Stories of resistance

November 23, 2008 at 3:32 pm (anti-fascism, cults, Human rights, immigration, Islam, islamism, Max Dunbar, reaction, religion, secularism)

report3Recently the Centre for Social Cohesion released a report, Victims of Intimidation: Freedom of Speech within Europe’s Muslim Communities (pdf) a series of profiles of Muslim and ex-Muslim politicians, writers and artists. All of them have been persecuted and threatened by religious fundamentalists.

The researchers don’t judge or theorise: they take a step back and let the activists do the talking. You may not agree with what these activists have to say, you may think the Centre for Social Cohesion is a Zionist/neocon front but it can’t be denied that the stories of the men and women profiled are studies in courage and dissidence.

Mohammed Anwar Sheikh was an Indian immigrant to Britain whose critical work on Islam earned the inevitable death threats from conservative clerics. As a young man he was a devout Muslim and in 1947 he killed three Sikhs during the riots that accompanied Partition. The murders would haunt him his whole life:

If it had not been for my fanaticism, engendered by the Islamic traditions those people might have been alive even today. And I might not have felt the guilt which I still do.

Before his death, living as a writer in Britain, he said this:

Britain is my home and unless you do something about Muslim fundamentalism there is going to be a huge fifth column in our midst. England must wake up. You [the British] spent hundreds of years getting Christian fundamentalism out of this country. Don’t let fundamentalism come back.

Now I’ve never believed in the ‘Eurabia’ conspiracy theory (which depends on the racist myth that all Muslims are fundamentalist by nature) but I do agree with Sheikh that Britain has not learned the lessons from its dark centuries of medieval Christianity. We’re faced by a resurgent fundamentalism: not just Christian or Islamic but ecumenical.

It reminded me of this post from Iranian immigrant Azarmehr, writing about the Channel 4 Undercover Mosque programme:

To think that secular pro-democracy activists, like Arash, who stood up to theocracy in Iran are locked up in Britain’s detention centres waiting for deportation, while Saudi sponsored preachers of hate like Um-Saleem and others, shown in the documentary, are free to enter this country and spread their gospel of hate and destruction is beyond the comprehension of any sane person.

65 Comments

  1. Sue R said,

    I’m sorry, England/Britain did not spend hundred of years getting Christian fundamentalism out of this country. That is ignorant bullshit.

  2. modernityblog said,

    que?

  3. Sue R said,

    When was England/Britain a theocracy?

  4. maxdunbar said,

    Well, for a massive period of the second millennium the church and state in Britain were essentially the same thing.

  5. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Although, mind you, that was largely because of monarchical appropriation of the Church rather than the other way around.

  6. Red Maria said,

    Yes, get Max back on track, VP. He’s been doing very well so far. I think it went unnoticed by everyone but me but Max is, in fact, a Catholic secularist. He let this slip on an earlier thread.

  7. Red Maria said,

    I think he may not realise that he is a Catholic secularist or that he’d let it slip, by the way. But these things don’t get past me, oh no they don’t!

  8. modernity said,

    red hot pokers at the ready?

  9. Voltaire's Priest said,

    What precisely is a Catholic secularist, Maria? Sounds like the sort of thing that you don’t believe to be possible.

  10. Sue R said,

    I am just sick and tired of people trying to obliterate the specifics of British/English history and society. We are a commonlaw jurisdiction in this country, that means that law is governed by human agency, Oliver Cromwell and his buddies were in favour of greater Parliamentary democracy (human agency), and as far as I know, murder for crimes of ritual purity ie dwomen was never something we went in for. I’d also like to point out that in England, anyway, we haven’t had tribes or clans since pre-Roman days, the nuclear family has been the unit of organisation, and so although men have been in charge, it was not the iron fisted patriarchy that may have existed in clan based societies.

  11. maxdunbar said,

    It is possible to be a Catholic secularist. You can be a Catholic and still believe in the separation of church and state.

    I’m a secularist but not a Catholic, or a theist.

    murder for crimes of ritual purity ie dwomen was never something we went in for

    Hello, Witchfinder General?

  12. modernityblog said,

    Sue,

    over the years I have noticed a tendency amongst many of the English to try to sanitise British history and I am wondering if those pushing Cromwell forward should take a closer look at his exploits ?

    1) invading Ireland and massacring civilians
    2) becoming a Dictator

    there’s a lot more but that’s a starter

  13. maxdunbar said,

    Modernity

    I remember being on a demo in London and this guy wearing a placard saying ‘Get rid of the monarchy’ was arguing about Cromwell with another demonstrator.

    Guy 1: Cromwell wasn’t so bad, at least he got rid of the monarchy!

    Guy 2: Yeah, and replaced it with a puritanical dictatorship!

    Guy 1: Still, it was a good start!

    Guy 2 (with brutal incredulity): A good start?

    The Life of Brian comparison is becoming a cliche on the left but this exchange really was Pythonesque. Two guys, marching through London in a crowd of thousands, shouting at each other about Cromwell in Cockney accents. I’ll never forget it.

