“THE WEST CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT ENEMIES”

On my daily travels through the vast unforgiving lands of the internet, I recently came across the following three clips about Islam. To me they explain how Islam is being set up to be the current global bad guy. After all, if America and its allies are the global police force, then it needs an equivalent global criminal to chase after.

The first clip shows Jan Oberg, a peace and conflict researcher, in an interview with Russia Today explaining how “the west cannot live without enemies.” Currently this enemy de choix is militant Islam and the resulting terrorism.

In the second clip Peter Oborne, a British journalist, in an interview with Owen Jones talks about Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, foreign policy, David Cameron, and Jeremy Corbyn. He also describes the increasing “soft apartheid towards Muslims” that exists here in Britain, something that seems to be perpetuated by the British government themselves. In other words, once you have chosen an enemy, start to stir up hatred amongst the populace for the enemy. Incidentally, Oborne wrote a pamphlet a few years ago about Islamophobia, well worth a read.

The final clip is of James O’Brein, a brilliant radio presenter for LBC, reading a rather moving letter from a Jewish man writing about the dangers of allowing such apartheid sentiments to progress.

All three clips are less than 24 minutes in total, and all are well worth a listen.


This is a part of the classical fear-ology, installing fear with people so they might accept higher military expenditures…anybody who is part of the MIMAC (Military Industrial Media Academic Complex) needs an enemy to justify it’s use of public funds. You cannot argue for more armament, or NATO membership, or warfare, or interventionism, if there is no enemy. So there has to be terrorism one year, there has to be a Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia another year, there has to be a Brezhnev at the time, or there has to be a Putin at the time, there has to be a China at a time. The west cannot live without enemies, it’s part of our self-perception. And that’s why it was extraordinary when one of Gorbachev’s advisors said “We are going to do a terrible thing to you in the west, we are going to deprive you of an enemy.”

– Jan Oberg, on Russia Today, Jan 2016


There is an emergence in Britain of a sort of soft apartheid towards Muslims…The government has constructed a narrative about Islam in Britain which distinguishes between good Muslims, i.e. people who have basically become secular, and bad Muslims, those who are devout. I think it is very negligent about anti-Muslim hatred and anti-Muslim bigotry. I think they have invented a new kind of concept called ‘non-violent extremism’ which is a kind of word for thought crime.

– Peter Oborne, Jan 2016


“Dear James,

I heard you mentioned that you want to avoid conversation about the ongoing anti-Muslim rhetoric that is so prominent in the press at the moment, but I really think you missed a trick here.

I just wanted to say that although I am not a religious man I have a strong Jewish heritage. Today being the 71st anniversary of the Holocaust, which is very personal to me for obvious reasons, I think we really need to make the link of how Muslims are being subjected daily to such lazy prejudices, just as my ancestors were, all those years ago.

On this day of remembrance Jews, more than anyone, need to stand up for the Muslim community and the vile rubbish that is spouted in the press pretty much every day. Leave all that Middle East nonsense to one side for the moment, we need to remember that it was not that long ago it was us who were on the receiving end of this type of treatment, and we all know where that ended up.

A lot of my family emigrated from white Russia during the pogroms in the early 19th century to settle in the slums of east London, where it was commonplace to see signs reading ‘No dogs, no Irish, no Jews’. It feels like we’re receding into a society that is happy to say ‘No Muslims’. Just look at what’s going on in the States with that lunatic Donald Trump. We simply cannot tolerate this. That’s all I wanted to say.

Keep the peace.”

Josh, on today of all days I am happy to provide you with an opportunity to bring that message to a slightly wider audience, in the probably naive hope that some people might listen.

– James O’Brein, reading a letter from a Jewish man

Islam At The Movies

Let us not get into the Islamic debate of whether movies are permissible or otherwise, are Muslims allowed to go to the cinema, etc. Instead let us acknowledge that a lot has been said and written about Islam and the movies, or certain movies in particular.

Below are various links and quotes related to Islam and the movies and, yes, I may have blogged about some of these before. Anyways, enjoy!


Muslim Actors…

There are plenty of famous Muslim actors, not just Omar Sharif. Here’s a list of 6 of them. And here’s another more comprehensive list.

And here’s an article by Jon Ronson about a group of Muslim actors talking about their experiences in Hollywoodland.

terrorist-gq-2015-01


Francis Ford Coppola on Islam and the Qur’an…

The legendary director of the Godfather trilogy talks quite beautifully about Islam. I have blogged about this before, with the full transcript here:


Lord Of The Rings…

Many have written about the “obvious” links between Islam and the Lord Of The Rings movies, such as Kashif Hussain and his article entitled ‘Islam and the Tolkien’s Narrative’.

