How the Western Media Spread Islamophobia

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

David Miller

Mainstream media reporting on Islam, and especially on “security threats” linked to Muslim actors, are often criticized for their bias and the way they promote Islamophobia.

All studies on media reports on Muslims and Islam show, to a greater or lesser extent, that the mainstream media across Europe are often biased against Muslims and involved in spreading Islamophobic ideas, especially the alleged relationship between Muslims and extremism and radicalization.

Why are the media racist?

But what causes this? The new report of which I am a co-author analyzes in detail the factors that cause the widespread dissemination of anti-Muslim reports in the media. In general, academic studies agree that reports are influenced by the pressures of advertising and marketing, the political orientation of publishers, and especially, from the owners of the media. Another key influence on reporting is journalists’ dependence on a narrow range of apparently authoritative sources.

Mastery of “official” sources

Research shows that these “official” definitions of the “problem” of “radicalization” and “extremism” dominate the media. Actors who enact these views can be called “primary definitions” of problems. The phrase was coined by Stuart Hall and his colleagues in the 1970s. He sees the media as “secondary” definers, who are in “structured subordination” to “primary definitions.

But who are these “primary” definers in the case of Muslims? First, the state anti-terrorist apparatus; police, intelligence services, and a wide range of other “counterterrorism” officials. They are supported by neoconservative and anti-extremism pressure groups and expert groups.

The report examines how Islam is treated in the press in five European countries: the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. A long sample period of twenty years was able to detect changes in the reports and if they were related to policy changes, to verify/falsify the thesis that official sources were the most important influence.

The evolution of anti-terrorism policy

The United Kingdom adopted a “Prevention” policy on the fight against terrorism in 2003. This was quickly followed by the EU and the Netherlands in 2005. France ( 2014 ) and Spain ( 2015 ) took another decade to introduce similar policies. Only Italy did not adopt a “prevent” style policy at the time of the study. One was almost approved in 2016 / 7, but the government collapsed before it was enacted.

Coverage of “extremism” and “radicalization” in Europe

The first significant spike in coverage of “extremism” in the UK occurred in 2005 – 2006. 2005 was the year of the London bombings on 7 July, after which Prime Minister Tony Blair said “the rules of the game are changing” and at that time the “Prevention” policy was already in force . A second peak from 2011 corresponded to a later iteration of “Prevenir”, which was a significant movement in a neoconservative direction.

French reports show an increase in attention to “radicalization” from 2012 when a political debate on radicalization began to emerge, followed by an exponential increase in 2016. This process preceded the attack in France against Charlie Hebdo ( January 2015 ) and the Bataclan ( November 2015 ). ) and is more obviously related to the launch of the new anti-terrorism strategy in April 2014.

Spanish data shows that coverage started later and peaked in 2017, one year after France. The beginnings of the increase go back to the discussion and subsequent launch of the new anti-terrorism strategy in January 2015.

Italian data shows the inverted relationship, with reports of “extremism” always higher than those of “radicalization. Given that the term “radicalization” is particularly associated with official anti-terrorism policy, this trend possibly reflects the relative lack of such a policy in Italy. The start of the “radicalization” increase in 2014 coincides with the publication of reports by neo-conservative expert groups, with an exponential increase during the attempt to approve the “Prevent” bill.

What official sources are cited in the media

But what sources were cited in the twenty-year sample? In the UK, the data showed the prominence of intelligence agencies. MI5, the national intelligence agency, and MI6, the foreign agency, stood out. Together they totaled almost six percent of the total appointments of the top one hundred.

The think tanks they were prominent in the UK, with the Quilliam Foundation, often criticized for its proximity to the British state, and the Henry Jackson Society, often described as “Islamophobic, that was presented regularly.

Civil rights organizations such as the Islamic Commission on Human Rights, ranked 96, or Cage, which is not among the top 100, were cited very little. This reflects his critical position on anti-terrorism policy and the UK government’s “radicalization” approach.

France – Intelligence-led coverage with Muslim groups captured by the state

In France, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure ( DGSI ), the national intelligence agency, was the most cited. Its external equivalent, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure ( DGSE ), was presented at 28. Government ministries obtained a relatively high ranking and generally, ( were cited more widely with 26 percent of citations ) than the EU ( 17 percent ) or the UN ( eight percent ).

Muslim civil society groups were relatively prominent with six percent of the appointments in total. On closer inspection, each of them was effectively a government spokesperson. By contrast, genuine Muslim civil rights organizations such as “Le Collectif Contre l’islamophobie” in France were not among the hundred most cited groups.

Spain – Official sources and think tanks neoconservatives

In Spain, the Ministry of the Interior is the second most cited body. It should be noted that the neoconservative think tank Fundación Real Instituto Elcano was one of the most cited organizations, standing above the think tanks of the rest of the countries. The Neo-Conservative Foundation for Social Analysis and Studies ( FAES ) also featured prominently, receiving more appointments than any Muslim civil rights organization in Spain. The president of FAES is José María Aznar, former president of the Government of Spain. Aznar is also NewsCorp director for Rupert Murdoch, responsible for a number of Islamophobic news media around the world, as well as being involved with various Zionist groups.

Italy: lack of official Italian sources

In Italy, unlike the other countries, the highest Italian ministry cited was the Ministry of Economy and Finance ( 11o ). He was cited less frequently than six international government organizations: the European Union, the United Nations, NATO, Europol and the European Commission. This shows that if the Italian state did not promote the perspective of “radicalization”, the Italian media would resort to other official international sources. US intelligence agencies – the CIA and the FBI – were more cited than the Italian national intelligence agency, Dipartimento delle Informazioni per la Sicurezza ( DIS ), not listed at all in the sample. Italian data also included some quotes from neoconservative organizations.

Official sources as holders of power

In general, the role of the security state is absolutely central to the way the media operates on issues related to Muslims and security. In each case, we examine what this was, unlike media factors such as ownership, editorial control, or “reality” ( world events ), which provided the main impetus for the direction and tone of the coverage.

Changes in anti-Muslim reporting date back to the adoption of “Prevent” style policies. This reflects the crucial role of official sources, specifically government institutions associated with the anti-terrorist apparatus and intelligence agencies, in determining what is being reported and how. This was particularly key in the dominance of intelligence sources in the French and British reports. The role of neoconservative think tanks and against extremism was also significant as defenders of the security state, for example in Spain and the United Kingdom.

The “primary definitions” of Islamophobic news media coverage are, therefore, the central institutions of the security state in relation to which the media are in structured subordination as “secondary” defining.

In terms of politics, the bottom line is that problems of racism or media bias cannot be solved only at the level of media reform. Reform of the State and anti-terrorism policy is also necessary.

A gun is worth a thousand Nazi words

15 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen & Agencies

By Mohammad Al-Jaber 

“A picture is worth a thousand words” applies when it comes to photography and art. But when it comes to a crime, all of whose details are documented by the assailants themselves, all words fail to leave the mouth – or fingertips – in awe.

A gun is worth a thousand Nazi words, or maybe 14, in the case of Payton Gendron

The United States was shaken late Saturday by the news of a white, gun-toting neo-Nazi teen that wanted to reflect his supremacist ideology on the ground as a means of realizing his aspiration of eradicating those whose existence goes against his beliefs.

18-year-old Payton Gendron carried out a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, claiming the lives of 10 people while three others are being provided with medical care. Gendron shot 13 people; 11 Black people and two White people, which reflects the motive behind the attack streamed on Twitch for the whole world to see the gruesome reality of the far-right.

The crime took place in a predominantly black neighborhood located more than 320 km (200 miles) away from where he resides, meaning it was not by mere coincidence and had been premeditated, for one does not simply find themselves in a parking lot 300 km away from home, donning military-style gear, a bulletproof vest, and a tactical helmet, opening fire on strangers.

The shooting spree is currently under investigation as both “a hate crime and a case of racially-motivated violent extremism.” But is it truly a hate crime?

What are the implications of such an act that emboldens supremacist acts and further racially-motivated crimes?

We have to start with crimes of this sort in the United States unrelated to race and conducted arbitrarily throughout the country: mass shootings.

A bullet with ‘US’ on it

The US, home to the loosest gun laws in the world, has the most mass shootings in the world. US citizens lead the world in terms of gun ownership, with estimations suggesting that there were 390 million guns in circulation in 2018, with a rate of 120.5 guns per 100 residents.

In the country where you can buy an automatic rifle at your local convenience store, more than 45,000 Americans died due to gun violence in 2020 alone, exceeding any other year on the record. But as Democrats and Republicans battle it out on the Congress floor, dozens of Americans die at the end of a barrel of a gun on a daily basis.

With any advocacy on gun control ruled “unconstitutional” by many avid arms enjoyers, the American people are the only collateral damage there is. And though gun advocacy is prominent on both sides of the political spectrum, it is the right that is the most significant backer of even looser gun laws, for it sees it as a means of propagating its values.

One in the chamber for the far-right

While many pro-gun advocates argue that laws protecting arms possessions are to protect citizens against criminals and the government if the latter were to “turn” oppressive, the far-right is utilizing this argument to give rise to itself as it is gaining more momentum and popularity in itself.

The right-wing has been gaining more ground in light of the latest events, as it saw an increase in popularity over the course of the pandemic, as was evident in Europe; the war in Ukraine was a climax for the far-right. 

The latest period in Europe saw the French rooting for the radical Eric Zemmour, the Swedes burning a Qur’an, the Indians discussing a ban on Hijabs, not to mention almost the entirety of the West rooting for the Azov Battalion.

The Ukraine war not only gave more prominence to what is probably the most notorious far-right organization in Europe, the Azov Battalion, but also put the latter on a pedestal as the “heroes” fighting the Russians trying to “invade” Ukraine.

Azov is a regiment of the Ukrainian Army that is infamous for its neo-Nazism, racism, nationalism, and overall violence. The battalion has been a prominent enabler in the Ukrainian campaign on the Donbass region, which has been in effect for eight years. It simply consists of shelling and bombing the region for its aspirations to become independent.

What is Azov’s significance here? It’s simple:

This image right here

Payton Gendron wearing the Black Sun, an infamous Nazi symbol

Obviously, there is more to it than one image, but this picture, before the revelation of its successors, caused netizens to conclude the nature of the Buffalo attack and the motives of the attacker.

With that in mind and the fact that Gendron’s victims were predominantly Black, the theories were no longer theories; the shooter is a Nazi, and this is why:

Screengrab from the Twitch live stream showing Payton Gendron’s AR-15

Gendron did not only commit a massacre in Buffalo, New York; he live-streamed it for the world to see, and that stream was just further proof of his Nazism.

The rifle acted as a canvas for the radical teen to fill as a means of portraying his views in a manner that reflected the racism deep-rooted within him.

Looking at the carrying handle of the rifle, one can see the number 14. 

14

The number 14 is widely used by white supremacists as a reference to the “14 Words”; the most popular white supremacist slogan coined by David Lane, a member of The Order, a white supremacist terrorist group. 

“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” the 14 words read.

The n-word

Looking at the front sight housing, one can clearly see the n-word. There is no need for introducing the infamous term coined by slave-owners to dehumanize their slaves and inherited by their white successors that still use it to discriminate against black people.

Gendron’s AR-15 rifle

From left to right, Gendron’s racism can be summarized with just a few words written down on the murder weapon.

“BLM MOGGED”

BLM is clearly in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement that gained momentum all over the world in light of widespread discrimination and police brutality. The word MOG, on the other hand, means to overpower a certain person, movement, or ideology; to “assert one’s dominance over”.

Philip Manshaus

Philip Manshaus is a 21-year-old Nazi from Norway who was indicted for terrorism and murder. He first killed his step-sister Johanne Ihle-Hansen, 17, and then opened fire at a mosque in Oslo.

His trial for terror and murder saw him spouting various racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

The only victim of his actions was his step-sister, as he was unable to hurt any of the worshippers who were at the mosque during the attempted attack.

Philip Manshaus, 21, appears to be performing the Nazi salute during his court hearing in Oslo, Norway

John Earnest

John Earnest is a 19-year-old from California who was sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison for federal hate crimes over a Synagogue shooting and attempted Mosque arson due to his extremist, white supremacist views.

He attempted to kill 50 people at the Poway Synagogue in California, US, and only managed to kill one woman and injure three others. 

Earnest also admitted that over a month before his attempted Synagogue massacre, he attempted to burn down the Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque in California, citing his hatred of Muslims and the religious character of the building.

Anders Breivik

Andres Breivik is a 43-year-old Nazi from Norway who has been in prison for more than a decade for terrorism and murder. He holds the record for the Nordic state’s worst murdering rampage, when he set off a bomb in Oslo, killing eight people.

Afterward, he headed to Utoya Island where he stalked the teen members of the Labor Party’s youth wing before murdering another 69 people.

Breivik has come to the limelight again recently after he appeared in court asking to be released on parole after serving 10 years in prison. His trial was characterized by him claiming he had left violence behind him while performing a Nazi salute.

Andres Breivik performing the Nazi salute during his parole hearing in Oslo, Norway

Shotgun shell pellets

Nazis and nationalists enable each other around the world, with one crime giving rise to another and therefore triggering a domino-like effect; one attack leads to another and gives fellow extremists inspiration to commit massacres. 

Payton Gendron was hoping to say that he was inspired by other neo-Nazis, or at least was paying homage to them, by signing their names on his rifle that he used to shoot thirteen innocent people at a supermarket.

The scenes of the live stream were heavily reminiscent of the Christchurch Mosque shootings in New Zealand. The attack was motivated by Islamophobia and the assailant, Brenton Tarrant, used similar gear, barging into two Mosques and killing 51 people performing Friday prayers. The whole crime was live-streamed using a go-pro showing the criminal’s POV of the whole massacre.

Gendron referred to the Christchurch shooter in his “manifesto”, which described his preparations for the attack in detail and made reference to several crimes perpetrated by white supremacists, including in Charleston, South Carolina, El Paso, Texas, and the aforementioned Christchurch shootings.

With the far-right being on the rise, and gun laws not getting any stricter in the US, one can only hope that innocent people remain safe from arbitrary, racially-motivated aggressions that have taken countless lives around the globe. However, western media enabling neo-Nazis and describing them as “heroes” may not be the best approach to the pivotal issue of white supremacy.

And to answer the question posed at the beginning of this piece: yes. The massacre carried out by Payton Grendon is a full-fledged hate crime, and a macro inspection of the crime would prove it to be so, objectively.

