Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Perspective 9780748630868

Analyses the sociological, anthropological, psychological and political causes and consequences of Islamic political rad

275 28 2MB

English Pages 324 [312] Year 2007

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Perspective
 9780748630868

Citation preview

ISlamic Political Radicalism A European Perspective







Edited by Ta h i r A b b a s

Edinburgh University Press

© editorial matter and organisation Tahir Abbas, 2007 © the chapters their several authors, 2007

Edinburgh University Press Ltd 22 George Square, Edinburgh Typeset in 10/12.5 Sabon by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Manchester, and printed and bound in Great Britain by Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham, Wilts A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 0 7486 2527 7 (hardback) ISBN 978 0 7486 2528 4 (paperback) The right of the contributors to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Contents

Notes on the Contributors Preface and Acknowledgements Part I – Definitions 1. Introduction: Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe Tahir Abbas 2. The Discourse of ‘Terrorism’ between Violence, Justice and International Order Jørgen S. Nielsen 3. A Clinical Psychology Perspective on Radical Islamic Youth Edward J. Lifton 4. The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism Ismail Adam Patel Part II – Islamic Political Radicalism in Europe 5. Europe and Political Islam: Encounters of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries Sara Silvestri 6. Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims Haris Aziz 7. The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia Galina M. Yemelianova 8. Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

v xiii

3

15 25 42

57 71 83

99

iv ]

Contents

Part III – The British Context 9. How the Zionist Colonisation of Palestine Radicalised British Muslims Daud Abdullah 10. From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice: Understanding Radical Views of Scottish Muslims Gabriele Marranci 11. Islamic Political Radicalism in Britain: The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Sadek Hamid 12. Islamic Political Radicalism in Britain: Muslim Men in Bradford Marie Macey 13. ‘Because I am Pakistani . . . and I am Muslim . . . I am Political’ – Gendering Political Radicalism: Young Femininities in Bradford Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert 14. Disconnection and Exclusion: Pathways to Radicalisation? Basia Spalek 15. Transitional Religiosity Experiences: Contextual Disjuncture and Islamic Political Radicalism Akil N. Awan 16. An Assessment of Colonial Strategies of Resistance, Liminality and Herberg’s Thesis in the Rise of Radicalism among British South Asian Youth Ron Geaves Part IV – After 7/7 17. Ruminations and Reflections on British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7 H. A. Hellyer 18. Electronic Monitoring and the Creation of Control Orders for Terrorist Suspects in Britain Mike Nellis 19. British Islamic Political Radicalism Salma Yaqoob 20. Disengaging with Terrorism: The Internal Muslim Challenge in Deligitimising Radicalism as a Means of Tackling Extremism Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi Index

117

131

145

160

173 192

207

231

247

263 279

295

303

Notes on the Contributors

Tahir Abbas is a Reader in Sociology and Director of the University of Birmingham’s Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Culture. His main areas of expertise are race equality, ethnicity, multiculturalism and British Muslims. Tahir has published over seventy articles, chapters, reports and reviews. In 2004, his first monograph, The Education of British South Asians: Ethnicity, Capital and Class Structure, was published by Palgrave (London and New York), and in 2005, Muslim Britain: Communities under Pressure, which he edited, was published by Zed Books (London and New York). Tahir has also written for openDemocracy, Eastern Eye, Asian Times, Q-News, Muslim News, Index on Censorship, Dialogue, Quatre.de and Neue Zürcher Zeitung. He is a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists, British Sociological Association and the Lunar Society. In 2006, Tahir worked with the British Embassy in Jakarta and the British High Commission in Singapore to deliver commissioned lectures on religion, radicalism and multiculturalism. He is currently working on his next monograph, British Islam: The Road to Radicalism, to be published by Cambridge University Press. Daud Abdullah was born in Grenada, where he received his early education. He obtained his first degree in History from the University of Guyana, South America. He thereafter studied Arabic at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia before proceeding to do graduate studies in Sudan. He was awarded his doctorate from the University of Khartoum for a thesis entitled, ‘Imperialist Competition and Conflict in the Blue Nile Valley, 1885–1941’. Daud lectured in history at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria. He has been Senior Researcher at the Palestinian Return Centre, London, since 1996 and is editor of its Return Review. He is a regular contributor to the Palestine Times and Impact International. He also lectures at Birkbeck College, University of [v]

vi ]

Notes on the Contributors

London. He is editor of The Israeli Law of Return and its Impact on the Struggle in Palestine (Palestine Return Centre, 2004) and author of A History of Palestinian Resistance (Al-Aqsa Publishers, 2005). Daud is Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and in 2004 he led a Council delegation to Iraq in an attempt to secure the release of British hostage, Ken Bigley. Akil N. Awan is currently completing his doctoral research at the Department of the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His thesis looks at conversion to Islam in Britain and increasing religiosity amongst British Muslims (topics for which he has contributed to the media). He is also currently employed as consultant to the Open University and the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), for whom he is researching Jihadist media sources, and has recently written ‘Virtual Jihadist media and the Ummah as transnational audience: Function, legitimacy, and radicalising efficacy’ in the forthcoming Shifting Securities volume. He is also currently preparing papers on ‘The New Muslim Exodus: Hijrah to Daral-Islam’, which looks at medieval conceptions of dar-ul-Islam/dar-ul-Harb/ dar-ul-Ahd and how they are invoked today by young Muslims facing the diaspora, and ‘Voting, Fatwas and Takfir’, which examines British Muslim views on democracy, citizenship and the 2005 elections, focusing upon theological and pragmatic arguments for and against voting and democratic participation. He is due to begin work shortly on a postdoctoral study of changing religious and moral authority structures amongst British Muslims and the putative role they play in political radicalism and extremism. Haris Aziz is currently pursuing a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science and training as a professional journalist at Warwick University. His current research is on the computational and mathematical aspects of a priori voting power. During 2004–5, he was the Lady Noon Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford University. He is a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists and is interested in exploring issues of social and religious concern, which he addresses through inclusive dialogue and intellectual inquiry. He has been working for the National Outreach Program, which assists under-privileged, bright students in Pakistan to study at Lahore University of Management Sciences. Ron Geaves is a Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester, and Programme Leader in Religious Studies. His research interests focus around the transmigration of South Asian religious traditions, and especially subcontinent Islam, to Britain. He began his research into British Muslims in 1988 with the publication of Muslims in Leeds followed in 1994 by Sectarian Influences within Islam in

Notes on the Contributors

[ vii

Britain, both with the Community Religions project at the University of Leeds. As a result of the fieldwork undertaken in the latter, he came interested in British Sufis and in 2000 The Sufis of Britain was published by Cardiff Academic Press. His most recent publications are Islam and the West post 9/11 (2004) in collaboration with Yvonne Haddad, Theodore Gabriel and Jane Smith, published by Ashgate, and Aspects of Islam (2005) published by Darton, Longman & Todd. He is currently working on an edited book that continues his interest in Western forms of Sufism, in collaboration with Gritt Klinkhammer and Markus Dressler, entitled Global Networking and Locality: Sufis in Western Society. He is also developing a programme for the professional training of Muslim youth workers at the University of Chester. Sadek Hamid has an MA in Islamic Studies and currently researching for a PhD on the subject of ‘Convergence and Divergence in Islamic Youth Organisations in the UK’ at the University of Chester. He has a professional background in youth and community development, with nearly twenty years of involvement in the Islamic voluntary sector. His research interest areas include Islam in Britain, Islamist groups in the West and global Muslim youth trends. He has published articles in Q-News, Impact International, The Muslim News and The Guardian, and most recently written ‘Models of Muslim Youthwork: Between Reform and Empowerment’, for Youth & Policy Journal. H. A. Hellyer is a research consultant and policy analyst, and is based at the University of Warwick as an Associate Fellow. He took his first degree in law before reading for a higher degree in International Political Economy from the University of Sheffield. His research interests include European Muslim communities, European policy, political philosophy (multiculturalism/integration/citizenship), and the interplay between Islam and modernity. Under the supervision of Professor Muhammad Anwar, he completed an Economic and Social Research Council doctorate from the University of Warwick entitled ‘The EU and its Muslim Populations’. He serves as an independent advisor to various areas of civil society, including different parts of the British civil service, research institutions and community organisations. He has delivered seminars across the UK, at institutions including the Universities of Warwick, Oxford and Cardiff, and abroad. He has contributed to a number of media outlets including the BBC (UK), GEO (Pakistan), The Guardian, openDemocracy.net and Islam-Online.net. He has written for publications including The Independent, Q-News, the Muslim World Book Review and a volume published by Amal Press called The State We Are In: Identity, Terror and the Law of Jihad (2006). His book entitled Islam in Europe: Multiculturalism and the European ‘Other’ is due to be published by I. B. Tauris in October 2006.

viii ]

Notes on the Contributors

Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi is a senior consultant in international affairs. A law graduate, he currently heads the International Development department at AlKhoei Foundation, and is their Senior Adviser on public affairs as well as Main Representative to the UN. He is editor of Dialogue since 1994. Nadeem has consulted on a range of issues with government as well as civil society and was a senior adviser to HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan, representing him in the Dialogue of Civilizations process among other things. His engagements include lobbying for ratification of the UN Convention on the Child (for Community Transitions, LA); director of the American Islamic Congress (Boston); Advisory Board member, Elijah Academy of World Religious Leaders; associate of St George’s House, Windsor; member of Chatham House, London; and Trustee of the Festival of Muslim Cultures, among other roles. Nadeem was part of the British Government’s Tackling Extremism Taskforce in 2005. He is a directortrustee of Rights and Humanity UK, the leading human rights and development organisation. He has been a broadcaster for BBC radio’s Thought for the Day programme and has recently become a documentary film-maker with his first independent feature Ten Days, which has so far been selected for screening at three international film festivals. Nadeem is married with four children. Edward J. Lifton is a clinical psychologist of many years’ experience. His initial clinical training was in psychoanalytic methods, particularly the work of Winnicott and Klein. Behavioural methods have also been important throughout his career, particularly for anxiety problems. In recent years cognitive psychology has been incorporated in psychological therapy, so that he now practises in the mainstream cognitive-behavioural approach. Psychoanalysis continues to be important in his work with lifelong personality difficulties. Along the road he acquired other postgraduate qualifications in computer science, linguistics and university lecturing. He has had many clients with backgrounds in the Indian sub-continent, and has learned something of Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism from them. As a young person he was active in political movements including anti-apartheid and support for Palestine. South Africa has now benefited from its mature statesmen and its natural resources and is now moving forward. Palestinian issues remain difficult and in need of good leadership. He believes that a political solution will require self-awareness in the protagonists of the many levels of emotion and thought. His work in this collection invites reflection on psychology and religion. Marie Macey is a Senior lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Bradford. She has researched and published extensively on race and racism at international, national and local levels and, more recently, on the interactions and intersections between gender and ethnicity, particularly in Bradford. Her recent externally-funded research includes research into the reasons for the 2001 riot, including in-depth interviews

Notes on the Contributors

[ ix

with some of the men of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith who were convicted of riot. Marie lives in Bradford and is involved in a number of initiatives in the District. She is Deputy Chair of the management committee of Domestic Violence Services (Keighley) that has been at the forefront of work with Pakistani Muslim survivors of domestic violence and is about to start work with perpetrators. She is also a member of the central steering committee of Bradford and District Women’s Forum, whose membership is over 90 per cent Pakistani Muslim and which works to improve inter-ethnic relationships. Gabriele Marranci is a Lecturer in Anthropology of Religion at the University of Aberdeen. His main area of interest is cultural and identity aspects of Muslim communities in the West. He has conducted fieldwork in different European countries. He is the author of many articles on different aspects of Muslim life in the West and he is the founding editor of a new international journal, Contemporary Islam: Dynamic of Muslim life (published by Springer), as well the author of Jihad Beyond Islam (Berg, 2006), Anthropology of Islam (Berg, forthcoming) and Understanding Muslim Identity, Rethinking Fundamentalism (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay is an Associate Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. He took his MA in German Studies from the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), Hyderabad, India. At IDSA, he is presently specialising in European security and politics, transatlantic relations, terrorism, and the genesis and dynamic of radical Islam in Europe. He has presented papers and contributed topical articles and commentaries in web-based and refereed journals. His recent articles include ‘The Terror Scenario in Europe’ (2004) and ‘Tabligh-eJama’at Under the Scanner of German Intelligence’ (2005) in the IDSA journal, Strategic Analysis. He has participated in various international workshops and conferences. Alok is a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar, Austria, and attended its session on ‘The European Union: Challenges of Integration and Expansion’ in June–July 2005. The views expressed in this chapter are his own. Mike Nellis is a Professor of Criminal and Community Justice in the Glasgow School of Social Work, University of Strathclyde. He is a former social worker with young offenders, and between 1990 and 2003 he was closely involved in the training of probation officers at the University of Birmingham. He has written extensively on the changing nature of the probation service, the promotion of community penalties, the significance of electronic monitoring and the cultural politics of penal reform (including the educational use of prison movies and prisoner’s autobiographies). His most recent book (edited with Eric Chui) was Moving Probation Forward (Longman, 2003) and he is currently editing a book, with Belgian colleagues, on electronic monitoring around the world.

x]

Notes on the Contributors

Jørgen S. Nielsen is a Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham and is currently director of the Danish Institute in Damascus. He holds a BA in Arabic and MA in Middle East area studies, specialising in Islamic law and history, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a PhD in Arab history from the American University of Beirut. Has worked as consultant to the Council of Europe on religious minorities and to various bodies of the European Union and the UK and Swedish foreign ministries on Islam and Europe. Apart from numerous articles in various journals on subjects relating to Muslims in Europe, Middle Eastern affairs, Arab history and Christian–Muslim relations, recent publications include: Arabs and the West: Mutual Images, jointly edited with S. Khasawnih (University of Jordan, 1998); Towards A European Islam (Macmillan, 1999); Summary Report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001, jointly with C. Allen (EUMC, 2002); Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe, jointly edited with S. Allievi (Brill, 2003); and Muslims in Western Europe, third edition (Edinburgh University Press, 2005). Ismail Adam Patel is Chairman and founding member of the Friends of Al-Aqsa organisation, a campaign group based in England. He is also Senior Advisor to the Conflicts Forum, which seeks to establish a new understanding of political Islam in the West and has a membership group spanning diplomats, academics and journalists. A graduate of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, he regularly contributes to discussions, debates and conferences nationally and internationally addressing peace in Palestine and other issues affecting Muslims. He has also advised foreign government departments on Middle East policy. He has contributed a wide array of articles in the media, including the British mainstream and fringe papers and journals. He has also written several books, including, Islam: The Choice of Thinking Women (an online publication), Madina to Jerusalem: Encounters with the Byzantine Empire and Palestine Beginner’s Guide (both Al-Aqsa Publishers, 2005). He is editor of the Al-Aqsa Journal, a referenced bi-annual journal dealing with issues effecting Israel and Palestine. Ismail Adam Patel was born in Malawi, Africa, and migrated to England with his family when he was a teenager. He is married with three children. Gurchathen Sanghera is a Research Associate at the Department of Politics, University of Bristol. He is currently working on a project entitled ‘Engendering Security in Peacekeeping Missions’ (ESRC-funded). Gurchathen’s research interests include international politics, globalisation, human rights, peace and conflict, social capital, British Muslims, critical social theory, and research methods. The contribution to this book draws on findings from a two-year Leverhulmefunded project entitled ‘Social Capital, Gender and Differential Outcomes’ (a joint University of Bristol and UCL project). Gurchathen completed his PhD at the Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, in 2003, utilising social

Notes on the Contributors

[ xi

constructionism to explore the relationship between human rights and power in an increasingly globalised world. As part of this, extensive fieldwork was conducted with rights-based social movements and NGOs in India. Sara Silvestri is an ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge, where she completed her PhD thesis on ‘Muslim political mobilisation in Europe and the EU response’. She also lectures the Masters module ‘Political Islam and International Relations’ at the University of Bristol. Her research interests range from Islam in Europe to Muslim politics, EU politics, religion–state relations, the Mediterranean region, and migration and diaspora studies. As a qualified journalist, she has written widely on religious and European affairs. In the aftermath of 9/11, Sara worked at the European Commission President’s Cabinet on the themes of intercultural and interfaith dialogue in relation to Euro-Mediterranean relations. She has also been involved in international projects of the British Council and of the Etnobarometro, exploring intercultural dialogue, trust and social relations involving Muslim communities in the contemporary world. Basia Spalek is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice within the Institute of Applied Social Studies at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include race and religious hate crime, community safety issues in relation to Muslim communities, victimisation, conversion to Islam, and faith identities and criminal justice. Her published material includes Islam, Crime & Criminal Justice (Willan Publishing, 2002), ‘British Muslims and the Criminal Justice System’, a report written for the Open Society Institute, appearing in T. Choudhury (ed.) (2005) Muslims in the UK: Policies for Engaged Citizens. Her most recent book was published in 2006, Crime Victims: Theory, Policy & Practice (Palgrave Macmillan). Suruchi Thapar-Björkert is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bristol and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Tema Ethnicitet, Linkoping University, Sweden. She has previously held teaching and research positions at the Development Studies and Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research falls in three specific areas: gendered discourses of colonialism and nationalism; gendered violence in India and Europe; and qualitative research methodologies. She has published widely in refereed journals such as Feminist Review, Women’s Studies International Forum, Journal of Gender Studies, Women’s History Review, International Journal of Social Research Methodology and Oral History Journal. She has made several media presentations to Radio Feminist ATTAC, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC World (2004). She was invited as an ‘expert’ to the International Conference on Patriarchal Violence against Women – Focusing on Violence in the Name of Honour, Stockholm, Sweden, Regeringskansliet, Ministry of Justice/Ministry of

xii ]

Notes on the Contributors

Foreign Affairs, 7–8 December 2004. In October, 2005, she completed a Swedish government-funded project entitled ‘State policy, strategies and implementation in combating patriarchal and “honour-related” violence’. She completed a Leverhulme-funded collaborative project on ‘Social Capital, Gender and Differential Outcomes’ in September, 2005. Her book, Women in the Indian Nationalist Movement: Unseen Faces and Unheard Voices, 1930–1942, was published in 2006 by Sage, New Delhi. Salma Yaqoob is Head of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and one of the founder members and national vice-chair of the national political party RESPECT. She is a psychotherapist and mother of three young boys. After attending an anti-war meeting she was struck by the solidarity expressed by non-Muslims and immediately committed herself to the anti-war movement of which she is now a leading national figure. She has become an important voice for encouraging Muslim and non-Muslim unity around common principles of peace, social justice and equality. In the 2005 general election, she stood as the RESPECT candidate for the Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath constituency against Labour’s Roger Godsiff MP. She achieved one of the top swings in the country but narrowly missed being elected, obtaining 27.5 per cent of the total vote. She is author of ‘Global and local echoes of the anti-war movement: A British Muslim perspective’, in International Socialism Journal (Autumn, 2003) and ‘The “war on terror” and racism, asylum and immigration’, in G. Hubbard and D. Miller (eds) Arguments against G8, London: Pluto. Salma Yaqoob is a regular commentator on current affairs and regularly publishes articles in a number of national newspapers. Galina M. Yemelianova specialises in history and contemporary ethno-political and religious issues in the Middle East, and the Muslim regions of the Russian, Soviet and former Soviet empire. She received her PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies from Moscow State University in 1985. Until 1994, she worked as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Since 1994, she has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, the European Research Institute, University of Birmingham, UK. She has conducted six large collaborative research projects on Muslim people of the ex-USSR and Eastern and Central Europe funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation (all UK-based) and the European Commission (Brussels). She has published extensively in the UK, Russia and internationally on the Middle East and Muslim Eurasia. She is author of Yemen under the Ottoman Rule, 1538–1635 (Nauka, 1988), Russia and Islam: A Historical Survey (Palgrave, 2002), and is author and co-editor of Private and Public Faces of Islam in Russia (Curzon, 2002).

Preface and Acknowledgements

Since the train bombings in Madrid in May 2004, the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in November 2004 and the bombings in London in July 2005, the subject of Islamic political radicalism in Europe has become more important than ever. A theological, sociological, anthropological, psychological and political science analysis of the causes and consequences of terrorist attacks on Western European targets is the focus of this edited collection. It has brought together in one volume a number of unique and informed insights in relation to this important and pertinent theme. The book explores what is meant by terms such as ‘Islamic political radicalism’ or ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ or ‘Jihadi Satafism’, and how they formed within a sociological and theological context and were exacerbated by particular media and political discourses. Questions in relation to what it is to be radicalised and to what extent the phenomenon in question is Islamic or political are indeed important considerations in this book. Contributors explore the drivers behind Islamic political radicalism in Europe, with authors focusing on local (economic, cultural, social and political alienation; political and cultural marginalisation; psychological factors), national (responses to the ‘War on Terror’ which came about after the attacks on America in September 2001) or international factors (concepts of the Ummah and its relationship to the positions of Islam and Muslims in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine more recently, but also Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir more historically). The chapters provide an analysis of events and experiences in different Western European nation states, although there is a detailed focus on Britain. This work is extremely relevant in the current climate in an attempt to understand the factors that shape Islamic political radicalism in Western Europe and will be of interest to theologians, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, social policy analysts and government policy makers. Many of the contributions [ xiii ]

xiv ]

Preface and Acknowledgements

are entirely original, having been researched and prepared in the light of recent events, while others are reflections and insights. Many of the writers are Muslims too. I am extremely indebted to the authors who ultimately responded with their chapters in rapid time. The idea for this book came about largely because of the extreme intensity of focus on this subject in the aftermath of the events of July 2005 in London. The world’s television and news media descended upon little-known places in Britain with an immense appetite to explain the tragedy to their consuming audiences. Theories ranged in many different ways. In hours of discussion, soul searching, engaging with the media, holding seminars, carrying out expert interviews and talking to various academic audiences throughout the second half of 2005 and since, the essence of the debate was still muted in my view. This collection is an attempt to piece together the different strands that make up the story so far. I am also extremely thankful to Nicola Ramsey of Edinburgh University Press for the support and encouragement she and the publishers gave me throughout. Errors or omissions that remain are entirely of my own doing. Tahir Abbas Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Culture Department of Sociology University of Birmingham, UK

CHAPTER

1 Introduction: Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe Tahir Abbas

Where most of the Muslim world is still facing up to the challenges of Islam and democracy, Muslim minorities in the West face a whole host of issues in relation to identity, the adaptation of religio-cultural norms and values, and issues of everyday citizenship. In the current climate in Britain and more widely in Western Europe, there is the increasingly significant phenomenon of the indigenous-born, native-language-speaking Muslim youth politicised by a radicalised Islam. This book is an attempt to explore the issues that seemingly impact on Islamic political radicalism, exploring sociological, political, cultural and psychological ideas. It is an analysis of a combination of complex factors in relation to cultural, economic, social and political dislocation compounded by national and international neo-Orientalist and Islamophobic political and media discourse, where the international climate is replete with references to the ‘Islamic’ and the ‘terrorist’. In Western Europe, indigenous-born Muslims can often experience a complex and dislocated existence. Post-war immigrant groups who were either invited or came searching for improved economic opportunities have found their young growing up in societies that exhibit prejudice, discrimination and racism towards minority Muslim communities. Local education for the young is limited, for much the same reasons as in Britain – that is, poor schools in poor neighbourhoods, often with less educated parents. This affects the likelihood of securing effective higher education or labour-market entry. It also prevents individuals and communities from participating as good citizens in society. There are also inter-generational tensions as a result of language, culture and attitudes towards majority communities. Invariably, as the process of adaptation begins to evolve in subsequent generations of migrant communities an adjustment to majority society occurs. At times there is resistance, as in the case of a few Muslims who see integration as a negative feature of life in liberal [3]

4]

Tahir Abbas

secular nation-states regarded by some as somewhat antithetical to the life of ‘a good Muslim’. There are others who have made a positive effort at integration; but once they have experienced the negative impact of the system, a sense of dislocation and alienation, perceived or real, occurs and affects their consciousness. This then encourages some to seek to resolve Muslim issues, home and abroad. These individuals can be politically subjugated by radical interest groups, often resulting in their carrying out horrific acts of violence invariably involving the annihilation of the self and largely for other Muslims. The emergence of Salafi thought in Western European contexts Major concerns in the question of Islamic political radicalism are how it comes about in the first instance and, having determined an answer, how it can then be alleviated. However, it is also palpably clear that questions in relation to what drives radicalisation and how to engage with radicalised young people remain difficult to answer. The communities from which many radicals emanate are generally removed from formally engaging in the political process. Where there is suspicion of activity, it tends to centre on the movements of ‘shadowy figures who venture into homes late at night’, presumably engaging in radicalising others or themselves. It is possible to do this with media developments in the Islamic world and because of the way in which the bleak truths of war can stir the imagination of young minds already susceptible to feelings of frustration, anger, hate and ultimately the will to carry out an ‘honourable duty’. There are also cases of young Muslims, often of middle class status, beginning their radicalisation for the first time at university. These young people arrive in situations where their ethnicity and religion can cause further feelings of disillusionment with wider society and the sense that they do not belong. Similarly, there is a perceptible view that higher education institutions are ‘hotbeds of radical political Islamic activity’, sometimes acting as launch pads for further encouraging young Muslims to become radicalised. These young Muslims are perhaps away from home for the first time, and very much emotionally affected by the injustices of the world – this is how Muslims are potentially radicalised. There have been earlier periods in this so-called radicalisation of Islam, particularly in the twentieth century, through the Salafi (‘early Islam’) writings of Muslim ideologues such as Sayyid Qutb, Hassan al-Banna’s Ikhwan alMuslimin, Maulana Abul ala Maududi in the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s, actions of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and its wings, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fateh in the 1960s and 1970s, or through the Libyans, Iraqis, Iranians or Lebanese, such as Hamas or Hezbollah in the 1980s. A perceptible pattern is found where Muslims in Islamic lands have opposed the dominant interests of major capitalistic states vying for a new world order. The overall response has come about over the last two hundred

Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe

[5

years as Islam and Muslims have had to counter the imperial and colonial onslaught, often supported by US and British interventions in the Middle East and the Muslim world in an effort maintain control of important economic concerns or to fight the Third World war – the cold war against the ‘red enemy’.1 Witnessing the events of the last three decades, from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 onwards, the Muslim world has been in turmoil while Muslim minorities in the Western world have faced economic, social, political and cultural marginalisation. It is these harsh experiences that characterise our sociological, anthropological, cultural studies and political science interests in the current study of Muslims. The question as to whether the Islamic societies of universities are genuinely places where Muslims are radicalised has yet to find firm answers. Hizb-utTahrir (HT) was banned from British university campuses by the National Union of Students (NUS) in the mid-1990s, and is banned from many European countries today. There were a number of Salafi organisations influencing impressionable minds throughout the 1990s in Britain. Organisations such as Al-Muhajiroun (the splinter group founded by Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad in the UK in 1996, disbanded in October 2004), Supporters of Shariah, and HT, had much success in ‘infiltrating’ university Islamic societies in Britain before their actions began to be viewed with suspicion. Encouraged to see themselves as engaged in a battle that pits ‘good’ against ‘evil’, angry young Muslims fuelled by Occidentalist sensationalism see Western nation states in negative binary terms. The rhetoric of the ‘evil other’ has been used by both George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden in an attempt to invigorate their following.2 Today, HT may well be carrying out its work covertly, infiltrating other university societies, namely Pakistan or Indian societies. But its success, overt or covert, is difficult to gauge in real terms. No suicide bombing has been carried out by any British member of HT, although Asif Mohammed Hanif, who blew himself up in Tel Aviv in 2003, and his partner in crime, the would-be bomber Omar Khan Sharif, were both British and had some links with Al-Muhajiroun. Many of the ‘Seven in Yemen’ who apparently tried to blow up the British Embassy and a nightclub in Sana in 1999 were British-born Muslims. They met at university and were largely radicalised, directly or indirectly, by Abu Hamza al-Masri, formerly of Finsbury Park Mosque. Clearly, therefore, when young Muslims go away to university, it is apparent that a small few do emerge very different from whom they were when they entered. How and exactly why this should be is not entirely comprehensible. The danger, nevertheless, is that many of these people emerge as outwardly well-integrated folk who live and work among majority society unbeknown as potential threats to us all, until, that is, it is often far too late. Before the events of 9/11, the Rushdie affair of 1989 highlighted to the world that there were issues pertaining to the South Asian Muslim community regarded as relatively innocuous until then. Pictures of the ‘book burnings in

6]

Tahir Abbas

Bradford’ reverberated around the globe and the media reaction was particularly negative, home and abroad. The collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991 and troubles in far off Muslim lands firmly placed Islam and Muslims in the immediate sphere of media and political attention. After 9/11, and certainly after 7/7, a whole host of factors have negatively impacted on British Muslims. Increasing anti-terrorist measures, increased policing powers, racial and ethnic profiling in the criminal justice system, a civil societal debate around culture that places South Asian Muslims at its heart, although never quite explicitly, questions around the apparent unassimilability of Muslims, with a focus on community cohesion and widening cultural and economic and social positions – all of these have co-existed alongside the apparent and increasing ‘jihadi salafi’ radicalisation of young Muslims. Gender issues are also important to explore, as it is often men who are most likely to be embroiled. Young Muslim women have been shown to better engage with the theological, political and social pressures placed on their identities as being both British-born and a Muslim. Certainly, it is reasonably well confirmed that Muslim women outperform their male counterparts in higher education, and where possible are better able to negotiate issues of ethnicity, identity and high-profile religious minority status. What recent events have invariably revealed is a worrying lack of knowledge of Islam not just within majority society but also within Muslim communities. Politically, debates in relation to the ‘Muslims in Britain’ issue have been between the left, which focuses on economic structure and the Iraq war; the right, which has championed culture and nation; and the liberals, who have focused on civil liberties and freedoms in a democratic society. Polarised societies remain in the hands of subjugated radical Islamists on the one hand and dominant neo-conservative Christian evangelicals, whose rhetoric is dominated by such notions as ‘good Muslims are with us’ and ‘bad Muslims are against us’, on the other. Furthermore, concerns about multiculturalism, segregation and ‘Britishness’ remain palpable in a society that sees its elites struggle to appreciate the extent of its diversity while only slowly relinquishing any notions of empire or of remaining a player in the global marketplace. What ceases to enter the imagination is that often Islamic political radicalism is about the tensions of trying to be European, British Asian, Pakistani or Kashmiri as much as it is about being Muslim. Radicalising British Muslims Many who have been involved in Islamic political radical activities have been South Asian Muslim but not all – a number have been African-Caribbean reverts. Somali groups who are now forming communities in increasingly segregated areas are experiencing severe economic and social disadvantage and exclusion. They experience a particular form of marginalisation that hits the group in three ways: 1) English society tends to strongly dislike ‘foreigners’ – xenophobia remains an important issue in white-English groups as well as in more integrated

Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe

[7

ethnic minority communities; 2) direct racism and discrimination is experienced because of their skin colour and 3), they experience hostility towards Islam in the same way as other Muslims in British society. These radicalised Muslims have not all necessarily been poor – some attend university but were born on the ‘wrong side of town’. They experienced prejudice, racism and discrimination throughout their early lives and sustained themselves in education in spite of its limitations in relation to Muslims or ethnic minorities per se. By hoping to find ‘the truth’ they were ultimately misdirected by radicalising Islamists seeking to convert apparently once-decadent young Muslims or those yearning for a more literal interpretation of the religion. By giving them a sense of belonging, identity, or an association with a struggle that transcends their everyday boundaries and barriers, theologically, metaphysically and spiritually, Islamists have moved with a twisted message of salvation and redemption. At the national and international level, it is also argued that the politics of George W. Bush in the USA and Tony Blair in Britain help to further radicalise Muslims here, although there is continued official denial in relation to this assertion. However, Mohammad Sidique Khan, in a taped video message broadcast on Al-Jazeera TV on 1 September 2005, said: ‘Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people [emphasis added] all over the world.’ Furthermore, the ways in which Muslim prisoners have been treated in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib prison at the hands of the Americans, and the latest revelations of the extent of the abuse inflicted on Iraqi prisoners and civilians by the British army (January 2006), serve only to disillusion an already disenfranchised British Muslim community. Since 9/11, throughout much of the Western world, changes to international finance, anti-terrorism legislation, and debates around identity cards, citizenship and rights and obligations have all seen the nation-state seemingly tighten its grip on Muslim minorities. Is it that the ‘War on Terror’ has revealed itself to be an ideological construction, helping to maintain the status quo, while Muslims are derided, misrepresented, incarcerated and, in general, made to feel and think they are unwelcome? The same could be said about the shift towards regarding Muslims as the ‘enemy-within’, as an undifferentiated mass of ‘Arab terrorists’, as groups who are overly demanding of their religious and cultural rights, and as people unwilling to integrate into majority society.3 The challenge of 7/7 One of the major shifts in thinking in recent years has seen the move from a focus on race to a focus on religion. Since the events of 9/11, and more recently 7/7, there has been a perceptible shift in relation to the major ‘race relations’ problems in Britain. In relation to crime, education, health, housing, unemployment, graduate employment, local area tensions in relation to regeneration, vilification in the media, national and international focus on terror,

8]

Tahir Abbas

violence, extremism and, indeed, the subject of multiculturalism, Muslims as well as the religion of Islam remain in sharp focus. Many of the current major social policy questions relate to Muslims, and although New Labour as part of its third-term legacy is increasingly concentrating on other domestic issues such as education, health, energy, pensions and Europe, the subject of Iraq and anti-terrorism are still key priorities. Current analysis suggests that there are certain segments of the British Muslim minority community that are underdeveloped. While the state continues to institutionalise against racism (ethnic, racial and religious), and increasingly monitors and acts upon social and economic exclusion, Muslims still have yet to find the opportunity to integrate into society effectively. As a result of the recent terrorist attacks in London, there has been a genuine attempt on the part of the state to try and engage with its British Muslim minority, particularly the young and disaffected. Reverberations from the complete shock of the events are still being felt as communities, neighbourhoods, politicians and the state come to terms with the enormity of what happened and the potential implications for public and social policy. What compounds the distress is the discovery that the acts were orchestrated by British-born Muslim perpetrators, many of whom were seemingly well-integrated citizens. The London terror outrage now known as 7/7 has brought it home to us that the threat from suicide bombers comes not simply from foreigners who slip into the country, but from people who live and have grown up amongst us. This possibility had completely bamboozled the intelligence services, who were of the view that any would-be terrorist attacks would be organised by overseas groups infiltrating networks in Britain. That these young British men were prepared to be radicalised in this way has come as a genuine surprise to many. It makes it all the more pertinent to better understand the mechanisms and processes that drove them to their actions and, more importantly for the future, to determine how best to engage with alienated British Muslim minorities. The need to understand and appreciate the depth of the dissatisfaction felt by young Muslims in Britain is more important than ever. There are a number of factors that can be recognised and not just from the London bombings. After 9/11, and more recently 7/7, there has been a focus on leadership, and in particular on organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), who have been seen as unreflective or unrepresentative of Muslims as a whole. There has also been a perceptible focus on mosques, and in particular on imams and the content of Islamic teaching. It is a jigsaw but at least we can already put some of the pieces in place. Islamic political indoctrination In certain instances, there is indoctrination of young people radicalised by messages claiming an Islamic knowledge that encourages the putting to death of

Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe

[9

innocent people for infinite rewards in paradise or as part of an act of war. Islamist groups of a Jihadi-Salafi orientation – those who possess a literal interpretation of Islam, which is inward-looking – are the essential driver in this radicalisation of Muslims, in the West and elsewhere. Whether as minorities or majorities in almost all of the countries of the world, there is a perceptible strain among some Muslims for whom interpretation of Islamic doctrine such as Shariah law tends to be frozen and Islam closed off to the rest of humanity. However, although these people constitute a tiny minority of the 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide, they often evoke the greatest discussion in media and political discourse in relation to Islam as a whole. It is important to emphasise that the actions of these terrorists are almost entirely political and not at all theological. As young individuals experiencing acute social exclusion and faced with multiple challenges and confrontations in relation to religion, culture and society, their only solution is to take a radical Islamic perspective. They are determined to ‘go straight to heaven’ through a process of creating political change by encouraging the world’s leaders to take action on Iraq specifically but also Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir as part of the wider struggle to liberate Islam and Muslims from the offensive they currently experience. They are but the few who are made to most reflect the many. Social enterprise There is a genuine issue concerning leadership at home, in the community and at the local and national levels – although it can also be argued that the Muslim community has not had time to integrate. Leadership in the Muslim population is determined by offering managed political power to elites who are often of a very different make-up and outlook to the many they seek to represent. Local community ‘elders’ are maintained by community support mechanisms that facilitate the electoral process to the advantage of the main political parties but can take out of the hands of the people the choice of who they want as their leaders. Religious leadership has also been weak. The imams in mainstream mosques are not central, if relevant at all, to the leadership of Muslims, and have absolutely no responsibility at all for the radicalising of the young. They are for the most part poorly equipped to fulfil their role in the religious, cultural and intellectual edification of young people, and their potential could be better exploited. These failings make young people vulnerable to Islamists who are able to satisty the thirst for knowledge and often in a language that is sometimes better understood. The opportunity for imams to be educators of the community in the Quranic texts and in their application for Muslims living in the West has been missed, and Muslim communities are poorer for it.

10 ]

Tahir Abbas Economic and social exclusion

There is no doubt whatsoever that social exclusion features prominently. Many young Muslims live in poverty, in overcrowded homes, segregated areas, declining inner city zones, face educational underachievement, high unemployment, low graduate employment, and experience poor health. These disadvantages have significant implications for young people growing up in society as they experience limiting horizons fuelling distrust, generating antagonism towards the state and creating an acute sense of isolation. Such structural factors are endemic in any sense of alienation that young people experience. Alongside issues of economic marginalisation, young Muslim men have to operate in an evermore competitive and globalised world. Essentially, they face problems of racism, discrimination and anti-Islamism that affect a particular section of the British Muslim community. It is easy to lose sight of Muslims in parts of the Midlands and the North while focusing on urban elites and a significant politico-media class of individuals in the South of England. A cultural, intellectual and political North–South divides adds to many of the structural problems affecting Muslim minorities per se. A crisis of masculinity Young Muslim men, invariably of South Asian origin, are experiencing a sense of dislocation because of the presence of aspirational and committed women in society, as well as Muslim women within the South Asian community. In educational terms at least, women are outperforming men, although their representation in further and higher education is sometimes left wanting. There is a crisis of masculinity in society, with Muslim men particularly affected. Economic decline and psychological and cultural features impact on young Muslims in harsh terms. Furthermore, it is especially important to highlight the question of cultural patriarchy. British-born South Asian Muslim men often wish to integrate into society far more than earlier generations. However, certain inter-generational tensions can emerge, dislocating the second generation from the first. Parents have a particular set of expectations and children another. Tensions and rifts emerge, and within the context of patriarchy, which is especially acute for Pakistanis, young Muslim men, protected by their mothers (who can reproduce their own marginalisation through this), are unable to effectively channel their energies in a more productive way. The cleft between generations is not always bridged, with young men unable to find a way out and parents either unaware or prepared to turn a blind eye. A particular problem is the theology of inter-generational conflict. Younger Muslims want a stricter and more literal interpretation of the Quran, Sunna and Hadith because it gives people a sense of identity in an evermore fractured

Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe

[ 11

world. Given the freedoms provided to Muslims in Britain to take on challenges, individuals concerning themselves with struggles in other parts of the Muslim world are encouraged. But the theology of first- and second-generation South Asian Islam, particularly in relation to Pakistanis, is generally inflexible and unable to accommodate the interests and anxieties of current generations. As a consequence, younger Muslims turn to ‘radicalised’ sets of messages that stem from outside the community and which position them in reaction to their parents and to wider dominant society. Islamophobia Islamophobia refers to the fear or dread of Islam. It has a historical narrative that stretches back to the dawn of Islam but it also displays modern day equivalents. We see it in the daily press, news media, documentaries, docu-dramas, various crime-detective series, and so on. We also see it in politics, certainly in relation to how references are made to an ‘evil ideology’ which ultimately homogenise and standardise a very diverse world religion. What all this does is to further isolate marginalised young Muslim men who perceive themselves as ever-beleaguered by a popular culture that regards Islam, and Muslims, in antithetical terms. A neo-Orientalism of the kind we have been recently witnessing places Islam as the bogey of society. Furthermore, it exhibits no boundaries, as Islamophobia has both local and global effects. Media The role of the media is important. It is perfectly possible for an individual to be raised in an insulated environment, where television, internet, community and local enterprise are almost entirely South Asian or Muslim. A young man can be radicalised by images of victims in Palestine or Chechnya from his own home, through conversations within a circle of friends with similar perspectives on life, or by reading the many pieces of imbalanced literature that are freely available, Islamic or secular. This is one of the consequences of globalisation: people are connected to every aspect of life through communication, information and financial technologies but have lost touch with neighbours in the process. Where the media encompasses Muslims at one level, at another it spreads Islamophobia – not least by focusing on preachers from the wilder fringes of Islam rather than the more recognised authorities. While few commentators are able to distinguish between the Islam that is practised in general and the disturbed Islam that is practised by the very few, they remain prominent critics of the religion. This conceals the fact that there is wide-ranging debate within Islam about modernity. The Western critique, relentless as it is illinformed, hinders rather than facilitates this active discussion.

12 ]

Tahir Abbas Iraq

Last, and by no means least, there is British foreign policy. The essential question is how far did the war on Iraq make the 7/7 events a reality? The answer is clearly political from the point of the observer. One view would be to suggest that, in reality, it has little to do with Iraq. Britain has experienced young South Asian Muslim men involved in Islamic political radicalism well before 7/7, and indeed 9/11. In fact, this phenomenon has been long in the making, with young European-born ethnic minority Muslim men involved in actions abroad, namely Bosnia, Chechnya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Israel. However, there is no doubt that Iraq has become one of the biggest tragedies of foreign policy. It has undoubtedly destabilised the region and no doubt the many Muslims in the rest of the world who worry for it. But it is not the overwhelming cause of Islamic political radicalism in Britain and in other parts of Western Europe. The problems of radicalism are multi-layered and multi-faceted. A young man to take the final step to ‘suicide bomber’ has to experience complete social, cultural, generational, political and economic marginalisation compounded by a puritanical fundamentalist pseudo-theological outlook on life and a sheer selfishness to click that final switch. It takes a rare combination indeed to prompt any young British Muslim man to take those final steps, as in July 2005 – but, according to this argument, should the status quo remain, it is potentially likely to affect us all again in the near future. All of the above factors are important in any rationalisation of what drives Islamic political radicalism. Which is most important depends more on the political position taken by the commentator but what is palpably clear is the interconnectedness of the different factors under discussion. How we view this phenomenon is as much about how we see ourselves as it is about how we want to be seen. The combination of internal and external dynamics, and the juxtaposition of local, national and international issues, places certain Muslims in the West in precarious positions. Problems of identity: reflecting on globalisation and the Ummah As Muslims we too are looking inside ourselves and the British Muslim community at large to determine what might be at fault within at the same time as analysing how the foreign policies of the George W. Bush and Tony Blair governments have created havoc in distant lands without. The global context has been the self-fulfilling prophecy of the ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis, a theory originally formulated by neo-conservative ideologues such as Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama.4 The stark realities of the 1990s and the early years of the twenty-first century have revealed a whole host of examples in which Muslims have suffered throughout the globe. From the first Gulf War (1990–1), to Somalia (1993), Bosnia-Herzegovina (1993–6),

Islamic Political Radicalism in Western Europe

[ 13

Chechnya (1999), the second Palestinian Intifada (2000–), the war on Afghanistan (2001–2) and the war on Iraq (2003–4), Muslims have been at the receiving end of the pursuit of Western political and economic interests. There are twenty million Muslims in Western Europe and six million in the USA. From attacks on the Paris metro (1996), the Moscow theatre attack (2002), the Madrid bombings (2004) killing over 200 people, the assassination of Theo van Gogh (2004), the first-ever suicide bombings by home-grown radicals occurs in Europe in 2005. There are discernible connections between events on Western mainlands and in other parts of the Muslim world. Terrorism on the part of Islamists often occurs in reaction to violence inflicted by dominant forces on Muslim people. The events of 7 and 21 July 2005 were not the first time British-born Islamic political radicals have come to the fore. The ‘Seven in Yemen’ (1999) included five British-born Muslims; then there were the two failed shoe-bombers, Richard Reid (2001) and Saajid Badat (2005), and the 2003 ‘Mike’s Place’ bombers in Tel Aviv, who were from Derby and Hounslow; Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Mohammed Hanif are further notable examples. They are also harsh reminders of the recent experience. Contents of the book This collection is an attempt to draw together the current strands in thinking exploring the issue of Islamic political radicalism and its causes. The areas discussed in this opening essay are looked at in a much fuller and more dedicated way in the remaining chapters. There is still much research that needs to be carried out in this area but nevertheless a number of distinct ideas and thoughts in relation to contexts, causes and consequences are emerging, and this edition is an attempt to capture a precise scholarship of its time. A number of discernable themes run though the many different contributions, and there are indeed issues that cross-fertilise in an effort to rationalise how the local and global make an impact on changing ethnic and religio-cultural identity formations. Furthermore, different European settings provide their own nuanced rationalisation of the phenomenon. There are four key parts to the book. Writers analyse the matter from various theological, psychological, Islamic studies, political science, cultural studies, historical and sociological perspectives. Part One, ‘Definitions’, discusses the parameters of Islamic political radicalism and the manifestation it takes. Writers explore the specific theological, sociological and political concerns in the current period. Part Two is an exploration of how the European experience has been shaped by wider geo-political events elsewhere in the Muslim and non-Muslim world. Writers here focus their attention on cases in Western Europe. Part Three specifically concentrates on the recent British experience, exploring events from a number of standpoints. Part Four discusses the ways forward for policy and practice, activism and Islamic doctrine,

14 ]

Tahir Abbas

personal and civil law, and human rights and civil liberties, specifically in relation to the events of July 2005. The overall message is that radicalism is a problem enough but we all need to work together to resolve the concerns we all have. Notes 1. Dreyfuss, R. (2005) Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, New York: Metropolitan. 2. Ali, T. (2003) The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, London: Verso. 3. Modood, T. (2005) Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 4. Lewis, B. (1990) ‘The Roots of Muslim Rage’, The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 266, September, p. 60; Huntington, S. (1997) The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order, London: Simon and Schuster; Fukuyama, F. (1992) The End of History and the Last Man, New York: Avon.

CHAPTER

2 The Discourse of ‘Terrorism’ between Violence, Justice and International order 1 Jørgen S. Nielsen

‘Terrorism upsets people. It does so deliberately.’2 Thus Professor Charles Townshend starts his brilliant essay on terrorism. Events since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and more recently those in Madrid and London, have only served to prove the point. However, Townshend’s neat opener refers not only to terrorism as a phenomenon but also to terrorism as a subject of analysis. He goes on to say, As the dust settled, literally and figuratively, on Ground Zero, most of the questions that had always formed the puzzle of terrorism remained. If anything, the indefinite reach of President Bush’s ‘war against terror’ underlined more sharply than ever the need for some definition – or compartmentalization – of this manipulable term.3

In other words, the public profile of terrorism may have risen, but in the quest for some hold on the concept nothing has changed – and it is as open to manipulation as ever. To try and find at least a little sense in this discussion, let me first identify some apparently common elements in at least the academic discussion.4 First is a distinction between terror and terrorism. The former is a state of mind that can be induced by a variety of factors and events and may or may not arise as the result of actions designed to induce terror. The latter is usually used to refer to actions or sequences of actions designed to induce terror for political ends or to ideologies or strategies that include such actions as a method of achieving their ends. A second spectrum of consideration is the nature of the actor engaged in alleged terrorism. This comprises non-state actors ranging from small local groups to those who work across borders. In the latter category there is a tendency to distinguish between transnational and international, where the former refers to a national or sub-national actor working across [ 15 ]

16 ]

Jørgen S. Nielsen

borders while the latter refers to a network which in its essence is not identifiable with one particular country or even region. It also comprises state actors who may engage in terrorism either by their own direct military, police or covert action or by supporting the terrorist activities of a non-state group. But if one begins to think through even this attempt at some form of categorization, it is clear that the boundaries are more zones of shading than clear divides. The other core element of the subject that I now wish to devote some space to is the question of definitions. In a critical response to the international assertion of US interests since 9/11, Michael Mann defines a ‘terrorist’ as a non-state actor who attacks civilian targets in order to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy community. A ‘state terrorist’ is a state doing the same thing . . . any war against terrorism must distinguish between two types, national and international. Terrorists all begin as national ‘freedom fighters,’ seeking to liberate their own land from what they see as alien oppressive rule. When some of them (usually out of weakness) turn to attack civilians as well as soldiers and officials, they become national terrorists . . .5

The key elements in the first part of this definition are the ‘civilian targets’ and the intention to ‘strike terror’. It is these two elements that almost anyone trying to define terrorism has incorporated.6 However, once we extend the investigation beyond a solely Western discourse, particularly into an Islamic one, there are two basic elements of confusion. Both have to do with definitions. The first is in a sense a dictionary matter, namely the different associations of ‘terrorism’ in European usage and irhab in Arabic usage. The second is then a matter of legal and political definitions: whatever we may mean by terrorism/irhab, how is the concept used in the political discourse? If we start with the dictionary definitions, there seems to be an asymmetry between the two words most commonly used in English and Arabic. In Arabic the root r-h-b clearly means fear; but if one looks at the twelve instances in which it appears in the Quran,7 the fear being expressed appears throughout to be the fear or awe of God and is thus related in some sense to taqwa (piety). It is from this that the word rahban, meaning Christian monks, derives; this actually constitutes four of the twelve appearances of the root mentioned. Quranically, the term khawf and its derivatives are much more extensively used to mean fear, not only of God but also of others, including of Satan. An alternative term clearly meaning abject, pure terror, namely rub, appears only five times in the Quran. Of course, words derived from r-h-b have continued to develop in meaning post-Quranically but it is still worth wondering why this is the root which has been used. The only case of the twelve appearances of the root in the Quran that gives grounds for its modern usage is in Sura 8, verse 60, which says, according to the new translation by Muhammad Abdel Haleem,

The Discourse of ‘Terrorism’

[ 17

Prepare whatever forces you [believers] can muster, including warhorses, to frighten off (turhibuna) God’s enemies and yours . . .8

According to most classical commentaries, this verse refers to the period before the battle of Badr when a Meccan army was moving against the Prophet Muhammad’s Medina despite an agreed truce, and Muhammad is advised to arm as well as possible in the face of this treachery. In the ninth century, alTabari talks of frightening the enemy by thorough preparation.9 Ibn Kathir, writing in the early fourteenth century, shows no interest in the word at all, being much more concerned with the horses, although he does suggest, in relation to the treachery mentioned in the previous verse, that treachery by Muslims against non-Muslims is equally to be condemned.10 The modern commentary entitled Tafsir al-Manar, started by Muhammad Abduh (d. 1905) and completed by his disciple Rashid Rida, also locates the verse in the circumstances before the battle of Badr and describes the required preparations in similar terms.11 In other words, the Quranic term that provides the modern Arabic word for terrorism, irhab, meant arming for deterrence in a very particular set of circumstances. One is led to wonder whether we are not seeing, in the contemporary usage of the term irhab to mean terrorism, an aspect of the phenomenon common in certain Arabic terms, whereby a European concept has been imported into an existing Arabic word and that meaning then reflected back onto the original Quranic meaning. A good example of this phenomenon is the word ummah (the Muslim faith community), where there is now popular ambiguity between its Quranic and classical meaning, on the one hand, and its modern meaning of ‘nation’ – as in al-ummah al-arabiyyah (the ‘Arab nation’) – on the other. If this is the case, we are then in the dangerous situation that verse 60 of Sura 8 can be – and actually is – used as a justification for terrorism. In English, the word ‘terror’ basically means an extreme state of fear with an implication that one is so frightened that there is a sense of total loss of control of oneself and one’s circumstances. In medieval usage, this could certainly be associated with a fear of God but hardly with the connotations of piety, as is often associated with the terms ‘fear’ or ‘awe’ of God. ‘Terror’ is therefore more similar to the Arabic khawf or even more closely akin to ru`b than it is to rahbah. In European languages, the word ‘terror’ has been taken from English, or occasionally from its French equivalent terreur, to give the word ‘terrorism’ in most languages, at least in Western Europe. The words most commonly used for fear or terror in, for example, German or the Scandinavian languages derive from other roots. In these languages ‘terror’ only appears today in the context of terrorism. If we now follow the dictionary further and look at the Oxford English Dictionary, towards the end of the entry on ‘terror’ comes the following: 4. reign of terror, a state of things in which the general community live in dread of death or outrage; esp. (with capital initials) French Hist. the period of the First

18 ]

Jørgen S. Nielsen

Revolution from about March 1793 to July 1794, called also the Terror, the Red Terror, when the ruling faction remorselessly shed the blood of persons of both sexes and of all ages and conditions whom they regarded as obnoxious. Hence, without article or pl., the use of organized intimidation, terrorism. Hence also White Terror, applied to the counter-revolution that followed the Red Terror, and to other periods of remorseless repression in various countries; the terror is also used simply for a similar period of repression.12

This takes us directly into the second part of my discussion, namely the issue of definitions of terrorism. It seems to me that, for our present discussion, the passage I have highlighted is of some significance: the concept of terrorism, using that term as a political phenomenon, was originally a method of control and repression imposed by the state. In this case it was the French state during the peak of extreme Jacobin rule, and the state itself used the term to describe what it was doing. But the term has also been used with reference to various periods of Communist repression under Stalin in the Soviet Union and under Mao Tse Tung in China. Only in the late nineteenth century was it expanded to take in the actions of individual or collective opposition or revolutionary movements, in particular anarchist or communist in nature. The most well-known of such actions was the murder in Sarajevo in the summer of 1914 of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand by a Serb nationalist, an action that sparked the First World War. Given this background, it has to be said that it is notable how the concept of terrorism in today’s popular and political usage has, on the whole, been restricted to actions by non-state parties. This is reflected most clearly in the way in which various governments have tended to condemn the violent acts of militants, rebels and others as ‘terrorist’. This has been the case especially since the events of 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington. The response of the US Government and its language of ‘War on Terror’ has legitimised its use by others in often very different circumstances. Obvious examples are Chechnya and Palestine. But the practice is older, as witness its usage by the UK Government in its dealings with the IRA and other armed groups in Northern Ireland over several decades. The trouble with using the term terrorism in this way is that it puts into the same category often very different phenomena, as well as treating them as if they are somehow interrelated in some kind of universal conspiracy. This does not mean, of course, that terrorism does not exist. But it does mean that the term should be deployed much more carefully. This is not just a theoretical argument. Differentiation between various kinds of movements and violent events is a fundamental necessity if societies and governments are to be able to develop appropriate responses. Treating all kinds of different actors and incidents as if they are the same too easily leads to an assumption that they can all

The Discourse of ‘Terrorism’

[ 19

be dealt with in the same way. This kind of uniform response to different phenomena is likely to create more problems rather than less. So let us look at possible definitions with a view to exploring what their implications might be. The United Nations system has regularly been concerned with issues related to terrorism at the inter-state level, although in its early phases it seems to have responded to particular types of actions of violence. The earliest case is probably the 17 December 1979 ‘Convention against the taking of hostages’ adopted by the General Assembly, which did not use the word terrorism. On 9 December 1994 the UN General Assembly adopted a Declaration on Measures to Eliminate Terrorism. In its operative paragraphs 1 and 2, the term terrorism is used without further definition. Only in paragraph 3 is anything like a definition attempted: Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstances unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

It should be noted that in the usage of the United Nations the word ‘criminal’ clearly indicates that the Declaration here refers to non-state actors, not to governments. This identification of terrorism only with non-state actors continues to be the UN usage in subsequent documents, as can be seen in the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (12 January 1998) and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (10 January 2000), as well as in numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council adopted since December 1994.13 In political terms, this preference is understandable: one would hardly expect an organisation whose membership is made up of states to pass resolutions consistently to the detriment of its own members. But there is also a more substantial foundation for this distinction: the UN Charter has other terms to cover acts of violence instigated by states against other states or against their own citizens, in particular the term ‘aggression’, meaning illegitimate attacks where legitimacy is established within the terms of the UN Charter.14 But this does make it difficult to have a cool and balanced discussion about terrorism. Staying with the UN approach invites the practice so often seen today, namely that ‘terrorism’, in that it is applied to non-state actors, has become a value-loaded concept. It means the acts of violence others engage in against us. So one gets the language of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ referring to acts of violence instigated by an unfriendly state against our interests. This leads to the completely useless and distracting argument about ‘freedom fighters’ or ‘terrorists’ being applied by opposing parties to the same people and movements. From both sides it provides an excuse not to engage critically with what is going on and therefore contributes to preventing progress towards a solution.

