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  • plimfix 11:56 pm on August 13, 2011 Permalink
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    The riot blogs. I’ve been blogging about the UK riots almost from the beginning. Lots of links to comment on the Left and Right, but given the stupidity of some of it, expect strong language from me.

  • plimfix 11:24 am on August 6, 2011 Permalink
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    Trendy vicar Donald Reeves, once described by Maggie Thatcher as ‘a very dangerous man’, has written a piece for Guardian CiF promoting the peace and solidarity organization he helped found, Soul of Europe, as a grass roots solution to European Islamophobia. I’m not impressed by his group’s “tea and biscuits” approach.

  • plimfix 8:09 am on August 3, 2011 Permalink
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    Salaams – apologies for long-time-no-see on Talk Islam. Been busy with the interminably slow process of novel writing, plus my own blog, where I’ve recently posted on Muhammad Ali’s letter to Norway, and also on a report by Spinwatch on UK-based right-wing think tanks. Ramadan Mubarak

  • plimfix 4:35 am on April 1, 2011 Permalink
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    There is a short chapter by me in S Sayyid & Abdoolkarim Vakil [Eds.] Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives (Hurst and Co, 2010), entitled The Voyage in: Second Life Islamophobia. Fortunately, there are numerous other far better chapters, sufficient in number to make it worth the purchase if you’re interested in the topic. It’s contribution to the literature is that it provides working examples of Islamophobia, both analytic and descriptive, from a broad spectrum of international activists, writers, and academics.

  • plimfix 3:42 am on February 3, 2011 Permalink

    As I don’t know enough about the Arab-speaking world to interpret journalist comment, beyond the usual right-wing and left-liberal paranoia, I tend to rely on the more academic-ish stuff online, especially Tabsir. Their lastest post, Dawn, by Sherifa Zuhur, seems to step beyond the prevailing cliches. Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s The Great Unravelling: Tunisia, Egypt and the Protracted Collapse of the American Empire, posted on The Cutting Edge, takes a global perspective.

  • plimfix 9:33 am on February 1, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: ariel peterporn tape, , , , ,   

    A turn of phrase can tell us so much – about the journalist who wrote the copy. Take this AP piece published in The Guardian, about the conviction of Indonesian pop star Nazril “Ariel” Irham for “violating the country’s strict anti-pornography law that came into effect in 2008.”

    Indonesia, a secular nation of 237 million people, has more Muslims than any other country in the world. Though most are moderate, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years. They have pushed through controversial laws such as the anti-porn bill and criticised anything they perceive as blasphemous, from transvestites and bars to “deviant” religious sects.

    Some of the hundreds of demonstrators who gathered outside the court pelted the police vehicle carrying Ariel to the court with rotten eggs and tomatoes. Others held placards criticising the star. “I have three daughters,” said Kurnia Maryati, a 33-year-old pharmacist, as she straightened out her headscarf.

    Is the headscarf Kurnia adjusted meant to indicate she is a member of the “small extremist fringe”? After all, we can be sure that any Muslimah wearing a headscarf is an “extremist”, can’t we?

    Apparently, Nazril filmed himself bonking groupies, uploaded the film on to his laptop, and then was stupid enough to allow his laptop to get stolen. Kurnia continues:

    “To me, pornography is even more dangerous than drugs. Just think of the schoolboys watching those videos,” she said. “Next thing you know, they’ll be imagining their female teachers naked!”

    Actually, Kurnia, schoolboys don’t need porn to imagine their teachers naked. And here lies the problem. The nature of and issues surrounding human sexuality rarely get discussed intelligently, whether by Muslim or non-Muslim. And whilst I can appreciate that some Indonesians might not want their nation to participate in a rather tawdry and demeaning industry that currently grosses the USA some $3 billion annually, I’m far from convinced Nazril’s laptop escapades have anything to do with “porn”.

