That is not to say he is an angelic figure, he still commands immense power over his political enemies from behind a cell.

As a London resident with a Bangladesh facing eye or two, I remember his amazing political insults and his unsuccesful bid during the BNP-JI regime for Secretary General of the OIC, which was viscerally resisted by the Awami League, and deludedly promoted by the BNP at the time. In retrospect it is good that Prof Ehsanoglu won that election, as the pro Islam and pro Muslim Ummah social and intellectual currents in Turkey were and still are in a better place than in Bangladesh.

What I am becoming more interested in is the condemned man's father, Fazlul Quader Chowdhury. The political orphans of Bangladesh, need to take as many of these political bypass figures closer to our hearts for the sake of past mistakes and wider possibilities of the future

He was a political stalwart for 3 decades through more interesting times, who didn't switch allegiance to the Bangladesh cause and died in prison in 1973 under dubious circumstances. There is a slightly hagiographic website about him here.

He was elected General Secretary of the All-India Muslim Students Federation in 1939, and was with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, just before he left for that important mission to rid India of it's colonial yolk during (Colonial) World War 2. Netaji was to offer to relieve the Bengal Famine with food aid from Myanmar, an offer which was refused by the British colonial authority, who censored it. A war crime by any standards.

Interestingly, in 1942 when Fazlul Quader was arrested, one Mujibur Rahman, a rising Bengal Muslim Student League leader, organised a student strike in solidarity with him. Decades later it is said that Fazlul Quader, by then an established trade union and political leader, was to reject Mujibur Rahman's offer of his daughter Hasina's hand in marriage to his son Salahuddin.

I would like to invite people to flesh out this proposal story, because it lends extra humour to some of Salahudin's comments over the years, helps us to understand Hasina's insecurity and more importantly, reminds us that the political elite and cosmology that Bengali Nationalism and its kitsch culture machine has inflicted on us is not the End of History.

There were and there are much more expansive and nobler horizons.

What is to be done?

We do not know how this is going to pan out, but we should speak out against the injustice being dealt to SQC on a matter of principle, not to mention support the family and other people in such predicaments.  We know how institutions in desh act with impunity and seek to destroy any who challenge their control and controllers. We also know how their family, NGO business and ideological networks assist them to tell the stories they want people to know about Bangladesh, and to be heard.

In this light, simply pointing out more accurate and reliable histories and principles of justice is where we should start.

12.7.15

Challenging the bases of PREVENT: The Letter

This Friday (10th) a letter was published in the Independent newspaper, and signed by hundreds of leading academics and activists to express their objections to the assumptions, contents and impacts of the UK government's policies on counter-terrorism. Its a simple seven paragraph affair, which moves a consensus view which is becoming increasingly common sensical to people who think about these matters. The Paper Bird blog has a neat analysis of some early responses to it and you can sign the statement at Protecting Thought here.

It is great to see so many names behind this, which comes towards the end of Ramadhan, as Preventitude is being nationalised by an Act of Parliament, the school summer holidays are in view and the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre is being performed.

The text is a good primer for anyone wishing to orientated themselves around the core of whats the matter here. It has already provided sufficient discomfort for Birmingham City Council's Muslim PREVENT manager to offer a very lengthy facebook response that ran to 1909 words. It included such gems that even his wife doesn't support his PREVENT work, communities distrust him and his employers are too austeritied out to help him much. The Independent letter reproduced below is only 464 words.

