Tag Archives: is

POLL: Shamima Begum will return to UK to fight for citizenship, court says. Good decision?

Shamima Begum: do you think her UK citizenship should be returned to her?

The Court of Appeal has said former IS bride Shamima Begum may return to the UK to appeal for the return of her citizenship.

Judges said she had been denied a fair hearing because she could not make her case from a Syrian refugee camp.

Ms Begum has proved extremely divisive among some members of the UK community.

She was enticed abroad to join Islamic State, aged just 15, and married a Dutch IS fighter – with whom she had three children. They have all died.

After IS largely collapsed, she found herself in a refugee camp and appealed for the UK’s government to return her to this country, so she could rely on the National Health Service to care for her and her last child, before that child died.

But then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid instead stripped her of her UK citizenship, citing the now-20-year-old’s still-apparent enthusiasm for the bloodthirsty regime she fled the country to join.

Some said she had been groomed and did not know what she was doing; some said she knew exactly what she was about.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a semi-secret court that hears national security cases, ruled that Mr Javid was right and Ms Begum could appeal for citizenship to Bangladesh, to which she may have a claim to nationality through her mother.

The Court of Appeal has overruled that judgement – but the Home Office has said it will apply for permission to appeal.

Is this a good decision? Let’s be clear – Ms Begum is not being offered her citizenship back; she’s just getting a chance to plead for it, showing that she has learned her lesson.

But has she? Or would we be allowing a viper into our collective bosom?

Let’s have a poll:

Source: Shamima Begum can return to UK to fight for citizenship, Court of Appeal rules – BBC News

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Radio station pilloried for misrepresenting Corbyn on killing of IS leader

Bosses at right-wing radio station LBC may well be regretting their decision to misrepresent a comment by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the death of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Here’s the headline – and the relevant part of the interview:

It is clear that Mr Corbyn did not say arresting al-Baghdadi was “the right thing to do” – he said he did not know the circumstances of what happened.

Speaking in terms of international law, he said if it were possible to arrest such people, then that would be the right thing – but that is not the same as what LBC suggested.

And the public were on the case.

Jerry Tresman pointed out: “He didn’t say that at all. Shows how the lazy are influenced by one-line false headlines, when the video of what is actually said is in front of them. He said “if possible they should be arrested” and was referring mainly to previous situations where they were executed.”

Here‘s Andy Mills: “Play it back then change your disingenuous headline….it may not appeal to some of your sheeple but at least you could call it journalism!”

Paul Cracknell: “‘If it would have been possible to arrest him, I don’t know the details of the circumstances at the time.’ Those were his words. You make it sound like he’s saying he should have been arrested after he was killed. Muppets.”

‘GenuinelyInterested’: “LBC are being a little bit economical with the truth. What Corbyn actually said was (and I paraphrase), if (double underlined) it were possible to arrest Baghdadi, then we should have done so, so that he could stand trial in the Hague just like Milosevic. What’s wrong about that?”

Even Matthew Collins: “I’m no Corbyn fan but he actually said (twice) ‘if it were possible to arrest him that would have been preferable’. He did not say ‘he shouldn’t have been killed’ or ‘he should have been arrested’.”

At the time of writing, LBC doesn’t appear to have changed its line. Instead, it appears to have doubled-down on it:

Perhaps there should be stronger regulation of the press, along the lines proposed by the Leveson Inquiry.

But will you vote Labour into office, to enact it?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The facts have become casualties in the war of words over pregnant IS teenager’s bid to return to UK

Shamima Begum: Commenters who rushed to defend her on the basis of wild speculation are encouraged to consider the facts of the matter.

No issue in recent memory has riled Vox Political readers as much as the case of Shamima Begum – apart from accusations of anti-Semitism, and they were based on inaccurate information or speculation as well.

I must admit I was surprised at the vehemence of the response to yesterday’s article about the teenage defector to IS. I had tweeted a request for opinions, the day before, that received only one response – at a tangent to the main issue.

The diversity of information and opinions on this has been fascinating. It seems a vociferous proportion of you have very solid opinions on the facts of this case – but you can’t agree on what many of those facts are.

We know that Ms Begum was encouraged to leave the UK for IS-held territory with two other schoolgirls, at the age of 15. There, she married a Dutch IS fighter and had two children with him, both of whom died shortly after they were born. She is now pregnant with his third child and is living in a refugee camp outside IS control but in which she is said to be surrounded by IS sympathisers. Those are the facts as we know them.

