Good article by brother Nu'man here. I don't quite agree with the terminology of 'Islamist extremism', as I don't think these death squads have anything to do with or have any right to use and abuse Islam. At the same time, while it is right to problematise this language, one must also put more blame on the very death squad types and their supporters who are allowing this use and abuse to take place. - Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcom
Does Great Britain Really Oppose Islamist Extremism?
By Nu'man Abd Al Wahid
Much fanfare has been made out of the life-saving treatment Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Malala Yousafzai received at a Birmingham hospital after she was shot by the Taliban — and rightly so. Birmingham is England’s second city and last year it ceremonially opened a new public state-of-the- art library with a lecture from Yousafzai.
But as the Library of Birmingham recently celebrated its first anniversary by hosting another talk by Yousafzai, it must be asked does Great Britain really oppose Islamist extremism and other assorted jihadis?
The ostentatious good will shown by the British government towards Yousafzai should not deter us from asking salient and important questions about the actual nature of Great Britain’s indirect and direct relationship with extreme Islamism and/or jihadism. For example, it is a historical fact that during the Cold War the ‘West’ and Islamic extremists were on the same side in their opposition to the Russian led Soviet Union.
Indeed, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a leading advocate in using Islamists and jihadis against the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. For Thatcher, the Afghan jihadis (i.e. mujahideen as they were lovingly referred to back then) were engaged in “one of the most heroic struggles known in history” as they blew up schools, hospitals and medical centers.
In this video, Thatcher while on the Afghan-Pakistani border, proudly informs the mujahideen the “hearts of the free world are with you” to appreciative chants of “Allah-o-Akbar” (God is Great) or as the commentator interprets the chants, “ringing shouts of support.”
Historically, Britain has been one of the main supporters and purveyors of fanatical Islamism. The theology of Salafism and/or Wahabism which is the wellspring of Jihadism and violent Islamist extremism, has been vigorously promoted by the Saudi royal family for the last 40 years. But in 1902, the Saudi-Wahhabi clan was exiled and forlorn. It was British imperialism, for its own reasons, that enabled the clan to recapture their ancestral home in the central east of the Arabian peninsula.
Then in 1924-25, British imperialism gave the Saudi clan the green light to further expand into the Hijaz, the western part of the peninsula where Mecca and Madina are, because the then ruler (Sharif Hussein bin Ali) of that area refused to accept Great Britain’s Zionist project in Palestine, that is to populate Palestine with European Zionist settlers over the heads of the indigenous Arab population.
Recently, in 2011, Great Britain led a NATO campaign and joined up with desperate groups of armed militias and many assorted jihadis in Libya to overthrow the government of Colonel Ghadhaffi. This was not the first time that the British state colluded with Islamists in Libya.
According to the whistle blowers and former MI5 agents David Shayler and Annie Machon the British state used the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in an assassination attempt on Colonel Ghadhaffi in 1996. The individual MI5/6 approach to coordinate the deed was Abu Abdullah Sadiq (real name Abdel Hakim Belhadj). The latter now serves in the Libyan government or whatever is left of Libya and its supposed government. Actually, the Libyan government is currently moored on a ship in a Libyan harbour after the jihadis overran the capital.
This support for the Islamists comes on top of the clandestine associations that elements within the domestic intelligence community had developed with British based Islamist fanatics.
The pantomimic character that is Abu Hamza (aka ‘The Hook’) actually confessed during his American trial that he had contacts with MI5 in order to keep the “streets of London safe.” In a book published by two London Times journalists (O’Neill and McGrory) he is said to have been given the alias ‘damson berry’ in their correspondence with him. Another former London based comical jihadi, Omar Bakri Muhammad admitted to Pulitzer Prize winning author, Ron Suskind, he had back channels to his intelligence handlers with a view to “control the Muslim youth.” Khalid al-Fawwaz, another ex-London based Islamists, who the Americans have put on trial for his alleged role in the 1998 African embassy bombings, wants his MI5 handler to testify on his behalf.
It is quite easy to conclude, regardless of the goodwill shown to Yousafzai, that the actual relationship between Great Britain and extreme Islamist/jihadis is that the former wants them on tap. Great Britain utilises jihadis when it is compatible with its interests (Afghanistan in the 1980’s, Saudi Arabia and Libya) and then wants to switch off the tap when it isn’t. The problem is some of these liver eating, head chopping jihadis don’t read this script and have shown quite conclusively they have a macabre mind of their own.