  14. Sue R said,

    Yeah, but at least Mr Cromwell didn’t say that God made him do it.

  15. modernityblog said,

    yeah Sue,

    let’s be honest, killing 10,000s in Ireland isn’t too much for the Brits** (including some of those, apparently on the Left) to worry about, the chaos, massacres, etc.,

    why worry?


    ** that sarcasm

  16. Red Maria said,

    In Norn Iron it used to be, possibly still is the custom for people to be asked whether they were Protestants or Catholics. It was not considered a satisfactory answer to the question to say that one was a secularist, atheist, agnostic or humanist. Is that Catholic or Protestant secularist/atheist etc, the person would be asked in reply. Well I think I can safely say that Max falls into the Romish camp and here’s why.
    A few blog posts ago – and I can’t find it off hand unfortunately – I distinctly recall reading Max say words to the effect that faith is not sufficient by itself but requires works. I recognised this for what it was: a masterful refutation of the pernicious doctrine of justification by faith alone. By their fruit shall ye know them and all that, so I put him down in the left-footer column. I have great faith in Max. In time I fully expect to read his demolition of Sola Scriptura and defence of the Petrine Primacy.

  17. maxdunbar said,

    Maria

    This could be the start of a beautiful friendship!

    I think this is the post you’re referring to: http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2008/11/01/morality-predates-religion/

    I’ve also quoted Marko Attila Hoare comparing the salvation/good works debate to politics. Hoare says:

    Perhaps one day someone will write their PhD dissertation on the reasons why stoppers and other ‘anti-war’ types are so repetitive in making the point that Western leaders are motivated by self-interest rather than altruism. I think it has something to do with the moral legacy of Protestantism, whereby what matters is purity of inner belief rather than outwardly appearing to do good: salvation through faith alone, rather than salvation through good works.

    http://greatersurbiton.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/antiwar-ad-absurdum-the-madagascar-plan-as-an-alternative-to-the-holocaust/

    Totally off topic but is that what you meant?

    So in the words of the old joke, I’m a ‘Catholic atheist’ rather than a ‘Protestant atheist’.

    Can I be a Jewish atheist instead?

  18. Red Maria said,

    Yes, I think that was the one. See, I knew I was right!

    I think this could well be the start of a beautiful friendship.

    “Can I be a Jewish atheist instead?”

    On one solemn condition:

    You must affirm the sanctity of chicken soup and resist the stock cube heresy.

    The heresy is spreading alarmingly. The other day I saw Vanessa Feltz make something she called chicken soup on the telly. It was disgusting. First she used a cooked chicken carcass (for G-d’s sake!), added a stock cube (yeurgh), then red wine (since when has red wine been an ingredient in chicken soup?) and to top it off, cooked the noodles in the soup! As everybody knows, noodles are not cooked in the soup, which would wreck its limpid clarity, they are cooked separately and added when serving.

    Remember this: Chicken soup is made using raw chicken, root vegetables, garlic and parsley (I’ll allow dill grudgingly). And the rest, as Rabbi Hillel might have said, is all commentary.

  19. resistor said,

    Dunbar writes, ‘you may think the Centre for Social Cohesion is a Zionist/neocon front’

    The Centre for Social Cohesion is an organisation run by Douglas Murray who is a self-proclaimed Zionist and Neo-con.

    For more on this odious individual

    http://www.ukwatch.net/article/the_039enfant_terrible039_of_british_neoconservatism

    Murray made a speech in 2006 to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam where he revealed his true attitude to ‘social cohesion’

    ‘It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. In the case of a further genocide such as that in the Balkans, sanctuary would be given on a strictly temporary basis. This should also be enacted retrospectively… Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.’

    As for another one of Dunbar’s heroes – Julie Burchill – Dunbar found it hard to believe that she dedicated her first (dreadful) book to Menachem Begin. Have a listen to this

    [audio src="http://www.littleatoms.com/sounds/julieburchillandchasnewkeyburden.mp3" /]

    where she actually boasts about it and points out that her new pot-boiler is dedicated to Ariel Sharon and Bibi Netanyahu!

    As we know, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and others warned America that Begin was a fascist, a racist and a mass murderer

    http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/sept_02/sept_02_1.html

    No-one needs to be reminded of the horrors inflicted by Ariel Sharon from his death squad Unit 101 onwards but the animation “Waltz With Bashir” might jog a few memories.

    As for Netanyahu and his fascist connections, here’s a piece written by Dunbar’s pinup boy when he still posed as a leftie

    http://archive.salon.com/col/hitc/1998/04/nc_13hitc2.html

  20. modernityblog said,

    [as an aside, Martin Ohr made a few interesting points on SU's http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=3114 concerning no platform for the BNP, might be worth asking Martin to expand his points]

  21. martin ohr said,

    Mod, thanks for that plug. To be honest I wish I hadn’t bothered commenting over there though, it’s thoroughly depressing to see the desperate swamp of useless tossers that blog attracts.