She has said she still supports IS; that she saw decapitated heads in a basket but the sight did not “faze” her; that she fears her unborn child may not survive if it is born at her current location; and that she wants the UK government to intervene and bring her home, so she and the child can enjoy NHS health care.

Commenters who think she should be brought home have poured doubt on her support of IS, but insisted that the fears she has expressed for her unborn child are genuine, and that she is sincere in her desire to live peacefully in the UK with her child after being brought back. Those are interesting choices, considering they have no evidence to support any of those assertions.

The head of MI6 has already pointed out that Ms Begum may present a threat to people in the UK if she returns and that a “very significant level of resource” would be required to ensure public safety because she is likely to have acquired “certain skills or connections”.

He said: “We are very concerned about this because all experience tells us that once someone has been put in that sort of position, or put themselves in that sort of position, they are likely to have acquired the skills or connections that make them potentially very dangerous.”

It is possible that, if she does manage to have her unborn child in the UK, it would be taken away from her – at least until her intentions are established – for its own safety.

Some of the other issues in this case appear a little more vague:

  • In my previous article I implied that she would be a health tourist. Many, many people have written in to assert that she is entitled to free NHS care because she is British.
    It seems this is not true. Here‘s the NHS’s own guidance: “If you are moving abroad on a permanent basis, you will no longer automatically be entitled to medical treatment under normal NHS rules. This is because the NHS is a residence-based healthcare system.”
    This leaflet (and I dare say others from other NHS trusts) indicates that any UK citizen who has lived abroad for more than three months may be charged for health care, unless they can prove that they have been working (note that word: working) abroad for less than five years and have lived in the UK continuously for at least 10 years at some point. Anyone coming to the UK from a non-EEA country with which the UK does not have a bilateral healthcare agreement will normally be expected to pay for treatment.
  • It has been claimed that the unborn child is innocent of any wrong-doing by either of its parents and this is true. But this does not provide it with an automatic right of residence in the UK. The father is Dutch. What are the laws in that country regarding parenthood? Do his family not have a say in the future of their descendant? Who gave commenters on Facebook and Twitter the right to decide that they don’t?
  • It has been claimed that, under international law, Ms Begum cannot be prevented from returning to the UK – as she is a UK citizen and her citizenship cannot be revoked because it is an offence to leave anybody stateless. But this raises significant questions, because she deliberately left the UK with the intention of becoming a citizen of “the Caliphate”, as she describes the land controlled by IS. The UK has never recognised IS as a legitimate country, and it is this that allows Ms Begum to return, if she can. But (again), her comments lead one to conclude that she does not want to be a citizen of the UK, but is simply – cynically – playing on this point of law to get free medical care for herself and her child. Is the UK now the kind of country that forces individuals to be British citizens, whether they want to or not? It isn’t so very long since we condemned the former Soviet Union for such behaviour.
  • It has been suggested that she cannot express remorse because she is in an IS refugee camp (she isn’t); and because she is in a Syrian refugee camp but surrounded by members of IS who could beat her and endanger the child. There is no evidence to suggest this is true.
  • It has been suggested that she was groomed by IS – the evidence suggests she wasn’t. She was radicalised. Grooming is a practice carried out by paedophiles for predatory sexual purposes and the evidence is that she was persuaded to join IS because she was led to believe in its culture and purpose. Once there, the evidence suggests that she applied to marry an English-speaking IS fighter aged between 20 and 25, and did so within a matter of weeks. It has been asserted that this shows sexual impropriety as she was still a minor – but this is according to UK laws and she was now living according to the rules of IS. What is the age of consent there? I don’t know but the evidence – again – suggests that it is lower than in the UK. I’m not supporting that; it is what it is.
  • It has been suggested that those who don’t think she should return – 76 per cent of us according to Sky News – support child grooming, want the unborn child to die, and are racists who would not respond the same way if Ms Begum was white. These are simple personal insults, nothing more. The claim about racism is completely wild. And there is no reason to believe we know that the unborn child will die, now that her circumstances have changed and she is not under IS rule now.

