|Posted by religandterror on April 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Muslims have been discriminated in Europe for centuries, since the crusades, and modern times are not an exception. Angela Merkel’s comments on the immigration of Muslims to Germany are a good example of democratic racism, which is a form of racism that incorporates democratic values and belief systems, while at the same time reinforcing discriminatory ideology “the whole range of concepts, ideas, images and institutions that provide the framework of interpretation and meaning for racial thought in society”. In her comments Mrs. Merkel made it quite clear that Muslims will continue to be allowed to immigrate to Germany, which shows the democratic thought, but at the same time, she also stated that Muslim immigrants wishing to come to Germany must learn German, which shows that the racism exists despite the democratic ideas that Mrs. Merkel is expressing. The very statement that multikuli has failed, shows that Germans believe in a discriminatory ideology, because they believe that multiculturalism can never succeed in Germany and all immigrants, including Muslims must assimilate, because they will never be accepted the way they are. One of the largest, most noticeable groups of Muslim immigrants in Germany are the Turks. For years they have been the outgroup, an excluded group in society, that are employed in socially marginalized jobs, with little chances of success. They have been one of the lowest groups on the social stratification system, society’s hierarchy. In Germany, they are known as 'gasterbeiter', or guest workers. The peak of their recruitment was between 1961 and 1973. Many of them were recruited to work in jobs involving physical labour, however, after the fall of the Berlin wall, those who insisted on German unification preferred poor East Germans as employees over Turks, which led to high unemployment in Turkey’s German community, which is what many say is the reason for the high crime rate of German-Turks. The societal dissatisfaction has reached such a height that appalling blatantly racist groups have appeared in Germany that are not only trying to get rid of the Turks, but are also against other Muslim immigrant groups. Germany is very concerned with the high crime rate of German-Turks. So concerned in fact that they even proposed bringing in Turkish police to patrol the streets in Turkish communities, but no native Germans are taking responsibility for anger, hatred and resentment that lead to this crime. For more information, you are again free to consult the resources below. You may also wish to voice your concern to the German embassy in Canada, at http://www.canada.diplo.de/Vertretung/kanada/en/01/__Ottawa/__ottawa.html
|Posted by religandterror on April 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
German sociologist and philosopher Theodore Adorno is famously known for his authoritarian personality theory. The free dictionary’s medical dictionary aptly defines the Authoritarian personality theory as:” A personality pattern reflecting a desire for security, order, power, and status, with a desire for structured lines of authority, a conventional set of values or outlook, a demand for unquestioning obedience, and a tendency to be hostile toward or use as scapegoats individuals of minority or non-traditional groups.” It is clear that the leaders of the Iranian regime all have authoritarian personalities. As the former FBI director Louis Freeh said in his speech is favour of the PMOI/MEK, the Iranian regime maintains its “security, order, power and status” by any means possible, including the use of terrorism, such as its involvement in the 1993 terrorist attack on the Kobar Towers, in Kobar, Saudi Arabia, and more recently its foiled plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC. Anyone who questions the authority of the regime is said to be attempting to threaten the security of the Islamic Republic. In her book Prisoner of Tehran, which eventually became an international best seller, Iranian-Canadian author Marina Nemat, who was put in prison at the age of 16 for her anti-regime activities, which included setting up protests, explains how herself and the other prisoners of her time, which included members of the PMOI/MEK, were said to be acting against the security of the Islamic Republic. Simply listening to the speeches of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shows the conventional values of the Islamic Republic. One example of a conventional law, is the devaluing of women, which does not allow them to get a divorce or have custody of their children without the consent of their husbands. The large amount of political prisoners in Iran shows the consequences of not being obedient to the regime’s polices. It is unquestionable that the Iranian regime is hostile towards minority groups. The story of Iranian-Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is a case in point. Pastor Yousef has converted from Islam to Christianity, a major no-no under the Islamic Republic’s de jure policy*, and not only did he do that, he also had the nerve to become a pastor in his native province of Gilan. The murder of another Iranian pastor, Haik Hovespian Mehr in 1994, as shown in the award winning documentary A Cry from Iran, is another example of the Iranian Regime’s suppression of minority groups to maintain order. Pastor Haik called the international community’s attention to the Iranian regime’s inhumane treatment of Iranian pastors like Mehdi Dibaj, a convert from Sunni Islam, and as a result the Islamic Republic felt threatened, and subsequently killed Haik in order to maintain order. And yet another example of the suppression of minority groups is shown by the treatment of Baha’i’s in Iran, who are prohibited by the regime’s de jure policy from receiving any sort of higher education. This oppression has lead members of the Baha’i community in Iran to form an underground university, known as the Baha’I institute for Higher Education(BIHE). Although the university is obviously not officially recognized by the Iranian regime as being legitimate, the institution’s website has posted a list of other international universities that recognize credentials granted by the BIHE.