    Away from the blogsophere, real socialists, trades unionists, and community activists are significantly more sensible than those idiots.

  22. modernityblog said,

    indeed Martin,

    SU is surreal and doesn’t give the Left a very good name, many of the arguments there wouldn’t convince a 12 year old and the petty disputes are annoying, but very occasionally it raises some informative debate and at the moment there isn’t an alternative, so I’ll keep on reading it

  23. resistor said,

    Interesting that this blog doesn’t mind Max Dunbar using it to propagate the ideas of the far right. We’ll have to assume they share them.

  24. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor

    Have you read the report?

    Do you have anything to say about the thirty Muslim/ex-Muslim dissidents profiled in the report?

    In what way am I using Shiraz to ‘propagate the ideas of the far right’?

    I have to say I don’t share Murray’s view on immigration. If you type ‘immigration’ into my blogsearch, you’ll find that my views on immigration are very different.

    I also attacked Murray’s ‘Eurabia’ thesis in the post I linked to. Here it is again:

    I read one book of Julie Burchill’s and enjoyed it – that doesn’t mean I agree with everything she says. Your ‘six degrees of separation’ tactic grows more tenuous by the day.

    What do you get out of all this, exactly?

  25. resistor said,

    Dunbar enjoyed and promoted a book dedicated to Netanyahu and Sharon. No degree of separation there. By the way, do you now accept the fact that Burchill has been a supporter of Israeli fascism all her adult life? Listen to the interview for where she giggles with pleasure describing how she dedicated her first book to Menachem Begin.

    Dunbar also linked to a report written by a far-right Islamophobe. Remember Murray’s obnoxious views on immigration were directed against Muslims alone.

    Murray said, ‘Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.’ Are we really to believe he wants harder conditions for millions of Muslims and cares for thirty Muslim/ex-Muslim ‘dissidents’? Come off it Dunbar, we can see what his, and your game is.

  26. maxdunbar said,

    Have you read the report?

    The report is not about Douglas Murray’s views on immigration, it is the stories of thirty Muslim and ex-Muslim politicians, writers and artists.

    Why do you ignore their input in favour of Douglas Murray? Are you an Islamophobe?

    And like it or not Murray has performed a service in bringing the writings of people like Mina Ahadi and Aayan Hirsi Ali to a wider audience. These are genuine dissidents (your quotemarks are unjustified) who are and have been under threat of harm for criticising religion. It’s a shame many official left organisations don’t seem interested in supporting victims of oppression from Muslim backgrounds.

    As for the tenuous Burchill/Greater Israel link, I’m not going to respond to that one because I don’t share your obsession with Zionism.

  27. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    you’re wasting your time, Far Right cranks like “resistor” can’t engage with arguments, it is not in their mentality

    “resistor” is probably just pissed off at the leak of the BNP’s membership list, the names and addresses of his mates are in the open, for once

  28. resistor said,

    ‘Why do you ignore their input in favour of Douglas Murray? ‘

    Bizarrely I did read the pamphlet, which was written by Murray and his sidekick – not the individuals concerned.

    One strange example is that of Ahmed Aboutaleb a Dutch Muslim who is the new Mayor of Rotterdam. He is portrayed as under threat from Muslims but this goes unrecorded.

    http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/Wilders-slams-appointment-of-Moroccan-mayor.html

    17 October 2008

    AMSTERDAM — The right-wing leader of Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, on Friday slammed the upcoming appointment of Moroccan Ahmed Aboutaleb as mayor of Rotterdam.

    “Appointing a Moroccan as mayor of the second largest Dutch city is just as ridiculous as appointing a Dutchman as mayor of Mecca,” he said.

    Instead, Wilders said, Aboutaleb “should become mayor of Rabat in Morocco.”

    “With him as mayor, Rotterdam will be Rabat on the banks of the river Maas. Soon we may even have an imam serving as arch bishop. This is madness.”

    Is this because the racist Wilders and Murray are mates?

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/553681/part_3/a-filmmaker-who-lives-in-the-shadow-of-a-fatwa.thtml

    Another ‘dissident’, Ehsan Jami is said to have left the Labour Party ‘as his party
    membership was discontinued’ not mentioning the reason,

    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2007/10/exmuslim_jami_asked_to_quit_co.php

    ‘Ex-Muslim Jami asked to quit council seat

    Monday 15 October 2007

    The Labour party in Leidschendam Voorburg has asked Ehsan Jami, founder of the committee of ex-Muslims and local Labour councillor, to give up his seat.
    The request follows an article written by Jami and anti-immigration MP Geert Wilders in which they likened the prophet Mohammed to Adolf Hitler.

    ‘Ehsan is following his own agenda at the moment,’ local party head Harry Oldersma was reported as saying.’

    Need I go on to take apart more of this trash? Don’t get me started on that fraud Aayan Hirsi Ali!