The best information we have shows that Ms Begum left the UK of her own free will and everything she has done since then was intentional and unforced, so it is possible that she will face prosecution and imprisonment if she is allowed back. She is not entitled to free healthcare from the UK’s NHS and her eligibility to return cannot be supported on that basis. If she has the baby in the UK, it may be taken away from her, for its own safety. And the wishes of the father (if he is still alive and can be traced) and his family must also be researched; the child will be a descendant of theirs as well.

Perhaps those who rushed to criticise This Writer had not taken all the elements of this case into account.

It is also possible that I was hasty in saying that Ms Begum should be prevented from returning to the UK. But she should certainly be briefed on what to expect. Her response could provide a very clear indication of who is right in this case.

Will she still want to come back, knowing what might happen if she does?


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Why should the UK let unrepentant IS bride Shamima Begum become a health tourist here?

Shamima Begum: She left the UK to join a terrorist organisation that hates everything our country represents. Now she wants to return because she thinks she can take advantage of us.

Actions have consequences. Perhaps someone should have mentioned that to Shamima Begum before she ran off to join IS in its terrorism.

She left, along with fellow Bethnal Green Academy schoolgirls Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, in 2015 – and was married to an IS fighter within three months.

She has since had two children with him – both of whom have died.

Now pregnant with a third child, she says she wants to come home because she fears for its future – and wants to take advantage of the care provided by the National Health Service.

Why should she have it?

This young woman is entirely unrepentant.

She left the UK in order to support terrorism and has shown no regret for doing so. She exhibited no horror at the memory of seeing decapitated heads thrown into bins by members of IS and it seems likely she wants to come back because she now realises IS may soon be wiped out.

She seems a very selfish young woman with attitudes that could be described as sociopathic.

And she has pushed This Writer into a corner where I find myself agreeing with Home Secretary Sajid Javid about her: She should not be allowed to return to the UK. She should not be provided the support of a system she wanted to help overthrow.

Mr Javid told The Times: “If you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return. We must remember that those who left Britain to join Daesh were full of hate for our country. If you do manage to return you should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.”

Just so.

Ms Begum made her choice and seems happy with it.

Her only reason for wanting to return is health tourism – and we’ve spent the last few years listening to politicians and ordinary citizens across the UK saying that people coming to the UK from abroad should not be allowed to scrounge free healthcare from the taxpayer.

This person should not be any different from them.


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Trump to end support for Syrian rebels – to fight IS and shore up relations with Russia

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies have welcomed the news Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States [Image: Reuters].

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies have welcomed the news Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States [Image: Reuters].

I know it’s an unpopular thought, but what if Donald Trump has the right idea?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he has negotiated a deal with President Assad of Syria that involves a fully democratic election, after all.

So, if Trump mends America’s bridges with Russia, and they jointly hammer the fake-Muslim fanatics, it’s possible – just remotely possible – that everyone will get what they want?

That’s good business. Right?

President-elect Donald Trump has reaffirmed his campaign trail position that assisting the Syrian government in fighting Isis should be the US’ main objective in Syria, despite appeals from rebels for continued help in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad.

“I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria. My attitude was you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting Isis, and you have to get rid of Isis,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Mr Trump has stated that while he “did not like [Mr Assad] at all”, shoring up his regime is the best way to stem the extremism that has flourished in the chaos of the civil war and threatens the US.

He has also been emphatic about mending ties with Russia, Syria’s long-standing ally and military backer in the conflict.

Source: Donald Trump signifies he will end US support for Syrian rebels despite their pleas to him for help | The Independent

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Chuka Umunna has lost his grip on reality

Transformation: Chuka Umunna's fall from grace is accelerating; he has stopped making sense altogether.

Transformation: Chuka Umunna’s fall from grace is accelerating; he has completely stopped making sense.

This Writer welcomes Chuka Umunna’s latest attempt to show defiance against Jeremy Corbyn.

Seriously!

Anyone who knows what he said will see very clearly that he has lost his grip on reality altogether.

Have a glance at the following:

Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary, who withdrew from the leadership campaign early in the contest, said he would vote on his conscience whatever the leadership decides and is minded to vote in favour of the government’s plans.

“My own personal view is that where are our national security is threatened it would be wrong simply to leave it to others to deal with it,” he said.