*De Facto means “in fact” or “concerning fact” while De Jure means in law, or concerning law. A policy is therefore de jure if it is written in a piece of codified legislation, and is de facto if it is “in fact” practiced, but not actually codified into any laws.
For further information, you are invited to consult the following resources:
|Posted by religandterror on April 20, 2012 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
The PMOI(People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) or in farsi Mojahedin-e-Khalgh(MEK) was founded by then University student Mohammad Hanifnejad in 1965. The organization originally started as an opposition to the regime of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The original founder was executed by the Shah, but the organization was quickly revived under the leadership of Masoud Rajavi. Rajavi originally had the same objective as Khomeini, toppling the Shah’s regime but quickly fell out with him, because while Khomeini advocated a theocratic regime, Mr. Rajavi advocated a secular democracy and did not vote for the Islamic constitution that Khomeini proposed, which caused Khomeini to proclaim the party illegal. Several thousand PMOI members were executed in the 80s. In order to be able to continue his leadership of the organization and avoid being pursued by Khomeini’s regime, Rajavi fled to France, and was there for a couple of years with the key members of his organization. However, in a secret negotiation between the French Government and the Iranian Regime, then French President Jacques Chiraq agreed to force Rajavi and his supporters out of France in return for the release of several French hostages who were being held in Lebannon by members of MOIS (The Ministry of Intelligence and Security), the intelligence ministry of the Iranian regime. As a result, Sadam Hussain, who was fighting a war with Iran at the time and saw the PMOI as valuable allies, welcomed Rajavi to Iraq with open arms. The PMOI originally had several bases in Iraq, but at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003, they agreed to move all of their members to their largest base, Camp Ashraf, or the city of Ashraf as the residents know it. Ashraf is in the Iraqi dessert north of Baghdad. It is complete with a zoo, a park, a shopping centre, a soccer field, an Olympic size swimming pool, its own street police and even a cola factory, that produces thousands of bottles of “Ashraf Cola” per day. It used to have its own army, the National Liberation Army, whose objective was to help the Iranian people in case they needed a group to attack Iran and topple the regime, however all residents of Ashraf disarmed in 2003, and accepted protected persons status from the United States under the 4th Geneva convention. The United States protected residents of Ashraf until 2009, however they subsequently transferred all military operations to the new Iraqi government, which not only failed to take adequate action to protect the disarmed defenseless refugees, but initiated an attack on them themselves, with the lauding of the Iranian regime. The video can be seen below.
Note that as mentioned in the video, the MEK has been a valuable ally for the United States due to its provision of valuable intelligence on the Iranian regime’s covert nuclear program. However, despite the critical assistance that the MEK provided to the United States government, the United States did not react adequately to ensure that a catastrophe like what happened in 2009 would not happen again. Therefore Ashraf was attacked again on April 8th 2011. Again you can see the video below.
The state department of the United States added the PMOI to their list of Foreign Terrorist organizations in 1997, however in addition to the European supporters who were previously aligned with the organization, many American supporters have recently emerged, knowing that the listing was politically motivated and there is no factual basis for the listing, especially since the PMOI disarmed in 2003, and has provided the United States with valuable information on the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, as mentioned above. The supporters are from both parties and various positions and administrations. The European Union and the United Kingdom have already delisted the organization. The US district court ordered the state department to review the designation in 2010, saying that no evidence has been found suggesting that the group is a terrorist organization, and that the group’s due process rights have been violated. Recently, the state department has also been trying to stifle opposition to its foreign policy on Camp Ashraf and the PMOI/MEK that is coming from the former American officials, many of whom investigated the organization during respective eras of authority. All of these officials hold that there is no reason to maintain the PMOI/MEK on the list, and as former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts it, speaking to the State Department “you will not silence us”. Clearly, the state department is trying to silence these former officials, because they are experiencing cognitive dissonance, as state of being where out attitudes (what we think) and our behaviors(what we do) do not correspond. The state department knows they have to delist the organization because there is such strong evidence in their favour, however their thoughts do not correspond with their actions, because they still seek to maintain the group on the list to maintain good relations with the Iranian regime. Please watch the videos below, however please note that there are many supporters and the videos here do not show all of them, because it would take ages for me to find a complete list. For further reading, you may consult the sources provided below, however if you decide to search independently, be careful because there is a lot of propaganda out there from the Iranian regime’s supporters, attempting to discredit this group and its efforts. Also please note that Mr. Rajavi has been in hiding for quite a while now since he is being pursued by the Iranian regime and much of the leadership work is done by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, his wife, who is also president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI), an organization formed by the PMOI in 1981, to encourage co-operation with other parties with different ideologies, to topple the Iranian regime collectively. Recently, Ashraf residents have begun to move to a former American base now under the control of the Iraqi government, known as Camp Liberty. This move is again being initiated under force by Iraq. Ashraf reisdents have been told that Liberty is a temporary transit facility that they will use until they are moved to alternative third countries, however as Louis Freeh will explain below, there are many concerns about the conditions inside the new camp.
