I will not apologise!

By: Khaled Almaeena - Editor-at-Large

The Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others are still capturing headlines. They also occupy the top spot in social media the world over.

The attack came days after suicide bombers blew up about 40 people in a Beirut suburb and before that a Russian plane was blown up over Sinai killing more than 200 people. Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS) took responsibility for all of these murderous acts.

I received several phone calls from Western journalists asking for the Saudi point of view on these murderous attacks to which my reply was that all of us condemn these inhumane and ugly acts which do not serve any purpose, but on the contrary malign our society and our religion.

One caller asked if we will apologise. I almost screamed at him. Apologise for what?! Are we responsible for the actions of mysterious groups that destroy and kill? Are we responsible for all the evil acts being committed and falsely attributed to Islam?! I am not going to apologise, I said.

Let an international investigation be conducted and the findings made public. I am not a believer in conspiracy theories, but since the 9/11 attack until now many questions remain unanswered. How is it that after every major incident a passport is found intact? As if people walk the streets with their passports in their pockets and the passports are made of nonflammable material that is resistant to fires and bomb attacks.

In New York, it was a Saudi passport; in Paris it was a Syrian passport which later was found to be a fake and there were 11 passports with the same name and number!

We have had enough of preachers of hate and ignorant politicians inciting animosity against Muslims and ranting anti-Islamic rhetoric that is racist and full of hate. Enough of ignorant people going on the rampage uttering jingoistic chants forgetting the complicity of their own governments in creating Al-Qaeda and Daesh-like organisations and propping up dictatorships in the region, dismantling armies and social order and creating vacuum that led to strife.

I stand with the entire world in condemning the wanton, ruthless and mindless destruction of innocent human lives, but please do not ask me to apologise for something for which I am not responsible. Have the Jews apologised for Netanyahu’s daily massacre of Palestinians? Have the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi apologised for the brutal holocaust inflicted on the Muslims of Myanmar? Has Indian Prime Minister Modi apologised for the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat or the lynching of people alleged to have eaten beef? Have Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Bremer apologized for the death of a million Iraqis?

While the world rises up in arms against the cowardly murders of the innocent in Paris, no one protested when over a 100 Turks were blown to bits by Daesh in Ankara.

This selective grief is not palatable to me and to many around the world. These acts are carried out by people who are supposedly Muslims, but are mostly managed by shadowy groups operating under the umbrella of Western agencies. They do not represent us. I am not guilty, and therefore, I will not apologise!

Source: http://saudigazette.com.sa/saudi-arabia/i-will-not-apologize/

Muslim Groups say ‘Police State’ Powers will make Terror Problem Worse

Mainstream Muslim groups [1] are warning that the draconian new powers targeting the Muslim community, which the government is seeking through the Extremism Bill, will be counter-productive in the fight against ISIS recruiters and other extremists.
  • The Extremism bill puts in place the architecture of a Police State, giving government ministers sweeping powers to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens without due process and the right to a fair trial. With the vague definition of extremism being employed there is a real danger that these powers could be used to clamp down on legitimate political dissent.

  • The new proposals continue the government’s approach of treating the whole Muslim community as potential terrorists, from 3 year-olds in nurseries through to political activists who oppose the government’s foreign policy.[2] This will only fuel alienation, driving some vulnerable young Muslims toward extremism.

  • The government’s focus is almost entirely on extremism within the Muslim community, ignoring far-right extremism and violence despite the acts of terror committed by racist and Islamophobic extremists (for example the murder of a Muslim grandfather in Birmingham, nail bombs and arson attacks on mosques and Islamic centres, a machete attack in a supermarket on a Sikh man mistaken for a Muslim…)[3].

  • These proposals are not based on empirical evidence about the factors causing terrorism, but instead rely on a refuted ‘conveyor belt’ theory of radicalisation promoted by neo-conservative think-tanks which falsely sees both religious conservatism and legitimate political grievances as leading almost inevitably toward violence.[4]

  • An effective approach to countering violent extremism must acknowledge the proven link between foreign policy and terrorism, and empower young Muslims to channel their legitimate anger into democratic activism and engagement.