  • plimfix 10:46 am on November 25, 2010 Permalink
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    Yusuf Smith of Indigo Jo Blogs posts a thorough, crafted, and utterly damning review of a recent Panorama programme presented by John Ware, purporting to expose “extremism” being promoted through private Islamic schools in the UK.

    • midwinterspring 11:42 am on November 25, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      He makes some points, but he also does a bit too much apologism:

      He finds the content of the Darul Iftaa site to be “pretty hardline”, among them that women should stay in their homes unless it is necessary, that Muslim lawyers should not help Muslims fleeing Shari’ah punishments to get asylum … if there is a punishment in a Sacred Law, it should follow that helping people evade it is also unlawful, and similar provisions exist in non-sacred laws, actually. None of this consitutes extremism, even if some might find it distasteful.

      If someone thinks a Muslim lawyer should refrain from helping a woman fleeing for her life from persecution in Iran or Saudi Arabia (you know, the real places from which people flee, not abstract conceptions of an Islamic utopia) then I think we’ve left the league of “distasteful.”

      • plimfix 1:13 pm on November 25, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Agreed, but I think the bulk of YS’s critique is correct – Ware has cobbled together an assortment of data, presented it under a dubious headline, and for what? To jump on the high viewing/readership figures media bandwagon this is “us” and “them” Muslims. Again. I think the BBC following a media trend led by the gutter press is truely lamentable.

      • Dan 5:29 am on November 27, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        What a surprise: fake wannabe mullahs supporting oppression when it suits them.

        And is there any wonder why few take the rhetoric of Salafi sites like MuslimMatters seriously when they complain about oppression by non-Muslim forces but endorse it as long as their demented vision of Shariah is at bay? Not to mention when they advocate the use of the niqaab and thus seperate themselves from everyone else in Western countries? The blog author sounds like another Taliban apologist (a trait common with Western-born Muslim converts who think disowning their own culture and adopting Taliban-style Islam is on the path of being a better Muslim), and Britain seems to be teeming with them. Some Muslims seem to have no problem with segregating themselves yet they complain about being ‘persecuted’, and that explains why we have nutjobs like Anjem Choudary and the Hizb-ut-Tahrir buffoons running amok.

        So in short: secular oppression = bad, but ‘Islamic’ oppression = good.

        “Again. I think the BBC following a media trend led by the gutter press is truely lamentable.”

        Well it also doesn’t help with the dubious positions that blog author and many of the commenters hold. Just take a look at how he still coddles the notion that music is haram. I guess by YS’ ridiculous logic, I suppose the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Yusuf Islam are now heretics now.

        • Yakoub 3:57 pm on November 27, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Well, I think Dan’s comment perfectly illustrates how exaggeration, smear, innuendo, fact chucking, and a general suspicion of all Muslims less liberal than Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all tossed together with a generous splash of bile, can be used to truncheon Muslims over the head en masse. I recommend you send your CV to John Ware, Dan. You may be the comic element he sorely needs.

          • Dan 1:38 pm on November 28, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            What’s there to exaggerate, Yakoub? Conservative Muslims do a good job of bringing suspicion to themselves, especially when they constantly chastise people for not wearing the niqaab. If these losers hate the West, its values, and culture that much, no one’s stopping them from making hijrah to Saudi Arabia. Sorry to say, but certain Muslims do a much better job at promoting Islamophobia than Islamophobes themselves. Especially when these Muslims have such backward views and praise genocidal fanatics such as the Taliban, just because they think oppression and ethnic cleansing is acceptable as long as Shariah is established.

            I can’t take them seriously especially when they endorse oppression when it is on their own side. Would they condemn so-called ‘Islamic’ movements that want to oppress people with the same veracity as they do to certain Western leaders? Answer that for me.

  • plimfix 8:57 am on November 6, 2010 Permalink
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    The recent conviction of Roshonara Choudhry for the attempted murder of British Member of Parliament Stephen Timms is being hotly debated around the Internet. Much has been said about the influence of Anwar al-Awlaki’s YouTube videos on her radicalization. Among the more interesting responses has been a post by Asim Qureshi on Cageprisoners, defending Awlaki’s right, “not to be extra-judicially killed.”