A European Parliament Report on Camp Ashraf and the PMOI/MEK:
An e-book on Maryam Rajavi(pay special attention to the charter and the other parts of the PMOI/MEK’s platform):
An Article in Huffington Post on the PMOI/MEK:
Some information from the Washington Post:
The platform of the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI):
THE MEK's website in English
"terrorist regime" is a reference to the Iranian regime. IRGC, is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a terrorist faction of the Iranian regime.
Links to further speeches can be found at:
To act on this issue, you can write to the state department and/or your repsective MP or MPP.
Thank you very much for your efforts to prevent another humanitarian catastrophy and allow justice to prevail.
|Posted by religandterror on April 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
In July 1995, Bosnian-Serb military commander Ratko Mladic attacked the Muslim town of Srebrenica, in Eastern Bosnia, within close proximity to Serbia. He separated the boys and men from the women and sent them off to Nazi-like concentration camps. Some say as many as 8,000 boys and men were killed. These murders were carried out despite the fact that the United Nations had previously Srebrenica a “safe area”, and placed it under the control of Dutch “peace-keepers”, who stood motionless as the slaughter occurred. Critics of Mladic’s actions call the event the worst massacre on European soil since the holocaust. Mladic’s actions were recognized as genocide on the international level by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2001. Mladic was wanted for crimes against humanity for a long time, until he was finally discovered again in 2011. Despite the fact that the Dutch “peace-keepers” were the ones responsible for the protection of the town, a Dutch court ruled on April 13th of this year, that the UN cannot be held responsible on their soil for failing to ensure that the “peace-keepers” met their duties. The lawsuit against the UN was filed by a group of 6,000 survivors, who would like to go down in history as “the mothers of Srebrenica.” The survivors have ensured the public that they will appeal the decision to the European Court of Human rights within 6 months. The group released a frustrated statement claiming “"The U.N., as the international human rights champion, should not stand above the law but should take responsibility for its role in the Srebrenica genocide in 1995." The second most appalling thing, after the fact that the Dutch troops simply looked on and did nothing, is the fact that the Canadian government is the only western government that has not statutorily recognized The Srebrenica Genocide/Srebrenica massacre. The European Union and the United States have both done so. In an article on the NDP* website released on June 9th 2010, several politicians from within and outside of the NDP expressed their dissatisfaction at the fact that Prime Minister Harper had failed to recognize the genocide. I do not known whether Canada has recognized it since then or not. In a 1948 resolution, the United Nations declared genocide as:
“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, including:
• Killing members of the group
• Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
• Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
• Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
• Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”
Clearly, Mladic and his men killed Muslims “with the intend to destroy” them.
Mladic's actions can also be considered extermination under Gordon Allport's discrimination scale. Allport beleived discrimination develops eventually in stages. The first stage is anti-locution, which is daily examples of prejudice and discrimination that we encounter, such as racist jokes and gossiping. The second stage is avoidance, also known as aversive discrimination, where a person does not overtly express their prejudiced beleifs and is polite to people from the miniority group if necessary, but avoids them as much as possible. The third stage is discrimination, where people and institutions openly and actively express their dislike and disaproval of the group in question, in this case Muslims. This can include unequal treatment in things like employment and schooling. The forth stage is physical attacks, including things like rape, murder and assault. The fifth and final stage is extermination, where the murder becomes more severe, and includes things like genocide. A visual depiction of Allport's theory is shown below:
I encourage you to consult the links below for further reading on the Srebrenica Genocide and on genocide in general:
You can help by writing to your MP. Below is a link to a listing of MPs:
*This post is not an endorsement of the New Democratic Party of Canada.