"We, the undersigned, take issue with the government’s PREVENT strategy and its statutory implementation through the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 for the following reasons: 
1. The latest addition to the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism framework comes in the form of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTS Act). The CTS Act has placed PREVENT on a statutory footing for public bodies to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism by tackling what is claimed to be ‘extremist ideology’. In practice, this will mean that individuals working within statutory organisations must report individuals suspected of being ‘potential terrorists’ to external bodies for ‘de-radicalisation’. 
2. The way that PREVENT conceptualises ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’is based on the unsubstantiated view that religious ideology is the primary driving factor for terrorism. Academic research suggests that social, economic and political factors, as well as social exclusion, play a more central role in driving political violence than ideology. Indeed, ideology only becomes appealing when social, economic and political grievances give it legitimacy. Therefore, addressing these issues would lessen the appeal of ideology. 
3. However, PREVENT remains fixated on ideology as the primary driver of terrorism. Inevitably, this has meant a focus on religious interaction and Islamic symbolism to assess radicalisation. For example, growing a beard, wearing a hijab or mixing with those who believe Islam has a comprehensive political philosophy are key markers used to identify ‘potential’ terrorism. This serves to reinforce a prejudicial world view that perceives Islam to be a retrograde and oppressive religion that threatens the West. PREVENT reinforces an ‘us’ and ‘them’ view of the world, divides communities, and sows mistrust of Muslims. 
4. While much of the PREVENT policy is aimed at those suspected of ‘Islamist extremism’ and far-right activity, there is genuine concern that other groups will also be affected by such policies, such as anti-austerity and environmental campaigners – largely those engaged in political dissent. 
5. Without due reconsideration of PREVENT’s poor reputation, the police and government have attempted to give the programme a veneer of legitimacy by expressing it in the language of ‘safeguarding’. Not only does this depoliticise the issue of radicalisation, it shifts attention away from grievances that drive individuals towards an ideology that legitimises political violence. 
6. PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent. It will create an environment in which political change can no longer be discussed openly, and will withdraw to unsupervised spaces. Therefore, PREVENT will make us less safe
7. We believe that PREVENT has failed not only as a strategy but also the very communities it seeks to protect. Instead of blindly attempting to strengthen this project, we call on the government to end its ineffective PREVENT policy and rather adopt an approach that is based on dialogue and openness."

We live in interesting times, under an appalling freshly elected government willing and able to cause great havoc with impunity courtesy of House Muslims, white supremacists and confused people. So I welcome and feel encouraged by the letter and look forward to further challenges and adjustments as the summers rolls on.

Conservative Party Muslim Mohammed Amin has done his party duty to defend the policy with a post on Conservative Home on Sunday (12/07). Unfortunately, it seems preoccupied with sounding like an establishment guffaw,  and he doesn't appear to understand very much of what was written. His ill-advised launch into a discourse on logic is one for the archives though.  Lets call that one logicwash.

Amin chooses to dismiss the academic-and-activist letter as offering no constructive inputs, which is his political duty. However, in my reading, the letter offers several take homes for securocrats. I have coded the most obvious in green above, and that excludes the idea that saying something is wrong is also a positive contribution to the dialogical process.

22.6.15

Ramadan Resources

Five or so days into the month of Qur'an and I wanted to index some links to vitalising resources, primarily regarding the Qur'an, but also practices around Ramadan.

I found myself in a room confronted with Islam Channel just before iftari time a few days ago and it dawned on me that people might get the wrong idea. Every year it feels like the very announcement of this becomes weirder and weirder, and the channels are hogged with materialistic hair splitting talk of markets, dates and times which resemble the Bani Israel calf issue quite closely.

As ever colonial powers continue to try and territorialise this time with 'Ramadan Greetings' to their Muslim denizens (Cameron, Natanyahu).  Last year I wrote about this as Ramadamentia, this year the fashion sector and high end hotels have also entered the fray. Neoliberalistan is as neoliberalistan does.

I have nothing against trade or creativity, in many societies Ramadan and the Eids are when creative works are published. Creative socio-spiritual fervour is indeed a flame to stoke, and thats what fasting and diving into revelation intends to.

Fasting not Feasting is a tendency to counter consumerism and gluttony, in order to socially enable piety and transfromation during these times.  Starting some years back as public flashmob iftars, the reality of midsummer, and a wider cooption from the establishment invite different, deeper and perhaps more intimate forms of collectivity to express themselves.

Quranica is a Youtube channel that is providing neat Ten Minute Taraweeh videos from Sohaib Saeed, a hermeneutically grounded Scot.

Meanwhile,  an attempted Muslim by the identity of Field Muslim shares written reflections on his Qur'an readings which are nourished by an Akbarian decoloniality.