Read more – 2021 Roundup: The rise of the radical right

German Islamophobia’s treatment of Muslim athletes observing Ramadan

26 Apr 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Timo Al-Farooq 

German sports pundits attribute any less than perfect performance of a Muslim sportsperson during the Holy Month to fasting, while denying extraordinary achievements by fasting athletes their due respect.

German Islamophobia’s treatment of Muslim athletes observing Ramadan

There are two annual occurrences during the month of Ramadan that are so reliable in their probability that they will happen that you can set your watch to them: Israeli occupation forces storming the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied Al-Quds and bombing the Gaza-Strip, and white German sports pundits finding a way to denigrate the faith of 1.8 billion followers of Islam by attributing a decline in athletic performance to fasting.

This year, the prime target of this seasonal brand of socially accepted Islamophobia has been French football player N’Golo Kanté of English club FC Chelsea, one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and whose relatively weaker performance than usual during the first leg quarter-final match against Spanish side Real Madrid in this season’s Champions League was blamed on his observing Ramadan. By who? None other than his German manager, Thomas Tuchel.

“[I]f for many days you don’t drink or eat it can have an effect,” said the 58-year-old after his team lost 1:3 on their home turf at Stamford Bridge in early April. Just in time for this year’s Holy Month, white German sports pundits, as embodied by Tuchel, once again underwent vocational re- training from football aficionado to nutrition expert. In their traditional Eurocentric hubris, they seem to think that they know better than the adherents of a world religion who have been practicing the central pillar of their faith that is the fast for over a millennia.

Tuchel, who is known for his radical notions regarding dietary regimens and his utter disrespect for boundaries in enforcing them (during his stint as manager of Paris Saint-Germain, French media claimed that Tuchel had demanded from midfielder Marco Verratti the latter should lose weight, prompting a justifiably disgruntled Verratti to voice his intention of transferring elsewhere), is one to talk: German news magazine Der Focus once commented on Tuchel’s skinniness with the words “Is this slim or simply unhealthy?” And given his signature pallor one could argue that the “Tuchel- diet” (sport.de) is diametrically opposed to a balanced food intake.

The Chelsea manager’s career often seems like a time-delayed one of Liverpool FC coach Jürgen Klopp, the former on more than one occasion following in the footsteps of his German compatriot (coaching the former Klopp clubs FSV Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga, then following him to the Premier League, albeit with a detour in Paris).

German media have even gone so far as to call him a “Klopp clone.” Yet when it comes to “wokeness” and cultural sensitivity, Tuchel and Klopp are worlds apart. When in the past the British sports press tried to link the performance issues of his Muslim players to their observance of Ramadan, a loyal Klopp threw himself in front of them like a human shield by saying:

“I have no problem with my players fasting. I respect their religion and they were always amazing whether they were fasting or not. There are days when [Sadio] Mané and [Mohamed] Salah come late to the dressing room because they were praying. There are many things more important than football.”

With his insensitive and textbook liberal Islamophobic comments directed at Kanté, the sore loser that is Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea has since been knocked-out of the tournament), has proven to the world that he views Klopp’s last sentence slightly differently and that when it comes to decency, empathy and loyalty, the “Klopp clone” still has a lot to learn from original Klopp.

Erasing Ramadan when it’s convenient

Another way German sports pundits like to denigrate Ramadan is by conveniently omitting when it not only does not diminish the performance of a fasting player, but enhances it, even to the level of unparalleled mastery. This is exactly what the white German sportscasters at DAZN did (in Germany, the US streaming service shares the broadcasting rights to the UEFA Champions League with Prime Video and Sky), who in their gushing praise for Real Madrid’s hat trick-scoring striker Karim Benzema during the aforementioned match and in the post-match analysis did not once think of mentioning that Benzema had been fasting.

They could have said: “For the sake of fairness und completeness, we should add that Benzema has been fasting, so the outstanding performance that we witnessed tonight has to be seen in this light and deserves even more credit.” Or, God forbid, surpass themselves by saying something along the lines of Benzema’s superior performance not having occurred in spite of his observance of Ramadan, but because of it; that the razor-sharp focus and spiritual energy achieved through fasting (seen by the Westcentric worldview as a health risk when Muslims do it, but as beneficial to the body and spirit when done by Hindu yogis, which Whitey then emulates to the point of cultural appropriation) had a thing or two to do with his phenomenal performance.

But far from it: lying by omission is also lying, and in their deliberate erasure of Ramadan the white German “professionals” at DAZN (in Germany, sports commentators are almost exclusively white), who normally don’t shy away from espousing their allegedly anti-racist views when commenting favourably on football players taking a knee, sadly revealed the limits of their progressive politics.

“Ramadan Kyrie”: Islamophilia in the NBA

That there is an alternative way of going about representing Ramadan in sports media one could see in the NBA these days, North America’s highest men’s professional basketball league: after the Brooklyn Nets’ victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers in mid-April, Nets star Kyrie Irving, a convert to Islam, was asked by an American reporter:

“Kyrie, on a personal note: you have said that you are fasting for Ramadan…How do you muster the energy to go out and score 34 points with very little nutrition in your body?”

What Irving answered was a counter-narrative rebuttal against all the Westcentric agnostics and atheists and the individualistic societies that have (ill-in)formed them, who in their cultural narcissism and colonial arrogance underestimate the communal and holistic meaning of Ramadan:

“Well, it’s a journey with God, and I’m not alone in this. I have brothers and sisters all around the world that are fasting with me. We hold our prayers and our meditations very sacred…God’s inside me, God’s inside you, God’s inside all of us, so I’m walking with faith. That’s all that matters.”

I watched the Nets’ first play-off match against the Boston Celtics live on DAZN (the Nets lost in the last second due to a buzzer-beating shot by Celtics star player Jayson Tatum) and even though a fasting Kyrie Irving once again displayed highest levels of basketball artistry, the German commentators again did not mention that Irving was fasting, much less go out of their way to establish a causal link between his observance of Ramadan and his high performance.

“Fans have dubbed Irving with the ‘Ramadan Kyrie’ nickname as he puts up impressive scoring outbursts despite the guard fasting during games,” writes Massachusetts news portal MassLive.com. Look how positively Ramadan can be portrayed if there is the will to do so! DAZN commentators in Germany should take note.

I wonder what they had to say to what Celtics star Jaylen Brown, Irving’s former team mate who is also fasting, told the attendants of a press conference before the play-offs:

“Ramadan is something special…It’s something that’s saved my life in a lot of ways. So shoutout to all the people who are participating and shoutout to everybody who shows respect because, in reality, some things are bigger than basketball.”

Hear that, Thomas Tuchel? Ramadan is not only not bad for your health, but also “life-saving.” So show some respect. Brown’s comments should put all liberal Islamophobes with their unprovoked acrimony towards the Muslim fast to shame.

And like Klopp and Irving, the latter who at a press conference in May 2021 during which he condemned “Israel’s” bombing of Palestine said that “basketball is just not the most important thing to me right now”, Brown has also got his priorities straight. Deen over dunya, as Muslims say.

Fair play for Islam

Returning to European football, there was another wonderful example this Ramadan of a fasting athlete excelling in his sport and being afforded the transparent and contextualized respect he deserves: A match in Portugal’s first division saw FC Porto’s Iranian international Mehdi Taremi scoring a hat trick in his club’s 7:0 win against Portimonense, prompting the Primeira Liga to post this on their official Twitter page: “During the day, the rules of Ramadan are followed; while hunger is satisfied at night with goals.”

Fair play is a key tenet of competitive sports, and it also includes respect. UEFA’s Respect campaign was launched in 2008 as a social responsibility programme with the objective of “work[ing] towards unity and respect across gender, race, religion and ability,” says UEFA.

With its deliberate erasure of the positive role religious fasting plays in the athletic performances of Muslim sportspeople and its liberal Islamophobia of constructing a causality between observing Ramadan and performance issues, German punditry, be it in the form of the sports commentators at DAZN Germany or a manager like Thomas Tuchel, have repeatedly proven that they have yet to embody this spirit of respect for the religion of Islam.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Can Europe overcome hatred, racism, embrace universalist spirit of refugee convention?

April 17 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Ruqiya Anwar 

The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, while the West showed racism and double standards when it came to hosting refugees from the global south that were escaping western funded wars in the first place.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov described Ukrainian refugees as Europeans concluding “These are intelligent individuals”

The Ukraine crisis has caused one of Europe’s greatest and fastest refugee migrations since World War II ended. A massive amount of people had fled to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as many as four million people could evacuate the country in the next weeks. The European Union (EU) estimates that there will be seven million refugees by the end of the year. 

It has revealed significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. However, Europe’s radically divergent responses to these two crises serve a warning lesson for those seeking a more humane and generous Europe. The distinctions also explain why some of those fleeing Ukraine, particularly African, Asian, and Middle Eastern, are not receiving the same lavish treatment as Ukrainian citizens (Tayyaba, 2022).

However, we are aware that this is not how the international protection regime has worked in Europe, particularly in countries now hosting Ukrainian refugees. Racist and xenophobic language towards refugees and migrants, particularly those from Middle Eastern nations, pervades public discourse in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, and hostile actions such as border pushbacks and draconian detention measures have been taken in the past.

Notably, Hungary, since the 2015 refugee crisis, the country has refused to accept refugees from non-EU countries. Non-European refugees, according to Prime Minister Victor Orbán, are “Muslim invaders” and migrants are “a poison”, and Hungary should not welcome refugees from diverse cultures and religions to preserve its cultural and ethnic unity. 

More recently, in late 2021, the atrocious treatment of refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Belarus’s borders with Poland and Lithuania, most of whom were from Iraq and Afghanistan, provoked an outcry across Europe. Belarus has been accused of turning these people’s misfortune into a weapon by luring them to Belarus to travel to EU countries in retribution for EU sanctions.

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrants pour into neighbouring nations, clutching their children in one arm and their valuables. And leaders from nations like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania have greeted them.

While hospitality has been praised, it has also brought significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. Some of them claim that the language used by politicians currently welcoming refugees is upsetting and cruel.

According to Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, “These are not the refugees we’re familiar with. These are Europeans. These are intelligent individuals. They are well-educated individuals. This is not the type of refugee surge we’ve seen before, with people whose identities we didn’t know, people with murky pasts, and even terrorists”.

However, when over a million individuals walked into Europe in 2015, there was initially a lot of support for refugees fleeing crises in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There were also instances of animosity, such as when a Hungarian camerawoman was caught on camera kicking and potentially tripping migrants near the country’s Serbian border (CNC, 2022)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Arab Uprisings of 2011 increased the number of refugees attempting to enter Europe. Even Turkey, which already hosts over 4 million migrants and asylum seekers, including 3.6 million Syrians, could not effectively accommodate them. However, the reception of these minority refugees in European countries has been overwhelmingly unfavourable.

Hundreds of Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, and other asylum seekers were stranded in Poland-Belarus woodlands and marshes in 2021, without shelter, food, or water in subzero temperatures and facing constant assaults from Polish and Belarusian border authorities. At least a dozen people were killed, including children. Yet, the European Union refused to open the border.

Significantly, although walls are an inadequate means to handle the movement of refugees and migrants, wall-building has been on the rise in the region since the 1990s. Then, the European continent celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to a 2018 Transnational Institute analysis, the primary goal of these walls is to dissuade refugees and asylum seekers from the Global South.

Greece finished building a wall along its border with Turkey in 2021 to keep Afghan asylum seekers out. The Spanish government now intends to construct the world’s tallest wall in northern Morocco, where it claims the power to block migrant access into Spain, which is only 250 miles away.

Lithuania has been constructing an 11-foot-high steel fence with 2-inch-thick razor wire on its border with Belarus since 2021 to prevent migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from entering the country. EU states have agreed to accept Ukrainian refugees for up to three years without requiring them to seek asylum. Poland has stated that it will absorb 1 million Ukrainians. Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Germany, and Spain are among the countries that have already opened their borders.

Unfortunately, these double standards have shown in the attitude of non-Ukrainians leaving Ukraine’s conflict. Students and refugees from the Middle East have been subjected to racist abuse, obstruction, and violence while attempting to exit Ukraine in increasing numbers. Many others said they were barred from boarding trains and buses in Ukrainian cities because Ukrainian nationals were given precedence; others said they have violently moved aside and halted by Ukrainian border guards when attempting to pass into neighbouring countries.

There were tales about non-white refugee communities that had gone unrecorded and unpublished. Despite their huge number and agonizing battles across countries and continents, millions of Syrian refugees remained anonymous and blankly depicted in the media. While standing in line at the border and seeking to get crucial services, a number of non-Ukrainians of colour, including Africans, Afghans, and Yemenis, have experienced prejudice.

The astonishing double standards were on full display in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis and the early phases of the conflict that followed. The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, as well as their different political spectrums. When the refugees were Arabs or Muslims, Black or Brown, however, it remained vehemently divided.

Moreover, the Polish authorities detained people and refused them to enter the country. The refugee crisis in Ukraine provides Europe with not only an important opportunity to demonstrate its generosity, humanitarian values, and commitment to the global refugee protection regime, and it also provides a critical opportunity for reflection, Can Europe’s people overcome widespread racism and hatred and embrace the universalist spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention? All member states must apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion, or country of origin.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

French Muslims betrayed by ‘centrist’ Macron as Le Pen surges to a dead heat

April 10, 2022

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

In 2017 two out of three French voters were on the side of the nation’s Muslim citizens – for two weeks.

In between the first and second round presidential vote the incredible repression which Marine Le Pen was going to wage on Muslims was constantly cited as a reason to vote for Emmanuel Macron, who was presented as a “centrist”.

As the largest Muslim country in Europe the Muslim vote matters: In 2012 French Muslims decided the election. More than 2 million Muslim voters voted for Francois Hollande to the tune of 93% against Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande prevailed by just 1.1 million votes, or a 51.6% to 48.4% margin.

Hollande immediately sold out the Muslim vote by refusing to take a zero-tolerance approach to Sarkozy’s inauguration of France’s normalisation of Islamophobia.

The start of open attacks on Islam with Sarkozy has only backfired in every way, because since his election polls show that French Muslims have only gotten more devout in their practices. The reason is obvious: the constant accusations that Islam is bad pushes French Muslims to look more closely at their religion – they do, and they realise how wonderful Islam is, thus they become more devout.