|Posted by religandterror on April 13, 2012 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Racial tensions in Europe between Muslims and Christians or other whites are not new, and have existed at least since the middle ages and the crusades. Pope Benedict’s remarks in Germany, where he quoted a passage written by the former Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, criticising Islam and calling it a religion of violence, further intensified this friction between the two faiths. His comments were an example of new racism. While proponents of traditional racism believed in the genetic and biological inferiority of one race, and the genetic and biological superiority of another, proponents of new racism know that it is unacceptable to hold such beliefs in modern day society, and instead they believe in the cultural superiority of one race over another. New racism is also usually more covert(secretive) than traditional racism. By quoting a quotation that suggests that Islam is a religion of violence, the Pope covertly suggested that Muslims are culturally inferior, compared to Christians, who he showed as being virtuous. This is an example of the philosophy of whiteness, which is the belief that society holds white people and their culture in high regard, and whiteness is seen not only as an ethnicity, but as a superior status that must be attained. All other cultures are assessed on a scale that compares them with those of white ethnicity, who are seen as the standard of perfection. Through his statements, the Pope made an assessment of Muslims, comparing them to whites and ultimately concluding that they are inferior, because of the violent nature that he so wrongly believed was intrinsic and embedded in them. It is clear that the whiteness assessment standard is invalid and verbs like peaceful, virtuous and loving cannot be used to describe all whites. An example of a person of white origin to who certainly does not meet this so-called “standard of perfection”, is the pastor who decided to burn Korans after the decision was made to build a mosque near ground zero. If he truly met this “standard of perfection”, he would not be the violent one, but rather the one trying to make peace in the world. Therefore, this clearly shows that the stereotype of virtuousness does not apply to all Christians or other whites, and the stereotype of violence does not apply to all Muslims. Ironically, the man who tried to bring peace to Americans and the world amidst this madness, was not a “virtuous”, “peaceful” white man, but rather a man of African-American origin, President Barack Obama. The article and newscast on the pope’s speech and Mr. Obama’s condemnation of the Koran burning plan can be seen below.
Please note that Mr. Obama talks about the tensions that the Pator's suggestion created and could create if he actually takes it to the next step and asks on those suggestions.
The Pope's speech Article and Newscast:
Mr. Obama's Speech(sorry again I'm still having trouble embedding) :
|Posted by religandterror on April 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
Many terrorist groups share a common goal. For example the members of AlQaeda (which was founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden and was deemed responsible for the 9/11 attacks mentioned above),share a common goal of attacking the United States and its allies, ridding the Islamic nations of the Middle East of Westerners and non-Muslims and overthrowing the Regimes they deem unIslamic. The coming together of groups that share a common goal is known as the primordialist thesis or primoridalism. Because many of these groups are of Islamic origin, the terrorist activities of non-Muslim groups are often overlooked. Because of our paradigms (the "lenses" through which we perceive the world), many of us have formed the discriminatory stereotype that all terrorist groups are of Islamic origin. Many of these paradigms were formed because of our negative socialization, mainly by the media, which portrays places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia as the “hubs” of these terrorists. This is known as the socialization approach, the belief that “we are taught ethic and racial stereotypes, prejudices, and attitudes by our families, peer groups and mass media”, as well as other agents of socialization. A simple look through history however, invalidates the false stereotypical perception that all groups that engage in terrorist activity are of Islamic origin. An example of a terrorist organization here at home in Canada was the FLQ(Front de Liberation De Québec), which you may have learned about in grade 10 History, if you studied under the current Ontario Curriculum. The FLQ was a Québec separatist organization that sought to achieve its goal of Québécois independence, through any means necessary including the use of terrorism. The Liberal government of Pierre Elliot-Trudeau felt so threatened by these terrorists, that he felt justified in evoking the war measures act, for the first time in a peacetime context. The act deprived Canadians of their civil liberties. For example they could be arrested without a warrant for any reason. The histori.ca website link that I have provided below will give you more information on the FLQ crisis and will let you click on the names of any people or concepts you might not be familiar with. Please read the information provided in that link prior to watching the video, because some background information is required in order to understand that clip. The description under the video will also provide you with a certain level of background information. The video itself doesn’t provide you with the information about what led up to the crisis, but rather about the crisis and its aftermath, with some emphasis on the civil liberties violations discussed above.