There is also a brilliant article by Abdul Sattar Ahmed entitled ‘Lord of the Rings: All That is Gold Does Not Glitter’.

YouTube is also full of various end time theories related to LOTR, such as:

If you really want a conspiratorial head trip, watch this:

The clip below of Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa is one that I found really interesting, with reference to a ring in the possession of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:


Star Wars…

The new Star Wars movie is on route to become the highest grossing movie of all time. Like the LOTR movies, much has been written about the Star Wars–Islam connection.

Dr H A Hellyer wrote an article asking ‘Star Wars’ or ISIS: Which is more Islamic?

Terence Nunis has also written an article where he has said: “From a Muslim perspective, the similarities between the Jedi and the Islamic traditions of instruction are strikingly similar.”

The article by Irfan Rydhan is my favourite, saying that “Even though Lucas himself is not a follower of any specific religion, he has used elements of Islam (as well as other world religions) to convey the universal understandings of good and evil.”


Reel Bad Arabs…

Reel Bad Arabs started out as a book by Jack Shaheen, and recently was turned into a documentary. Shaheen documents the representation of Arabs and Muslims in movies:

Shaheen does have a point, because I have seen some rather weird and wonderful Muslim prayer techniques in various movies:

It’s not all bad though. Here’s 10 Positive ‘Hollywood’ Movies about Muslims and Islam.


Shakespeare and Islam…

The influence of William Shakespeare on western and eastern culture is unquestionable, with many a Shakespeare play turned into a Hollywood movie.

But was he a Muslim? Was he really Shaykh Zubair? Muslim academic Dr Martin Lings argues in a Guardian article “that the guiding principles of Sufi thought are evident in Shakespeare’s writing.”

Here is Lings talking about the spirituality of the Bard:

I end with my favourite Muslim scholar, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, talking at length about Shakespeare and Islam:


So, as you can see, we Muslims and our faith are ever present in Hollywood, in more ways than perhaps assumed. Sure, things could be better, but hopefully over time we will see more positive roles for Muslims. Bring on Reel Good Arabs!

19 CARTOONS ABOUT ISIS AND TRUMP

Whilst Donald Trump is painting himself into an absurd parody of Donald Trump, ISIS are painting Islam into an absurd parody of Islam.

In my experience most people sincerely want to see a true picture of Islam. However, they are being shown many pictures of Islam, the vast majority of them being neither full nor true. It is therefore the duty of each Muslim to help paint the picture as best they can. So get painting Muslims, get painting through your everyday actions, deeds, and words!

Thankfully, through the magical medium of comics, there are many non-Muslims who are also helping to paint as true a picture of Islam, Trump, and ISIS as possible.

Below are 19 such examples, and if a picture paints a thousand words then feast your eyes on 19,000 (no need to do the math). Anyways, enjoy!


isis and muslims

ISIS Trump 01ISIS Trump 02The RecruiterISIS Trump 04ISIS Trump 05ISIS Trump 06ISIS Trump 07ISIS Trump 08ISIS Trump 09ISIS Trump 10ISIS Trump 11

Killing People Won't Solve Problems

ISIS Trump 13ISIS Trump 14

ISIS Trump 16ISIS Trump 17ISIS Trump 18

Tom the Dancing Bug

9 QUOTES FROM SHAYKH HAMZA YUSUF FROM 2001

The handful of regular visitors to this blog will know that I am a huge admirer of the American revert scholar Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, having quoted him many times before (here and here).

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Below are 9 quotes taken from an interview from the Guardian with Jack O’Sullivan,  a few weeks after 9/11. O’Sullivan quite rightly described the Shaykh as “arguably the west’s most influential Islamic scholar,” a statement that still rings true today.

