March 30, 2012 § 2 Comments
Earlier this week I published an extract from my book From Fatwa to Jihad, that told the story of how the Asian Youth Movements were created in Britain in the 1970s. This second extract explains how the British state and religious conservatives joined forces to marginalise secular radicals in the name of multiculturalism. This is the story of how Bradford came to be painted green. The same story could be told about towns all over Britain.
In the summer of 1981 Bradford’s Asian communities were flush with rumours of an impending attack by neo-fascists. A group of young Asians, including Tariq Mehmood, made and stashed away petrol bombs to be used in the event of any such attacks. They were all members of the United Black Youth League, a group that had broken away from the Asian Youth Movement which they felt was not sufficiently radical. Police discovered the petrol bombs on some waste ground and twelve members of the UBYL were arrested and charged with conspiracy to cause an explosion and endanger lives. The trial of the ‘Bradford 12’ the following year created a national sensation. The defendants put up an audacious defence. They openly admitted making the petrol bombs – but argued that they were acting legitimately to protect their communities. Astonishingly, the jury agreed and acquitted all twelve.
The sheer bravado of the Bradford 12 and their bold, confident self-assertion won them respect and support from communities across the country that similarly felt under siege from racists. It also unnerved both local politicians and Muslim religious leaders. ‘Our children were growing up hating our culture’, observed Sher Azam of the Bradford Council for Mosques. ‘They were being drawn to Western values and Western lifestyles. We knew such values and ways of doing things could only harm them. Without Islam they no foundations, no home. They were angry, withdrawn, we could not reach them.’ « Read the rest of this entry »
August 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
March 4, 2011 Comments Off
In his astonishing work From Fatwa to Jihad, Kenan Malik… contextualizes the growth of the jihadists in Europe, placing much of the blame on multiculturalism. But first he covers the response to the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in more detail and with more understanding than earlier critics…
Rarely has a writer had his work so instantly validated… From Fatwa to Jihad needs to be on every educated person’s reading list.
Can’t say I disagree. So if it’s not already there, put it on your reading list. Better still put it on your bookshelf.
February 25, 2011 § 3 Comments
I have had a lot of responses to the extracts from my interview on hate speech and the law, many of which argue that speech that does not directly incite violence but creates a climate in which such violence becomes more probable should be banned. As one respondent put it in a comment thread:
If I say that all Moslems, Catholics, homosexuals, vegans, and so on, are terrorists and a danger to the nation, I’m not inciting DIRECTLY to violence, but indirectly I’m justifying it.
The idea of ‘indirect incitement’ is one that policy makers have enthusiastically adopted in recent years. As I’ve noted in an essay for Index on Censorship, ‘Over the past decade, the government has used the law both to expand the notion of ‘hatred’ and to loosen the meaning of ‘incitement’. This expansion has become ‘One of the most pernicious means by which restrictions on free speech have grown tighter.’
‘Indirect incitement’ is a dangerous concept because it erodes the distinction between words and deeds. Or, rather, it attempts to create a link between words and deeds that in most cases does not exist. Once you argue that words should be banned not because they directly incite an action but because they create a climate within which others may act in a particular fashion, then you are on dangerous ground. « Read the rest of this entry »
January 28, 2011 § 3 Comments
The Egyptian government is clearly attempting to portray the current revolt as the work of the Muslim Brotherhood, in an attempt to retain Western support. ‘It’s me or the Islamists’, Mubarak is in effect telling Western leaders. It’s worth reflecting, therefore, on how successive Egyptian regimes, like so many in the Arab world, have relied on Islamists to restrain popular revolt: « Read the rest of this entry »