Back out of cyberspace and in the real world, the ever intrepid Mehfil Ali have an interesting looking TEDStyle talk approach to their Ramadan programming.

Online Quran tools are quite developed too, if you can stand looking at a screen.

Kais Duke's Quranic Arabic Corpus Project, is a linguistic tool that brings together the power of training artificial intelligence algorithms in league with a community of Quranic scholars who know their stuff,

Tanzil is very good for its sheer breadth of reciters and translations, while I find Quran Explorer 's interface easier for simultaneity of sound and Arabic and English text. These are all developing fast with user financing.

10.6.15

Preventitude : A Newham Case Study


What is Prevent?
CAGE analysis of PREVENT's role in the
generation of though crimes in the UK today.
The UK government's Prevent strategy is a sinister method of manipulating and undermining the Muslim community. State mouthpieces like the BBC would disagree, but even they cringe sometimes, albeit in a smug technocratic resource efficiency and Private Eye orientated fashion that never questions the political fundamentals of white privilege. For that level of analysis, Arun Kundnani has studied the government's approach to what it has called radicalisation and extremism over the past decade and formulated a constructive critique.

However, the odious ghetto of the jobsworths and securocrats responsible for Prevent is not in the business of admitting the degree to which their bogeymen are of their own making. After all, it is far easier to repress the weak than risk the truth. These individuals are paid handsomely by the state, often with competitive pensions to recruit vulnerable people to their nefarious schemes of ummahtic suffocation. What motivates them to choose this life of an open air prison warden is unclear and worth pursuing, theories range from structural learning difficulties to sexual impotence to daddy issues.

For Muslims and others with a decolonial analysis of things, Prevent is a neoliberal representation of a long tradition of coloniality stretching back hundreds of years. It surveils, fragments, disciplines and depoliticises the formation and articulation of a Muslim sense of self, place and community,. The strategy has even been reframed as a Cradle to Grave Police State.  Rendered statutory by the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, it is something we need to understand, resist, survive and recover from.

Rather than be permanently bummed out over the latest bro to sell out, cash in and cause cringing, its high time to respond in the tradition of decolonial Ummahtic Love. To turn the gaze ( and the blade) towards the slow violence of Prevent , Establishment Extremism and the coloniality that makes them possible, is a liberating, positive and politically productive project that I am sure many would like to see operating.

Preventitude and the #NewVic3

Mak Chishti threat upon the bodies, spaces and habits of all Muslim youth was not an isolated incident. There is an entire generation, particularly in the schooling system, being subjected to Preventitude. The term salutes the Francophone African Negritude movement, and articulates a rallying call  to attend to the colonial institution of Prevent. Experience of this unjust set of power relations and weaponry connects not just those trapped beneath it in the UK, but in other locations around the world as powerful governments employ weirder, meaner and more brutal forms of policing souls, minds, bodies and with them the future. After all, the counter extremism kit, of hard and softer varieties is a growing British export to many countries.

A good example is in the country of my immediate ancestry, Bangladesh. Over their the British trained and human rights violating Rapid Action Battalion headed by Benazir Ahmed (who presided over the 2013 Dhaka Massacre ) would not be possible without the UK's  multidisciplinary input into the great War on Terror Scam. Fields of diplomacy, academia, military, education, culture and media operation are integrated into this mutually useful enterprise. Therefore, it stands to reason that calling out and challenging malevolent bullshit in the UK can work towards institutionally, professionally and politically safeguarding vulnerable people and societies all over the world, whether they are in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

Yesterday, less than a fortnight after the exposure of primary school children to dubious surveillance in Waltham Forest, I heard of the suspension of three upper sixth form students from New Vic College in Newham, another east London borough. Punitive measures had been taken against them for their opposition to college Prevent policies and Islamophobia. Given that it is exam season for A-level students, the college's behaviour is disproportionate and stupid at best, if not outright malicious.

Unreal right? You may have attended a wedding
at the nearby Impressions venue.