20 ]

Jørgen S. Nielsen

It imposes a binary analysis that opposes absolute good against absolute evil with no room for complexity or shades. If a definition of terrorism is to mean anything useful, at least in international law and politics, it has to be one on which there can be a large degree of agreement: total agreement is probably a vain hope. It has to be a definition which allows for a significant element of objectivity, and it has to be accepted in advance that the definition should be potentially applicable to all parties in a dispute. This last is the most difficult part, since it requires that the possibility has to be accepted that organisations or movements with which we are sympathetic or to which we may belong might be engaged in terrorism. If we start out with the intention of finding a definition that automatically excludes groups and causes with which we are in sympathy, the project is doomed from the start. If we are not prepared to take that risk, we should rather campaign for the complete elimination of the concept of terrorism from the political and legal dictionary – a utopian goal. But it also seems to me that it should be a definition that meets the ethical standards of the various religions and the ideals associated with democracy, justice and human rights. Apparently this is what the Arab League was attempting to achieve when its Councils of Ministers of the Interior and of Justice in April 1998 adopted the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism. Its Article 2 defined terrorism as Any act or threat of violence, whatever its motives or purposes, that occurs in the advancement of an individual or collective criminal agenda and seeking to sow panic among people, causing fear by harming them, or placing their lives, liberty or security in danger, or seeking to cause damage to the environment or to public or private installations or property or to occupying or seizing them, or seeking to jeopardize national resources.15

In its first half, this clearly meets the assumptions implicit in the use of the word terror in the phrases ‘to sow panic’ and ‘causing fear’. I am less sure about the second half, with its references to damage to the environment and so on. These are concepts that appear to have been drawn out of the classical Islamic law of war as represented in the texts on siyar. I also suspect this section has been included with an eye to Israeli activities in the occupied territories, at a time when Arab states were in denial over the Iraqi regime’s activities, such as the draining of the southern marshes. The problem is indeed that they have been drawn out of the law of war, which I would suggest should remain a category distinct from the law on terrorism, if the concept of terrorism is to remain useful. The point here is that there is and should be an international law of war – this is not the place to discuss the details of it – as part of a general law of inter-state relations. Terrorism is a distinct category in the sense that it deals with a specific form of violence that can be both between states and within

The Discourse of ‘Terrorism’

[ 21

states as well as being conducted by state as well as non-state actors. An additional problem with this second part is that it comes close to describing what is today being called ‘collateral damage’, that is the damage caused to civilians and civilian property as a side-effect of the technology of modern warfare aimed at military targets. Logically there are only two ways of dealing with collateral damage: one is to accept it as an inevitable consequence of modern warfare and attempt to minimise it; the other is to become a pacifist and ban all warfare. However, if the phrase ‘seeking to cause damage’ is intended to denote actions that aim deliberately to cause such damage, then it does make sense to include it here; but then this should be explicit. The other problem in the text is the reference to a ‘criminal’ agenda. Given the status of this document as an instrument of international law, one is entitled to be concerned that this again is likely to excuse state actors, as do the UN instruments. Finally, I will draw attention to a definition of terrorism from an unexpected source. On 30 April 2001, former US senator George Mitchell presented the report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Commission to President George W. Bush. In it, he seeks to define terrorism in the following terms: Terrorism involves the deliberate killing and injuring of randomly selected noncombatants for political ends. It seeks to promote a political outcome by spreading terror and demoralization throughout a population.16

The context of this particular part of the document indicates that this definition is written with the Palestinian side in mind. This makes many unhappy, but the motivation for such a choice of words should not of itself be a reason for rejecting it out of hand, especially since it appears deliberately to have left unsaid the question of the status of the source of terrorism. The wording is open to the suspicion that it has been very carefully designed so that it can be applied also to state actors such as the Russian government in Chechnya and the Israelis themselves. Let us see how it can be used if it is applied more generally. As it stands, this definition would clearly have applied to, for example, the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany, in 1945 and the US nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, later that year. Both actions were explicitly intended to spread terror in the civilian population with a view to destroying morale and thereby pressurising the respective governments into surrender. But such a definition also makes a clear distinction between acts of extreme and random violence for criminal purposes and those conducted for political purposes. Of course, it is not always possible to make an absolute distinction between these two dimensions, as we have seen in a number of cases in recent years. It was, for example, soon clear during the Troubles in Northern Ireland that both the IRA and loyalist militias were engaging in bank robberies, drug dealing and other criminal activities to help finance their political and armed

22 ]

Jørgen S. Nielsen

campaigns. Whatever we do we cannot avoid grey areas and overlaps between otherwise distinct categories. The other very important dimension the Mitchell definition states is that ‘terrorism’ applies to actions not, by implication, to movements except in quite exceptional circumstances. The IRA could thus not be termed a terrorist movement, although many of its actions were of a terrorist nature. It also means that violent resistance to occupation is of a different category, so long as it does not cross the line into terrorism. Thus the bombing of the US Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983 cannot be termed terrorist, as it was not random or aimed at noncombatants. Acts of violence carried out by Palestinian resistance groups, as well as by the Israeli authorities, will also have to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Some of these acts cannot be termed terrorist according to the Mitchell definition while others can. Likewise, most of the actions attributed to al-Qaeda fall into the category of terrorist although not, for example, the attack on the USS Cole, however uncomfortable this may be in some political quarters. Note, however, that this does not necessarily exclude such acts from falling into the category of criminal actions. If we follow carefully formulated definitions of terrorism, clearly we do exclude a whole range of violent actions from the term; but they are usually covered by other legal categories that criminalise them, whether under national or international law. Certain Israeli activities against Palestinian political or military targets may thus escape being termed terrorism, but they do not escape condemnation under a whole string of international legal instruments such as the Geneva Conventions or UN resolutions. At a spring 2004 conference on ‘Islam and Terrorism’ at the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, a number of speakers, attempting to define terrorism, resorted to listing categories of crime identified in classical Islamic sources, in particular hiraba (highway robbery) and qat` al-tariq (brigandage), not to mention spreading fasad (corruption) and fitna (sedition). In that case one is entitled to ask, if such actions are already condemned as crimes in known categories, why is a new category necessary? A similar question can be put in relation to much Western legislation. The search for an answer to this question takes us back to the confusion and power-plays of political discourse. In practice it seems to me that there are two principle responses. The first is that the state or a combination of states feels that by mobilising the concept of terrorism in their criminal legislation they are able to achieve a number of political and public-order goals. By categorising particular existing crimes and combinations of crimes as terrorism, they can increase the accumulated punishment and thus strengthen the deterrent effect. More significant is the ability to lower normally required evidence thresholds as well as removing existing legal obstacles in the way of the ability of the police and security services to obtain evidence. Terrorism, at least in the forms in which states are currently responding to it, is primarily a political phenomenon, so it is to be expected that some of the response to it must be political. One cannot escape the fact that

The Discourse of ‘Terrorism’

[ 23

states have, in their response to terrorism, essentially identified a political crime. The US Patriot Act, enacted in panic after 9/11, strikes me as a clear example. In their more subtle ways so are the succession of terrorism acts adopted in Britain over decades, primarily in response to developments in Northern Ireland. The second answer is to be found much more blatantly in what one might call low politics. Gramsci talked about ‘hegemonical discourses’. In this instance, it seems to me that there is little doubt that we are witnessing a struggle to create and assert ownership over precisely such a hegemonical discourse. It should be a cause for concern that so many actors outside North America and Europe have unwittingly and implicitly – and sometimes willingly and explicitly – fallen into the trap. This is to an extent understandable, although not excusable, on the part of regimes whose foundations in the consent of their populations are, to put it mildly, weak. And a regime that does attempt to resist finds itself at risk of various kinds of pressures and sanctions from the United States. I find it less comprehensible, however, among non-state actors, especially those who are actually or potentially the victims of such ‘discourse aggression’. For while they protest the term terrorist as applied to themselves, they just as freely and uncritically apply the term to their opponents. The escape from the trap is, in my view, to be found not in turning the tables and engaging in an empty and propagandistic exchange of mud-slinging but rather in adopting the – granted, more difficult – strategy of refusing to enter into this exchange altogether and insisting instead on an analysis based on justice and then adopting methods, including if necessary violence, commensurate with contexts and goals, methods that are not corrupting of the principles of the belief system to which one may be appealing, whether this be Christianity, Islam, liberal democracy or human rights. Notes 1. Earlier versions of this paper were given at an April 2004 conference on ‘Islam and Terrorism’ at the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, and as a keynote lecture at a conference on ‘Violence in the Middle East’, Lebanese American University, Beirut, 19–21 May 2004. 2. Townshend, Charles (2002) Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 1 . 3. Ibid., pp. 2ff. 4. In this I find a base in Thackrah, J. R. (2004) Dictionary of Terrorism, London: Routledge, in particular the articles ‘Definitions’ and ‘Terror and Terrorism’. 5. Mann, Michael (2003) Incoherent Empire, London: Verso, p. 159. 6. These are the common elements in the ninety quotes given by Thackrah (2004) in the article ‘Definitions’. 7. According to Muhammad Abd al-Baqi, Al-Mujam al-mufahras li-alfaz al-Quran al-karim, Cairo; Matabi al-Shab, 1378H.

24 ]

Jørgen S. Nielsen

8. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem (2004) The Quran: A New Translation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 114 ; turhibuna is the second-person plural imperfect form of the verb for which the verbal noun, or infinitive form, is irhab. 9. al-Tabari, Jami al-bayanan tawil aya alQuran, 30 vols, ed. M. S. al-Jurustani, Beirut: Dar ihya al-turath al-arabi, vol. 10, p. 36. 10. Ibn Kathir (2004) Al-Misbah al-munir fi tahdhib tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4 vols, ed. and abridged by S. R. al-Mubarakpuri, Riyadh: Darussalam, vol. 4, pp. 342–8. 11. M. Abduh and R. Rida, Tafsir al-Manar (2002), 30 vols, ed. S. M. Rabab, Beirut: Dar ihya al-turath al-arabi, vol. 10, p. 57. 12. Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2000), article ‘Terror’. 13. Including General Assembly resolutions 49/60 and 51/210, and Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001), 1377 (2001) and 1456 (2003). 14. See particularly Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. 15. www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/terrorism98.htm. Accessed 5 March 2006. 16. www.usinfo.state.gov/mena/Archive_Index/Sharm_ElSheikh_FactFinding_ Committee_Final_Report.html.Accessed 7 March 2006.

CHAPTER

3 A Clinical Psychology Perspective on Radical Islamic Youth Edward J. Lifton

Knowledge: psychological and divine This article examines some aspects of Muslim belief from the perspective of modern clinical psychology. Clinical psychology derives its information from descriptions of the thoughts and feelings of clients in psychotherapy. The predominant approach at the present time, including the author’s own practice, is cognitive-behavioural psychology. In this article we are more interested in psychodynamic psychology. This is the work of Sigmund Freud, as developed by recent object-relations and self theorists. Psychological knowledge can say little about the validity of putative knowledge of the divine; it can, however, give clues to additional motives that can ‘over-determine’ a religious belief. Psychological terms that have technical meanings distinct from their common meanings will be shown in single quotes when first introduced. Psychodynamic psychology is the school originating from Sigmund Freud, but current thinking emphasises the self, and object relations, that is, the relation between the subject and his/her love objects. The sources here include Freud and Klein, among others.1 Rycroft’s dictionary of psychoanalysis provides a very readable access route.2 An attempt to interpret feminist concerns through object-relations theory by Dinnerstein is readable, though somewhat out of the mainstream.3 A recent attempt by Farhad to make psychoanalysis less Eurocentric is also appropriate.4 The following diagram shows the classical Freudian three-part mental structure in which the conscious self is influenced by less conscious impulses and needs, and also by internal criticism and ideals. Conscience

critical part of self

Impulses

anger

ideals

Self desire

[ 25 ]

need to be cared for

26 ]

Edward J. Lifton

Psychological findings pose some challenges to religious belief. Some argue that belief reduces to psychology and is ‘nothing but’ an attribution from the individual’s psyche. On the other hand, it is possible to think of the human mind and brain as endowed by God for his purposes. The example of temporal lobe syndrome illustrates this. There is a well-documented connection between activity in particular parts of the brain and spirituality. A considerable number of people who claim mystic visions turn out to have temporal-lobe epilepsy. For example, research by Persinger compared endorsements of beliefs in paranormal phenomena and subcortical (complex partial epileptic-like signs) temporallobe experiences.5 In 400 men and 400 women who completed questionnaires called personal philosophy inventories, endorsements of religious beliefs were found to be associated with experiences of a sensed presence of otherness. Religious affiliation did not contribute any significant influence. This last point makes the important distinction between individual spirituality and collective religious affiliation. It is only the individual’s sense of mysticism and otherness that is associated with the temporal lobes. While it might be argued that spirituality is ‘nothing but’ random brain activity, some religious commentators have found no difficulty in accepting this association. They say God must have left humans with a ‘spiritual antenna’ somewhere, and it appears to be in the temporal lobes. Divine knowledge is claimed to be by revelation. The three major monotheist traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – hold that God has revealed himself through prophets. Muslims accept the same earlier prophets as the other two faiths, and insist that Muhammad (pbuh – Muslims are obliged to say ‘peace be upon him’ when the Prophet’s name is mentioned) was the last prophet. Some believers also hold that the divine can be approached through meditation or mysticism. Buddhism is the best-known mystical belief, whereas Islam has a mystical branch in the form of Sufism.6 Words printed below in italics have a particular sense in Arabic. For example, submission (Islam) is what believers (Muslims) do in reading the message (Quran) of the One (Allah). Walter Langer made the first major attempt to apply psychoanalysis to a political leader. In 1943 he and other Harvard psychologists made a fivemonth study of Adolf Hitler, by interviewing refugees, including the Schicklegruber family’s doctor. The American office of strategic services wanted to know what Hitler might do if and when the defeat of Germany seemed likely. Langer’s first concern, as would be expected from American psychiatrists at that time, was about the Oedipus complex. Hitler’s father was prone to beating his children when drunk, while his mother doted upon him. This led them to suspect rather severe castration anxiety, which might manifest symbolically as a fear of syphilis and difficulty in achieving intimacy with a woman. Hitler’s Mein Kampf contains many references to syphilis, and most of the witnesses tended to support the belief that Hitler was asexual. The

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 27

second line of evidence was a tendency in his mother towards cleanliness, which would be expected to be associated with severe toilet training. These two areas are standard themes in classical Freudian theory, and their value in future predictions unclear. The most interesting theme was the association between Hitler’s messianic belief that he was the saviour of Germany and the precious value he held to his mother, after three brothers had died. Langer correctly predicted that Nazi reversals would lead to increased rages, withdrawal from public appearances, and eventual suicide. A similar approach to political biography has been used by Post, including biographies of Bill Clinton and Saddam Hussein.7 There is little literature on the belief of Muslims from a psychodynamic standpoint. One case is presented in this article, and other ideas are extrapolations from general psychotherapeutic practice. Psychoanalysis and its derivatives have been strongly criticised for being unscientific. In the sense that that they do not generate hypotheses that can be refuted, this is largely true. Sometimes there are testable predictions: the argument about ablution might predict that obsessional-compulsive disorder would be more frequent in Muslims. Dynamic psychology can only be employed empathically to understand, not to explain (German verstehen vs erklären). The key ideas in what follows may be considered ‘interpretations’, a suggested link between a childhood feeling and events in the adult world. The accuracy of an interpretation in therapy may be inferred when it results in reduction of tension, and memories falling into place. For example, if the suggested association between Allah and the superego is close, the Muslim believer may be freed from some cruel feelings. Inaccurate interpretations give rise to perplexity and loss of rapport. Interpretations that arouse disturbing feelings may give rise to rapid indignation and argument. These are also interesting, as they suggest a defensive process. Thus the reason for drawing attention to the revulsion at homosexuality. While Muslims in Europe usually give calm reasons why alcohol should be avoided, homosexuality stirs up less organized feelings. Such revulsion in twentieth-century Europeans often hid feelings of fear of being used, and excitement, behind the feelings of disgust. Identity issues in young adults Identity may be taken to mean a sense of an affiliation to a reference group. The term was used extensively by the American psychoanalyst Erik Erikson to describe a ‘developmental task’ of adolescence.8 Identity diffusion in young adults describes a developmental stage where belonging and purpose have not been achieved. It is common in modern Europe, but is particularly marked in young men of South Asian origin. A strong belief system such as radical Islam or Marxism may offer affinity and purpose.

28 ]

Edward J. Lifton

The concept of identity is quite well-known among young people born in Britain of parents of Pakistani origin. Empirical data on 500 informants, mostly sixth-form students, were provided by Abdullah Sahin, a lecturer in education at Birmingham.9 A young person from that background commonly experiences British values of independence, career-choice, liberal attitudes to relationships. At they same time they are expected to show loyalty to an extended family, perhaps land in Pakistan, and look to the elders of the community for decisions. Additional stresses have arisen in recent years with unemployment and the use of recreational drugs. A sense of low status, identity confusion and lack of direction is therefore common. Extreme groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir and AlMuhajiroun may be attractive in this situation. The second group issue is the diminished role of elders in Asian communities in the UK. Pakistani communities have a biraderi (caste or clan) system, which gives decision-making power to male elders. Young men of Pakistani ethnicity in Europe are less subject to these conservative influences. Modern European societies do not respect age, in most areas except perhaps politics. One indication of this ‘generation gap’ in the Asian community emerged when ballot-rigging in favour of the Labour Party was discovered. Older people of Pakistani ethnicity traditionally voted Labour, and some elders attempted to preserve biradari loyalties in the face of rebellious younger adults in the same community. Matters of religious authority also traditionally involve deference to older scholars, especially the hafiz. Religious education of young Muslims has usually been very traditional: the madrasah is separate from other parts of education, and requires long hours of Arabic and rote learning of Sura in the Quran. The more critical approach to religious education found in Turkey is not found here. Young Muslim men therefore have the paradox: European confidence in youth, identity confusion about adult roles, and a deeply conservative religious education. The psychology of the above perspective is that of the group, in the hereand-now. The remainder of this article will concentrate on a different focus, the way in which emotions during infant development may over-determine thinking in adulthood. Splitting and projective identification in infants According to psychodynamic theory, the earliest experience of the infant is not of a coherent self who relates to discrete others, but of transient experiences of pain and pleasure that are loosely connected to perceptions. Melanie Klein has made an ambitious attempt to describe the experience of the infant in its first year. In this theory of ‘object relations’, experiences such as being pleasantly full, skin contact and seeing smiles are associated with a love object that is part of the mother.10 Episodes of frustration and pain are associated with the frown of an exasperated or ineffectual mother. Experience at this stage therefore

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 29

involves ‘splitting’ of percepts into good/pleasurable and bad/painful. ‘Projective identification’ describes the process in which an infant attempts to rid itself of painful experiences by associating them with something external. For example, an infant with painful gums when cutting a tooth may experience them as torment by a witch. Projective identification is also involved when we become sentimental about animals. Most Britons attribute feelings about vulnerable babies when hearing of seal culls but are less likely to do so when hearing of rat or cockroach control. These very basic defences of splitting and projective identification are less important as the child matures, and are subject to the ‘reality principle’, but can return when anger is strong or the individual’s sense of self is under threat. Projective identification may be involved when an individual’s experience of anger and unfairness is expressed on behalf of ‘all Muslim brothers’. In this process, the individual’s feelings of rejection are projected onto an external reference group; anger is then experienced as in sympathy with suffering identified in the others. However, the reality-testing in projective identification is poor. A simple good/bad projection works quite well if the identification is with Palestinians: the state of Israel can be identified with the bad object and its American supporters can be equated with the ‘great Satan’. All protagonists may be grouped into two: us  good  holy vs them  bad  devilish. Closer inspection finds that the reality principle is violated. Specifically anti-Jewish feeling was greatly influenced by German national socialism, and some Arabs continue to believe in the protocol of the elders of Zion. Bosnian Muslims participated in Nazi SS units, a reason for continuing hostility by Serbs. It is quite difficult to integrate the Nazi element into a basic good/bad split. In the case of Iraq, the good object is worldwide Islam  Sunnis  Shias  Kurds and the bad object is America  Britain  the West. Application of the reality principle finds anomalies, such as the exclusion of Shia Muslims from the identification. Al-Qaeda has explicitly stated on some occasions that it was attacking Iraqi Shias. This psychological perspective says nothing about the political or cultural value: Iraqi civilians are no doubt suffering, and Bosnians and Chechens do have grievances. It merely says the value is over-determined by a primitive psychological process. Nor are projection and splitting a Muslim prerogative. The same process is very evident in George W. Bush’s statements about ‘the forces of evil’ and the like. It appears that Muslims are more disposed than average to use splitting. Muslim leaders sometimes speak of their opponents in less than personal terms. It would be quite usual for any society to speak of its adversaries as people with negative qualities (greed, dishonesty, and so on) whose status must be reduced, for example they ‘must be taught a lesson’ or ‘forced to give up their illegal occupation’. By contrast, the Iranian head of state Ahamadinejad (28 October 2005) called for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map’ and later described it as

30 ]

Edward J. Lifton

a ‘tumour’. This phrase does not view the adversary as people, but rather as part object, like pain or ugliness. The self and lost symbiotic unity Individuation is achieved at the cost of losing the sense of blissful unity with the mother. The myth of the Garden of Eden, which is common to three monotheisms, may represent this feeling of a lost state of bliss. Mankind is expelled from the garden after Adam eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This probably re-evokes the sense that each of us was in a state of innocent bliss in our mother’s arms. Our individuation necessarily entails the loss of this timeless perfection. Loss of self after infancy is normally a frightening prospect. We generally cling tenaciously to our autonomy and resist the influence of others. A partial exception to this occurs in group membership, where each individual is obliged to give over some part of the self to the collective. The principal place where ego-loss is a desirable goal is in orgasm. The experience of sexual climax with a loved partner is associated at the biological level with the continuity of the self through offspring. The relation of the individual to the wider reference group for Muslims involves the concept of ummah. The ummah describes both the state of unity of all mankind in submission of the One and also the short period in which Muhammad (pbuh) was in exile in Medina. The usual translation of ummah into English is ‘brotherhood of all Muslims’. A comparison may be made with the word ‘commune’, in Marxist theory. In that tradition, it represents two events: the eventual unification of humanity by the world proletariat, and the brief period of rule of Paris by the workers in 1871. While the historical events are quite different, the imagined states are similar – equality, common purpose, the absence of friction. Utopian feelings contrast with experiences of unfairness and irritation in the present. There is an interesting linguistic aside about the common etymology of ummah and umm (mother). The psychological interest is whether the fantasy of yielding control of the self to the group is also a regression to symbiotic unity with the mother. However, Arabic words are notoriously ambiguous, and further consideration of this would need to be undertaken by psychologically-trained native speakers. Islam has an additional belief about self-loss, apart from yielding to the group and sexual climax that are common to all human groups. The Shaheed (witness by self-sacrifice) is supposed to be transformed instantaneously to reappear in paradise, without the necessity of the trial. (The role of judgement is discussed further below as a function of the superego). Most Muslims in the modern world who intend to be witnesses do so by explosive means, rather than by small arms or spreading infection. These methods would involve protracted death through infected wounds and so on. The fantasy is of blowing oneself up

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 31

instantaneously and being reconstituted in a state of bliss. The resonances with other valued states of ego-loss need exploration. Grieving and reparation The process by which the infant achieves ‘object permanence’ is described variously as the ‘depressive position’ or the ‘rapprochement phase’ by psychodynamic psychologists. Object permanence is becoming evident in behaviour at around the age of nine months, when the infant enjoys ‘peek-a-boo’ games and turns to look for things that move out of sight. Rapprochement is thought to involve much sadness, as the infant realises the extent of his murderous attacks on the frustrating aspects of mother. Grieving in adult life is thought to be over-determined by this rapprochement experience. When someone dies, feelings of anger and guilt vie for supremacy in our minds. Islam has a rather limited range of rituals for grieving but they do exist, such as those depicted in Pakistani Shias by Nadeem Kamzi.11 If the previous argument about splitting and projection is accepted, an implication is that children in some Muslim families do not adequately experience the rapprochement phase. Integration of negative feelings into the self Socialisation of an infant requires the parents to gradually direct the child to restrain impulses and conform to cultural patterns. Along this road there will be some tantrums, urination in inappropriate places, and other expressions of continued wilfulness. The internalisation by the child of parental requirements involves feelings of duty, narcissistic pride, and shame when a lapse occurs. Religious rituals may be viewed in part as contributing to this socialisation process. Islam makes intensive use of ritual ablution with water to demarcate a prayerful state of mind. Purification plays an important role in Islam. To approach God in prayer, the Muslim needs to cleanse himself or herself. Before prayer, water must be found if possible to wash the hands, face and feet. Water must flow away but not be used wastefully. This minor ablution (wudu) is replaced by a major ablution (djanaba) after certain contaminating activities, including childbirth, handling the dead, and sexual intercourse or any ejaculation. In the major ablution, every part including the hair must be washed. The purity is seen as religious rather than hygienic. There are rather few Islamic myths concerning mastery of destructive impulses. Sacrificial themes continue to dominate. For example, Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Ismail, when God showed him a lamb as substitute. This requirement to separate the spiritual state from the usual mental state warrants some examination from clinical experience of obsessional-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD presents as compulsions to perform actions despite

32 ]

Edward J. Lifton

common sense. Excessive cleaning of the hands or house is a common presentation. Other symptoms include repeating actions in threes or fours, or checking locks and gas taps. Obsessional complaints may include excessive worry about contamination by germs, or thoughts about harming one’s children. In modern cognitive psychology such compulsions are described as ‘neutralising’ an underlying wish or fear. The Freudian view is that the clean thought is a ‘reaction-formation’ against an underlying dirty thought. OCD is a more extreme version of a relatively normal human concern: how to maintain a sense of our own goodness when having destructive, guilty or other unpleasant feelings. Further examination of the idea of ‘corruption’ as used by radical Muslims is needed from this standpoint. The Arabic word appears to connote adulteration by abstractions such as secularism or the West, but also by legalised homosexuality. Rituals of excessive cleaning or counting have the function of ‘neutralising’ (in cognitive psychology terms) an unacceptable belief. Dynamic psychology describes the conscious action as a ‘reaction-formation’ against feelings that are usually rather dirty or destructive. The question posed by ablution and prayer is whether the negative emotions are integrated into the self. The ability to channel and direct anger, self-dislike, guilt and so on is likely to be reduced by the repeated attempts to separate these troublesome emotions from the prayerful mind. Integration of sexual feelings Radical Muslims in the modern world are generally young males. Tensions created by sexuality are highly probable, though evidence is largely absent. We can make some extrapolations from other communities, and invite Muslims to examine them. The reproductive drive is most obviously associated with sexual desire, but is more subtly associated with the need to continue oneself through children, and to experience unconditional love. Many sexual acts are basic, but in strong relationships intercourse has much more significance. Intercourse entails the possibility of conceiving a much-wanted child, who will carry the seed of both parents after their death. The man and woman in this act of union experience loss of self, merging and dissolving, sometimes referred to as the ‘little death’. The drive is very strong and remains troublesome and difficult to integrate in social behaviour in all societies. Attempts to suppress it by celibacy or abstinence may be only partially successful. For example, the Catholic church has been troubled by members who attempt to be celibate but then engage sexually with inappropriate partners. Where abstinence is maintained, the drive may be ‘sublimated’. One manifestation of this is excitement about inflicting corporal punishment. Many fictional accounts – somewhat probable psychodynamically – describe the glee of Catholic nuns in punishing children, or repressed homosexuality in floggings in the army or in boys’ schools. Mystics

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 33

have also been troubled by unexpressed longings. Attempts to thwart the body by fasting and privation may increase the vividness of fantasy life. In psychodynamic theory, the relevant phase of infant development is between two and five, when pleasure takes its adult genital form, and sucking and elimination recede. The Quran takes a positive view of sex within marriage but does not give much help to the single male. Some lines of the Quran imply that masturbation is acceptable. There is a historical tradition of men together watching a female entertainer or ‘belly dancer’, who was required to live apart from society. In modern times, male Muslim wedding guests may share an erotic film. These apart, overt expression of sex is much inhibited. The question must be: where do sexual feelings go if they are not expressed? The notion of honour is located in the bodies of the women of the family, in their virginity and modest deportment. Honour is an important value in many communities, including Pakistan, India, Sicily and Iraq. In earlier centuries this was also true in England, for example in the code of knights. It may be the case that the emphasis on honour is typical of agricultural societies, rather than Islam per se. In a sociological perspective, the family and property are a consequence of settled agriculture.12 The move to settled agriculture entails dramatic changes. Property becomes important, particularly stores of grain. The inheritance of property requires proof of parentage. These pressures persist now in areas such as Bangladesh and rural Pakistan. Honour killings are reported from Hindu and Christian communities in India, as well as Muslim groups. Conversely, there is more tolerance of sexual indiscretions in industrialised countries such as Turkey and Egypt. Muhammad (pbuh) himself is supposed to have preferred the conversation of women, and had several wives and children. The emphasis on modesty and honour may not be fundamental to Islam. The black one-piece garment for women is probably an import into Islam from Orthodox Christianity, as was the veneration of relics in Ottoman Islam. Warlike male communities often have particular ways of integrating sexual feelings. The intense loyalty between elite paratroopers is well described by Ambrose in the book and film Band of Brothers.13 Lifelong loyalty also includes the sense that the fallen continue through the group. Despite the sensitivity and candour of this account, there is nothing explicitly homosexual in it. But male warrior communities are nearly always troubled by homosexual attraction sooner or later. In Nazi Germany, the cult of the soldier was of supermasculinity. Yet in 1942 the high command felt obliged to forbid homosexual activity in the SS. The same issue arose in orders of crusader knights. It has also been argued that particularly fierce soldiers, such as Norse berserkers, were homosexual. Islam has a strong tradition of monastic/military communities (ribat), and modern jihadis also share the ideas of loyalty, courage and willingness to sacrifice. There is no direct evidence of homoerotic issues in communities of young male Muslims. Liaisons are likely to be rare, if they occur at all.

34 ]

Edward J. Lifton

While most Muslims continue to view homosexuality as revolting, deep psychological issues are likely to be at work. Brother-love is likely to be wellsublimated, perhaps over-determining the idea of symbolic survival of self after death through the worldwide brotherhood. Attributions of deity Ideas about the divine realm necessarily draw on experience of the familiar. We tend to view the actions of pet animals anthropomorphically: cats, dogs or dolphins are attributed with friendly, human-like emotions, while rats and sharks are not. This process of attribution also affects human attempts to construct a divine realm. Where a religious belief is learned in childhood, we would expect attributions of the divine to draw heavily on family relationships. To say that beliefs about the divine are attributions does not necessarily say they are not valid; but, unless one argues that God placed structures directly in the mind, we are obliged to consider earthly influence on the way beliefs are built up. The earliest religious systems were animistic, and attributed spiritual properties to animals, and even inanimate objects. Animism persisted until quite recently in the Japanese belief in spirits (kami). Animistic beliefs can still be seen in North America, in Haida painting, or in the Eskimo hunter’s view of the soul of the seal he kills. With economic development, animism usually gave way to polytheism. Hinduism is the most familiar polytheistic system, and it assigns human attributes to many divine beings. Monotheists (tawhid) declare there is a single intelligent being, influential but not directly observable to the senses. The first major monotheism evolved in the context of previous animistic and polytheistic systems of attribution, and struggled against them. Judaism rejected multiple divine beings and insisted on God (Yahweh). Many Jewish attributions have persisted in Christianity and Islam. The characteristics attributed to God are mostly those of a secular leader of those times: maleness, power, wisdom and maturity. In later Christian European societies this was a king, so God was equated with ‘king in heaven’. Sigmund Freud showed that these attributions also incorporate the infant’s experience of its father.14 The individual’s attribution of deity comes mainly from the infant’s experience of the father – powerful, all-knowing, probably kindly but also rather remote, and possibly vengeful. The equation between god, king and father became much more explicit in Christianity in the nineteenth century; the divine realm was a close copy of monarchy, with phrases like ‘Lord and King’ and ‘your Father in Heaven’. In both domains, the supreme leader was an ideal; although loyal oaths were to king and country, the king played little actual role in leading the country. Other family experiences can find expression through the doctrines of the trinity and the immaculate conception – the maternal devotion of Mary, the childlike vulnerability of Jesus. Catholicism gives Mary the mother of Jesus almost equal weight to the crucifixion. Mary is the paradigm of a mother, always available,

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 35

selfless – and never speaking. The nativity story therefore makes the world for children a very safe and friendly place. Mary plays a considerable role in the Quran. Muslims generally reject iconic representations of the divine realm. The depiction of human likenesses in mosques, especially of Allah, is forbidden. Ottoman Islam introduced some iconicity, such as the veneration of saintly relics. However, Arab nationalist struggles against the Turks then increased the abhorrence of such representations. Saudi nationalism was inspired by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab Najdi in the 1700s. His condemnation of all ornamentation, mausolea and human likenesses has increased the rejection of visual representation in Saudi Islam. Allah is represented only as a voice, dictating a plan for mankind through Gabriel to Muhammad (pbuh). The absence of visual representations of heavenly beings seems to result in increased veneration of holy words. The emphasis on language is strongly linked to the written Arabic of the Quran. The message is supposed to be a literal copy of the mother book (umm alkhitab) in heaven, dictated to Muhammad (pbuh) via the angel Gabriel. It ceases to be the word of God in translation, so devout Muslims must learn the original Arabic. The effect of this is that the Semitic dialect of one tribe in Hijaz, the Quraysh, became fixed in the eighth century and remains the official language of the Muslim world. Some visual imagery is possible using Arabic script, such as the crocus-bulb shape, or the arabesque in wall decoration. Particular emphasis is placed on recitation of pleasant-sounding utterances. Some of these remain similar to Christian phrases derived from Aramaic, such as Hallelujah. Muslims declare daily the uniqueness and oneness of god, but also allow two other classes of sentient being: angels and fire-beings (djinn). The functions of the angels Gabriel, Munkar and Nakir will be described later. Djinn can influence the physical world, and can be invoked by humans, as in the myth of Aladdin and the genie. They have souls, which can be saved. Possession by djinn may be used by Pakistanis as an explanation for what psychologists call conversion reactions, even in Britain in the twenty-first century. The superego In psychodynamic theory, the self develops another agency, which has two parts: the strict internal parent, or conscience; and the ego ideal. The discussion here will make the case that Muslims are likely to be disposed to what therapists in this tradition call a ‘severe superego’. Once a human infant gets to his feet, he engages with adult requirements and prohibitions. These may include ‘Mind the road!’, ‘Hot!’ and ‘Share your sweets.’ The child eventually internalises these requirements, though with some difficulty. The superego is set up in the child’s mind as a particularly severe critic. The sanctions it has come from earlier sadistic feelings, rather than the

36 ]

Edward J. Lifton

severity of adult words. The story of Little Red Riding Hood is a salutary one for small children. She is directed to stay on the path but her impulsiveness in picking flowers leads to disaster: grandmother is the victim of an oral sadistic attack, a fate which also confronts Red Riding Hood, and only the timely intervention of a responsible male adult with an axe saves her too from death. The superego has to be particularly severe at this age to allow the child to inhibit impulses. Rules can later be gentler, but the severe sanctions continue to lurk, occasionally re-emerging as guilt. In childhood, parental sanctions may be verbally severe but softened by the child’s view of mother’s face: although mother may be cross, the infant can see love and concern. In Islam, God is often merciful, but the moment of death is attended with a particular terror. As the soul of the believer leaves his body, the interrogating angels Munkar and Nakir will demand an account of how the believer has fulfilled the tasks laid upon him by God. He may be sent to paradise, but if he has sinned he will go to Hell. The notion of Hell for Muslims continues to exercise all the terror it did for medieval Christians – pain without end, fire, mutilation and all manner of horrors. In intermediate cases, he may be sent to the Islamic purgatory (barzakh). Case: T. was a Muslim of Punjabi origin, who moved to the UK in his mid-20s. He was unfortunate enough to sustain a cardiac arrest, though fortunate that it occurred in a casualty department. He was resuscitated after his heart had stopped beating, and had some recall of a brilliant light. Some months later he was well, but dominated by terror of recurrence. He was also highly perplexed about having died and come back to life, as he believed the One chooses the moment of a Muslim’s death. In therapy, the fear diminished progressively. He and his wife conceived a child, and his confident hold on life increased. He remained uncertain about the meaning of the event.

The other aspect of the superego is the ego ideal. The good life for a Muslim is very clearly prescribed, and there can be no doubt of God’s routine requirements for life. The five pillars of Islam are witness, prayer, fasting, tithes and pilgrimage. These ideals are not intrinsically too daunting but they make big demands on time. There are a number of circumstantial clues, though no direct case evidence, that Muslims will be prone to more severe superego than average. These are: • Allah is known mainly through his voice. Superego prohibitions (for example, ‘Don’t stop to pick flowers!’) are of this kind. The absence of visual representation is likely to identify God with the critical part of the self, to the exclusion of nurturance and wisdom. • The goal of life is to prepare for the interrogation at the moment of death. It is hard to imagine a more direct representation of the critical part of the self. • The sanctions of Shariah law often include severe physical punishments. Serving time and reparation are not emphasised. Recall that the superego recruits sadistic feelings.

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 37

Witness by self-sacrifice The fundamental duty of witness may include acts of self-sacrifice. Some commentators find that the Muslim and Christian beliefs in witness through selfsacrifice continued in close parallel for several centuries. However, the belief in belligerent self-sacrificial acts is not a part of recent Christianity. Those who are judged to have expressed their witness by sacrificing their lives are granted special privileges in Islam. All their sins and guilt are absolved, they are exempt from interrogation by the angels, and go straight to paradise. In the most beautiful part of paradise, the Shaheed will be accompanied by seventy virgins. His wounds will glow with divine ruby light and smell of musk. Whereas other mortals may never return from paradise, the Shaheed may return a further ten times to repeat his sacrifice. His mortal remains do not need washing, as the act of witness has purified them. Where the sacrificial act can be prepared for, the would-be Shaheed must undertake a major ablution and wear a white shroud. A further perspective on Shaheed can be obtained from other traditions that favoured suicide troops, including Japanese kamikaze and Tamil Tigers. Tamils campaigning for an independent area of Sri Lanka also believe in self-sacrifice, viewed as honourable and glorious, for the Tamil eelam. They are Hindu and Sinhalese speaking.15 In the Second World War, the Japanese leadership rediscovered the belief that the invasion fleet of Genghis Khan had been repelled by a wind (kaze) of spirits (kami). The psychological influences on the airman or sailor who volunteered for a suicide mission seem to be: a belief in symbolic survival and return as kami; total loyalty to the imagined emperor, who was never seen or heard; pressure from the corps leadership to volunteer; shame at refusal; and promises of support for the volunteer’s family.16 The view of witness is hotly contested within Islam. In recent centuries, this status has been accorded to any soldier from a Muslim country who died in war with a non-Muslim country. In very recent times, it has been claimed in irregular wars where the belligerents were not states, notably Palestinians after 1947. The recent claim by radical Islamists of Shaheed status is vigorously opposed by Muslim scholars. For example, the ‘hijacked caravan’ asserts that Umm Ammar was the first martyr. She was speared when her family was being coerced into recantation. Muhammad (pbuh) was rewarding her for patience and steadfastness in faith. Recent acts by radical Islamists may be viewed as murder by other Muslims. An interpretation of the urge to be a Shaheed may now be presented, and some case material will be examined. The urge is likely to be over-determined by the way the self defends with splitting and projection. Other processes that may be important are: • The superego threat about accounting for one’s life is avoided. • A continuing attempt to maintain sexual inhibition, but a longing for release. • Narcissism: the onlookers are full of admiration.

38 ]

Edward J. Lifton

The main psychodynamic impression is of a vulnerable self and rage at a bad object. The bad object is one who torments others with whom one identifies. The tormentor is very poorly defined, perhaps including ‘the Great Satan’, ‘the decadent West’, ‘the global Jewish conspiracy’, and so on. The act that damages the bad object is usually an instantaneous explosion, rather than a fire fight, infection or another protracted death. The good, internal object is also diffused. The sense that Palestinians, Iraqis, Chechens and others share the same oppression is also likely to include feelings of being slighted, ignored or treated without respect in the individual. Kohut calls this ‘narcissistic vulnerability’: the most prominent reaction is narcissistic rage; secondary reactions are withdrawal or retreat to an arrogant, grandiose frame of mind.17 The sense of merging with the ummah may be a particularly strong form of the normal loss of self that occurs in joining a group. It is accompanied by an imagined transformation of the self from unhappiness to a state of bliss. The following cases attempt a psychological reconstruction from published material. Case: Mohammed Atta piloted a plane into one of the World Trade Center towers. He was Egyptian, and his family was average in its Muslim belief and anti-Israeli feeling. He graduated in architecture, then went to Hamburg for six years. There he was outspokenly anti-American and anti-Jewish, favoured Bosnian Muslims and polemicised against governments of the Arab world. He is reported to have described a global Jewish movement centred in New York City that supposedly controlled the financial world and the media. Atta had difficulty integrating some political events. He spoke of Saddam Hussein as ‘an American stooge set up to give Washington an excuse to intervene in the Middle East’. This shows weak realitytesting. He is reported to have visited clubs where female entertainers performed shortly before 9/11.18 There are interesting clues about Atta’s early life and erotic fantasy, but insufficient evidence for a detailed examination at present. The main trend is a relatively straightforward psychodynamic pattern: the persecutor – the Jewish conspiracy and its American backers; and a victim – Atta’s own sense as an Egyptian of humiliation by Israel, projected onto Palestinians and Bosnians and identified in them. Case: Mohammad Sidique Khan. This UK-born Muslim of Pakistani origin blew himself up in a London Underground train in 2005.19 His identity as a jihadi was very recent, and this biography does not support a view of environmental influences on him. Khan’s education in Yorkshire was very integrated and his peers were largely unaware of his religious views. Later he had various clerical jobs, gained a business management degree and was working as an education assistant. He was married with a child. The Hamara (‘ours’) youth centre in Leeds was where he met his fellowbombers, and where he was seen as an influential mentor. Clues about a victim–perpetrator theme recur: in his teens, where his peers were amused by his skill in

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 39

mocking teachers; and in his work as a classroom assistant, where he was seen as on the side of the most educationally disadvantaged. He was contemptuous of older Muslims. His farewell videotape also involved al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and was aired by Al-Jazeera. In it, Khan says: ‘Our so-called scholars today are content with their Toyotas and their semi-detached houses . . . How on earth did we conquer lands in the past if we were to obey by this law? By Allah, these scholars will be brought to account. If they fear the British Government more than they fear Allah, then they must . . . leave the job to the real men, the true inheritors of the Prophet.’ He was in a group playing paintball, a fantasy aggression game, and the group watched videotapes depicting Muslims in Chechnya and Palestine as the violent object of persecution. In this respect, he is portraying himself as a masculine warrior, in the tradition of fida’i. There are also hints of narcissistic grandiosity, for example when he warns ‘the governments of the West to stop harming my people’ (emphasis added). This case lends itself to a Kohut analysis: a grandiose reaction, narcissistic rejection, and identification with the child victim against the damaging parent.

These psychodynamic interpretations need consideration within the relevant communities. It should be possible to identify young adults who are prone to the seduction offered by Shaheed in Islam. The psychological conceptions of Muslim scholars do not readily incorporate psychodynamic concepts. The authors of the hijacked caravan say that Umm Ammar annihilated her ego (jihad an-nafs), while the suicide bomber annihilates himself (qatal an-nafs) physically and metaphysically’. The psychology in this account is awkward, and at odds with the impression given by Sidique Khan – that he was filled with self-importance and imagined glory. Awareness of one’s own deeper psychological processes, especially narcissism, splitting and projective identification, are not quickly accessible to introspection. The evidence above is that they are central to the thinking of Muslims. Further examination, perhaps by therapeutic means, is indicated. Conclusion Radical Islamic youth movements inherit some general mental propensities of Islam. Two trends have been described with moderate confidence: splitting and rage at a bad object; and the identification of God with the critical and ideal functions of the superego. There are substantial questions about the nonintegration of negative feelings into the self, and about sublimation of sexual urges. There has been brief mention of group issues – identity diffusion and the gap between youth and age. The particular attraction of Shaheed seems to include: rage at a tormentor; an attempt to transform the self from unhappiness to bliss; an explosive act; narcissism; and avoidance of superego threat.

40 ]

Edward J. Lifton

Nothing said above directly contradicts the reality of specific grievances, or the necessity of pursuing political or cultural goals by Muslims. They are interpretations that may help reduce some of the more irrational aspects of thought in Muslims. Realistic political goals might include particular state boundaries or particular principles of Shariah law. The concessions required of the adversary can then be defined. Beliefs that are principally rage against a bad object are unlikely to have effect. We can return for a moment to the teething infant. He or she might fantasise that destroying the tormenting witch would remove the pain. In reality, the gum will eventually heal, and his mother’s attempts to soothe will be accepted. Notes 1. Freud, S. (1939) Moses and Monotheism, Standard Edition, vol. 23, London: Hogarth Press; Segal, H. (1973) Introduction to the work of Melanie Klein, London: Hogarth. 2. Rycroft, C. (1972) A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, London: Penguin. 3. Dinnerstein, D. (1976) The Rocking of the Cradle and the Ruling of the World, London: Souvenir Press. 4. Dalal, Farhad (1997) ‘A Transcultural Perspective on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy’, Group Analysis, 30, pp. 203–15. 5. Persinger, M. A. (1993) ‘Paranormal and religious beliefs may be mediated differentially by subcortical and cortical phenomenological processes of the temporal (limbic) lobes’, Perceptual & Motor Skills, 76 (1), pp. 247–51. 6. Abu-Hamdiyyah (2000) The Quran, London: Routledge. Armstrong, K. (2000) Islam: A Short History, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson; Bowker, J. (1995) What Muslims Believe, Oxford: Oneday; Gibb, H. and J. Kramers (1961) Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden: Brill. 7. Post, Jerrold M. (2003) The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. 8. Erikson, E. (1993) Childhood and Society, London: Norton. 9. Sahin, A. (2003) ‘Attitudes towards Islam of young people in Birmingham colleges’, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Birmingham. 10. Segal (1973). 11. Ihsanic Intelligence (2005). The hijacked caravan: www.ihsanic-intelligence.com/ dox/The_Hijacked_Caravan.pdf. Accessed 7 March 2006. 12. Engels, F. (1884) The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 4th edn, London: Lawrence and Wishart. 13. Ambrose, S. E. (1992) Band of Brothers, London: Simon and Schuster. 14. Freud (1939). 15. Maxwell, T. and H. Ryan (1988) ‘Fanaticism, Political Suicide and Terrorism’, Terrorism, 11 (2), p. 108. 16. Inoguchi, R. and T. Nakajima (1967) Taiheiyou Senki: Kamikaze Tokubetsu Kougekitai, Tokyo: Kawade Shoboup.