For France’s non-Muslims it has tragically backfired as well. Many in France don’t realise that the insulting Islamophobia, which results in humiliating domestic oppression, comes on top of two centuries of colonial and neo-colonial domination, plus foreign wars in places like Mali, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Seemingly every Muslim attacker in France since 2008 who wasn’t clearly insane cited France’s wars in Mali and Syria, specifically, as justification for their attacks.

Hollande manipulated the attacks to gain approval for state-sponsored Islamophobia, which became his trusty “Islamo-diversion” tactic to deflect from his unpopular enforcing of far-right economic austerity. In his tenure some 4,000 warrantless raids on Muslim homes, mosques and properties only led to six suspicions of terrorism. The handful of the court cases were won, and I cannot unearth even one conviction from Hollande-era raids.

France’s fake-left assumed they have the Muslim constituency in their back pocket in 2012. In 2017 the threat of the National Front forced them into Macron’s camp. 2022 is a changed place.

Many French Muslims have told me they will do what was unthinkable to them previously – vote for the National Front (now rebranded as the “National Rally) in the second round.

Why the change? The insidious deception that Macron is a “centrist” and not a willing manipulator of Islamophobia has been totally disproven – the lower class and the Muslim class have paid the price for five years.

Sarkozy brought French Islamophobia into the mainstream, Hollande got it approved, but Macron institutionalised it. Macron took Hollande’s multiyear state of emergency and legalised it, with Muslims the clear targets and practically the only victims. Only the Yellow Vests and a small number of leftist and environmental activists have ever been impacted.

From not apologising for various massacres and atrocities against Algerians, to keeping Europe’s oldest political prisoner and the “Arab Nelson Mandela” Georges Ibrahim Abdallah in prison, to falsely and shamefully enacting legislation which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, to a “cyber-hate bill” which targets pro-Palestinians and Yellow Vests – Macron did very little in the past five years which did anything but hurt Muslims.

Have Islamophobic acts increased during the Macron era? We don’t know – Macron forced the closure of the French Collective Against Islamophobia, seemingly the only and certainly the best Muslim NGO committed to tracking this problem.

His so-called “anti-separatist law” of 2021 was the definite legalisation of Islamophobia, and was so heavy-handed even the United Nations and English-media widely criticised it. It tried to ban the hijab for minors and clearly violated constitutional protections for the freedom of association, worship and politics. In recent months nearly 100 mosques have recently been raided by the government, with at least two dozen shut down so far. (Who says Macron doesn’t care about far-right voters?)

Just this week a new report from Reuters came out: The mosque closures were based merely on “secretive evidence” which violate the right to fair trial and equality before the law. “Secretive” is simply another word for “false”, of course.

As his record clearly now proves, Macron is on the far-right economically (austerity and neoliberalism), politically (with his repression of the Yellow Vests), in his governance style (it’s a completely top-down style befitting a monarch and not an elected public servant who must listen to others and compromise) but also culturally – he’s Islamophobic.

The error is exactly as I wrote in 2017 – in agreeing with the Mainstream Media’s insistence that Macron was a “centrist”. The past five years proves he is authoritarian, pro-economic inequality, and Islamophobic.

Much like with the absolutely brutal repression of the Yellow Vests – Marine Le Pen would have never gotten away with half of the Islamophobia Macron did. People would have been on guard from the day she took office – similar to the response to Donald Trump’s election in the United States. A Le Pen victory would have sparked organised progressive resistance groups – something like a George Floyd response or #MeToo but à la française.

The handful of French media oligarchs who decided to give a political neophyte (he was previously a Rothschild banker) like Macron such glowing press coverage in the run-up to the 2017 election also decided to hand the 2022 election campaign agenda to convicted racist Eric Zemmour. The reason? Primarily this was done to spit the far-right vote for Sunday’s first round vote, but Zemmour also aids Macron by making Macron look more falsely “centrist”. Look at his record – Macron needs that assistance.

Making Islamophobia the 2022 election’s primary campaign issue will backfire – record abstention is widely predicted. It’s actually good news in this way: Islamophobia may still propel French politicians but the French people are bored by it – they wanted to go back to discussing real issues.

A very recent poll actually has Marine Le Pen beating Macron 50.5% to 49.5%. Other recent polls have her just 3 points down from Macron – that’s within the margin of error, and thus it’s a dead-heat. Her Hungarian “right-nationalist” counterpart just won a huge victory even though polls predicted a much tighter contest. French polling agencies are not just staffed by politicians – the biggest one is owned by a politician. Thus the odds of a 2nd round win by Le Pen seem much, much higher than many claimed in the previous months.

A Le Pen victory will be no picnic for France’s Muslims but at least everyone will be on guard against her. Macron, foolishly, was given a huge leash, and he went so far against Muslims that he broke the chain.

But mostly, France’s Muslims will do what a record number of French people will likely do: tune out the mainstream media hate factory and not vote. Abstention will hurt France’s left wing candidate – Jean-Luc Melenchon, who opposed the anti-separatism bill – but in France even the left wing is often as Islamophobic as the right wing.

One thing is certain: the alleged “centrist” Macron was no solution for France’s anti-Muslim problems.

********************************************************

List of articles covering the 2022 French elections.

Please check out my new book France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values, which is being published for free in chapter-by-chapter format.

Catastrophe since 2017: How to cover France’s presidential election? – November 22, 2021

Le Monde’s circus invite: ‘France is a leftist country which votes right’ – January 27, 2022

Le Pen now wants in the euro & no Frexit – should the Left want her in? – February 2, 2022

France’s conservatives cry out for National Socialism – Zemmour’s response? – February 10, 2022

Islamophobia didn’t interest French voters – war hysteria will? – March 14, 2022

France apathetic about politics? Has corona gutted voter energy, or Macron? – March 31, 2022

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. His new book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘ Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

France apathetic about politics? Has corona gutted voter energy, or Macron?

March 31, 2022

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. His new book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

One of the joys of France is the openness with which people talk politics here.

In the English-speaking world simple political disagreement leads immediately to judgmental condemnation of one another. Look at the centuries of sensationalism and warmongering from London’s Fleet Street – there’s a big market for intolerance. In the US it’s considered best to not talk about politics, or religion, at all.

But the French do talk politics, and all the time, and well. They prefer abstractions and exceptions to declarations and moral lines, but at least they discuss politics without rancour.

As France goes, so goes the European Union. Since the Great Recession many have suggested that an economic solution to the eurozone’s problems is that Germany should leave, taking their economic neo-imperialism and a strong Deutschmark with them. Nobody says the same for France – their role is indispensable to the European project.

Think back to how vital the past two French elections were, and how they had provided a true bellwether of the continent’s political situation:

In 2017 Marine Le Pen was offering a Frexit vote within six months of victory, repudiation of banker debt and seriously discussed leaving the euro. These are all serious ideas, especially when compared with the three main topics of the 2022 election: xenophobia, Islamophobia and Ukraine. The two mainstream parties were ousted for the first time since Charles de Gaulle – major upheaval.

In 2012 Francois Hollande declared “finance is my enemy” and was going to lead a Latin bloc against Germany and cut austerity off before it could do serious damage. Optimism was high that what many in France insisted was true: that someone as pro-money and monarchical as Nicolas “bling bling” Sarkozy was an aberration. The failure to produce the major upheaval for which Hollande truly had a mandate led to his 4% approval rating, his inability to even run for re-election and the destruction of the Socialist Party.

Less than two weeks until the first round I strain to find election topics of interest to write about. There is a lassitude regarding political matters which is totally out of keeping with French culture, and this does not augur well for Europe.

France will likely have abstention rates not seen since 2002, but France is so politically active that still means an estimated 71%. That would be a big drop from the 79% turnout of 2017. These are scores most Western countries would die for, so there’s no chance that low turnout in 2022 is going to seriously discredit French democracy. What discredited French democracy was the brutal, state-sponsored repression of the Yellow Vests, of course.

So abstention rates don’t tell the whole story in 2022. People tell me – and it’s my job to ask – that they will vote merely out of a sense of civic duty, and without the typical Gallic passion.

2022 is a hollow election in France: The issues which are allowed to be debated are hollow, the candidates are straw men who lack domestic credibility and the vacant look in people’s eyes when talking about the election implies that France is just hollowed out.

Why? This will be the first major Western election since the end of the coronavirus era, and I can only hypothesise that there must be a connection.

Today there simply is no spirit of résistance, which the French can seemingly fabricate out of thin air (this is mostly admirable, though occasionally overly-provocative). It was only two weeks ago that France ended its coronavirus restrictions, after all, and what French people want now is relief and simple pleasures. Embracing politics is to embrace dispute, hard-won compromises and a pleasure which is mental and not immediately tangible – it is to embrace résistance.

Is it possible that the coronavirus lockdowns have simply made people more resigned to their political fate? If so, one should bet on incumbents.

Who could have thought that the French wouldn’t care about the election of such a controversial president? The price of gas (€2 per litre) is now a whopping 25% higher than in November 2018, when that issue sparked the Yellow Vests – it’s illogical that there aren’t even bigger demands for government action now? This is the type of disinterest amid disorder which one only reads about after years of war or revolution – eventually a populace simply can’t generate enthusiasm for political endeavours.

Europe has only one hope that this is a case of French exceptionalism: Is it possible that Macron’s Yellow Vest weekend beatdowns have simply defeated France? Macron’s campaign platform was encapsulated in a book he titled Revolution. It was not ironic – Macron truly is a neoliberal revolutionary willing to wage war on his own people just to institute far-right neoliberalism which even the International Monetary Fund admitted has failed, in a 2016 report. People here view Macron’s re-election as a foregone conclusion – he simply cannot be opposed.

I think we can’t underestimate the way Western mainstream media has turned into total sycophants of the elite. With startling swiftness the new mediums of the 21st century have gone from liberating the average person with a new “freedom to write” to banning dissent, and coronavirus speeded this process along.

The French people do not care about the issues which the mainstream media pushed in this election campaign – they handed control of the agenda to far-right troglodyte Eric Zemmour – but what can people do except tune out and not care? A handful of billionaires control the media here, and US-based social media decide what can and can’t be discussed – Metternich, Austria’s prince of censorship in Europe’s post-French Revolution era, would be jealous.

In 2022 the media here is similarly refusing to allow discussion of Macron’s record: economic failure, the worst political repression in a century and an administration which halfway into his 5-year term set the record for cabinet ministers forced out for corruption. This is a politician who polls told us was elected primarily for two reasons: to prevent the authoritarian far-right from wielding police power, and to sweep out the two corrupt mainstream parties. One can only say that there has been total failure on these two points – the problem is finding media allowed to say it!

The war in Ukraine has provided the coup de grâce to discussion of serious domestic issues in this election, sadly.

There’s too many Muslims in France to not perceive surprise regarding the biased treatment in favor of Ukraine, which translates into more indifference and contempt for what’s in the news. While media in the United States insist that all of Europe is cowering in fear from Russian nuclear bombs that idea only produces laughter in Paris – it is absurd, of course. How Ukraine got to be a primary issue in the French election – few care to answer. I can’t help but note that public opinion is allowed to play no role in foreign policy decisions in Western Liberal Democracy, so whatever Paris decides to do regarding Ukraine will be decided among the court of the elite, as it was in the time of kings. Of course, Western Liberal Democracy is fine with autocracy and monarchy.

If France sees a repeat of 2002 it will be the left which surprises this time, but even that provokes looks of disillusion. The talk of a social explosion is widespread here, but it does not appear likely to happen within the next four weeks.


Neo-Nazi Ukrainians greasing bullets with pig fat to shoot Muslim Chechens

March 1, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

A video published by the Ukrainian National Guard depicts systemic bigotry in Ukraine.

Video: Neo-Nazi greasing bullets with pig fat to shoot Muslim Chechens

The National Guard of Ukraine’s Twitter account released a video, boasting about Azov fighters greasing their bullets with lard to be used against Muslim Chechens on the Russian side. 

The video comes as a direct threat to Muslims who hold the Islamic beliefs that pig is prohibited for their consumption, and that it’s impure substance. 

The tweet captions, “Azov fighters of the National Guard greased the bullets with lard against the Kadyrov orcs,” referring to Ramzan Kadyrov, who is the president of the Chechen republic.  

Chechnya is a Russian republic located north of Georgia with the Chechen forces in charge of defending the Muslim-majority republic. 

Kadyrov previously announced his readiness to send fighters to the current conflict in Ukraine in support of Russia. A number of sources have claimed that Chechen forces have marched towards Kiev after being deployed to Ukraine.

Read more: US remarks on human rights violations in Chechnya part of info war: Russia

However, they were met with fierce confrontation from Ukrainian forces, and many died, according to general Magomed Tushayev. 

Twitter did not remove the video, but rather resorted to flagging it: It was written that the video violates standards and promotes hateful content, but it may be within the interest of the public to view it, stirring public confusion.

“At present, we limit exceptions to one critical type of public-interest content—Tweets from elected and government officials—given the significant public interest in knowing and being able to discuss their actions and statements,” the rules state.

The Azov battalion: openly neo-Nazi, unlimited international support 

The Azov battalion is a part of the Ukrainian National Guard – a wing of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

The battalion flaunts is Nazism very openly, and is even notoriously known for a video in which they crucified a soldier, tortured him, and burnt him alive. 

The United States and Canada over the years have aided the neo-Nazi units with weapons and training, strengthening their presence in Ukraine. 

Read more: CIA manages training program for Ukrainian paramilitaries: reports

Earlier today, the Russian envoy to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said that Zelensky has shown his inability to withstand radicals in Kiev, emphasizing while adding that the real power in Ukraine belongs to extremists and Nazis, who have their own agenda. 

The Russian representative stressed that Zelensky has demonstrated that he is weak, notably as he does not display the political will and strength to contain the extremists who constitute the main political force in Ukraine today. 

EXPLAINER: Why does France Attack Palestine Solidarity Organizations?

February 26, 2022

France decided to ban to Palestine solidarity groups. (Photo: via Collectif Palestine Vaincra FB Page)

By Claude Zurbach

As a gift to the pro-Israeli lobby, the French government, through its Minister of the Interior Gérard Darmanin, has announced its intention to dissolve two Palestine solidarity organizations: the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and the Comité d’Action Palestine.