    ‘As for the tenuous Burchill/Greater Israel link’

    ‘Greater Israel’ You said it.

    ‘I’m not going to respond to that one’

    No you wouldn’t, because you’ve been caught out promoting a neo-con pamphlet and a book written by two idiots who think its ‘cool’ to dedicate it to Netanyahu and Sharon.

    You claimed ignorance of the Menachem Begin dedication in the Burchill/Parsons book but what’s your excuse for not mentioning the Netanyahu and Sharon dedication by Burchill/Newkey?

  29. maxdunbar said,

    I know it is getting quiet round here isn’t it? Never mind, he’ll be back trolling as soon as I do my next post.

  30. resistor said,

    What a coward Dunbar is. When he can’t defend his actions he resorts to childish abuse. I think he’ll be well at home here. I suggest he gets himself some therapy.

    Meanwhile, why does a blog that labels itself ‘Socialist’ allow the promotion of books dedicated to fascists and mass murderers? Perhaps some of Dunbar’s pals could come to his defence?

    ps Moddybloggy

    I’ve had a look at the BNP list and now I know where you and Drumbo Denham live!

  31. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    if you post about the BNP and anti-fascism, then “resistor” won’t be able to respond, as it would let the cat out of the bag about his underlying philosophy

  32. modernityblog said,

    PS: I must congratulate Socialist Worker (or who ever did it) for the breakdown of the occupation sample on the BNP list.

    http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/bnp-membership-list-online/

  33. KB Player said,

    The occupation breakdown is interesting – not that surprising that the security occupations are highly represented. Does that include bouncers?

    Is there any geographical location breakdown? I’d like to know how many BNP members live in Spain, Malta etc, and moan about immigrants taking over the UK.

  34. modernityblog said,

    I posted a bit on HP, a few residents of Canada, the US and even France! I am sure by now someone has squeeze it into an SQL database and is mining it.

    Let’s see if the SWP can manage that

  35. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor

    ‘Coward’ is a bit hard to take, coming from someone who can’t give a straight answer on anything, and who trolls here under cover of anonymity.

    Modernity

    I did do a long post about the BNP a while ago. Here it is: http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2008/10/18/contemporary-british-fascism/

    That occupation breakdown is fascinating – I have seen it. Frightening to see the number of law enforcement people on there. And lol KB!

  36. modernityblog said,

    max,

    indeed, did you see that some 7% of that BNP sample were in the Arts?

    still, resistor’s idea of art is probably picking fluff from his navel with a screwdriver

  37. KB Player said,

    “resistor’s idea of art is probably picking fluff from his navel with a screwdriver”

    Does he perform in public? Or does he use a webcam?

    (That’s put me off my tea.)

  38. maxdunbar said,

    Several years ago, the idea that anyone involved in the arts could be a BNP member would have shocked me.

    Not now though.

  39. modernityblog said,

    I’m not a professional writer, but I hope that was descriptive enough?

    I’ve got some more stuff and I’ll probably post it as an update to my main post on the BNP later on

  40. resistor said,

    Max disparages those who use the ‘cover of anonymity’. Moddy and Volty, Max is dissing you again!

    I gave very straight answers, now why don’t you explain your failure to address the Netanyahu and Sharon dedication by Burchill/Newkey?

  41. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Yeah but Mod and I don’t troll under the cover of anonymity, to use Max’s actual phrase, Resistor. You have to look at people’s statements in full, otherwise you run the risk of misinterpreting them.

  42. modernityblog said,

    so resistor tell us, don’t you think that the leak of the BNP membership list was a good thing?

  43. resistor said,

    Seriously Moddy, yes. There were far fewer BNP in my area than I suspected/feared.

    However its too soon to be sure. The BNP has got free publicity and could gain more members than it loses. We shall see. I’m more worried about those who aren’t members but would vote for them.

    Now your turn. Aren’t you embarrassed how Dunbar keeps using far right sources Murray, Burchill etc.? Is it any excuse that he’s naive and a bit of a saddo?

  44. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Julie Burchill is “far right”? There are many criticisms to throw at her, but not that. You see, that’s what they call “trolling”…

  45. resistor said,

    She dedicated her first book to Menachem Begin, and her latest to Ariel Sharon and Binyamin Netanyahu. Which part of that don’t you understand? I notice no-one wants to defend Burchill’s choices, but would rather attack me personally – an obvious ploy comrades.

    Her other heroes include Ian Paisley and Joe Stalin. Are they any better?

  46. modernityblog said,

    in answer, I think posters can choose who they like, for whatever reasons that they like and they can defend their own judgments

    I am reminded of the quote:

    “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

  47. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Why would I defend Burchill, with whom I don’t agree? All I said is that she’s not “far right” ie a fascist or other extremist. And calling you a troll Resistor is hardly a personal attack, it’s just a statement of fact.

  48. resistor said,

    ‘Why would I defend Burchill, with whom I don’t agree?’

    Because Dunbar promoted her book on this site.