Unfortunately for Chuka, that’s not what is being suggested. We aren’t facing a simple choice between air strikes on Syria and doing nothing at all, and any claim that we are is misleading. Chuka seems to think this is the case. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has made it perfectly clear that there are alternatives. Chuka is ignoring them. Draw your own conclusions

“We can’t ignore the barbarity of this death cult, who throw gay people off buildings, systematically rape women, [and] carry out mass executions.”

Nobody is ignoring the barbarity of Daesh (IS if you like). Suggestions of that kind belittle the work being done in the UK to find a practical solution that will end it forever, rather than simply perpetuating the cycle – which is what David Cameron is attempting. Chuka is ignoring the facts of the situation.

Now, do I think that military action – and by the way I am minded to support military intervention, but we have yet to see the wording of the motion – is going to resolve this conflict? Of course not.

Chuka directly contradicts himself in the course of two sentences. He thinks he might support military intervention, knowing that it won’t resolve the conflict.

But what I do think it can do in the interim is … start to dismantle what Isil are doing.”

No, it will simply turn more people into terrorists, in response to the murder of their innocent families and friends – as Mr Corbyn has been saying all along.

Chuka is, of course, the Labour MP who thought it would be a good idea to bring arch-Tory Michael Heseltine into a future Labour government as an adviser, when it seemed Labour might win the general election in May this year.

In summary: Chuka Umunna – Phew! What a loonie!

Source: Jeremy Corbyn warns rebels: I’m not going anywhere over Syria | Politics | The Guardian

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How many innocents will die because of right-wing Labour’s petulance?

Empty promises: Cartoonist Steve Bell draws a parallel between David Cameron's claims and the promises that were made in order to draw the UK into a previous Middle East war.

Empty promises: Cartoonist Steve Bell draws a parallel between David Cameron’s claims and the (false) promises that drew the UK into a previous Middle East war.

They’re a bloodthirsty bunch, these Blairites and right-wingers and ‘moderates’ (perhaps This Writer was right to dub them ‘intolerants’)!

They say they want a free vote on air strikes in Syria, and it is clear that they want to support David Cameron’s plan of attack – because they believe in it, even though Cameron’s case is flimsy, or because they want to harm their own party leader, Jeremy Corbyn?

Or do they simply want to kill innocent children? I mention this because it will be an inevitable consequence, no matter what Cameron says about the accuracy of his eldritch Reapers, RAPTORs and Brimstones.

Perhaps some of them want to support Cameron simply because Corbyn has written to everybody in the Parliamentary Labour Party, providing his own reasoned argument for opposing the proposed air strikes, without telling them first. How petty. The letter reads:

“The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated.

“We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS.

“Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security.

“I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

“In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign.

“In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK.

“For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.

“The Shadow Cabinet met today for an initial discussion and debated the issues extensively. We will meet again on Monday, when we will attempt to reach a common view.

“I will get in touch again when we know the timing of the debate and vote.”

Here’s another – expert – view which supports Corbyn’s position. These are strong arguments.

Cameron’s demand that the UK should join the US and France (and Russia, and who knows who else in the crowded skies over Syria) has been met with derision on the social media. “How does adding our three planes make the situation any better?” asked one wit, playing on an early Tory decision to reduce UK air power significantly.

Cameron’s plan involves bombing Daesh (IS if you like) from the air, while supplying ‘moderate’ rebels in order to use them as ground troops. It’s a recipe for disaster because there is no guarantee that any such funded and equipped group will not rise up and become the next Daesh. Many have done it in the past, and if Cameron reckons there are 70,000 of these people – a figure he cannot prove – that’s plenty of possible future terrorists.

(He got this information from the same source that told the UK Saddam Hussein could bomb British bases within 45 minutes; take it with a pinch of salt.)

So Cameron’s plan – as This Blog has pointed out very recently – is to continue the cycle of international stupidity. Here it is:

cycle of hate

No Labour MP should be in favour of that! Or do they have shares in weapons-manufacturing firms?

Whichever way we cut it, it seems unlikely that ‘moderate’ Labour will be able to see far enough past its own petty interests to make a wise decision, if Cameron calls a vote.

One is moved to wonder how many dead innocents it will take to make them question their choice.