Long History of Harassment of the BDS Campaign

In line with the policies of most European Union countries, pressure groups and political authorities in France have never skimped on filing complaints and administrative bans. And this has been the case for more than 10 years, since the lawsuit brought against the BDS campaigners in Mulhouse, in the east of France. Since then, many collectives have been subjected to various forms of harassment, including those of Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Paris, Mulhouse, Colmar, Perpignan, and Montpellier (and the list is non-exhaustive).

 The alleged arguments developed in this defamatory campaign invoke an alleged anti-Semitism, which constitutes the main angle of the Israeli attack against the international movement of solidarity with Palestine.

Throughout the years, these initiatives, aimed at suppressing any form of organized criticism of Israel, have been met with strong reactions, from a legal point of view, but also through grassroots mobilization and were almost always defeated in court.

But these repeated attacks are financially costly, can be morally exhausting, and require a lot of energy, which is then diverted into time-consuming and complex legal procedures.

Why Does France Attack Solidarity Organizations?

The reason behind these attacks is the solidarity, or deep connivance, between all the economic and political powers throughout the world and Israel. Tel Aviv is both the advanced point of Western domination in the Middle East and a laboratory for the sophisticated repressive and lethal tools (tested on the Palestinian population), which are sold to Western powers.

In this system of international domination, Israel has a place of choice, which explains the exceptional tolerance it enjoys while it has been multiplying its international law violations throughout occupied Palestine.

On the other hand, the proximity of the presidential campaign in France explains the timing of this decision. Most potential candidates have reaffirmed their unwavering support for the Zionist project, with the notable exception of candidates considered to be part of the ‘radical left’.

One right-wing candidate, Valérie Precress, even chose an outspoken Zionist as her advisor on international issues.

Winning overt or implicit support from the Israel lobbies is becoming an important element in France’s election campaign, all against a backdrop of the rising Islamophobia

Israel is particularly worried about the discredit at an international level. In this context, Tel Aviv knows that any show of complicity with the apartheid regime imposed in Palestine is supposed to produce gains.

Reaction of the Solidarity Movement in France

The Association France-Palestine Solidarity, the main association of solidarity with Palestine, reacted with a first unambiguous statement, recalling that “solidarity is not a crime, it is a duty” and quite rightly that “support for the legitimate claims of the Palestinian people is in no way comparable to any call for hatred towards Israel or the Israelis, it is a call for justice and the application of international law”.

In addition to the two associations concerned by the decision, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra and the Comité d’Action Palestine, others such as the Union Juive Française pour la Paix and Europalestine have reacted quickly. A petition is online to show their refusal of the government’s liberticidal decisions.

 It would be important for other organizations, focused on the defense of individual and collective rights, to come forward to protest against these iniquitous decisions. Indeed, any breach of solidarity will be a loophole that can be exploited by the supporters of apartheid in Palestine to impose further bans and dissolutions.

– Claude Zurbach is the editor of Chronique de Palestine, the French version of the Palestine Chronicle website. A computer engineer by profession, he has been involved for many years in solidarity with the Palestinian national movement. His Twitter account is https://twitter.com/ClaudeZurbach

The Combating Islamophobia Act: On Hate Crimes and ‘Irrational Fears’

December 27, 2021

US Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: via Facebook)

By Ramzy Baroud

The result of a vote, on December 14, in the US House of Representatives regarding the combating of Islamophobia, may, possibly, appear to be a positive sign of change, that Washington is finally confronting this socio-political evil. However, conclusions must not be too hasty.

Disquietingly, Congress was nearly split on the vote. While 219 voted in favor of the resolution, 212 voted against it. What is so objectionable about the resolution, which was introduced by Rep. Ilhan Omar, that prompted a ‘nay’ vote by such a large number of American representatives?

The resolution – ‘Combating International Islamophobia Act’ – merely called for establishing the position of a “Special Envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia”. Arguably, HR 5665 would have not passed, were it not for the embarrassing episode last September, when Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado mouthed off such obscene and racist language, in which she suggested that Rep. Omar was a terrorist.

“So the other night on the House floor was not my first jihad squad moment,” Boebert told a crowd during a campaign event in Staten Island. The other moment, according to Boebert, was when she met Ilhan Omar on an elevator. “What’s happening? I look to my left and there she is, Ilhan Omar, and I said, ‘Well she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine,’” suggesting that Omar was a potential bomber.

The fact that Boebert would make such racist references publicly, while being aware of the particular cultural sensitivity that exists in her country at the moment, speaks volumes about the complete disregard that many Americans, whether in power, in the media or on the street, have towards their fellow US Muslim citizens.

However, the disparaging and racist comments, thanks to the tireless efforts of numerous activists throughout the country, made enough impact that helped register a semi-official indictment of such despicable behavior. Of course, much more work would have to be done to convince the 212 objecting representatives that degrading and discriminating against their own people because of religion, culture or attire must not be tolerated.

Whether HR 5665 would prove decisive in condemning Islamophobia or holding Islamophobes accountable, is a different story. Hence, we must not hesitate to confront the term itself, the misleading reference that what Muslims in the US and throughout the world are experiencing is some kind of a pathological phenomenon, that of fear, itself instigated, as some suggest, by Muslims themselves.

Anti-Muslims are outright racists. Though Islam is a religion, in the mind of these racists, Islam is affiliated with brown and black-skinned people and, therefore, the hate of Islam and Muslims is part of the anti-black racism that continues to define many parts of the world, especially the US and Europe.

Anti-Muslims are also capable of being criminals, as numbers have shown that the so-called Islamophobia has resulted in mass killing, as was the case in Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

Less reported than these horrific massacres are thousands of incidents where Muslims are targeted because of their religion, cultural symbols and values.

According to a report released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last July, hundreds of Anti-Muslim incidents have been reported throughout the country in the first half of 2021. These incidents range from hate crimes, hate speech, targeting mosques and Muslim children being bullied at school.

The US is not the only Western country where Anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes are on the rise. Canada, too, which has witnessed the horrific January 2017 attack on the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec – in which six Muslims were killed and 19 others wounded – is equally culpable.

According to a report by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) in September, Anti-Muslim incidents in Canada are growing exponentially. Fatema Abdalla, NCCM’s communication coordinator, described Anti-Muslim hate in Canada as “systemic”. “Not only is it growing, but it’s also evolving,” she told Global News, following the release of the report.

Like in the US, Anti-Muslim hate is also fueled by politicians, but not just any politician. In 2015, for example, Canada’s then Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushed to establish a “barbaric cultural practices hotline” where Canadians would be able to call the police to report the ‘disturbing rituals’ of their neighbors. The reference was widely understood to be targeting Muslims, especially as equally disturbing Anti-Muslim measures were proposed, or enacted, in Canada during that period.

Similarly, in the UK and the rest of Europe, Anti-Muslim bias and hate crimes were reported, based on extensive studies and research as well as experiences of ordinary Muslims on a daily basis.

While the vote in Congress to ‘monitor and combat Islamophobia’ is a positive step, the urgency of the situation demands not just symbolic gestures, but the outright criminalization and prosecution of Anti-Muslim hate crimes.

It is time that we stop perceiving ‘Islamophobes’ as people with irrational or, in the mind of some, rational, fear of Muslims – similar to ‘claustrophobia’, ‘arachnophobia’, or ‘agoraphobia’. Indeed, rarely do people in the latter categories gun down innocent people in the street to overcome their fears. Anti-Muslim hate is real and the racists behind it must be punished for their words and actions, as all racists surely deserve.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Yellow Vests ‘Season 2’ begins – are Season 1’s always better?

October 21, 2021

Yellow Vests ‘Season 2’ begins – are Season 1’s always better?

By Ramin Mazaheri posted with permission and cross-posted with PressTV

Last weekend, after more than one and half years away, the Yellow Vests hit the streets again for what they are calling “Season 2”.

You’re going to laugh and say, “But Season 2 of television programs are always worse!” Sure, for TV shows which turn out to be lousy. I find it hard to imagine that the Yellow Vests are going to sour into something unwatchable – in 2019 it was global can’t-miss politics.

The Yellow Vests poised to restart marching in Paris: The Bastille monument is in the background and a “Stop the genocide of the Gauls” sign is at the head of the demonstration. Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

French President Emmanuel Macron may appreciate the coronavirus because it provided the only time in his term, other than his first several months when the streets weren’t swarming with protesters. There are self-centered Americans who claim that the corona hysteria was amplified in the West to push Donald Trump into losing re-election – some egotistical French say the hysteria was manipulated to get the Yellow Vests off the streets. Neither egos are totally out of control here, if you ask me.

Most everyone in France I talked with about the Vesters had the same response about Season 2: “The Yellow Vests still exist?” That’s fair – it has been a while.

I hate sounding like the perpetually self-referential Chris Cuomo of CNN, but no journalist in French or English attended more Yellow Vest demonstrations than I did… and even I had to catch up on what happened in the different epoch of 2019!

All I can say after doing so is – wow… France’s state-sponsored repression in 2019 boggles the mind and stuns the pen. It should not be forgotten, and someone needs to get it right.

Which is why at the end of 2019 I thought it was necessary journalism to compile this, A News Chronology of France in 2019: The Year of Yellow Vest Rebellion. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know exactly what happened in 2019, in what order, how, and why. It is 11,000 words but reviewing how the Yellow Vest phenomenon arose and exploded, and the depths to which France descended to repress it, make for astounding reading even if Chris Cuomo would have penned it.

To condense it all into two lines from the introduction: “The metronomic sadism of certain, massive state violence was not at all a normal state of affairs, and yet Parisians were expending all their psychic energy to convince themselves that everything was indeed ‘normal’. … The question that France cannot quite answer is: are they still the coloniser, or are they now colonised?

Disgusting Eric Zemmour, who has risen to third in the April 2022 presidential polls, will say that France is the colonised – by Muslims. Nonsense: somehow the lowest socioeconomic class is the one pulling the strings which gutted France’s middle class? Yet he still gets all the airtime in the world. The Yellow Vests, however, get it right – France has been colonised by the European Union, which is indeed a neo-imperialist project that is openly and repeatedly anti-democratic. For this Vesters get no airtime.

But they do get plenty of tear gas (a more powerful type began getting used in March 2019), and rubber bullets (or “flash balls” shot from “defense ball launchers” per the MSM), from a new police chief who was hired because the Prime Minister said that “Inappropriate orders were given to reduce the use of LBD (rubber bullets)” by the previous police chief, while protesters were forbidden from covering their face (are corona masks ok now?).

You really can’t make this stuff up: remember the “anti-Yellow Vest law”, the lockdowns, the deployment of the army, the reactionary and short-lived “Red Scarves”, the fake turnout numbers, the fact that Macron didn’t even utter the words “Yellow Vests” until April 25, the banning of rural demonstrations, the tear-gassed tourists on Bastille Day, Lobstergate, etc.

So, yes, Mr. and Mrs. Jean Q. Frenchy stopped going to protests around mid-May 2019. You can say the Yellow Vests grew unpopular but you’d be wrong – they were consistently around a 60% approval rating, which is a staggeringly high number for a protest movement, and a great score for a political party.

But don’t forget the victories: they stopped Macron’s privatisation of the airports, they forced him to back down on yet another austerity budget (thus ending 9 years of austerity), they got €10 billion in concessions (which was credited to raising France’s 2019 Q3 growth rate of 0.3% (remember how many years of awful quarters they had when 0.3% quarterly growth would be trumped up as proof of austerity’s success!)), they must get credit for inspiring the 2019/20 General Strike (France’s longest labor movement in history) and also – they refused to give up.

These are low numbers, because how many hurt protesters (including tourists) didn’t report their injuries, but the 1-year tally in late November was 11,000 arrests, 2,000 convictions, 1,000 imprisoned, 5,000 seriously hurt and 1,000 critically injured.

Incredible… and yet France continued to claim to be a leader in human and political rights all the while. As if Danton and Robespierre wouldn’t have guillotined themselves rather than be associated with the French government of today….

But we all know what happened right after the French union-led, which is to say incompetently-led, General Strike failed: ”2 weeks to flatten the curve!”

Well, at least it gave France a reason to have a new type of state of emergency. Recall that those started under Francois Hollande – executive branch power-grabs are not something started by Macron.

Season 2 of the West’s most advanced political group

Oh, wait – aren’t they Islamophobic, per the repeated accusations of the MSM? Well, then why did the head of the Paris demonstration feature a Muslim woman wearing a hijab?

Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

In 2019 they marched against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, by the way.

Nothing says, “The spirit of les Lumières (the Enlightenment)” like a machine gun at a peaceful, unarmed demonstration. Guess they don’t need to call out the army anymore?

Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

I counted about 1,000 at one of the Paris protests on the opening act of Season 2, and I estimated there were 300 planned demonstrations nationwide. The Yellow Vests have always been a rural-based movement, and because the MSM dismisses and denigrates rural areas they have consistently undercounted Vester demos by a third. Here’s a shot of the Paris demonstration to see for yourself. Notice the Palestinian flag, even though Vesters are surely racist, Islamophobic, pro-imperialist, etc.?

Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

Here’s the TV report we at PressTV did on Act 1, Season 2 – you may not find any others. I surprisingly did see a lone major French media there, which was a huge increase from the usual French media presence of “none”. An RT colleague was there, as always, so it was quite the same as it was from mid-May 2019 onwards – mostly just the Russians and the Iranians covering the Yellow Vests.

So what’s going to happen this season?

Well, the resumption of regular weekend repression of protesters would surely hurt Macron’s re-election chances, but will the average Jean and Jeanne Frenchy join them? Believe it or not, many people don’t like being tear gassed in 2021 as much as they didn’t like it in 2019. The massive state repression, the criminalisation, the tear gas, the beatings, the fines, the intrusive searches, the portraying of political protesters as mere rioters – the whole point was to scare away the average Frenchman, and it definitely worked.

People here tell me that Macron will just buy voters off with some one-off payments before the election, but Americans told me the same thing about Trump – I note that he did not.

The world is not going to lock itself down to sway the French election, like many said it seemed to do for the US election; the Western 1% really doesn’t care what happens to French protesters, and 2019 proved that emphatically.

If you’re going to pin me down for an early prediction, and fairly ask this foreign correspondent what exactly is going on in France, then at this point I’d say: Macron wins re-election regardless of how much petrol increases, inflation rises, the Vesters march, etc. for a simple reason:

The West postures on 18th century political and social achievements, largely disavowing 20th-century advances in political thought and anti-imperialism. Thus, France is a far-right country with a host of recent massacres, violence and repression which are forgotten or covered up as soon as the smoke clears – look at the Yellow Vests of 2019. The Yellow Vests are emphatically not poseurs, but they were and likely will be incredibly suppressed ahead of the presidential election.