A Clinical Psychology Perspective

[ 41

17. Kohut, H. (1971) The Analysis of the Self, New York: International Universities Press. 18. Possible homoerotic elements in a letter to other 9/11 suicide pilots are discussed in Stein, R. and Anne-Lise Hacker (2002) ‘Le mal comme amour et liberation: L’état d’esprit d’un térroriste réligieux kamikaze’, Revue-Française-de-Psychanalyse, 66 (3), pp. 897–921. 19. Some biographical information is available from Suleaman, N. (2005) ‘Quran and country: biography of a bomber’, BBC Radio 4. Aired 17 November.

CHAPTER

4 The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism Ismail Adam Patel

If by the term ‘radicalism’ we mean people seeking a fundamental change in the present political order, then the modern roots of Islamic political radicalism stem from several factors that are perceived – rightly or wrongly – to have been a reaction primarily to the conduct of Washington and Europe in Muslim populated lands over the last one hundred years.1 Islamic political radicalism in the last half-century has followed a tight pattern as a direct response to mainly US foreign policies, stretching from the installation and the support of the Shah of Iran in 1953,2 which led to the Islamic Iranian revolution, to the US backing of the brutal Sudanese regime of Jafaar Nimeiry leading to a coup by a radical Islamist military in 1989.3 The US involvement in Lebanon, with the aid of Israel as a proxy, led to the demise of a fragile coalition in the country and ushered in radical elements, which until today remain unsettled. The US in the former Soviet republics like Tajikistan has even allied with communists in order to counter the growth of Islamic movements. As US involvement in the Middle East intensifies, for the majority of Muslims in the region economic inequality, injustice and authoritarianism is perceived to be correlatively on the increase. This can perhaps be directly attributed to the US and supporting regimes, as in the cases of Iraq4 and Afghanistan, or via US proxies such as Arab ‘façade regimes’5 working under the direct hand of Washington, as is popularly conceived to be the case in Egypt and Jordan. The greatest instigator of radicalism has been the unstinting support for Israel from Western capitals, most notably the US, despite Israel’s record for ignoring with impunity UN resolutions, international law and the Geneva Conventions.6 This, coupled with its failures and indiscriminate use of weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq,7 has left the US open to numerous accusations due to the disparity in treatment between these peoples. ‘Between October 2001 and [ 42 ]

The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 43

April 2002, more than twenty-two thousand bombs and missiles were dropped in Afghanistan, which was similar to the total dropped in Serbia and roughly one-tenth of the number deployed in the Persian Gulf.’8 This pattern of carpetbombing has been repeatedly used by the US and widely reported in the media. The question to address is whether the radicalism we are witnessing is a reaction to the political status quo of US foreign policy as perceived by the majority of Muslims; or lack of progress in Islamic teachings? If the term ‘Islamic political radicalism’ is to hold, then we are from the very outset accusing Islam of inherently preaching radicalism. However, if a holistic view is taken, one can conclude without a great debate that any group of people bound up with the same creed, colour or language suffering under comparable US policies would react in a parallel fashion, as can be seen to a lesser degree reflected in the discountenance across the South American continent. If, for the sake of argument, we imagine Palestinians as a non-Muslim white people, would we expect the response to the occupation of their land, injustices and expulsions to be any less than the reaction of Muslim Palestinians? Furthermore, would we expect those linked to the non-Muslim white Palestinians to be any less affected than the world Muslim community shows itself to be today? The answer, of course, is no, unless the worldwide white community absconds its responsibilities. Therefore the emergence of radicalism in Islam must be viewed in the context of a reaction to the impact of international policies on the lives of Muslims.9 By failing to differentiate between Islam and political responses to political stimuli, prejudice is being built against a global religion followed by millions upon millions of people. This dangerous illusion that Islam is to blame for terror has threatened global hegemony, increased enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims and exacerbated vast misconceptions held by each about ‘the other’, on little justifiable grounds. This supports Will Youmans’ assertion that there exists a network of elite groups and individuals who promote the ideology that political Islam is the greatest threat to Western civilisation and that this campaign is underlined by the premise that ‘the rights of Arabs and Muslims, regardless of citizenship, are expendable’.10 Europe is socially contiguous with the Middle East, with many from Rabat to Addis Ababa and across to Ankara having relatives and friends in European cities; thus, inevitably, not only customs and cuisines are imported but suffering and pain as well. The resultant potential effects of social instability and violence in the Middle East spreading are exacerbated, threatening the very fabric of multicultural Europe; furthermore, they undermine the potential to export democracy as a tool for peaceful coexistence. In Britain and most Western European countries, political dissent within wellrespected boundaries purports to allow minority voices to be heard from a position of equality, and thus politically motivated violence becomes deplorable. However, in reality, there has been a failure to implement a just democracy in the US and most European countries which has led to the emergence of second-class

44 ]

Ismail Adam Patel

citizenship across the spectrum, resulting in unequal treatment and the erosion of civil liberties for one segment of society.11 Consequently, the same frustrations that exist in non-democratic cultures have emerged within this class of people, drawing the same violent responses seen therein. Instead of Middle Eastern Muslims receiving a positive representation from their counterparts in Europe on peaceful conflict-resolution, the European minority Muslim experience is exported as that of an undervalued people and creed which must fight to gain respect and equality – and this fight, for a few, translates into violence. However, recently some Muslims in the West, especially in Europe, have risen above the Establishment and played a pivotal role, in sympathy with civic society, in establishing their allegiance with their countries of citizenship. Despite the French Government undermining symbols of Islam and Muslims in general, the amazing response by French Muslims to the kidnapping of two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, in Iraq on 20 August 2004 is an illustration of this.12 The kidnappers’ demand was for France to rescind its secular ban on the wearing of the hijab in French schools. However, French Muslims by and large not only refused to side with the kidnappers but called for the immediate release of the hostages. In a similar situation, the kidnapping of the British peace activist Norman Kember in December 2005 led to British Muslims, including those labelled radicals like Abu Qatada, and others such as Anas Altikriti, to not only call for the immediate release of Mr Kember but in the case of Mr Altikriti, to personally go to Iraq and plead with the hostage-takers. The bogus fear created by hype on the back of Islamic radicalism in the West is easily perceived when we note that, in both of the above cases, it was the so-called radical Muslim leaders like Yusuf al Qaradawi and radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah who applied pressure to get hostages released. The reason why these groups took such steps was because of the belief that such kidnappings go against Islam. Mohammed Mahdi Atef, president of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (considered a ‘fundamentalist group’ by the West), is quoted as saying: ‘Islam rejects the kidnapping of innocent people regardless of their aim, beliefs and opinion, and all laws locally and internationally consider kidnapping a crime, particularly when it targets innocent peace activists.’13 Such clarifications between the armed struggles of these groups and what are deemed criminal actions within a state of war seems to reinforce the argument that it is American and European foreign policy that has been instrumental in provoking radical reaction against the West, not inherent radicalism within Islam. A large portion of Western and Middle Eastern Muslims view Muslim rulers as having grafted-on the degeneration of imperialism. This degeneration imbues the leadership with power, prestige and honour but at the expense of alienating its own people. In a reality where this leadership has become as oppressive as modern colonial occupiers, citizens are left with sparse options. This assumes

The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 45

a bleak scenario in which perhaps only a revolution in the Middle East could possibly bring about change, or alternatively, a major political shift in the imperialist West. The latter would have to grant a growing dynamic Muslim population real equality in the political sphere in Western and European countries, rather than leaving it to operate on the fringes as at present. This analysis is not based on theory but historical experience. The Irish, so close to home and therefore more difficult to dismiss as ‘foreign terrorists’, went through similar experiences. The British hand in Irish politics, fuelling Catholic–Protestant divisions, visited itself back on mainland England in the worst reign of terrorist attacks the country ever witnessed. The Irish response yet again exemplifies human reaction to unjust intrusion by external political entities. However, Britons in the case of Ireland identified the enemy on the grounds of nationality, and did not generally label ‘Catholics’ as terrorists. This is strikingly dissimilar to the case with Muslims at present, where Islam is brought into question. The creation of an ‘enemy’ identified by religious affiliation has meant many Muslims living in Britain today are being alienated from their fellow-citizens and country. In order to better analyse the psyche of Western Muslims, especially the younger generations, it is necessary to evaluate the context of their lives in Western societies.14 Islam’s acceptance in mainstream Europe has been a relatively recent phenomenon. The current generations of Muslims settled in Europe are the remnants of the colonial period in which economic migrants were encouraged by wealthy states to make up a working-class force that was needed at home to do jobs that were classified as largely demeaning to the natives. While little thought was given to the place of this growing community within Western countries, the popular perception became that they were a temporary addition to the masses, and indeed many of the migrants themselves saw an eventual return ‘home’ as a goal. Thus the new generations of non-white Europeans that make up sizeable segments of European communities, and who have made these communities ‘home’, occurred without either community intending it. The vast majority of people from these diverse backgrounds maintain an emotional or spiritual bond with their ancestry and lands of origin, although with each new generation, as expected, the connection weakens. Spaan and Van Naerssen suggest these ties are wider, and can be ‘economic, social, cultural, religious or political in nature’.15 This phenomenon is not restricted to Muslims, as migrant communities span every religious group from Hindus and Sikhs to African Christians and atheists. Muslims have been placed under the microscope and their sentiments with fellow-Muslims around the world, which is similar to that of other faith groups, is set apart. Arabic terms are evoked and cloaked with dark mystery to magnify and associate danger with Islam. Concepts like the Ummah (global Muslim community), which simply means having sympathy with co-religionists across the globe, have become equated

46 ]

Ismail Adam Patel

with antagonism towards nationalism or feelings of loyalty to their countries of citizenship. In reality, the concept of Ummah and its resultant sympathies are no different from the Jewish affinity and sympathy for Israel and Israelis, and the Christian sympathy for fellow-followers of Christ. It is not an uncommon phenomenon for people to naturally show greater levels of emotional attachment to individuals with whom they can identify or feel a link to. This is easily identifiable in aid agencies, for example, where organisations such as Christian Aid focus in the main on Christian communities in need. When a disaster hits a part of India with a Hindu populace, the almost ‘natural’ response of aid comes most strongly from the Hindu communities around the world. Similar feelings are evoked in Muslims when fellow-Muslims experience difficulties. It is correct to say that Islam places a great emphasis on the concept of Ummah and invokes the rights of Muslims over each other to degrees not witnessed in the other two monotheistic faiths; however, it is in essence a human principle, as are many other Islamic teachings. It may appear that the concept of Ummah draws a backlash in Europe against any attack on largely Muslim-populated countries whereas threats against North Korea and the like draw little sympathy. This is simply because there are few North Koreans in this part of the world to champion their cause. Common sense dictates that any minority community that can identify with a foreign population that is being unfairly oppressed, through wars, occupations, trade regimes and so on, will respond according to its ability and potential. Even within the Western Muslim communities, there are differing levels of political activisms. Of the three most clearly identifiable, the first and largest group are those people who are engrossed in their daily lives and show only occasional verbal support for fellow-Muslims in the Ummah, perhaps with physical participation in demonstrations. This class does not cause much concern, as its political input is minimal, whether using established democratic means or otherwise. The second group has become strongly associated with the Establishment and genuinely believes the only way to change the system, and thus the plight of Muslims, is to work from within. Unfortunately this group is at best looked upon by the greater Muslim community as appeasers and at worst as collaborators in the injustice. The third category consists of those labelled by the Western Establishment as radicals who have pushed to the limits democratic principles to get their voice heard. It is this latter group who have wielded a heavy hand in recent years to change the political landscapes of Europe, and Britain in particular. These individuals face many challenges along this road. One of the major trials is tackling the concerted efforts by some segments of society, politics and the media to equate all politically active Muslims who fail to toe the official line with radicalism and extremism, and thus outlaw legitimate political contributions from Muslims in the West.16

The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 47

There are many reasons for this, and one example is the impact of the Muslim political voice as the voice of conscience for Western politicians who are all too ready to brush real facts and figures under the carpet. The reality of over 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths in a war that was illegal under the terms of Western-sponsored doctrines of international law has been a fact Muslims in the West will not allow the public to forget. The images of carnage and human suffering that bypassed mainstream media due to readership sensitivities were unassumingly portrayed in Muslim media as the reality of a war that shows no discrimination between civilian and combatant. History has shown that the voice of conscience can topple political regimes, as was the case for apartheid South Africa and in the more recent results of the Spanish elections in 2004, which echoed the voice of a nation against an unjust war. When political leaders have mapped out a vision for the world – that is when democracy is really tested. Countries such as Britain are failing the democracy test when they silence legitimate voices of opposition using loosely worded legislation that curtails free speech, as has been the case in anti-terror laws since 7 July. One result of political action by Muslims in Europe has been the shattering of the myths spun around the creation of Israel by Zionists seeking an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine. Statistics reveal an increase in public opinion against Israel in Europe,17 and many voices from within Israel have blamed the Muslim presence in Europe for this phenomenon.18 The fact is that many politically active Muslims in countries such as Britain have spearheaded a public exposé on Israeli occupation policies and have accurately assessed how a country such as Israel is sustaining its military occupation of Palestine. This has led to a growing boycott movement that is a very real threat to Israeli viability. The response from powerful pro-Zionists has been to equate Muslims and politics with extremism, a theme that is picked up and resonates in certain segments of the media and politics. To counter accusations of anti-Islamic beliefs, President Bush and other Western politicians have been quick to draw a distinction between their views of the religion of Islam and ‘Islamic radicalism’, claiming the latter exploits Islam to serve violent political visions. In the wake of the London bombings, Tony Blair was quick to accuse an ‘evil ideology’ in Islam, but not Islam itself. The results of such ill-conceived notions are confusion in the minds of people when attempting to decipher the resultant Islamic ideologies that are most popularly acceded to by the Muslims in their communities. It is profoundly dangerous and misleading to blame some part of Islam for political violence, and is clearly a means of identifying the groups responsible for ‘terrorist attacks’ with Islam. This serves the vested interest of certain politicians, who remain politically correct in their assertions, but only serves to alienate the Muslim citizens in their countries who will always be viewed with suspicion by those who lack understanding of the intricacies of the religion and only have popular political and media assessments with which to formulate their views.

48 ]

Ismail Adam Patel

These are the same politicians who have backed repressive and undemocratic governments in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, as long as their own long-term interests are preserved.19 It is facts such as these that fuel the deep-seated anger against modern Western imperialism and duplicity, as policies such as these are believed to serve to further crumble the unity of Muslims and thus adversely impact on the notion of the Ummah. Such politics has been the root cause of negative stereotypes of Muslims in Western societies, whether they are located at home or abroad in repressive tyrannical Muslim states. With these preconceived ideas shaping the drawing board where opinions are formed, Muslims are left fighting an uphill battle against such prejudicial exposure. This is part of the fuel for the development of political radicalism in some young Westerners who happen to be Muslim. These social issues are the backdrop to the political radicalism that has been witnessed in a minute portion of Muslim youth, but we need to analyse why this class of Muslims may fall into the trap of extremism. It is widely believed that there are sizeable numbers of second- and third-generation Muslims with Western nationalities who are living in a form of limbo: they do not belong to their parents’ countries of origin and and yet find themselves estranged from their countries of citizenship due to their different ethnicity, religious affiliation and resultant prevalent social inequalities. But this is just an evolutionary stepping stone, and with each new generation of Muslims a new culture is taking shape and giving them a greater sense of belonging. This is a two-way process, derived from a change in perception emanating from young Western Muslims and from tangible changes in society at large, which directly correlate with globalisation. The resultant ‘global village’ makes everyone neighbours, and the vast oceans and land terrain of different continents are simply a few hours’ journey away from Western Europe and America. Thus, new cultures grow stronger with each new generation, and seem to be an irreversible change that should aid greater integration for non-white Westerners while challenging the conservative white-dominant culture. This can only be a positive thing for global homogony. However, while Muslims continue to be oppressed unjustly and illegally around the world, there will always be the danger of angry and frustrated young people who fall between the cracks in Western society taking it upon themselves to mete out their own form of justice. A violent political response to a political stimulus – which cannot be blamed on Islam. The frustration felt by many young British and Western Muslims is tangible and bred by political and media distortions because these sources airbrush over the real causes of political extremism in the first instance, and then follow this by blaming Islamic beliefs. The voice of reason seems to fall into a chasm: if there was no Islam, would there not still be a terrorist insurgency in Iraq? If there was no Islam, would there be no resistance to Israeli occupation in Palestine? While the politicians play the blame game, most in the West are now waking up to the

The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 49

underlying causes, and young Muslims are spearheading the drive to educate the masses. However, there is a long battle ahead before an even balance can be reached, and a failure by Muslims to engage in this campaign will mean they will share the blame for prevailing misconceptions. It is not easy to compartmentalise the Muslim communities within Britain and Europe, as there are different classes and categories that can be identified. First, it must be noted that massive disparities exist between Muslims in different European countries. A stark example is between France and Britain. In the former, the Muslim community is ghettoised almost in its entirety, with job and educational opportunities far beneath the national average. The problems with racism are well documented and the recent ban on Islamic religious dress, especially the hijab, has resulted in an exacerbation of the problem, with some young girls choosing to leave mainstream education. Thus, a two-tier society exists to an extent which no one can deny was the root cause of the French riots of autumn 2005. Britain, on the other hand, has a Muslim community that is able to contribute to a greater extent in many spheres of society, from politics to sport, and academia to business; that has fostered a resultant confidence and reliance of one upon the other, although there are still problems with prejudice and discrimination, on the rise since September the 11th and the London bombings. For our purposes, then, let us examine the make-up of Britain’s diverse Muslims. There are numerous classes of Muslims and their impact on society is largely dependant on their views on integration. The first class of Muslims are fully integrated and assimilated within British society, including all nonIslamic British cultural habits. While this class will still tick the ‘Muslim’ box on the census form, their lifestyles do not reflect Muslim beliefs and values. They are not easily identifiable from non-Muslim Brits around them, and can be called the non-Islamic Muslims. Academics such as Tariq Ramadan propose that the majority of European Muslims fall within this category. Next there is the category of Muslims that adhere to the basic beliefs of Islam and do not break away from popular Islamic teachings. However, appearances do not make them readily identifiable as Muslims and they are integrated members of Western societies, though not assimilated, as they maintain important Islamic principles. A sizeable number of British Muslims fall within this category of ‘quiet Muslims’. The third category are the traditional Muslims, whose dress, manners and speech resemble an understanding and practice of Islam that is popular in many majority Muslim-populated states. They are readily identifiable as Muslim, and they make practising Islam a priority. They are comparable with Christians who go to church every Sunday and make service to God their reason for living. Muslims in this category make varying contributions to the society around them. Some are fully integrated, while others prefer to keep a distance from wider society. They represent a small portion of British Muslims, and are mainly present in cities with large Muslim populations. They may take offence

50 ]

Ismail Adam Patel

at being called ‘Western’ Muslims, especially if they are part of the older generations whose Islamic teachings often date back to scholars from Muslim countries who have little knowledge about life in predominantly non-Muslim societies, and the correlating rights and responsibilities. On the other hand, those who wear Islam on their sleeves in this way and yet contribute to society fully and positively, although relatively few in number as compared with the other categories, provide Muslims with a very beneficial public image. These are the Muslims who most effectively challenge popular stereotypes and misconceptions by choosing to show society that their faith is a chosen inclination, but that that doesn’t make them alien to their fellow British citizens in any threatening way. The final category are the literalists, who view Islamic teachings in a very narrow manner, practising policies of segregation between themselves and people of other religions, and being all too quick to judge their fellow-Muslims for their actions. They will not engage with society, feel it is forbidden to vote in elections or be at all politically active or to befriend those who are not Muslim. These are the tiny fraction of Muslims who should, in reality, not have had any impact on society but are unfortunately the category of Muslims most often splashed across the media. Although this small minority do not have a measurable impact on the views of Muslims, they do have an impact on wider society due to sensationalist exposure. This has become a great bone of contention with Muslims in the West, as it is widely used as a misrepresentation of them. Those who exercise political radicalism or extremism notably do not fall within this categorisation of Muslims because any of these categories can produce an ‘extremist’ in the sense of political radicalism. If there is enough perceived injustice created by politics to form a stimulus, anyone can be led to extremism or radicalism. Religious affiliation is by the by. The examples are numerous – animal rights activists and environmental activists have been known to employ radical and violent methods of protest. Even those fathers campaigning for the right to see their children have gone to the great lengths of scaling the heights of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Thus, we must assess what it is that leads to political radicalism in all of these scenarios, rather than unfairly and unjustly dismissing any analysis where Muslims are concerned because it is easier just to blame Islam. Muslims are one of the most sizeable minority communities in the Western world. Present Western foreign policies have doubtlessly created deep anger and, in the rare instance, violent reactions. In the past, the Irish have trodden this path, and if such erroneous foreign policies were shifted to other communities, the response would be no different. An example is a movement by some followers of the Sikh religion living in the West and committed to a concept similar to the Ummah. Theirs is a campaign to establish an independent Sikh homeland, Khalistan, on present-day Indian territory. This movement has used Western territory since the 1980s in an attempt to bring about this aspiration.

The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 51

On 23 June 1985, an extremist from the group carried out a lethal aviation explosion by planting a bomb and blowing up an Air India 747 en route between Toronto and Bombay. The aeroplane fell into the sea east of Ireland, killing all 329 passengers. On 26 May 1987, there was an attempt to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister on Vancouver Island, and in May 1986 a Sikh was arrested in New York for conspiring to blow up an Air India jumbo jet leaving New York City. These examples should serve to differentiate between religion and violence, for there is no justification for blaming the Sikh religion for the actions of some of its followers. Georges Sorel, in Reflections on Violence, makes a profound observation when he states: ‘There is no better means of making the opposite party ask for more and more. Every man or every power whose action consists solely in surrender can only finish by selfannihilation.’20 He then quotes Aurore: ‘Everything that lives resists; that which does not resist allows itself to be cut up piecemeal.’ To rest the violence of certain Muslims on Islam cannot be any different from using tunnel vision to condemn the West for all the woes of the Middle East. As far as Iraq is concerned, Britain’s own elite recognise the fallacy of Government policies, with Lord Steyn, a former British law lord, stating that, in its search for a justification in law for war, the Government was driven to scrape the bottom of the legal barrel and that the war against Iraq was not legal. He added: ‘About Iraq I would add only one matter. After the dreadful bombings in London, we were asked to believe that the Iraq war did not make London and the world a more dangerous place. Surely, on top of everything else, we do not have to listen to a fairy tale.’21 Stating something so obvious still draws vehement denials from our Government. Unfortunately the Establishment in the West has embarked on pigeon-holing the Muslim community. From extreme fundamentalists to those classified as ‘integrated’, with further sub-divisions of categories of activists and in particular identifying those who can assist the establishment, and such categorisation only serves to divide the Muslim communities. This is similar to France, where the French Government helped create an official Muslim representative, the French Council of the Muslim Faith. The then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy – who infamously threatened to send rioting Muslim youths back to their ‘country of origin’, even though they have never lived there – sought the inclusion of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France in the new organisation because it could be manipulated to the State’s aspiration and deliberately excluded Tariq Ramadan’s ‘faction’. To a lesser extent, in Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is also being used by the State as a vehicle to drive State policies. This was shown one day prior to the bombing of Afghanistan, when the MCB leadership was seen happily engaging with the Prime Minister. Post 7 July, anti-terror legislation has been portrayed as the product of consultation with the MCB, and thus Muslims. With the MCB seen as deriving its acclaim, if not mandate, from the Government rather than the Muslims it seeks to represent, it is thus placed in a

52 ]

Ismail Adam Patel

hopeless situation. Most of Britain’s Muslims, especially the youth, see it as a Government stooge while the Government still considers the organisation as radical. Thus, it serves the purpose of neither. The dilemma faced by the West is that of implementing justice, which most people would wish to be universal. Unfortunately the reality is that it is nowadays used selectively by the powerful to secure the greatness of their influence in mainly economic terms rather than the traditional territorial terms. In essence, its product is not justice at all but the hegemony over world dominance. For Muslims, the dilemma is how to transpose the West’s thirst for direct dominance into an equal partnership, and thus transform Islamic political radicalism into conservatism. Notes 1. For example, Zunes, S. (2001) ‘US Policy Toward Political Islam’, Foreign Policy in Focus, 6 (24), June, http://www.fpif.org/pdf/vol6/24politicalislam.pdf. Accessed 7 March 2006. 2. Foran, J. (2005) Taking Power: The Origins of Third World Revolutions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 75–7. 3. US policy in Sudan, ibid., p. 214. 4. For US strategic interest in Iraq, see Hagopian, E. (2004) ‘The Interlocink of RightWing Politics and US Middle East Policy: Solidifying Arab/Muslim Demonisation’, in Hagopian, E. C. (ed.) Civil Rights in Peril: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims, London: Pluto, pp. 198–205. Note also Chomsky, N. (2004) Middle East Illusions, London: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 167–8, describing Saddam Hussein falling out of favour with the US, when he first disobeyed orders, losing his ‘moderate’ status previously unaffected by ‘gassing Kurds and torturing dissidents’. 5. Chomsky (2004), p. 169 . 6. Findley, P. (1993) Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About the US/Israeli Relationship, Chicago: Lawrence Hill. 7. Kelly, F. (1992) ‘War Crimes Committed Against the People of Iraq’, in Clark, R. et al., War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes Against Iraq, Maryland: Maisonneuve Press, p. 47. 8. Schmitt, E. (2002) ‘Improved U.S. Accuracy Claimed in Afghan Air War’, New York Times, 9 April, p. 16. 9. A useful analysis of the modern Muslim/Christian confrontation can be found in Milton-Edwards, B. (2005) Islamic Fundamentalism Since 1945, London: Routledge, p. 11. 10. Youmans, W. (2004) ‘The New Cold Warriors’, in Hagopian, E. C. (ed.) Civil Rights in Peril, p. 105. 11. For a summary of US treatment of Arab/Muslim citizens and erosions of their civil liberties, see Bassiouni, M. C. (2004) ‘Don’t Tread on Me: Is the War on Terror Really a War on Rights?’, in Hagopian, E. C. (ed.) Civil Rights in Peril, pp. 1–5.

The Scales for Defining Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 53

12. Day, J. (2005) ‘French Muslim Leaders Call for Journalists Release’, The Guardian, 20 January. 13. Quoted by the BBC from an interview on Al-Jazeera, ‘Muslim Group Urges Kember Release’: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4514138.stm. Accessed 7 March 2006. 14. For a discussion of the role of young Muslims in the West, see Ramadan, T. (1999) To Be A European Muslim, Leicester: The Islamic Foundation; and Ramadan, T. (2003) Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 15. Spaan, E. and T. Van Naerssen (2005) ‘Asia and Europe: Transnationalism, Multiple Linkages and Development’, Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 14 (1–2), pp. 1–9. 16. For an analysis of ‘Radical Islamist discourse’ see Calvert, J. (2004) ‘The Mythic Foundations of Radical Islam’, Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 48 (1), pp. 29–41. 17. ‘Europeans view Israel as the No. 1 threat to world peace, ahead of Iran and North Korea, according to a European Commission survey . . . 59 per cent deemed Israel “a threat to peace in the world”, with the figures rising to 60 per cent in Britain, 65 in Germany, 69 in Austria and 74 in Holland.’ Evans-Pritchard, A. (2003) ‘Israel is No. 1 Threat to Peace, Says EU Poll’, The Telegraph, 4 November. 18. Most vocally, this accusation is made against French Muslims. See Graff, J. (2003) ‘What’s Causing the Anti-Semitic Attacks?’, Time Europe, 24 November. 19. Chomsky (2004), p. 169. 20. Sorel, G. ([1950] 1994) Reflections on Violence, New York: Dover Publications, p. 78. 21. Lord Steyn (2005) ‘Don’t Blame Judges for Half-baked Criminal Legislation’, The Independent, 19 October.

CHAPTER

5 Europe and Political Islam: Encounters of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries Sara Silvestri

Introduction Hourani (1991) wrote that the religion of Islam has constituted, since its appearance, a ‘problem’ for Christian Europe, but at the same time has represented an intellectual challenge and an opportunity for commercial trade and exchange of knowledge in crucial areas such as medicine. It is not my intention here to discuss issues such as European identity, otherness, whether Europe is Christian or religious, or to speculate on the future of multiculturalism. There is not scope in this paper to elaborate on these crucial but complex themes, hence I should refer the reader to experts such as Davie (2000), Modood (2005), Al Sayyad and Castells (2002) and Stråth (2000), as well as to my own work (Silvestri 2005a). What I would like to show in this chapter instead is how the idea of Islam as a ‘problem’ continues to exist in Europe not only as a legacy of past history, stereotypes and narrow-minded attitudes of native Europeans but, more importantly, as a consequence of the increasing visibility of political Islam and of its progressive coming physically closer to Europe. Although the majority of Muslims and European Muslims have condemned and distanced themselves from recent violent actions that were carried out in the name of Islam, the very fact that certain terrorists have defined themselves as Muslims cannot be denied and tarnishes the position of approximately 15 million law-abiding EU citizens and immigrants who happen to be Muslim. This also impacts negatively on the inhabitants of two countries with a large Muslim population (Turkey and Bulgaria) that have applied for EU membership. If we look at the recent history of the European Communities (EC) and the European Union (EU), we will realise that the issue of Islam did not seem to be a major cause of concern for the EC/EU member countries until the 1980s. The [ 57 ]

58 ]

Sara Silvestri

European integration project did not need a ‘Muslim Other’ in order to develop. The EC/EU emerged in contraposition to different ‘Others’: Europe’s own past consisted of wars and totalitarianism, from Nazism to Fascism to Communism. Both domestically and internationally, the Islamic world and culture were very near to Europe in geographical terms (even ‘inside’ the EC/EU member states, as in the case of Algeria, which remained a French colony until 1962, or in the form of economic immigrants from North Africa and Turkey who settled in Germany, France and Belgium from the 1960s onwards) but for several decades remained unobserved. In general, ‘[p]erceptions of Islam and Muslims in the wider European society have been determined much more by international political events than by the settled Muslim communities themselves’ (Nielsen 2004, p. 126). The existence of Islam – both within and outside the borders of the EC/EU – as a religious and socio-cultural entity, as well as a political project, became visible and tangible for Europe only towards the end of the twentieth century. This happened primarily through socio-economic processes such as immigration and the consequent necessity to accommodate the claims and practical needs of ethnic and religious minorities in a social and cultural fabric that hitherto had been almost monochromatic. Europe had encountered Islam in the colonial period, and was attracted by its exoticism. For instance, in the 1960s, Western media would report with lighthearted curiosity on the lifestyles of royal personalities from the Middle East, as shown in the media analysis conducted by Kai Hafez (2005). But at the end of the twentieth century Europe encountered Islam in a more shocking and violent form, in the unfolding of social and political changes in North Africa and the Middle East. In that context, reference to religious – Islamic – identity proved to be a crucial factor of political mobilisation and also of political violence, which also has had long-lasting consequences on an international scale. The encounter with a bold and violent version of Islamism that, based on an affirmation of Arab-Islamic specificity, rejects Eurocentrism, capitalist universalism and Westernisation (Sayyd 1997), has re-awakened in Europe and in the West as a whole the Crusades’ myth that Islam is a threat, the ‘enemy’ par excellence. Landmark events in which twentieth-century Europe experienced this aspect of Islamic culture include, for example: the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, with the consequent Islamisation of the Lebanese and Palestinian struggles in the 1980s; the Algerian civil war sparked at the beginning of the 1990s by an explosive combination of social tensions and the country’s first free democratic elections; the advent of Islamist political parties in secular Turkey in the 1980s, and their consolidation in the mid-1990s and continuing throughout the beginning of the new century; the worldwide Muslim mobilisation in response to the repeated American wars in (and occupation of) Iraq – respectively in 1991, 2003 and afterwards – and the anti-Taliban invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.1

Europe and Political Islam

[ 59

Undoubtedly, Western countries also faced the strength of a coalition of predominantly Muslim states in 1973, when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)2 put an oil embargo on the West, thus provoking a drastic rise in oil prices and at the same time paralysing Europe and America. This episode, however, although involving many Muslim countries, had primarily an economic dimension. The other events listed above, however, represent major occasions in the twentieth century when the Muslim world made an impact on the West by expressing the strength and revolutionary potential of political mobilisation driven by the religious message of Islam. Let us now observe some of the forms under which political Islam has presented itself to Europe. Between 1979 and the mid-1980s, Iran-sponsored aggressions against US interests and key diplomatic posts and military bases contributed to producing the widely spread perception that associates Islam with fanaticism and terrorism aimed at combating the West. Although not directly attacked, Europe shared, in principle, American concerns about the threat to Western democracy represented by the Islamic revolution in Iran and by the symbolic and real impact that this Islamist project might have on neighbouring – and already politically unstable – Muslim countries. By receiving Iranian exiles who were fleeing the Islamist theocracy (and settling, in particular, in France), Europe implicitly declared its hostility to the Iranian Islamist project. In symbolic terms, Europe became involved in an intellectual conflict with the Islamic world, although this did not imply a physical confrontation with the Islamic ‘enemy’ on European soil. As Kepel (2000) has observed, the fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini (the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran) issuing a death penalty against Salman Rushdie as a punishment for his ‘blasphemous’ book The Satanic Verses had a crucial impact on Western perceptions of a distant Islamic world. The fatwa had the effect of projecting symbolically the space of Islam, the ummah, into the Western world, starting from Europe (Kepel 2000, p. 21). By pronouncing this condemnation against a British citizen of Muslim background, the Iranian imam was also asserting his supremacy as world leader of the Islamic faith, thus committing a double affront: against the indigenous Muslim leaders of the various Muslim communities of the UK and, more importantly, against the hegemony of Saudi Arabia, until then the dominant propagator and defender of Islam (in its Sunni-Wahhabi variant) throughout the world (Kepel 1994, p. 209). Besides this occurrence, it was through events in Algeria that Islamic grievances were suddenly, and physically, brought to Europe’s doorstep. The Algerian confrontation at the turn of the 1990s involved the Algerian government, army and secret services in opposition to the much-feared ‘Islamists’. What was considered the ‘Islamist’ part was in fact a receptacle for and expression of social and economic discontent and frustration, and included a diversity of individuals and aspirations, from the political party Front Islamique du

60 ]

Sara Silvestri

Salut (FIS, Islamic Salvation Front – itself divided into a radical and a moderate current) to militant armed groups, all embracing the message of political Islam but in varying degrees. The FIS challenged the status quo both in the local and general elections, respectively in 1990 and 1991, but was prevented from taking power by a military coup in January 1992. This opened the road to anarchy and civil war. The drive for political change through democratic mobilisation and the ballot box in Algeria triggered a guerrilla war against the Establishment (that is, the government, the army and the secret services) that saw the involvement of two rival armed groups – the Groupements Islamique Armé (GIA, Armed Islamic Group) and the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS) – often regarded as two diverging and extreme trends within the FIS. This heightened situation provided the breeding ground for the radicalisation of the young and the poor who came into contact with the Mujahedeen (holy warriors), who had fought the Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan against the Russians3 and joined the GIA, thus producing an escalation of violence not only against the Establishment but against civilians too.4 The Islamists’ battle was contradictory in terms. If, on the one hand, it appealed to the democratic system and to human rights in order to gain legitimacy through elections and by condemning the abuses of the corrupt regime, on the other hand this process of purification and rectification of society also implied a rejection of French ‘cultural colonialism’, including the notion of laicité (secularism).5 According to Gilles Kepel (1994), the Algerian crisis soon spilled onto Europe through the Algerian diaspora. Many Algerian immigrants – or descendants of Algerians – living in France were still being entitled to vote for the elections in their homeland. The French scholar argues that a number of informal networks supporting the various trends of the FIS (including the Salafist one) spread out across France and in 1991 the Fraternité algérienne en France (FAF, Algerian Brotherhood in France) was founded (Kepel 1994). Allegedly, several GIA cells also became based in France, Germany and Great Britain, thus de facto exporting their fight against corrupt and infidel society from the domestic to the international context.6 These developments alarmed the French and European police to the extent that the sequence of explosions in the Paris underground in 1995 (25 July, 17 August and 6 October) were not a totally unexpected act of terrorism. Although some commentators suspected the Algerian secret service, officially the blame for those bombings in three of the most trafficked stations of the French capital fell on militants from the GIA, and the incidents were branded as cases of ‘Islamist terrorism’ on European soil. Even if experts have detected infiltrations among the Islamists on the part of the Algerian Establishment in order to maximise violence and thus discredit the Islamists, the general impression across the world was that political Islam was a dangerous and bloody enterprise and that future ‘Algerias’ should be prevented (cf. Joffé forthcoming; Volpi 2003). This complex and tense relationship between political Islam, civil society, democracy and authoritarian regimes is

Europe and Political Islam

[ 61

characteristic of most of the Islamic world. It constitutes a stumbling block for a large international actor such as the EU, which is interested in securing a geopolitical zone of stability around its borders,7 is determined to fight international crime and terrorism, and at the same time does not rule out (and in fact supports through its intercultural dialogue project) exchanges with Islamist activists since, paradoxically, they constitute the most committed (and most respected by the local population) groups involved in the process of democratisation through their activities in the civil society sector. In the same last decade of the twentieth century, the evolution of political Islam in Turkey centred around the fortunes of the Refah Partisi (RF, Welfare Party). Founded by Necmettin Erbakan in 1983, the Welfare Party is regarded to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood orientation and to the Milli Görus movement (to which large numbers of the Turkish diaspora in Germany adhere).8 Although initially banned from running for parliamentary elections, the Refah won a 19 per cent vote in the local elections (for the mayor of Istanbul and Ankara) in 1994, and 21 per cent in the parliamentary elections of 1995, with the result that Necmettin Erbakan became Prime Minister (1996–7). This was a short-lived victory, however, because the military and the Constitutional Court intervened to ban and dissolve (1998) the Refah party on charges that its Islamist and anti-Western message was incompatible with the country’s secularist tradition. Other Islamist parties emerged in the 1990s from the ashes of the Refah, the Fazilet Partisi (FP, Virtue Party) and the Felicity Party, but both received little support from the voters and the Fazilet itself was contested and banned by the military and the Constitutional Court in 2001. In November 2002, something extraordinary happened: the Islamist reformist Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was headed by the former Mayor of Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and was composed of former members of the Refah party, triumphed in the general election with 34 per cent of the votes. Mr Erdogan, founder and leader of the AKP, became Prime Minister in 2003.9 He himself had been jailed in 1999 for reciting a poem by an Islamist author the content of which – evoking a warlike imagery of mosques, minarets, bayonets, faithful and soldiers – was inciting religious hatred. The past of Mr Erdogan and of the AKP members has led the opposition and external observers to label the party as ‘Islamist’, although the Prime Minister has repeatedly expressed his annoyance with the ‘fundamentalist’ tag and said that his is ‘not a party based on religious values’ (BBC News, 30 September 2004). The fact that Erdogan has passed many more democratic reforms than any of his predecessors seems to confirm the sincerity of his intentions, and some have even argued that the Justice and Development Party is a ‘post-Islamist’ entity (Zucconi 2003). But people (both in Turkey and abroad) are still suspicious. Their objection is that, even if the founder of the AKP has announced and indeed started a reformist plan, the AKP members happen nevertheless to have previously associated with (currently forbidden) parties that did embody

62 ]

Sara Silvestri

an interpretation of political Islam that, allegedly, threatened to subvert the country’s geo-political stability, both domestically and internationally. The domestic opposition to political Islam could, however, be put down to the military seeing their interests jeopardised by a rival and more legitimate political force. On the international plane, the fear is that the Islamisation of Turkish politics could result in 1) opening up the way to more radical groups linked to terrorist networks; and 2) as a consequence, alienating the sympathy of Western and allied countries (for example, NATO, the EU, Israel) and jeopardising Turkey’s entry into the EU. This last point is expanded upon in the next section. The Turkish-Islamic challenge Islam and Muslims were becoming a visible and constituent part of European society already in the 1950s, when waves of immigrants from the former colonies in Asia and North Africa moved to Britain and France, and later also to Germany, Belgium and Holland. However, the particular religious affiliation of these individuals did not seem to pose any problem to what was generally felt to be the ‘European identity’, perhaps because of the receiving states’ emphasis on assimilation and integration, or because ‘difference’ tended to be measured by race rather than by cultural/religious identity.10 The debate over the EU Constitution (2002–5), the war in Iraq and its consequences (2003 onwards), and the EU Enlargement of May 2004 sparked off once again, and with great intensity, the debate on the European identity. This discussion became all the more controversial when a date (3 October 2005) was set for a culturally Muslim country – Turkey – to start negotiations for EU membership. Political, social and cultural unrest in the EU about the prospect of Turkey’s membership is not new and can be traced back to the country’s first membership application in 1987. As Diez (2004, p. 328) has pointed out, Turkey is ‘[t]he discoursive site where most of the othering of Europe against Islam is performed’. Nevertheless, allowing the country to apply for EC/EU membership in 1999 has implied acknowledging Turkey’s ‘Europeanness’, since, according to the EU Treaty, ‘only European states’ can join the Union (Diez 2004). This fact renders the relationship between Turkey and the EU ‘ambiguous’, which is, after all, not something new. As Rich (1999) has noted, historically the Ottoman empire remained a significant ‘European power’ until the twentieth century. ‘However, while the Ottomans were in Europe, they were until the nineteenth century not fully of it’ (Rich 1999, p. 443).11 Therefore, European suspicion towards Turkey is, first, a matter of identity and, second, an issue of security, entrenched in the fear that Turkey’s entry into Europe could turn out to be an Islamist or even ‘jihadist Trojan horse’ (Kepel 2004). Western powers have never really officially expressed the concerns outlined above, although individual EU officials and political personalities such as former Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, Convention President Giscard d’Estaing, Italian

Europe and Political Islam

[ 63

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the German Christian Democrat Party (CDU) Angela Merkel, French Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, and even Pope Benedict XVI (especially when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) have voiced their reservations with regard to Turkey’s entry in Europe, or have more generally argued a fundamental divergence between ‘Islamic’ and ‘European’ culture.12 Typically, the debate over the suitability of Turkey’s entry and the rejectionist discourse have intensified at critical times when the country’s accession to the EU was looming, for instance during the two years that preceded the Helsinki European Council of 1999.13 Between 1997 and 1998, the European Parliament drafted a report on Islamic fundamentalism and the challenge it posed to the European legal order (European Parliament 1997). This report provoked a heated debate not only inside the European Parliament but also in the public domain. Several Muslim organisations across the EU member states found it ‘a specific and unjustified attack on Islam and Muslims in Europe’ (Association of Muslim Lawyers 1998). They subsequently activated in order to lobby the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from their respective countries not to vote in favour of the report. The document, which is often referred to as the ‘Oostlander Report’, from the name of the Dutch MEP who put it forward, Arie Oostlander, was in the end voted against because the majority of the EuroParliamentarians either abstained or disagreed with the stereotypes and inaccuracies (for example, the equation Islam  political Islam  terrorism) adopted in it to define Islam and Islamism (European Parliament 1997). At about the same time, a Spanish MEP, Abdelkader Mohamed Ali, rapporteur to the Youth, Education and Culture Committee, issued a substantially different type of report, ‘Islam and Averroes Day’, to mark the 800th anniversary of the death of the Muslim philosopher who connected Europe with the Islamic world. Mr Ali took advantage of this EP platform to call for a series of measures that would strengthen the links between the Muslims of Europe and their host countries, for example by intensifying intercultural relations across the Mediterranean. He even provided some concrete suggestions on how to help articulate a ‘modern, self-reflective, liberal European Islam’, such as the creation of European centres for the education and training of imams, who are otherwise ‘imported’ from the Muslim world. However, ‘many MEPs had reservations about the nature of co-operation that should take place with the Islamic world’.14 The dynamics triggered by these two controversial reports on Islam in Europe point to divergent attitudes towards Islam within the EU institutions. One emphasises the security risks associated with Islam; the other consists in the attempt to modernise Islam, and to adapt it to the European lifestyle and mindset. Neither of these approaches taken alone seems the most appropriate for the EU to think of and to use to interact with Muslims, within and out with the EU borders.

64 ]

Sara Silvestri

In the decade marking the beginning of the twenty-first century, an official stance centred upon intercultural dialogue has in fact concealed the existence of contrasting attitudes in the EU with regard to Islam and Turkey. This type of discourse has been adopted both by the EU and by the (‘Islamist’) Turkish government of Erdogan. Espousing the widely shared discourse on intercultural dialogue has an appeasing effect, although closer consideration can reveal its shortcomings. The essence of intercultural dialogue lies indeed on a dialogic exchange, but also implies the existence of different parts, with different identities or characteristics, that are willing to enter such a relationship and yet maintain their own specificities. Two – or more – different subjects can easily undertake intercultural dialogue (where each one, as a ‘Self’, would encounter an ‘Other’), but this is not obvious if the Other becomes part of the Self. That is to say, in the case of Turkey, intercultural dialogue seems to work so long as Turkey is part of the ‘outside’ Muslim world with which the EU is so keen to establish social and cultural exchanges.15 But when there is a prospect that Turkey might become part of the EU, the logic of intercultural dialogue does not seem to work. The fact that the EU is seeking to establish a relationship of collaboration and mutual respect with a different culture does not necessarily also mean that it is ready or willing to accept that culture as part of its own identity, although, as we have seen before, European identity is a rather elusive reality. It has historical roots that cannot be denied: Ancient Greece and Rome, Christianity, the Enlightenment, the two World Wars that drove Europeans to seek peace and solidarity and to design the ‘integration’ project after so much atrocity; but these have been (and are) constantly questioned and re-shaped by historical events and by interaction with new peoples and cultures. Such transformations are not predictable and are not normally the result of a rational decision. If the EU member states decide to finally include Turkey in the EU,16 they would have to come to terms with the fact that not only Islam is cultural component of Europe (a fact that has after all – though reluctantly – been accepted towards the end of the twentieth century), but also that Islamism can be a legitimate political actor in the European democratic system. Twenty-first-century Europe is very secularised, is committed to protecting human rights and freedom of religion, and has also some legal and political mechanisms in place (both at the EU and at the national level) to regulate the activities and the representation of religious groups in the public sphere as well as their interaction with the political system (normally in a consultative way). Therefore, if we consider Islam simply as a religion – that is, with faithful who are entitled to the right to practise it at certain times of the day or of the year, in specific places of worship, and requiring specific dietary attentions, schools, holidays, and so on – there do not seem to be any problems. Perhaps European states still have to adjust laws and public services in order to best accommodate the needs of their Muslim inhabitants; but in an epoch that privileges the protection of the human rights of the individual this should not be an impossible task. It is a matter of practise.

Europe and Political Islam

[ 65

The real problem with Turkey entering the EU seems instead to consist in the fact that political Islam is alive and thriving in the country. The way Islamism presents itself at the moment, in the clothes of the AKP, is harmless and, as mentioned above, the party’s founder rejects the appellation of ‘Islamist’. Yet the legacy of the Refah party and of the long and multifarious Islamist tradition that traces back to the Muslim Brotherhood movement is there and cannot be denied.17 Confronting political Islam, terrorism and social tensions It is widely known that the expressions ‘political Islam’, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ and similar terms are linguistic conventions used to encompass rather diverse phenomena that have a connection to Islam and to political activism. Such phenomena can diverge, even conflict with each other, over the use of political violence. Hence it is inherently wrong to think that Islamist politics equals extremism or terrorism. On the other hand, it is difficult, even impossible, to distinguish one trend from the other, or to identify the genuine longterm intentions of a group. In short, the reasons for these difficulties are connected to internal fragmentation and lack of a clear leadership or hierarchy in Islam, and to the simultaneous existence of contested readings, by Muslim intellectuals, clerics and religious scholars, of the relationship between Islam, democracy and modernity. Against the backdrop of this complex situation, the fear that Turkish Islamic democracy could degenerate into the Algerian crisis (that is, the explosion of Islamist violence and civil war) is not unfounded, at least in principle, although the peculiar socio-economic preconditions that led to the crisis in Algeria do not seem to exist in Turkey. This also explains why, despite a (seemingly genuine) willingness on the part of the EU to interact with a country (Turkey), and even with a political party (the AKP) whose cultural (and ideological, in this case) references lie in the religion of Islam, a fear exists that the openness of the democratic process could bring Islamist politics inside Europe, with unpredictable consequences. The traumatic experiences of the Paris, Madrid and London bombings in 1995, 2004 and 2005, the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in November 2004, as well as the fact that the 9/11 attacks were party coordinated in Europe, have demonstrated the vulnerability of Europe’s social fabric to a relatively new type of terrorism whose recruitment strategy resorts to the language and symbolism of Islam.18 Even if the majority of the Muslim population in Europe and abroad has vehemently condemned those terrorist acts, and even if Islamic religious leaders have sought to distance themselves from the ‘preachers of hatred’ (thus contributing to the construction of the artificial notion of ‘moderate’ Islam), at the popular level the sense that the Muslim ‘enemy is within’ (Ansari 2004) persists.19 Hence it is possible that opposition

66 ]

Sara Silvestri

to Turkey’s entry into the EU could intensify on the part of the EU member states not because of any dislike or distrust of Turkish people and of Turkish Islam but because of the implications of the presence of Islamist politics in Turkey for the rest of Europe. Allowing into the EU a country with a large Muslim population does not seem to be a major problem from the legalistic point of view of the Treaties. And yet the principle itself of allowing Islamic politics could revolutionise Europe, as it is plausible that quite a number of separate Muslim parties would arise. Another possible scenario is that the extremist groups that in the decade 1995–2005 have been recruiting disaffected Muslim youth in order to carry out murderous actions in Europe, allegedly to punish and cleanse a corrupt Western society in the name of Islam, might find their violent political struggle more legitimate in Europe (since these groups tend to be banned in Islamic countries). They could perhaps better ‘disguise’ their intentions if Islamist politics is allowed into Europe. Indeed, the possibility that the introduction of a form of political Islam that is compatible with the Western democratic parliamentary system could compete with and finally outdo the so-called ‘Islamist’ political violence (that is, terrorism camouflaged in Islamic clothes) seems more remote simply because the ultimate goal of this new form of de-centred terrorism is not dialogue or political negotiation but violence for its own sake. Besides having concerns about the possible implications of the entry of Turkey into the EU and fear of acts of terrorism carried out in the name of Islam, European states and citizens – Muslim and non Muslim alike – are increasingly anxious about a more domestic and more palpable threat: the disaffection and hostility of youth from minority groups living in deprived areas of the major European cities. Many Muslims are unfortunately involved in this process. Multiculturalism – the cohabitation with diversity – has undoubtedly produced reciprocal curiosity and socio-cultural métissage resulting, for instance, in beautiful artistic and culinary products. Yet it has also caused social and racial tensions that risk causing the ghettoisation of some communities.20 There is, therefore, no reason for celebrating multiculturalism as the best strategy of integration of immigrants and minorities. The French model of integration through assimilation, for its part, whilst opposing segregation into communities and insisting on the important notion of equal citizenship, has also failed to amalgamate smoothly Muslims and other minorities into its social fabric. As a consequence, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, most European states register high levels of unemployment amongst their immigrant and Muslim populations. This factor, combined with the crumbling of traditional strategies of integration, has opened the way to the eruption of violence against state institutions and civilians on the one hand, and against Muslims – as in retaliation – on the other. With the London bombings in July, contested draconian anti-terror laws, rising levels of Islamophobia, and the

Europe and Political Islam

[ 67

riots in Birmingham and in France in the autumn, the year 2005 will be remembered as a peak in this history of social tensions involving and affecting Muslims in Europe. As Timothy Garton Ash (2005) has affirmed, even if the ‘vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists’, most of the terrorists who threaten ‘what we still loosely call the west’ claim to be Muslim. This, he argues, is enough for most people living in the West to affirm that ‘we do have troubles with Islam’. At the same time, it seems impossible to identify one precise reason at the source of this troubled relationship. This might seem a simplistic analysis of the current situation. But it is very much a reflection of feelings expressed in everyday conversation. No matter how rich and sophisticated Islamic culture and tradition can be, and despite the efforts of European governments, associations, educational institutions and private individuals to engage in intercultural dialogue or to facilitate exchanges with and the integration of Muslims in European society, a seed of doubt on whether Islam belongs to or can fit in with Europe remains. The difficulties that Islam has in being treated equally with other monotheistic religions, and that Muslims have in voicing their concerns, do not appear to ease these problems and suspicions. Notes 1. The presence in Iraq of American and other allied armed forces (such as the British) has continued – and has been vehemently contested – up to now (2006). 2. OPEC is a permanent, intergovernmental organisation created at the Baghdad Conference on 10–14 September 1960. Its aim is to coordinate oil production policies in order to help stabilise the oil market and to help oil producers achieve a reasonable rate of return on their investments. It is made up of eleven developing countries (Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela) whose economies rely on oil-exporting revenues. The first Summit of OPEC Sovereigns and Heads of State was held in Algiers in March 1975. See the OPEC website: www.opec.org/aboutus/. Accessed 14 June 2005. 3. Having been ‘made redundant’ at the end of the cold war, several fighters found a new mission to combat in the cause of their Muslim brothers in Algeria and in Bosnia in the 1990s (cf. Kepel 2000). 4. For a full account of the Algerian civil war, see Joffé (forthcoming) and Volpi (2003). 5. On these contradictory aspects of the Islamists’ relation to democracy, see Kepel (1994) and Roy (2004). 6. The academic community disagrees with the connections that Kepel identifies between the Algerian violence and the European context. 7. Cf. the Barcelona Process (Euro-Mediterranean Conference 1995) and the Neighbourhood Policy (European Commission 2003).