  • plimfix 4:15 pm on November 1, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , islam awareness week, , ,   

    The ever brilliant Five Chinese Crackers have posted a blog entitled Tabloid b*llsh*t of the month award October 2010, which includes a superb email sent by 5CC to the Daily Fail regarding their statistically naff non-story headlined Mohammed is now the most popular name for baby boys ahead of Jack and Harry. Fortunately, November is here, bringing with it Britain’s very own Islam Awareness Week.

  • plimfix 12:43 am on October 27, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , Self-promoting non-entities, ,   

    Dr Taj Hargey, sultan of MECO, is claiming another world’s first after delivering a sermon at the chapel of Pembroke College, Oxford. Replying in the comments section of the Oxford Mail, which reported the event, Arizvi of London complained:

    When will the media realise that this man has absolutely zero standing in the Muslim community despite his self-promotion.

    • Pretty Pink Ponies 6:52 am on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What’s sad is that many of MECO’s taglines are in my playbook as a convert: “combat toxic wahhabi-salafi distortion of islam / resist the blind importation of saudi tribal customs / promote muslim theological self-empowerment / restore qur’anic islam by jettisoning ‘cultural islam'”.

      These are actual issues I faced as a new convert: demands that I comply with the cutlural requirements of the Sa’udi-Egyptian-owned local masjid (didn’t, got banned), demands I obey preachers blindly (I didn’t, see above), etc.

      And yet then they go off the damn rails into crazy-town directly into “ban the burqa”. Don’t ban, educate. You fight ignorance with learning and thinking.

      • plimfix 11:32 pm on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Unfortunately, “restore qur’anic islam by jettisoning cultural islam” actually refers to jettisoning the idea corpus of hadith, which I would imagine doesn’t go down too spiffin with yer average British Prophet-adoring Barelwi. As for the “blind importation of saudi tribal customs”, is that really an issue for British Muslims? I don’t think Hargey is in touch with British Muslim concerns at all.

        • Pretty Pink Ponies 4:12 am on October 28, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          “Jettisoning cultural Islam” is high on my list of things to do. I am uninterested in the idea that modesty, for example, meant that in ancient Arabia you wore this kind of sheet in such a manner, and men wore this kind of sandal more often than women did. Rather, I am interested in how the Qur’anic text speaks of modesty and how I can apply that in my modern life. I am not about to start wearing a sheet and highwaters because the Prophet did because to me, that is foolish. It is way too cold and/or humid to consider dressing for the Hijaz, a fact that escapes many Muslim men who attend the local masjid. Khuff and highwaters in six inches of snow? Are you serious?

          Also, Plimfix, I’m uninterested in the concerns of yer average British Prophet-adoring Barelwi in the matter of my personal playbook in regards to Islam. I don’t mean to sound snarky, I’m just being straight. Lots of people do things I don’t care about, I just gotta worry about my own deen and not theirs.

          • shams 11:09 am on October 28, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I am interested in how the Qur’anic text speaks of modesty and how I can apply that in my modern life.

            bravo! from my reading the quranic directive is to differentiate the wives and daughters of the Believers from others, and wholly unrelated to modesty.
            That is Asad’s translation.
            What exegesis do you derive, PPP?

            • Pretty Pink Ponies 1:39 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              The most famous verse indicates specifically that men and women should cover their genitals in public, and women should cover their breasts, too. The terms are quite precise… none of this “3awrah is a woman’s body”, it’s a very definite term that means “genitalia” and is followed by a second stricture that includes the words “breasts” directly. And as for the wives of the Prophet – because they resided in the masjid and hence don’t peek behind their curtain, that’s where they live.

              The Nizari Imam taught that in older times, Muslim women veiled to indicate their non-slave status – that they controled their own bodies. The Believer is to be judged by their character, not their dress, and the veil is not to be worn by Ismaili women anymore (of the Nizari persuasion) because no civil society permits slavery – and there is less need to practice taqiyyah to prevent the Community from being targeted in the modern world. (That was in the 19th century, incidentally.)