    ‘All I said is that she’s not “far right” ie a fascist or other extremist.’

    Then explain how she can support the Israeli fascist far-right. You are also ignoring her long record of racism directed at Black, Arab, and Irish people and her hatred of Muslims.

    Finally the dog that didn’t bark.

    This post where Dunbar promotes a dishonest (as I have shown above) pamphlet written by the disgusting Douglas Murray who said that, “All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop.” and “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.”. How does this differ from the BNP? Not one of you have criticised Dunbar’s promotion of Douglas Murray’s racist crusade against Muslims.

  49. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor

    Have you read the report?

    If you have, can you explain why it is a ‘dishonest pamphlet’?

    I don’t agree with Murray’s views on immigration. The report is not about Douglas Murray or immigration, it is about the thirty Muslims and ex Muslims profiled in the report.

    Do you have any comment on the substance of the report?

    The only book I’ve read of Burchill’s is the one I reviewed on this site. I don’t know enough about Israeli politics to comment on what you say about her choice of dedicatee – although if you want to have the Israel/Palestine argument, let’s do it.

    As for her alleged racism against black people, Irish people and Muslims – you don’t support this with any links and, in any case, your definition of ‘racism’ seems to mean ‘people who criticise religious governments and ideologies’.

    Truth is, I don’t know Burchill as intimately as you do. I read the hypocrisy book, I liked it, I wrote a review on this site. You don’t have to agree with everything a writer says and everything on their track record. End of story.

    And no one is attacking you personally. How could they? No one knows anything about you other than that you’re a bit of a cunt.

  50. resistor said,

    Max asks me some questions, but clearly he can’t read.

    ‘Have you read the report?’

    Yes, read my posts above

    ‘If you have, can you explain why it is a ‘dishonest pamphlet’?’

    I did, read my posts above

    ‘Do you have any comment on the substance of the report?’

    It has no substance, read my posts above

    ‘I don’t know enough about Israeli politics to comment on what you say about her choice of dedicatee ‘

    What? You know so little about Begin, Netanyahu and Sharon that you can’t comment? Try Google, or use the links I so helpfully provided. So, read my posts above

    ‘I read the hypocrisy book, I liked it, I wrote a review on this site.’

    The hypocrisy book had a chapter on Israel and was dedicated to Netanyahu and Sharon, but you knew ‘enough about Israeli politics’ to recommend it.

    I think you know plenty about these fascists and haven’t the guts to admit it, but hey, you’ve proved yourself to be a complete ignoramus already so perhaps you’re telling the truth.

    ‘And no one is attacking you personally. …you’re a bit of a cunt’

    Mmmm I suspect a split-personality at work here. You need professional help Maxie baby. But don’t worry, I forgive you. I don’t take psychotic episodes personally.

  51. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    ignore Resistor, he only gets excited when “Zionists” are mentioned and the very idea of dedicating a book to Jews is so alien to him that’s he’s almost hyperventilating about it

  52. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor, for some reason your comment at 28 has only just appeared. I’ll deal with it now.

    The report was edited and compiled by Murray but focuses, as you know, on the thirty Muslim and ex-Muslim individuals concerned.

    You claim to have ‘taken apart’ the report. All you’ve said is that the Dutch rightwinger Geert Wilders has attacked Aboutaleb for being a Muslim, and that Jami has left the Dutch Labour Party. Relevance?

    I suppose the point you’re trying to make is that neocons attack Muslims too but let’s face it, a couple of ill-informed speeches hardly compares to death threats from religious governments and movements.

    Why are you so keen to avoid the actual substance of the report?

    Explain how I am ‘promoting Douglas Murray’s racist crusade against Muslims’ when my arguments on immigration (as you can see above) are the exact opposite of Douglas Murray’s.

    As for the Burchill dedication, I really couldn’t give a shit who she dedicates her book to. There’s actually barely anything in the book about Israeli politics apart from Chas Newkey-Burden’s excellent essay.

    I mean, you have read the book, right?

    Bottom line, I’m not responsible for what she writes. If you want to discuss your feelings with Burchill and Newkey-Burden then contact them via the publisher.

    Modernity is right, I’m wasting my time on you. There’s a reason why I’m the only person in blogland who engages with your bullshit. But let’s hear your take on the ‘fraud’ Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Let’s hear you slag off a real-life resister of oppression whose gutter you aren’t fit to clean.

  53. resistor said,

    Not my take but…

    http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/liberals-dont-care-hirsi-ali-lied-to-get-asylum-in-1992-29954.html

    Liberals don’t care Hirsi Ali lied to get asylum in 1992 12/05/2006 00:00

    12 May 2006

    AMSTERDAM — Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali may have told more lies about her past in order to get asylum in the Netherlands in 1992 than she has previously admitted, news programme Zembla has suggested.

    *sidebar1*Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said on Friday that Hirsi Ali need not worry about facing repercussions for what she did 14 years ago. But she repeated she would have deported Hirsi Ali if she had been the minister back in 1992. “I don’t like lies,” Verdonk said on Friday.

