I find Jeremy Corbyn’s grip on the Labour leadership sinister

By Aliyah Saleem

As a Labour member I was invited along to an emergency meeting in my area which aimed to lend support to Corbyn. I went with the intention to listen to the other side and to explain why I believe that he should resign. This was of course before he was kept on the ballot paper after his legal team threatened to sue Labour.

I was the first person to openly say that I think he should resign. I noticed that some seemed disappointed in me and others viewed me with suspicion as though I was a Tory infiltrator who had nothing better to do on a Thursday evening. Those of us who voted against the unofficial motion lost by a landslide and some came up to me afterwards to tell me that I was brave to be have said it all so boldly.  It reminded me of when people would tell me that I am brave for speaking up about why I left Islam.

I don’t want to be told that I am brave for voicing dissent anymore. I only had three minutes so I focused on general issues about his leadership but did not tell the largely pro-Corbyn room why he really does not represent me.

In 2006 protests were breaking out in the UK against blasphemous cartoons published in Denmark. I was only sixteen at the time and felt outraged that cartoonists dared to depict Muhammed in such an offensive way. I would have thought it was right to bring in a blasphemy law to the UK and to punish wrong doers who commit this heinous crime. This was long before I left Islam of course.

Corbyn supported such a rally and addressed a group of people who were protesting against the human rights of cartoonists in another country. As reported by the BBC, Corbyn said: “We demand that people show respect for each other’s community, each other’s faith and each other’s religion.” I find his use of the word ‘demand’ uncomfortable because governments in countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan also demand that religion is respected.

This was ten years ago but it is still relevant. We only have to look at Asad Shah, the Ahmadi Muslim murdered in Scotland for his ‘heretical’ views, or Bangladesh where non-religious bloggers fear for their lives. It was anti-blasphemy sentiment which led to beloved scientist Avijit Roy being murdered on the streets of Dhaka. If you protest against blasphemy, in any form, you are protesting against my right to voice that I exist.

What a lot people fail to understand about anti-blasphemy protests is that the foundation upon which they stand is the continued oppression of people of Muslim heritage who dare to challenge the status quo – something which Corbyn is supposed to represent.

The Denmark cartoon protests had very little to do with Westerners. They worked as a proxy war to intimidate Muslims and ex-Muslims who criticise orthodox narratives. His support of such rallies makes me wonder whether Labour under him will ever take the issues affecting minorities within Muslim communities seriously.

Many supporters of Corbyn say that he is honourable for not taking too many expenses compared to other politicians but I don’t think there is honour in taking £20,000 from Press TV, Iran’s only legal news network. It is hypocritical that Corbyn attacks the BBC when he worked for a TV channel which is really the propaganda outlet for a state which murders gays, ex-Muslims and subjects women to archaic religious laws.

I was not surprised to learn that Corbyn has described Hamas, a group that kills apostates, homosexuals and dissidents as ‘friends’ or that he failed to support an MP who was heckled with anti-Semitic abuse. Corbyn is a living testament to how parts of the left are shackled to the Islamist right. His associations with Islamist groups are not the only ones that we should worry about. On the eve of Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister, Corbyn was expressing solidarity with Cuba, a state which is known to arrest homosexuals and trade unionists.

For some of his more ardent supporters this may all seem banal and trivial in the face of the notion that he is the only man in Britain who can resolve poverty. I am no longer prone to leader worship and have not forgotten that the party’s successes this year are largely due to the hard work of the PLP and peers.

He’s like the manager who takes credit for his employees’ ideas and toil. I have become ever more disillusioned with him as he has clung to the leadership despite over 100 elected MPs, MEPs and former leaders of the party calling for him to resign.

As someone who was once indoctrinated enough to have happily bowed her head to a theocrat, I can’t help but find his grip on the leadership and the toxic backlash against elected Labour MPs who dare to challenge him sinister.

aliyahAliyah Saleem is an ex-Muslim atheist, a secular education campaigner and a co-founder of Faith to Faithless. She attended religious boarding schools for six years in Britain and Pakistan before leaving Islam. View her blog here. Follow her on Twitter.