FLQ Crisis civil liberties video(sorry I'm having trouble embedding)
Trudeau's justification for putting the War Measures Act Into Force
|Posted by religandterror on April 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
Before beginning this post, it is necessary to clarify the meanings of some terms to the general public. Many people think prejudice and discrimination are the same thing, however prejudice is the holding of negative, irrational beliefs towards the members of a certain group. It only turns into discrimination if and when one choses to act on these beliefs. Institutional discrimination occurs when a social institution acts to prohibit the just and proper advancement of a certain group in a discriminatory fashion. The Muslim girl in the article below who was told that "her people" were responsible for the 9/11 attacks was a victim of prejudice. Although the person who told her this held the negative beleif that Muslims are terrorists, the article does not mention any action that the person took based on this beleif, therefore it was not discrimination. The victim of the spray paint incident, also mentioned in the article was however a victim of discrimination. The person who spray-painted the elevator held the beleif that all Muslims are dogs(prejudice) and acted on the beleif by spraypainting the elevator(discrimination). The article can be viewed below, and is also beneficial in the sense that it provides a Canadian perspective on the issue.
The French government's attempt to ban the Niquab is an example of institutional discrimination. The Belgian government was also considering following suit. A video of an Al-Jazeera English newscast on the issue can be viewed below:
The ban on the Hijab at Turkish universities(I don't know whether it was lifed or not so I will write in the present tense) is another example of institutional discrimination, since the University is an institution and it is actively preventing Muslim girls from practicing their faith. Below is another video:
An idea proposed by the Canadian government which involved requiring Muslim women who use a Burqa and are fully covered to show their faces when going up to a judge to swear the citizenship oath was highly controversial. Obviously, Muslim pro-Burqa women saw it as a form of institutional discrimination on the part of the Canadian government. There was however, on the other hand a group of people who advocated for the ban and justified it by saying that they have security concerns. The video below sums up the issue in great detail and poses some critical questions:
Will Muslim women with Burqas abuse the right to practice their faith if the governemnt continues to allow them to be veiled while swearing the citizenship oath?
Does allowing burqas promote terrorism?
Do security concerns override a Muslim woman's civil liberty to wear the kind of covering she choses?
Think of thse questions as you watch the video below. Enjoy.
|Posted by religandterror on April 6, 2012 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
9/11 was one of the most tragic events in modern day history. Angry about American imperialism and over influence in the Middle East, Alqaeeda leader Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Centre in New York city and the Pentagon in Washington,DC. The world was full of tension, as former American President George W. Bush spread the fear of terrorism and Islam everywhere. President Bush's post 9/11 speech captures the feelings of Americans with some percision. These feelings are an example of this tension. For example, Mr Bush made the statement "the pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning and huge, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbeleif, a terrible sadeness, and a quiet, unyielding anger". I encourage you to view the video below of the former President's emotional and encouraging post-9/11 speech on the day of the attacks. The video will also provide more thorough information on the attacks for those of you who may not know about them, although I doubt this is the case, considering the mass media coverage this event received.
American businesses and institutions resumed operations the following day, which shows that the process of adaption(getting used to the circumstances and learning to live with them), began almost immediately. There were also many legal attempts to adapt to the new reality. One of the most famous examples of an attempt by the US government to cope with the new reality was the passing of the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001," more commonly known by its shorter name, simply as The Patriot Act.( http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/patriot/)This feeling of a need to create legislation to combat terrorism soon began to diffuse (spread) among countries that share a similar mentality to that of the United States, such as Canada and European Union countries. As an example that is closer to home for us Canadians, here is the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, which received royal ascent(was signed into law) on December 18th 2001 (http://www.justice.gc.ca/antiter/home-accueil-eng.asp) . As an example of the European Union’s response, here is a case study on Germany’s legal reactions to the 9/11 attacks(http://www.transnationalterrorism.eu/tekst/publications/Germany%20case%20study%20(WP%206%20Del%2012b).pdf).But a question that has appeared in the minds of many post-9/11 intellectuals, and one on which significant reflection is necessary, is the question of whether the actions taken in the post 9/11 era of fear and confusion were all necessary or whether we went too far and over-protected ourselves, resulting in an unnecessary discriminatory burden on the Muslims living in western countries.