  • Rather than wasting tax-payers money on groups such as ‘Inspire’ which have no credibility within the Muslim community the government should enter into dialogue with those Muslim groups who are already doing effective grassroots work against Isis and other extremists. The government’s approach to the mainstream Muslim community must change from one of exclusion to engagement.

[1] In addition to the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK other mainstream groups such as Muslim Council of Britain and Islamic Human Rights Commission have raised similar concerns:

Deradicalisation programme is demonising Muslims

Published by IHRC on 8th October 2015
Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) finds gravely disturbing today's revelations that referrals to a deradicalisation programme have risen exponentially since reporting people of suspected extremism became an official requirement for public bodies on July 1 this year.
The figures show that there were more referrals between June and August this year than for the whole of 2012/13 – the first year the scheme was rolled out across England and Wales. The number is also more than double the level of referrals recorded in the first three months of 2014/15. Approximately 40% of the referrals were of people under the age of 18.
Moreover during the same period, of the 796 individuals reported to the Channel programme for possible intervention, only about a fifth have required intervention in the form of deradicalisation sessions.
The figures suggest that the government dragnet cast over the Muslim community by the Islamophobic 'PREVENT' anti-extremism programme is having the effect of demonising and stigmatising innocent individuals and creating a pall of fear that prevents them from fully engaging in everyday life.
What is worrying is that these figures have been compiled over a period when schools and educational institutions are closed for the summer break. The likelihood is that referrals are only going to increase now they have reopened.
IHRC is opposed in principle to the whole PREVENT programme. It rests on racist and Islamophobic assumptions. By demonising Islam as innately violent the programme has contributed to the legitimisation of institutional discrimination against Muslims. Although the programme is presented as targeting all extremism including that of the far right in practice it is almost exclusively applied to Muslims.
Many Muslims have been caught up by PREVENT for nothing other than expressing conservative religious opinions or views that are critical of the government's policies in Muslim countries. Deradicalisation programmes are in themselves designed to disabuse people of these views and amount to political and social indoctrination. Moreover, the secretive nature of the referral process which is usually informed by Islamophobic prejudices means that there is rarely a paper trail by which officials can be held accountable.
In a case that arose last month, a 14-year-old Muslim schoolboy was questioned about ISIS after a classroom discussion about environmental activism. His parents are taking legal action after the boy said he was left "scared and nervous" by his experience with school officials in north London, and was left reluctant to join in class discussions for fear of being suspected of extremism. IHRC has been informed of a case in which a schoolboy was referred by teachers for objecting to a school concert on the grounds that he thought it was unIslamic.
IHRC is also alarmed by statements made yesterday by PM David Cameron that he intends to bring private madrasas under state scrutiny because he believes the allegedly conservative views they teach are helping fuel extremism. His views are based on the now officially accepted conveyor belt theory of terrorism in which illiberal Islamic education is the first step of a journey towards violent extremism. According to this view every Muslim is a potential terrorist who requires state intervention to keep them clear of extremism.
IHRC's head of advocacy Abed Choudhury said: "It is highly ironic that a programme that the government parades as vital for social cohesion is in fact having a divisive effect by obliging people to report others, mostly on the basis of their own prejudices. Subjecting Muslims to deradicalisation programmes for holding alternative views smacks of indoctrination meted out to dissidents by authoritarian regimes both present and past."
Source: http://us3.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4d0734a138da3bf708a64592d&id=a99f8856c8&e=b60f24c1af

We Need a Level-Headed Conversation About Muslim 'Others'

by: Muhammad Abdul Bari 
Poll after poll provides us with a consistent picture of Muslim loyalty to Britain, yet too many still seem to see the glass 'half full' when it comes to Muslims.
The narrative championed by these 'half fullers' is that Muslims are predisposed to all kinds of negative behaviour - grooming, crime, terrorism, mistreatment of women - and how incompatible Islam is in contemporary Britain. The problem arises when the positives of any community are lessened, and the negatives amplified, but not seriously scrutinised by those in government. When challenged by Muslims, accusations of hiding behind a charge of "Islamophobia" and "victim" mentality are thrown about.