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23 thoughts on “I find Jeremy Corbyn’s grip on the Labour leadership sinister

  1. R Mizra

    Potentially anyones grip in leadership (or as a leader) is ‘sinister’. Corbyn seems to be a popular ‘target’ for media assasination (from right and left wing media, with a very few exceptions). Would such writers/authors make such statements about the the real ‘sinister’ shenanigans of the economic-political elite-establishment and what they get away with at the expense of the world majority? The truth is such information would be shrouded from the eyes of investigative writes and journalist. We are dependent on whistle-blowers and leaks – even these we need to question. We should try not to re-hash the character asssinations doing the rounds, especially of people who wish to challenge and shake up the system. Find a new line of enquiry about the real injustices in our own society and expose them. Go against the media grain. Challenge perceptions. But I do think we need to see him overall as a person and the values that he has managed to hold on to over three or more decades to do with equality and justice at home and abroad – from nuclear dis-armament, engagement talks with the Irish dissident groups to apartheid in South Africa when most politicians, businesses, media extolled the greatness of the status quo. Go challenge the establishment. Work with those who wish to do it. Wish you the best.

    1. “What about this? What about that?”

  2. Kam

    Thank you Aliyah for a superb article. Your comments are spot on.

    Corbyn is indeed sinister. His Fuhrer-like grip on the Labour leadership, come what may, is truly heinous. Nothing and no one will stop him, in his selfish determination to cling on as Labour leader. Even if that means the death of the Labour Party (which his sidekick McDonnell is also happy to along with).

    It is an utter disgrace and, IMO, criminal the way Corbyn has let down millions of Labour voters across the country by stubbornly putting his own interests above the party.

    Labour will never EVER win a general election with Corbyn at the helm. And that is a tragedy that the hard left are happy to ignore, so long as their puppet leader is in charge of Labour.

    We have no opposition to the Tories. We are now locked into 20 years of Conservative rule. Thanks Jeremy. Nice one.

  3. Danny Simpson

    Just to expand, here is Aliyahs good friend and racial profile supporter Sohail Ahmed (himself a fan of right-wing anti-muslim extremist Douglas Murray), Aliyah Saleem invited him to speak for her OWN organisation Faith to Faithless.


    1. Aliyah Saleem

      Hi Danny,

      Sohail isn’t a good friend of mine, I haven’t seen him in over a year – we invited him to speak on our first panel when we did not know that he had these views. We have not invited him on to any other panels since & I called him out very recently on facebook over, what I see as his support for disproportionally harsh punishment for Muslims/ Islamist extremists. I do not share his views.


      1. Danny Simpson

        The point was not whether you are still friends with Sohail but to demonstrate how one could very easily use the guilty by association fallacy (a formal academically recognised fallacy) so so easily on yourself.

        People share common goals and overlapping interests with people they might disagree with a lot on. Rupert Murdoch for example said along the lines of “that all muslims should be held accountable for the action of jihadis” and has a ardent anti-muslim immigration stance. These such views I don’t think you hold, so would it be fair for me to tarnish your reputation based on the fact that you wrote for one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers ?You are also an administrator/moderator of an exmuslim group with UKIP writers and supporters in it so using your Corbyn logic should I think more negatively of you because of this fact ?

        I hope you don’t continue stooping this level of piss poor amateuerish journalism of “he was once there and X and was there to so he’s a horrible person”, employed by the likes of James Bloodworth and Nick Cohen.

        1. Aliyah Saleem

          You know at first I thought you were just a random person off the internet, but now I know exactly who you are. If you want to criticise my piece go ahead, but don’t try and smear the exMuslim group as UKIP supporters when they are closested and can’t defend themselves. That’s low, even for you.

          1. Danny Simpson

            Actually you don’t know who I am. Word goes round though and it’s a FACT that YOUR exmuslim group has SOME(not ALL) members who write for UKIP and/or are UKIP supporters. I didn’t say the whole group was UKIP supporters, however you had to strawman me in an attempt to make some kind of rebuttal against me. As for me going low if I did go low I’d name names of UKIP supporting exmuslims you like to keep in your group which I didn’t do.

            Everybody who reads this can clearly see in your above reply that you didn’t deny this because yourself know it’s TRUE. Everybody can also notice how you dodged and ducked the point of how it’s rather absurd that you criticise Corbyn for his associations when your associations are far more controversial and heinous.

            The irony of you criticicing others for smearing is fantastically hilarious when this whole piece is a smeaing hatchet job which doesn’t haven’t any original insights or thoughts, but just feeble rehashed arguments made by other avid Zionists and NeoCons whose reasons for dislike Corbyn are obvious considering Corbyns anti-Zionist and anti Iraq invasion stance. I’m actually rooting for Owen Smith but dislike personal attacks like this that you launched against Corbyn.