The quotes are interesting to read in context of the time they were given, i.e. with the west crying for Muslim blood in revenge for the collapse of those twin towers, and they are also still relevant over 14 years later…


  • Many people in the west do not realise how oppressive some Muslim states are, both for men and for women. This is a cultural issue, not an Islamic one. I would rather live as a Muslim in the west than in most of the Muslim countries, because I think the way Muslims are allowed to live in the west is closer to the Muslim way. A lot of Muslim immigrants feel the same way, which is why they are here.
  • Many Muslims seem to be in deep denial about what has happened [on 9/11]. They are coming up with different conspiracy theories and don’t entertain the real possibility that it was indeed Muslims who did this. Yet we do have people within our ranks who have reached that level of hatred and misguidance.
  • Some Muslims tried to explain what has happened [on 9/11]. But if you say you condemn something and then try to explain the background, it can mistakenly sound like a justification, as though this is their comeuppance.
  • I would say to them [extremists in Britain] that if they are going to rant and rave about the west, they should emigrate to a Muslim country. The good will of these countries to immigrants must be recognised by Muslims.
  • We Muslims have lost theologically sound understanding of our teaching. We are living through a reformation, but without any theologians to guide us through it. Islam has been hijacked by a discourse of anger and the rhetoric of rage. We have lost our bearings because we have lost our theology.
  • So they [extremists] see things in very simplistic, black-and-white terms. They don’t understand the subtleties of the human soul that you get, for example, from poetry. Take the Iliad, for example. It is the ultimate text on war, yet you never know whether Homer is really on the side of the Greeks or the Trojans. It helps you understand the moral ambiguities of war.
  • Did you realise that [General George] Paton wrote in his diary on his first day in Morocco, ‘Just finished the Koran. A good book. Makes interesting reading.’
  • I will get a lot of flak from Muslim countries, because times are so emotional they are losing the ability to reason things through.
  • Yes, I think there is a real risk from ignorant people who have no respect for divergent opinions. There are Muslim fascists who are intellectually bankrupt. The only way they can argue is to eliminate the voices they don’t agree with.

6 QUOTES FROM CHARLIE BROOKER’S 2015 WIPE

I have been a big fan of Charlie Brooker for many years now, and I have quoted and blogged about him several times before. Brooker is an author, a journalist, as well as being a TV presenter. He is also married to the Muslim British TV presenter Konnie Huq, with whom he has 2 children.

Brooker Huq

His most recent show on TV was Charlie Brooker’s 2015 Wipe on the BBC, a 1 hour show in which he satirically reviews the main events of 2015. The show is well worth a view and below is a video link, as well as 6 of the best quotes from it. Enjoy!



Charlie Brooker: Bombing is one response to terror. Scapegoating is another. For years many have treated the entire Muslim faith as synonymous with extremist atrocities carried out in its name. There are constant calls for Muslims to denounce terror, which they do, daily, but the media finds that a bit too boring to publicize. I guess if they were denouncing it while firing an AK47 into the sky, the news might pay attention. Atrocities like Paris fuel anti Muslim sentiment still further. Of course terrorists don’t represent all Muslims any more than Greg Wallace represents all mammals. This shit is everyone’s problem. And most people instinctively know that, they even shout it at terrorist suspects.

[Clip of a member of the public saying “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv” to a would-be terrorist at Leytonstone underground tube station in London, early Dec 2015]

David Cameron: “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv” says it all, much better than I ever could, and thank you, because that will be applauded around the country.


There was this mass shooting in California, like there is everyday in America, but this wasn’t one of the normal mass shootings that a maniac does for no reason. This one was carried out by two maniacs for some ideological reason…I mean, it must be scary to think the terrorists have got so good at infiltrating America, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart from your normal unhinged maniacs. I mean, you could be calmly minding your own business, in the middle of an everyday mass shooting, and suddenly you realise it’s a terror attack.

 – referring to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in early Dec 2015, by 2 Muslims


Dick Cheney…he’s the bloke who invented filling Muslims with water till they say they’re terrorists just to make it stop.


He [Donald Trump] says all these things that aren’t true. But loads of his followers don’t trust the media, so they believe whatever he says, so he can basically create his own mental reality and have thousands of people blindly agree with him. Actually, saying it out loud makes him sound sort of terrifying, but luckily he’s also got silly hair you can laugh at. I mean, there’s no way Hitler would have risen to power if he had some weird physical thing that made him look silly, you know like a stupid haircut or a little mousta…Oh, fucking hell!


Americans like Trump because he’s got loads of money, which is sort of their version of being clever. And he’s built all these giant buildings and written his name on them so no one else can steal them.


How do you solve a problem like Syri-ah? Syria is a hellish tangle involving a brutal regime, rival rebel factions, extremists, and vested international interests. It’s a civil war, a proxy war, an ideological conflict, and a monumental humanitarian disaster, all at the same time. Little wonder some want to treat the problem like a malfunctioning old TV: give it a bang [punches the top of the table with the side of his fist] and hope it sorts itself out.