    Hirsi Ali shot to fame in 2002 when her criticism of aspects of Islam and the treatment of women in Muslim societies led to death threats. She joined the Dutch Liberal Party (VVD) and was elected to parliament in 2003.

    She wrote the scripts for the short film Submission which featured semi-naked women taking about mistreatment under Islam. The director Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004 for helping her to make the movie.

    Thursday’s edition of Zembla retraced Hirsi Ali’s journey from Somalia, via Kenya, to the Netherlands and uncovered both well-documented and previously unreported inconsistencies in her story.

    Interviews with her brother, aunt and ex-husband raised doubts about Hirsi Ali’s contention she fled to Europe to escape possible retribution from her family for not going through with an arranged marriage. Her relatives contradicted her claim that she was not present during the wedding to the Canadian-Somali man.

    Hirsi Ali said she was forced to marry a stranger but her ex-husband said they had been in love and spent the week together after the wedding. He then went back to Canada to prepare for her arrival. Supplied with a plane ticket, Hirsi Ali later arrived in Germany and took a train to Amsterdam rather than continue the planned journey to Canada.

    She has for years admitted she made up parts of her story to get asylum in the Netherlands but she insisted to Zembla her relatives and ex-husband were lying in regard to some of the details.

    The programme-makers said it was decided to look into her past because of differing accounts she has given over the years about her past.

    Hirsi Ali said she came clean about the lies she told to get asylum when she joined the Liberal Party (VVD) in 2002. Yet prominent VVDer (and now EU Commissioner) Neelie Kroes described Hirsi Ali as a person who had lived through five civil wars in Somalia. This was not true as Hirsi Ali lived in Kenya for over 10 years before coming to the Netherlands.

    A spokesperson for the VVD said the party had been aware that Hirsi Ali lied about her name and date of birth when seeking asylum. This was not seen as a barrier to her joining the party or becoming one of its MPs.

    Her real name is Hirsi Magan. Her father was an opponent of the regime in Somalia and was jailed there. Hirsi Ali and her brother were sent to Kenya where she lived from the age of 10 to 22.

    Other Somalis living as refugees in Kenya were refused asylum in the Netherlands in 1992 because Kenya was considered a safe country. Hirsi Ali, who had refugee status in Kenya, told Dutch immigration officials she was fleeing from Somali. She was granted asylum within five weeks, an apparent record.

    Zembla showed footage of Hirsi Ali in a documentary made the Dutch Muslim broadcaster only months after she was supposedly in hiding for fear of retribution from her family. It also emerged she was in contact with her father and on one occasion her jilted husband came to see her in the Netherlands. He left without harming her when she made it clear she did not want to continue with the marriage.

    The MP’s spokesperson said there was nothing new in the documentary and noted Zembla had chosen not to include other issues about her past, including her claims to be undergone female circumcision as a young girl.

    Former Immigration Minister Hilbrand Nawijn called for Hirsi Ali to be stripped of Dutch nationally and deported. He was head of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) when Hirsi Ali applied for asylum.

  54. maxdunbar said,

    Oh I thought you might be reduced to picking holes in Hirsi Ali’s asylum claim!

    I think it’s good that Hirsi Ali got asylum in Holland even if she had to lie to do it. I would support anyone in her position who did the same thing.

    How do you feel about Muslim immigrants coming to this country, Resistor? Would you kick them out, even if they were (like Hirsi Ali) running from persecution in their native countries, simply because they lied on their asylum applications?

    And you say that I’m right wing on immigration!

  55. resistor said,

    Max can”t or won’t read. Hirsi Ali wasn’t running from persecution in her native country. She had already found asylum in Kenya. I’m afraid she seems to have lied about almost everything else too.

    But that’s not the main problem about Ayaan Hirsi Ali

    What makes her a complete fraud is that she then joined a right-wing party and called for all immigration from Muslim countries to be stopped.

    I never said that you are right wing on immigration, just the people you promote like Douglas Murray and Hirsi Ali.

    But what do Muslim women in the Netherlands think of her?

    http://lgfwatch.blogspot.com/2005/08/letters-to-hirsi-ali.html

    Karima Belhaj is the director of the largest women’s shelter in Amsterdam. She’s also one of the organizers of the “Stop the Witchhunt!” campaign against what she sees as anti-Muslim hysteria. On the day we talked, she was despondent. Arsonists had set fire for the second time to an Islamic school in the town of Uden. A few days later a regional police unit warned that the rise of right-wing Dutch youth gangs potentially presents a more dangerous threat to the country than Islamist terrorism. “The rise of Islamism is not the problem,” Belhaj said. “The problem is that hatred against Arabs and Muslims is shown in this country without any shame.” With her message that Muslim women must give up their faith and their families if they want to be liberated, Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists, said Belhaj: “She attacks their values, so they are wearing more and more veils. It frightens me. I’m losing my country. I’m losing my people.”