UNISON survey reveals scale of secret stress among ambulance workers

 Long hours, staff shortages and the mental demands of the job are placing an enormous burden on ambulance workers as nine in ten (91 per cent) say they are suffering with stress, according to a new UNISON survey published today (Friday) ahead of the union's annual health conference in Liverpool next week.
The survey - of 2,977 ambulance workers - reveals that three–quarters (74 per cent) are suffering with sleep problems, 72 per cent said they felt irritable as a result and experienced mood swings, and more than half (56 per cent) suffered with anxiety.
More than a third (38 per cent) said they had to take time off sick because of work related stress and a quarter (26 per cent) admitted they were close doing so.

LAS: Mid-Life Crisis!

by Eric Roberts - Branch secretary LAS Unison

The London Ambulance Service is 50 years old this month. In fact the 1st April marked the day (no jokes about April fool please!). It is fifty years since a number of smaller Services came together to form one unified Ambulance Service for the capital city.

The London Ambulance Service came into the world wide eyed and bushy tailed, innocent but full of hope. We should be celebrating but like most 50 year olds, the LAS has a mid-life crisis!

Fifty Shades Of Pay

by Eric Roberts - Branch secretary LAS Unison

Like a lot of people at the moment,  I have fallen out of love with the London Ambulance Service.  These last two years have been painful.

The recent Staff Survey results for the LAS read like divorce papers in a messy relationship break-up case.

A lot of time, energy and money has been wasted trying to force through ill-thought out changes that has only resulted in a) staff walking out the door and b) the rest of us losing heart and enthusiasm.

I think the Union had been lied to, misled and kept in the dark. Our concerns and warnings have been largely ignored, or, if not completely ignored, then pushed onto the 'back burner' to simmer away until the pan boiled dry.

The Union is still here. The previous Chief Executive is not.

National and Transnational Terrorist network within the Pakistan Army

by Noor Dahri

The history of terrorism in Pakistan is very specious and the implications of terrorism on the soul of Pakistan are very deep. There are many causes behind the origins of terrorist acts in Pakistan. One of the reasons is born and bred terrorism and terrorist network in a country which was stamped down by their own Army many times. Pakistan Army is fighting a war with insiders in the Army and outsider who were once children of the Army. There are many examples of the attacks on army, naval and air force bases which were carried out with the help of army personals who wanted to destabilize not only Pakistan or damage the infrastructure of Pak Army but to establish a so called Islamic State.

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid - The First Muslim Lady and Role Model

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Jibril (Gabriel) came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: "O Allah's Messenger! This is Khadijah, coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil, (fatigue, trouble, etc.)." [Al-Bukhari]

'Abdullah bin 'Abbas narrated that one day the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) drew four lines on the earth and asked his Companions if they understood what these lines stood for. They respectfully replied that he knew better. He then told them that these lines stood for the four foremost ladies of the universe. They were Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imran, the mother of the Prophet Issa and 'Asia bint Muzahim (the wife of the Pharaoh).

She was the first person to have an abiding faith in the utterances of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and to accept Islam as her religion and her way of life. She was blessed with the distinction of having been greeted with Salam (greetings) by Allah and the Angel Jibril.

How Britain spent £40 billion suffering humiliating defeat in Afghanistan

by Will Hutton

The Ministry of Defence and the military establishment are revealed as over-optimistic boneheads, says Will Hutton, and the amount of money squandered beggars belief.

Cortege of UK hearses
A cortege carrying the bodies of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan passes through Wootton Bassett in 2010.

In Afghanistan, Britain has just suffered a humiliating defeat, the worst in more than half a century and, arguably, ranking with the worst in modern times. The truth is inescapable: we are no longer a great economic, technological or military power.