Perhaps it is up to us – the rank-and-file constituents – to make a better case. If you have a Labour MP, maybe it’s time to write them a short letter, urging them to follow the path of sanity and vote against Cameron’s pointless air strikes. You can mention the human cost, the cost to the UK economy, the fact that the plan perpetuates the cycle of terrorism and also, perhaps, the fact that Labour ‘moderates’ will be blamed when it all goes wrong.

Perhaps Daesh, or IS, is in less danger than the Parliamentary seats of these so-called ‘moderates’. Perhaps they should be given the opportunity to consider that possibility.

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Syria: Could ‘slow and steady’ win the war?

Bombs explode in Syria. Effect on the terrorists: None.

Bombs explode in Syria. Effect on the terrorists: None.

Sorry, but This Writer is not wedded to the idea that carpet-bombing – or even precision-bombing – bits of Syrian desert in the hope that it might contain terrorists will make the United Kingdom any safer from attack.

For one thing, our armed forces have been following this strategy in Iraq for a year and have achieved no tangible result and, for another, bombing the desert will do nothing to prevent terrorist attacks on UK soil that are carried out in the name of Daesh (IS if you prefer).

David Cameron says “our pilots can strike the most difficult targets at rapid pace and with extraordinary precision”, and that’s great for them – but in that case, why are they still flying raids over Iraq after a year? In that context, one wonders why he mentions it.

His naming of technology like “the Brimstone precision missile system”, “RAPTOR” which he claims “has no rival”, and “Reaper drones” is reminiscent of a comedy routine by the late, great Bill Hicks – also in reference to the Middle East.

He said: “Those guys were in hog heaven out there, man. They had a big weapons catalogue opened up.

“‘What’s G12 do, Tommy?’

“‘Says here it destroys everything but the fillings in their teeth. Helps us pay for the war effort.’

“‘Well… pull that one up.’

“‘Pull up G12, please.’

“[BOOM!]

“‘Great! What’s G13 do?'”

You take the point? Even the names of these things are sinister. “Brimstone” is another word for sulphur, associated with Hell and all things demonic. A “raptor” is a bird of prey. The “Grim Reaper” is, of course, death personified.

Those names remind This Writer of the “death’s head” emblems on German army uniforms in World War II, and the Mitchell and Webb sketch in which two German officers discuss them: “Do you think perhaps we are the bad guys?”

It’s a sobering thought, but if we take military action in Syria at this time, we may be creating a situation in which there are no good guys.

There are alternatives to military action – which of course may be run concurrently with attacks on the terrorists’ heartland. Jeremy Corbyn asked, “What co-ordinated action with other United Nations member states has there been under the terms of the resolution to cut off funding, oil revenues and armed supplies from ISIL into the territory it currently holds?”

David Cameron’s response, that “there was a resolution back in February, and we should continue to support all those measures”, is far from reassuring. This Writer was hoping for much more detail.

It seems that – in this respect – the hard work is being left to the hackers.

Note also that Cameron does not acknowledge the value of these alternatives. He wants us all to believe that the choice is between bombing Syria and “doing nothing” – and that’s misleading.

He was also vague about the positive effect that military action would have. The BBC’s Frank Gardner makes it plainer: “This will not lead to the immediate or even imminent demise of so-called Islamic State. It will simply add to the incremental damage being done over time to this proscribed terrorist group by other air forces already bombing in Syria.”

So we are looking at the possibility of military action that drags on and on, draining our country’s economy, with no conclusion in sight. That would be a poor use of our resources.

Remember Al-Qaeda? Remember how Osama Bin Laden was defeated?

It wasn’t on the battlefield; it was at his home, in a compound in Pakistan. A small US force launched the raid, acting on information picked up by intelligence agents. Some say this information was built up over a period of around 10 years; others say it came to them in a one-off tip. It didn’t come as the result of a bombing raid.

That’s why This Writer still says ‘slow and steady’ will win this war – not retaliatory bombing raids, no matter how accurate the missiles may be. The people firing them need to know what they are aiming at – and that requires information.

If British intelligence services really have foiled seven Daesh-inspired terrorist acts in the UK within the last year alone, then there is nothing wrong with our information-gathering powers.

By all means, let us do everything we can to help our allies in their military efforts, but let us also work to maintain the integrity of our own homeland, and to obtain information on the leaders of the terrorists and their whereabouts. Until we have that, let’s keep our powder dry.

There will be a time for Reapers, RAPTOR and Brimstone, but it isn’t today.