KISSINGER ON THE RISE OF ISLAM

Henry Kissinger is arguably one of America’s most prominent diplomats. His career has seen him serve as National Security Adviser and as Secretary of State (Time magazine had him on their cover as “The Super Secretary”), as well as controversially receiving the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in ending the Vietnam war.

The outspoken Kissinger is widely quoted, especially in our internet age, with quotes such as “A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security”, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”, and probably his most famous quip “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

Despite winning the Peace Prize there are many who loathe him, most notably the late Christopher Hitchens, who documents his multitude of reasons in his provocative book The Trial Of Henry Kissinger.

Kissinger Hitchens

So deep was Hitchens disdain for Kissinger that, in an article for Slate, he said that: “Henry Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded. No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers.”

Harsh words indeed. Another disdainer is the cartoonist Ward Sutton, whose comic below was drawn shortly after 9/11, and it paints way more than it’s allotted a thousand words:

Kissinger

Also, the satirist Tom Lehrer has commented that: “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Anyways, I am not here to paint Kissinger in colours that are favourable nor otherwise. Instead I want to focus on a recent book of his, World Order, released in 2014. The Guardian review of this book said: “Kissinger was a key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter century or more until our own post-cold war era. This urgently written book is a fine account of world order in the longue duree, and also a memorandum to future generations of policymakers that the next half-century will be no easier to manage than the most recent one.”

In other words, it’s an interesting book, and below is a noteworthy quote from it, focusing on the beginnings of Islam. Enjoy!


Few events in world history equal the drama of the early spread of Islam. The Muslim tradition relates that Muhammad, born in Mecca in the year 570, received at the age of forty a revelation that continued for approximately twenty-three years and, when written down, became known as the Quran. As the Byzantine and Persian empires disabled each other, Muhammad and his community of believers organized a polity, unified the Arabian Peninsula, and set out to replace the prevailing faiths of the region—primarily Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism—with the religion of his received vision.

An unprecedented wave of expansion turned the rise of Islam into one of the most consequential events in history. In the century following the death of Muhammad in 632, Arab armies brought the new religion as far as the Atlantic coast of Africa, to most of Spain, into central France, and as far east as northern India. Stretches of Central Asia and Russia, parts of China, and most of the East Indies followed over the subsequent centuries, where Islam, carried alternately by merchants and conquerors, established itself as the dominant religious presence.

That a small group of Arab confederates could inspire a movement that would lay low the great empires that had dominated the region for centuries would have seemed inconceivable a few decades earlier. How was it possible for so much imperial thrust and such omnidirectional, all-engulfing fervor to be assembled so unnoticed? The records of neighboring societies had not, until then, regarded the Arabian Peninsula as an imperial force. For centuries, the Arabs had lived a tribal, pastoral, semi nomadic existence in the desert and its fertile fringes. Until this point, though they had made a handful of evanescent challenges to Roman rule, they had founded no great states or empires. Their historical memory was encapsulated in an oral tradition of epic poetry. They figured into the consciousness of the Greeks, Romans, and Persians mainly as occasional raiders of trade routes and settled populations. To the extent they had been brought into these cultures’ visions of world order, it was through ad hoc arrangements to purchase the loyalty of a tribe and charge it with enforcing security along the imperial frontiers.

In a century of remarkable exertions, this world was overturned. Expansionist and in some respects radically egalitarian, Islam was unlike any other society in history. Its requirement of frequent daily prayers made faith a way of life; its emphasis on the identity of religious and political power transformed the expansion of Islam from an imperial enterprise into a sacred obligation. Each of the peoples the advancing Muslims encountered was offered the same choice: conversion, adoption of protectorate status, or conquest. As an Arab Muslim envoy, sent to negotiate with the besieged Persian Empire, declared on the eve of a climactic seventh-century battle, “If you embrace Islam, we will leave you alone, if you agree to pay the poll tax, we will protect you if you need our protection. Otherwise it is war.” Arab cavalry, combining religious conviction, military skill, and a disdain for the luxuries they encountered in conquered lands, backed up the threat. Observing the dynamism and achievements of the Islamic enterprise and threatened with extinction, societies chose to adopt the new religion and its vision.

Islam’s rapid advance across three continents provided proof to the faithful of its divine mission. Impelled by the conviction that its spread would unite and bring peace to all humanity, Islam was at once a religion, a multi ethnic super state, and a new world order.

 – from the book World Order by Henry Kissinger, Chapter 3 – Islamism And The Middle East: A World In Disorder