Terror attack in Finsbury Park: Call out hate speech and the “us vs them” pronouncements

Terror attack in Finsbury Park: Call out hate speech and the “us vs them” pronouncements

By Tehmina Kazi A few thoughts on Monday’s terror attack in Finsbury Park.   1. There is sometimes a crossover between terrorist attacks and hate crimes — and on the face of it, last night’s attack appears to be both. But of course, it is possible to commit a terror attack that is not a hate crime. The most widely-accepted definition of hate crime is a criminal act which is motivated by bias against the victim’s membership, perceived membership or association with a particular group that shares a fundamental characteristic (this…

Finsbury Park mosque terror attack

Finsbury Park mosque terror attack

By Iram Ramzan   Another day, another terrorist attack. Is there no end to the senseless violence and killings? This time, it seems the terrorist was not from the Muslim community, but a non-Muslim who apparently attacked Muslims deliberately. Police were called just after 12.20am on Monday June 19 to reports of a white van striking worshippers outside Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park. Witnesses said the van struck pedestrians who were tending to an elderly man who had collapsed. Here are some of the facts so far:  Darren Osborne (47), of Cardiff,…

Manchester Attacks: Spare us your crocodile tears, anti-Prevent lobby

Manchester Attacks: Spare us your crocodile tears, anti-Prevent lobby

By Shamim Begum I am a Muslim and, shock horror, I support Prevent, the government’s counter-terrorist strategy. I do so because I have seen the reality of Islamist extremism in my local community for years, despite the denial by so many other Muslims. When I was at university, I remember meeting Muslim women who were calling for the establishment of a caliphate while ranting on about how evil Britain is. The attack in Manchester was devastating. But last week as I shed tears for the victims, my anger was growing, in particular against what is widely…

Terror in Manchester

Terror in Manchester

By Iram Ramzan   A terrorist attack in my own city is the last thing I expected to wake up to on Tuesday morning. There were several messages on my phone from concerned friends and acquaintances urging me to contact them as soon as I could. I wondered what had happened, until I went online to read the news. At least 22 people were killed and 59 injured after a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena on the evening of Monday, May 22. Thousands of gig-goers were packed into the…

The Prevent Strategy: Fact vs Fiction

The Prevent Strategy: Fact vs Fiction

  Why is the Prevent strategy deemed controversial? Prevent is one of the four Ps that make up the UK government’s post 9/11 counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest: Prepare for attacks, Protect the public, Pursue the attackers and Prevent their radicalisation in the first place. Much has been said about the strategy and not a week goes by without an article in the news and it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction. Critics claim it stifles free speech or disproportionately targets Muslims, which has led to some calls…

My issues with the Muslim Council of Britain’s alternative to the Prevent strategy

My issues with the Muslim Council of Britain’s alternative to the Prevent strategy

By Iram Ramzan   Critics of the Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent strategy often claim that it disproportionately targets and focuses on Muslims, despite the fact that it actually works on countering the far-right too. So what does the Muslim Council of Britain decide to do? It has decided to set up its own programme to target, er, Muslims. In a direct challenge to the government’s ‘controversial’ Prevent scheme, the MCB plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year. The MCB said in a statement: In reflecting the wishes of a cross-section…

Muslims: reform your religion

Muslims: reform your religion

By Saima Baig Orlando, Istanbul, Bangladesh and now one of the worst attacks in Iraq. The last few days of Ramzan have seen more bloodshed and less peace and love from the caretakers of Islam. Of course, we had widespread global condemnation, followed by the usual blame on western foreign policy by some, certain people fearing that this makes Islam look bad, and the overall placing of blame firmly on all Muslims by others. And most importantly, there was the complaint of why the attacks on Muslim countries did not…

The Orlando tragedy brings out the same old comments

The Orlando tragedy brings out the same old comments

By Tehmina Kazi   In what appears to be the worst mass shooting in US history, 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire in a gay Florida nightclub at 2am on Sunday, killing 50 people and injuring up to 53 others. Orlando sheriff Jerry Demings called the shooting a “domestic terror incident” and the FBI — who already had Afghan-American citizen Mateen on their radar — are now investigating his links to terror groups abroad. His father, Mir Seddique, claimed that Mateen’s motives were not religious, and that he had been incensed…

Terror attacks in Lahore

Terror attacks in Lahore

By Iram Ramzan   There is a phrase in Punjabi, which roughly translates as, “The one who has not yet seen Lahore, has not been born.” I certainly felt alive whenever I visited this vibrant capital city of the Punjab in Pakistan. In the past, I have visited my grandparents’ village in Kashmir several times. There was nothing to do, nothing to see, no one with whom I could speak . I felt suffocated, itching for the chance to get out of there as soon as I could. That feeling of misery and boredom would…

Brussels attacks: The responsibility to counter jihadism lies with us Muslims

Brussels attacks: The responsibility to counter jihadism lies with us Muslims

By Shamila Ghyas   This is a cross-post from The Nation   Another day, another blast. More innocent deaths.   At least 34 people were killed after explosions ripped through Brussels airport and metro station. With over a 100 injured, many critically; the toll number is expected to rise. Eyewitnesses say that after hearing the loud boom, they were literally blown back by its force. There was a lot of blood in the elevators as ceilings started to collapse in the affected areas. Just imagine you are at the airport…