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Paris attack: As a Muslim I’m disgusted how Isis can carry out this violence and claim to represent my faith

People gather in a solidarity rally with the French people in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks EPA/DANIELE MASCOLO

People gather in a solidarity rally with the French people in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks EPA/DANIELE MASCOLO

As a Muslim I am not only shocked at the evil and carnage inflicted on innocent people, but I am equally if not more so angry that these people should do so through some misguided and warped grasp of my faith.

But there is also a real concern that in the days ahead, there will be those who will try to use the Parisian atrocity to divide the British society and as an excuse to launch attacks against Muslims, as happened after the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year.

With a number of horrific tweets talking about killing all Muslims and with people such as Richard Dawkins equating Islam with Nazism, we need to be vigilant. WikiLeaks has suggested that it is indeed the strategy of Daesh in France is to provoke a crackdown on Muslims.

Verbal assaults against Muslims have already begun to take place. At a bus stop in the UK today, a man shouted, “They need to all die, these Muslims need to die. Look what they’re doing in Paris,” to a young Muslim woman. There are also unconfirmed reports of a glass bottle thrown at a young Muslim woman in West London this morning. This adds to the fear amongst some Muslims, after a string of recent Islamophobic incidents including a woman who was pushed into a moving train earlier this week.

Read more: Paris attack: As a Muslim I’m disgusted how Isis can carry out this violence and claim to represent my faith | Voices | The Independent

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Put the blame for the Paris attacks where it belongs: On terrorists, not Islam

A French police officer takes cover while on the lookout for the shooters who attacked the restaurant 'Le Petit Cambodge.'

The horrific attacks on the people of Paris prompted an outpouring of anti-Muslim sentiment on the social media, long before Islamic State took responsibility for what happened.

We all know the score now – or at least we should: At least 127 people lie dead and many more injured, and France is in a state of emergency after a series of bomb and gun attacks in Paris on the evening of Friday 13 November. The terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility, several hours after the attacks took place.

The social media – in particular, Twitter – responded with hysteria that was mostly directed at Muslims, regardless of whether people of that religion supported the atrocities or not. This Writer has Muslim friends who were extremely distressed by the hatred shown to them.

And rightly so. Islamic State does not represent the Muslim faith, no matter what its title claims. This organisation is a gang of faithless bandits – no more, no less – who are trying to hijack an entire religion in order to create hatred and division among people beyond the borders of its own illegal caliphate.

Let’s put that in context: IS represents all of Islam to around the same degree as Zionists represent all of Judaism. Both groups have committed atrocities against others in the name of a wider religion – atrocities that the majority of the members of those religions don’t want.

As I stated on Twitter in the early hours of November 14, I’m not going to blame all of Islam for the actions of a few idiots.

And I’m not going to let anyone use Paris to justify the murder of Mohammed Emwazi – the man dubbed ‘Jihadi John’ by his colleagues in Islamic State.

The attack by US forces, approved by UK prime minister David Cameron, represents a lowering of standards. There was no justice to it – no attempt to make the man stand trial for his alleged crimes. It was state-sponsored murder of one of our own citizens – no more, no less.

In approving this raid, the British authorities have lost any claim to the moral high ground.

One more point. After the attack, France’s President Hollande promised “pitiless war” on the perpetrators. I was particularly struck by the response on Twitter from Chris Hayes of MSNBC. He wrote:

“Hollande’s pledge of ‘pitiless’ war is, I have no doubt, the kind of thing many people *want* to hear. But the US learned the hard way after 9/11 how hard it is to translate rhetoric, resolve and massive military advantage into actual security, peace or anything that resembles lasting and definitive ‘victory’.”

How true those words are.

America’s war on terror has been a crushing failure, not because of any military disadvantage but because of a lack of imagination. The terrorists were engaged on their own terms and simply turned military defeats into recruitment drives.

The message is clear: You don’t change people’s minds by killing their friends and families.

This is one reason Jeremy Corbyn is right to oppose the renewal of Trident; it is no deterrent against fanatics who want to attack the UK (just ask MI5) – and without knowing where they are based, where would the UK point its missiles?

No. The only effective response to this attack is intelligence. We all need to get smart.

And we can start by blaming the people responsible, rather than whoever they want us to.

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