    If Belhaj was sad, another “Stop the Witchhunt!” organizer was angry. Like Belhaj, Miriyam Aouragh is a second-generation immigrant of Moroccan background. A self-described peace and women’s activist, Aouragh was the first in her family to attend university. She’s now studying for a PhD in anthropology. She scoffs at the idea that Hirsi Ali is a champion of oppressed Muslim women. “She’s nothing but an Uncle Tom,” Aouragh said. “She has never fought for the oppressed. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She uses these problems as a cover to attack Islam. She insults me and she makes my life as a feminist ten times harder because she forces me to be associated with anti-Muslim attacks.”

    Aouragh accuses Hirsi Ali and her political allies of deliberately fostering the hostility that has led to the attacks on Islamic institutions and to police brutality against young Muslim men. “I’m surprised the Arab-Muslim community isn’t more angry with her,” Aouragh said. “When she talks about Muslims as violent people, and Muslim men as rapists, this is very insulting. She calls the Prophet a pedophile. Theo van Gogh called the Prophet a pimp, a goat-****er. Well, no, we don’t accept that.”

  56. KB Player said,

    DEATH TO THOSE WHO LIE ON THEIR IMMIGRANT APPLICATION FORMS!

  57. maxdunbar said,

    hahahahaha

  58. resistor said,

    This seems to have been deleted, I wonder why?

    http://lgfwatch.blogspot.com/2005/08/letters-to-hirsi-ali.html

    ‘Karima Belhaj is the director of the largest women’s shelter in Amsterdam. She’s also one of the organizers of the “Stop the Witchhunt!” campaign against what she sees as anti-Muslim hysteria. On the day we talked, she was despondent. Arsonists had set fire for the second time to an Islamic school in the town of Uden. A few days later a regional police unit warned that the rise of right-wing Dutch youth gangs potentially presents a more dangerous threat to the country than Islamist terrorism. “The rise of Islamism is not the problem,” Belhaj said. “The problem is that hatred against Arabs and Muslims is shown in this country without any shame.” With her message that Muslim women must give up their faith and their families if they want to be liberated, Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists, said Belhaj: “She attacks their values, so they are wearing more and more veils. It frightens me. I’m losing my country. I’m losing my people.”

    If Belhaj was sad, another “Stop the Witchhunt!” organizer was angry. Like Belhaj, Miriyam Aouragh is a second-generation immigrant of Moroccan background. A self-described peace and women’s activist, Aouragh was the first in her family to attend university. She’s now studying for a PhD in anthropology. She scoffs at the idea that Hirsi Ali is a champion of oppressed Muslim women. “She’s nothing but an Uncle Tom,” Aouragh said. “She has never fought for the oppressed. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She uses these problems as a cover to attack Islam. She insults me and she makes my life as a feminist ten times harder because she forces me to be associated with anti-Muslim attacks.”

    Aouragh accuses Hirsi Ali and her political allies of deliberately fostering the hostility that has led to the attacks on Islamic institutions and to police brutality against young Muslim men. “I’m surprised the Arab-Muslim community isn’t more angry with her,” Aouragh said. “When she talks about Muslims as violent people, and Muslim men as rapists, this is very insulting. She calls the Prophet a pedophile. Theo van Gogh called the Prophet a pimp, a goat-****er. Well, no, we don’t accept that.”‘

  59. resistor said,

    What genuine Muslim feminists in The Netherlands think of Hirsi Ali

    http://lgfwatch.blogspot.com/2005/08/letters-to-hirsi-ali.html

    Karima Belhaj is the director of the largest women’s shelter in Amsterdam. She’s also one of the organizers of the “Stop the Witchhunt!” campaign against what she sees as anti-Muslim hysteria. On the day we talked, she was despondent. Arsonists had set fire for the second time to an Islamic school in the town of Uden. A few days later a regional police unit warned that the rise of right-wing Dutch youth gangs potentially presents a more dangerous threat to the country than Islamist terrorism. “The rise of Islamism is not the problem,” Belhaj said. “The problem is that hatred against Arabs and Muslims is shown in this country without any shame.” With her message that Muslim women must give up their faith and their families if they want to be liberated, Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists, said Belhaj: “She attacks their values, so they are wearing more and more veils. It frightens me. I’m losing my country. I’m losing my people.”

    If Belhaj was sad, another “Stop the Witchhunt!” organizer was angry. Like Belhaj, Miriyam Aouragh is a second-generation immigrant of Moroccan background. A self-described peace and women’s activist, Aouragh was the first in her family to attend university. She’s now studying for a PhD in anthropology. She scoffs at the idea that Hirsi Ali is a champion of oppressed Muslim women. “She’s nothing but an Uncle Tom,” Aouragh said. “She has never fought for the oppressed. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She uses these problems as a cover to attack Islam. She insults me and she makes my life as a feminist ten times harder because she forces me to be associated with anti-Muslim attacks.”