Apathy is always the forerunner of catastrophe – however, perhaps France will grasp that and not cede the political field to the economic and social far-right (Macron, Le Pen, Zemmour)?

The story of French political modernity is not over – Season 2 has only begun.


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Photos by Ramin Mazaheri

Another sad incident of Islamophobia in Canada

Another sad incident of Islamophobia in Canada

June 09, 2021

by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

A Pakistani-Canadian family recently fell victim to another hate crime against Muslims in Canada. Five members of a Muslim family became the latest target of anti-Islam attacks in Canada. The hate crime claimed the lives of four family members and critically wounded a child. Police said the victims were two women aged 77 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl. A nine-year-old boy was seriously injured and is in serious condition in hospital. The victims, all members of the same family, were hit on Sunday evening while waiting to cross a street in the city of London, 200km (124 miles) southwest of Toronto, Canadian news outlets reported on Monday. Canadian Police confirmed a 20-year-old Canadian attacker, Nathaniel Veltman, intentionally ran over the family with his pick-up truck in London, Ontario ‘because they were Muslim,’ killing four people, including a teenage girl.

Pakistan foreign office spokesperson said, “We strongly condemn the Islamophobic incident that resulted in the tragic death of four family members of Pakistani origin, in London, Ontario. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto are in close contact with the relevant Canadian authorities to ascertain the facts of the case and to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice. Our Consul General in Toronto also visited the family of the deceased to offer sympathies and condolences and all possible assistance.”

Canadian authorities defined the incident as a “horrific act of Islamophobia.” “This was an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims,” London Mayor Ed Holder said. “It was rooted in unspeakable hatred.”The Canadian Prime Minister has stated that Islamophobia has no place in any of their communities. Events like these further reinforce the imperative for the international community to work together for interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence. In fact, Canada is a relatively peaceful country and hosts people of all nationalities, religions, races, and ethnicities. While Canada presents itself as one of the most liberal states under its Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, anti-Islam hate crimes continue to threaten both communal peace and Muslim lives in the North American country.

Like most Western countries, Canadian legal authorities do not define anti-Islam attacks as terrorist acts despite calling incidents by radical armed groups like Daesh and Al Qaeda terror acts.

The incident is widely condemned internationally, particularly in the Muslim world.

It is appealed to all Muslims to remain calm and cooperate with local authorities to fight against hate crimes, particularly against Muslims. But, unfortunately, Islamophobia is rising sharply in the Western World.

By design, few spoiler groups, nations, and individuals have launched a acompaing to distort the Muslim image. Islam is a religion of “Peace” and “Love,” but they have projected Muslims as Terrorists. In fact, they blamed Muslims for Terrorism and destroyed their countries, and captured natural resources and their wealth. The Worst genocide happened in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan under cover of the War on Terror and shifted their wealth and natural resources to Western World.

There are around two billion Muslims; almost every fourth person on this earth is Muslim; although there are 57 Muslim countries, in fact, Muslims are spread all over the globe. The Muslim world is rich in natural resources like Oil and Gas. But backward in education and divided politically so became easy target for Western World. However, Muslims are a significant contributor to modern Science and Technology and the global economy.

There might be few criminals in Islam, just like in any other religion or race, but the overhelming majority are good people. Unholy media has been used as a tool to distort the Muslim image. Many people are converting to Islam, even in the Western world. Most women in the West believe that Muslims are the best Husbands. Most of the Western World depends on natural resources and wealth from Muslim World. Muslims living in the Western World are highly qualified, hard-working, diligent, competent, and contribute to the host country’s socio-economic development.

Islamophobia is an emerging phenomenon, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan has been highlighting it frequently in all possible forms. Therefore, there is a need for the Western World must understand the consequences of Hate against Muslims.

Here is a shortlist of some past anti-Islam attacks in Canada only (in the rest of the Western World, there are much more):

Quebec City mosque attack

In late January 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old university student and a former Royal Canadian Army Cadet attacked the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, killing six worshippers and wounding five others.

Bissonnette held similar views to New Zealand’s Christchurch mosque shooter, Brenton Tarrant, an Australian citizen, having far-right and white supremacist political views. The Canadian attacker was also a fan of former President Trump and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The attacker was sentenced to life in prison. But, while Canadian leaders like Trudeau called the assault an act of terror, Bissonnette was not charged under the terrorism clause of the country’s Criminal Code.

The Quebec City attack has led to widespread public debate in Canada about why Islamophobic attacks motivated by right-wing political views have been rising across the country.

Abdullah Alzureiqi and his daughter Hala say a prayer at the fatal crime scene where a man driving a pick-up truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in London, Ontario, Canada, on June 7, 2021.

Abdullah Alzureiqi and his daughter Hala say a prayer at the fatal crime scene where a man driving a pick-up truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in London, Ontario, Canada, on June 7, 2021. (Carlos Osorio / Reuters)

In 2017, hate crimes climbed significantly in Canada to the previous year. But with a 207 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims, anti-Islam attacks were much higher than attacks against other social groups.

Even after the Quebec City Mosque shooting, which the country’s leaders widely condemned, attacks against Muslims “peaked,” according to an Islamophobia report.

Attacks on other mosques

Canada’s Islamic worshipping centers have been the target of anti-Islam attacks during the last decade. In addition, hate groups have constantly threatened mosques since 2013.

In 2015, the only mosque in Ontario’s Peterborough was set on fire by a hate group. A year before that vandalization, another anti-Islam assault, which was prevented by the police, targeted a Montreal mosque. In 2014, the Montreal police found a suspicious package in front of another mosque. The police neutralized the package.

Attacks on hijabi women

In Canada, many Muslim women have long been targeted by hate groups. Some of those attacks have apparently increased after Quebec, the country’s French-speaking second largest province by population, considered a bill that proposed a ban on wearing religious symbols, including hijab, in public spaces in 2013. The bill failed to become law.

In 2013, several Muslim hijabi women were assaulted across Quebec as attackers forcibly removed their headscarves. Since then, hijabi women, including one pregnant woman, have been targeted by racist attackers.

Despite continuing attacks, in 2019, Quebec Premier François Legault claimed that there was “no Islamophobia in Quebec.” However, after a political backlash, he backtracked from his comment.

Canadian media

Canadian media has fuelled anti-Muslim sentiment, making the country’s Islamophobia-related issues worse, according to experts.

“Islamophobia is a direct result of the anti-Muslim rhetoric conveyed in the media,” said a 2019 statement by Canadian Muslim Alliance, referring to the country’s press organizations.

“We appeal to the Canadian, Quebec, and municipal governments to stand against this type of hate speech. Words matter,” the statement added.

There are many more similar cases, but not reported, not documented. The actual situation is grave and worrisome. Scholars, Intellectuals, Think Tanks may conduct research and case studies to evaluate the actual threat posed.

It is time to think wisely. Therefore, it is appealed to all sensible and peace-loving nations and individuals to promote understanding, coexistence, harmony and turn this world into a better place to live for us and our next generations.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Iran: Keeper of mankind’s anti-imperialist flame amid the ‘end of history’

Source

Thursday, 04 February 2021 3:33 AM  

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Islamic Revolution, February 1979. (Photo by Reuters)
Iran at 42: Keeper of mankind’s anti-imperialist flame amid the ‘end of history’
Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) is currently covering the US election. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea, and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China,’ which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with The Saker

At 42 years the Iranian Islamic Revolution has endured so long that it has seen the reactionary force which rose to counter it – Reaganism – partially defeated by a new faction: Trumpism.

With the return to power – via Joe Biden – of the three decade-long Clintonista ideology Iran hasn’t lasted so very long as to witness a total sea change in US politics, but revolutionary Iran continues to vex, undermine and even defeat mighty Washington precisely because of a key pillar of the Islamic Republic: anti-imperialism.

It’s difficult for me to take Biden and his supporters seriously because even though they claim to represent a progressive leap forward politically one never hears them utter the phrase “anti-imperialism”. In fact, nowhere in US mainstream discourse is this phrase ever heard, and that should be very telling about the true nature of the political factions here.

Anti-imperialism. Indeed, it is a complete sentence. It is a definitive answer to so many questions and problems.

It’s so big that even Wikipedia’s scant page on anti-imperialism relates how it has five different axes: “the moral, the economic, the systemic, the cultural and the temporal”. In one column I cannot discuss all five axes, but I can relate how the phrase is never discussed in both polite and impolite American society. That’s worth repeating because the US is so very aggressive militarily, still.

The single greatest cardinal sin in politics is to attack another country, so from a political point of view the dominant concept behind “anti-imperialism” is an anti-war stance: To be anti-imperialist is to be pro-peace. Therefore, in its political sense “anti-imperialism” is a phrase which implies an inherently internationalist viewpoint which sees weaker – or maybe just less warlike –  countries bound together against any colonising aggressor.

The sad reality is that “anti-imperialism” is not what it used to be.

As I have often related, an accurate analysis of modern human history is that precisely as Iran emerged victorious from the Western-orchestrated War of Holy Defense (also referred to as the Iran-Iraq War) the global anti-imperialist struggle completely collapsed, due to the fall of the USSR and Europe’s Eastern Bloc.

Almost universally anti-imperialism had a crisis of intellectual confidence. This even allowed Western pro-imperialists to insist that Iran was in a laughable condition: it went from being a revolutionary country to an outdated country almost overnight! The sad, but partial, truth of this historical era is not widely understood even in 2021.

It’s an important rejoinder that Iran’s revolutionary mix of anti-imperialism, state economic management and a modern, late-20th century political structure mixed with the revolutionary addition of clerical democratic inclusion has also still not been fully understood by most non-Iranians on both the left and the right.

But for pro-imperialists understanding was not necessary because in 1992 they infamously, abruptly and arrogantly declared the “end of history”, and that anti-imperialism had permanently lost. This explains Washington’s philosophy towards Iran for the last 30 years: waste time – and make things as difficult as possible via illegal and murderous sanctions – until Iran catches up with “history”. Or to put it in the exact terms used today by the Biden administration, which is struggling to gain domestic legitimacy after a deeply-disputed election: wait for Iran to accept “reality” (a “reality” defined by pro-imperialists, of course).

After 42 years Iran is still waiting for many to understand the political and economic modernity of its culture, but most with open eyes have at least partially come to understand Iran thanks to its actions. They see that Iran is consistently a top 10 country in the acceptance of refugees; they see that Iran puts its best and most beloved, like QasemSoleimani, in harm’s way in foreign nations in order to aid their struggles; they see that Iran supports righteous Sunni countries like Palestine; they see that Iran takes major and daring risks to send help to Latino countries like Venezuela; they see that Iran followed all the rules of the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program even when Western signatories did not.

Anyone with open eyes sees that Iran is an internationalist country, an anti-imperialist fighter, a peacemaker and a supporter of righteous global cooperation . Anyone with a modicum of imagination has also wondered just how very successful Iran could be and would have been – with their natural and human resources, and with the exact system they have had in place for 42 years – if the West would end its decades of imperialist blockades on Iran.

In the modern digital age – dominated by Western corporations who undoubtedly support pro-imperialist ideologies – eyes are not allowed to be opened, sadly. The pen is not mightier than the sword of deplatforming, censorship and endless Western propaganda.

And yet anti-imperialism remains an ever-powerful sword, because defense of one’s home and sovereignty is always legitimate.

In the post-1991 world who has wielded this sword more than Iran? This is not mere boasting, and proof of humility can be shown by quickly recounting the history of modern anti-imperialist struggles:

Only a know-nothing would say that the USSR, with its 25 million martyrs, didn’t primarily defeat German imperialism. China gave so very much to protect Korea from American invasion, but not as much as North Koreans gave, of course. The sacrifices of the Vietnamese were the most globally galvanising anti-imperialist force in the 20th century – who could ever forget that? Ending South African Apartheid can never be forgotten, but Western media certainly does obscure the role played by Cuban soldiers in repelling attacks from the Western-backed South African Defense Force, which ultimately resulted in the discrediting of the entire South African system and led to the freedom of Angola and modern-day Namibia. And who can forget when Algiers was the “Mecca of revolutionaries”, following the victory of its incredibly inspiring anti-imperialist struggle which overturned 132 years of Algeria “being France”?

Yet Iran’s contributions to the global and supremely humane anti-imperialist movement have been easily obscured by the West’s post-2001 state-sponsored ideology: Islamophobia.

Islamophobia was a very good ideology for pro-imperialists to promote because it has no troublesome economic or class components – it is mere xenophobia. Islamophobia explains why even the few committed Western anti-imperialists so often dismiss Iran’s anti-imperialism with a dismissive wave of their hand: they feel that because of the presence of the religion of Islam Iran is too difficult to even be understood. Sadly, Western pro-imperialists – via the promotion of Islamophobia – have won in many areas for decades.

Iran is concerned with Islam, of course, but Islam differs from Christianity in that there is no possibility for forced conversion, for proselytising monks or nuns or for the forcing of faith on others. Islam, from a political, economic and geopolitical perspective, is simply an insufficient tool with which to define all of modern Iran (believing that it is sufficient is Islamophobic, of course).

Because anti-imperialism cannot die as long as countries are conquered and colonised (openly or via puppets), it must have a center somewhere, no?

It’s laughable to say that the centre of the anti-imperialist movement in 2021 – which began in politics with Lenin and his critiques of Western-style capitalism – could be located anywhere in the United States. Or in Western Europe, for that matter.

I think it is perhaps fair to say the centre in 2021 is in Iran.

If that seems strange to your ears: Isn’t it true that Western Islamophobia has made modern Iran seem to be totally inscrutable, or even not even worth serious analysis? At the very same time, hasn’t the huge reductions in the anti-imperialist movement – which was a global cultural force for nearly a century – made Iran even more atypical? Is Iran so hard to place on the global and historical political spectrums because it is so very revolutionary, or is it that many simply don’t make the effort to accurately understand it’s structures, ideals and actions?

After 42 years Iran’s actions are clear, even if – to some – their motivations and methods are not yet comprehended.