68 ]

Sara Silvestri

8. The Society of the Muslim Brothers (in Arabic, al-Ikhwan al-muslimun), also known as the Muslim Brotherood, is a reformist and modernist movement founded in Egypt in 1928 by schoolteacher Hasan al-Banna (1906–49). It became a large educational and charitable organisation with increasing political power. Influential figures of the second generation of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as Sayyid Qutb (1906–66), as well as the teaching of the Asian thinker Maulana Abul aLa Maududi (1903–79), contributed to developing the activist character of the movement and reinterpreted the notion of Jihad (literally, the strife for spiritual purification) in violent terms. In 1954, Qutb was imprisoned after his attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Brotherhood was outlawed between 1954 and 1984. In 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was murdered by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an organisation that originates in Muslim Brotherhood thought (see Kepel 1994; 2000). The prominent al-Qaeda figure Ayman al-Zawahiri (b. 19 June 1951) was formerly the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad paramilitary organisation. 9. For a description of and commentary on these events, as well as on the alternation between the Islamist parties in Turkey, see Kepel (2000, p. 503ff); Zucconi (2003); Karacasulu (2005); Economist (9 November 2002). For a portrayal of Erdogan, cf. BBC News (30 September 2004). 10. The British Race Relations Act (RRA) of 1976, for instance, protects ethnic minorities but does not mention religious minorities. 11. Emphasis added. 12. Nevertheless, a few months after his enthronement, Pope Benedict XVI showed a smoother approach to Islam. He even had an official encounter with German Muslim leaders during his trip to Cologne, Germany, for World Youth Day in August 2005. Moreover, contrary to many expectations, the conservative attitude of this Pope concerning religious rituals, and in moral and bio-ethical matters, is highly appreciated by many European Muslims who, like him, complain about the moral laxness and declining spirituality in Europe. An example of this was an article published in the November 2005 issue of the Muslim magazine Q-News (Murad 2005). 13. At that summit Turkey was granted the full status of ‘candidate country’, although the starting date for the negotiations was only decided in December 2004. 14. All quotations in this paragraph are from European Parliament (1998). 15. Intercultural dialogue is a central element of the third pillar of the EuroMediterranean Partnership (see Silvestri 2005b). 16. As of mid-2006, Turkey was still at the beginning of the negotiating phase. 17. On the Muslim Brotherhood, see note 9 above. 18. Although the terrorists who perpetrated these acts tend to claim that they have been inspired by Islam, and they explicitly locate themselves in a particular tradition of political Islam, that of Salafism (cf. Joffé 2004), I am still reluctant to define these acts of political violence as ‘Islamic terrorism’. That is why I tend to specify that we are in the presence of terrorist acts that borrow the powerful ‘language’ and the ‘symbols’ of Islam. Schmidt, Joffé and Davar (2005) have produced an excellent

Europe and Political Islam

[ 69

comparative study of political extremism also arguing the centrality of psychological factors and dismissing as secondary the purely ideological or religious elements. 19. This analysis of Muslim responses and public attitudes towards Muslims, as well as the creation of the stereotyped image of a ‘moderate’ Muslim community, result from my constant media monitoring during 2000–5, as well as from a more thorough comparative media analysis whilst at London Metropolitan University during July–September 2005. 20. The London bombings of July 2005 triggered a passionate debate on the alienation of Muslim communities in Britain and on the failure of the multicultural model (cf. BBC survey, 4 August 2005; Telegraph editorials by Boris Johnson and Marc Steyn on 18 July 2005 and 19 July 2005; Roger Hewitt in Society Guardian; 20 July 2005; Commission for Racial Equality (2005); Modood 2005). However, signs of uneasiness with multiculturalism had emerged already with the Rushdie affair in 1989 and during the riots in Yorkshire in the summer of 2001. Cf. the ‘Cantle Report’ on the disturbances in Oldham and Burnley (Home Office 2001) and also Allen (2003).

References Abbas, T. (ed.) (2005) Muslim Britain: Communities under Pressure, London and New York: Zed Books. Al Sayyad, N. and M. Castells (eds) (2002) Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Allen, C. (2003) The Bradford Disturbances: The Sentencing and the Impact, London: Forum Against Racism and Islamophobia (FAIR). Ansari, H. (2004) The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain since 1800, London: Hurst. Association of Muslim Lawyers (1998) Rejection of Oostlander Report in EU Parliament: www.aml.org.uk/news/98-oolr.htm. Accessed 1 June 2005. Commission for Racial Equality (2005) Press release: After 7/7: Sleepwalking to segregation, 22 September: www.cre.gov.uk/Default.aspx.LocID-0hgnew07s.RefLocID0hg00900c002.Lang-EN.htm. Accessed 23 September 2005. Davie, G. (2000) Religion in Modern Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Diez, T. (2004) ‘Europe’s Others and the Return of Geopolitics’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 17 (2), pp. 319–35. Esposito, J. (2002) Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Euro-Mediterranean Conference (1995) Barcelona Declaration, Barcelona, 27–8 November. European Commission (2003) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Wider Europe — Neighbourhood: A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours, COM (2003) 104 final, Brussels, 11 March. European Parliament (1998) ‘Minutes of the sitting of Monday 13 July 1998’, Official Journal of the European Communities, C 292/1, 21 September.

70 ]

Sara Silvestri

European Parliament (1997), Committee on Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs (Rapporteur: Arie Oostlander) Dangers of fundamentalism, INI/1996/2118. Garton Ash, T. (2005) ‘What we call Islam is a mirror in which we see ourselves’, The Guardian, 15 September. Hafez, K. (2005) ‘The image of the Middle East and Islam in Western Media: A Critical Reappraisal’. Lecture delivered at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge, 13 October. Halliday, F. (2005) ‘Turkish doubts’, openDemocracy, 29 July. Home Office (2001) Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team Chaired by Ted Cantle (‘Cantle Report’) December. Hourani, A. (1991) Islam in European Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Joffé, G. (forthcoming) Algeria: The Failed Revolution, London: Routledge. —— (2004) ‘Global Terrorism’, EuroMeSco Papers, no. 30, May. Karacasulu, N. (2005) ‘Turkish Islamists and the European Union: A Shift in Perception’. Paper presented at the third ECPR General Conference, Budapest, 8–10 September. Kepel, G. (1994) À lOuest d Allah, Paris: Éditions du Seuil. —— (2000) Jihad: Expansion et déclin de lislamisme, Paris: Éditions Gallimard. —— (2004) ‘Turkey’s European Problem’, openDemocracy, 14 December. Modood, T. (2005) Multicultural Politics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Modood, T. and P. Werbner (eds) (1997) The Politics of Multiculturalism in the New Europe, London and New York: Zed Books. Murad, A. H. (2005) ‘A Pope’s progress’, Q-News, November. Nielsen, J. (2004) Muslims in Western Europe, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Rich, P. (1999) ‘European identity and the myth of Islam: a reassessment’, Review of International Studies, 25, pp. 435–51. Roy, O. (2004) Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, London: Hurst. Sayyid, B. S. (1997) A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism, London: Zed Books. Schmidt, C., G. Joffé and E. Davar (2005) ‘The Psychology of Political Extremism’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 18 (1), pp. 151–72. Silvestri, S. (2005a) ‘The situation of Muslim immigrants in Europe in the XXI century: the creation of national Muslim councils’, in Henke, H. (ed.) Crossing Over: Comparing Recent Migration in Europe and the United States, Lanham, MD: Lexington, pp. 101–29. —— (2005b) ‘EU relations with Islam in the context of the EMP’s cultural dialogue’, Mediterranean Politics (special issue, The EU and the Mediterranean: Conceptualising Cultural Dialogue and Social Systems), 10 (3), pp. 385–405. Stråth, B. (ed.) (2000) Europe and the other and Europe as the other, Brussells and Oxford: PIE-Peter Lang. Volpi, F. (2003) Islam and Democracy: The Failure of Dialogue in Algeria, London and Stirling, VA: Pluto Press. Zucconi, M. (2003) Turkey’s New Politics and the European Union, Rome: Etnobarometro.

CHAPTER

6 Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims Haris Aziz

Introduction Islam, Christianity and Judaism have a common Abrahamic heritage and similar articles of faith binding them together. In the current era of suspicion, disillusionment and the ‘War on Terror’, this bond can provide the muchneeded shared vision. Despite the historical bridges and common values, it is unfortunate to witness the level of distrust between the adherents of these faiths. One aspect of this has been the increase in anti-Semitism amongst Muslims in the last few decades. With the Arab–Israeli conflict as the backdrop, anti-Semitism has become a common feature of radical Islamist discourse. ‘Jewish conspiracies’ are another aspect of this attitude. Muslim extremists, especially, have given a theological colouring to the prejudice against Jews in their speeches and pamphlets. This type of literature not only exacerbates the political problems but also increases tensions in Europe and throughout the world. I will trace the Muslims’ attitude towards the Jews from the initial interaction of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with the Arabian Jews to the politicisation of the Muslim–Jew relationship because of the Arab–Israeli conflict. (A glance at history shows the goodwill shown by all the respected figures in Islamic history towards their fellow-Jews.) I will then review Islam’s attitude towards the Jews as seen from the sacred traditions of the religion. I will analyse Islam’s attitude towards non-Muslims in general and ‘People of the Book’, which includes Jews in particular, through the study of the Quran. After establishing the general outline of Islam’s views about the Jews, I will study those verses of the Quran that are critical of some sections of the ancestors of the Jews. Verses from these sections have not only been seen with suspicion by the Jews but have also been misused by radical Islamists to further their agenda. [ 71 ]

72 ]

Haris Aziz

A straightforward holistic and discerning approach to these verses shows that there is no justification of enmity against the Jews in Islam. Therefore, Muslims engaging in anti-Semitic discourse are contradicting Islamic values. Anti-semitism A Semite is defined as: 1. A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and Northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews and Phoenicians. 2. A Jew.

The word ‘Semitic’ derives from the Greek version of the Hebrew name Shem, one of the three sons of Prophet Noah (pbuh) in the Jewish scriptures (Genesis 5: 32). Anti-Semitism is defined as a belief that the Semite race is inferior in human character or ability. Since I am focusing on anti-Semitism in Islam (which itself is Semitic in origin), I will use ‘anti-Semitism’ in the sense of prejudice and discrimination against the Jews. The worst form of anti-Semitism was witnessed during the rise of the Nazis, which led to the Holocaust, one of the greatest tragedies of mankind. The Arab–Israeli conflict has led to a sharp increase in anti-Semitism among extremist Muslims. Frustrated by the sometimes biased media coverage1 and embittered by the never-ending conflicts, some Muslims tend to mix a critique of the State of Israel with hatred for the Jews. This seems to be based on imports from notorious anti-Jewish writings such as ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.2 This kind of literature is a cause of great concern even if all political disputes are resolved. Muslim anti-Semitism has also been attributed to ‘retaliatory bigotry’3 in the face of hostile anti-Islamic discourse by Jewish or Christian Zionists.4 This, of course, does not justify racism on the part of Muslims. Another source for Muslim anti-Semitism is the faulty interpretation of the Islamic literature of condemning the Jews collectively and eternally for their ‘scheming’ and mistakes in history. This perception is again reinforced when seen in the context of the struggle for Jerusalem,5 which inspires such intense emotions in both Muslims and Jews. It is ironic to see this attitude once we analyse the principles of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Prophet’s example At an early stage in his career as the head of Medina, the Prophet (pbuh) had interactions with the three Jewish tribes. When the Prophet (pbuh) migrated to Medina with his followers, he established the constitution of Medina. It conferred legal

Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims

[ 73

autonomy and the right to practise one’s own religion freely, as well as requiring a commitment to defend the city against external aggression. One of the clauses stated: The Jews of Banu Awf are one nation with the Muslims; the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs, their freedmen and their persons shall be protected except those who behave unjustly or sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families. The same applies to the Jews of Banu an-Najjar, Banu al-Harith, Banu Saidah, Banu Jusham, Banu al-Aws, Banu Thalabah, and the Jafnah, clan of the Thalabah and Banu al-Shuaibah.

This is one of the earliest documents establishing political rights, citizen obligations, freedom of belief, freedom of speech and trade, the sanctity of life, the prohibition of bloodshed and crime, and the laws of municipalities and justice. The Jewish tribes found it tough to witness the rise of a new leader in the land and plotted against the Holy Prophet (pbuh).6 This led to a lot of problems. The enmity of the tribes towards the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers is referred to in the Quran (5:82). This hostility is also reflected in the negative references to Jews in the Muslim accounts of that time. In spite of the political turmoil, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) set an example of fair dealing. He made agreements with the Jews of Medina, maintained relations with them and entrusted his armour to his Jewish neighbour. As it was an Arab custom to make alliance with another tribe through marriage, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married a Jewess, Sufiah Bint Alnudair, daughter of the leader of the Nudair tribe. Once a bier passed before the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and he stood up in respect. When his companions told him that the deceased was a Jew, the Prophet (pbuh) remarked, ‘Was he not a human soul?’7 There is also the story of the Jewish woman who was a neighbour of the Prophet (pbuh) and used to dump rubbish on his doorstep. One day, the Prophet (pbuh) found no rubbish. Upon not finding any rubbish there the next day as well, he asked about the woman, only to learn that she was sick. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) then visited the ill lady and tried to make her feel better. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported by Abu Dawud to have said, ‘On the Day of Judgment I will dispute with anyone who oppresses a person from among the People of the Covenant, or infringes on his right, or puts a responsibility on him which is beyond his strength, or takes something from him against his will.’ Jews in the Muslim Empire Jews flourished as a people during the rise of the Muslim civilisation. They were given great autonomy to pursue their religion and culture. There are historical examples of magnanimity and goodwill shown by revered Muslim figures

74 ]

Haris Aziz

towards the Jews. It was only when Umar Ibn Al-Khattab reclaimed Jerusalem that a 500-year expulsion of the Jews was finished, and seventy Jewish families were invited to settle in Jerusalem. For most of the Middle Ages, the Jews in the Muslim world comprised the major part of the Jewish race. The interaction of the Jews and Arabs was a significant phenomenon in that time. While the Jews were affected by Islamic modes of thought, they also made an intellectual contribution to the Muslim civilisation.8 For a pious Muslim it was an obligation to provide aman (safety) to non-Muslim visitors. Jews who were permanently settled in Muslim lands could live in peace and security so long as they paid tax. They were part of a dynamic civilisation that had major intellectual centres in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Ifsahan and Cordoba. The era was nonetheless marred by political turmoil and wars. Muslims and Jews were on the same side when the Crusades onslaught started, and neither of them were allowed to reside in Jerusalem under the Crusader rule. However, when the Muslim general Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi entered the holy city in 1187, he set a precedent of how Jerusalem should be run, with Jews, Christians and Muslims living at peace with each other in the spiritual landscape. Things were not the same in Western Europe, however, where the flagbearers of ‘Christiandom’ were persecuting the ‘Christ killers’. Compared to ‘Christian’ anti-Semitism, which had an acute psychological and theological dimension to it, the Muslim mind was free from this kind of emotional baggage. This worked well for the Judaic–Islamic tradition. A case in point is the migration of great numbers of Jews into the Ottoman lands of Sultan Bayezid the Second after they had been expelled from Spain and Portugal. The Ottomans also welcomed the Jews who had been expelled from Hungary, France, Italy and Bavaria during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As ‘imperialists’ of that time, they also demanded good treatment of Jews who were not under their jurisdiction.9 The pattern of organisation of Jews in the Ottoman Empire10 is reported to be similar to that of modern USA. After the fifteenth century, Muslim–Jew relations were starting to go downhill. After the Crusades, Muslims had started to view non-Muslims with more suspicion. Moreover, Jews and Christians were seen as collaborators with the Mongols when they attacked the Muslim lands. Unfavourable views about the Jews started to become more commonplace in Muslim lands where the longheld bias of Christians started to seep into the Muslim mind. Despite this, the position of Jews in the Muslim Empire was much easier than in Europe.11 Israel Gradually, changes came about in Europe, with the French Revolution and the formation European nation-states. As a new intellectual wave started in the West and Muslims retreated from the European onslaught, the Jewish centres of learning moved westwards. In a time of weakness, Muslims were starting to

Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims

[ 75

become more intolerant of the Jews and began to perceive them as part of the colonialist expedition. Even at that time there is the example of the Ottoman sultan writing to the Pope in Rome and the king of France to protect the interest of his Jewish subjects. The British colonial interest in Ottoman Jews continued. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Jews in Europe were secure enough to intervene, with the establishment of Alliance Israelite Universelle and other Jewish bodies. There was considerable Muslim resentment to being controlled by Europeans in Central Asia, India, the Middle East and North Africa. The Jews were also seen as enjoying the fruits of the Empire. Things were still not good in Eastern Europe. Pogroms in Russia and elsewhere led to the Jews longing for a homeland where they could live in dignity. It was the European persecution of Jews in the late nineteenth century that became known as anti-Semitism. The Zionist12 movement spearheaded by first Theodor Herzl and then Dr Chaim Weizmann aimed to build the kingdom of Israel. Whereas the First World War gave the Balfour Declaration, the end of the Second World War led to the demand for a Jewish state. Although Palestinians owned more than 90 per cent of the land in 1943, the Zionists used the British colonial enterprise to gain a foothold in the Middle East. It was a time of turmoil, with the influx of a lot of Jewish refugees into Palestine. These were people who had no home country to look to and they had great emotional attachment to land of the Jewish prophets. The Holocaust had been a traumatic experience for the Jews and they demanded settlement in Palestine. Muslims were indignant because they felt that Palestinians should not be the ones who should pay for the crimes of the Europeans. Darkest era The badly managed settlement of Jews by the British, and a lack of vision, marked the start of the darkest era in Muslim–Jew relations. In 1948, Jewish nationalists drove out the Palestinians from their lands so that the ‘people without a land could have a land without a people’.13 This was marked as the Catastrophe by the Arabs. The subsequent defeats of the Arabs in 1967 and 1973 only made matters worse, with Arab–Israeli relations becoming the focal point of Muslim–Jew relations. The Muslim world, which was experiencing intellectual stagnation, could not digest the reversal of fortunes. The championing of Israel’s cause as a ‘beacon of Western values in the land of the barbarians’ by well-placed Jewish intellectuals caused Arab–Israeli relations to sour further. Interestingly, any critique of Israel was being termed as anti-Semitic by Zionists. With Israel’s apartheid policies backed by the UK and USA, every second problem in the Muslim world appeared to have a ‘Jewish’ hand behind it. Although the transnational character of Islam guaranteed that Muslims from all parts of the globe were concerned about the dehumanisation and

76 ]

Haris Aziz

oppression of the Palestinians, it is intriguing to note the rise of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world. One factor was that the oil money pumped by the Saudis into Muslim organisations in various countries promoted the rise of general anti-Jewish sentiments. Some well-known Islamist organisations that sprang up in response to the colonial and dictatorial oppression in Egypt and Pakistan and so on had become increasingly anti-West. With the Arab–Israeli wars, they also became anti-Jewish in their rhetoric. Similar organisations grew in other areas that had a comparable political climate. The traditional Islamic education system had already been disturbed during British colonisation. Muslim preachers with a more political rather than theological background started giving excessive importance to the opposition of the Jews of Arabia to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in order to convince people that Jews will always be the enemies of the Muslim community. This was also done by trying to use certain Quranic verses out of context and with the aid of some inauthentic Hadiths.14 Anti-Semitism was also endorsed at the state level, with leaders15 of well-known Muslim countries issuing anti-Jewish statements and encouraging anti-Semitic books. With the Arab–Israeli conflict escalating, there was a greater tendency for Muslims critical of Israel’s oppression to embrace anti-Semitism. Akbar Ahmed says: ‘the loss of land for the Palestinians and the loss of the holy places in Jerusalem are viewed with a sense of injustice and anger among Muslims. In the rhetoric of confrontation, many themselves blur the distinctions between anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism. Such Muslims thus make the mistake they accuse others of making about them – seeing all Jews as homogenous, monolithic and threatening.’16 Although lasting peace can only come about after Palestinians get justice, it is critical to address the language of hate that is used by some ‘Islamic’ preachers. This can only be done by reclaiming the spirit of tolerance Islam promotes and by examining the principles of the Quran and Sunna (example of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)). Islamic attitude towards non-Muslims In order to learn about the Islamic attitude toward the Jews, it is important to first outline the Quran’s17 general teachings concerning non-Muslims. Islam repeatedly stresses four fundamental values: justice (adl), benevolence (ihsan), compassion (rahmah) and wisdom (hikmah). The Quran states that all of us are children of Adam and have a common humanity (17: 70, 11: 61, 2: 213). Although the Quran teaches monotheism and criticises people for not believing in God Almighty, it also points out the unity of truth and confirms the scriptures that were revealed before it (3: 3). The underlying theme in Islam is peace and justice. The Quranic imperative on fairness is so strong that it is stated: ‘O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves’ (4: 135). The Quran forbids compulsion in religion (2: 256, 50: 45), promotes human

Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims

[ 77

dignity (17: 70), does not tolerate racism and differentiates among people only according to their piety (49: 13). The Islamic message is that salvation is only through faith in God and good deeds. One is personally accountable to God for one’s actions. One’s lineage, race, colour or family has no bearing upon the respect of him or her in the eyes of God. The Quran (5: 48) states: To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.

Moreover, there is a clear instruction to maintain peace and cordial relations with any people who do not mean harm to the Muslims: Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. (Quran 60: 8)

These verses clearly include Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and atheists who are not belligerent against Muslims. Moreover, Muslims are forbidden from having an insulting attitude towards non-Muslims (Quran 6: 108). Jews, People of the Book According to the Quran, the People of the Book are the believers in different monotheistic faiths that had scriptures revealed to them. In Islam, the People of the Book, which include Christians and Jews, have special status. Muslims believe that Islam is the primordial religion that has been prevalent throughout time, and Muslims respect all the prophets in history, especially Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the final Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Quran (3: 84). The Quran exhorts Muslims to develop understanding with the followers of all scriptures on their common belief in the Unity of God and cooperate with them: Say: O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. (Quran 3: 64)

The Quran discusses the Children of Israel (the wider family of the Jews) and recognises Jews as the descendants of Prophet Isaac (pbuh), son of Prophet

78 ]

Haris Aziz

Abraham (pbuh). The Quran specifically refers to the existence of righteous people (3: 113, 114) and people on the right course (5: 65, 5: 66) among the followers of other scriptures, and this includes Jews. The following verse in the Holy Quran (2: 62) summarises the respect for pious Jews among other righteous people: Those who believe [in the Quran], and those who follow the Jewish [scriptures], and the Christians and the Sabians – any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

Similar verses are present in the Quran in other places (5: 69; 22: 17). Jews and Christians are considered close to the Muslims and Islam allows Muslims to eat their permissible food and marry them. Muslims are also specially instructed to observe the sanctity of churches and synagogues (Quran 22: 40).18 The common Abrahamic heritage of both Islam and Judaism provides the ideal common ground for dialogue between Muslims and Jews. Criticism of a section of Jews The Quran speaks about the Children of Israel (Bani Israil) in a number of places. It is in view of the general Quranic verses and the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that we must honour the history of the Children of Israel, who are considered the forefathers of the Jewish race. The Children of Israel have been spoken of favourably in the Quran (2: 47; 44: 32), and they were said to have been guided by God. However, the Quran is also critical of the Children of Israel, especially one of the groups of the Children of Israel, Al-Yahud, that is referred to in translations simply as Jews. The reason for some strong criticism is that sections of the Jewish tribes failed to be grateful for God’s blessing on them. They committed various wrongs such as disobeying their prophets, promoting usury, becoming arrogant and subverting noble Jewish principles by being overly legalistic.19 This has been mentioned in chapter 4 and chapter 5 of the Quran. It must be noted that similar and sometimes harsher criticism has been made in the Bible (Micah 3: 1–12; Hosea 8: 1–14; Book of Deuteronomy Verses 16–68; Matthew 23: 13–39).20 If one analyses the Quranic verses, it is apparent from the direct translation or the context that only a section of the Jews are criticised for their disregard of the principles of Judaism. For example, there is mention of the transgression of Jews in the Quran 4: 153–61. However, the next verse (4: 162) qualifies that the mistakes are not attributed to the pious Jews. One of the criticisms of a section of the Jews was over their hypocritical and spiteful behaviour towards Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) (Quran 2: 109; 4: 54). This is presented as advice to Muslims not to repeat the mistakes of certain Jews

Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims

[ 79

in history. Muslims should learn from these parables. Any anti-Semitism from their side contradicts the teachings of the Holy Quran and defeats the purpose of these examples. If we study the general tenor of the Quran, it is evident that Muslims cannot be overly judgemental about other people because only God knows the inner workings of anyone’s mind. Moreover, no one is to be judged by the actions of their ancestors. Therefore there is no justification to demonise the Jews due to the faults of people among the Children of Israel. Any generalisation about the Jews by Muslims is analogous to reading about Nazi anti-Semitism in a historical context and concluding today that all Germans are inherently racist. The Quran states that among the Jews is a community that ‘recites the revelations of Allah in the night season, falling prostrate [before Him]. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and vie one with another in good works. These are of the righteous. And whatever good they do, they will not be denied the need thereof. Allah is Aware of those who ward off [evil]’ (3: 113–15). Need for contextual interpretation It is in the context of the general Quranic guidelines of peace and friendship that we must see the verse 5: 51, which translates as ‘O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your awliya: They are but awliya to each other.’ The word awliya has various meanings such as friends, protectors and guardians, and if the meaning is taken to be friends then it seems to contradict the Islamic message of peace and cooperation. The context and the historical background of this verse have been well explained by David Dakake.21 In this verse, awliya needs to be understood as guardians or patrons in the strict military sense. This is because when this verse was revealed, Muslims were in a precarious position in Medina, with the Makkans planning to attack the Muslims and some of the Christian and Jewish tribes conspiring against them. Therefore Muslims were instructed to consolidate themselves and not depend on anyone needlessly. This whole background has been explained by al-Tabari, one of the earliest commentators on the Quran. Moreover, if we read the verses next to 5: 51, the verse 5: 57 clarifies the meaning even more: O ye who believe! Take not for awliya those who take your religion for a mockery or sport – whether among those who received the Scripture before you, or among those who reject Faith; but fear ye Allah, if ye have faith [indeed].

This shows that whereas Muslims should adopt a general attitude of cooperation with non-Muslims and friendship with well-meaning non-Muslims, they should be wary of making as a guardian someone who has contempt for Islam or does not mean well for Muslims. It is disappointing to see that when a straightforward methodology leads us to the appropriate meaning, this verse is not only used in anti-Islam discourse22 but also misused by some hate-mongering Muslim

80 ]

Haris Aziz

groups.23 Similarly, a warning (Quran 5: 82) about the enmity of the Jews of Medina towards the Muslims must be seen in its historical context and should not warrant any ill will from Muslims. In the Quran (39: 18), there is a warning against this attitude and there is advice to look for the best meaning: ‘those who listen to the Word, and follow the best [meaning] in it: those are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding’. Conclusion Numerous well-known Islamic jurists and scholars have affirmed that there is no religious basis of prejudice against the Jews. Theologically speaking, Islam and Judaism have similar views on strict monotheism, the concept of morality and the lack of religious office and mediation. Historically, we have many precedents of goodwill shown by Muslims to the Jews. Jews thrived for four hundred years in al-Andalus amidst the Muslims during the peak of the medieval Islamic civilisation. Karen Armstrong says: In the Islamic empire Jews like Christians had full religious liberty; the Jews lived there in peace until the creation of the State of Israel in our own century. The Jews of Islam never suffered like the Jews of Christendom. The anti-Semitic myths of Europe were introduced into the Middle East at the end of the last century by Christian missionaries and were usually scorned by the populace. But in recent years some Muslims have turned to passages of the Quran which refer to the rebellious Jewish tribes of Medina and tend to ignore the far more numerous verses which speak positively of the Jews and their great prophets. This is an entirely new development in the history of 1,200 years of good relations between Jews and Muslims.24

Anti-Semitism is against the basics of Islam. Islam promotes humility and warns against keeping enmity and anger in one’s heart. It is a positive sign that many Muslim intellectuals, such as Akbar Ahmed and Tariq Ramadan, are speaking out against anti-Semitism by Muslims. It is also crucial that the Jewish leaders also follow suit and encourage better understanding between Muslims and Jews. Tariq Ramadan says: ‘there is nothing in Islam that gives legitimization to Judeophobia, xenophobia and the rejection of any human being because of his religion or the group to which he belongs. Anti-Semitism has no justification in Islam, the message of which demands respect for the Jewish religion and spirit, which are considered a noble expression of the People of the Book.’25 Muslims also need to see what they are missing by being anti-Jew. Islamic civilisation rose to prominence due to the intellectual push it provided to the whole world. Many prophets came to the Jews and the collective wisdom and intellectual spirit of the Jews has always been a source of knowledge through history. Even now, Jews have a remarkable representation among the world’s intelligentsia, relative to their population. Cutting off from this steam of intellect is only going to harm Muslims. Moreover, with debate over Muslim integration

Anti-Semitism amongst Muslims

[ 81

in Europe, an alliance with Jewish organisations is all the more important. Jews, after all, have centuries of experience of settling in foreign lands. Although both Muslims and orthodox Jews believe that Jews did not get a homeland in ancient times because they did not listen to Prophet Moses’ (pbuh), command, the Quran (5: 21; 17: 104) has not ruled out a return of the Jews to Palestine. We must all be committed to a peaceful two-state solution according to the 1967 borders where the lives and dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis can be safeguarded. One workable solution to the question of Jerusalem is to make it an international city controlled by the UN. This will enable Jews, Christians and Muslims to access their holy sites. But before that happens, the Palestinians must get justice, and the Jews and the Muslims have to root out the bigotry within themselves. Notes 1. See Richardson, John E. (2004) (Mis)Representing Islam: The Racism and Rhetoric of British Broadsheet Newspapers, Netherlands: John Benjamins, for a wellresearched book on the coverage of Islam in the British media. 2. Lewis, B. (1998) ‘Muslim Anti-Semitism’, The Middle East Quarterly, 5 (2), pp. 43–9. 3. Khwaja, I. (2003) ‘The Problem of Muslim Anti-Semitism’, Pakistan Today, 10 January. 4. There is group of Evangelists in USA who believe that supporting Israel and fighting Muslims will expedite the coming of Jesus Christ. Many well-known Christian theologians have warned against this attitude. This phenomenon is well explained in Malik, A. (ed.) (2005) With God on Our Side: Politics & Theology of the War on Terrorism, Bristol: Amal Press, section 3. 5. Armstrong, K. (2005) History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, London: HarperCollins. This book elegantly explains the significance of Jerusalem in all the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 6. The intrigues by the Jewish tribes in Medina against the Prophet (pbuh) have been explained in Lings, M. (1983) Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, New York: Inner Traditions International. One aspect of this was Banu Qurayza’s open support of Quraysh in their quest to finish off the nascent Muslim community and the subsequent reported execution of the treasonous men. See Aslan, R. (2006) No God But God, London: Arrow Books, pp. 91–4 for an analysis of the incident. 7. The Sahih Collection of Bukhari: The Book of Funerals. Retrieved 10 Dec 2005: www.sunnipath.com/Resources/PrintMedia/Hadith/H0002P0028.aspx. Accessed 7 March 2006. 8. The great Jewish thinker and physician Moses Maimonides (1135–1204) was an integral part of a vibrant multicultural Islamic civilisation. A Jewish saying on Maimonides goes, ‘From Moses [of the Torah] to Moses [Maimonides], there was none like Moses.’ 9. In 1556, Sultan Sulayman ‘the Magnificent’ wrote a letter to Pope Paul IV asking

82 ]

10. 11. 12.

13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20.

21.

22.

23. 24. 25.

Haris Aziz for the immediate release of the Sephardic Jews, Acona Marranos, whom he declared to be Ottoman citizens. Rabbi Sarfati of Edirne wrote the famous Edirne letter in which he invited fellowJews to leave Christiandom and seek safety ands prosperity in Turkey. Lewis, B. (1987) Jews of Islam, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, p. 135. Although Zionism is now used synonymously with Israel’s racism, it is important to take into account the historical background of the movement. There are many ‘Jewish nationalists’ who are as averse to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians as anyone else. Moreover, many traditional Jewish groups are against the Zionist ideology. Brownfield, A. C. (1998) ‘Zionism at 100: The Myth of Palestine as “A Land without People” ’, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March issue, pp. 29–31. Hadiths are descriptions of conduct attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Unlike the Quran, which Muslims believe to be divine, ahadith are accorded varying levels of authenticity depending on their chain of narration and content. Lewis (1987), p. 186. Quoted in Kramer, M. (1995) ‘The Salience of Islamic Antisemitism’, Institute of Jewish Affairs Report (London), October, no. 2. In this essay, I have used Abdullah Yousufali’s translation of the Holy Quran. The destruction of synagogues by Palestinians after the evacuation of Gaza in September 2005 shows how revenge and anger can subvert religious principles. It is interesting to note the appearance of similar tendencies among some conservative Muslims such as putting less focus on the main revelation, having an exclusivist approach and being overly legalistic and ritualistic. All these verses from the Bible have been quoted in Siddiqi, M. H., Does the Quran sound anti-Semitic?: http://pakistanlink.com/religion/2002/0104.html. Accessed 7 March 2006. Dakake D. (2004) ‘The Myth of Militant Islam’, in Lumbard J. E. B. (ed.) (2004) Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition, Indiana: World Wisdom Books, pp. 3–37. In his essay, Dakake has explained the peaceful traditional interpretations of certain verses in the Quran that are quoted irresponsibly in the media. It is noticeable that sections of the Western media, which was never too sympathetic to Islam, have become quite hostile. Edward Said, in his book Covering Islam (New York: Pantheon Books, 1981), launched an attack on the methodology adopted by the Western media in representing Islam. Character assassination of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on the basis of unsubstantiated assumptions and centuries-old anti-Islamic myths has become common. In mainstream writings, similar treatment of any other eminent personality in history would be unthinkable. The verse 5: 51 in the Quran is repeatedly misused by Hizb-ut-Tahrir that claims to deal in ‘political Islam’. Armstrong, K. (1992) Muhammad: A Western Attempt to Understand Islam, London: Victor Gollancz, p. 209. Ramadan, T., ‘Muslims against Anti-Semitism: ways to promote common values’: www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2004/issue4/0404p35.html. Accessed 7 March 2006.

CHAPTER

7 The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia Galina M. Yemelianova

Introduction The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe brought Europe’s political division to a close. The ensuing democratisation and liberalisation of the former Eastern Bloc countries has prompted their economic and, in some cases, political re-integration within a wider Europe. The Eurasian continent has witnessed an upsurge in mobility of people, capital and ideas. Under the new realities, more than sixty million exSoviet Muslims have ended their more than century-long isolation and have begun to rediscover their affinities with the wider ummah (Islamic community). This chapter is about post-Soviet Muslims and their radicalised responses to the challenges of ongoing political and societal transition. Despite high political and academic topicality of this issue and excessive publications on it in the West and the former USSR, there has been very limited serious research of this phenomenon. This has been due to the political and security sensitivities of the subject, insufficient expertise, as well as funding constraints. Also, most of the existing research on the subject seems to overlook the internal factors behind the rise of Islamic radicalism in the ex-Soviet Muslim community, and focuses primarily either on the activities of Islamic radicals within the separate Muslim communities or on the role of foreign Islamist centres in the Islamist resurgence in the former Soviet Union. As a result of such a one-sided approach, the Islamic radicalisation all over the ex-USSR is often portrayed as a by-product of an international Islamist ‘conspiracy’.1 By contrast, this chapter seeks to analyse the internal sources and social base of Islamic radicalisation in ex-Soviet Central Asia, the Caucasus and the VolgaUrals, and to identify the differences in Islamic dynamics there. It also investigates if there has been any interaction between the Islamist networks in the [ 83 ]

84 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

three regions and assesses the level of foreign involvement in the Islamic dynamic there. In conclusion, it evaluates the implications of the rise of Islamic radicalism for particular post-Soviet states, the ex-Soviet territory as a whole and the wider Europe.2 Ethnic, cultural and historical background Ex-Soviet Muslims constitute a specific social entity that is distinguishable from other Muslim communities. All of them bear the scars of more than a century of Russian-Soviet political and cultural domination, which significantly mutated their Islamic beliefs and way of life. They have largely adhered to the popular form of Islam, which presents a synthesis of Islam with pre-Islamic local adats (customary norms) and beliefs; because of Tsarist Russian and Soviet suppression they are practically unaware of the doctrinal side of Islam. The majority of ex-Soviet Muslims are followers of the Hanafi madhhab (juridical school of Sunni Islam), although the Chechens, Ingush and the majority of Dagestanis adhere to the Shafii madhhab. The Azeris are largely Shiites, the Ithna-Asharites (Twelvers, 75 per cent of Azerbaijan’s population). Azerbaijan’s Lezgins, Tatars, Kurds, Tats and Meskhets are Sunnis of Hanafi madhhab. There is also a relatively small group of Twelvers in Central Asia. In the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan there is an Ismaili community of Nizarites, the followers of the Aga Khan. Shiism, at least at the everyday level, is also widespread among the Turkmen. The majority of Dagestani Muslims, Chechens and Ingush adhere to Sufi (mystical) Islam of Naqshbandiyya, Kadiriyya, Shaziliyya and Jazuliyya tariqas (Sufi brotherhoods). Naqshbandiyya is also widely spread among Uzbeks and Tajiks.3 In spite of this commonality, the ex-Soviet Muslims do not comprise a homogeneous geographical, ethno-linguistic and cultural community. They vary in terms of their particular historical evolution, their ethnic make-up, their level of Islamisation, their relations with Russian culture and with the Russian political centre, and the extent of their exposure to external Islamic influences. Thus, the Muslims of Central Asia, who account for two-thirds of the population of the ex-Soviet ummah and make up more than 20 per cent of the total population of the former Soviet Union, belong to five major ethnic groups – the Uzbeks, the Kazakhs, the Kyrgyz, the Turkmen and the Tajiks. The latter represent the eponymous ethnic groups in the newly independent states of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The Uzbeks, the Kazakhs, the Kyrgyz and the Turkmen are Turkic peoples, while the Tajiks belong to the Iranian ethno-linguistic family. Historically, the sedentary Tajiks and Uzbeks are more religious than the nomadic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Turkmen. In the Caucasus, the largest Muslim groups are the Azeris (a Turkic people), who number about six million and constitute about 90 per cent of the total population of the newly independent state of Azerbaijan. The Azeris are followed by

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 85

the Chechens, who make up about one million, and the Avars who top 500,000. The other relatively numerous Muslim people of the Caucasus are the Ingush, the Dargins, the Laks, the Kumyks, the Nogais, the Lezgins, the Kabardinians, the Balkars, the Cherkess, the Abkhaz, Adygheans and the Abazins, as well as representatives of more than thirty other smaller ethnic groups of Turkic, Caucasian and Indo-European origins. In administrative terms, they belong to Russia’s autonomous republics of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetiia, Kabardino-Balkariia, Karachaevo-Cherkessiia, Adyghea and North Ossetiia, and Georgia’s autonomous republics of Abkhazia and Ajaria. The most religious among them are Chechens, Ingush and Dagestanis. The largest Muslim community of inner Russia is represented by the Tatars (a Turkic people), who number more than six million, although in Tatarstan itself there are only two million. The Tatars are followed by the Bashkirs (a Turkic people kindred to the Tatars), who number about one and a half million and populate Bashkortostan and adjacent areas in the Volga-Urals. In Ukraine’s Crimea there are a quarter of a million Crimean Tatars. The Tatars and Bashkirs are the most integrated and secularised Muslims of the former Soviet Union due to their much longer period of social and cultural interaction with the Russians, and their higher level of urbanisation and industrialisation.4 Islamic discourse in the Volga-Urals In the Volga-Urals, due to historical, economic and ethno-cultural reasons (400 years of Russian political and cultural domination, higher levels of industrialisation, urbanisation and subsequently secularisation of the population, alongside a large proportion of non-Muslim, mainly Russian, population), the role of political Islam has been insignificant. In Tatarstan, the attempts of various opposition forces to play the Islamic card have so far failed. In contrast to the North Caucasus and the Ferghana Valley, in the Volga-Urals region Islam has not provided a mobilising framework for opposition to the authorities. So far, the governments of Shaimiev and Rakhimov, in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan respectively, have achieved relative security and undermined the chances of various opposition forces, including those of an Islamist nature, presenting a serious threat to them in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, during the period under research, the Volga-Urals region has witnessed some limited manifestations of Islamist activism of salafi5 nature. Of some significance there has been the penetration into the region of Hizb alTahrir al-Islamii (Party of Islamic Liberation, HT), founded by Taqiuddin alNabhani in 1953 in Jordan.6 It is hard to estimate the actual number of Islamists and their sympathisers in the region, given the very secretive nature of their network, but indirect evidence suggests that it does not exceed several dozen. Members of the HT are largely Tatars, although there are some Uzbeks and representatives of other traditionally Muslim ethnic groups of the former USSR. Many have either studied in foreign Muslim colleges or been taught by foreign

86 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

tutors at Islamic institutions at home. They have been engaged in propagation of salafi Islam through the distribution of leaflets and other salafi literature. Among the sites of Islamist activities have been Naberezhnie Chelny, Almetievsk, Nizhnekamsk, Buguruslan (Orenburg region) and Penza. It is also interesting that the regional Islamic establishment, represented by the Dukhovnoe Upravlenie Musulman Respubliki Tatarstan (Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan, hereafter referred to as the DUMRT) under the leadership of muftii Iskhakov, the Dukhovnoe Upravlenie Musulman Respubliki Bashkortostan (Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Republic of Bashkortostan, hereafter referred to as the DUMRB) under the leadership of muftii Nigmatullin, and other regional muftiiats, which are affiliated to the Sovet Muftiev Rossii (Council of Muftiis of Russia) under Moscow-based muftii Ravil Gaynuttdinov, have been recipients of financial and methodological assistance from foreign Islamic foundations, primarily from the Gulf region, and de facto have sanctioned the penetration of salafi Islam into the regional Islamic educational system. This issue has been at the centre of controversy among Central Russian Muslim clerics. In particular, the Ufa-based muftii Talgat Tadjuddinov, the unitary leader of the Russian Muslim establishment – the Dukhovnoe Upravlenie Musulman Evropeiskoi Chasti Rossii i Sibiri (the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the European part of Russia and Siberia, hereafter referred to as the DUMES), until its break up in 1992 – has persistently accused muftii Gaynuttdinov of safeguarding the spread of salafism in the Russian ummah. In Tatarstan, alongside the salafi ideas of outside origins, there emerged a locally-rooted opposition Muslim community headed by Faizrahman Sattarov, known as the Faizrahmanists.7 The community’s basic postulate is the principle, ‘live only by the Quran’. In doctrinal terms, it represents a paradoxical mixture of salafism, Sufism and paganism. Sattarov recognises that this will restrict his number of followers to only the most ‘worthy’. He admits that there are sources other than the Quran that form the basis of the shariat, but argues that there is no need for them as yet and Muslims need to unite around the Quran only. According to Faizrahman, of the seventy-three existing Islamic sects, only one is the ‘sect of Allah’ and the rest were invented by scholars. He pays lip service to the distinction between Sunnism and Shiism, and the division into madhhabs, but in practice he casts doubt on their practicality because ‘Allah forbade disunity’. Among basic dogmas, he particularly highlights namaz (Islamic prayer), zakat (obligatory alms) and the community tries, often unsuccessfully, to implement a compulsory zakat among members of up to twothirds of their income.8 On the whole, Islamic radicalisation in the Volga-Urals has occurred predominantly within the theological and academic debate among local Muslim clerics, nationalist politicians and Islamic specialists. Among the major issues of this debate have been taqlid (Islamic traditionalism), Wahhabism,9 Sufism

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 87

and bidah (illegitimate innovation in Islam), the essence of regional (Tatar and Bashkir) Islam and Euro-Islam. By the second half of the 1990s, representatives of official Islam publicly admitted that salafi (Wahhabi) ideas had penetrated local Muslim communities. Official clerics responded to the ‘threat’ of Wahhabism by defining more clearly their own theoretical position. The central pillars of this position are: propagation of the Hanafi madhhab, adherence to the principles of the taqlid, and rejection of the need to ‘open the doors of the ijtihad’ (independent judgement). The rejection of ijtihad’ was seen as vital to securing a viable ideological and theoretical base for forming a fully-fledged ummah and preventing all possible ideological pretensions from either right (Wahhabism) or left (religious reforming and modernising tendencies). Official clerics view the origins of taqlid within the doctrine of the madhhabs, and are thus rooted in the teaching of the founders of the four major madhhabs – imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafia and Imam Ahmad ben Hanbal. The appeal to taqlid, therefore, is regarded as theoretical protection from penetration in the region of the ideas of both Wahhabis and ‘modernist Muslims, whose intellect has been damaged by kafir (non-believer) influence deriving from western education’.10 Most official clerics agreed that Sufism, in principle, does not contradict the shariat, and that, in practice, it might play a useful role in the process of Islamic revival. Thus, Tatar Muslim clerics pointed to the fact that the leading Tatar Islamic thinkers – Kul-Sharif, G. Utyz-Imyani, S. Mardjani and Z. Rasulev – belonged to the Naqshbandi Sufi tariqa. Interestingly, the issue of Sufism has been raised by official clerics primarily as a safeguard against Wahhabism, which categorically rejects Sufism. On the other side, there are a few Muslim clerics, like Nurulla Muflikhunov, for example, who oppose tariqas as bidah and believes that Sufism emerged under the influence of Christianity.11 The issue of bidah has been of particular importance because many phenomena in the local ummah could potentially qualify as bidah. Among them are customs and rituals that, whilst essentially non-Islamic, nevertheless perform a significant role in preserving and spreading Islam among the population. The first challenge for contemporary Muslim clerics is to establish an agreed definition of the concept of ‘bidah’. Some – such as imam-khatib Ahameddin from Naberezhnie Chelny – consider bidah to exist in two forms: acceptable bidah – hasan (‘good bidah’) and unacceptable bidah – sayin (‘bad bidah’).12 Ahameddin’s position is challenged by Malik Ibragim, the imamkhatib of the Tauba mosque in Naberezhnie Chelny and muhtasib (district imam) of Tukaevskii raion (district). The latter believes that ‘to accept something that is not in the shariat as a shariat act and to assert that it should be carried out without failure is bidah’. Nurulla Muflikhunov thus warns that ‘illiterate and slack Muslims who have no proper understanding of the Quran and the hadith [traditions of Prophet Muhammad] assume that acts that rank as bidah derive from the religion itself’.13

88 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

The interpretation of funeral rites and the festival of mawlid (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday) constitutes yet another difficult issue for local Muslim clerics. Both these rites arose after the death of the Prophet Muhammad and therefore feature neither in the Quran nor the Hadiths. Therefore, although the vast majority of representatives of the Tatar and Bashkir clergy recognise the non-religious provenance of these rites, they differ in their assessments of their role in the religious renewal of society. Supporters of the rebirth of Islam without bidah believe that these rites hamper the re-establishment of the true canons of the shariat. Malik Ibragim clearly interprets wakes held on the third, seventh and fortieth days after a death and on the first anniversary after a death, as well as religious festivals such as mawlid, to be acts of bidah.14 By contrast, Djalil Fazleev, the imam-khatib of the village of Burbash in Baltasinskii raion, Tatarstan, and some other representatives of Muslim clergy, acknowledge these rites as important elements of the ethnic and confessional consciousness of the Tatars and Bashirs, and believe that they might facilitate the rebirth of Islam.15 It is significant that most contemporary Muslim clergy support the return of traditional religious values to society. For example, Valiulla Yakupov, the deputy muftii of the DUMRT, criticises jadids (Islamic reformers)16 for their orientation towards adaptation and simplification of Islamic ideas to fit Western culture. He argues that Islam has always had a cult of science and therefore does not need to bring its theology in line with the achievements of science. Yakupov sees the solution in overcoming existing Euro-centrism and establishing respect for the Tatar people and their culture, including Islam. He claims that Tatars must stick to their traditional Hanafi Islam, which has allowed the preservation of the ethnic peculiarities of the Tatars, as well as local customs, in the hard conditions of the centuries-long Christian occupation. The views of the traditionalist majority are opposed by the modernist minority. Thus, Tatar nationalist Rashat Safin regards Islam, which he perceives geopolitically, as an indispensable characteristic of the Tatar nation. According to Safin, Tatars do not need to follow existing forms of Islam and they must have their own Islam rooted in their jadidist legacy. He argues against Tatarstan’s gravitation towards Muslim countries on the basis of common religion, and advocates the transformation of Tatarstan into the Islamic centre of Eurasia.17 Rafael Khakimov, political advisor to President Shaimiev, also propagates radical modernisation of Islam and development of Euro-Islam based on the traditions of jadidism. For Khakimov, Islam is the religion of a free man and a path to personal freedom. He argues that in order to succeed in contemporary world, Tatars and other Muslim people of the region have to recognise that the truth is not a set absolute and depends more on particular historical conditions. He argues, therefore, that some instructions given in the Quran and shariat are not applicable to contemporary conditions. According to Khakimov, external Muslim symbols, as well as many Islamic prohibitions and rituals, especially those which relate to women’s rights, have lost their significance in the twenty-first century.18