    Aouragh accuses Hirsi Ali and her political allies of deliberately fostering the hostility that has led to the attacks on Islamic institutions and to police brutality against young Muslim men. “I’m surprised the Arab-Muslim community isn’t more angry with her,” Aouragh said. “When she talks about Muslims as violent people, and Muslim men as rapists, this is very insulting. She calls the Prophet a pedophile. Theo van Gogh called the Prophet a pimp, a goat-****er. Well, no, we don’t accept that.”

  60. resistor said,

    What genuine Muslim Feminists think of Hirsi Ali

    Karima Belhaj is the director of the largest women’s shelter in Amsterdam. She’s also one of the organizers of the “Stop the Witchhunt!” campaign against what she sees as anti-Muslim hysteria. On the day we talked, she was despondent. Arsonists had set fire for the second time to an Islamic school in the town of Uden. A few days later a regional police unit warned that the rise of right-wing Dutch youth gangs potentially presents a more dangerous threat to the country than Islamist terrorism. “The rise of Islamism is not the problem,” Belhaj said. “The problem is that hatred against Arabs and Muslims is shown in this country without any shame.” With her message that Muslim women must give up their faith and their families if they want to be liberated, Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists, said Belhaj: “She attacks their values, so they are wearing more and more veils. It frightens me. I’m losing my country. I’m losing my people.”

    If Belhaj was sad, another “Stop the Witchhunt!” organizer was angry. Like Belhaj, Miriyam Aouragh is a second-generation immigrant of Moroccan background. A self-described peace and women’s activist, Aouragh was the first in her family to attend university. She’s now studying for a PhD in anthropology. She scoffs at the idea that Hirsi Ali is a champion of oppressed Muslim women. “She’s nothing but an Uncle Tom,” Aouragh said. “She has never fought for the oppressed. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She uses these problems as a cover to attack Islam. She insults me and she makes my life as a feminist ten times harder because she forces me to be associated with anti-Muslim attacks.”

    Aouragh accuses Hirsi Ali and her political allies of deliberately fostering the hostility that has led to the attacks on Islamic institutions and to police brutality against young Muslim men. “I’m surprised the Arab-Muslim community isn’t more angry with her,” Aouragh said. “When she talks about Muslims as violent people, and Muslim men as rapists, this is very insulting. She calls the Prophet a pedophile. Theo van Gogh called the Prophet a pimp, a goat-****er. Well, no, we don’t accept that.”

  61. maxdunbar said,

    I’m not surprised some Muslim feminists disagree with Hirsi Ali. I would expect such diversity of opinion within Muslim communities.

    Belhaj has a point about anti-immigrant hysteria. Her line that ‘Hirsi Ali is actually driving women into the arms of the fundamentalists’ is a common criticism, though not one that I’d agree with. There are differences in style. I feel that aggressive securalism is useful, others want a more diplomatic approach.

    Miriyam Arouagh just sounds like a religious nutcase. The ‘Uncle Tom’ jibe is pure racism.

    Do you have a link for this, just out of interest?

  62. modernityblog said,

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/530 seems to linked to The Nation, which is inaccessible.

    also, see http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/533

  63. resistor said,

    As you are clearly to lazy to do any research yourself

    http://lgfwatch.blogspot.com/2005/08/letters-to-hirsi-ali.html

    As for the ‘religious nutcase’ Miriyam Arouagh

    http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/m.aouragh/

  64. resistor said,

    http://lgfwatch.blogspot.com/2005/08/letters-to-hirsi-ali.html

    Remember like Wilders, Hirsi Ali called for all immigration from Muslim countries to be stopped – even though she herself had fraudulently claimed to be an asylum seeker.

  65. maxdunbar said,

    Too lazy to do research? You’re the one making assertions, pal. As you are making assertions, the burden of proof is on me, not you. Because that is how it works.

    The letters to Hirsi Ali post is interesting but doesn’t support your case. These are all common criticisms of Ali’s approach – that she is an ‘Enlightenment fundamentalist’ etc. The article concedes that Hirsi Ali is right about many things. Again, it’s just a difference in approach.

    The fact that Miriyam Arouagh is an academic doesn’t mean that she is immune from racism or fundamentalism. In fact, many fundamentalists are also academics, like Tariq Ramadan. It doesn’t make the ‘Uncle Tom’ smear any more respectable. Arouagh is calling Hirsi Ali a race traitor. This is the language of white supremacism. It’s the kind of thing al-Qaeda are saying about Barack Obama. No one who talks like this can be taken seriously.

    I don’t agree with Hirsi Ali’s critique of immigration (although did she say that ALL immigration from Muslim countries should stop? When?) This is a weakness in her arguments – but in my view her general critique of religion is bang on.

    As for the 1992 asylum claim, let me just say a few things:

    1) I don’t care if Hirsi Ali lied on her application form. I would encourage migrants in her situation to do the same thing.

    2) My understanding of that asylum claim is that Hirsi Ali lied in the finer detail of her application rather than ‘fraudulently claimed to be an asylum seeker.’

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