There are other established anti-imperialist nations, as I have noted, and I am not accusing them of resting on their laurels – I simply note here that since 1979 Iran has undoubtedly joined their company in the history of modern mankind. Given the importance of anti-imperialism in establishing global peace, goodwill and cooperation – who wouldn’t thank God for that?

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

كلمة الرئيس الأسد خلال مشاركته في الاجتماع الدوري لوزارة الأوقاف

كلمة الرئيس الأسد خلال مشاركته في الاجتماع الدوري لوزارة الأوقاف يوم أمس الموجودة على الرابط ادناه، تعد محاضرة فلسفية عميقة يتناول فيها

مفاهيم عقدية ومسائل دينية شائكة بنظرة عميقة وفاحصة، ويتحدث عن أخطار اللبرالية الحديثة (المفاهيم ما بعد الحداثوية) على أصل الإنسان والإنسانية، وعن مفاهيم المجتمع والاسرة في الدين

ومغالطات اطروحات فصل الدين عن الدولة والأخلاق، ويضع كل هذا في اطاره الموسع في نقاش العروبة والإسلام في المعركة السياسية والاستعمارية القائمة على اوطاننا

والمستمرة منذ زهاء القرن من الزمن، مع الاستدلالات الشرعية حسب الأصول.

القى الرئيس الأسد هذه الكلمة في جامع العثمان، فهكذا تكون الخطب الدينية بحق، وكان لافتا شموليتها، ناهيك عن الإجابة على بعض المسائل الفقهية

والفلسفية الشائكة التي كانت الإجابة عليها صعبة رغم كثرة الكُتّاب والخطباء.

عمرو علان

كلمة الرئيس الأسد خلال مشاركته في الاجتماع الدوري لوزارة الأوقاف

Why Muslims in the US face a crisis of leadership

Hafsa Kanjwal

8 December 2020 12:12 UTC | 

Last update: 11 hours 18 mins ago

Some Muslim American groups have turned into agents of oppression, providing cover for harmful and destructive policies towards our communities

The King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, is pictured on 23 May (AFP)237Shares

For many Muslims in the US, the news that we will not be plunged into fascism with a second term for President Trump has been met with relief.

However, as Muslim Americans begin to reconfigure their political advocacy, we cannot be complicit under a Biden presidency that remains true to the core principles of American neoliberalism and empire. Most importantly, we cannot go back to the Muslim American political subservience that we witnessed during the Obama years.Joe Biden, Emgage and the muzzling of Muslim America

Read More »

Muslim communities around the world – whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine, Kashmir, Yemen, China or Myanmar – face many injustices today. And it is an unfortunate reality that the US is either directly responsible for, or has aided or prolonged, many of these injustices. 

There has been a push in recent decades – and especially during the Obama years – to make Muslim Americans feel a sense of exceptionalism, and to view issues from “back home” as removed from our reality in the US. This is despite the interconnected nature of how Muslims around the world are treated – and how that structural violence also impacts us here. 

From Obama to Trump

The Obama years were defined by the rise of a professional Muslim class that was made into agents of empire and oppression, providing cover or tacit approval to some of the most harmful and destructive policies towards our communities, including the ramping up of counter-violent extremism (CVE) policies using Muslim leaders and institutions. Many of these individuals or organisations positioned themselves as the “resistance” under Trump: we know they will, and already have, gone back to being the native informants for the neoliberal establishment.

The Muslim community in the US faces a crisis in terms of having a principled leadership that speaks truth to power

This means that Muslim Americans have a lot of work cut out for them. We have reached a crucial stage, in which a critical mass of fellow Muslims are pushing to sacrifice Muslims around the world and in the US in order to gain mainstream acceptance and access to certain corridors of power here.

Nowhere is this more evident than in how so many Muslim-American institutions and leaders are normalising Zionism, even as opposition to Zionism is gaining traction within the Jewish-American community. Muslim Americans may not be able to bring about a complete transformation in how the US conducts its affairs in the Muslim world – though they should at least try – but at the very least, they should not contribute to injustice. 

Trump’s presidency was devastating for many people of colour and Muslims in the US. But it also provided political clarity about the US that was not possible under the veneer of the Obama-led liberal establishment. It spurred important, long-awaited conversations about the role of imperialism, neoliberalism and white supremacy in the US that had previously been obscured.

A new generation of Muslim Americans has become politically mature and much more critical than older generations, which are still reeling from the kind of respectability politics in which we have been forced to engage post-9/11. They are building their own institutions. 

Nonetheless, there is a danger that the veering to the far right has left Obama and Biden appear to Muslims as more progressive than they actually are. While the Trump era has ignited more imaginative conversations elsewhere about reducing the military-industrial complex, ending wars, and defunding the police, it has also given establishment Muslims a portal to exercise restraint over developing these wants. 

Going forward

The Muslim community in the US faces a crisis in terms of having a principled leadership that speaks truth to power.

Far too many organisations and leaders are more interested in having access to power than in representing our agenda. Consequently, we need to hold these leaders accountable.

Muslim Americans must advise those who claim to speak on their behalf, and hold them to account if they continue to cause harm to our causes. Lives are at stake when individuals or organisations enable the state’s violence against Black or brown bodies. Silence, or a desire not to “rock the boat” or alienate anyone, makes us complicit. There is no point to “unity” if our goals are not the same. 

Former US President Barack Obama hosts an iftar dinner at the White House in 2014 (AFP)
Former US President Barack Obama hosts an iftar dinner at the White House in 2014 (AFP)

The community must also put a check on American exceptionalism. Our lives here are not more important or more valuable than those of the victims of American imperialism. Furthermore, Muslims living amid some of the most disheartening conditions around the world have a great deal to teach us – we cannot simply adopt a colonial attitude and think we know best.

In addition, Muslim Americans need to understand that Islamophobia is not just restricted to a Muslim travel ban, or someone saying negative things about Muslims. Anti-Muslim racism is built into the fabric of a number of institutions in this country, and very much part of the neoliberal establishment.

The Muslim community must move beyond symbolism, and recognise when that is weaponised. What is the point, for example, of us getting excited over a political leader saying “inshallah” if he was actively campaigning for the immoral and illegal Iraq war and was bombing Muslim communities around the world? 

The heart of Islam

Most importantly, we need to push our institutions towards meaningful representation and to hold the government accountable.

Muslim Americans need to ask themselves where they, their leaders and their institutions are standing

How many mainstream, national Muslim American organisations are talking about surveillance, entrapment, Guantanamo Bay, the military-industrial complex, or the ravages of capitalism? Are these not issues where Muslims should be at the forefront, providing leadership based on our religious values?

Situating ourselves with the most vulnerable and the oppressed has been the core of our faith and its teachings: it is the heart of Islam. 

Muslim Americans need to ask themselves where they, their leaders and their institutions are standing. Are they looking up, trying to protect their interests, serving as tokens, or maintaining the pretence of influence – or are they with the people?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Hafsa Kanjwal is an assistant professor in South Asian history at Lafayette College. Her PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, was on the social history of modern Kashmir.

An Encore for Charlie Hebdo

November 13, 2020

Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Insulting Islam

In mid October 2020 a French schoolteacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, decided to show his Freedom of Speech class cartoons demeaning Islam’s founding prophet, Mohammed. The cartoons were the same ones originally published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) in 2014-2015. At that time, the magazine’s actions resulted in the murder of twelve of its staff, including the editor, Stephane Charbonnier. The murders were committed by Muslim extremists associated with al-Qaeda. Samuel Paty’s fate turned out to be similar. Shortly after having shown the caricatures of the founder of Islam, the teacher was murdered by an 18-year-old Muslim immigrant. Other attacks have followed.  

In all of these cases, the killings were provoked as well as indefensible. The cartoons in question are all too easy to interpret as gratuitous insults against Islam and therefore against the almost 9% of the French population that are Muslim. Nonetheless, murder is incompatible with stable society. The latter being prima facie true, the next question is, What alternatives were available to those who were/are disgusted by the Charlie Hebdo caricatures? Lawsuits for defamation have been repeatedly filed. Some are still ongoing. However, to date, none have stopped the magazine’s demeaning ways. Well-organized public protests combined with steady political pressure might work in the long run. It was perhaps because such an effort was not forthcoming, at least not consistently, that action defaulted to emotionally driven individual fanatics.

By the way, Charlie Hebdo, with its own brand of fanaticism, is what you might call an equal opportunity defamer. Topics ranging from the Catholic Church to Italians killed in earthquakes have been depicted in distasteful, sometimes semi-pornographic fashion. As it stands, the right to publish gratuitously insulting cartoons is not only legal in France but, because of all the related violence, also now defended as an important expression of French national culture. To make this point clear, French officials have announced the publication of a booklet to include the Charlie Hebdo images. This will be “handed out to high school students as a commitment to defend the values of the Republic.”

Part II—A Trap 

The value referred to in the booklet is freedom of expression. As Charbonnier said in a 2012 interview, “We can’t live in a country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than to live like a rat.” Of course, it is now obvious that Charbonnier’s ardent determination to avoid a rodent’s fate, and his nation’s embrace of the man’s grossness as a symbol of free speech, has led France into a trap. Here is how the Sorbonne Professor Pierre-Henri Tavoillot puts it: “what is at stake now is France’s laicite—the secularism that underlies its culture. If the nation compromises on laicite in this instance, this cultural principle may well unravel.” Refusal to consider a balanced way out of the situation paints the French into a corner while explicitly tying the culture to often semi-pornographic cartoons. 

The trap has many other dimensions. French enthusiasm for Charlie Hebdo has fueled Islamophobia and led others to use the situation to argue for the restriction of civil rights. France’s interior minister believes that the country is “at war against an enemy who is both inside and outside.” While it is true that the country’s 5.7 million Muslims (the highest number in any Western country) are increasingly alienated and fearful, the vast majority are peaceful. Yet they all have now been placed under suspicion of being terrorists. Now, the mayor of Nice is calling for a “modification of the Constitution” so that the nation can “properly wage war against Islamic extremists.” President Macron has announced a widespread crackdown on “Islamist individuals and organizations.” This includes closing French Muslim civil rights organizations and Arabic language schools. 

The whole affair has also brought France into conflict with Muslim populations and governments around the world. Presently, the French and Turkish governments are now trading insults. In Bangladesh, 40,000 people took part in an anti-French demonstration and called for the boycott of French goods. French goods were removed from shelves in shops in Qatar and Kuwait. 

Part III—Rationalizations

The French will tell you that their take on free expression was born in violence: in “eradicating the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church” during the French Revolution. Later, a 1905 French law made faith a strictly private matter and secularism the rule for the public sphere. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement. However, over the years the French have generally lost common sense relative to the subject and failed to be consistent in their approach to religion. On the one hand, laicite has caused some French men and women to see religion as a belief system that need not be taken seriously. Criticism of religion is seen as a “dear right.” On the other hand, recent history has led French governments to be very sensitive to even the slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism (which is illegal in France). Except in this case, the stipulation that one should not be critical of someone simply because he is observant is often forgotten.

Against this backdrop, French Muslims, the  most religious of French residents, have been held at arm’s length. Those who retain their traditional dress and ways stand out as outsiders and assimilation has not been made easy even for those Muslims who desire it. 

The French will also tell you that the art of caricature “is an old tradition that is part of our democracy.” French Muslims make the argument that “there should be limits to offensive satire [in the form of demeaning caricature] when it comes to religious beliefs.” They say that this is so because such satire “fuels extremism.” For millions of French Muslims, this suggests that “cartoons putting a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in suggestive and degrading postures” should not fall within the right to be satirical.

One can, of course, argue the issue of censorship. Free speech/expression rights are explicitly meant to protect speech we may not approve of. On the other hand, all societies impose some limits on speech—you can’t cry fire in a crowded theater. Who decides when, or if, there should be a legitimate restriction to free speech/expression? How about when there is a present atmosphere that leads to multiple murder and the breakdown of otherwise friendly foreign relations? Under such circumstances, can such competing issues be finessed by the application of common sense? The flamboyant display of such “art” as practiced by Charlie Hebdo, much less its presentation as a cornerstone of French culture, might be such a case.*

Part IV—Conclusion

How many cultures make rudeness a symbol of cultural excellence? It doesn’t seem to be a common practice. Yet, the French have done so in this case. It has gotten them nothing but trouble at home and abroad. 

The problem with the present French position is that it gives wide latitude to people who care little or nothing for cultural awareness. Stephane Charbonnier, the murdered editor of Charlie Hebdo, seemed uninterested in the real cultural consequences of his personal practice of freedom. In truth, he was an extremist who persisted on insulting a religion of 1.8 billion adherents, the vast majority of whom are peaceful folks. As he knew no bounds to his freedom to be brutally insulting, so his behavior activated a small number of Muslim extremists willing to be even more brutal than Charbonnier. This led to his violent death. In death he has become a French cultural icon—in total disregard of the extremist nature of his behavior and the counter-extremism it triggered.

Why Is American Islamophobia Dangerous?

By Dennis Korkodinov

Source

t is noteworthy that in the period from October 22 to 26, 2007, neoconservatives in the United States first introduced the concept of “Islamo-fascism” into public discourse. Thus, they intended to draw an analogy between the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the ideology that during the Second World War posed a threat to humanity.

Modern tendencies of Islamophobia in the United States, which have spread, moreover, in most European countries, testify to the traditional denigration of the followers of Islam.

It is noteworthy that in the period from October 22 to 26, 2007, neoconservatives in the United States first introduced the concept of “Islamo-fascism” into public discourse. Thus, they intended to draw an analogy between the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the ideology that during the Second World War posed a threat to humanity. This defamation policy, despite strong criticism from the Muslim community, has become a national brand of the United States, thanks to George W. Bush. It was this head of the White House who was the first to elevate Islamophobia into the cult of modern Americanism, presenting all Muslims (regardless of their country of residence, gender, age, and social status) in the image of terrorists.

Such a lie, artificially popularized by American politicians, suggests that this was not only a manifestation of religious intolerance. This was the announcement of a kind of “crusade” of the United States against Muslims and all those who sympathize with them. The leader of this campaign was the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which brought together ardent artists and Islamophobes who were ready to persecute representatives of the Muslim community with weapons in their hands.

One could express doubts about the seriousness of American Islamophobia, believing that it poses no real threat. However, the danger of this kind of religious intolerance is that it has a lot of influential supporters who have practically unlimited resources and power in order to elevate the persecution of Muslims into a state of total sectarian strife. And, given that Islamophobia directly affects the emergence of military conflicts in the Greater Middle East, such threats should be considered extremely realistic.