            • shams 5:00 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              ahh….shukran….but the veil doesnt cover the breasts and genitals does it? it covers the hair and face.
              that is why im curious about the modesty interpretation.

            • shams 5:19 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              the slavery aspect is interesting….i was stuck in a hotel room a cuple weeks ago, and watched a documentary on the roman prostitute/slave class, based on the volcanically preserved ruins of Pompei. Slaves and prostitutes were forced to were little clothing or go naked. Humiliation and a status marker.
              I have always been fascinated by modern islamic culture’s lack of a formal heterai or geisha class….and by the slavegirls of the Arabian Nights (my name)…. that is why 10 years of invasion/occupation has netted no muslim warbrides. this likely has some effect on muslim assimilation and acculturation to the Judeochristian Nation.

              no civil society permits slavery

              open slavery at least. :)
              roman matrons wore the veil or headcovering as a form of status marker i think….they were free citizens.

            • Matt 9:44 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              Actually….. there are loose women everywhere in the world. Hard to believe given the stereotype I know, but just because something is stigmatized doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. As for a formal class, you have all the belly dancers, all the actresses, all the singers and other public performers– they form a pretty well-defined “class”. In Iraq, you also have Iraqi gypsies or “kawaliya”, a whole group of wandering tribes which Saddam settled into stable encampments and which still largely specialize in dancing and other services. I believe there are also Syrian gypsies who were part of the same group before the drawing of national borders.

              Also, there have been a good number of Iraqi Christian warbrides, and even a few Iraqi Muslims. The reason there have not been more is because they are an in-marrying culture with a strong sense of honor. Also casual contact between soldiers and the general populace has been almost nil since 2005.

            • Shams al-Nahar 10:00 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              “Loose women” is not the same as a formal prostitute class.
              wallah, Matt you thot i was a man because i swear.
              and….show me the data. i dont believe there are a statistically significant number of Madame Butterflies.
              i call bullshytt.

            • Matt 10:26 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              Well, you seem to think that Vietnam had a formal class of this type. If the two specific examples I have mentioned are not formal enough to compare with whatever they had in southeast asia in the seventies, then I guess I’ve got nothing.

              As for data on marriages, there is none. The families themselves keep it quiet, for understandable reasons. Neither the US military nor the Iraqi government has any interest keeping a tally of something which both of them would consider to be kind of embarrassing. But there have been small numbers of marriages.

            • Shams al-Nahar 10:56 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              Vietnam had an evolved prostitute class.

              At the war’s end, between 300000 and 500000 Vietnamese women were working as prostitutes in South Vietnam. An estimated four-fifths of them were afflicted with STDs.

              Why are you interested in whitewashing this? i dont believe there have been “small numbers of marriages”.
              cite even one.

            • Matt 11:47 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              Well, your words were “formal class” not “massive, over-the-counter industry”.

              As for your “one” example, you could search for that case which was all over the media a few years back, when a soldier actually left his unit while on patrol to go get married in an Iraqi court. The only reason that got any attention is because the soldier got in so much trouble for it. There are other cases which went down more quietly.

            • Shams al-Nahar 11:58 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              im sorry, but i just find your ‘everything-is-the-same’ argument wholly sille. maybe 5 or 6 muslimah outmarriages in nearly 10 years of occupation of two countries????

              what is wrong with you…are you trolling?

            • Matt 12:52 pm on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              I am not sure what I have said that you find offensive. It is an area where you have little direct experience, so I thought you would be interested in some additional information. I do not think I ever said that “everything is the same”. It was not my intention to bother you.

            • shams 6:55 am on October 30, 2010 Permalink

              wallah…..”loose women” is pretty damned offensive. so is you implication that gypsy bellydancers set up camp in the greenzone to service american troops. there is zero evidence of any contact of that sort. the troops were WARNED OFF, like they were warned NOT TO DAMAGE MOSQUES.
              there is a HUGE difference.
              one of these things is not like the others.