Justifying his destructive decision, Principal Playfair (!) cites the student's circulation of a petition to students and staff and IT policy as the grounds for their suspension. He talks about a commitment to fighting Islamophobia yet has contributes to it with his actions and doesn't seem to be fighting with Islamophobia's expression through Prevent. Maybe he is one of those post-racials who thinks that because his local prevent officer is brown, that there cannot be anything wrong with it.

Needless to say, the girls' supporters' and sympathisers' at the college and around the country aren't convinced by his initial pronouncements. If inclined to, you can watch the #NewVic3 hashtag on Twitter to see and connect to outrage at this serious institutional student rights violation.  From what I can tell, their petition is legitimate and interesting. It demands honesty, transparency from the senior management and protection of their student rights from the government's Prevent policy and in particular.

Some more politically-seasoned people might have advised a slightly different course of action, had their invitation by the students not been rescinded by the college. The context of the petition was in the aftermath of the college's banning of an event they had organised to critically discuss the politics and meaning of the government's Prevent policy. NUS Black Officer Malia Bouttia and others including local councillor Unmesh Desai were scheduled to speak, but for some undisclosed reason the college students were denied an audience with them.

The Lie of 'contravening IT policy' is enforceable by white power and 'how dare they demand of us' thinking. In reality it resembles an abusive big brother punching you in the gut, throat and mouth, then branding your face with 'enemy of the state' for picking the teeth out of your mouth. I hope the governor's of New Vic are busy making justice out of this situation. This is a school where a teacher can tell a room full of female students that they are. 


“too lazy to run to Syria, carry machine guns and have sex all day.”

and get away with it

I wish these young sisters a successful political and academic education and support their cause. They have shown more leadership than a lot of the fat brown bearded males. I think they should be nominated for a Muslim News Malcolm X Award for Services against Preventitude.

Recognising and supporting courage is one important, but so are the underlying causes of the Prevent Policy Disaster and our particular situations.

Reading Moby Dick in Newham

Cabinet Meeting at Newham.
Newham is a one party state. An East London borough where every single council ward is controlled by the Labour Party presided over the elected Mayor Robin Whale.  Whale plays an effective divide and rule policy on the boroughs different ethnic minority communities, has quite hard secularist views on multiculturalism and diversity and was a key collaborator in the gentrifying orgy that was Olympic Developmentia.

His whiteness, Labour identity and compliance with corporate interest means that he hasn't been subjected to the same scrutinies, dirty tricks, boycotts and lawfare of Lutfur Rahman next door in Tower Hamlets. The lack of headlines regarding his overrepresentation of 16.7% White British community in Newham is notable.

Whale's contribution to this Case study of institutional insanity is his appointment of the much-hated Quilliam Foundation's Ghaffar Husain as the borough's Prevent Officer. Interestingly, the Foundation's founder, Essex-born Majid Nawaz went to college in Newham, where he manipulated student politics, finances and Islam to violent affect. Following the 2013 Woolwich murder he made political value for himself spinning another self aggrandising yarn about the murder of Ayotunde Obanubi at his college.


What is to be done?

To close, the classroom coloniality unfolding in every educational institution around the country is on the increase and we need to tool up. Data and case studies like this one will be plentiful because of the baseline stupidity of institutions. Looking at the situation optimistically, it is a good opportunity to hold up a mirror of coloniality to government functionaries. Intellectuals focusing on race, Islamophobia, civil liberties and human rights discourses will of course be busy.  Muslims need also to attend to the spiritual impacts and connectivities of the problem, both to safeguard young people and better understand the sicknesses inside those who design, enforce and defend preventitude.


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.



5.6.15

When Our Ulama Rocked: Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar at the 1930 London Round Table

In the 30s there were a number of conferences held in London, the grimy heart of the British Empire, to debate the future of India. One of the characters who appears in this discussion is Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, who counted Deoband, Alighar and Oxford ( Lincoln College - History) as his alma mater.

For the alien, that's code for traditional Islamic seminary movement, modernism Muslim experiment and Imperial western academy. He had also been a leader of the Khilafat Movement that opposed the abolition of said institution and moved Indian Muslims and Hindus to restore it.