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 89

Radical Islam in the Caucasus In the North Caucasus the proliferation of Islamic fundamentalism, which has been widely known as Wahhabism, began in the late 1980s and in Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. Compared to official Muslim clerics, the Islamists have been prepared to address key social problems. Islamic fundamentalist ideas have been generated both within local society and imported from abroad. Among its local ideologists there have been, for example, Ahmed-qadi Akhtaev, Bagauddin Kebedov, Abbas Kebedov and Ayub Omarov in Dagestan; Rasul Kudaev, Anzor Astemirov, Musa Mukozhev, Ruslan Nakhushev in KabardinoBalkariia; and Muhammad Bidzhiev and Ramazan Barlakov in KarachaevoCherkessiia. They claim to follow the ideas of local Islamic thinkers of the early twentieth century, such as Ali Kayaev, a Dagestani; Bekmurza Pachev, a Kabardinian; and Kazim Mechiev, a Balkar. Among their foreign authorities have been Ibn Taymiya, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, Maulana Abul ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and al-Turabi.19 Among the means by which Islamic fundamentalism has been promoted from abroad have been the participation of local Muslims in the hajj (annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina) and the activities of various Saudi and other Middle Eastern Islamic organisations and foundations in the region. The latter subsidised construction of mosques and madrasahs, and the hajj of local Muslims, as well as scholarships for those local young Muslims who wanted to study in Islamic universities and colleges abroad. Foreign Islamic foundations also supplied teachers for newly opened Islamic schools and colleges, assisted in the establishment of Islamic publishing houses and freely distributed Qurans and other Islamic literature, including that of a fundamentalist nature. They also invested in proselytising activities conducted by Islamic missionaries and in the organisation of various Islamic training courses and camps, most of which were located in Chechnya. The peak of their activities was in the early 1990s. Since the mid-1990s, and especially since the beginning of the second Chechen war in 1999, almost all the activities of foreign Islamic organisations and Islamic missionaries and teachers have been banned by the authorities. Among the few exceptions have been teachers of Arabic and shariat from the al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, who continue to be employed by the Islamic Institute of Abu Hanifa in Cherkessk on a one-yearlong contract basis.20 The major Islamist enclaves have been in the north-eastern Caucasus, in Dagestan and Chechnya in particular. In Dagestan the relations between Wahhabis and dominating Sufis (tariqatists) have been controversial, and dependent upon particular religious and political circumstances. In doctrinal terms, there is an intrinsic conflict between Sufism and Wahhabism. Wahhabism allegedly represents the ‘pure’ and true Islam of Prophet Muhammad and the four ‘righteous Caliphs’. Wahhabis advocate the tawhid (strict monotheism) and

90 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

oppose tariqatism as a deviation from Islam. They seek the restoration of original Islam through its purging of Sufi-related bidah. Wahhabis do not consider themselves to be bound by the Shafii madhhab, which has been traditionally dominant in Dagestan, or by any other madhhab; they only concur with those regulations of the four madhhabs that can be tested by reference to the Quran and the Sunna. Wahhabis believe that on questions of ibadat (homage to Allah), only what is prescribed in the Quran and the Sunna is permissible; everything else is a deviation from Islam. In muamalat (social practice), everything is permitted unless it is specifically forbidden by the Quran and the Sunna.21 The Wahhabi ideologists count as many as one hundred bidah in Sufi doctrine and practice. They are particularly critical of the Sufi veneration of saints and sheikhs as intercessors between believers and Allah. They regard excessive worship and glorification of Islamic saints (even of the Prophet Muhammad) as a deviation from monotheism, which proscribes the worship of anyone other than Allah. Apart from clear, conceivable knowledge embodied in the shariat, Wahhabis rule out the existence in Islam of another hidden, mystic knowledge that is supposedly accessible only to saints and Sufi sheikhs. They do not recognise the mystical ability of the saints and of the Prophet himself to intercede before Allah on behalf of Muslims, and challenge the legitimacy of praying to the saints. Neither do Wahhabis accept that baraka (blessing) can be passed down through saints, sheikhs and artefacts related to them (such as shrines). Wahhabis thus reject such Sufi practices traditional to Dagestani society as ziyarat (pilgrimage to Sufi shrines), reading the Quran at cemeteries, maulids (chanting praise to saints or sheikhs), and using amulets and talismans. While condemning innovations, at the same time Wahhabis advocate the strict observance of all provisions of the Quran and Sunna concerning ritual and ceremony and the behaviour and appearance of Muslims, even if these provisions are unfamiliar to most Dagestanis. In particular, they insist on unshaven beards and shortened trousers for men, and niqab (short veil) or even hijab (long veil) for women. On the whole, Wahhabism attracts new converts by its rationalism, accessibility and ability to overcome the often elitist and closed nature of Sufism.22 Of special significance is the difference between Wahhabis and tariqatists on the issue of jihad (Islamic sacred war). Wahhabis accuse Sufis of distorting Islamic teaching on the jihad and of effectively consigning the jihad to oblivion. Wahhabis perceive the jihad as the core of Islam, without which it is like a ‘lifeless corpse’. Unlike the tariqatists, who interpret the jihad predominantly in terms of the spiritual self-perfection of a Muslim, Wahhabis believe that the jihad also implies a campaign to spread Islam all over the world. Moreover, Wahhabi radicals view jihad as a preventive armed advance in order to overcome obstacles that the enemies of Islam place in the path of its peaceful proliferation. This approach opens up the possibility of declaring a jihad against the present Government, which allegedly resists the effective al-dawa al-Islamiyya

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 91

(summon for Islamic way of life) in Dagestan. In this respect, the Wahhabis strongly criticise the tariqatists for their ideological and political corruption and for their support of the present regime. In particular, they defy Sufis’ alleged legalising of usury, which is forbidden by Sharia law.23 Wahhabis have criticised local Islamic clerics – the old imams – for their alleged distortions of Islam and Islamic practices. They have especially opposed the existing practice of israf (wastefulness) in the main events of the life circle, funerals in particular, which have a devastating impact on the bulk of the poverty-stricken population. Also, compared to the old imams who used to memorise Arabic without understanding it, the Wahhabis have begun to conduct prayers in local languages, enabling them to explain the meaning of the Quran to their parishioners. Most old imams have resisted these innovations, which they regard as a threat to the ‘traditional Islam’ that they allegedly represent. Of particular importance has been Wahhabi criticism of the archaic clan- and ethnicity-based stratification of local society, and their ambition to replace it by an inclusive Islamic identity. In this sense, they so far have been the most potent agents of transclan and transnational solidarity.24 Until late 1997, in the north-eastern Caucasus Wahhabis were more or less equally represented by moderates and radicals. Since the second Chechen war (1999–2000), the moderates have been greatly outnumbered by the radicals. By comparison, in the north-western Caucasus (Kabardino-Balkariia and Karachaevo-Cherkessiia) the Wahhabis, known as Novye musulmane (new Muslims), had been dominated by moderates until 2005. This had been due to the region’s deeper political and cultural integration within Russia, its low level of religiosity and its multi-confessional demographic composition.25 However, since October 2005 the radicals have prevailed there as well. While the moderates have emphasised Islamic education as the major source of gradual reIslamisation of local societies, the radicals, or jihadists26, have been prepared to directly challenge local governments. In particular, they called for the introduction of Islamic rule modelled on the nineteenth-century Imamat of Imam Shamil.27 Some of the radicals have been closely linked to the international Islamist centres in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Jordan. In the aftermath of the second Chechen war, the overt manifestations of Islamic fundamentalism have been suppressed as a result of the Kremlin’s and the regional authorities’ crackdown on Islamic extremism. At that time, the parliaments of the North Caucasian republics adopted new restrictive laws on religious communities. In 2002 they were reinforced by the federal decree ‘fighting extremist activities’. These have provided a legal base for suppression of religious or any other opposition to the ruling regimes in the region. As in Soviet times, the local FSB (the former KGB) have begun to compile lists of active and passive Wahhabis, as well as Wahhabi sympathisers. For example, in Kabardino-Balkariia in 2002, the FSB had registered over 300 Wahhabis.28 The pro-government mass media have played a central role in reinforcing the

92 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

anti-Wahhabi and anti-Islamic hysteria in all three republics. Thus, the daily regional newspaper, Severnyi Kavkaz, has specialised in ‘exposing’ Wahhabis in the region, and their alleged links with international Islamic extremist centres based in Turkey, the UAE and Syria. It has routinely depicted local Wahhabis as criminals and terrorists trained by the Chechen rebels and subsidised by Western intelligence.29 Regional and republican mass media have been promoting images of ‘good’ (pro-Muftiat) and ‘bad’ (all other) Muslims. However, the military and administrative suppression of Islamists and Muslims in the conditions of continuous economic disorder and the paralysis of democratic processes have objectively enhanced the underground proliferation of Islamic fundamentalism in the region.30 In post-Soviet Chechnya, by comparison with Dagestan and other Muslim republics in the North Caucasus, the Islamic resurgence has been determined by the dynamic of the Russian–Chechen conflict. Initially, Chechen President Dudayev fought a predominantly national liberationist (that is, not religious) war against Moscow and attributed a purely symbolic function to Islam (Sufism). However, the Russians aimed at attracting international Islamic support for the Chechen cause. In 1996, Yandarbiyev, Dudayev’s successor and an Islamic fundamentalist, declared Islam the state religion and created shariat courts. This action split the Chechen leadership along doctrinal lines: Maskhadov, who replaced Yandarbiyev in 1997, as well as muftii Kadyrov, advocated Sufi (Kadiri) Islam31, while Udugov, Yandarbiyev, Basayev and some other leading Chechen politicians and warlords, as well as foreign fighters, subscribed to fundamentalist Islam (Wahhabism). The war conditions have predetermined a prevalence of jihadism in Chechnya. Its major agents have been foreign Mujahedeen (Islamic fighters), who came to assist their Islamic brethren in fighting the jihad against the Russian invasion, and radical Dagestani Wahhabis. The overwhelming majority of Chechen Islamists have been marginalised young people who had a very vague knowledge of Islam and treated jihadism more as a profession and means of living than a religious belief. Their role model was the legendary field-commander Umar Ibn Al-Khattab.32 During the second Chechen war (1999–2000), Maskhadov sided with pro-Islamist opposition, while Kadyrov maintained his adherence to Sufi Islam. Maskhadov’s pro-Moscow successors, the said Kadyrov and Alu Alkhanov, have maintained their allegiance to Sufi Islam of Kadiri tariqa. Radical Islam in the Ferghana Valley The first Islamists turned up in Central Asia in the mid-1980s. In the early 1990s, they were largely represented by the Islamskaia Partiia Vozrozhdeniia (Islamic Revival Party, hereafter referred to as the IRP).33 In the period between 1996 and 1999, the role of the most dynamic Islamist organisation in the region shifted to the Islamskoe Dvizhenie Uzbekistana (Islamic Movement of

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 93

Uzbekistan, hereafter referred to as the IMU).34 Since 1999, the main agents of Islamic radicalism in the Ferghana Valley have been Hizb al-Tahrir al-Islamii (Party of Islamic Liberation, HT) and to a lesser extent Akramiyya.35 Although HT is a part of a wider international organisation, its objectives and tactics are determined by local context. The doctrinal and legal platform of the local leaders of HT are characterised by a vagueness and eclecticism that allows significant deviation from Nabhani’s ideas. This relates, for example, to their acceptance of urf (tribal law) and adat that are conventional in Central Asia. HT, like the earlier IMU, seeks the creation of a caliphate. Similarly, it does not accept a separation between state and religion. Its goal is to create a state where the leader of the state is the leader of both state and religious affairs, and the authoritative interpreter of shariat. However, compared to the Uzbek-centred IMU, HT advocates a transnational Islamic identity. This is an important factor for its appeal among local people who bitterly resent existing barriers between states and the dominance of local barons. Also, compared to the IMU, which advocated the use of violence in order to achieve its ultimate goal, HT is against any violent actions. It is oriented towards the propagation of its ideas through the dissemination of printed (and online) materials and education. Yet another difference with the IMU is the fact that HT accepts the possibility of the creation of an Islamic Caliphate, initially in a separate or group of countries – a process that is directly analogous to the theory of revolution of Marxists and Arab nationalists.36 HT has a strictly clandestine organisational structure that makes it similar to leftist and nationalist groups of the past. It is built on the principal of a pyramidal hierarchy. It comprises several levels, and the party’s primary cell is the halaqa (circle). Since 2001, the regional leader of HT has been Abdurahim Tukhtasinov (Andijan). Although the Islamists do not provide solutions to specific problems, their general call for a caliphate is presented as the solution to many practical problems of direct concern to the individual. It is widely believed that the caliphate will dissolve state borders and that shariat will eliminate corruption and social inequality. Both the IMU and HT organisations draw their support mainly from young uneducated and unemployed men and women, but their ideas attract broader discontented groups. Although it is impossible, given the dearth of verified data, to establish the actual membership of HT, Akramiyya, the IMU and other small Islamist organisations, it seems plausible that these organisations unite between thirty and fifty thousand active members. In addition, the relatives of the activists constitute a much larger group of sympathisers. It is worth noting that, alongside many similarities, there are some doctrinal and practical differences between the Islamists from HT in the Ferghana Valley and the Wahhabis in the Caucasus and the Volga-Urals. Among their common characteristics are their ultimate goal of creating a world Muslim Caliphate and their deep hostility towards the Shia. However, compared to

94 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

Wahhabis, members of HT recognise the existence of madhhabs, as well as ijtihad.37 Unlike Wahhabis, they do not preach the idea of takfir (non-belief) and do not have a Wahhabi fixation on bidah. In comparison with jihadists, Hizb-al-Tahrir adheres to peaceful interpretation of jihad. They also differ from the jihadists in calling for a dialogue with the Central Asian regimes that the jihadists label as infidel, pursuing their removal and elimination. On the other side, HT’s interpretation of the caliphate (the caliph is the guarantor of the realisation of the Islamic ideal) is similar to that of Jamaat al-Muhajirun38 in the UK. Yet another distinctive feature of Hizb-al-Tahrir is the significant number of female members. In Kyrgyzstan alone, women constitute more than 10 per cent of the total membership of HT, which numbers a few thousand followers.39 In Uzbekistan, the first cells of HT emerged in the early 1990s in Namangan after the swift liquidation of local Islamist organisations, Adolat (Justice), Islam Lashkarlari (The Army of Islam) and Tawba (Repentance). Among its first leaders were Isam Abu Mahmud Qiyadati and Abd al-Qadim Zallum, both Jordanians. However, HT gained prominence only after the terrorist acts in Tashkent in February 1999, which were allegedly organised by the IMU. In the aftermath of 11 September 2001, the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik authorities began a crackdown on Hizb-al-Tahrir and its sympathisers. HT is banned in all three countries. Following the Andijan uprising in May 2005, President Islam Karimov’s government has intensified repression against real and imagined Islamists. In Tajikistan, HT emerged in the late 1990s. Its strongest support has been in the north and the west of the country. The major factors for its growing popularity have been public discontent with socio-economic conditions, strict official control over religious matters, which leaves no room for official Islamic clerics to provide guidelines for believers on contemporary issues. There has been general frustration among the followers of the IRP, who believe that the party has given in to Government and abandoned its ambition to create an Islamic state. Among the issues on which the IRP leadership and the official Islamic clergy are unable to speak is the US military presence in Central Asia, of which HT is strongly critical. In Kyrgyzstan, HT has had a foothold since 1999, particularly in the JalalAbad region around Osh in the Ferghana Valley. Since 11 September 2001, HT has increased its activities in Kyrgyzstan, where it has been able to exploit increasing tension in Kyrgyz society, in particular between its southern and northern parts. Conclusion Since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, the ex-Soviet ummah has turned into one of the most volatile and dynamic zones of Islamic radicalisation in

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 95

the Islamic East. The latter, although being a part of a wider Islamic resurgence that had begun in the Middle East in the late 1970s, is a specific post-Soviet phenomenon triggered by the collapse of Communism and the break-up of the de facto unitary Soviet empire. It has emerged against the background of the dire deterioration in the social and economic situation, the formation of ineffective and corrupt post-Soviet regimes, and an ideological confusion. The proliferation dynamic of radical Islam has been congruent with social and economic conditions, the policies of the ruling regimes, the ethno-national composition of the population and the level of its Islamic religiosity. Thus, it has been considerably higher in the Ferghana Valley in Central Asia. The main recipients of Islamism have been those young men and women of various ethnic origins who have been frustrated with the continuous economic, social and political disorder, and the proliferation of crime, alcoholism and drug abuse. They have accordingly seen in Islam a potent ideology for bringing about the social and spiritual revival of the people. The Islamist activities in the three major post-Soviet Muslim regions have displayed some similarities and differences. However, there has not been any established interaction between the Islamist networks in the three regions. In each region Islamists have pursued their specific agenda. However, all of them have developed direct links with the same Islamist centres and Islamic funding bodies in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and some other countries of the Middle East, as well as in Western Europe. Since the late 1990s, the authorities in all three regions have significantly curtailed direct foreign Islamic involvement in the form of Islamic missionaries, teachers and representatives of various Islamic foundations and organisations. However, indirect foreign Islamic involvement in the form of financial, doctrinal and educational assistance has persisted. Among its main channels have been sponsorship of the annual hajj of local Muslims to Mecca and Medina, local Muslims’ studies in Islamic universities and colleges abroad, and foreign Islamic publications that are illegally distributed in local Muslim communities and foreign Islamist websites, although these have been accessible to only a small fraction of the povertystricken population. So far the actual number of Islamists in the targeted regions has still has not exceeded 5 to 7 per cent of the respective populations. However, proliferation of radical Islam has been on the rise. In the longer run, the prolongation of the existing dire socio-economic conditions, the ineffectiveness and pervasive corruption of the ruling ethnocratic regimes, as well as official treatment of all Muslims with suspicion as potential extremists, may enhance political Islam as a potent form of social protest. This could have a direct impact on the sociopolitical and security situation in each region, in Eurasia and in the wider Western European and international community.

96 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova Notes

1. Bobrovnikov, V. (2001) ‘Islam in post-Soviet North Caucasus (Dagestan): Myths and Realities’, in Malashenko, A. and M. Brill Olcott (eds) Islam in the post-Soviet Newly Independent States: The Views from Within, Moscow: Carnegie Centre, pp. 7–14; Ignatenko, A. (2001) ‘Ordinary Wahhabism. A Heretic Movement in Islam’, part 1, electronic version: http://english.russ.ru/politics/20011116.html. Accessed 16 February 2006. 2. The chapter is based on the findings of the Nuffield Foundation-funded research entitled The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia: International Determinants, Comparative Perspectives and Potential Consequences, 2002–5. 3. Kreinder, I. (1995) ‘Soviet Muslims: Gains and Losses as a Result of Language Planning’, in Roi, J. (ed.) Muslim Eurasia: Conflicting Legacies, London: Frank Cass, pp. 187–200; Motika, R. (2000) ‘Islam in post-Soviet Azerbaijan’, Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, 115, p. 111; Bennigsen, A. and S. E. Wimbush (1985) Muslims of the Soviet Empire: A Guide, London: Hurst, pp. 13–16. 4. Aksianova, G. (2001) 100 Peoples of the Russian Federation, Moscow: Staryi Sad, pp. 16–18; Yemelianova, G. (2000) ‘Shaimiev’s “Khanate” on the Volga and its Russian Subjects’, Asian Ethnicity, 1 (1), p. 38. 5. Here, the term ‘Salafi Islam’ or ‘Salafism’ (lit. ‘Islam of ancestors’) defines a desire to return to the pure, unadulterated Islam of Prophet Muhammad and the other righteous ancestors (As-Salaf as-Salihun) who lived in the seventh century AD. Salafism represents a form of Islamic fundamentalism. 6. Hizb-al-Tahrir (HT) was founded in 1953 in Jordan by a Palestinian judge, Taqiuddin al-Nabhani (1909–77), a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The declared goal of the HT was ‘to resume the Islamic way of life and to convey the Islamic call to the world’ through the construction of the worldwide Caliphate. From 1977 until 2003, the HT was headed by ‘Abd al-Qadim Zallum, a Jordanian national of Palestinian descent. Since 2003, the HT leader has been ‘Ata Abu al Rushta, a Palestinian. 7. Faizrahman Sattarov, one of the few Tatar imams of the Soviet period, received professional theological training from 1955–64 in the Bukhara madrasah and held the post of imam-khatib (chief imam) in some of the USSR’s largest cities and of qadi (Islamic judge) in the DUMES from 1972–6. Thereafter he fell into opposition to the official religious structures. 8. Sattarov, F. (2002) Interview with Faizrahman Sattarov, 22 December, Kazan. 9. Wahhabism is a specific form of salafism that evolved into a wider political movement for the unification of mid-eighteenth-century Arabia, and was initiated by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (1703–92). Strictly speaking, the use of the term Wahhabism in relation to the salafi movement in the Muslim regions of the former Soviet Union is incorrect because the latter is based on a wider doctrinal foundation than the teaching of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab.

The Growth of Islamic Radicalism in Eurasia

[ 97

10. Samatov, G. (2003) Interview with Gabdulkhak Samatov, chief qadi of the DUMRT, 15 April, Kazan. 11. Muflikhunov, N. (1998) A Book of Preachers and Instructions, Kazan: Iman, pp. 53, 146. 12. Ahameddin, G. (2003) Interview with Gabdulla Ahameddin, the imam-khatib from Naberezhnie Chelny, 9 June, Naberezhnie Chelny. 13. Muflikhunov (1998) pp. 50–1. 14. Ibrahim, M. (2002) Interview with Malik Ibragim, the imam-khatib of the Tauba mosque in Naberezhnie Chelny, 12 December, Naberezhnie Chelny. 15. Fazleev, D. (2003) Interview with Djalil Fazleev. Imam-khatib of the village of Burbash, Baltasinskii raion, 9 April, Burbash. 16. Jadidism (literally, ‘innovation’ in Arabic) is Tatar Islamic modernism of the late nineteenth century. 17. Safin, R. (1999) The Tatar Way, Kazan: Iman, p. 35. 18. Khakimov, R. (2003) Interview with Rafael Khakimov, political advisor to President Shaimiev, 28 August, Kazan. 19. Atmurzaev, T. (2000) Interview with Tahir Atmurzaev, deputy muftii of the KBR, 31 October, Nalchik; Bottaev, M. (2000) Interview with Mukhtar Bottaev, editorin-chief of the news programme, 30 October, Nalchik; and Kudaev, R. (2003) Interview with Rasul Kudaev, Deputy Director of the Islamic Institute of the KBR, 18 November, Moscow. 20. Bostanov, I. (2003) Interview with Ismail-haji Bostanov, Director of the Islamic Institute of Abu Hanifa, 19 July, Cherkessk. 21. Yemelianova, G. (2001) ‘Sufism and Politics in the North Caucasus’, Nationalities Papers, 29 (4), p. 676. 22. Ibid., p. 677. 23. Ibid., p. 677. 24. Atmurzaev (2000). 25. Kudaev (2003). 26. Here the term Jihadism defines a radical political movement under the banner of jihad (Islamic holy war) against the federal Russian and regional authorities. 27. The anti-Russian Imamat existed between 1824 and 1859 on the territory of present-day Chechnya, Ingushetiia and Dagestan. 28. Shashev, A. (2003) Interview with Albert Shashev, the fist assistant to the General Prosecutor of the KBR, 17 February, Nalchik. 29. Urazaeva, L. (2002) Interview with Louiza Urazaeva, a correspondent of the Severnyi Kavkaz, 30 October, Nalchik. 30. Akkieva, S. (2005) Interview with Svetlana Akkieva, Professor of the Institute for Humanities of the KBR, 28 May, Gelendjik. 31. Thus, the distinctive Kadiri circular movements and loud dhikr (religious chanting) have become symbols of Chechen resistance to Russian imperialism. 32. Iskanderian, A. (2004) Religion and Politics in the Caucasus, Erevan: Caucasian Institute of Mass Media, p. 102.

98 ]

Galina M. Yemelianova

33. Originally the IRP in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan represented national branches of a nation-wide party that was established in 1989 in Astrakhan. The IRP of Tajikistan became the only Islamic organisation in Central Asia to be registered as an official political party. In 1992 it briefly entered the government. After the outbreak of civil war, the IRPT became one of the warring parties and allied itself with many militant Islamist elements from different parts of Central Asia. As a result of the General Peace Agreement of 1977 between the Tajik government and the Opposition, the IRPT was legalised and allowed into the government of President Rakhmonov. 34. The IMU was set up in 1996 by Islamic militants who propagated a violent removal of President Karimov from power and creation of an Islamic state. After 11 September 2001, the IMU suffered its greatest defeat, and its remnants fled to Pakistan for rehabilitation and regrouping. Its capability was substantially diminished but the movement has been undertaking steps to reorganise and remobilise. 35. An Islamist orgnisation, Akramiyya emerged in 1996 as a result of a split of the group of Akram Yuldashev from the Uzbek branch of the Hizb-al-Tahrir (HT). It represented an Uzbekified, grassroots version of HT. Akramiyya cells supposedly exist in the Andijan region, Osh (Kyrgyzstan), Namangan, Kokand and other regions of Uzbekistan. 36. Naumkin, V. (2005) Radical Islam in Central Asia: Between Pen and Rifle, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, p. 135. 37. Ibid., p. 132. 38. Jamaat al-Muhajirun (Association of Migrants) was created in 1983 in the UK by Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood. It advocates the construction of a worldwide caliphate. 39. Naumkin (2005) p. 170.

CHAPTER

8 RADICAL ISLAM IN EUROPE: MISPERCEPTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

Mother! Mother! Why’s that man Behind us on the bus? Sssh my darling, look away And he won’t look at us. Mother! Mother! Why’s his face So angry and so cold? Sssh my darling, never mind And do as you are told. Mother! Mother! Why’s that clock Tick-tocking on his chest? Sssh my darling, take my hand It’s just the way he’s dressed. Mother! Mother! Why’s the world No longer passing by? Sssh my darling, come with me It’s time we said good-bye Andrew Motion (2005)

Nothing could be more poignant but exact than this rhyme depicting the atmosphere amongst Londoners in the aftermath of the suicide bombings on 7 July and the failed attacks on 21 July. The rhyme describes the stereotype of a potential suicide bomber looming large on the streets or in public transport systems in large European metropoles. On the other hand, it is an accurate portrayal of the nervousness common amongst Europeans, who in the last three years have experienced massive terrorist attacks first at their doorstep in Istanbul in 2003, then in Madrid in 2004, and most recently in the summer of 2005 in London. [ 99 ]

100 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

Equally scary was the killing of the controversial Dutch film-maker, Theo van Gogh, on a street in Amsterdam on the morning of 2 November 2004. In early 2004, the British historian Timothy Garton Ash, in an imaginative piece, painted the picture of central Paris of 2009 devastated by nuclear attacks. The nuclear attacks, in Ash’s bleak prophecy, would be perpetrated by two female suicide bombers recruited by the Algeria-based Islamic Armed Group (GIA). These two suicide bombers, Ash continues, have been radicalised because of their expulsion from school for wearing headscarves, an administrative measure initiated by the French President Jacques Chirac in 2004 (Ash 2004). Ash would have never imagined that, though not as devastating as a nuclear attack, the British capital would soon experience a terrorist attack in July 2005 that would claim more than fifty lives. Claude Moniquet, the Belgian terrorism expert, presented a fatalistic portrayal of European security in April 2005: I’m afraid that a tragedy will be necessary to force the European authorities to face the reality of the problem and to really address the problem posed by Islamism. The question, in my view, is no longer ‘if’ a tragedy will happen, but ‘when’ it will happen. Moniquet (2005)

So far London remains the latest attack on the terrorist calendar in Europe but no one can be sure it is the last. At the beginning of the chapter it should be made clear that the fast-changing scenario not only in Europe but throughout the world, aggravated by the latest spate of terrorist attacks, has been making it extremely difficult for analysts or security experts to come to an ultimate conclusion. Accordingly, any scenario-building – which is essential to get a proper understanding of the present situation, in order to take imminent remedial measures as well as to chalk out long-term strategy – is bound to have its own faultlines. One of the sub-committees under the British Working Group constituted after the London attacks to prevent extremism in the UK is correct in suggesting: ‘The recommendations are not exhaustive – we do not claim to have identified any “magic bullets” ’ (Home Office 2005). However, can the present circumstances be described in a Hobsbawmian notion as the symptoms of the ‘Age of Extreme’ or, more specifically, as Huntington predicted, as an impending ‘Clash of Civilisations’? Should we believe in the ‘periphery-strikes-back’ assertion that a part of the European Muslim community from the inner cities is up in arms against the European states, civilisation and people? It is also being experienced throughout Europe that some individuals participating in terrorist activities have converted to Islam in a certain point of their life. Is conversion a shortcut towards radicalisation? Empirical data collected from European media, analyses made and commissioned by European security agencies, academic research focused on the phenomenon, and publications of both the radical Islamic websites and Muslim organisations, all present an emerging

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 101

pattern within the European space, or Western Europe, to be precise. The pattern presents a complex mosaic of all the queries raised above. This chapter seeks to analyse the phenomenon and tries to identify some stereotypes; scholarship of the host societies on this specific subject, Muslim communities and radical Islamic movements active in the European Muslim diaspora; and last but not the least, the current international environment as a factor and determinant of the attitudes of radical European Muslim youth towards terror. Finally, the chapter will take a critical view of the possible mechanisms being discussed or likely to be undertaken by European governments. The number enigma At the outset it is important to ascertain the number of Muslims residing within the European space. Here the European space means the present twenty-five member nations of the European Union (EU) at the end of 2005, plus the candidate members Bulgaria and Romania and the non-EU European nations of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. However, there is no unanimity on the actual number of Muslims in Europe (Buijs and Rath 2002; Cesari 2002 and 2004, Savage 2004; Dassetto 2004; Shore 2005). While Cesari recognises ‘The Numbers Debate’ (2004) and estimates more than 11–12 million Muslims in major EU nations, the figure in the October 2002 study of Buijs and Rath is roughly 13–15 million (including Switzerland). However, Timothy M. Savage (2004) is more exhaustive in his research, in which he says that the Muslims in the pre-expanded EU before May 2004 were 15.2 million. Drawing his conclusion mainly from the data compiled by the US Department of State, Savage adds that in the ten new member countries it is 0.3 million and that the rest of the non-EU European nations have 7.4 million Muslims. The total estimate as per Savage is around 22–23 million, which is far greater than the average 12–13 million. Two basic reasons are the causes of the debate. First, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany and subsequent collapse of the USSR, it was not possible to conduct an authentic survey of Central and East European Muslim societies, and likewise in the Baltic States. Second, in the West European countries, the traditional population surveys did not consider religion as a parameter. If the Rushdie issue is taken as a significant point of departure and of the emergence of Muslims in the European scene, Muslim societies till then have had an invisible existence in Europe, which Cesari describes as a ‘silent revolution’(2003) and Dassetto as ‘a forgotten and silent presence’ (2004). An authentic study is the need of the hour. An accepted, reliable population study on Muslims in Europe, country by country, including the birth rate, ethnicity and rate of conversion of the domestic populace, will facilitate as a single reference point and further research. It will present the factual reality, and remove the misperceptions and fear in the majority societies, as well as blunt any kind of exaggerated propaganda by European right-wing radicals.

102 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay Revisiting the terms

Simultaneously, it is important to revisit the routes and necessarily redefine the oft-repeated terms in the European dominant discourse and specifically in the media. For instance, two terms often iterated may be taken for discussion: ‘ghetto’ and ‘parallel society’. Etymologically, ‘ghetto’ has always had a religious connotation ever since fourteenth-century Jewish settlers were required to stay within a demarcated area in the Italian port city of Venice. During and until the end of the Nazi regime in Germany, Eastern Europe had a considerable number of Jewish ghettos. However, in today’s European context, ghetto still bears a negative image, or as Olivier Roy puts it, ‘syndrome’ (Roy, 2005a). A ghetto is an area overcrowded by religious and ethnic minorities, where civic amenities are under tremendous pressure, the education rate is far below the national average and, above all, school dropout and unemployment rates are the highest. Seen in the context of higher scales of deprivation, the definition is true. Most European cities have their (in)famous ghettos such as Tower Hamlets in London, Clichy-sous-Bois in Paris, Gutleutviertel in Frankfurt on Main or BerlinKreuzberg. Sober terms like ‘inner city’ and banlieue (in French) are available but for the host society the pejorative association of ghettos remains the same. The term ‘parallel society’ (or, in German, ‘Parallelgesellschaft’) is also oftrepeated. Observing its excess usage in the public domain, the Wiesbaden-based Society for German language (GfdS) identified the term ‘Parallelgesellschaften’ as one of the ‘Words of 2004’ (Wörter des Jahres, 2005). Parallel society is often perceived as an insular, homogenous, segregated, contrasting and refusing-to-change entity. If these entities, as per the popular apprehension, remain static and deeply connected with their countries of origin through modern methods of communications like TV channels and Internet, these societies would become self-sufficient but conflicting entities on European soil. If the parallel societies are perceived as unvarying, then there lies the danger of undermining the achievers from these societies despite all adversities. Christian Semler (2004) has correctly criticised this trend of ‘reduction of complexity’ in the German discourse on parallel societies, saying ‘the term “parallel societies” are being fetished in public, but the contradictions in such societies are not taken seriously’. European media, opinionmakers and academia should give deeper thought to coining neutral terms, in order to replace the value-laden and negative ones in the present discourse. Emergence of an alarmist scholarship Following the argument in the previous section, the emergence of an alarmist scholarship from mainstream societies in Europe cannot be neglected. Cesari (2003, pp. 253–4) rightly observes: Scholarship on Muslims in Europe falls prey to the same essentialist approach that characterizes political analyses of the Arab world . . . Considering Muslims as an

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 103

undifferentiated whole legitimates the view of Islam as a threat, prevalent in much European scholarship on Muslim minorities.

This phenomenon is gaining ground, especially in the post-9/11 scenario, though the trend was recognisable even before that. Basic characteristics of this scholarship have been the hypotheses that project a continental Europe increasingly flooded by Muslims in the form of legal and illegal immigrants; larger metropoles under threat of attack from underground Islamic terrorists who are just ‘in our midst’ or ‘within’; multiculturalism under threat and tolerance of the host societies touching its limit. In Germany the trend is quite visible. Journalists of prominent newspapers are writing rapidly on this subject with sensational titles as well as alarmist captions. Two recent books may be taken here for discussion. Udo Ulfkotte’s book, The War in Our Cities: How the Radical Islamists Infiltrate Germany, is an example of journalistic sensationalism and exaggeration of threat-perception. Though Ulfkotte’s book was a bestseller, serious scholars have expressed strong reservations not only about its methodology and sources but also its theory of an Islamist conspiracy against Germany (Dantschke 2004, Seidel 2003, Steinberg 2003, Weidner 2003). Günther Lachmann, another journalist with the Welt am Sonntag, wrote a book with the title Deadly Tolerance: Muslims and Our Open Society (2004). Inside the book the chapters and sections are as sensational as the title: ‘Marching Jihadis’, ‘Jihad Reaches the Ghettos’, ‘The Vision of an Islamic Europe’, and so on. In addition, in this book one may find it most unpleasant when loyalty is being demanded from the Muslim communities and their tasks are prescribed thus: Muslims must leave their ghettos and show their seriousness to be integrated with the society . . . As democratic citizens, the most important tasks of the Muslims should be to combat each form of extremism and radicalism amongst their own religious brethren. (pp. 276–7)

In a different context, Michael Taarnby (2005, p. 27) also disapproves of this gloomy picture spread by this recent genre: Despite the media hype concerning a wave of Islamist terrorists crossing Europe’s perimeter with sinister intentions, there is scant evidence to support this theory.

This sort of alarmist scholarship would definitely act as an impediment to the sensitive integration, assimilation or naturalisation process of resident Muslims in European societies. Because the mainstream European media and publishing houses are the opinion-makers, an alarmist scholarship that overanalyses and sensationalises issues and make provocative statements in public would again complicate the situation. First of all, these alarmist viewpoints would strengthen the raison dêtre of the European far-right, white

104 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. Furthermore, it would champion the rationale of radical Islamic propaganda that is on principle against integration of Muslims with European societies. In the British context, a confidential Policy Paper prepared by the British government has taken the correct position in this regard: The government must make a more concerted effort to persuade the Muslim community that it is trusted and respected. That requires a change of language. Public challenges to Muslims to decide where their loyalties lie are counterproductive: (Home Office 2004)

It should be underlined here that there is no doubt about there being a constant threat of terrorist activities, presence of sleeper cells throughout Europe and participation of younger Muslims of Europe in terrorist activities and suicide bombings in different conflict areas across the globe. Not a single week passes by without radical Islamic sleeper cells with terror or violence potential being unearthed by the security agencies in some or other part of the continent. Therefore, it is also imperative to examine the present security situation in a Europe aggravated by terrorist attacks in last three years, as well as the strategy of the radical Islamists. In fact, the strategy of the radical Islamists can be broadly divided into two categories: silencing moderate voices and indoctrinating the youth. Silencing moderate views and indoctrination: radical Islamic strategy Observers of the terror scenario in Europe may broadly agree that plans unearthed or foiled in Europe indicate a strategy exists to execute attacks both in Europe and elsewhere. The successful plot hatched in Belgium to assassinate the Afghan Northern Alliance leader, Ahmad Shah Masood, on 9 September 2001, and the machinations of 9/11 in Hamburg, are instances where plans were drawn up for execution in areas beyond Europe. Young European Muslims were also found in Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir, taking part in terrorist activities. However, plans were revealed as well in which specific installations in Europe were targets. The foiled attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg, the seat of the European Parliament, in December 2000 was a case in point. Nonetheless, these instances come under the category of pre-9/11 phenomena. The post-9/11 campaign and subsequent dismantling of terror camps in Afghanistan revealed the presence of European nationals there also. Analysts apprehended that the Afghan veterans would return to Europe and may target vital European facilities. Immediate threat-appraisals were that American, British and Israeli interests in Europe would be the main targets, and indeed the terrorist attacks in the last three years have confounded the theory that the terror strategists use Europe only as a safe sanctuary, or a place for recruitment

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 105

or fund-collection. The European Security Strategy, which was adopted by all the fifteen EU members in December 2003 and subsequently by the ten new members after May 2004, precisely detects that Europe is both a target and a base for terrorism (European Security Strategy 2003). However, most disturbing is the fact that, apart from the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Madrid and London and the symbolic murder of Theo van Gogh, prominent European public figures have been facing death threats for their expressed views on Islam, Muslim societies in Europe and the role of women in Islam in the contemporary world. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalia-born Dutch Member of Parliament and co-producer of the controversial film Submission made by Theo van Gogh, and Mimount Bousakla, a socialist MP (of Moroccan origin) from Antwerp in Belgium, have both received threats and are under government protection. These incidents remind us the plight of Salman Rushdie, except the difference between the Rushdie years and now is that, in the case of Rushdie, the religious decree against him was issued at first by a foreign government. The present threats are emanating from inside Europe. And apart from the celebrity Dutch footballer, Frank Riijkard, who got death threats from some unknown quarters, some columnists have decided to remain mute on contemporary issues (Gottlieb 2005; Shamsie 2005). The reason is the existence of a silent fear among resident Europeans, as well as in the Muslim intelligentsia, preventing them from expressing their viewpoints in public. The strategy of the radical Islamists to thwart any opposition against their hate propaganda or to silence moderate views from within their own community is aimed purely at forestalling the formation of any kind of religious or ethnic representations with which European governments can start a dialogue on peaceful integration. Besides this intimidating strategy of the extremist outfits that remain underground, there is also another distinctive phenomenon of radical Islamic hate propaganda. The root of the present from of extremism is found in quiet radicalisation via the hate propaganda that strongly influences a small but significant part of the second- and third-generation young immigrant Muslims in Europe. Bolstered by a revolution in media and communications technology, radical Islamic propaganda reached its nadir especially in the last decade. A plethora of radical Islamic websites were hosted in Britain. Tactically, after 11 September, some of those organisations changed their virulent parole, whilst others have closed their own websites. In the British milieu, individual radical Islamic preachers, critics of regimes from West Asia, and militant clerics from Pakistan, also contributed to this radicalisation process. Sometimes these preachers had been granted political asylum or social security from the British Government. A prominent British entrepreneur, Sir Ghulam Noon (2005), comments sardonically about one of the notorious indoctrinators, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad from Syria: ‘you cannot spit in the vessel that feeds you, and hurt the country that has been good to you. Men like Mullah Bakri have become fatter in this country, taken advantage of its facilities.’

106 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

These preachers and indoctrinators frequented British mosques, religious congregations and community centres. Armed with their own political version of world affairs, the sole objective of these preachers was to indoctrinate the younger members of the Muslim diaspora in Britain. Their worldview consists of a single system of conflicting binaries, which are naïve and dangerous. This minimalist construction of international affairs presents a black-and-white or good-versus-evil version of the world in which Islam is perceived to be under threat, its followers under occupation, and anything un-Islamic is ultimately anti-Islamic. This global conspiracy against Islam, as the radical Islamic theory elaborates itself, is proven by the ‘oppression’ of every kind of movement, be it political, self-governance or devolution of power in a federal structure where the Muslims are the majority or a significant minority. Therefore, as prescribed by the indoctrinators, the main contradiction in today’s world is West-versusIslam, and it is the sacred duty of every Muslim is to fight the West and its ‘allies’, with the whole struggle culminating in the establishinment of a caliphate. The level of persistent indoctrination and hate-campaigning has reached such a level in the last few years that it has led a part of the European Muslim youth to go for self-denial and blur their rational ability to distinguish between combatants and civilians. For some of the indoctrinated youth, a glorious afterlife is more desirable and rewarding for their family members and religious co-brethren whom they leave behind. Another type of indoctrination is added by hierarchical and cadre-based organisations like Al-Muhajiroun and Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Global Islamic movements like Hizb-ut-Tahrir and its offshoot Al-Muhajiroun have been active in Europe for a substantial time. Hizb-ut-Tahrir especially, prior to 9/11, was maintaining numerous websites in European and in other languages. They established a support base amongst Muslim students in British higher schools of learning and young professionals. Even before 9/11, their vituperative campaign and fund-collection for international causes attracted the attention of the authorities. Germany banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir in early 2003 not only because of its anti-West, anti-Israel, anti-US propaganda but because the participation of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) in one of its seminars was taken very seriously. Though Al-Muhajiroun dissolved itself in 2004, the Guardian subsequently reported it is now working under another name, ‘The Saviour Sect’ (Tempest and agencies 2005). The sole strategy of these organisations is to project themselves as the moral, intellectual and theological leadership of the Muslim community in Europe and simultaneously to obstruct the formation of a moderate Muslim community leadership, whom they consider the stooge of government. Essentially, their opinions on global affairs are no different from those of the individual preachers.

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 107

Conversion: a quick gateway towards radicalism? A very emblematic phenomenon has been observed within Islamic political radicalism in Europe in the last few years. From Richard Reid to the latest Belgian female suicide bomber found in Iraq, Muriel Degauque, this is in fact a long list. Monitors of the terror scenario in Europe and its roots will definitely agree with the study of Olivier Roy (2005b, p. 6): The weight of converts in radical groups should never be underestimated: almost all radical and violent networks dismantled in Europe during the last ten years had at least one convert . . .

It would be a difficult task for analysts to make a profile of the converts found participating in terrorist activities in Europe, as well as in armed conflicts in Chechnya, Kashmir and Iraq, because if young age is taken as a criterion then the 52-year-old Briton Jack Roche, who was convicted in Australia, cannot fit in. If conversion from Christianity to Islam can be fixed as a constant, then the Hindu Briton, Dhiren Barot, would remain as an exception. Similarly, if the conversion can only be taken from the Muslim ethnic background of Turkey, South Asia and the Maghreb countries, then the instance of Germaine Lindsay, a Caribbean convert, who was the fourth suicide bomber in London terrorist attacks, cannot be explained. Though the European agencies are attempting to dissect the phenomenon, and in fact studies have been commissioned to get a conclusive study, so far the riddle remains unanswered. Undoubtedly it should not be proclaimed that conversion leads to extremism. Conversion itself is a regular phenomenon in Europe. In the German context, converts play a very important role in devising Islamic discourse and scholarship. Though the criticism may be levelled that the converts are Europeans first, their conversion has taken place at a later stage and at the intellectual level – they do not have experience of countries of origin, as do Muslims residing in European societies. Nonetheless, it must be highlighted that in this charged atmosphere, when background knowledge about Muslim societies is scant, scholar converts act like a bridge between European governments and Muslim societies, and the ethnic communities and sects therein. Nonetheless, as far as present-day radicalism and the phenomenon of converts are concerned, young age is definitely a characteristic. But even in this regard it must be mentioned here that committing terrorist activities or suicide bombing depends on various factors. Empirical studies are indicative enough that conversion and its eventual fall-out of terrorist activities depends totally on the individual, with various factors such as family background, social alienation, peer pressure, troubled antecedents, and so on, all playing their part. It remains really an area for further research as to whether the radical version of Islam, as presented by the indoctrinators, appears to converts as a secret cult through which their personal salvation is perceived to be attained.

108 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay European counter-terrorism strategy: an ongoing process

At the beginning of the new century, any discussion of European counterterrorism strategy is almost a contradiction in terms. If we look at the whole European political landscape and governance today, it is a summation of mathematical sets and sub-sets, where some governments are members of the common monetary system, some nations are participants in common visa arrangements and some are not even members of the EU but belong to the common security alliance that is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Two pillars of the EU – External Affairs and Justice & Home Affairs – which should have been more coherent in formulating a counter-terrorism strategy, have remained the most controversial ones amongst the member states. Moreover, the rejection of the EU Constitution Treaty by France and the Netherlands in the summer of 2005 has even put the whole EU project into question. Some of the immediate measures required to be taken for further investigations into terrorist activities in Madrid and London faced blockades either from the national security services or the judiciary. Specific counter-terrorist operations that need pan-European cooperation, or at least cooperation amongst some specific countries, faced or have been facing opposition or indifference due to mistrust and enmity. But the terrorists and known radical Islamists have been well aware of these legal loopholes and successfully exploited them. It was remarkable to observe that, having understood the graveness of the security situation facing Europe, the European leadership agreed to adopt the ‘European Security Strategy’ well before agreeing on a constitution. The European Security Strategy, which identifies terrorism as a key threat, also perceives the threat of Islamic political radicalism without mentioning any religious reference. Immediately after the Madrid terrorist attacks, a post of Counter-Terrorism Coordinator under Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for Common Foreign & Security Policy (CFSP), was created. A Solidarity Clause under Part I, Article I-43, was also included in the draft European Constitution, emphasising that all member countries should act together in the case of a terrorist attack faced by any individual member. Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, the formulation of a counter-terrorism strategy and cooperation at the level of EU, which has extreme relevance during the last two years, remains the sole prerogative of the member nations. Finally, there are also justified differences not only among the member nations but with the US on the ‘War on Terror’, and the means and methods used to wage it. Ideas are also afloat which envisage Europe following the US in its homeland security programme or establishing a European Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Smaller European nations that do not have the required manpower or the experience to counter the present challenge are more eager for a quick European integration on this front. However, the bigger nations – or the G5, namely France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy – who possess a rich experience in combating their indigenous terrorist or extremist groups, are more for

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 109

time- or issue-based cooperation. Moreover, the recent controversy about maintenance of secret CIA prisons in the new EU member nations in East Europe would certainly cause transatlantic as well as European disunity to hamper attempts to formulate a combined strategy. Another hurdle observed is in the area of identifying or prohibiting terrorist or extremist (not only Islamic) organisations active on European soil or raising funds for organisations known for suicide bombings or armed conflict in some distant areas in the world. Two recent instances may be referred in this regard. Britain under its Terrorism Act 2000 banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka. However, at the level of EU, the British presidency in the second half of 2005 has not yet prohibited it but condemned its terrorist activities. Hizb-ut-Tahrir was banned by Germany in January 2003, but the same organisation is working with considerable impunity in Britain. Only after the terrorist attacks on 7 July did the British Government announce its consideration to prohibit Hizb-ut-Tahrir activities. It must be mentioned here that banning Hizb-ut-Tahrir is not only an official deliberation, as the British MP from Birmingham, Khalid Mahmood, also raised the issue. Even just one week after the terrorist attacks in London, the Daily Times from Pakistan, in its editorial, abhorred the activities of Hizb-utTahrir in Britain: The most lethal British export to Pakistan and elsewhere in the region is Hizb-alTahrir, an organisation banned in Pakistan for seeking to overthrow democracy and replace it with khilafat. Al Tahrir is an example of the ‘zone of contact’ that exists in the UK between Pakistanis and the Salafi Arab ideologues. (14 July 2005)

However, the delay or procrastination amongst European governments or at the level of the EU should be analysed from the viewpoint of the complex EU working procedure, as well as disunity and lack of awareness among the member states about the perceived threat from a specific organisation. After all, the member states that are most affected by their activities still cannot determine the repercussions of prohibiting any radical Islamic organisation. Even at the national level, governments who have been investigating these diasporabased radical and extremist organisations are still trying to estimate their actual strength, whether they participate in terrorist activities, and most importantly, how deep these organisations are entrenched in the younger generations of the Muslim communities. ‘Englishness’, ‘Dutchness’, ‘Frenchness’ in a globalised world Apart from the cooperation at the level of government, security agencies and the judiciary, European governments have also decided to take active and long-term measures at the community level to control the slide. In recent years, some Islamic religious schools or madrasahs connected with the mosques established

110 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay

by the community have gained infamy for their associations with either individual preachers or imams from outside Europe. A need is felt to train the imams or the aged and newly-arrived immigrants in the language or culture of the host societies. Surveys are also indicative that some immigrants who have spent the better parts of their lives in a European society neither possess a working skill in the language nor about the culture of their host nations. It is not an oversimplification to say that it is at this point that the alienation of Muslim societies starts. Latent racism existing in the mainstream society in the form of street behavior, and overtly in the form of violent clashes in the streets, are also important factors in the silent resistance offered by Muslim societies against integration. But at a practical level, the absence of a working knowledge of language and a minimum understanding of the host society often makes it impossible for immigrants to be aware of their rights. Though the whole process is still at the experimental level, and empirical data are yet to arrive, some serious thought should be given towards the envisaged training of immigrants in ‘British’ culture, ‘Dutch’ language and ‘German’ ways. As Olivier Roy observes, ‘European identities are in a process of recasting and new terms such as “Englishness,” “Dutchness,” “Frenchness” are emerging’ (Roy, 2005b, p. 7). Already in Germany the debate is under way on the issue what is actually understood by the dominant culture (Leitkultur). However the apparent paradox of trainings in the cultures of host European nations may be found to be threadbare. It is true that European nations are not ‘melting pots’ of culture and naturalisation of immigrants in European nations take years, even generations. Nation-states are still very important in Europe, although in the last two decades, especially after the reunification of Germany, the EU has made landmark progress in some major areas. It was not only the fear of Polish plumbers and acute unemployment that led the French and the Dutch to reject a European Constitution; it is also true that there exists a deep apprehension of a yet-to-be-defined ‘Europeanness’ in a globalised world. Far-right and neoNazi groups throughout Europe often try to encash the ‘nationhood’ issue and campaign against the EU that the union is diluting the national characteristics of its member states. The paradox therefore lies at the highest European level – that it is attempting to achieve a European integration which is in quintessence aimed at securing peace in a continent ravaged by two world wars, but on the other hand immigrants are required to be trained in the national cultures of their host countries. However, a splendid observation of a development has been made by the former British Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, John Gieve in December 2003, which is definitely laudable: An interesting phenomena which seems to be emerging is that an increasing number of second/third generation British Muslims (as well as those in countries such as Germany, Belgium, France and Italy), are going further than just defining themselves by their nationality or their Muslim identity generally. Instead they seem to be defin-

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 111

ing themselves as ‘European Muslims’, in the same way as there are ‘African Muslims’ or ‘Asian Muslims’. (Home Office 2004)

The future: growing together In conclusion, optimism should be the exhortation. And for an optimistic future, both the mainstream societies as well as diaspora-based Muslim communities should realise that their common future would be shared. The creation of a common future definitely lies in a present peaceful coexistence in which the hate campaign from the radical Islamic indoctrinators and the indifference and negative semantics from the host societies should be a thing of the past. Indeed, it is a tall order at this juncture, when three dastardly terror acts have just taken place, terror sleeper cells are unearthed Europe-wide and young European Muslims are found in theatres of conflict. The apprehension of Seyran Ates, a German lawyer of Turkish decent, is quite comprehensible when she says that the next perpetrators of terrorist acts would be the children of the third and fourth immigrant generation (Schneider 2005). Therefore an imminent issue should be taken into consideration to stem any trend of vitiating the young, vulnerable minds of the Muslim students. In this specific regard, closer scrutiny of the textbooks and reading materials provided by Muslim community organisations for their children should be undertaken at the earliest. It needs no explanation that textbooks are the perfect battleground for competing ideologies and political doctrines in a society. Investigative journalism on the parallel education system run by Muslim community organisations throughout Europe has come to a broad conclusion that there are probable future challenges to be faced by Muslim students who will have to choose between their upbringing via a parallel education system and the training required to get employment in the host societies. Even the development of dual personalities cannot be ruled out (Tageszeitung 2004, Suri 2005). Therefore both the governments and their Muslim dialogue partners may undertake a joint research project on textbooks in which both the mainstream societies and the Muslim countries should be represented without bias. Inhumane treatments of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, or the pretext of war on Iraq, have definitely acted as an angermultiplier and contributed to the further radicalisation of a part of the younger Muslims in Europe. However, an interpretation of all old and present conflict areas of the world as a global conspiracy against Muslims would only strengthen the radical Islamic propaganda. It should be pointed out time and again that when a preemptive strike was deliberated upon against Iraq in early 2003, European cities experienced the largest anti-war demonstrations in their history. European Muslims have also participated in these demonstrations. The present situation demands that Muslim societies in Europe should start challenging the intellectual superiority posed by these radical Islamic organisations who claim to be the sole saviours of Islam.