            • Matt 2:19 pm on October 31, 2010 Permalink

              Sister Shams:

              If you want to wear your superficial concept of Middle Eastern society on your sleeve that is none of my concern, however–

              If we’re just talking about facts, how is anything I have said offensive? What you have insinuated about my intentions is completely unacceptable. You have crossed the line and you owe me an apology.

            • shams 5:42 pm on October 31, 2010 Permalink

              jamais de ma vie
              do you honestly not understand how offensive “there are loose women are everywhere” was?
              you are amazingly thick.

            • Matt 8:10 am on November 1, 2010 Permalink

              Offensive in what way? I want to be perfectly clear: what you have insinuated is almost unforgivable. I am owed an apology.

            • shams 11:14 am on November 1, 2010 Permalink

              do you think, brother Matt, that women enjoy prostitution?
              it is slavery.
              “Loose women” is very offensive to me.
              I owe you nothing. al-Islam does not support a prostitute class. After nearly 10 years of occupation there has been virtually no intermarriage. What i say is true.
              STATISTICALLY there are no Madama Butterflies, no half-american babies, no warbrides.

            • Matt 11:22 am on November 1, 2010 Permalink

              Let it be said so that all may hear: The Iraqi people is a great and noble and honorable people. The Iraqi people is a great and noble and honorable people. The Iraqi people is a great and noble and honorable people.

              You, Shams, I am not so sure about. God help you and your hard head. Peace.

            • shams 1:28 pm on November 1, 2010 Permalink

              do you think “loose women” prostitute themselves for fun? for sex? no, they do it to stay alive, to eat or to feed their their families. they do it because it is all they CAN do.

              im not talking about Iraqis…..im talking about WOMEN, SPECIFICALLY IN OCCUPIED COUNTRIES.
              selling ones body is slavery.

              if you dont get that, DIAF s’il vous plait.

          • plimfix 1:31 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I’m cool with your outlook and intentions, PPP, and appreciate a straight talking dude. And your concern for your own deen is admirable. But you differ from Hargey, I surmise, in that he runs around thinking his way is the best and everyone who doesn’t agree with him is an “extremist”, at the same time as claiming to be a representative of British Muslims. Which is, in my opinion, a mite disingenuous. My concern — unlike Hargey — is to stand up for those Muslims in Britain who are daily marmalized by the right-wing press, remain economically marginalised, and suffer many problems associated with inner-city deprivation, eg. drug abuse. I regularly visit a relatively robust Deobandi community where lots of women wear niqab and they don’t seem to me like they need rescuing from themselves. But they do need protecting from plans to put Muslim communities under secret service surveillance, as happened in Birmingham. They are not the threat. They are the threatened. And they are my sisters and brothers.

            • Null 1:38 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink


            • shams 5:21 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink


            • shams 5:22 am on October 29, 2010 Permalink

              what she said. (meaning null)

      • Null 3:12 am on October 28, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Sorry if i misunderstand your last statement, but are you implying that if they were to ‘educate’ people, they would stop wearing the burka? That burka wearers are ignoramuses who we should fight with ‘learning and thinking’?

        • Pretty Pink Ponies 4:06 am on October 28, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          My personal opinions on the matter were not meant to be clear from what I wrote: I don’t at all agree with him. As I said, he went off the rails after hitting the ideas. If you have an issue to tackle – such as his issue with the burqa -, do it with education, not legal systems.

          Since we’re on the topic, I find burqas and face-veils extremely bad ideas. I’d like people thought the way I do on this issue, and when I discuss my notions with others I try to communicate the reasons for my opposition to the burqa.

          But I certainly don’t want to ban it. One form of control of women’s bodies traded for another is just control of women’s bodies…

    • Null 10:56 pm on October 30, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      ‘Self-promoting non-entities’ is a tag I hope to see more of.

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