The text reproduced below is an excerpt of his contribution at the occasion, the full text may be found here. My favourite bit is the non-concentric circle theory for dual Indian and Muslim identity. Note that Maulana made this speech only 6 weeks before his death in London, after which he was buried in Jerusalem.




The iconic image of him with his Khilafat movement hat (tupi) features on the stamps of India and Pakistan shown above, though notice the difference in where they position the star!  Bangladesh, in its nationalist shame at its Islamic anti-imperialist heritage, has not as yet found the breadth of narrative to include this man, not to mention his equally interesting brothers.

Maulana came from a wealthy and well educated family, and was an experienced multilingual journalist and publisher who drew on the quick witted combat poetical tradition of char bait. He was made of steely stuff too.

His grand daughter recounts that when the British imprisoned him, they used the failing health of his two young daughters as blackmail to force him to apologise for his political views. Hearing this, his mother, a mighty Begum (mother of warriors), wrote to him with the advise that if he were to take the offer she would throttle him with her last remaining strength.  His daughters passed on, and he was unable to attend their funerals.

At a time when Muslims sell out very cheaply, to white supremacy if not its coproduced criminal gangsters, even when they have nothing substantial to sell, the example of Muhammad Ali Jauhar is an inspiring one.

Jumma Mubarak!


****



[[8]] The real problem which is upsetting us all the time has been the third problem--this Hindu-Muslim problem; but that is no problem at all. The fact is that the Hindu-Muslim difficulty, like the Army difficulty, is of your own creation. But not altogether. It is the old maxim of "divide and rule." But there is a division of labour here. We divide and you rule. The moment we decide not to divide you will not be able to rule as you are doing today. With this determination not to be divided, we have come here. Let me assure every British man and woman who thinks of shaping our destinies that the only quarrel between the Hindus and the Muslims today is [the] quarrel that the Muslim is afraid of Hindu domination and the Hindu, I suppose, is afraid of Muslim domination. (Dr. Moonje: No, the Hindu is never afraid.) Well I am very glad to hear that. In my country the she-buffalo attacks only when she is afraid; and whatever the reverence of the Hindu for the cow, I am glad he has never the fear of the she-buffalo. I want to get rid of that fear. The very fact that Hindus and Muslims are quarrelling today shows that they will not stand British domination either for one single minute. That is the point to grasp.

British domination is doomed over India. Is our friendship doomed also? My brother took service under the Government and served it for 17 years, but he did one thing for me. He sent me to Oxford. He was always taunting me in the non- co-operation days by saying: "You have a soft corner in your heart for that place called Oxford." I must admit that I had. I spent four years there, and I always carry with me the most pleasant recollections of that time, and I want to keep that feeling. I do have a very soft corner in my heart for my Alma Mater. But I can taunt my brother, too. When he was being tried at Karachi­-when the jury let us off, and there was a British juryman among them, they voted for our release because we were such a sporting lot--my big brother said: "Even if it becomes my duty to kill the first Englishman I come across, if he happens to have blue eyes, my knife will not work; because I shall think of the eyes of Theodore Beck, my late Principal at my old College, Aligarh." There are several Aligarh Old Boys here, and they can bear witness to the fact that we who were brought up at Aligarh by Beck could never be without a soft corner in our hearts for Engl:shmen. Therefore, even if British domination is doomed--and it must be killed here--do not let us kill British friendship. We have a soft corner in our hearts for Great Britain. Let us retain it, I beseech you.

[[9]] One word as to the Muslim position, with which I shall deal at length on some other occasion. Many people in England ask us why this question of Hindu and Muslim comes into politics and what it has to do with these things. I reply, "It is a wrong conception of religion that you have, if you exclude politics from it. It is not dogma; it is not ritual! Religion, to my mind means the interpretation of life." I have a culture, a polity, an outlook on life--a complete synthesis which is Islam. Where God commands I am a Muslim first, a Muslim second, and a Muslim last, and nothing but a Muslim. If you ask me to enter into your Empire or into your Nation by leaving that synhesis, that polity, that culture, that ethics, I will not do it. My first duty is to my Maker, not to H. M. the King, nor to my companion, Dr. Moonje; my first duty is to my maker, and that is the case with Dr. Moonje also. He must be a Hindu first, and I must be a Muslim first, so far as that duty is concerned. But where India is concerned, where India's freedom is concerned, I am an Indian first, an Indian second, an Indian last, and nothing but an Indian.