            I wont reply to this post again as you never actually address points but deploy red herrings to distract people which again ironically is a tactic islamic apologists use !

          2. M

            Danny’s response is actually typical of what I also find sinister about the Cult of Corbyn. For some reason people get very upset when he is criticised and people are often ‘mobbed’ for daring which for me is a concern within itself. Yes the media and a lot of his own party have hammered him, but maybe a lot of people don’t want labour to turn into SWP and feel like he doesn’t represent the working classes at all.

            I think Aliyah’s article is excellent

            ‘Corbyn is a living testament to how parts of the left are shackled to the Islamist right’ – Very well said

            Corbyn and Sadhiq Khan will clearly (and already have) further reduce freedom of speech and sensible critical debate in this country. Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy country but very restrictive and with no freedom of speech. I would rather live in a country where I had no money at all but had the freedom to tell the truth.

            He plays politics by association or image/identity, not by action. It’s more about flags to him. There is a huge movement for this are there are an awful lot of people who are really sick of it

            I really fear it is a shame that some progressives are quick to call out ‘#NotAllMuslims’ but don’t apply the same nuance to people who want to talk about immigration, cultural ideas and integration and how Islam fits into that. #NotAllPeoplewhoareslightlyrightwingareevilracists?

            It is a shame that we can no longer talk sensibly with people with opposing or even slightly contrasting views. This was my fear throughout the EU referendum.

            Censorship and repression drives extremism -Islamic, Right wing and Left Wing)

            The voices of Ex-Muslims need to be heard and Islam needs to be able to be criticised without hysteria from Muslims and Fake-Liberals. Freedom of speech was designed to throw off the shackles of religious dogma in the first place. I am tired of these hyper-sensitive people who cannot understand the difference between criticising ideas and criticising people.

            Ideas influence beliefs, behaviours and actions if we didn’t think this was important or that ideas can change then why do we even have a criminal justice system?

            I wish that the left and the right could actually talk to each other sensibly, surely dialogue is the best way to fix things and progress.

            I do think that political correctness, whilst well-meaning, has sadly actually done the opposite of what it should.
            It has stifled debate, it has weaponised guilt and shame as a means to silence critics, it has betrayed the vulnerable girls of Rotheram and created divide.

            It is anti-egalitarian and tyrannous. I think that it too is cult-like as it drives this strange tell-tale system of behaviour and also brings about this wierd sense of moral competition and vanity.

            Jeremy will not look after the working classes, he is not a realist he is in a Utopia.

            I find the ruthless quest for diversity actually a bit superficial. For me the quality of harmony within that diverse society is more of measure to be proud of.

            You cannot have harmony without honest communication.

  4. Danny Simpson

    The guilty by associations fallacies are completely preposterous coming from Aliyah Saleem, who doesn’t have a leg to stand on to criticise peoples affiliations having herself written for the Murdoch press (Rupert Murdoch himself being the most vile anti-muslim bigot and devout Zionist) and has shared a platform with Sohail Ahmed who fully supports racial profiling.

  5. Alyson

    Hi Aliyah – thank you for sharing your views. Freedom of speech is able to ensure that anyone can have a different view and there is no orthodoxy that people have to adhere to. I think you will find that Jeremy Corbyn respects that some people believe in a religion and that this is important to them and their sense of group identity. He prefers to negotiate in order to ensure that groups with different underpinning beliefs can live in harmony under rule of law which respects all beliefs and those with none. Oppression is a factor in some belief systems which have hierarchies which run counter to national legislation and I can assure you that Jeremy Corbyn supports equal rights and democracy across all groups and their affiliated members. Human Rights were won by working together across the political spectrum.

    1. Frantic

      Respect and tolerance is not about tolerating and respecting someone’s right to beliefs, which perpetuate violent, abusive and abhorrent behaviour

  6. Peter Hack

    Sinister ? Why are you circulating this ? You have circulated a tract with the word “sinister” relating to the current Labour Party elections please justify that ? This is the language of a witch hunt; you are participating in that and should now stand by your language. I reiterate why sinister ? Really ? she attended an open meeting where her views were unpopular, (although I agree with her on theocratic Islam ) there was nothing sinister for her to report. Go to Africa or somewhere where people are afraid to speak, see faces turn to hear who is listening, or watch mouths get half covered un consciously when no one is around, and learn the meaning of sinister. Please retract or substantiate this piece.