112 ]

Alok Rashmi Mukhopadhyay References

Ash, Timothy Garton (2004) ‘Who was to blame?’, The Guardian, 5 February. Buijs, Frank and J. Rath, Muslims in Europe: The State of Research, Department of Political Science & Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, January. Essay prepared for the Russell Sage Foundation (New York). Retrieved from: http://users.fmg.uva.nl/jrath/downloads/ @RSF%20European%20Research%20on%20Islam%20and%20Muslims.pdf. Accessed 17 February 2006. Cesari, Jocelyne (2002) ‘European Islam: A Profile’, in Shireen T. Hunter (ed.) Islam in Europe and in the United States: A Comparative Perspective, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, pp. 11–15. —— (2003) ‘Muslim Minorities in Europe: The Silent Revolution’, in John Esposito and Francois Burgat (eds), Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and in Europe, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, pp. 251–69. —— (2004) When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States, New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp. 9–18. Dantschke, Claudia (2004) ‘Freiheit geistig-politischer Auseinandersetzung – islamistischer Druck auf zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure’, in Islamismus: Texte zur Inneren Sicherheit, 3rd edn, Federal Ministry of Interior of Germany, Berlin, p. 105. Dassetto, Felice (2004) ‘Muslims in the Western World: Sociohistorical developments and trends’, in Tsugitaka, S. (ed.), Muslim Societies: Historical and Comparative Aspects, London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, pp. 137–55. The European Union Institute of Security Studies (2003) European Security Strategy: A Secure Europe in a Better World. Adopted 12 December, Brussels: www.isseu.org/solana/solanae.pdf. Accessed 17 February 2006. Gottlieb, Sebastiaan (2005) ‘Fear and self-censorship’, Radio Netherland, 2 November. Home Office (2005) Preventing Extremism Together, London: Home Office Working Groups: http://communities.homeoffice.gov.uk/raceandfaith/reports_pubs/publica tions/race_faith/PET-working-groups-aug-0ct05?view=Binary. Accessed 20 February 2006. Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office (2004) Young Muslims and Extremism, p. 17: www.times-archive.co.uk/onlinespecials/cabinet.pdf. Accessed 20 February 2006. Lachmann, Günther (2004) Tödliche Toleranz: Die Muslime und unsere offene Gesellschaft, Piper, Munich and Zurich. Translation by the present author. Moniquet, Claude (2005) The Radicalisation of Muslim Youth in Europe: The Reality and the Scale of the Threat, testimony at Hearing of the Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging Threats, United States House of Representatives, 27 April, p. 10: www.house.gov/international_relations/ 109/ mon042705.pdf. Accessed 20 February 2006. Motion, Andrew (2005) ‘The Man’, in ‘It is Britain’s time for new rhymes’, Sunday Hindustan Times, 25 September, p. 18.

Radical Islam in Europe: Misperceptions and Misconceptions

[ 113

Noon, Sir Ghulam (2005) ‘Asians Go Back! Is Multiculturalism Under Threat in the Isle?’ Interview by Shoma Chaudhry, Tehelka, 24 September, p. 20. Roy, Olivier (2005a) ‘Europe’s Response to Radical Islam’, Current History, 104 (685), pp. 360–4. —— (2005b) ‘A Clash of Cultures or a Debate on Europe’s Values?’, International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) Review, 15, p. 6. Savage, Timothy M. (2004) ‘Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing’, The Washington Quarterly, 27 (3), pp. 25–50. Schneider, Peter (2005) ‘In Germany, Muslims grow apart’, International Herald Tribune, 4 December. Seidel, Eberhard (2003) ‘Der Hofnarr der Geheimdienste’, Die Tageszeitung, 28 April. Translation by the present author. Semler, Christian (2004) ‘Parallel-Gesellschaften’, Die Tageszeitung, 24 November. Translation by the present author. Shamsie, Kamila (2005) ‘The Day After’, Newsline, August, pp. 36–7. Shore, Zachary (2005) ‘Can the West Win Muslims’ Hearts and Minds?’, Orbis, 49 (3), pp. 475–90. Steinberg, Guido (2003) ‘Der Islamismus im Niedergang? Anmerkungen zu den Thesen Gilles Kepels, Olivier Roys und zur europäischen Islamismusforschung’, in Islamismus: Texte zur Inneren Sicherheit, 3rd edn, Federal Ministry of Interior of Germany, Berlin, p. 36. Suri, Sanjay (2005) ‘Ilm By Rote’, Outlook, 15 August: www.outlookindia.com/fullprint.asp?choice=1&fodname=20050815&fname=Madrassa+%28F%29&sid =1. Accessed 20 February 2006. Taarnby, Michael (2005) ‘Recruitment of Islamist Terrorists in Europe: Trends and Perspectives’, Research Report funded by the Danish Ministry of Justice, Submitted on 14 January, p. 27: www.jm.dk/image.asp?page=image&objno=73027. Accessed 18 April 2006. Tageszeitung (2004) ‘Die schleichende Islamisierung: Schulalltag in Berlin’, 1 December: www.sicherheit-heute.de/index.php?cccpage=read_gesellschaft&set_z_artikel= 173. Accessed 18 April 2006. Tempest, Matthew (2005) ‘Militants disrupt Muslim voter campaign’, The Guardian, 19 April. Ulfkotte, Udo (2003) Der Krieg in unseren Städten: Wie radikale Islamisten Deutschland unterwandern, Eichborn: Frankfurt (Main). Translation of title by the present author. Weidner, Stefan (2003) ‘Wie man Bürgerkriegsängste schürt’, Die Zeit, 15 March, no. 21. Retrieved from: www.zeit.de/2003/21/P-Ulfkotte. Accessed 20 February 2006. Wörter des Jahres (2004) www.gfds.de/woerter.html. Accessed 20 February 2006.

CHAPTER

9 How the Zionist Colonisation of Palestine Radicalised British Muslims Daud Abdullah

Introduction The Palestinian quest for freedom and independence is arguably the last of the great anti-colonial struggles. No other international issue has dominated so persistently the agenda of the UN after its creation. Since 1947, the conflict in Palestine has threatened global security, undermined stability and plunged the Middle East into a series of destructive wars. Like the anti-apartheid movement, it has galvanised popular disaffection on every continent. British Muslims have not been immune from the impact and influences of this conflict. Over the years, they have become increasingly radicalised by a catalogue of escalating injustices in Palestine. Though often referred to as the Holy Land, Palestine’s modern history has been shaped more by the undoing of men than by miraculous divine intervention. The Zionist objective of colonising Palestine has been the root cause of the tragedy and turmoil. The Basle Protocol adopted at the First World Zionist Congress (29–31 August 1897) affirmed the Zionist aim of creating a national home for the Jews in Palestine. Article I upheld that the means to achieve this end was through the ‘colonisation’ of Palestine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers. In the same vein, Article IV confirmed the need to secure government consent where necessary to realise the aim of Zionism.1 After several years of unsuccessful lobbying of European governments, the Zionist leadership made their first and most important breakthrough when they won the support of the British government on 2 November 1917. This was conveyed in a short letter written by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild (1868–1937), informing him that,

[ 117 ]

118 ]

Daud Abdullah

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.2

For all its political worth, the legality of the Balfour Declaration was questioned from the outset. To begin with, it was issued without the knowledge or consent of the Palestinian Arabs. Furthermore, it gave rise to the question, how could one country promise the establishment of a national home for one people in the country of another people when that country had no sovereign rights over the country concerned? In reality, it contravened the established legal maxim that no one can give that which he has not (nemo dat quod non habet). By itself, the Balfour Declaration held little value to the Zionist movement. Though issued by the British Government, it had absolutely no legal basis of authority. The purpose of the Mandatory was, therefore, to provide the legal cover to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine and place the country under a political, administrative and economic regime that would facilitate the establishment of the Jewish national home.3 Had they so desired, any subsequent British government could have ignored or repudiated the Balfour Declaration, which was only a statement of policy. With its incorporation into the Mandatory and ratification by the Principal Allied Powers acting through the League of Nations on 22 July 1922, the Declaration was, however, raised to the level of an international treaty. The fact of the matter, however, is that the British government at the time had little regard and even less respect for the rights of the Palestinian people. Lord Balfour unapologetically demonstrated this disposition when he resisted suggestions for an enquiry to determine whether the Palestinian people wished to be placed under a mandatory rule. Under the Covenant of the League of Nations, the people concerned should be given the right to decide. In a memorandum dated 22 September 1919, he asserted that his government had no intention of consulting the inhabitants of Palestine. Zionism, Balfour argued, was ‘of far profounder import than the wishes of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land’.4 With such undisguised prejudices built into the national home project and its attendant mandatory authority, it was clear that grave injustices were about to be committed. During the short period of British rule (1922–48), the doors of immigration were thrown open to the Jews. Their number rose from 83,794 in 1922 to 608,225 in 1946.5 The percentage of Jews grew from 11 per cent of the population in 1922 to 86 per cent in 1949, following the expulsion of an estimated 805,000 Palestinians, who constituted 84 per cent of the indigenous Arab population of Palestine.6 The injustice done to the Palestinians was not lost on British historians. In a message to an international conference convened in Egypt in February 1970,

Zionist Colonisation and Radicalised British Muslims

[ 119

Bertrand Russell conceded that the tragedy of the people of Palestine lies in the fact that their country was given by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The consequence of this, he regretted, was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless.7 Inevitably, there is a nemesis for committing and condoning injustice. Another eminent twentieth-century British historian, Arnold Toynbee, warned of this when he wrote: ‘The world has condoned the wrong that has been done to the Palestinian Arabs by Zionism. The Palestinian Arabs have been despoiled and evicted by force, and the force by which they have been coerced was first British, before the Israelis built up the military strength to do their own fighting – with American supplies of arms and American economic and political support.’8 Palestine and the Muslim faith Palestine’s relationship with Islam goes back well beyond Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous Night Journey to Jerusalem or the conquest of the city by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (636 ad). They actually started very early in human history. This is so because Palestine is the land of all the appointed prophets and messengers. Muslims believe in all the divinely sent prophets. Their message and call is the same as that of Prophet Muhammad. Accordingly, Muslims view the achievements and legacies of all the prophets as part of their religious and historical heritage. Muslim affinity with Palestine is rooted in the doctrines of faith rather than in ties of kinship and blood. The closer a people are to the teachings of monotheism, the greater their claim to the legacy of the prophets. The Quran underscores this principle when it says, Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He was an upright man, who had surrendered himself unto Allah. He was not a polytheist. Surely the men who are nearest to Ibrahim are those who follow him; this Prophet, and the true believers. (3: 67–8)

Many British Muslims do not believe that the role of Islam in Palestinian society and history should be confined to rituals associated with visits to Holy Jerusalem before or after hajj. Suffice it to mention that one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad narrated that he said, ‘if anyone puts on ihram for Hajj or Umrah from Masjid al Aqsa and then proceeds to the Sacred Masjid (in Makkah), his former and latter sins would be forgiven, or he will be guaranteed paradise’.9 Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was always intended to be a way of life for all mankind. It was never for one moment meant to be a philosophy or thought concerned with the development of abstract theories. Hence, the love of one’s nation or homeland is part of faith. This was witnessed in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when he left Mecca after enduring thirteen years of relentless persecution. Upon his departure, it was

120 ]

Daud Abdullah

reported that he looked back at the blessed city and said, ‘You are the dearest place to me and if your people had not expelled me I would not have gone.’ Just as the Prophet had cherished Mecca so too his followers in every age have nurtured a special affinity with Palestine. Among the reasons for its distinction is the fact that it holds Masjid al Aqsa, which was the first qibla direction of Muslims in prayer. Similarly, it is the third most holy mosque in Islam after the Holy Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself encouraged visits to it and extolled the virtues of praying in it. Abu Hurayrah reported the Prophet said, ‘set out deliberately on a journey only to three mosques: this mosque of mine (in Madina), the Sacred Mosque (in Makka), and al Aqsa Mosque’.10 The land of Palestine is blessed. The Quran says, ‘Glory to He who did take His servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose precincts we did bless’ (17: 1). The Sacred Mosque referred to here is that in Makkah and the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al Aqsa) is that in Jerusalem. According to a prophetic tradition, both mosques were built within a forty-year period of each other. Abu Dharr al Ghiffari narrated, ‘I asked Allah’s Messenger about the first mosque on earth. “The Scared Mosque” (in Makkah), he replied. “And then what?” I asked. “Al Aqsa Mosque,” he said. “And how long was it between them?” I asked. “Forty years,” the Prophet replied.’11 Another companion of the Prophet, Zayd ibn Thabit, narrated that he heard the Messenger say, ‘O how blessed is al Sham, O how blessed is al Sham, his companions asked, “And why is that so, O Messenger of Allah?” “That is because Allah’s angels spread their wings over al Sham”.’12 Still on the blessed nature of Palestine, the Quran also recalls, concerning Abraham: ‘But We delivered him and (his nephew) Lot (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations’ (21: 71). For these reasons, British Muslims like all others feel a special sense of affinity and attachment to Palestine whenever they read the Quran. They express intense outrage and revulsion with the Zionist attacks and threats to destroy their third most sacred mosque. Anger is often turned into frustration and cynicism by the reluctance of the international community to enforce the law to end Israeli violations. By giving the impression that there is no law, or that the law of the jungle prevails, the community of nations have unwittingly contributed to the radicalisation of British Muslims. All the measures undertaken by Israel, whether in the modern sector or the old sector of Jerusalem, in terms of annexation or alteration of demographic structure, are null and void. Several United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council resolutions confirm this. Security Council Resolution 476 (30 June 1980) deplored the change of the city’s physical character and demographic composition, and determined that ‘the basic laws on Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith’. Notwithstanding, the same Security Council that adopts punitive measures and sanctions against Muslim countries has refused to

Zionist Colonisation and Radicalised British Muslims

[ 121

enforce its own Resolution 465 of 1 March 1980, which declares that all the measures taken since 1967 have no legal validity and calls on states not to provide Israel with assistance to be used in this process. Zionism and apartheid Whether Zionist oppression takes the form of house demolitions, extrajudicial killings, expulsion, seizure of land or desecration of places of worship, it cannot be passed off lightly as the work of a lunatic fringe. British Muslims are not alone in attributing this conduct to the ideology of Zionism. The Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi described it as a very dangerous ideology based on supremacy and a colonialist philosophy.13 It was precisely on account of its discriminatory policies against the Palestinian people and denial of their national rights that the General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379 (XXX) on 10 November 1975, which determined Zionism a form of racism. Shortly before, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity set the stage for this resolution when they convened for their Twelfth Ordinary Session in Kampala (28 July–1 August 1975), and declared ‘that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being’. In hindsight, the UN’s decision to declare Zionism a form of racism was not the result of an anti-Semitic campaign. It was, ostensibly, the verdict of the majority of the members of the world body united and resolute in their determination to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. They affirmed that doctrines of racial differentiation or superiority are scientifically wrong, morally condemnable, socially unjust and politically dangerous. Historically, Resolution 3379 was short-lived. Immediately after the launch of the Madrid peace process in 1991, the General Assembly adopted another resolution, No. 46/86, which summarily revoked Resolution 3379. For better or worse, the problem of Zionism persisted and remained exactly as Edwin Montagu, the former Secretary of State for India and Jewish member of the British Cabinet, described it in the early twentieth century: ‘a mischievous political creed’.14 Without an acknowledgement that Palestinian collective suffering at the hands of the Zionists goes back more than one hundred years, it would be impossible to understand the depths of international anger and how the conflict has radicalised British Muslims. Asher Ginzberg (Ahad HaAm), the nineteenth-century Zionist essayist, condemned the attitudes of the settlers after his 1891 visit to Palestine. He decried their cruel and inhuman treatment of the Arabs. More significantly, Ginzberg deplored the unwillingness of fellowZionists to oppose these practices.15 Ginzberg’s verdict could easily be applied

122 ]

Daud Abdullah

to the current Israeli leadership. As they used to do in the late nineteenth century, Zionist settlers still commandeer Palestinian homes, rob the inhabitants of their possessions and evict farmers from their land. Rooted as it is in the bigotry of nineteenth-century European nationalism and theories of racial superiority, the Zionist state never recognised the rights or humanity of the Palestinian people. The condition of its non-Jewish citizens is proof of this. Thousands still reside within meters of the homes from which they were evicted in 1948. They view the Polish and Russian immigrants who occupy their houses. While the cows of these immigrants are afforded electricity, running water and medical care, the Palestinian Arabs must do without these basic amenities because they live in ‘unrecognised villages’.16 There are at least forty Palestinian villages in both northern and southern Israel that are ‘unrecognised’ by the Israeli Government and therefore receive no municipal or state services such as electricity, running water, access roads, health and educational facilities, sewage and communications services. These villages came into being as a result of the Israeli legislation that prevented Palestinian Arabs from returning to their homes after they were expelled in 1948. Those who remained in the new state of ‘Israel’ were settled in other villages that were then declared ‘unrecognised.’ To appreciate the Palestinian position, the question may be posed: would British citizens submit to living in ‘unrecognised villages’ while Arab immigrants occupy their homes and farm their lands? While Israel’s separate and unequal systems of roads, laws and distribution of natural resources have won the approval and acceptance of Western governments, they have been bitterly denounced by many peoples who were themselves the victims of racial discrimination and foreign domination. Rev. Desmond Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, confirmed this when he declared in The Guardian (29 April 2002) that there is ‘Apartheid in the Holy Land’. Elsewhere he recalled how deeply distressed he became in all his visits to the Holy Land because so much of what has been taking place there reminded him of what used to happen to blacks in apartheid South Africa. Tutu further admitted that during his visits to the Holy Land he witnessed things that did not happen even in apartheid South Africa.17 Apartheid is not an ordinary crime. It is a crime against humanity punishable by State parties signatory to the 1976 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. The crime of apartheid is so repugnant to civilised values and contrary to the elemental principles of justice that both the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations affirmed that it could not be reformed or adjusted. In 1984 the Security Council adopted Resolution 554, which affirmed that only the total eradication of apartheid could lead to a just and lasting solution in South Africa. In the case of South Africa, the existence of the apartheid regime radicalised a generation across the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Israel’s brand of apartheid is fast radicalising people in the twenty-first century. British Muslims are no exception.

Zionist Colonisation and Radicalised British Muslims

[ 123

Human rights When the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) was signed in 1949, its authors were motivated by a desire to prevent a repetition of the kind of barbarity that occurred during the Second World War. It has since become a fundamental pillar of international humanitarian law and governs the treatment of civilians under occupation and in times of armed conflict. A total of 189 countries including Israel have ratified the Convention, which is registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations (Article 159). Israel’s belligerent occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and the Gaza Strip was neither benevolent nor enlightened. Institutional discrimination, economic strangulation, military siege and extrajudicial killings have been the hallmarks of a system that has ignited and fuelled two major uprisings since 1967. Although Israel did not ratify the additional rules incorporated in the two Protocols of 1977, international legal authorities maintain that the Protocols are equally binding on all parties including Israel because they do no more than reaffirm existing obligatory international customary law. With the exception of Israel, all the 188 High Contracting Parties (HCP) to the Convention concur that it is applicable law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and should be adhered to by Israel. Since the start of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained. The Palestinian population in the territories is around 3.6 million. More than 20 per cent of the adult population in the OPT have been imprisoned at some time or another. This means almost every Palestinian household has been affected. As the majority of those detained are male, the number of Palestinians detained forms approximately 40 per cent of the total male Palestinian population in the OPT.18 In the four years after the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, 3,334 Palestinian were killed. Of the Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation forces, 82 per cent were civilians. Of those, 621 were children below the age of 17. Of this figure, 411 were shot with live ammunition and 200 were shot in the head, face or neck. Ten thousand Palestinian children have been injured. By October 2004, an average of two to three Palestinians were being killed by Israeli soldiers, police or settlers every day. Mustafa Barghouthi of the Ramallah-based Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP) pointed out that, although it may appear low, this death rate if applied to the UK would be equivalent to 35 people being killed per day. In the US, this would rise to 157 per day.19 The response of the British Government to Israeli repression has been indifferent at best. With its tremendous political influence in the Security Council and in the European Union, it could have done much more to uphold the rule of law in Palestine. In the absence of any meaningful initiatives, British Muslims joined other faith communities and civic society bodies in a series of marches

124 ]

Daud Abdullah

across the UK. Seminars were held on campuses and even in the halls of Parliament, all to no avail. Petitions to invoke the EU Articles of Association with Israel were also futile. Since 2000, Israel has become linked to the EU by a Euro-Mediterranean Agreement concerning trade, economy and cooperation. According to Article 2, the relationship between the EU and Israel was to be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles. The reluctance of EU governments to act against Israel after it was found to be in clear breach of this Agreement led 59 per cent of Europeans to vote in an October 2003 European Commission opinion poll that Israel posed the greatest threat to world peace. The poll surveyed 7,500 people in 15 EU countries and confirmed that Israel was a bigger threat to world peace than Iran, North Korea and the US. In Britain, 60 per cent of those polled saw Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.20 To those who bought the argument that this was a crass demonstration of anti-Semitism, it should be pointed out that in Israel itself the former Israeli Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair, recorded similar sentiments in Haaretz: We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one – progressive, liberal – in Israel; and the other – cruel, injurious – in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day . . . The intifada is the Palestinian people’s war of national liberation. Historical processes teach us that no nation is prepared to live under another’s domination and that a suppressed people’s war of national liberation will inevitably succeed. We understand this point but choose to ignore it.21

Britain had a golden opportunity to take the moral high-ground in September 2005 when a London magistrate issued a warrant for the arrest of a former head of the Israeli forces in Gaza, Major General Doron Almog. The warrant was issued under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, on suspicion of war crimes including the destruction by the Israeli army of 59 Palestinian homes in Rafah refugee camp. Article 147 of the FGC cites wilful killing, torture and inhumane treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person as ‘grave breaches’. All these crimes are committed on a daily basis by the Israelis in the OPT. Under Almog’s command, the Israeli army had also destroyed vast areas of cultivated Palestinian land, commercial properties and public buildings, water and electricity networks, and other public infrastructure. Upon arrival at Heathrow, the suspect was reportedly tipped off and hence decided not to leave the plane, which then took him back to Tel Aviv. Human

Zionist Colonisation and Radicalised British Muslims

[ 125

rights organisations led by Amnesty International deplored the failure of the UK authorities to arrest the Israeli war crimes suspect. Under Article 146 of the FGC, Britain is obliged to search for persons alleged to have committed or to have ordered to be committed such grave breaches and bring them before its own courts, regardless of their nationality. If, for whatever reasons, it is unable to do so, it must hand over such persons for trial to another State party to the Convention that is able and willing to do so. The FGC expressly forbids the UK from entering into any agreement with another state absolving itself of this obligation (Article 148). The case of Almog is symptomatic of Britain’s soft policies on Israel that have not only spawned radicalism among British Muslims but also fury among Christians as well. In a hard-hitting report published in 2004, the British charity Christian Aid accused the international community of turning a blind eye to Israeli repression and expropriation of Palestinian land. The report noted that there was an urgent need for international intervention because Israel operates contrary to the legal standards ‘required of it as an occupying power’.22 The anguish and outrage felt in the UK was deepened in December 2002, when the Israeli occupation forces demolished a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Gaza. The WFP lost 537 tonnes of food – worth $271,000 – in the attack. Christian Aid’s 2004 report summed up the frustration and anger when it noted that years of aid to the Palestinians from international donors, including the United Kingdom and other EU member states, have been consistently undermined – and in many cases destroyed – by Israeli actions. The charity insists that EU taxpayers have every right to question why their money is being squandered due to lack of firm political measures to redress the Israeli policies that have made such aid necessary in the first instance.23 Radicalisation There is an unbreakable link between the rule of law, justice and security. Whatever the society, security only comes about when there is respect for the law, and the rights of all are guaranteed and protected by it. When this principle is violated and replaced by racist notions of superiority and privilege, insecurity and mayhem becomes the order of the day. The undisguised injustices and double standards applied to Palestine have been an underlying cause for the radicalisation of British Muslims. Despite Israel’s manifest breaches of humanitarian law in the period after September 2000, world leaders have demonstrated no courage or willingness to uphold the rule of law. Instead they chose to sing from the same hymn sheet of denial. Their chorus reached its crescendo during the November 2001 visit to Damascus by the British Prime Minister. While Mr Blair lectured his Syrian hosts on the virtues of civilised conduct and human rights, Israeli bulldozers

126 ]

Daud Abdullah

were levelling the homes of Palestinian residents in Occupied Jerusalem. On the next leg of his tour, observers at home and in the region waited anxiously to see whether the Prime Minister would remind the Israeli leadership of the status of Jerusalem in international law and their legal obligations toward its ‘Protected People’. None of this was forthcoming. On the contrary, what emerged was an expression of understanding and support for the Israeli leadership in the conduct of its extrajudicial policies in the OPT. Britain’s primary role in creating the problem and its impotence to rectify its wrongs has become something of a historical albatross, as well as a source of anger and embarrassment. Arnold J. Toynbee writing the Foreword to The Palestine Diary (1970), explained that the tragedy in Palestine is that an entire people, about 1,500,000 Palestinian Arabs (estimated today at 5,000,000), were driven out of their homes and turned into permanent refugees as a result of foreign intervention in their country’s affairs. The Palestinian tragedy, Toynbee added, is not a local issue but a global one, as its seminal injustice has consistently undermined world peace for decades. As a an Englishman, Toynbee admitted he was loath to indict his country, but in the case of Palestine the magnitude of the injustice was so immense that he felt obliged to speak out against it, as this was the only form of personal reparation he could offer.24 The impact on British Muslims was no less palpable. Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analysts Bill and Kathleen Christison had no doubt about this. In their article, ‘The Origins of Hostility’, they explained that Muslim anger over the creation of a Jewish state in Islamic lands, the expulsion of three-quarters of the Palestinian population and their subsequent suffering under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, have all contributed to the ‘radicalisation’ of Muslims.25 The refugee issue In summation, there were two predominant factors that rendered the Zionist colonisation of Palestine offensive and abhorrent to British Muslims. The first was its religious motivation and the second was its inhumane and repressive nature. Two weeks after the issue of the Balfour Declaration, the US envoy to the Arab East, William Yale, illustrated the extent to which policy was shaped by hostility toward Islam. He argued that the nurturing of a pure Jewish state in Palestine would introduce a new element in the East capable of confronting Islam and protecting the Suez. At the same time it would deliver a people forever indebted to Britain. The religious motive articulated by Yale was further reflected in more menacing terms through General Edmund Allenby’s remarks after the conquest of Jerusalem in December 1917, when he pronounced that on that day the Crusades had ended.26 In terms of its violent and repressive nature, the Zionist project found its most outspoken advocate in the person of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of

Zionist Colonisation and Radicalised British Muslims

[ 127

the Zionist revisionist movement. This was outlined in his essay, ‘The Iron Wall’. Jabotinsky accused Labour Zionists of being hypocrites for trying to disguise their colonial intent. Writing in the Jewish Herald (South Africa), in 1937, he summarised the revisionist approach to the Palestinian people thus: If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. Or else? Or else, give up your colonisation, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonisation, colonisation is impossible – not difficult, not dangerous but IMPOSSIBLE! Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed force.27

Ever since the 1920s, Zionist leaders have dutifully espoused the ‘Iron Wall’ strategy. Its underlying tenets informed the manner and timing of the creation of the state of Israel – a process that was attended by the destruction and depopulation of 531 Palestinian towns and villages. The methods of force adopted in 1948 and 1967 have continued unabated. As it were, the violent transfer of the Palestinians was the translation of a policy that was rooted in Zionist thought and vigorously espoused by the Mandatory authority. Commenting on the partition proposal recommended by the 1937 Royal Peel Commission, Ben Gurion insisted in an entry in his diary on 12 July 1937 that the compulsory transfer of the Arabs from the areas of the proposed Jewish state would give the Zionists something they never had, not even in the glory days of the first and second temple.28 Although Israel was admitted into membership of the UN on condition that it implemented Resolution 194 of 1948, which calls for the return of the refugees to their homes, it has refused to comply with this demand from the international community. In reality, the return of the dispersed Palestinians to their homes and property is not a privilege or favour that is subject to Israeli goodwill. Neither is it a matter that depends upon Israel’s demographic security needs, as it claims. In 1945, forced expulsion was deemed so irreconcilable with respect for human rights that the Nuremberg Tribunal viewed it as a crime against humanity. With regard to the Palestinians, the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1969 further adopted Resolution 2535 B (XXIV), which recognises linkage between the ongoing misery of the refugees and the denial of their rights, ‘that the problem of the Palestinian Arab refugees has arisen from the denial of their inalienable rights under the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. Britain, quite evidently, has played a pivotal role in bringing about this situation. Responding to the Peel Commission Report, the British government issued a Statement of Policy on 20 July 1937, stating in part that provisions would be made for the transfer of the greater part of the Arab population in

128 ]

Daud Abdullah

the Jewish state, if necessary by compulsion.29 As a result of policies of this kind, a great many British citizens today, not least Muslims, believe Britain has a moral and legal responsibility to redress the historical injustice committed against the Palestinian people. Any attempt, tacit or otherwise, to maintain the status quo only serves to fuel anger, resentment and the radicalisation of its Muslim communities. The failure of UN appeals, censures, resolutions and condemnations to alter the policies of the Zionist State means that seven million Palestinians now face the threat of permanent exile, primarily because they are Arabs. Nothing on the horizon suggests that their ultimate return would be realised in the current climate of indifference and complicity. Emboldened by the prevailing apathy within the international community, Zionist settlers have continued their attacks against Palestinians. In August 2005, John Duggard, the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the West Bank/Gaza Strip reported an increase of settler violence in the OPT. He specifically mentioned the settlers in the Tel Rumeida settlement in Hebron, who were trying to evict their Palestinian neighbours by a process of terrorisation.30 Despite their solemn undertaking to uphold the rules of international law and comply with the rulings of its highest judiciary body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the High Contracting Powers have done nothing to enforce the ICJ’s July 2004 ruling determining that all the states party to the FGC are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention. In mid-September 2005, Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy reported that in Hebron some of the worst atrocities of the settlement enterprise are being perpetrated against the Palestinians. With such conduct the writer concluded that it was ludicrous to regard Israel as a democratic state ruled by law ‘as long as the pogroms continue in Hebron’. Amnesty International in its 2005 report corroborated these views. It revealed that the abuses committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes. These included unlawful killings, extensive and wanton destruction of property, obstruction and denial of medical assistance, targeting of medical personnel, torture and the use of Palestinians, including civilians, as human shields.31 In many respects, the most distressing images to come from the world’s conflict zones in recent years have been those of child victims. The image of 12-year-old Muhammad al Durra being shot in his father’s arms in the Occupied Gaza Strip was arguably the most memorable. It was beamed into British homes, as it was around the world. To many Muslims, this was the ultimate symbol of man’s inhumanity to his fellow-man. It has been a hallmark of the Zionist colonisation of Palestine. By demonstrating a disregard for international law in Palestine, the community of nations and the British Government in particular have created the conditions for the radicalisation of Muslim youth and those who espouse the views of the law of the jungle. Using the spurious claims of ‘security’, successive Israeli governments have waged an expansionist war against the Palestinian people. Avi Shlaim, the

Zionist Colonisation and Radicalised British Muslims

[ 129

Israeli historian, rejected their claim that this is because the Palestinians pose a threat to Israel’s basic security. On the contrary, he asserts Israel is not fighting for its security or survival but rather to retain territories it conquered in 1967. His conclusion stands today as a veritable indictment to which many must answer: ‘The war that Israel is waging against the Palestinian people on their land is a colonial war. Like all other colonial wars it is savage, senseless, directed mainly against civilians, and doomed to failure.’32 Notes 1. Khan, Z. (1998) Palestine Documents, Pharos Media and Publishing: New Delhi. 2. Balfour quoted in Al Dajani, A. (1997) Britain’s Obligations towards the Arabs Concerning Palestine, London: Palestinian Return Centre, p. 11. 3. Asquith, H. (1928) Memories and Reflections 1852–1927, London: Cassell. 4. Balfour quoted in Tibawi, A. (1977) Anglo-Arab Relations and the Question of Palestine 1914–1921, London: Luzac and Co. 5. Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (1991) A Survey of Palestine 1945–1946, Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies. 6. Abu Sitta, S. (1999) ‘The Feasibility of the Right of Return’, in Karmi, G. and E. Cotran (eds), The Palestinian Exodus 1948–1998, Reading: Ithaca Press. 7. Mayhew, C. and M. Adams (1975) Publish it Not, London: Longman. 8. Toynbee quoted in ibid. 9. Patel, I. A. (2005) Forty Ahadith Concerning Masjid al Aqsa, Leicester: Friends of al Aqsa. 10. Quoted in El-Awaisi, A. (1997) Jerusalem in Islamic History and Spirituality, Dunblane: Islamic Research Academy. 11. Quoted in bid. 12. Quoted in Patel (2005). 13. Ashrawi, H. (2005) ‘Settler Violence Against Palestinians’, MIFTAH (The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy), 21 August: www.miftah.org. Accessed 21 February 2006. 14. Montagu quoted in Tibawi (1977), p. 221. 15. Childers, E. (1971) ‘The Worldless Wish: From Citizens to Refugees’, in AbuLughod, I. (1971) (ed.), The Transformation of Palestine, Evanston: Northwestern University Press. 16. Abu-Elheja, M. (2004) ‘The Law of Return and its Impact on the Unrecognised Villages – A Case of Deportation’, in Abdullah, D. (2004) (ed.), The Israeli Law of Return and its Impact on the Struggle in Palestine, London: The Palestinian Return Centre. 17. Tutu, D. (2002) ‘A Clarion Call’, in Tobin, M. and R. (eds), How Long O Lord, Cambridge, MA: Cowley Publications. 18. See Palestine Monitor, Factsheets, Prisoners: www.palestinemonitor.org/factsheet/ Palestinian_Prisoners.html. Accessed 21 February 2006.

130 ]

Daud Abdullah

19. Ibid. 20. EOS Gallup (2003) Eurobarometer survey on ‘Iraq and international relations’, November, unpublished. 21. Ben-Yair, M. (2002) ‘The War’s Seventh Day’, Haaretz, 3 March. 22. Christian Aid (2004) Facts on the Ground: The End of the Two-State Solution, London: Christian Aid. 23. Ibid. 24. Toynbee quoted in John, R. and S. Hadawi (1970) The Palestine Diary, 1914–1945, New York: New World Press. 25. Alim, M. Shahid (2005) ‘The Origins of Hostility, Israel and the Consequences of “Uniqueness” ’, Counterpunch, 29/30 October: www.counterpunch.org/ shahid10292005.html. Accessed 21 February 2006. 26. Quoted in Saleh, M. (1996) Al Quwat al Askariya wa al Shurta fi Falastine, Amman: Dar al Nafais. 27. Jabotinsky, V. (1937) Jewish Herald, 26 November. 28. Masalha, N. (1992) Expulsion of the Palestinians, Washington, DC: Institute of Palestine Studies. 29. Khan (1998). 30. Duggard, J. (2005) ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestine Territories Occupied by Israel Since 1967’: http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/5ba47a5c6 cef541b802563e000493b8c/02bf82d785fe854a85257088004c374c!OpenDocum ent. Accessed 21 February 2006. 31. Amnesty International (2005) Amnesty International Report 2005: The State of the World’s Human Rights, London: Amnesty International. 32. Shlaim, A. (2005) ‘Sharon’s Iron Wall’, New Statesman, 31 October.

CHAPTER

10 From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice: Understanding Radical Views of Scottish Muslims Gabriele Marranci

Introduction I was sitting on a train going to Dundee with one of my Muslim friends of Pakistani origin. He was reading a newspaper article reporting on the discrimination that two job applicants suffered while being interviewed by Glasgow City Council.1 He told me that he had experienced discrimination many times because of his brown skin and his Muslim appearance. Yet it was what he later told me that attracted my attention. For the first time in all the years I’d known him, I heard him argue that Muslims should have the right to change societies not only through peaceful means but also by fighting jihad. He went on to explain that what some Muslims were fighting was not the society but the injustice permeating it. In this chapter, I analyse the causes that draw some Muslims in Scotland towards ‘extremist ideas’, which they tend often to express in rhetorical form rather than thorough violence. I am aware that in using the word ‘extremism’, it is important to clarify from what perspective one could define something as ‘extreme’. Indeed, we should recognise that there is no one definition, as ‘extremism’ is finally a matter of opinion, in which many factors must be considered. Nonetheless, for the sake of the argument of this chapter, I shall use a very simple, and limited, definition of ‘extremism’. I shall consider some ideas as ‘extreme’ only because the majority of my respondents, during the research, felt that the ideas had to be classified as such. Of course, this is an emic classification, but I argue that in this study an emic definition of ‘extremist’ is the only one that can be employed without the risk of patronising the people involved in it. From summer 2004 until the time of writing, I have interviewed forty-two Muslims living in Scotland (fifteen in Glasgow, twelve in Edinburgh, eight in Dundee, seven in Aberdeen), and tried to understand the relationship between [ 131 ]

132 ]

Gabriele Marranci

their experiences of Islam and their being Scottish Muslims. During this research, I started to notice that some of them disagreed with the opinions expressed by other fellow Scottish Muslims, and classified these ideas as ‘extremist’. Thus, I have focused on this second group who expressed controversial ideas about Islam, politics and society. In this chapter, I shall offer a new interpretation of why they may have developed what other Muslims have perceived as extremist views of Islam. Since there are a limited number of studies available on the Muslim population in Scotland, I shall discuss their demographic distribution, social status and relationship with mainstream Scottish society. Indeed, these facts have an impact on how they form their identity and relate it to Islam. I have observed that one of the recurrent elements during the discussion with the majority of my respondents was the difference in ethos (or morality) between Muslims and non-Muslims. I have observed how the Quranic definition of Jahiliyyah has been used as a counter-argument in the formation of what I have called ‘an ethos of Islamic justice’. Yet, when re-interviewing the small group whose ideas were classified as ‘extremist’, I noticed that the ‘ethos of justice’ turned into ‘an ideology of justice’ affected by strong utopian elements. To understand the process that led to their ‘radicalisation’, I have referred to my theory of identity (Marranci 2006). I have explained how human identities are processes functioning in two different ways. On the one hand, they allow individuals to experience their autobiographical self; on the other, they allow the individual to express it through symbolic acts. By following Bateson (2002), I have shown how certain situations could disrupt the equilibrium that people need for a healthy self. So I have argued that an act of identity is employed to re-establish the relationship between individuals and their environment. Following my theory of identity, I have concluded that the respondents whose opinions were described by the others as ‘extremist’ had developed them because they wished to be part of a Scottish society that had consistently rejected them. The main issue, therefore, is the tension2 between the assimilation requirements advanced by the Scottish society that must be met before it will consider Muslims to be a part of it, and the fact that these Muslims want to be accepted by the Scottish society as the Muslims they feel themselves to be. Muslims in Scotland: a short overview Scotland has often been described as a region marked by a high degree of religiosity and affected by Catholic and Protestant sectarianism. Yet the last Census in 2001 showed quite a different picture.3 Only 67 per cent of Scottish people identify with a religion, while, for instance, around 86 per cent of Northern Irish people, and 77 per cent of those in England and Wales, have declared themselves as adhering to a religious denomination. According to the Census 2001, in

From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice

[ 133

Scotland live 42,600 Muslims, who account for 0.84 per cent of the Scottish population. Notwithstanding that Muslims account for less than 1 per cent of the population, their religion (Islam) is the most common faith after Christianity. Indeed, 45 per cent of the non-Christian religious population is made up of Muslims. Yet the Muslim population is also the youngest, with 31 per cent aged under 16 years, though the first generation still accounts for 50 per cent of the Scottish Muslim community. Pakistani and Bangladeshi form the majority of the community (respectively 67 per cent and 28 per cent), with Africans and Arabs representing 15 per cent of the Muslim population, and Scottish converts less than 2 per cent. If in the rest of the UK we can find a statistically intriguing rate of inter-faith marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims, in Scotland Muslims have the highest rates of same-religion marriages (more than 80 per cent), as well as the highest rate of endogamy. This shows the integration process between the Muslim and non-Muslim populations is very slow. Muslims families in Scotland tend to have a higher number of children than their non-Muslim neighbours, with 34 per cent of Muslim families having three or more children. The majority of these families live in large urban areas, with Glasgow showing the largest Muslim population (42 per cent). Muslims tend to live, in the majority of cases, in the poorest area of these cities, and, according to the Census, in overcrowded accommodation. While among the Muslim population there is a high number of students, the Muslim community has also the highest rates of adults without qualifications. Unsurprisingly, the Scottish Muslim community is affected by high unemployment, with only 52 per cent of its population being economically active.4 Yet Muslims in Scotland face other social challenges, in particular since 9/11, as well as the recent terrorist attacks in London (7 July 2005 and the failed one on 21 July 2005). This difficult environment has affected the lives of young Muslims, as Hopkins (2004) has observed. Although some scholars have argued that racism ‘is not a Scottish problem’ (Arshad 2003, p. 131), other studies have shown that racism and Islamophobia is a common problem at a social level rather than at a political one (Miles and Dunlop 1987; Cant and Kelly 1995; Hopkins 2006). While the debate as to whether Scotland might be racist or Islamophobic will surely continue, I can report an experience I had in Glasgow. During one of my first research trips to Glasgow, I was looking for the central mosque. I reached the bus station and, equipped with Glasgow Mosque’s address and postal code, reached the information desk of the bus company. First, my intention was to enquire which bus number I should take in order to reach the mosque. My previous experience with the same information desk was a very positive one. Indeed, the lady kindly directed me to the right number to reach Glasgow Barlinnie Prison. This time, however, to my standard question, I receive a non-standard answer. I found myself questioned, ‘Why are you going there?’ ‘Are you Muslim?’ ‘Which is your country?’ and ‘What do you have in your bag?’ I understood that I would never receive the

134 ]

Gabriele Marranci

information that I needed. There were many taxis outside the bus station, and for this reason, I decided to take a taxi. I approached one driver and told him the place and address I wished to reach. When, however, I said the words ‘Glasgow Mosque’, he rudely opened his car door and said, ‘There is no taxi for Muslims.’ I insisted, ‘What about academics studying Muslims?’ His answer changed in words but not in meaning: ‘There are no taxis going to the mosque.’ Before ending in a dangerous confrontation, I gave up. ‘Of course,’ I thought, ‘I have got the wrong guy.’ So I asked another driver of a different taxi company. This time the answer was even more sarcastic: ‘Are you a terrorist?’ I found the situation anthropologically interesting but, at the same time, humanly upsetting. I decided to stop a policeman, who was walking nearby, and to report the facts. The answer let me wonder whether in Scotland Islamophobia is not more institutionalised than some scholars have argued. Indeed, the policeman briefly told me that he could not force a taxi driver to go to a location that made the driver feel uncomfortable, and, as far as the First’s customer service desk was concerned, the policeman informed me that they had no obligation to know where the mosque was. My interviews with some young Pakistanis in Glasgow have confirmed that to be discriminated against by some employees of the city transport companies is not an exception but rather the rule. Hopkins (2004, p. 259) has observed, ‘[In Scotland] racism sees the reconstruction of the discourse of “the Asian” reconstituted through the foregrounding of “the Muslim”.’ We may wonder whether this religious-centric racism may have an impact on the integration process of both Muslim migrants and their children. Saeed et al. (1999) have suggested that this may not be the case. Indeed, they have observed that the majority of Scottish young Muslims define themselves as ‘Scottish Muslims’. So, in their study, Saeed et al. have concluded: It is perhaps within the new chemistries of identity created by the most radical shift of political power within the UK for three hundred years that the possibility of a new kind of Scottish-Pakistani identity may require to be grasped. (Circumstantial and anecdotal evidence available seems to have pointed to widespread support for Scottish devolution among the Scottish-Pakistani population, though in the absence of hard data we should not make too much of this supposition.) This new identity would [need to place proper emphasis upon] the changes that have occurred between the migrant and ‘indigenously born’ ethnic minority generations.

From my research, I can confirm that the majority of my respondents defined themselves as ‘Scottish Muslims’, and their parents were also proud to emphasise that their accent was becoming ‘more Scottish’. Indeed, ‘Scottishness’, as Kiely et al. (2001, p. 36) have argued, could be formed by emphasising different characteristics, such as place of birth, ancestry, place of residence, length of residence, upbringing and education, name, accent, physical appearance,

From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice

[ 135

dress and commitment to place. Indeed, while the Muslim children claimed ‘Scottishness’ because of their place of birth, their parents emphasised the commitment to place. Although I agree that Muslims, in particular of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, have developed a certain social identity, which includes the category ‘Scottish’, I have developed a different understanding of personal identity, which I summarise later in the chapter. If being part of Scotland is relevant to the social identity-formation of my respondents, their being Muslims is essential to their personal identity. All the studies conducted in Scotland concerning the Muslim community have confirmed the centrality that Islam has in the formation of identity of both Muslims locally born and migrants (cf. Saeed et al. 1999, Hopkins 2004, Wardak 2002). After the last terrorist attack in London, I could observe a certain debate among my respondents. Among the relevant topics, they focused on whether the suicide bombers should be considered martyrs or un-Islamic criminals. During these group discussions, some of the respondents expressed both political and religious ideas. Some of these ideas were described by their peers as ‘radical’ and ‘extreme’. I shall focus on this second group and their understanding of Scottish society. From Jahiliyyah to the ideology of justice Afif had his theory, which he shared with his friends, Majid, Ishan and Amir. Afif (24 years old, of Pakistani origin, living in Glasgow) explained that they could understand and even support the actions of the London suicide bombers: ‘They [the suicide bombers] had to decide whether they wanted to live as second-class Westerners or react to injustice, becoming the first among the Muslims by dying as martyr.’ Majid, who was 22 and from the same neighbourhood as Afif, added, ‘Bush speaks often of a war on terror, yet he does not understand that Muslims are conducting a war on injustice and Western Jahiliyyah.’ The other two friends, respectively 24 and 26 years old, emphasised how Islam was under attack. So Ishan observed, ‘This is clear from the anti-terrorist legislation Mr Blair wants to introduce,’ while Amir agreed by providing an example: ‘They even want to give the police the power to close mosques! This is a direct attack against Islam and our freedom to worship Allah. Jihad in this case is a duty for all Muslims.’ During their conversations, I could observe two distinct arguments. The first derived from political ideology, the second from religious theology. Indeed, the support that Afif seemed to grant to the suicide bombers in London might be explained as a reaction to a political disillusion expressed in religious terms. Similarly, the arguments advanced by his friends showed strong political and religious connotations. During other interviews, Shihab, a 26-year-old Malaysian living in Edinburgh, expressed his disappointment with Scottish society, of which, however, he was still claiming membership. Again, the reasons for his

136 ]

Gabriele Marranci

disappointment had both a political as well as a religious nature. On the one hand, he complained that Scotland, a supposedly Christian place, had lost its Christian values, leaving the door open to what he defined as ‘secular anarchism’. On the other hand, he felt that Muslims had no opportunity to change injustice and Jahiliyyah through democratic and non-violent means. This is because of the Western political rejection of Islam by a society (Scotland and the rest of the West) that had lost its Christian roots and re-converted to new form of paganism. Finally, Shihab argued that, although violence has always been the last resort in Islamic history, it has been used to forbid wrongdoing and free Muslims from ‘pagan’ oppression. I could provide other accounts of radical views of Islam. However, because of lack of space, I prefer to focus on the recurrent element mentioned by some of my respondents in Scotland who presented radical arguments. It is not difficult to observe that the point of juncture between their political and religious arguments was in the conceptualisation of justice. Indeed, I can go so far as to claim that the concept of ‘justice’ they had developed was central to the formation of their radical opinions. I have observed that during the interviews and group discussions, they tended to distinguish between two coexisting forms of justice: the first, they consider a human product, expressed through laws and derived from agreed social, political and cultural values of the secular societies; the second is based on God’s revelations, which have been provided to all the ‘People of the Book’, and of which the Quran is the most perfect and unadulterated form. Consequently, of all the possible ‘divine laws’, (that is, Christian, Jewish and Islamic), Muslims consider Shariah, the Islamic law, the only path to real justice. Although my respondents in Scotland expressed divergent opinions on whether Muslims should or should not consider ‘human justice’ as justice at all, they agreed that the two forms of justice are fundamentally incompatible. So Nura, who was a 27-year-old Indian Muslim migrant living in Glasgow, emphatically explained: ‘While Western justice transforms people into slaves of their societies, Islamic justice transform human beings in Allah’s slaves; this is exactly what the word Muslim means.’ When I tried to investigate in more depth my respondents’ conceptualisation of justice, I found that the Islamic precept of ‘forbidding wrong’ (cf. Cook 2003) predominant in the rhetoric of justice they had formed. The majority of Muslims that I interviewed associated the secular juridical system of Scotland to Jahiliyyah, the pre-Islamic lifestyle. Hence, some of them have developed what I call ‘an Islamic ethos of justice’; in other words, an encompassing moral framework shaped by a personal, sometimes heterodox, interpretation of the Quran and the Hadiths. However, this ‘ethos of justice’ could easily become an ideology of justice when some Muslims address the issue of the relationship between Islam and their imagined category of the West. Indeed, some Muslims interpret the West as a-just rather than unjust, in that they consider the West as

From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice

[ 137

deprived of that ‘ethos of justice’ that Muslims could achieve through Islam and its Shariah instead. Mannheim has argued that ideology could not be understood without considering the role that utopia has in it (Mannheim 1960). According to him, ideology and utopia are the two sides of the same coin, since they share what he has called reality-transcendence (p. 236). Geoghegan (2004, p. 123) has further observed that ideologies and utopias share this condition of transcendence in that they are both ‘incongruent’ with social reality. They differ, however, in their mode of incongruence, in that ‘ideologies are antiquated modes of belief, products of an earlier, surpassed reality, whilst utopias are in advance of the current reality; ideologies are therefore transcendent by virtue of their orientation to the past, whilst utopias are transcendent by virtue of their orientation to the future’. Bonnett (2004, pp. 153–4) has also observed: Religious texts are, perhaps by definition, inclined to utopianism. Religion offers a transcendental code of morality and salvation that make it a fertile territory for that brand of militant enthusiasm associated with utopianism. Nevertheless, religious extremism has an important additional relationship to the utopian project. For rather than placing utopianism at the level of mystical aspiration, it demands the subordination of earthly life to a very particular, narrowly conceived blueprint of the perfect society.