It is quite obvious that at present the main hotbeds of war in the Middle East arise precisely in those countries where Islam has a fairly strong position and, often in these countries, Islamic clergy are at the top of political power or perform the function of an “alternative government” (Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria). In addition, another distinctive feature of these countries is the huge reserves of oil and natural gas. In this regard, for the United States, the tandem combination of Islam and oil serves as a compelling reason for military intervention.

Thus, the theme of “fighting terrorism” postulated by Washington is only a smokescreen for destroying Islam and seizing the oil that is protected by the followers of Islam. This explains why the United States has been fighting the Ayatollah regime in Iran for several decades, refusing to withdraw troops from Iraqi territory, trying to influence Hezbollah in order to dismember Lebanon, and supporting the radical Syrian opposition.

The main goal of the American administration is a permanent war with Islam, which US politicians refuse to accept as a given, as an ideology that has become a system-forming element of the Arab states, has led to the emergence of prominent religious figures, starting from the Prophet Mohamed, and has created a unique means of communication between peoples, states, and civilizations.

Such a policy is in its savagery comparable to the policy of dictatorial regimes. The Propaganda Minister of the Third Reich Joseph Goebbels said that if a lie is repeated enough times, it becomes true, at least for those who believe in it. In this regard, by constantly promoting Islamophobia, the United States hopes that sooner or later the supporters of this religious intolerance will become the majority, which will lead to a complete discrediting of Islam.

ماذا بعد الانتخابات الأميركيّة وتداعياتها؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

لم يشهد حدث انتخابيّ في العالم اهتماماً دولياً وعالمياً يضاهي ما شهدته الانتخابات الأميركية الأخيرة، ففي حين انّ المألوف بين الناس أو المتعارف عليه يتمثل بقاعدة “الانتخابات تعني شعب الدولة التي تجريها”، فإنّ شعوب العالم ودوله تصرّفت وكأن الانتخابات هي انتخاباتها الخاصة، تصرّف يربط بسبب الوضع الأميركي والدور الذي تلعبه أميركا في السياسة الخارجية والعلاقات الدولية والتدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لكلّ دول العالم، حيث إنها ومستندة إلى قوّتها المركبة من عسكرية واقتصادية ذاتية او مستتبعة، وتصرفها في الأمن والسياسة والاجتماع، أنها مستندة لتلك القوة تتصرّف وبكلّ طمأنينة وثقة بالنفس بأنها حاكمة العالم وشرطيّه وسيّده الذي له الحقّ في فعل ما يريد وأن يضع له القواعد السلوكيّة التي تريد، تكافئ او تعاقب، تهادن أو تحارب هذا او ذاك، تفعل كلّ ذلك بإرادتها الأحادية المنفردة غير عابئة بما يُسمّى “قانون دولي عام” وقواعده الاتفاقية والنظامية.

ولأنّ أميركا كذلك، فإنّ العالم يهتمّ بمن سيكون “الرئيس“ الذي سيمارس تلك الصلاحيات الاستبدادية والسلوكيات التسلطية، يهتمّ العالم بانتخاباتها ليعرف “الجلاد” الذي سيواجهه، وطبيعة الرئيس الذي سيقود العدوان عليه. يفعل ذلك بحثاً أو أملاً بتغيير في النهج والأسلوب او مراجعة للأولويات وإعادة نظر بالخطط التي وضعت لتحقق عبرها أهداف الدولة “الجبارة”، وهنا يُطرح السؤال: هل النظرة لأميركا وانتخاباتها بهذا الشكل هي نظرة موضوعية؟ وهل سياسة أميركا تتغيّر حقيقة بين رئيس ورئيس؟

قبل أن أجيب على التساؤل، يكفي أن أذكر بما حدث عندنا في العقدين الأخيرين، حيث إنّ “الرئيس الجمهوري بوش قام بغزو العراق في العام 2003 ودفع إسرائيل لغزو لبنان في العام 2006” معتمداً استراتيجية القوة الصلبة التي اتخذها استراتيجيته العملية لفرض النظام العالمي أحادي القطبية، ولما آلت السلطة الى الرئيس الديمقراطي أوباما تغيّرت استراتيجية العدوان واعتمدت القوة الناعمة ثم القوة الإرهابية العمياء استراتيجية للعدوان بالشكل الجديد، وبها قادت أميركا عدواناً تدميرياً على 5 دول عربية لا زالت تتلظّى من الحريق الذي أشعلته تلك الاستراتيجية الوحشية. ولمّا ترك الديمقراطي الحكم وعاد الجمهوري إليه ورغم كلّ وعود الأخير الانتخابية، فإنه لم يوقف حرباً على جبهة واحدة في الشرق الأوسط ولم يُخلِ منطقة تحتلها القوات الأميركية وتابع بالخطط المرسومة للعدوان، دونما تغيير يُذكر في المضمون رغم بعض عمليات التجميل في الشكل.

ذكرت كلّ ذلك لأقول، إنّ الرئيس في أميركا ليس هو أميركا، وليس هو الملك المطلق الصلاحية الذي يصنع ما يريد، بل إن في أميركا مؤسسات رسمية وغير رسمية تتشكل منها “الدولة العميقة” التي قد تجد نفسها في مواجهة الرئيس إنْ كانت قراراته مخالفة لما تراه “مصلحة أميركية عليا”، وفي أميركا “لوبيات الضغط” التي تعمل لمصالح منظومات وكارتلات خاصة، كارتلات النفط والسلاح والمال وهي التي تملك القوة الخفيّة التي تقوّي الرئيس أو تضعفه حتى وقد تشله أو تطيح به، وهذه “الدولة العميقة” بمؤسساتها وكارتلاتها هي الحاكم الفعلي لأميركا، وعليها يجب ان تركز الأنظار بالنسبة لما يجب ان توضع خطط المواجهة.

بيد أنّ هذا الواقع لا يعني بأنّ أميركا ارتقت الى مصاف ما يمكن تسميته بالقدر الذي لا يُردّ والقوة التي لا تضعف والسلطان الدائم الأبديّ الذي لا يسقط، ففي أميركا نقاط ضعف ووهن إذا تمّ تفعيلها، مترافقة مع تخفيف فعالية مصادر قوتها فإنّ الوضع يتغيّر، وإنّ “الدولة العميقة” ستجد نفسها أمام عوائق لا يمكنها تخطّيها بيسر وسهولة.

فقوة أميركا وتماسكها الداخلي الذي يحفظ هذه القوة مرتبط بعناصر ثلاثة: الأول وجود الخطر المتمثل بالعدو الخارجيّ المستلزم الإعداد المتعدد الوجوه عسكرياً واستراتيجياً للمواجهة دفاعاً عن الذات، والثاني قوة الاقتصاد الذي يجب تسهيل دورته وتنشيطها داخلياً وخارجياً لتأمين الرفاه، والثالث وقد يراه البعض هو الأهمّ وهو الدولار الذي به تمسك أميركا بقرار العالم المالي ومن بوابته تعاقب أو تحاسب مَن تشاء من دول وكيانات وأفراد وأشخاص طبيعيين ومعنويين.

في المقابل نجد في الجسم الأميركيّ بذور وهن وضعف لا تُخفى، بذوراً تتمثل بالتعدّدية العرقيّة والدينيّة والفكريّة والاجتماعيّة، وانتفاء التاريخ المشترك لمكونات الشعب/ الشعوب في أميركا مع التفاوت الرهيب في نظرة المكوّن للآخر خاصة على صعيد اللون أو العرق أو الفكر الفلسفيّ، بذوراً تكون خامدة إذا كانت عناصر القوة ناشطة متوثبة وتعطي الجسم الأميركي المناعة اللازمة للاستمرار في مستويات القوة ولكنها تفعل العكس إذا تراجعت تلك المواطن في مسارات تأثيرها، وعليه نرى أنّ انتفاء الخطر الخارجي، يمكنها إذا فعلت أن تطيح بتلك “القوة الأسطورية”، او تشلها.

انطلاقاً من ذلك نرى أنّ خطورة ما جرى أو رافق أو استتبع الانتخابات الأميركية الحالية لا يتوقف عند النزاع حول شفافيتها أو نزاهتها، ولا يقوم على إمكانية انتقال النزاع الى القضاء كما يهدّد ترامب، مع ما يؤثر ذلك على الثقة بمؤسسة الرئاسة والنظام ككلّ، بل الخطورة الحقيقيّة تكمن في الانقسام العموديّ في المجتمع الأميركي، حيث تجد النصف الا قليلاً، ضدّ النصف الآخر. انقسام يسهله أيضاً غياب العدو والخطر الخارجي الذي يدفع الى التماسك، ورغم أنّ الدولة العميقة جهدت في السابق في اختلاق عدو لها أسمته “الإسلاموية” والإسلام السياسي أو “الإرهاب الإسلامي”، إلا أنها اليوم باتت في شبه انكشاف لاختلاقها ما يكاد يمثل فضيحة بعد أن كشف رئيسها ترامب بذاته تلك الفضيحة وقال بأنّ كلّ هذا الإرهاب هو صنع سلفه ووزيرة خارجيته هيلاري كلينتون. وهم يتحوّلون الآن للتركيز على الصين واعتبارها العدوان لم يكن العسكري المباشر فعلى الأقلّ العدو الاقتصادي الواجبة مواجهته، من دون أن يسقطوا طبعاً أوراق “الخطر الإيراني” و”العدو الروسي” الأوراق التي تتمسك بها أميركا لحاجات داخليّة ملحة.

وإضافة الى تراجع مسألة وجود العدو او انتفائه، نجد إرهاصات التحدي العالمي للدولار، تحدٍّ طال الوقت او قصر، فإنه سيتمكن في نهاية المطاف بالإطاحة بموقع الدولار الأميركي الحاكم لمالية العالم، إطاحة لن تنتظر العقود والقرون الطويلة بل باتت مسألة سنوات قليلة حيث سيجد الدولار نفسه مترنّحاً أمام منظومة مالية دولية تعدّ لها الصين وروسيا وإيران مع دول أخرى، ما سيؤدي الى تأثير سلبي مزدوج على الوضع الأميركي مالياً / سياسياً معطوفاً على الاقتصاد والاستثمار مع منتهى استراتيجي أكيد.

وعليه نقول إنه وبصرف النظر عمن سيكون سيد البيت الأبيض خلال السنوات الأربع المقبلة، بايدن الذي يهمّ بالدخول أم ترامب الذي يتمسك بالكرسي ويرفض الخروج، فإنّ النظرة في الشأن الأميركي يجب ألا تكون الى الانتخابات الرئيسة ونتائجها فحسب، بل إلى ما كشفته هذه الانتخابات من حقيقة وهن الجسم الأميركي وما خلفته من تداعيات داخلية ستكون من دون أدنى شك عاملاً مؤثراً في سياسات أميركا وسلوكياتها الخارجية، ويبقى أن يكون في مواجهة أميركا القادة الشجعان الواثقون بكرامات أممهم وحقوقها، فأميركا أوهن مما يُظن، وانّ تراجعها أسرع مما يُعتقد، فقد لا تتفكك غداً او بعد غد، وقد لا تنشب فيها حرب أهلية بعد إعلان نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية التي سيرفضها ما قد يصل الى نصف الأميركيين، لكن الأكيد أنّ أميركا انكشفت وافتضحت حقيقتها بما لا يدع مجالاً للشك بأنها ليست مؤهلة او قادرة على الاستمرار في حكم العالم او بالتحكم الاستبداديّ به.

أستاذ جامعيّ – باحث استراتيجيّ

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Monday, 02 November 2020 6:17 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 02 November 2020 8:01 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden (File photo)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

PressTV’s guiding light has always been to be a “voice for the voiceless”. This is why it was collectively decided that in our coverage of the US presidential election primacy should be given to third parties and non-mainstream political groups, as a political duopoly systematically and legally suppresses them with such vehemence that it causes many to say that US elections should actually not be considered fair or open.

We have interviewed and passed on the analyses of socialists, Greens, Libertarians and more. However, perhaps the most prominent outsider political group has repeatedly refused our normal media requests – the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which is perhaps best incarnated by its figurehead, the failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

In another effort designed to give unheard American voices more media coverage, PressTV sent their primary election correspondent not to Washington, New York City or California, but to the unofficial capital of what’s disparaged as “flyover country” – Chicago, the nation’s 3rd-largest city. However, in online discussions DSA’s Chicago chapter openly refused to speak with Iranian media, saying: “The officers of our organization have decided that it would not serve our interests to do an interview.”

That’s a curiously self-centered phrase for a group of officers who likely aspire to serve as civil servants – aren’t civil servants supposed to put the ideals and needs of the nation ahead of their own interests?

Chicago DSA’s conduct was, sadly, in keeping with PressTV’s experience with DSA’s national leaders: for weeks their New York City headquarters has not returned our calls, even when the calls were from PressTV management asking about this apparent blacklist of Iranian media. Representative Rashida Tlaib, one of DSA’s two national-level politicians, also refused to return contacts from PressTV, even though we assumed that she would definitely want to help break past the longstanding communication barriers which have been erected by American Islamophobia. 

Personally, I am not surprised by any of this: If I had one euro for every time an (allegedly) leftist group in France (where I am normally based) refused to speak with PressTV – I could afford a month’s vacation. But for the Iranian taxpayer and voter French fake-leftism is not as important as the DSA’s refusal to speak to Iranian media: France has slavishly followed Washington’s foreign policy on Iran for decades, and DSA now aspires to set that policy.

PressTV feels it is critical to broadcast the DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media because DSA’s prejudice has many political implications within the country that has waged such devastating capitalist-imperialist war on Iran since 1979. Iran, too, has a critical election coming up to prepare for – in June 2021.

Regardless of the timing of the US presidential election – and Iranians reject the absurd, pathetic and amateurish recent claims that Iranian operatives have meddled in the 2020 US election – it is critical to broadcast this information to Iranians so they can have a proper amount of time to absorb and incorporate the implications of DSA’s anti-Iran prejudice into their own analyses as voters and responsible citizens. 

So PressTV’s decision is merely responsible public journalism. This cannot – as DSA openly feared, you will read – possibly be construed as “foreign meddling” by any thinking person.