    1. Aliyah Saleem

      Sinister – ‘giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen.’ His refusal to step down & the toxicity in the party since his leadership, his lack of support of Ruth Smeeth, his paranoia against the media, the abuse facing female MPs who challenge him, make ME feel like something bad is going to happen if he remains the leader of the party. I don’t need to substantiate that for you any further if you don’t get that, and why should I go to Africa? I never complained that I wasn’t free to speak my mind.

      1. Les Campbell

        You do know that all of this is made up by people that want to smear and discredit Jeremy. Each lie is being systematically shown to be just that. Lies

        I do agree however that the left has got stuck in defending minority’s ie Muslims and not taken on the beliefs of Islem which are so opposed to secular democracy.
        Jeremy needs your voice along with other exmuslims to be heard. It’s a pity you did not feel able to speak out at the meeting. If you can you should address the Labour group.
        It is crucial that you do not give up with Jeremy. Most Muslims cry islamophobia at any questioning of their faith. I honestly think that only Muslims or exmuslims can bring a clear and noble analysis.
        Muslims that live in modern secular societies do a great disservice to those that live in Islamic states.
        Keep up the good work but steer clear of the extreme right. Their arguments stem from bigotry and hatred.
        Be critical of other religions as well

  7. Wes Martin

    Thank you for sharing your opinion. A lot of the points you raise have been discussed over the past 10 years. I was, however, heartened to read that you went to a room packed with Corbyn supporters (during that heated period when it was unclear if he would be able to stand in the new leadership election) and you was allowed to speak to the contrary, you was not heckled or abused- indeed you was congratulated for your bravery afterwards. This says a lot about the good character of this emerging progressive movement- of which Jeremy Corbyn is a part.

    1. Frantic

      There is nothing progressive about Corbyn. To the contrary, he’s actually a great example of regressive left.

      I don’t want it to sound like ad hominem but, you don’t say “you was allowed”, “you was not heckled”, “you was congratulated”. You say “you were”.

      Although English is not my first language, I can recognsie the most fundamental rules of English language…

  8. Mark

    The things about Press TV, relationship with Hamas etc, and the perfect point of “Corbyn is a living testament to how parts of the left are shackled to the Islamist right,” are all reasons I would run a mile from him. I consider myself not attached to any political party.

    What I see are two (or three) things.
    I hear callers on the radio claiming he is “honest” and “straight-speaking”, as well as saying he has implemented a “New, kinder politics”. I wonder if they have actually watched what has been going on. It’s like a myth that has spawned an untouchable messiah, and that is quite scary.

    My cousin and her partner are life-long Labour supporters. I’m pretty much on a “Facebook” type link with them after years of non-contact, but what I see from them is such a hatred for the Tories, that “anything will do” and they are quite obviously prepared to ignore the links to Islamism and the IRA, and believe Corbyn is an economic genius who will save the poor, as well as killing the disgusting Tories. I’ve not really approached the subject with them, apart from saying he’s bonkers. No reply to that.

    So I see two things. A strange messiah-type thing going on, as well as people thinking he can usurp “the establishment”, and whatever else he subscribes to, doesn’t matter.

    1. do you know Gandhi called hitler his “friend” in an attempt at PEACE MAKING AND DIMPLOMACY

    2. Peter Hack

      For goodness sake there is peace in Northern Ireland because people spoke to the IRA and made peace with men now in government; why do you condemn Corbyn, that is surreal ? As for Hamas; they are in leadership and just as with IRA if peace is to be found on the West Bank they have to be talked to if peace with “the state of Israel” is to be found.

      1. Sarka

        It’s odd then, that Jezza has made no effort to talk to the Israeli side, let alone call anyone on that side “friends” or ” a force for peace and social justice in the region”. Indeed, on one occasion he couldn’t even bring himself to use the word Israel at a meeting with Labour Friends of Israel. Looks more like acuter and dogmatic partisanship than balanced attempts at peace-making.

        1. Danny Simpson

          How do you know he hasn’t tried to Zionists ? Do you follow him day and night? lol do you have access to his private email?

          I highly doubt pro-Zionist organisations would even allow Corbyn a platform. They don’t like alternative views.

      2. Mark

        And you fell for that?

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