I belong to two circles of equal size, but which are not concentric. One is India, and the other is the Muslim world. When I came to England in 1920 at the head of the Khilafat Delegation, my friends said: "You must have some sort of a crest for your stationery." I decided to have it with two circles on it. In one circle was the word "India"; in the other circle was Islam, wiih the word "Khilafat." We as Indian Muslims came in both circles. We belong to these two circles, each of more than 300 millions, and we can leave neither. We are not nationalists but supernationalists, and I as a Muslim say that "God made man and the Devil made the nation." Nationalism divides; our religion binds. No religious wars,  no crusades, have seen such holocausts and have been so cruel as your last war, and that was a war of your nationalism, and not my Jehad.

But where our country is concerned, where the question of taxation is concerned, where our crops are concerned, where the weather is concerned, where all associations in those thousands of matters of ordinary life are concerned, which are for the welfare of India, how can I say "I am a Muslim and he is a Hindu"? Make no mistake about the quarrels between Hindu and Muslim; they are founded only on the fear of domination. If there is one other sin with which I charge Great Britain, in addition to the sin of emasculating India, it is the sin of making wrong histories about India and teaching them to us in our schools, with the result that our school boys have learnt wrong Indian history. The quarrels which are sometimes visible in our streets on certain holidays, or quarrels the motives of which have been instilled into the hearts of our so-called intelligentsia--I call it unintelligentsia--by the wrong history taught us in our schools for political purposes. If that feeling, which writes "Revenge" so large over the politics of certain people in India, existed as it does, and if it existed to the extent which it does today, and the Muslims were everywhere in a minority of 25 per cent and the Hindus were everywhere in a majority of 66 per cent, I could see no ray of hape today; but thanks to the gerrymandering of our saints and our soldiers, if there are Provinces like that of my friend Dr. Moonje, in which I am only 4 per cent, there are other provinces where I am 93 percent, as in the Province of my friend Nawab Sir Abdul Qaiyum, for which we demand equal freedom. There is the old Province of Sind, where the Muslims first landed, where they are 73 per cent; in the Punjab they are 56 per cent, and in Bengal 55 per cent. That gives us our safeguard, for we demand hostages as we have willingly given hostages to Hindus in the other Provinces where they form huge majorities.

[[10]] I want you to realise that for the first time you are introducing a big revolution into India;for the first time majority rule is to be introduced into India. In the days of Lord Rama there was no majority rule, or he would not have been exiled. The old Pandu and Kuru rulers, who gambled their kingdoms away, did not have majority rule; Mahmud of Ghazni and Akbar and Aurangzeb did not have majority rule, nor did Shivaji; when Ranjit Singh ruled in the Punjab, he too did not have majority rule; when Warren Hastings and Clive ruled india, they did not have majority rule; and even in the days of Lord Irwin there is no majority rule. For the first time in India, we are going to introduce majority rule, and I, belonging to a minority community, accept that majority rule, although I know very well that if 51 people say that 2 and 2 make 5, and 49 people say that 2 and 2 make 4, the fact that 51 say that 2 and 2 make 5 does not cause them to make 5. Still I am prepared to submit to majority rule. Luckily, hewever, there are Muslim majorities in certain Provinces, and with the federal form of government which is suited to India, not only for the solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem, but is essential for the sake of the Princes also, this is in our favour. The centrifugal and centripetal tendencies are so well balanced in India that we are bound to have a federal system of government there, not as a distant ideal, as the Government of India says, but today, now this minute. We shall leave this conference only with federation established in India, with new treaties made with the Princes, with the consent of the crown and the Princes.