That preamble now dispensed with, the conundrum posed by DSA’s arrogant blacklisting is this:

If this is the (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party, and they are so very nakedly anti-Iranian, then why should an Iranian believe that victories by Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will herald a major change in Washington’s belligerent, murderous, long-running policy towards Iran? Many currently suggest this, but DSA’s anti-Iranian stance must give us pause for reconsideration.

The (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party is not some new, principled, pro-Iran lobby in the lobby-dominated US system

DSA is the one influential group within the Democratic Party (but I will easily disprove the myth of their reach shortly) which openly and repeatedly promises to push the Democrats to the left, and yet they clearly have no interest in basic discussion or the merest exchange with Iranians.

They will talk about Iran, but not with Iran – this is a fundamentally unilateral and classically imperialist stance, no?

And this stance remains unjustly firm even when Iranians insist openly that they have a cooperative and even sympathetic stance towards DSA – I have already related PressTV’s editorial policy regarding the election. Iranians will likely see parallels between the efforts of PressTV to speak cooperatively with DSA officials and the efforts of Iranian diplomats to speak cooperatively with officials in Washington.

DSA may be surprised to learn that Bernie Sanders was reasonably appealing to Iranians, and probably for the same reason he is somewhat popular among the American public – he and DSA make pleasant-sounding promises which contradict the incredible and undeniable belligerence, violence and rapacity of Washington. For an Iranian nation which debated for years in public about the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program, which sacrificed much to implement it, and which is waiting even today for Western nations to finally uphold their word after signing it, there is a lot of lure in words like these from the DSA’s most prominent elected official member, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 

“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” said Ocasio-Cortez in September. “I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

But how can DSA improve US foreign policy if they refuse to dialogue with foreign nations and their media representatives? How can the knowledge of foreign policy which is held by DSA officials – from the national down to the local level – increase, and thus improve their ability to conduct foreign policy if elected or appointed to office, if they are forbidden or unwilling to engage with foreigners? How can foreign policy improve when dialogue comes from only one unilateral direction? How can diplomatic progress be pushed in a more progressive direction if there is such a huge gap between words and actions, as Iran is currently fuming about due to the West’s failure to honor the treaty they have signed?

For many in places like Iran, China, Russia and elsewhere, these logical questions are about as difficult to understand as it is to understand the funny way a knight moves in chess, yet all this appears to be beyond the ken of DSA. Whatever DSA’s rationale – ignorance, apathy, duplicity, inexperience, cynicism – it results in a huge, telling blind spot which may produce deadly real-world consequences for Iranians.

However, DSA is not just illogical, but also – we are sad to say – unprincipled and even hysterical.

The Chicago chapter of DSA made this very clear in their messaging to me (PressTV may decide to publish all our correspondences, but only if our honesty and accuracy is questioned – we assume it will not be.) when they said, “…DSA will not reach the levels of relevancy necessary to be an active player in building those ties if we make choices that our political enemies can use to claim we are under the influence of foreign powers.”

DSA rather exemplifies the common global perception of Western-style democracy via admitting to a belief that one should attain political relevancy not by years of exemplary public service and by providing proofs of moral selflessness in favor of the masses and especially of the lower classes, but merely by making enough brutal realpolitik moves.

What DSA fails to realize is that even if they achieve their goal of relevancy, by the time they do the perceptive American people will have seen right through their phony claims, hypocrisy and inability to uphold quintessentially American values like the freedom of the press. This article is one example – necessarily rendered for public view and public judgment – of DSA’s phony claims. DSA will simply not get away with xenophobic, anti-free press polices such as this one forever, I am sorry to inform them.

To whom does this policy extend? Russia, China, Cuba, etc.? These countries will also publicly ask the same questions Iran is asking now. How much of the world is DSA planning to exclude from the human right of free speech, free press and the expectation of basic politeness and cooperation?

DSA seems to foolishly believe they are a private group or private media – absolutely not: many of their members are running for public office and thus they must be transparent, diplomatic and held to higher standards – DSA does not seem to realise their own voters will expect that of them?

DSA is not going to push the establishment anywhere, because they are the establishment

In that explanation from DSA there is another telling trait: unreasoning hysteria, which leads to very real, very damaging xenophobia, ignorance and the foundations of war. It’s hysterically paranoid of DSA to assert that merely speaking with Iranian media – which has very little reach in the US (due to American censorship of our outlets) – automatically means that DSA members are “under the influence of foreign powers”.

This reveals a hysteria regarding the unscrupulous behavior of their opposition – DSA’s “political enemies”, who are also, incidentally, their fellow citizens – but more importantly it reveals the lack of a backbone to stand up to and to combat unscrupulous and hysterical behavior.

There is also an implication there about what they seem to believe is the low intelligence of the average US citizen – that they apparently cannot be trusted to think rationally, and for themselves, and in favor of freedom of the press? That’s surprising, especially because the average American is so very much in favor of freedom in the press.

But it mainly reflects a hysterical lust for power. DSA is saying quite clearly: to hell with the average American’s oft-trumpeted values of free press and free speech if it might hinder DSA’s acquisition of influence and privilege.

I don’t know why they are so worried about gaining power? DSA already has it. (Or, rather, they incorrectly think that they do.)

Every single other third party jumped at the chance when Iranian media came knocking on their door with a promise of balance, fairness and open ears except for DSA. This is because DSA is undoubtedly a part of the establishment, unlike other third parties and non-mainstream political groups. DSA is not an official political party, but they do much to give this impression. No, DSA is and has always been merely committed to working within the Democratic Party establishment and has no interest in upending the anti-democratic duopoly which dominates the US and – crucially – keeps providing the world’s richest nation with such atrocious public servants.

Ok, so they are another American political group which is totally allied with the establishment and thus is also totally anti-Iran – so what?

How bad is DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media, really?

The reality is that DSA are a paper tiger if there ever was one. Iranian voters, diplomats and thinkers must look past their youthful, photogenic appearances and (obviously) empty words.

DSA currently has about 75 members holding national, state, city and county posts in this huge country of 330 million people. That includes just three members in federal posts, all in the House of Representatives. Bernie Sanders is not even a member of DSA. The idea that such a powerless minority will somehow be handed top cabinet posts in a Biden presidency is beyond laughable, yet DSA supporters constantly dangle this exact claim.

However, that ludicrous claim is made precisely to get people to not vote for a real third party, especially a genuinely socialist one, like Party for Socialism & Liberation for example. What’s even funnier is that American reactionaries fearfully believe these outlandish claims by DSA! But American reactionaries are especially foolish.…

Non-Americans should realize that DSA exists to act as an anti-progressive safety valve within the Democratic Party – DSA is incredibly effective at ensuring that the establishment does not have to make any genuine domestic changes. They are not “socialists”, they are “reformists”, and their obvious flaw is that they are mere reformists of an atrocious, antiquated, aristocratic, capitalist-imperialist system.

DSA has just brazenly proven that when it comes to Iran they won’t lift a finger in favor of major changes in Washington.

But they want no real changes domestically, too, and they couldn’t even get them achieved even if they weren’t just paper tigers: From Bernie’s backing down in 2016 despite leaked proof of collusion against his candidacy by the Democratic Party elite, to the ascendance of the Clintonista Kamala Harris in 2020, to infuriatingly and unforgivably adding the qualifying adjective of “Democratic” to “Socialist” which actually propagandizes against international socialism and not for it, to the unspoken reality that DSA’s media prevalence is almost wholly due to a hysterical American right-wing which needs some leftists (even fake-leftists) to scapegoat – this list can go on and on and on. 

Deeper explanations as to why DSA is repeatedly seen but never felt in American politics are obviously too numerous to list here, but – when it comes to DSA readers – this article does not aim to focus on DSA’s shortcomings but instead to persuade them to reform their anti-Iranian press policy.

The reality which non-American readers must comprehend is that the US system is based entirely on the influence of monied lobbies. Iranians must realize that there is absolutely not one single pro-Iranian lobby within the US, but that there are many, many anti-Iran lobbies willing to pay for influence (and also for Iran’s destruction) within this strange “democracy with American characteristics”.

In short, unless Iran sells off a significant minority of Iran’s state-controlled economy to American corporations, or unless Iran recognizes Israel, no such pro-Iran lobby can be created: those are the preconditions which the US 1% has always insisted upon from modern Iran in order to end their hot and cold war.

Of course, not only are these things democratically rejected by the Iranian people, but any intelligent analysis of Iran shows that (and DSA members may learn something new about Iran here) any political party which undertook such efforts would be democratically voted out of office before they could complete such immoral, unpatriotic and anti-revolutionary tasks. Iran is a unique (revolutionary) nation with a unique (revolutionary) structure, and just as the US Constitution clearly prescribes an awful duopoly, modern Iranian culture has created – via undeniably vibrant, innovative and open debate over decades – a political system which proscribes certain things, two of which were mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

This is precisely why people like Bernie Sanders and DSA hold such appeal in Iran: the enlightenment of the average US voter appears to be the only way that Washington will ever give up their war on revolutionary (unique) Iran.

This is precisely what makes DSA’s blacklist of Iranian media so disheartening: it shows that neither mainstream party appears to have any sincere goodwill towards Iran – which is the basis of cooperation between equals – not even on the (alleged) left.

Of course, that concept is hardly new among Iranians.

Conclusion: One is on the right path over and over again, but via necessary self-corrections

It seems entirely necessary to assert that DSA’s promises of a progressive push to foreign policy towards Iran are not achievable at best and entirely disingenuous at worst, especially if they do not engage in immediate and sustained self-reform.

The current leaders of the DSA stand in incorrect opposition to the democratic will of 80 million Iranians, and we can safely assume the democratic will of their own members as well, and probably – by a slight democratic majority – the democratic will of 330 million Americans.

As it currently stands DSA – like so many Westerners – arrogantly, imperialistically and chauvinistically insists that they have the right to tell Iranians what they should want, and what they should do, and that if Iranians do not slavishly follow them then this means war… or at least silence, suppression and blacklisting for starters.

That is all totally unacceptable.

This article serves notice to Iranians as to what the DSA appears to have in mind for Iran should they gain power – their views are absolutely not rightly-guided. As to Americans who are about to head to the ballot box, this article makes no suggestion – it only fairly and accurately adds new information.

PressTV would like to place great emphasis on the ideas which are guiding our coverage of this unfortunate issue:

PressTV expresses no any animosity nor hard-heartedness to DSA due to their mistakes regarding Iran – they have obviously been misled via decades of unchecked Western Iranophobia. PressTV cannot stress enough that our desire for normal cooperation, friendly discussion and moral comportment has not been changed one iota despite this disagreement and the necessary airing of our fair and dispassionate criticisms, which are made entirely in the name of normal journalistic and (informal) diplomatic dialogue. PressTV would be rude to appear as if we are making any demands of anyone or any organisation – nor would PressTV degrade themselves thusly – we only politely ask, publicly, that DSA reform their stance on their misguided decision to blacklist Iranian media.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Terrorism and French Values

By Kim Petersen

Source

Sowing and Reaping?
Emmanuel Macron Meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ad79f

There have been some horrendous, despicable killings by Muslim extremists in France. Such killings must be condemned.

French president Emmanuel Macron played the victim card, saying that France “will not give into terrorism.” Yet when 21st century France engages in overseas militarism, otherwise known as state terrorism, in places with large Muslim populations – places that never attacked France — such as Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Chad, Somalia, Libya, North Mali, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen then what is to be expected? Is it okay for France to engage in militarism abroad and expect no blowback on French soil? Must not the French terrorism be condemned?

The embattled, unpopular French president has seized upon the gruesome killings to denounce terrorism and championed “French values,” such as freedom of speech. [1]

Once again the controversial publication Charlie Hebdo has provoked a lethal response.

But the French, especially its politicians, are hypocrites. If free speech allows one to impugn one religion, then then that right to impugn must be allowed for all religions. Take the case of French comedian Dieudonné. He has been convicted in court eight times for upsetting Jewish sentiment and has consequently been embargoed by many venues where he would normally ply his trade.

Many years earlier, professor Robert Faurisson, an extreme skeptic of the typical Holocaust narrative, was hit wth by judicial proceedings, was fined, and lost his job. Is this respect for free speech? Professor Noam Chomsky experienced blowback for supporting free speech in the case of Faurisson. Chomsky held, “… it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense.” [2]

As for France defending freedoms, The Times of Britain notes,

French authorities have been accused of “judicial harassment” in a damning Amnesty report that claims more than 40,000 people were convicted during the gilet jaune (yellow vest) and pension reform protests in 2018 and 2019 “on the basis of vague laws” aimed at restricting their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

The controversial media outlet Charlie Hebdo is not about either free expression or speech. It fired a cartoonist for alleged anti-Semitism. [3] On its face, Charlie Hebdo signals that Islamophobia is kosher, but Judeophobia is haram.

Macron said “France is under attack.” [4] Were Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Chad, Somalia, Libya, North Mali, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen not under attack when the French sent their guns to these countries? [5]

ENDNOTES

  1. Agence France-Presse,“‘Nous ne cèderons rien’ sur les valeurs françaises, assure Macron” TVA Nouvelles, 29 October 2020.
  2. Noam Chomsky, “Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression,” Appeared as a Preface to Robert Faurisson, Mémoire en défense, 11 October 1980.
  3. See “‘Charlie Hebdo’ condamné pour le licenciement abusif du dessinateur Siné,” Le Monde, 10 December 2009.
  4. “Attentat de Nice – ‘La France est attaquée’, 7 000 militaires déployés, les églises et les écoles sous surveillance : ce qu’il faut retenir des annonces d’Emmanuel Macron” L’Indépendant, 29 October 2020.
  5. Note some of these 21st century conflicts are still ongoing.

*(Top image: French President Emmanuel Macron meets Prime Minister 

Instagram Blocks Imam Khamenei Account following Letter to French Youths

Imam Khamenei

Instagram blocked the French-language account of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, two days after his eminence addressed French youths over the French insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Iranian media reported the move, while the American photo and video sharing social networking service has not yet commented on the matter.

In his letter to the French youths, Imam Khamenei decried the French president’s support for anti-Islamic moves while the West has criminalized doubts about the Holocaust.

“Ask your President why he supports insulting God’s Messenger in the name of freedom of expression. Does freedom of expression mean insulting, especially a sacred personage? Isn’t this stupid act an insult to the reason of the people who elected him?” the Leader said in the post.

“The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet (PBUH) is allowed?” Imam Khamenei said in the message.

Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.

Source: Iranian media

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