This reality-transcendence was definitely affecting the ideology of justice that some of my respondents had developed. Yet their ideology of justice also had a strong impact on their perception of their environment. Indeed, since they perceived Scotland, and the rest of ‘the West’, as lacking a valid ethos of justice (because of Jahiliyyah), they perceived themselves, and their fellow-Muslims, as constantly living in a morally threatening environment from which they must protect their identities. As Werbner (2002) has noticed, the shield protecting them from the Western ‘a-justice’ is nothing else than Islam itself. We can now observe that some of my Muslims respondents perceive Scotland as marked by Jahiliyyh, which contrasts with their ethos of justice. In the attempt to preserve their commitment to Islam (and Shariah), they form an ideology of justice, which is affected by utopianism clashing with another popular Western realitytranscendent element, secularism. Indeed, Asad (2003, p. 181, italics in the original) has said: I am arguing that ‘the secular’ should not be thought of as the space in which real human life gradually emancipates itself from the controlling power of ‘religion’ and thus achieves the latter’s relocation. It is this assumption that allows us to think of religion as ‘infecting’ the secular domain or as replicating within it the structure of theological concepts. The concept of the secular today is part of a doctrine called secularism. Secularism doesn’t simply insist that religious practice and belief be confined to a space where they cannot threaten political stability or the liberties of the

138 ]

Gabriele Marranci

‘free-thinking’ citizens. Secularism builds on a particular conception of the world (‘natural’ and ‘social’) and of the problems generated by that world.

After discussing the formation of ‘the Islamic ideology of ethos’ among some Scottish Muslims, two other questions remain unanswered. How did they form their radical understanding of Islam? How did the Islamic ideology of ethos become relevant to the identity of some of my respondents? To answer both these questions, we should consider a simple, but often overlooked, fact: Muslims, before being Muslims, are part of the human species. This means that to understand the identity formation of some of my respondents, we need to explore how humans develop what we call an identity. Rethinking identity The question ‘Who am I?’ is one of the most challenging we can ask. The majority of studies of identity have approached the topic from, we may say, an ‘outside’ perspective. In other words, scholars have studied what we do every day when we interact. Hence, the study of identity has over-focused on the instrumental use of each other identities, that is, identity as social instrument. This seems to suggest that what we socially think of the other becomes the real other. Furthermore, in such a context, identity becomes a matter of differentiation facilitating the process of seeing people’s actions as boundary markers. Yet, by following Bateson (2002), we may say that a mistake of logical type has been perpetrated for a long time in the study of identity: because differentiation marks identity in the social world, why should we assume, as many social scientists do, that individuals experience their identity as social differentiation? After analysing different theories of identity, emphasising, in very abstract terms, the unique role of culture, I came to the conclusion that another solution could be brought to the fore. Milton has suggested (Milton and Svasek 2005) that culture can be interpreted as an ‘ecological’ part of nature, instead of something making human beings different from nature. If this is the case, as I think, environment has a much important role and a stronger impact on human beings than social scientists have tended to believe. But in which way do we enter into contact with our environments? Some recent anthropological studies (Ingold 1992; Milton and Svasek 2005) have argued that emotions are central to the way in which we perceive our surrounding environment. Yet recent neuroscientific studies (see Damasio 2000) have challenged the common idea that emotions are subjective feelings and instead suggested that emotions are bodily responses that are perceived to provoke the feelings. In other words, feelings are a rationalisation of emotions. Therefore, as Milton Svasek (2005) have suggested, we can argue that emotions are ecological rather than a social phenomenon, though social interaction

From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice

[ 139

surely raises emotions. At this point, I can argue that what we call ‘self’ and ‘identity’ may not be (as the majority of social scientific theories claim) the sole product of social interaction, though social interaction could provoke changes in them. Yet it is important to recognise that ‘self’ and ‘identity’ are not the same. If the self (which we could better refer to as the ‘autobiographical self’) is a real entity in our neuro-cognitive system, identity isn’t. Indeed, Damasio (2000, p. 225) has suggested that identity ‘is a delicately shaped machinery of our imagination [which] stakes the probabilities of selection toward the same, historically continuous self’. In my theory of identity, which I have developed in my recent book, I have explained that identity is a process with two functions. On the one hand, it allows human beings to make sense of their autobiographical self, and on the other it allows them to express the autobiographical self through symbols. These symbols communicate the personal feelings that, otherwise, could not be externally communicated. Hence, I have concluded that it is what we feel to be that determines our personal identity. So the statement ‘I am Muslim’ of a hypothetical Mr Hussein is nothing else than the symbolic communication of his emotional commitment through which he experiences his autobiographical self. In other words, Mr Hussein has an autobiographical self of which he makes sense through that delicately shaped machinery of his imagination called identity, and which he communicates with the symbolic expression ‘I am Muslim’. Finally, Mr Hussein is what he feels to be, regardless of how others, engaged in countless public discourses around the use of cultural markers, might perceive him. Now we can observe that human beings live in a sort of tautological circuit: 1) the environment produces stimuli; 2) which produce emotions (the bodily reactions); 3) which human beings perceive and rationalise as feelings; 4) which affect their autobiographical self; 5) which is experienced through the delicately shaped machinery of their imagination (identities); 6) which is affected by the feelings induced by the emotions. What I have described until now is a circuit of causalities based on information both internal and external to the individual. This system aims at maintaining equilibrium between the individuals’ internal milieu and their external environments. Physiological as well as psychoanalytic studies tell us that equilibrium between self and identity is essential for a healthy life. Yet this tautological equilibrium could be disrupted by changes in the surrounding environment. Bateson, during his study of the Iatmul tribe (1936), had occasion to observe cases of ‘positive gain’: ‘various relations among groups and among various types of kin were characterised by interchanges of behaviour such as that the more A exhibited a given behaviour, the more B was likely to exhibit the same behaviour’ (Bateson 2002, p. 98). Bateson called these kinds of relationship symmetrical changes. However, he also noticed another pattern in which the behaviour of B, although being different from that of A, was

140 ]

Gabriele Marranci

complementary to it. According to Bateson (2000, p. 323), examples of simple symmetrical changes are armament races, athletic emulation and boxing matches; while examples of complementary changes are dominance–submission, sadism–masochism, spectatorship–exhibitionism. Both symmetrical as well as complementary changes are subjected to forms of progressive escalation, which Bateson has called schismogenesis. By affecting the relationship between the elements of the circuit, schismogenesis (both symmetrical and complementary) has the power to break down the circular system. Certain circumstances could trap people in schismogenetic processes that could ‘break down’ the delicately shaped machinery of our imagination called identity. Schismogenetic processes that affect the relationship between the autobiographical self and identity are often the result of a ‘circle of panic’. Bhabha (1994, p. 200) has suggested that circles of panic are caused by ‘the indeterminate circulation of meaning as rumour or conspiracy, with its perverse, physical affects of panic’. As we have seen, emotions raise feelings that then lead to action; the circle of panic leads to a self-correcting mechanism, so the person can again experience his or her autobiographical self as meaningful. This selfcorrecting mechanism is what I call an act of identity. Because it is derived from strong emotional reactions to the schismogenetic events, acts of identity tend to be extreme in their essence. Although they are often expressed through rhetoric, sometimes the rhetoric becomes desperate action. Scotland as schismogenetic environment? During one of our coffees, Afif described his experience of Scotland. He started his description pointing out that he considers himself a ‘Scottish Muslim’ because he was born in Scotland and he had a Scottish accent. Yet, despite being a Scottish ‘national’, he was first of all Muslim. Of course, this meant that Afif experienced his environment differently from the majority of his Scottish nonMuslim compatriots.5 Scotland, in Afif’s mind, was inextricably linked to alcohol and ‘depressing views of young people vomiting in the street during Saturday night’. The fact that among the ‘vomiting people’ there are often some who define themselves as Muslim reinforced Afif’s idea that ‘the alcoholic Christian culture of Scotland is affecting the Muslim population’. Christianity, for which Afif had a strong respect as a religion, represented the main contradiction marking Scottish society. He pointed out that Scottish people tend to define themselves as Christian, but no Christian values have been respected. ‘Indeed’, he observed, ‘if these Christian values would have been socially visible, Scottish Muslims would have had a better life in their country.’ Nonetheless, Afif feels ostracised because of discrimination: ‘they see the colour of my skin, and my long beard, and for them [non-Muslim Scottish people] I am not only a foreigner but an uncivilised person, less human than their tooloved dogs’.

From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice

[ 141

It would not be wrong to affirm that Scotland, for some Muslims, tends to be a schismogenetic environment. Afif’s experience of Scotland is not unique among some members of the Muslim community. Discrimination, strong secular attitudes towards religion, alcohol-based socialising traditions, commercialised Christianity, as well as discrimination (which rejects the integration processes actuated by many Muslims) may facilitate symmetrical and complementary schismogenesis. The schismogenetic processes have reinforced the belief (this, indeed, shared by the majority of my respondents) that Muslims, because of Islam, possess higher moral values than the rest of Scottish society. It is important to highlight here that this attitude is not, as it might seem, judgemental. The majority of Scottish Muslims, though considering their ethical standards as better than others, recognise that most people in Scotland are nonMuslims. However, some Muslims such as Afif, Majid, Ishan and Amir, have reacted to this schismogenetic environment by not only reinforcing their Islamic ethos of justice but by also developing an ideology of justice. Indeed, they enter into what I have defined as ‘the circle of panic’. They perceived the ethical and moral differences between Scottish society and their utopian idea of a perfect Islamic society as threatening. To decrease the dichotomy between the realitytranscendence and the reality of every day, they made the ideology of justice an act of identity. In this context, their idea of justice and ‘Islam’ became a radical symbolic expression of their ‘feeling Muslim’. In doing so, they tried to achieve that necessary tautological equilibrium that the schismogenetic environment of Scottish society has challenged. Conclusions Scotland has a growing population of Muslims, both migrant and locally born. Yet Scottish society has still to adapt to recent demographic changes. From a mainly autochthon white Christian population, with strong anti-British feelings (Hussain and Miller 2004), Scotland has started to become part of that globalised process of multicultural differentiation experienced much earlier by, for instance, England. Yet the decreasing white Scottish population and the increasing South Asian Muslim population has reinforced the existing nationalistic sentiments, adding to the traditional anti-English attitudes old-fashioned forms of racism, as well as a new religious-centric one.6 Bateson (1936) has studied cases of ‘positive gain’, in which interchanges of behaviour have been characterised by events such as that the more A exhibited a given behaviour, the more B was likely to exhibit the same behaviour. He called this circulatory and tautological process ‘schismogenesis’. The Scottish Muslim population tend to live in the main urban area, and, in particular, is concentrated in the suburban neighbourhood of Glasgow. The poor social conditions and status experienced by a large section of these Muslims have reinforced certain

142 ]

Gabriele Marranci

stereotypes concerning the idea of ‘being Scots’. Furthermore, the difficulties that some Scottish Muslims commonly have in their everyday interaction with mainstream society have let them experience Scotland as a mainly schismogenetic environment. I have suggested that identity and self are different, with identity being a process. In other words, as Damasio (2000, p. 225) has suggested, identity ‘is a delicately shaped machinery of our imagination [which] stakes the probabilities of selection toward the same, historically continuous self’. Yet I have also suggested that emotions are the elements that connect us to the environment, provoking feelings that are part of the self and affect the way in which identity, as a process, both makes sense of the autobiographical-self and expresses it to the outside world. It is difficult maintaining a certain form of equilibrium in which the individual can experience a healthy life. Sometimes schismogenetic events disrupt this mechanism, so that the individual could experience a crisis of identity. It is through what I have called acts of identity that the individual could try to affect the environment and re-establish (or better to feel that s/he is re-establishing) the relationship between internal–external milieus. Although the majority of my Muslim respondents have formed what I have called an Islamic ethos of justice, with which they tend to challenge the superiority of secularism over religion-based beliefs, few have developed an Islamic ideology of justice. In these few cases, Scottish society is perceived as a threatening Jahiliyyah, which could compromise the Islamic identity through which they make sense of their autobiographical self. In this case, some of my respondents expressed rhetorical, but still ‘extremist’, acts of identity. Their acts of identity aim to counterbalance the schismogenetic environment in which they live in. However, as some recent researches have shown, they feel part of Scotland because of some characteristics, such as language and place of origin. This creates other internal tensions between their representation of themselves and the social identity imposed upon themselves by their society. Because they perceive themselves to be different from their parents, and at the same time perceive themselves to have something in common with their non-Muslim Scottish peers, I can suggest that it is because they want to be part of Scottish society, and be accepted by it as the Muslims they feel themselves to be, that they developed the extreme rhetoric I observed during our interviews and conversations. Notes 1. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4500024.stm. Accessed 21 February 2006. 2. As we shall see, Bateson has defined it as schismogenesis. 3. The statistical data provided in this chapter can be accessed from www.scotland. gov.uk. Accessed 21 February 2006.

From the Ethos of Justice to the Ideology of Justice

[ 143

4. This result has been affected by the lower rates of Muslim women who are economically active (about 32 per cent). Indeed, 62 per cent of the male Muslim population is economically active. 5. However, some Scottish non-Muslims would agree with some of Afif’s criticisms. 6. Of course, as in any evaluation based on statistics, I can only generalise. Indeed, many white Scottish people are against all form of racism and welcome the social transformations that migration and ethnic differences are contributing to their country, as the recent policy of the Scottish government may show.

References Arshad, R. (2003) ‘Race relations in Scotland’, in Crowther, J., I. Martin and M. Shaw (eds), Renewing Democracy in Scotland, Leicester: NIACE, pp. 131–4. Asad, T. (2003) Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity: Stanford, CA: University of California Press. Bateson, G. (1936) Naven, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— ([1971] 2000) Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. —— (2002) Mind and Nature, Broadway: Hampton Press. Bonnett, A. (2004) The Idea of the West, London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Bhabha, H. (1994) The Location of Culture, London and New York: Routledge. Cant, B. and E. Kelly (1995) ‘Why is there a need for racial equality activity in Scotland?’, Scottish Affairs, 12, pp. 9–27. Cook, M. (2003) Forbidding Wrong in Islam, New York: Cambridge University Press. Damasio, A. R. (2000) The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness, London: Vintage. Geoghegan, V. (2004) ‘Ideology and utopia’, Journal of Political Ideologies 9 (2), pp. 123–38. Hopkins, P. (2004) ‘Young Muslim Men in Scotland: Inclusions and Exclusions’, Children’s Geographies, 2 (2), pp. 257–72. —— (2006), ‘Everyday racism in Scotland: a case study of East Pollokshields in Glasgow’, Scottish Affairs, 49 (3). Hussain, A. and W. Miller (2004) ‘Anglophobia and Islamophobia in Scotland’, paper presented to SSAS (Society of Sino American Students) Conference, 6 February. Ingold, T. (1992) ‘Culture and the Perception of the Environment’, in Croll, E. and D. Parkin (eds), Bush Base: Forest Farm, London: Routledge. Kiely, R., F. Bechhofer, R. Stewart and D. McCrone (2001) ‘The markers and rules of Scottish national identity’, Sociological Review, 49 (1), pp. 33–55. Marranci. G. (2006) Jihad Beyond Islam, Oxford and New York: Berg. Mannheim, K. (1960) Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Miles, R. and A. Dunlop (1987) ‘Racism in Britain: the Scottish dimension’, in Jackson, P. (ed.), Race and Racism, London: Unwin Hyman, pp. 119–41.

144 ]

Gabriele Marranci

Milton, K. and M. Svasek (eds) (2005) Mixed Emotions: Anthropological Studies of Feelings, Oxford and New York: Berg. Saeed, A., N. Blain and D. Forbes (1999) ‘New ethnic and national questions in Scotland: post-British identities among Glasgow Pakistani teenagers’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22 (5), pp. 821–44. Wardak A. (2002) ‘The Mosque and Social Control in Edinburgh’s Muslim Community’, Culture and Religion, 3 (2), pp. 201–19. Werbner, P. (2002) Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims, Oxford: School of American Research Press.

CHAPTER

11 Islamic Political Radicalism in Britain: The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Sadek Hamid

Introduction Following the 7 July bombings in London, the radical Islamist group Hizb-utTahrir (HT) remerged into the media spotlight after being placed on the list of proscribed groups as part of the British government’s proposed anti-terror legislation. This followed an earlier ‘outing’ of an HT member in a major newspaper traineeship in late July (The Guardian, 22 August 2005) and recurrent coverage of the plight of three British HT members imprisoned in Egypt. Civil liberties groups and many mainstream Islamic organisations known to vigorously disagree with HT’s ideas came together to challenge the banning of an avowedly non-violent Islamic group, claiming it would set a troubling precedent which would silence political dissent. HT had already raised alarm in the US administration for its activities among the ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia, in particular for its alleged attempts to destabilise the government in Uzbekistan, prompting some to claim that it provides a ‘conveyor belt for terrorism’, a catchphrase picked up by commentators seeking to exaggerate the group’s role in Islamic radicalism in Britain. They had not received such intense media attention since their 1994 international conference at Wembley Arena, when their literature and activities were calculated to provoke Jews, Hindus and homosexuals. This was further magnified by their leader at the time, Omar Bakri Muhammad, who called for the assassination of the then Prime Minister John Major. In addition, concern had spread within Muslim communities about the group’s ability to recruit and radicalise both disaffected and educated young Muslim people across the UK. This chapter provides a descriptive assessment of whether HT can be considered to have contributed to the political radicalisation of British Muslim young people. It delineates some of the organisation’s main features, modes of [ 145 ]

146 ]

Sadek Hamid

operation and history, and includes comments from interviews with three male and three female ex-members. Attention is paid to the social, political and psychological factors drawing Muslim young people to this particular group and concludes with an exploration of the potential for further radicalisation after the threat of proscription. Ideas, methods, history The roots of Islamism, Islamic resurgence or modern political Islam can be traced back to a series of religious reformers who appeared in the Arab world in the late nineteenth century (Abu-Rabi 1996). The writings and activism of Jamal uddin Afghani, Mohammed Abduh and Rashid Rida were particularly influential in changing the discursive consciousness among both the intelligentsia and the general population. Their critiques on the causes of Muslim civilisational decline, colonialism and strategies for renewal inspired Islamic political activism around the world. These reformist ideas were operationalised in the early twentieth century by a variety of Islamist movements that sought to mobilise Islamic sentiment as part of social reform and liberation. Islamist movements embrace a wide spectrum of social, political, economic, cultural and sometimes contradictory trends that draw inspiration from Islam (Fuller 2003, p. 14). They emerged across the Muslim world ranging from those that called for a peaceful, gradual reform of Muslim societies, to those that advocated violence as a means of social change. HT is a transnational Islamist movement founded in Palestine in the early 1950s by its ideologue Taqiuddin al-Nabhani. It was conceived as a political party with Islam as its ideology, which would work towards restoring the political unity of the Muslim world by re-establishment of a pan-Islamic state or caliphate. It shares with other influential Islamic movements the concern for cultural authenticity, social and economic justice, and independence based upon Islamic traditions. HT’s strategic and methodological difference lies in the subordination of all other concerns under its main goal of re-establishing a modern Khilafah (Islamic state). The conceptual divergence was based upon al-Nabhani’s re-interpretation of the canonical textual sources of Islam, to legitimise his adoption of modern modes of political organisation. Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, conscious of the threat from a variety of ideological competitors such as capitalism, Communism and Arab nationalism, distinguished his group by its instrumentalist approach to religion – attempting to convert Islam into a self-sufficient rational ideology in opposition to the gradualism and emphasis on moral reform of moderate revivalist movements. He attempted to reinterpret Islam into a distinct world view, with a coherent, detailed series of systems within which HT would become the vanguard party that would ‘engender an intellectual revolution by supplanting the erroneous beliefs that have arisen due to the ummah’s state of decline and

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 147

colonialist contamination with its own ideology. This ideology is construed as a correct representation of a “pristine” Islam cleansed of all distortions’ (Farouki, 1995, pp. 371–2). HT has a theoretical rejection of anything that does not emanate from Islamic sources, thus promoting an absolute dichotomy between Western and Islamic civilisations. This leads to its rejection of Western concepts such as democracy, human rights and freedom of expression, which are viewed as unnecessary, as Islam, for its members, is a total system containing ready-made guidance and solutions for all the problems confronting every sphere of human activity. Its general methodology for reaching its ultimate goal is split into three stages. The first is the ‘culturing stage’, which establishes a core group of members after sufficient indoctrination and demonstrable commitment. The second, ‘interaction stage’ attempts to convince the Muslim masses of the party message. Finally, after sufficiently persuading public opinion and influential figures, as well as infiltrating the military, it would enter the ‘revolutionary stage’, in which it seeks to replace existing governments so that it can implement its version of Islamic social, economic and political paradigms. Modelled on the Syrian Bath party dream of a unified nation based upon ‘Arab Socialism’, HT adapted Marxist-Leninist vanguard movement structures and utilised secretive communication mechanisms to implement its goal. Extremely disciplined workers function within a pyramidal organisational structure within administrative organs at three levels. A highly centralised leadership maintains strict ideological homogeneity and communication is vertical but shared horizontally across countries. Following the party’s creation, it tried unsuccessfully to register as a legal political party and was subsequently banned for its anti-Arab nationalist stance and Islamic rhetoric. Though HT tried unsuccessfully to gain legal recognition and legitimacy by attempting to merge with its larger rival the Muslim Brotherhood, it was forced to remain as an underground movement, opening cells in Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. The first signs of the party’s subversive credentials appeared in the form of two failed coup d’état in Jordan in 1968 and 1969. Further plots where foiled in Iraq (1972), Egypt (1974) and Syria (1976) (Farouki 1995). HT is currently banned in almost every Middle Eastern country except Lebanon, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. It is also banned in the ex-Soviet Central Asian republics but has functional branches in more than forty countries. British activities HT in Britain can be said to have gone through three distinct phases (Whine 2004). The first began after the arrival of members in the early 1980s, exiled from Middle Eastern countries. Early activities started with small study

148 ]

Sadek Hamid

circles, which recruited overseas students and professionals who were hoped could go back with the message to their own countries (Farouki 1996, p. 171). As the party spread to different cities, so its membership started reflecting the predominantly South Asian British Muslim population. It was also around this time that exiled Syrian Omar Bakri Muhammad led the group nationally, engineering a series of high-profile confrontations and stunts. It came to public attention in late 1993, alarming university student unions with the distribution of inflammatory materials against Jews, Hindus and homosexuals. Their literature often displayed provocative titles such as ‘Peace with Israel – A Crime against Islam’ and ‘Battlefield – The Only Place for Muslims and Jews’ (Farouki 1995), and its December 1993 issue of the Khilafa magazine contained a description of Hindus as ‘untamed savages’. The party’s profile peaked during the extensive media coverage of their July 1994 International Khilafah Conference and after the television broadcast of The Tottenham Ayatollah on Channel 4, which projected Omar Bakri Muhammad as an affable fool. During that time, HT managed to cause alarm within Muslim communities because of their aggressive confrontational tactics and rising popularity among young people. However, with time, the central leadership based in the Middle East grew unhappy with Omar Bakri Muhammad’s level of media exposure and differences in strategy, which it was felt distracted focus from the party message, forcing him to resign in February 1996. He subsequently went on to lead the successor group Al-Muhajiroun, a front name for HT, while he was exiled in Saudi Arabia. This marked a shifting of the tactics of radical groups, with Al Muhajiroun leading a more extreme form of protest politics among British radical Islamist groups. Omar Bakri Muhammad’s departure caused an organisational split followed by a period of low profile for HT between 1996 and 2002, seeing them retreat into a phase of re-groupment and strategic reappraisal while Omar Bakri Muhammad’s new group continued to use his outrageous tactics to fill the radical space left vacant. The most recent phase from 2002 onwards marks the re-launching of HT’s image, activities and clandestine recruitment. It rebuilt its British profile on issues such as opposition to the invasion of Iraq, campaigning against Pakistan’s President Musharraf during his visit to the UK, and has tried to shape Muslim opinion on the debates around citizenship, multiculturalism and integration in a bid to reach out to new constituencies. Examples of the latter have been their discreet entry into the mainstream media and some members becoming programme presenters on the satellite-broadcast Islam Channel. HT’s recruitment techniques range from one-to-one targeting, public programmes and pamphleteering on its regular themes of the ‘ideological struggle between Islam and the forces of Kufr (disbelief), the self-sufficiency of Islam and condemnations of pro-Western Muslim regimes. In Britain, it claims to be in the second stage, interested only in creating a disciplined intellectual leadership

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 149

that is able to demonstrate to Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Islam is the ideological alternative to capitalism, socialism, secularism and other ‘man made’ systems of thought. In practice, highly committed members target both male and female students as well as streetwise young men primarily via Dawah – invitation and befriending. This can begin with offering leaflets after Friday congregational prayers outside mosques, having stalls in freshers’ university events, dinners, demonstrations or conferences. Their verbal dialogues start with discussions around social and political issues and inevitably end with the topic of why it is important to help re-establish the Caliphate. HT’s message is also spread by its Khilafah magazine, books and Internet websites that provide downloadable versions of leaflets, regularly updated messages and opinions on current affairs. Interested newcomers are screened, then exposed to a period of intense immersion in party ideas and literature that can last anywhere between six months and three years, depending on the ability and commitment of the individual. Acceptance occurs upon graduation involving reading and memorising parts the group’s two dozen or so foundational texts and the taking of an oath of allegiance to the party. HT’s main site for physical recruitment is, however, still in higher education. After being banned by the National Union of Students, it created front names across the UK such as the Millennium Society, Muslim Media Forum and the 1924 Society, among many others. The London School of Economics Student Union website, for example, described their group objective as engaging in ‘meaningful debate and discussion between high profile thinkers of differing ideological perspectives’ (Swick 2005). These tactics serve two purposes – the presentation of Islam as a rational ideology that contains answers to all the problems besetting the modern Muslim and non-Muslim world, and the winning-over of young minds impressed with their well-articulated arguments. However, their frequent confrontational style and distribution of racist literature often created problems for ordinary Muslims, causing backlashes from institutional authorities that have occasionally resulted in the closure of designated prayer rooms in universities. Why British Muslim youth join HT Muslim young people return to their faith for a number of different reasons; among the most frequently cited are a search for existential meaning, identity and sense of belonging. Some make the decision to join Islamic groups because they provide forums for younger Muslims to explore options for the dilemmas of being young, Muslim and British in a way that is more relevant than the remote, often parochial, limited interpretation and practice of their parents’ generation (Gilliat 1997). Young people feel liberated by the approach offered by Islamic youth organisations because they transcend the ethnic, cultural

150 ]

Sadek Hamid

conservative attitudes prevalent in most mosques where imams and committee members exclude them. People join HT also for a number of different reasons such as a search for shelter from racism and Islamophobia, the negative impact of geo-politics and social dislocation and group identity. Principle among these is that, for some young people, the group appears to offer an attractive ideological alternative to the stifling, inward-looking politics of the older generation, and also acts as a vehicle for opposition to discrimination and exclusion in British society. As one ex-member explained: HT filled a void for the young intellectually frustrated youth who had been told that Islam is the truth and they must pray and fast by people who couldn’t explain why. By HT ‘proving’ that Freedom, Democracy and Capitalism are defective, and that we Muslims are better than those kaffirs, it restored some of the loss of faith in the relevance of the religion. Muslims believe in Islam but needed to know that their belief was the superior belief, which made them feel superior again. Constant harping back to the glory days of the Caliphate and emphasising its restoration as the solution to all things seemed very alluring.

Another common reason why people join HT is the perception that other rival reformist Islamic tendencies such Young Muslims UK, Young Muslims Organisation or quietest groups like the Tablighi-Jamaat were viewed as being inarticulate, weak or comprising the militant message of Islam. Members of HT were even recognisable by their distinct image, almost uniform-like: their young male and female representatives were smartly dressed, with the women wearing distinct hijab styles and jilbabs (long outer dress), and men their casual jackets and designer-stubble beards. Indeed, many young people were attracted to HT entirely due to their slick appearance, and their ability to be well-spoken and seemingly possess religious knowledge at the same time. However, the overriding appeal of HT in the 1990s was the absence of able alternative Islamic political leadership. Competitor Islamic groups, in the minds of HT members, were unable to provide direction for a community who were still either mired in petty local politicking or drifting towards further secularisation. HT shared with Islamic youth organisations the ability to attract young people alienated from mosques and traditional activities, but often was seen to be setting the agenda with other groups struggling to counter its appeal. It offered a platform for the establishment of a strong collective identity and sense of self that is embedded in Islamic reference points. As Gilliat (1997) observed, ‘Its slogans act as catalysts for the mobilisation of activists, [whose] youthful enthusiasm, and sense of injustice [. . .] find a focal point’. In addition, members formed a tight-knit community that provided friendships and mutual support, and was also helpful for those seeking marriage within the membership.

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 151

International politics and socio-cultural alienation The frustration of defeat and persecution in distant lands is, for concerned Muslims, a form of vicarious humiliation. Most of the current generation of young HT activists witnessed the massive loss of life in the first Gulf War, the US invasion of Somalia, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and persecution of Muslims in Chechnya and Kosovo. They have also observed the recent second Palestinian Intifada, war in Afghanistan, and incidents in Guantanamo, Jenin, Abu Ghraib and Falluja, which all further served to reinforce the view that Western powers are leading a new crusade against Islam. Commenting about what factors contributed to the radicalisation of Muslims in Britain, an ex-member of HT explained: A heightened perception of Muslims and Muslim countries being unjustly attacked (Gulf War I and II, Afghan War, Palestine, Chechnya). Double standards exhibited by the UN and USA with respect to Israel. Political Islam, being touted as a panacea for the Muslims’ problems. A lack of alternative scholarly voices advocating more traditional responses to state oppression and increased media awareness due to proliferation of Islamic literature on the internet.

This merges with what Abbas (2005) has described as the dislocated reality facing many younger British Muslims arising from the fusion of social and economic disadvantage, discrimination, low social class position, low social capital, racial/religious prejudice and hostile media. Domestic and foreign government policy further exacerbates the possibility of young people being susceptible to HT’s messages, which promise a sense of belonging and a vehicle for resistance and protest. The rise in anti-American/British feeling is capitalised upon by HT as their messages find resonance among adolescents wanting to show defiance to Western hegemony. They reject both the wider Western culture of the majority and the mainstream Islam of their community, becoming a minority within a minority. HT rhetoric promises neatly packaged answers to all the sociopolitical issues facing Muslims; this is particularly attractive to rootless young people looking for ready-made solutions in a rapidly changing world. Individual psychological dispositions also appear to be a factor in why some join HT as opposed to other groups. I think that is possible, for example most people who would join HT may be extrovert, confident and appear to possess positive self-image, that’s been my experience. On the other hand people who work with YM [Young Muslims] or ISB [Islamic Society of Britain] appear to be of calmer characters, wish to integrate into the society and are more laid back.

152 ]

Sadek Hamid

Prominent Muslim psychologist Malik Badri (based on an interview with the author) characterises Islamic movements as carrying messages that have four possible features, which appeal to either the intellectual, emotional, behavioural or spiritual dimensions of Muslim experience. He argues that Islamic movements tend to offer only one or two of these characteristics. The appeal to emotion would certainly apply to the message of HT, which is well-known for downplaying the behavioural and spiritual aspects of Islam in the training of its membership. HT’s resort to emotional sloganeering appeals to youthful angst and young people who need to be told what to do. Many ex-members agree about how their psychological attraction to HT’s message was a result of their personal insecurities, having felt empowered after feeling powerless, and how it provided a religious pretext for venting anger at older people (who represented authority) masked as religious disagreement. The idea of being part of an elite group, who appeared intellectual, focused and with a very amicable goal was very attractive. It felt as if I was part of something big, this party was going somewhere and it was exciting to be part of it. They sell people a dream/product, which according to them can be attained very quickly, if everyone puts in the effort.

HT, like other Islamic youth organisations, provides space for the consolidation and articulation of a strong identity in an environment that is often hostile to them. It is constructed in part as a reaction to the pressures of socialisation of opposing influences inside and outside of the individual’s daily life experiences. HT is also, for some, the first Islamic organisation that they came into contact with, and if initial impressions are positive, they often stay loyal to it. ‘Bad Boys of Dawah’ HT members in the past became notorious for provoking both Muslims and non-Muslims with aggressive, reductionist arguments. Fellow-Islamic activists hated them for turning up at their events and heckling, causing disruption and distributing their own literature as people left, with people regularly becoming exasperated by their ability to hijack question-and-answer sessions at these programmes. HT also became heavily criticised by fellow-Muslims for some of their unorthodox views on matters of theology, as well as for holding a number of unusual religious legal verdicts deemed alien to Islamic sentiment, for example, advocating that aspects of basic religious practice should be held in abeyance until the Caliphate is re-instituted, the permissibility of Muslims to ‘kiss strangers as long as it is done without carnal appetite’ (Farouki 1996, p. 57), and their frequent denunciations of Muslim leaders from discredited regimes as Kaffirs (disbelievers).

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 153

Among HT’s other divisive characteristics was the ridiculing of other Islamic orientations and well-known Muslim scholars with whom they differed. This in turn reinforced a group-think mentality that further isolated its members from mainstream Islamic activism. Another frequent complaint has been that their rhetoric undermined years of careful bridge-building or inter-faith work with non-Muslim groups, both in communities and on student campuses. HT also developed a reputation for deceptive opportunism to gain access and exploit the goodwill of other Muslims. For example, members hosted programme slots on Radio Hajj Manchester in 2003, run by people to whom they were vigorously opposed, and in 2005 used mosques as venues to explain the implications of the anti-terrorist legislation without ever mentioning to the public that they were members of HT. The well-known scholar Yusuf al Qaradawi is now referred to by them as the ‘noble Sheikh’, as part of the ceasing of criticism of figures who provide leadership to groups whose support they now court, standing in contrast to the ridicule he was subjected to in their past publications. All talk and no action The message of HT eventually fails to convince even its own members, fundamentally because of the fact that it has been unable to achieve its all-important objective – the re-establishment of the Caliphate. This forces some to admit: It has now transpired that they are all talk and no action, for example when I first joined I heard talk of Pakistan being penetrated through the military and it would be overtaken very soon, this was about 10 years ago now. The message becomes boring and tiresome, there appears to be no action although people are led to believe that things are moving forward but they never do.

People most commonly leave the organisation because they grow older and wiser in their Islamic knowledge, and become tired of the one-issue emphasis: I think because they read more about Islamic history and Islam in general and realise that, like any other political group, HT paint a picture of the past and present based on selective information. Once people start looking into these areas for themselves in an objective sense they can no longer hold to HT’s parochial view.

Their fringe-group image was also exacerbated by the juvenile way in which they sometimes engaged people: HT was perceived as being arrogant. They often lacked the manners and maturity to be able to converse with people and disagree with people in an acceptable manner. Their ideas, arguments and rhetoric often implicitly undermined the validity of other

154 ]

Sadek Hamid

groups, and so these other groups felt ‘under attack’ from HT. HT members seemed to spare no one in his or her condemnation. There appeared to be no compromise.

A well-circulated Internet essay confession, ‘Story of an ex-Hizbi’, is typical of the contradiction between party rhetoric and member practice, sowing the seeds of doubt among members who are able to think for themselves: I could not reconcile our anti-kufr stance with most of my HT friends and their love of their designer labels and their materialistic outlook on life. I could not reconcile the fact that one of my acquaintances worked for a large bank in the city; the very ribawi [usurious] institution that HT purportedly stood against.

HT’s exploitation of the democratic institutions and freedoms that it regularly criticises has not gone unnoticed. Under threat of a ban, HT now posts messages of support from human rights organisations that they would theoretically disallow in their imaginary Caliphate. They now pledge to fight the law banning them by using the ‘man made’ legal system they had previously criticised, and now pursue the support and cooperation of Muslim organisations that they previously accused as being sell-outs, regularly seeking shared platforms and even circulating petitions with Islamic groups they had criticised in the past. Real or imagined threat? The claim that HT is linked to terrorism has yet to be proved. Several alarmist reports produced by conservative think-tanks such as the Nixon Center and Heritage Foundation have overstated HT’s potential threat. Taken at face value, HT’s fierce anti-Western rhetoric would locate it in the violent company of al-Qaeda when in fact they differ from each other considerably. HT has been accused of being an intellectual precursor for more violent subversive groups. This mistaken deductive leap fails to consider HT’s methodology and history, which does not believe in violent takeover, as was demonstrated in the failed attempts of the 1960s and ’70s. Rather, these reports rely on speculation and guilt by association, and even admit that they have no undisputable evidence of HT being linked with terrorism. A more nuanced assessment would recognise that the movement is radical in the sense that it does not believe in the gradualism of reformist movements, accepting nothing less than a complete overthrow of what it considers un-Islamic governments. It has admittedly applauded the violence of liberation groups, maintaining that Muslims have a right to defend occupied territories such as Palestine, Kashmir and Iraq. But its role at best is one of influencing public opinion, or agitation, and since its inception it has continuously failed to gain widespread support for its ideas, operating instead in the shadows

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 155

of larger groups, benefiting from their general efforts and the increasing re-Islamisation taking place in Muslim societies. The question of radicalisation and the link to extremism has its roots elsewhere, in the realm of accumulated frustration at Western foreign policy in the Muslim world. Radicalisation has also seen an upsurge as a consequence of the ongoing ‘War on Terror’ and increased repression of Muslims around the world. Influential British think-tanks like Chatham House, the Oxford Research Group and the Economic Social Research Council have all agreed on the link between US-led military operations and the increase in terrorist attacks. In Britain, this atmosphere has deteriorated further in the wake of increased police activity and search tactics, high-profile dawn raids, detentions and a sense of futility of involvement in the anti-war movement. This was even acknowledged by a leaked draft government report into the links between young Muslims and extremism (2004). The grass-roots view is supported further by a Muslim student survey commissioned by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies after the attacks in London (FOSIS 2005). In fact, the groups who have had the most radicalising effect on young British Muslims were the nomadic jihadi groups who became radicalised after their experience in the Afghan war (Cooley 2000, Wiktorowicz 2005, p. 217).The unemployed Mujahedeen set about exporting their violent struggle to wherever Muslims were seen to be persecuted, with some settling in the UK. These extreme groupings totally eclipsed HT’s radical credentials: So many other groups have had effect on Muslim youth, for example Al Muhajiroon, the Salafi groups, the Jihadis and so on, in the past they have contributed to the radicalising of Muslim youth.

The outrage generated by ongoing Muslim persecutions clustered around Jihadist preachers such as Abu Hamza al-Masri, Abu Qatada and Abdullah al Faisal. Al Faisal was imprisoned for inciting racial and religious hatred, as was Abu Hamza al-Masri, and Qatada faces the possibility of extradition to the US for his alleged links with al-Qaeda. HT has tried to distance itself from these groups, categorically denying any connection between its work and their activities. It has continued to reject media associations that Al-Muhajiroun and its offshoots – the Saviour Sect, Al Ghuraba, and its latest incarnation, the ‘Ahle Sunnah’ group – are in any way an extension of HT’s work. This denial is correct in that Omar Bakri Muhammad since leaving HT, has gone through a series of modifications in his positioning in relation to other radical Islamic orientations. Al-Muhajiroun retained some of HT’s campaigning tactics such as the emphasis on pamphleteering, anchoring itself to Abu Hamza al-Masri’s group and openly praising Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks. What is not clear, however, is how many disillusioned individual HT members go on to join Al-Muhajiroun’s successor groups.

156 ]

Sadek Hamid

HT uses Britain as an international base of operations and has influenced the understanding of Islam in sections of the Muslim communities, evidenced by the relatively large turnout for its major events like the ‘Are You British or Are You Muslim’ conference in London 2003, estimated to have been attended by between six and seven thousand people. An ex-member discussing if HT had contributed to the process of radicalisation commented that they had but [only] to a certain degree, [and] only in the arena of the war of ideas. I don’t think they contributed to people becoming radicalised enough to carry out ‘terrorist’ attacks. Even though HT has a revolutionary streak, I don’t believe the idea of violent take over was ever touted in enough detail to make people think about direct use of violence to achieve political aims. I think the ‘Jihadi’ groups were probably more responsible for that.

Sensing an increased scrutiny of their ideas post-7/7, media spokesman Abdul Wahid, writing in the political debate forum openDemocracy tried to explain why Hizbut -Tahrir removed material from the party’s website: It would be ridiculous to assume that rhetoric relevant to a population that sees itself under occupation is symptomatic of the viewpoint of Muslims generally, and Hizbut-Tahrir specifically, on all issues relating (say) to Jews and Americans. Yet that is all too often what we see in these so-called challenges to our political ideas. In fact, the decision to remove some of our overseas literature from our British website was a considered response to the legitimate proposition that people who read it out of its context might see it as offensive.

This dissimulation represents a more sophisticated defence of the party’s ideas for non-Muslim public consumption that would have been unheard of during Omar Bakri Muhammad’s era. This pragmatism by a new media-savvy leadership is proving more effective in advancing their public relations efforts, masking the fact that pamphlets and websites for other countries still retain standard HT propaganda. Conclusion Hizb-ut-Tahrir is currently profiled as among the most extremist Islamist groups in existence. Its political radicalism derives from its revoluntionary message calling for the overthrow of Muslim governments and the resurrection of a supranational Islamic state. It has an uncompromising ideology and methodology, which has put it at odds not only with secular governments but also with fellowMuslims. In Britain, though, they have gone through cycles of growth and decline, capitalising in the 1990s on a changing national socio-economic environment, worsening conditions in Muslim countries and a general increase in

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 157

religio-political consciousness. HT, like other Islamic groups, has benefited from a convergence of international and domestic forces that has created huge grievances in the Muslim world. Britain, as elsewhere, is witnessing a polarisation among young Muslims broadly divided between those who gravitate to Western secular liberal identities and those who are becoming more committed to their faith. The small sample interviewed for this chapter illustrate the idealistic phase many Muslim young people go through when starting to take their faith seriously, with most crediting HT for awakening their religio-political consciousness. HT appeals to a section among young people frustrated with what they see as the inaction of traditional authority in their communities and ineffectiveness of other Islamic groups. It shares with other Islamist movements the concern for what Antoun (2001, p. 85) describes as a ‘repair of the world’, a totalism that posits Islam as a set of social, economic, political and legal alternatives to Western hegemony. HT’s message is problematic in its ability to provoke people with its racist rhetoric, its anti-integrationism and belief in the inevitability of the ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis and its undermining of the work of mainstream Islamic organisations. It seems to thrive on its pariah status, achieving a significant degree of success in mobilising Muslim young people alienated from society. However, it offers little that is constructive beyond vague general prescriptions about the superiority of Islamic systems, and does not have much to say about the pressing social problems and issues affecting Muslim communities at the grassroots hence limiting its mass appeal. HT is not the radicalised force brainwashing thousands of Muslim youngsters some in the media have suggested. It would be inaccurate to blame HT for an increased radicalisation that has been building up over a number of years. Joining HT seems, for most, to be a phase young people go through while at college or university. As they grow older, ex-members either join more moderate groups, withdraw from the activist scene or in some cases form groups that are influenced by HT ideology. The current panic about the group is motivated more by the American administration’s fear that HT has the potential to destabilise certain Central Asian republics. Many suspect that the proposed ban was another example of the US influencing the British government in order to advance its geo-strategic interests. Members of HT and others think it was also an attempt by the British government to divert attention away from the contribution its foreign policy has had on domestic radicalisation. HT’s pleas for a united Caliphate will always resonate with Muslims tired of a globalised international system dominated by America; however, HT’s historical record demonstrates its inability to gain popular support among the Muslim masses in any way comparable to other similar movements. Reading Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s literature could indeed fuel resentment against the West, since

158 ]

Sadek Hamid

the latter is constantly presented as oppressing the Muslim world and conspiring against it, and only exploits feelings that are already widespread in Muslim communities (Swick 2005). Banning HT will have little or no effect on its operations, as it will simply morph into other names. It is also likely to further evolve its outreach strategies, including its attempts to address community issues such as drugs and forced marriages, or by hosting football competitions and producing Islamic raps and publications to attract wider constituencies via its New Civilisation journal and anonymous glossy lifestyle magazine, Salam. It has already created new front organisations such as the ‘Stop Islamophobia Campaign’ to lobby for support against the impending ban and is likely start selective participation in non-HT initiatives to further its cause. If it was not allowed to resurface, proscription may have inadvertently increased its radical appeal, as its unchallenged ideas are forced underground. It will be interesting to see how HT manages to keep to its marriage of convenience with other Islamic groups who support its campaign against the ban, but who are motivated just as much by self-interest as they are about defending principles. The core of HT ideology and its specific methodology has essentially remained unchanged in over fifty years. Internationally, it represents an intellectual halfway house of sorts between moderate Islamism and violent jihadism. In Britain, it continues to fill a void in the Islamic landscape with a consistent, professionally marketed message. Young people who complete their education and settle down into adult life, and those who can think for themselves, usually leave. HT’s long-term appeal will most likely be determined not by the radicalism of its ideas but by the absence of alternatives. Bibliography Abbas, T. (2005) ‘Muslim Youth: Current Challenges, Future Prospects’. Highlights of an unpublished paper presented to a conference organised by the Muslim Youth Helpline and Al-Khoei Islamic Centre, London, 9–10 April. Abu-Rabi, M. I. (1996) Intellectual Origins of Islamic Resurgence in the Modern Arab World State, Albany: University of New York Press. Antoun, T. R. (2001) Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements, Lanham, MD: AltaMira. Baran, Z. (2004) Hizbut Tahrir Islam’s Political Insurgency, Washington, DC: Nixon Center. —— (ed.) (2005) Hizbut Tahrir: Deciphering and Countering Radical Islamist Ideology, Washington, DC: Nixon Center. Cooley, K. J. (2000) Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, London: Pluto Press. Farouki, Taji-, S. (2004) ‘Islamic Discourse and Modern Political Methods: An Analysis

The Case of Hizb-ut-Tahrir

[ 159

of a Nabhani’s Reading of the Canonical Textual Sources of Islam’, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 11 (3), pp. 365–94. —— (1995) ‘Hizbut Tahrir’, in Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Modern Islamic World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Farouki, Taji-, S. (1996) A Fundamental Quest: Hizb al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate, London: Grey Seal. Federation of Student Islamic Societies (2005) The Voice of Muslim Students: A report into the attitudes and perceptions of Muslim students following the July 7th London attacks, London: FOSIS. Fuller, G. (2003) The Future of Political Islam, London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Gilliat, S. (1997) ‘A Descriptive Account of Islamic Youth Organisations in the UK’, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 14 (1), p. 99–111. The Guardian (2005) ‘Background: the Guardian and Dilpazier Aslam’, 22 July: www. guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1534499,00.html. Accessed 21 February 2006. Mayer, Jean-Francois (2004) Hizb-ut Tahrir – The Next Al-Qaida, Really?, PSIO Occasional Paper 4/2004. Geneva: Programme for the Study of International Organisations. Swick. S. (2005) From London to Andijan: The Rising Global Influence of Hizbut Tahrir on Muslim Youth, Bethesda, MD: Minaret of Freedom Institute. Uwais, A. (2005) ‘Story of an ex-Hizbi’: www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2005/04/ 26/story_of_an_exhizbi. Accessed 21 February 2006. Wahid, A. (2005) ‘Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s distinction’, Open Democracy.net , 15 August 2005. www.opendemocracy.net/conflictterrorism/criticism_2755.jsp. Accessed 21 February 2006. Whine, M. (2004) ‘Hizbut Tahrir in Open Societies’, in Nixon Center (ed.), Hizbut Tahrir: Deciphering and Countering Radical Islamist Ideology, Washington, DC: Nixon Center. Wiktorowicz, Q. (2005) ‘The Salafi Movement: Violence and the Fragmentation of Community’, in M. Cooke and B. B. Lawrence (eds), Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

CHAPTER

12 ISLAMIC POLITICAL RADICALISM IN BRITAIN: MUSLIM MEN IN BRADFORD 1 Marie Macey

Introduction As far as I’m concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better . . . I know it’s going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid – I pray for it, I look forward to the day. (Abdul Haq, social worker)2

The above comments were made before the London bombings in 2005 and would seem to suggest a level of alienation from, and antagonism towards, the society of which the speaker is a citizen (and member of the professional class). To most Britons, his attitude is as incomprehensible as the actions of the London bombers, who were also British citizens, and it is perhaps this total lack of understanding that has exacerbated the shock and outrage about the event that is widely felt in England. This builds on the current worldwide concern about Islamic political radicalism that has developed since the bombing of the twin towers in the USA in 2001, the murder of the film-maker, Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004, and the train bombings in Spain in 2004. Feelings of helplessness and fear are also involved because, for the first time in Europe, the London bombers killed themselves as well as innocent people, and it is hard to see how suicide terrorism can be combated. But shock and outrage do not constitute effective means of preventing further indiscriminate violence by young Muslim men. To do this, we need to analyse the factors that may have influenced the radicalisation of such men and which culminated in them deliberately setting out to kill themselves and others – and to do so in the name of religion. In this chapter, I focus on men of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith in Bradford, West Yorkshire, who, I argue, have been politicised, if not radicalised, for more than a quarter of a century, and who have also practised high levels of violence against innocent people. In 1982, for [ 160 ]

Muslim Men in Bradford

[ 161

instance, ‘The Bradford Twelve’ – a group of young Asian men caught manufacturing petrol bombs – persuaded an all-white jury to acquit them on the grounds that they were ‘confronting fascists and defending their community’. Since then, young Pakistani men have been involved in a series of incidents of public disorder and violence in Bradford, sometimes encouraged by older men, and sometimes with the support of the community in general. This is not to suggest that there are direct links between, say, the Bradford riots (of 1995 and 2001) and the London bombings (of 2005); but it may be that an examination of the situation in Bradford can provide some insights into the radicalisation process. This is because all the London bombers had connections with this part of the country – three of the four lived in the area, the fourth had only recently moved away from it, and two had actually lived in Bradford at some stage of their lives. The other locations of the bombers – Beeston, Dewsbury and Huddersfield – are a mere 10–15 miles from Bradford, well within the area from which support is regularly mobilised for Muslim ‘causes’ in the city. Before going further, it is appropriate to insert some cautionary notes: first, international research shows that suicide terrorism is not primarily a product of Islamic fundamentalism;3 second, more violent disorder and riot in the UK is carried out by non-Muslims than by Muslims;4 and third, neither the London bombers nor the Bradford rioters are representative of either Pakistanis or Muslims in Britain, but comprise only a tiny percentage of these populations. These points should be borne in mind despite recent events in Britain and elsewhere that have resulted in a near ‘moral panic’ about British citizens of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith. Focus and limitations of the chapter This chapter does not claim to provide answers to the question of why some young British Muslim men have become radicalised, nor why this should take the form of such extreme violence as the mutilation and murder involved in bombing. Any approximation to an ‘answer’ to this question would have to consider socio-historical and contemporary political factors at international, national and local levels, and be informed by psychological, social psychological, sociological and theological perspectives. Within the limitations imposed by my own abilities and those of a short chapter, my aims are far more modest. They are to provide an account of public disorder in the District of Bradford, West Yorkshire, with particular reference to culture and religion in the Pakistani Muslim community. This approach involves a relative neglect of the impact and influence of socio-economic variables and the experience of racism and Islamophobia, which I believe is justifiable on the grounds that these have been the primary focus of the vast majority of literature on Bradford in general and public disorder in particular. It is also because – in common with suicide bombers across the world5 – none of the London bombers (nor the Bradford

162 ]

Marie Macey

rioters) came from materially deprived backgrounds.6 And whilst evidence of racism in Britain abounds, there is validity in the argument that the size of a minority population reduces individuals’ experience of this7 and/or enhances their ability to cope with it.8 This chapter, then, seeks to rectify what is actually a glaring omission, particularly in light of Parekh’s suggestion that the 2001 disorder was a ‘Muslim riot’9 and mine that it was an ‘ethnic’ one.10 I will return to the issues raised by this later, but first it is necessary to provide some brief information on the Pakistani Muslim community in Bradford, and the involvement of some of its members in public disorder and violence. The Pakistani Muslim community in Bradford11 The total population of the District of Bradford is 467,000, comprising 78.3 per cent ‘white’ and 20.7 per cent visible minorities. The former includes people whose origins are in Belorussia, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and there are also significant numbers of Eastern European asylum seekers/refugees. The latter includes people whose origins are in Africa and the Caribbean (0.9 per cent), Bangladesh (1.1 per cent), India (2.7 per cent) and Pakistan (14.5 per cent). There is also a ‘mixed’ category (1.5 per cent). By far the largest minority ethnic group, then, is of Pakistani origin (80,000), approximately 60,000 of whom are from the Mirpur region of (Azad) Kashmir.12 Additionally, this community has a far higher presence in Bradford than its numbers suggest: first, because statistics refer to the District as a whole – which includes extensive rural area whose towns and villages are almost entirely mono-cultural – whilst most ethnic minorities live in inner-city Bradford, which covers only five or six miles; second, because Pakistani Muslims are concentrated in a very narrow band of the city,13 and whilst there are currently no areas in Bradford that are 100 per cent Pakistani, some schools come very close to this figure;14 and third, because the population is young and growing15 and contains large numbers of boys and young men who spend a great deal of time on the streets, or ‘cruising’ in cars, and generally harassing all sectors of the population!16 Time on the streets, sometimes in gangs, is possibly connected to the ability of young Pakistani men to act together and to mobilise support from both inside and outside the city for the numerous incidents of disorder that have taken place in Bradford. Public protest, demand, disorder and violence in Bradford From the 1970s to the present, Pakistani men have been involved in public demonstrations, but these have changed over time from orderly protest to public disorder and overt violence. Initially, Asian, black and white people united in peaceful protest against the growth of right-wing politics and the

Muslim Men in Bradford

[ 163

‘bussing’ of children to schools in the suburbs. In the 1980s – and possibly linked to the growth of international Islam and the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran – the focus of protest changed from concern with racial/ethnic equality to demands for the recognition of religious difference. This is a highly significant change in terms of Muslim–non-Muslim relationships, further decreasing inter-ethnic contact, and perhaps playing a part in the (separatist) radicalisation process. In the shorter term, it resulted in a number of protests/ demands being carried out by Muslim men in the 1980s and 1990s, all of which degenerated into disorder and violence. These included the demand for halal meat to be provided in schools (1983); ‘the Rushdie affair’17 (1989); harassment and violence around the local elections18 (1995); the campaign against the sex trade19 (1995); and, finally, the violent public disturbances that made Bradford notorious (1995). The ‘success’ of the violent gang activity around the sex trade may have built on that during the elections in encouraging young Muslim men to engage in the violent public disorder dubbed by the media ‘The Bradford Riots’.20 The three days of violence, which caused millions of pounds’ worth of damage to the city, involved around 300 Mirpuri young men rampaging on the streets, attacking a police station, throwing missiles (including petrol bombs) at passing cars, smashing windows, looting shops, burning garages and cars, issuing death threats at knifepoint and fire-bombing businesses, pubs, clubs and a hotel. The people targeted for attack and the property destroyed were specifically non-Muslim. In 2001, Bradford experienced its second major public disturbances, again mainly carried out by young Pakistani men and – unlike 1995 – defined legally as a riot.21 This took a similar format to the 1995 ‘riot’, with around 400 men taking to the streets armed with petrol bombs, stones, baseball bats and a variety of other weapons and missiles, including machetes and a crossbow. The main difference between 1995 and 2001 was the extent, ferocity and scale of injury and damage inflicted on non-Muslim people and property in the latter: 326 police were injured as the rioters threw stones, rocks, roof tiles, fireworks and petrol bombs, and drove burning cars into their ranks. There were a number of stabbings and 23 people were deliberately trapped in a building which was burned to the ground. A further difference that is worthy of mention is the increased involvement of very young boys. A primary school teacher reported a six-year-old child taking part in the routine Monday morning ‘what I did this weekend’ session saying: ‘We made petrol bombs at my house, Miss.’22 And a local reporter observing the riot commented: A ten-year-old boy, his face covered by a handkerchief, captured the reality of how deeply raw hatred has become embedded. Rage had so poisoned him he was prepared to hurl a brick the size of his head at rows of riot police poised to charge barely 30 feet away. There was no fear in this child’s eyes, just anger hard to understand in one

164 ]

Marie Macey

so young. Around him were at least 60 teenagers and men launching volleys of petrol bombs, sticks and rocks at the massed police ranks. Many of these outlaws were children, but they were not playing a child’s game.23

It is worth noting at this point that the public disorder, harassment and violence perpetrated by Pakistani youths in Bradford is not restricted to that which gains international media coverage; it is, rather, fairly constant and, as noted above, is directed at all sectors of the population. In 1999, I observed that acts of aggression by young Pakistani men had become part of everyday life in Bradford and were targeted at both genders, and at all ages and ethnic groups.24 And in 2001, in a report written before the riot, Sir Herman Ouseley referred to Muslim youth having developed a sense of immunity from the law and boasting that ‘the police daren’t touch them for fear they’ll riot’.25 This sense of impunity may be connected to the size of the young Pakistani population, its residential and social segregation, the amount of time spent together by young men and its proven ability to rapidly mobilise support for street violence from surrounding areas. Religion and Pakistani male violence in Bradford Since this book is about Islamic political radicalism in Europe, and this chapter is addressing the same topic in Bradford, it is relevant to ask what part, if any, religion played in the violence that has been perpetrated by Pakistani Muslim men over the past twenty-five years or so. I have discussed this is some detail elsewhere,26 but it is probably important to reiterate a number of points on religion at this stage: (a) religion has been, and is, central to the construction of the contemporary world;27 (b) it can operate as a power resource that can be used either positively or negatively at state, community and individual levels; (c) it can provide the impetus to struggle for social justice or legitimise cruelty and oppression, cohesion or conflict;28 (d) there are conceptual distinctions between theology and culture, ethnicity and religion, though whether these are meaningful in reality is debatable.29 Certainly in Bradford, ‘Pakistani’, ‘Muslim’ and, indeed, ‘community’ are generally used synonymously (see footnote 1). In sum, religion is a central aspect of identity for people of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith – and this includes the young men who have been responsible for so much of the public violence in Bradford. In terms of action, the consequences of adopting a ‘Pakistani-Muslim’ identity are illustrated by the 2001 riot in Bradford in a number of ways. First, around 90 per cent of the rioters were officially of Asian origin,30 though selfdefinition suggests both a considerably higher figure and also that they were Pakistani Muslims, rather than a range of ‘Asians’.31 Second, all the people targeted for attack were non-Muslims. At the start of the disorder, the rioters attacked innocent passers-by, whether on foot, in shops or in cars. At a later

Muslim Men in Bradford

[ 165

stage, cars were stopped and their occupants questioned about their ethnicity. Pakistanis were allowed to continue unharmed whilst others – whether Asian, black or white – were beaten up and had their cars appropriated (and usually burned). Third, all the businesses that were damaged, including those that were burned to the ground, belonged to non-Muslims (with one or two exceptions where it appears that the rioters were unaware that they had been sold to Muslims). In this context, it is important to note that the most ferocious rioting took place in an almost entirely Pakistani area, so that it stretches credulity to suggest that the lack of damage to Pakistani property was purely accidental. Finally, there was a particular focus on pubs and clubs (perhaps because of the Islamic prohibition on alcohol), with one rioter actually stating that pubs and clubs were burned down because of religion, adding: ‘That’s our enemy because he’s out to get us; let’s burn it down.’ Finally, a number of rioters used a discourse of war in relation to Islam: ‘This is war; they are not the victims, them people; I do believe that’, and, By using the word ‘terrorist’, it’s a word to shaft us all, this one word. They are going to take millions of us out . . . And the reason they’re going to take us out is ’coz of who we are and what we believe in – Islam.32

It is clear, then, that religion played a role in the Bradford riots – as it does in much of the routine violence in the city, justified by reference to Islam. However, it must be stressed that the majority of the rioters were not religious and many, in fact, expressed contempt for mosques and the people associated with them. On the other hand, there are many young men in Bradford who have developed a ‘purist’, separatist version of Islam that they use to promote antagonism towards non-Muslim individuals, groups and society.33 Hizb-ut-Tahrir, for example, has established a stronghold in the local college and university, and there is little doubt that the extremist version of Islam that it propagates appeals to some of the relatively more educated young men (and women). Indeed, it may be that these young people constitute a more realistic cause for concern than the working class ‘lads’ who perpetrate street violence, simply because they are likely to have more in common with the London bombers. Islamic political radicalism in Britain In this chapter I have largely concentrated on young men of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith in Bradford, West Yorkshire, who, I argue, have shown signs of Islamic political radicalism for more than quarter of a century. In this, and a number of other ways, there are similarities between the Bradford rioters and the London bombers, all of whom, it will be remembered, had links with this part of the country and three of whom shared the same ethnic background. That there are major differences between the rioters and the bombers is also

166 ]

Marie Macey

apparent in a number of areas, most significantly, perhaps, in the context of this book, that of religiosity. For whatever one may feel about the bombers’ use of Islam to legitimise indiscriminate murder, it is impossible to deny the strength of belief that led them to lay down their lives in the service of Islam (as they saw it). The Bradford rioters, on the other hand, were not religious, though they, too, called on Islam to justify the perpetration of large-scale violence, including the injuries that they inflicted on non-Muslim people. I would suggest that despite crucial differences between the London bombers and the Bradford rioters, both cases imply the prioritisation of a Muslim identity over other aspects of the self, and one that is expressed in an oppositional relationship to non-Muslims.34 This, in turn, implies the absence of a moral community across ethnic and/or religious lines, and that this absence is highly significant in situations of ethnic conflict, such as that which takes place in Bradford. Horowitz (2002) comments: ‘Where community across group lines is utterly absent . . . it becomes possible to consider that lives on the other side of the boundary are of trivial value’.35 In Bradford, though a number of serious injuries were inflicted on non-Muslims, no one was killed, though in at least one incident this was due more to luck than intention. For when the rioters blocked the exits of the Manningham Labour Club with burning cars before setting it on fire, there is no doubt that they did so to try to prevent the people inside from escaping. Witnesses subsequently testified that the rioters accompanied their actions with racist slogans: ‘the rioters were shouting anti-white abuse’ (Pakistani male) and ‘I heard them shout: “There are some white bastards in here. Let’s kill the white trash” ’ (white Labour Club victim in court). Whatever the complex (intersecting and interacting) reasons for the London bombings and the Bradford riots, there are extremely high levels of residential and social segregation in Bradford that are echoed in other local areas, though to a lesser degree. By definition, these imply an absence of moral community across ethno-religious lines,36 and this is accompanied by a dangerous level of ‘othering’ that is justified on both cultural and religious grounds. For example, Ballard (1994) and Shaw (1994) point to the rejection of British culture by Pakistani Muslims and their deep concern to avoid what they view as its corrupting influence.37 Farnell et al. (2002) found that, in Bradford, antipathy to British culture resulted in children and young people being discouraged from mixing with ‘Westerners’.38 Hizb-ut-Tarhir [HT] produce literature that Lewis (2002b) describes as ‘. . . inflammatory – anti-democratic, anti-zionist, antiwestern, anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh’.39 There are also a number of Muslim organisations in the UK that preach a strongly anti-Western gospel. For instance, the Manifesto of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain (which held its inaugural meeting in Manningham, Bradford, the location of the riots and home to most of the rioters) refers to the difficulty for Muslims of leading a muttaqi (God-fearing, pious) life in a ‘corrupt’ environment and speaks of the

Muslim Men in Bradford

[ 167

need to ‘arrest the “integration” and “assimilation” of Muslims themselves into the corrupt bogland of western culture and supposed civilization’.40 And the Islamic Party of Britain states: ‘there is nothing in Western societies that remotely resembles good behaviour’.41 It is at least plausible that exposure to this kind of rhetoric will have an influence on the identities, attitudes and actions of impressionable young men in search of a ‘cause’. When this is combined with access to some of the more extreme Internet websites and international television and radio stations, in a context of ethnic segregation, the effects are likely to be magnified. And when the young men come from a community that remains strongly orientated towards Mirpur as ‘home’, there is little to encourage them to feel British and, indeed, recent anthropological evidence suggests that this generation has adopted a reconstructed version of ‘the myth of return’.42 Whatever the similarities and differences between the London bombers and the Bradford rioters, there is little doubt that both are seriously alienated from British society, and regard society itself and non-Muslim citizens in extremely negative ways. The reasons for this are multi-faceted and in this article I have done no more than scratch the surface of what is a highly complex phenomenon. In concentrating on the Pakistani Muslim community, I have neglected a large number of equally important influences, including (but not only) the interconnections and intersections between age, ethnicity, gender, generation and social class, as well as the effects of global consumerism, youth culture, relative deprivation, social exclusion and racism/Islamophobia. Also relevant, but not dealt with in this chapter, is work on masculinities43 and multiculturalism.44 My decision to adopt this particular focus should not be interpreted as subscribing to the ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis, or locating ‘blame’ within minority groups. It is, rather, an attempt to redress the balance in that, as noted earlier, the vast majority of the literature on public disorder and violence in Bradford ignores both the culture and religion of minority groups. In so doing, it can be accused of treating minority ethnic individuals and communities as passive victims of white racism whose identities are constructed only, or mainly, in relation to white individuals and institutions. I suspect that this chapter has raised more questions than it has provided answers. But this can be a valuable exercise in itself, particularly in areas that have previously been neglected, as I suggest is the case in terms of minority cultures and religions. This is particularly important in relation to developing social policy geared towards preventing further bombing or rioting by young men of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith. Britain is, and will remain, a multicultural, multi-faith society, all of whose citizens (Asian, black and white) have the right to live their lives free from harassment, violence and murder. Achieving this will require effort and change on the part of all of us, but this will only succeed if it is based on an honest and thoroughgoing analysis of the range of factors that might have affected the production of the young men whose violence poses a real

168 ]

Marie Macey

threat to multicultural coexistence. Social scientists have an important role to play here, but their involvement will only be positive if they heed the words of Ramadan (2005): ‘The 7/7 bombers were children of both Muslim and British society, therefore, both “parents” are responsible.’45 This requires an acknowledgement that it is not only white racism or Islamophobia that has radicalised young Muslim men, but that the Pakistani Muslim community has also played an influential role in the process – along with a whole host of other diverse factors, some of which are referred to above. At this point in time, there are few signs of such an acknowledgement happening in Britain. Notes 1. There are a number of problems with some of the key terms used in this chapter – ‘Pakistani’, ‘Asian’, ‘Muslim’. First, referring to the men under discussion as ‘Pakistani’ is inaccurate, given that most were born and/or brought up in England and are British citizens. They should therefore be termed ‘men of Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith’. The shorthand term has been retained because (i) most official statistics use it (or the even less informative term ‘South Asian’); (ii) the people selfidentify in this way; and (iii) in the interests of brevity. Second, the reference to ‘Muslim’ needs to take account of the fact that ethnicity and religion are conceptually separable. However, for this particular population the terms are virtually synonymous (Farnell, R., R. Furbey, S. Hills Al-Haqq Shams, M. Macey and G. Smith (2003) ‘Faith’ in Urban Regeneration? Engaging faith communities in urban regeneration, Bristol: Policy Press and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Bristol, p. 32. 2. Cohen, D. (2004) ‘Terror on the dole’, Evening Standard, 20 April. 3. Pape, R. (2005) Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Bombers, London: Random House. 4. Power, A. and R. Tunstall (1997) Dangerous Disorder: Riots and violent disturbances in thirteen areas of Britain, 1991–1992, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation and York Publishing. 5. Malik, K. (2002), ‘Against Multiculturalism’, New Humanist, Summer; Pape (2005). 6. Macey, M. (2005a) The 2001 Bradford Riot: Some Questions and Answers, unpublished research report. 7. Macey (2005a). 8. Amin, A. (2002) ‘Ethnicity and the multicultural city: living with diversity’, Environment and Planning, 34, pp. 959–80. 9. Parekh, B. (2003) ‘Muslims in Britain’, Prospect, July. 10. Macey (2005a). 11. All the statistics used in this section are based on the 2001 Census: National Statistics (2001) www.statistics.gov.uk/census 2001. Accessed 07 May 2006. 12. The status of Azad Kashmir remains contested between India and Pakistan and this impacts on local politics in Bradford. Mirpur is a remote rural area that has long

Muslim Men in Bradford

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

[ 169

been one of the poorest in Pakistan, despite recent improvements that are largely due to the high level of remittances sent from the UK (Ballard, R. (2003) Remittances and Economic Development, written evidence to the Select Committee on International Development: London); Bolognani, M. (2006) ‘The Myth of Return: Dismissal, Survival or Revival? A Bradford example of Transnationalism as a Political Instrument’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, forthcoming. Samad, Y. (1991) ‘Book Burning and Race Relations: Political Mobilisation of Bradford Muslims’, New Community, 18 (4), pp. 507–10; Lewis, P. (2002a) Islamic Britain, 2nd edn, London: I. B. Tauris; Carling, A. H. (2003) The Myth of Mythicality: Simpson on Racial Segregation in Bradford, Bradford: Programme for a Peaceful City. Bradford is one of five Local Education Authorities with extreme segregation in schools, the others being Oldham, Blackburn, Birmingham and Luton (Burgess, S., D. Wilson and R. Lupton (2005) ‘Parallel Lives? Ethnic Segregation in Schools and Neighbourhoods’, Urban Studies, 42 (7), pp. 1027–56). Interestingly, Luton was the first port of call for the London bombers on their journey to London and it was there that a car was found to contain large amounts of explosives. Also, the quotation used at the start of this chapter was taken from a series of interviews in Luton. Twenty-four per cent of the District’s population are under 16 and in 1996 population growth was predicted to be 6 per cent by the year 2011. However, there are significant disparities between ethnic groups; for example, from 1981 to 1991 the white population decreased by 0.4 per cent while the Pakistani one increased by 40.9 per cent (and the Bangladeshi one by 71.6 per cent, from a much smaller base.) It is suggested that by the year 2011, the white population will have decreased by 6 per cent and the Pakistani one have increased by 71.7 per cent (City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (1996), Bradford and District Demographic Profile, Bradford: Educational Policy and Information Unit). Macey, M. (2002) ‘Interpreting Islam: Young Muslim Men’s Involvement in Criminal Activity in Bradford’, in Spalek, B. (ed.), Islam, Crime and the Criminal Justice System, Devon: Willan Publishing, pp. 19–49; Macey, M. (2005b) Desh Pardesh: Mirpuri Muslim Women in Bradford, West Yorkshire’, Pakistan Journal of Women’s Studies, Alam-E-Niswan, 11 (2), pp. 1–28. This refers to demands to ban the sale of Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, on the grounds that it was blasphemous. Muslim men in Bradford engaged in widespread protest, including threats of arson and death against retailers who stocked the book, and proclaiming public support for the fatwa issued against Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Muslim women in London, along with other Asian and black women, demonstrated in support of the right to free speech. For a discussion of the longer-term effects of ‘the Rushdie affair’ on Muslim women, see Khanum, S. (1992) ‘Education and the Muslim Girl’, in Saghal, G. and N. YuvalDavis (eds), Refusing Holy Orders: Women and Fundamentalism in Britain, London: Virago.

170 ]

Marie Macey

18. The 1995 local elections provide an example of transnational involvement in local affairs that was strong enough to result in the Conservative Party gaining a seat in the face of a massive national swing against it. Both Labour and Conservative candidates were Pakistani Muslims, but from rival clans, and this resulted in high levels of street activity by gangs of young men venting their anger and aggression at ‘the enemy’ in public. Pakistani local people were put under intense pressure and experienced divided loyalties, while white people felt threatened by a conflict they did not understand. It is worth noting that older men actively encouraged young ones to engage in public disorder on this occasion (Allen, S. and J. Barrett (1996) The Bradford Commission Report, London: The Bradford Congress and HMSO). 19. Following the elections, Pakistani Muslim men instigated a campaign against the sex trade, initially in the form of a peaceful protest against prostitution in what had become a Muslim area. However, this became progressively violent, as roving gangs of youths harassed prostitutes and succeeded in driving them out of the area. The campaign was run as an Islamic cause – despite the fact that the majority of ‘pimps’ and a high percentage of ‘punters’ in Bradford are Pakistani Muslims (Macey, M. (1999b) ‘Religion, Male Violence and the Control of Women: Pakistani Muslim men in Bradford’, Gender and Development, 7 (1), pp. 48–55). Under the banner of religion, a large number of young men from surrounding areas joined the campaign, confirming the ability of local men to network and organise on a wide geographical basis. 20. Allen and Barrett (1996). 21. A small number of non-Pakistani, non-Muslim men were involved in the 2001 riot, as were a number of older Pakistani Muslim men. One woman (of AfricanCaribbean origin) was also convicted of riot (Macey 2005a). 22. Macey (2002). 23. Dutt, K. (2001) ‘Where do we go from here?’, Riots Special, Telegraph & Argus, 9 July. 24. Macey, M. (1999a) ‘Class, Gender and Religious Influences on Changing Patterns of Pakistani Muslim Male Violence in Bradford’, Ethnic & Racial Studies, 22 (5) pp. 845–66. 25. Ouseley, Sir Herman (2001) Community Pride Not Prejudice: Making Diversity Work in Bradford, Bradford: Bradford Vision, p. 11. 26. Macey (1999b); Macey, M. (2006) ‘South Asian Migrants in Bradford’, in Carling, A. H. (ed.) Globalization and Identity: Development and Integration in a Changing World, London: I. B. Tauris, pp. 145–62. 27. Allen, S. and M. Macey (1994) ‘Some issues of race and ethnicity in the “new” Europe: rethinking sociological paradigms’, in Brown, P. and R. Crompton (eds), The New Europe: Economic Restructuring and Social Exclusion, London: UCL Press. See also Kumar, K. (1995) From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World, Oxford: Blackwell. 28. Furbey, R. and M. Macey (2005) ‘Religion and Urban Regeneration: A Place for Faith?’, Policy and Politics, 33 (1), pp. 95–116.

Muslim Men in Bradford

[ 171

29. My position to date has been that violence perpetrated in the name of Islam sometimes represents a cynical abuse of Islamic theology that serves particular ends, such as the control of women, whilst at other times it represents a culturally based (mis)interpretation of it. However, some Muslims suggest that the root of the problem lies within Islam as it is currently defined and/or practised (Manji, I. (2005) The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-up Call for Honesty and Change, Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing; and Abbas, T. (2005) ‘Muslims in Britain after 7/7: the problem of the few’, openDemocracy, www.opendemocracy.net/conflictterrorism/muslims. Accessed 07 May 2006). 30. Allen, C. (2003) FAIR JUSTICE: The Bradford Disturbances, the Sentencing and the Impact, London: Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR); Carling A. H., D. Davies, A. Fernandes-Bakshi, N. Jarman and P. Nias (2004) Fair Justice for All? The Response of the Criminal Justice System to the Bradford Disturbances of July 2001, Bradford: Programme for a Peaceful City and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 31. There is some variation in both terminology and statistics in the profiles that have been produced of those involved in the riot, particularly in relation to ethnicity. This is because police records at the time used the generic term ‘Asian’, which did not differentiate between people whose origins (or those of their forebears) were in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan. Nor was there any record of religion. However, in the research reported in Macey (2005a), out of a random sample of 21 rioters, only three did not identify themselves, or could be identified by other material in their interviews, as Pakistani Muslims (though one was of mixed parentage). Of these, one was African-Caribbean (nominally Christian) and one was Indian Muslim. In the remaining case, both name and address strongly suggest Pakistani ethnicity and Muslim faith. 32. This is an interesting example of post-hoc rationalisation, given that the Bradford riot took place in July, whereas the attack on the USA that led to the focus on terrorism occurred in September. It is also, perhaps, indicative of how people can utilise a popular discourse to adopt the role of ‘victim’, which facilitates the abrogation of responsibility for their own actions. This also raises the issue of social scientists’ presentation of biased accounts of such incidents as the Bradford riots, particularly those that appear on the Internet. My review of the literature on this subject revealed numerous inaccuracies, distortions and abuses of statistics. An example of the latter is where statistics for racially motivated assaults perpetrated by whites were accepted uncritically, whereas those perpetrated by Asians were dismissed. 33. Lewis, P. (2002b) ‘Between Lord Ahmed and Ali G: which future for British Muslims?’, in Shadid W. A. R. and P. S. van Koningsveld (eds), Religious Freedom and the Neutrality of the State: The Position of Islam in the European Union, Leuven: Peeters. 34. It is perhaps more accurate to refer to the London bombers as having developed a profoundly anti-Western identity that enabled them to kill Muslims as well as

172 ]

35. 36.

37.

38. 39. 40. 41.

42. 43.

44. 45.

Marie Macey

non-Muslims in pursuit of an ‘Islamic’ cause. On the other hand, it may be that what we are seeing in Bradford is the development of a secularised ‘Muslim’ identity that conflates religion and ethnicity, and that is used as a power resource. Horowitz, D. L. (2002) The Deadly Ethnic Riot, California: University of California Press, p. 372. It should be noted that both the extent and effects of residential segregation in Bradford are contested (on the reality of segregation, see Simpson, L. (2004) ‘Statistics of Racial Segregation: Measures, Evidence and Policy’, Urban Studies, 41 (3), pp. 661–81; and Phillips, D., F. Butt and C. Davis (2002) ‘The racialisation of space in Bradford’, The Regional Review, July; on its effects, see Kalra, V. (2002) ‘Riots, Race and Reports: Denham, Cantle, Oldham and Burnley Inquiries’, Sage Race Relations Abstracts, 27 (4); and Amin (2002)). Ballard, R. (1994) ‘Introduction: The Emergence of Desh Pardesh’, in Ballard, R. (ed.) Desh Pardesh: The South Asian Presence in Britain, London: Hurst, pp. 1–34; Shaw, A. (1994) ‘The Pakistani Community in Oxford’, in Ballard (ed.) (1994). Farnell et al. (2003). Lewis (2002b). Cited in Newbigin, L., L. Sanneh and J. Taylor (1998) Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in a ‘Secular’ Britain, London: SPCK. The London Bible College (1999) The Westophobia Report: Anti-Western and Anti-Christian Stereotyping in British Muslim Publications, London: LBC Centre for Islamic Studies and Muslim–Christian Relations. Bolognani (2006). See, for instance, Archer, L. (2001) ‘Muslim Brothers, Black Lads, Traditional Asians’: British Muslim Young Men’s Constructions of Race, Religion and Masculinity’, Feminism and Psychology, 11 (1), pp. 79–105; and Back, L. (2001) Reading the Signs in the Street, mimeo, University of London: Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College. See, for example, Abbas (2005); Malik, K. (2005) ‘Multiculturalism fans the flames of Islamic extremism’, The Times, 16 July. Ramadan, T. (2005) Islam and Britain – What Does the Future Hold? Talk given at the University of Bradford, November.

CHAPTER

13 ‘Because I am Pakistani . . . and I am Muslim . . . I am Political’ – Gendering Political Radicalism: Young Femininities in Bradford Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

Introduction Bradford in West Yorkshire is a city that is not too far from the news headlines. It has become synonymous in both academic and media debates with urban violence, criminality, ‘riots’ and assertive Muslim masculinities that are conceptualised as ‘deviant’. Although there is an established literature on the South Asian diaspora in Bradford and community formation,1 recently there has been a proliferation in writings on the political history of Bradford, especially in light of the 2001 ‘riots’. This interest has come from events and debates that have occurred within the city, nationally and internationally. Typical citations include ‘The year 2001 will be remembered in Britain not only for the events of September 11, but also for the worst outbreak of urban violence since the 1980s’2 and ‘Rampage of Asian youths’.3 Media headlines such as ‘Bradford Under Siege after Day of Race Riots’4 or descriptions of Bradford as ‘a miniature Lahore’, ‘the Mecca of the North’ ‘curry capital of Britain’ and ‘Brad-istan’ inform popular perceptions of Bradford. Political radicalism is not a new phenomenon in Bradford. One ‘community’ that has come under particular attention in Bradford is the Pakistani Muslim community5, which is the largest minority ethnic group.6 The increasing visibility of Pakistani Muslim community in public protest in Bradford has occurred due to various controversies in the city such as: the anti-fascist activities in the 1970/80s; the halal meat issue (1982–3), the ‘Honeyford affair’ (1980s); the ‘Rushdie affair’ (1989); the campaign against the sex trade (1995); and the ‘Bradford Riots’ of 1995 and 2001.7 Importantly, the disturbances of 1995 and 2001 brought into sharper focus the role of young Pakistani Muslim men in Bradford. Young women were in the main not involved in such public protest, although it would be incorrect to say they played no role at all. The [ 173 ]

174 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

nature of political activism and protest involving Pakistani Muslim men has changed: from lawful protest, to demands/claims-making, to illegal and unlawful protest.8 Allen and Barrett (1996) comment that ‘the boundary between what is legal and acceptable and what is illegal and unacceptable’ in public protest in Bradford has become unclear.9 As well as this local dimension, Bradford also needs to be located in an international context so as to consider whether the impact of events such as 9/11, the ‘War on Terror’, the second Iraq war, the French Government’s decision to ban headscarves (hijab) from schools, and the ensuing debates, have fuelled increasing Islamophobia10 and a sense of being besieged within the Pakistani Muslim community. For some commentators, it is a simple issue of ‘Jihad versus McWorld’.11 Ansari (2004) states that Islamophobia ‘contributes to and reinforces the disadvantage and discrimination experienced by many Muslims’.12 Afshar et al. (2005) assert that ‘September 11 and the subsequent intensification of Islamophobia created a social context that constructed new meanings that produced both solidarity and further tensions between generations and youths and young women in the Muslim community as well as between the hosts and the Muslim communities.’13 It is important to point out that the impact or consequences of Islamophobia are felt not just by Muslims, but by all South Asian faith communities, and it can, and in some cases has, resulted in the creation of inter-communal cleavages and tensions. For example, attacks against Muslims post-9/11 and 7 July 2005 ‘London bombings’ have increased (Ramadam 2005). However, attacks are also directed towards ‘those perceived to be Muslim’. In September 2005, the Sikh temple in Swindon was daubed in racist graffiti (‘Die Pakis’) and swastikas.14 For some Sikhs, their faith was being blamed for something that had ‘nothing to do with us’, and indeed they resented the fact that the national media and politicians have ignored the impact of Islamophobia on the Sikh community. In interviews, respondents often talked about how international events, national political debates (for example, debates on immigration and asylum seekers, the apparent incompatibility between British and Muslim identities, and Government initiatives such as anti-terror legislation), and Bradford’s past history have impacted on their everyday lives – needless to say, often negatively. Indeed, it is due to such factors that some young men and women are deciding to turn to a form of political radicalism that is influenced in part by decoupling culture and religion. Imran, a Pakistani Muslim male (aged 21), talked about the impact of Islamophobia: It’s had an impact because it’s sent people towards religion and . . . it’s sent people towards groups because they feel, well if you’re gonna call me that I might as well be that, you know, and err, religion takes over a lot of your life . . . you pray five times [a day] . . . they believe that they can get through life, with the help of Allah and stuff like that you know.

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 175

Similarly, Faiza, a Pakistani Muslim female (aged 17), on being asked about the impact of 9/11 and growing Islamophobia said, as soon as you mention the fact that I’m a Muslim, people suddenly associate you with terrorism whereas it isn’t, it’s not as if I am going to try and bomb everybody, because the first thing that I pray for is peace.

While the impact of Islamophobia on Muslims is not gendered, we would argue that the responses to Islamophobia are gendered, as evident in the quotes above. Both respondents accept that Islamophobia is having a negative effect on Muslims, in that they are vilified as ‘dangerous’, ‘terrorists’ and almost the ‘enemy within’. While Imran talked about how young men in his community are turning to religion and ‘towards groups’ as a reaction to Islamophobia, this sentiment was not echoed by young women interviewed. Faiza exemplifies how young women felt it was important to educate people, and challenge negative stereotypes and prejudices peacefully. Indeed, for Faiza, and other female respondents, what becomes clear later in the discussion is how young women are turning to religion in order to bring about ‘positive’ social change within their own communities. Setting the context Our chapter adopts an interdisciplinary approach and will explore the ways in which ‘political radicalism’ has manifested itself in Bradford and the implications it has had for the construction of Pakistani Muslim masculinities and femininities. Following specific events in Bradford, outlined in the introduction, policy and media debates in the last decade have in many ways reiterated an essentialist understanding of young Pakistani Muslim men in Bradford as culturally predisposed to violent behaviour or suggested that there is something innate or essential within the community that gives rise to the disturbances/riots (1995/2001), law and order issues, and criminality more generally.15 In this paper, we will explore the emergence of ‘new’ Muslim femininities in Bradford, which, we argue, have to be contextualised in relation to Muslim masculinities (that are often constructed as ‘assertive’, ‘Islamist’ and ‘ethnic’ identities). Central to our argument is that these new femininities are a reflection of a growing form of political radicalism among young women in Bradford, a radicalism that is increasingly more public but still chooses to negotiate rather than overtly challenge patriarchy; it is also non-confrontational and it negotiates between the public and private spheres, boundaries that are increasingly becoming diffused. Importantly, young Pakistani Muslim women empower themselves, despite increasing Islamophobia, through their faith, which is considered to be pivotal for social change. Thus, young women are challenging dominant male discourses in the community and are engaged in a form of social criticism that entails decoupling culture and religion.

176 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

Our chapter will be divided in the following way: in the first section, we explore traditional explanations of political radicalism in Bradford – structural and cultural paradigms; in the second section, we will contextualise the discursive representation of masculinity in primarily academic research; drawing on this, in the third section we will explore how Pakistani Muslim women construct femininities in relation to religion, in particular by drawing on women’s perceptions of their male co-ethnic peers, an approach absent in the current literature; finally, we will conclude by highlighting the relationship between political radicalism and local gendered constructions. The chapter draws on in-depth interviews and extended fieldwork (from July 2004 to May 2005) conducted by the first author with young men and women of Pakistani Muslim heritage between the ages of 16 and 27 in inner-city Bradford and belonging to one of the following age-status cohorts: school or further education (16–20); university (19–27); employed or unemployed (16–20); and employed or unemployed (19–27). In total, 54 interviews were conducted with young men and women: 25 with men and 29 with women. Interviews were also conducted with parents and an array of stakeholders.16 Structural-cultural rationale for political radicalism Explanations for increasing political radicalism draw on structural factors (economic, political, social) and cultural factors (gender, race, ethnicity). Structural accounts centre on issues of economic and social marginalisation, poverty, social exclusion, (self-) segregation and inadequate educational provision.17 These factors are considered to have led to increasing alienation and frustration among young men, and predisposed them to violence and ‘extremist tendencies’ as a result. It is argued such structural limitations make the fertile ground within which extremism and radicalism flourishes. Bradford is both racially and culturally heterogeneous and is one of the most deprived areas in Britain due to processes of de-industrialisation and recession during the 1970s and 1980s. According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation, Bradford is the most deprived district of any in West Yorkshire. An estimated 34 per cent of its local population live in wards that rank with the 10 per cent worst wards in the country. A third of Bradford’s residents are income deprived – the fifth-worst district in the country – and 4 of the 5 inner-city wards are in the top 2 per cent of deprived wards in England and Wales.18 The Asian Muslim population is heavily concentrated in the inner-city areas of Bradford associated with physical and social deprivation. Manningham is one such neighbourhood. Described as a ‘Muslim residential zone’,19 63 per cent of the residents are of rural Kashmiri (Mirpuri) origin and Muslim faith.20 Youth unemployment in Manningham, for those between the ages of 16 and 24, stands at 21.6 per cent.21 These structural factors may have implications for the types of masculinities that currently exist and the future formation of masculinities and their poten-

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 177

tial or real association with certain types of political radicalism. Structural explanations have come under scrutiny as plausible explanations for male radicalisation and violence. By drawing on Lewis and Ouseley, McLoughlin (2006) agrees that such structural explanations only ‘tell part of the story . . . and inhibits the development of open debate and critical dialogue about tensions and conflicts in the city’.22 Macey (1999) concurs that ‘material deprivation does not in itself constitute an explanation of public disorder or violence. Other residents of the Manningham area share the same material environment, but have not resorted to public disorder and violence.’23 In comparison to structural explanations, Alexander (2004) draws on the idea of ‘cultural dysfunction’24 that has been championed by conservatives as a reason for the given rise in crime and disorder, and the ‘pathologisation’ of the community – in particular young Muslim men – as unlawful and violent. Such pathologies, we would argue, have been heightened and compounded by increasing Islamophobia and debates centred on multiculturalism and the incompatibility of British and Muslim identities. Alexander (2000) writes: [R]acialised representation of Asian youths, and particularly of Asian young men, has served both to focus media and public attention on this new ‘problem’ group and obscure a wider, more complex understanding of youth identities and identifications. Images of hooded young men on council estates have fed on well-established tropes of racial alienation and cultural difference to create a potent symbol of disorder that seemingly requires no further explanation – ‘race’ has become a substitute for analysis.25

In many respects, this is reminiscent of primordial explanations where ‘there exist objective entities with inherent features such as territory, language, recognisable membership, and even a common mentality’.26 Or that, in the specific context of Bradford, there were non-civic primordial ties within the Asian Muslim community that give rise to particular forms of anti-social behaviour, violence, immorality and ‘backwardness’. Arguably such a position is controversial and untenable. Also, in this explanation, culture and ethnicity are considered the problem and not a resource.27 The criminality and the disturbances are considered to lie squarely within the Asian Muslim community and nowhere else. It is therefore individual and communal behaviour that needs to be acknowledged, addressed and subsequently changed through some form of introspection and ‘soul searching’. In light of the complex history of Pakistani Muslims in Bradford, we would contend that neither one of these paradigms would adequately explain the increasing radicalism in Bradford; rather, one needs to draw on both. The potential utility of both cultural and structural explanations lies in the ways in which they shed light on emerging constructions of Muslim male identities, both generally and more specifically in the context of Bradford.

178 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert Understanding masculinities

There is a small but growing literature that focuses on young Asian men and gendered identities – especially in relation to young Muslim men.28 According to Alexander (2000), this recent academic interest parallels the ‘re-imagination’ of young Muslim men as ‘the new folk devil’ that is related to the fear of growing youth militancy (especially post-9/11 and 7/7, alongside unrest in northern cities in Britain) against a backdrop of urban deprivation, low educational attainment for young Asian men, and social exclusion.29 In her research on masculinity and schooling, Archer (2003) concurs that ‘Muslim boys and men have not only been conceptualized as “dangerous individuals” with a capacity for violence and/or terrorism, but also as “culturally dangerous”, threatening the “British way of life/civilization”.’30 Indeed, Archer (2001) states: ‘Muslim young men are increasingly being defined as militant and aggressive, intrinsically fundamentalist, ultimate others.’31 Interestingly, this ‘concern’ with Muslim young men has meant the role of women is overlooked, ignored, and even in some respects has reinforced popular misconceptions about Asian women as passive, docile and inhibitors of the domestic sphere. At the same time, by mobilising prevalent ‘racialised/religious’ discourses, Archer (2003) argues that the young men construct themselves as ‘free agents who are responsible for controlling Muslim girls’. Thus the boys Archer interviewed ‘constructed “locally” hegemonic masculine identities by associating Muslim masculinity with power, privilege, “being the boss”, hardness and hyperheterosexuality’.32 However, Archer suggests, the discourses articulated by the young men were open to contestation and challenge, in their everyday interactions, from their young Muslim women peers, who are increasingly becoming more assertive and independent. Several accounts focus specifically on Pakistani Muslim masculinity in Bradford. Writing about the urban disturbances in 1995, Macey (1999) focuses ‘on religion as a key factor in Pakistani male violence in Bradford and its use by young men as a power resource to control women and justify violence’.33 Due to perceptions of racially based exclusion (economic, social and political), she argues that young men in Bradford have developed an aggressive Pakistani Muslim identity that is seen to result in harassment and violence against Muslim women in both the public and private spheres, including public disorder.34 Macey argues that an outcome of this is ‘generational and gender conflict as young men selectively use aspects of their ethnic and religious identity to reject the teaching of their elders and justify their attempts to control young Pakistani women’.35 This identity is in many respects an inherently contradictory and unstable one that ‘culturally borrows’36 on the one hand from ‘(North) American “gangsta” type attitudes, dress codes and street behaviour’37 and on the other hand from ethnic and religious identities. This includes transnational Islamic identities, hence the notion of the ummah (universal community) that

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 179

transcends ethnic, racial and theological divisions.38 With respect to the ummah, Afshar et al. (2005) argue that it is ‘specifically constructed as a reaction to a crisis [by young men] . . . that endorse the “traditional” gender hierarchies that many women may no longer wish to accept’.39 For Macey, this contradiction between assertive Islamic, ethnic and Western (American gangsta) identities is deployed strategically by young men and serves as ‘highly functional in its facilitation of dual standards, hypocrisy and legitimation which are used as resources to maintain control over women’.40 This, however, is a source of resentment amongst young Pakistani Muslim women. In a later article that focused on young men in Bradford involved in crime, Macey (2002) emphasises that, for this small minority of young Muslim men, it is insufficient simply to employ the argument that their actions are a ‘response to racism’ and she cites a former race relations worker in Bradford who argues that, ‘The Muslim disturbances of 1995 were about territory: the Muslim rioting over the weekend was about male chauvinism.’41 Macey is steadfast in her condemnation of the actions of young Pakistani Muslim men, and prepared to argue that Mirpuri culture and Islam contribute to the construction of deviant, frequently chauvinistic, masculinity. More sympathetic accounts are provided by Burlet and Reid (1998) and Ali (1992). Burlet and Reid suggest that the emergence of a ‘strong and highly politicized male youth culture’ in Bradford can be explained by factors such as high youth unemployment and as a result, unstructured ‘free’ time on the streets, which have led to disenfranchisement and resentment. Furthermore, there is also an element of opposition to mainstream British culture and generational conflict with elders within the community. Burlet and Reid conclude that, ‘The feeling among many young men is that because they do not currently have jobs, resources and direct representation, they are kept in a “ghetto” physically, economically and politically.’42 Thus, masculinity in many respects is constructed in opposition to authority. This situation has been compounded by the lack of council-funded youth clubs or activities that target young Pakistani Muslim men in inner-city Bradford. Ali argues that the construction of patriarchal masculine cultures that work to control and oppress Muslim women in some northern English cities of Pakistani settlement must be understood partly in the context of a legacy of ‘northern conservatism’, which is not specific to ethnicity.43 She argues that, ‘the fact that political Islamism has some appeal in the North of England is symptomatic of the relative success of ethnicism with a Muslim core in maintaining rigid and religiously legitimated forms of patriarchy in the community’.44 For Lewis (2002), an ‘assertive Muslim identity’ has emerged in Bradford that impacts negatively on women and minorities deemed ‘outsiders’ living within their territory.45 Such observations draw on what he describes as Muslim ‘comfort zones’ that have become closed and in which relatively large groups of Pakistani Muslim disaffected youth (particularly young males) are no longer

180 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

in the control of the family and mosque, and have become increasingly alienated from their own political and community leaders. Although this assertive identity has been understood in relation to educational underachievement among young Pakistani Muslim men, Lewis suggests that it also has its roots in increasing Islamophobia, territoriality, gang formation and anti-social behaviour (including criminality). Religion as a cultural resource is central in the creation of an assertive identity. Indeed, religion combined with the complex socio-political and economic realities of Bradford and histories of communityformation and settlement of Pakistanis have informed the creation of such an identity. Lewis writes that, ‘Islam becomes a cultural resource in the construction of such an assertive Muslim identity. In the context of an already conservative Yorkshire macho male culture, Islam helps young men project a “hard” image of tough aggression by claiming membership or support of groups such as Hamas, Hizb-ut-Tahrir or Osama bin Laden’s network.’46 This literature on Pakistani Muslim masculinity in Bradford highlights a number of interrelated issues. First, in specific cultural and historical contexts, certain forms of masculinity may be valorized, but that does not discount the existence of other forms. In addition, the plurality of masculinities suggests that what some see as ‘masculine’ may not be seen as ‘masculine’ by others. These constructions may be informed by factors such as age, gender and class (evident during the Rushdie affair and in the 1995/2001 disturbances). This also takes us beyond fixed notions of hegemonic/subordinated categorisations. Second, the literature illustrates that certain masculinities might seem superficially opposed to each other but can in fact be complementary, for they become valorised in different contexts. So, for example, violence may not be part of a Muslim man’s selfimage, but in the context of a community intrusion, a perceived challenge by ‘racists’, those who respond violently may be celebrated as ‘real’ Muslims. Third, masculinity is contextual. We would suggest three kinds of contextuality that are relevant here: mixed/contextual, simultaneity and transitional. In a mixed/contextual context, a negative masculinity becomes temporarily positive, as illustrated above, where ‘deviant’ forms of masculinity were considered necessary for the protection of the community from ‘outsiders’. With respect to simultaneity, the negative and positive masculinities are present in the same population at the same time but distributed. Transitional contextuality refers to a masculinity that is deemed appropriate at a particular stage of one’s life-course but later eschewed. For example, this may explain why ‘laddishness’ (which is often associated with ‘mischievous’ behaviour that may entail some minor legal misdemeanours) does not destroy the image of the male breadwinner, for each is thought to fit an image of a man at different stages in his life. Laddishness is at times justified as a necessary prerequisite for ‘being a man’. Young female respondents often talked about how parents turned a ‘blind eye’ to young men’s deviance and justified it in terms of it being ‘part of growing up’ and ‘he’s a boy and boys do that sort of stuff’. Local constructions of ‘contradictory’ masculinities that are ethnic,

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 181

Western and/or religious cannot be divorced from global events and consciousness such as Islamophobia and the umma. At the same time, although it is important to emphasise historical and social constructions of masculinity, the latter cannot be analysed or separated from constructions of femininity. In the next section, we focus on how women construct young men and masculinities in the context of Bradford. Several interrelated themes arise in women’s narratives. Some of these entail how young men were seen to transcend a number of religious and cultural codes that involved participating in a drug culture, sexual promiscuity and a negative attitude towards education. All the women interviewed constructed their ‘ethnic identity’ differently: for example, Muslim-Brit, Other Pakistanis, Pakistani-British, Pakistani and Kashmiri.47 All of them said that they practised Islam. All names of the respondents have been changed. Young women’s perceptions of male co-ethnic peers Schools, universities and community groups were the principal ‘public’ spaces in which young women had interaction with co-ethnic male peers. Some women perceived that the reason for disaffection among some young Pakistani men was the existence of a negative peer culture for young men and that this is compounded by a cultural ‘preference’ of boys. A number of respondents thought that a key site for the articulation of negative peer culture was school. Nabila (aged 17, female), on being asked why her male peers decided to drop out of school or have a negative attitude towards education, replied emphatically: ‘Um because of the way they have been brought up in their family and plus like they’ve got money, they’ve got their brother’s drug dealing and all that, you see they just come across as drug dealers to me, all of them.’ In talking about the attitudes of her male peers at school, Nabila recalls a classmate that all ‘you ever heard from him was weed, weed, weed, girls, weed, BJs [blowjobs] or whatever’. When asked why this was the case, she went on, ‘Because of the way some of the Asian lads are like the older ones, the younger ones are going to be like them because they’ve got cars and like they’re doing drugs . . . they’ll have a Subaru, they’ll have these chunky gold chains.’ For her, there were negative role models in Bradford. Apathy towards education and the primacy of ‘fitting in’ informed the inter-generational influence in which younger men looked up to older males within and outside the family network. On being asked whether problems such as high levels of unemployment, drugs or gang mentality were specific to Pakistani Mirpuris, Nabila responds by drawing on her social environment, where ‘75% of the Asians are living off the dole or it can be 90% really because I haven’t seen many people who are like working or like got money just by working properly and not just drugs because if you see like I, I’ve got this . . . grandma’s cousin and his sons they’re, they were all doing drugs. Remember when there were riots in Bradford, he was

182 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

involved in them and he’s got a son now and he’s in jail.’ For Nabila and many other female respondents, criminality, unemployment and the lack of positive role models for young men were seen as pivotal for certain types of masculinities being valorised by young men in Bradford. All the female respondents talked about their male peers in terms of school and college, as they were the principal spaces in which they had the greatest interaction with young men outside the home and family. In talking about some of her concerns about the school she attended, Sara (aged 20, female) talked about how ‘boys . . . [are] led astray very quickly . . . to have a kind of attitude, so they kind of give up’. When asked to develop what she said, especially with respect to specifics, she went on: ‘it’s just in terms of having the whole gang thing and smoking and just the whole attitude in terms of being rude and having their trousers rolled up and all the things like that’. Indeed, she went on to point out that her younger brother ‘is becoming a bit of a bad boy’. Unlike Nabila, who sees illegal activities as becoming the norm with certain young men, and a ‘life choice’, Sara understands this as transitional masculinity, in which young men are ‘going through a phase’ and it is understood as part of ‘growing up’. Other respondents associated the above issues with broader cultural and contextual issues specific to Bradford. For example, Kamila (aged 24, female) said that Pakistani Muslim young men and boys ‘are so completely spoilt and so used to having everything there on a plate for them, they don’t have to work for it . . . there’s the obvious drugs issue, the selling of it is easy money to them and you know they go through all this gangster mentality that they have. Sometimes its laziness and I think with some young people, I always just laugh and say that they are just spoilt little mummy’s boys . . . they don’t want a job from 9–5 where they have to work to get a wage at the end of the month . . . selling drugs seems a lot cooler, faster money and is a lot better and you know you are a well respected person . . . So it’s quite frightening some of the role models that there are in Bradford . . .’ It would be wrong to assume that all respondents were making generalisations about Pakistani Muslim young men. Some did talk about how there are young men in the community who work hard to get an education; rather, it is a minority that often make things difficult for the majority. Indeed, they acknowledge that the negative norms and practices (such as involvement in crime and illegal activities such as drug dealing) may be passed on intergenerationally and thereby almost become ‘accepted practice’ among young impressionable men. For many of the young women, the activities of their male counterparts often went either unchecked or ignored by the parents. This was explained in terms of the preference of males in South Asian communities. Moreover, this seems to run deeper, and was seen in terms of parents and young men living in ‘different worlds’, in which there is little or no understanding of the others’ world – almost ‘parallel lives’. As a result, there is also the perception among young women that ‘boys can do whatever they want but they are

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 183

still angels but girls, there’s more pressure about . . . your daughter is your izzat [honour].’ Some young women felt that izzat was used to burden them and ultimately silence them. Faiza (aged 17, female) said that, ‘the girls are just expected to be a no-show, do nothing, say nothing, in anything that might reflect badly . . . and the guys take over everything, rule everything, do everything and say everything’. Emerging femininities in Bradford There is an established literature on young Pakistani Muslim women in Britain, particularly in relation to education and employment aspirations.48 In the interviews, both religion and education acted as principal stimuli in increasing consciousness (individual and societal) and informing political radicalism among young women respondents. In this section, we will explore some of our findings by focusing on religion only. Religion Traditionally, religion has been seen as oppressive for women. While some have explored how religion is used by men to justify the subordination of women, others have focused on how religion can be used by women to challenge gendered relations and structures of power.49 Ahmed (1989) suggests that women are largely ‘invisible’ in terms of community institutions and they have consequently grown up to resent Islam: the mosques ‘are usually ridden with pensioners and infants . . . [and] are almost wholly male institutions. No wonder so many British born Muslim women/girls grow up detesting Islam.’50 We would contend that this not wholly true (although women do remain invisible in many respects); rather, young women have come to develop their own strategies for utilising faith to challenge cultural practices and the ideas of their parents and elders – and in doing so, they are challenging patriarchy. Faith was important for all the young female respondents, even in the face of adversity such as Islamophobia. For example, Nabila (aged 17, female) said that, in terms of the impact of Islamophobia on young Muslims’ lives post-9/11, It’s giving them a bad name ’cos even if he hasn’t done it [Osama bin Laden] for the good or sommat, he’s done it for the worse because it’s gone off on us and not him, he’ll be probably shot dead tomorrow for sommat like that but it’s going to affect us because we’re the ones who’re going to have to live here . . . I didn’t tell him [Osama bin Laden] to go do it, it’s not my fault he did it, it’s not my fault I’m Muslim, it’s just him, it’s his own fault.

The fear of Islamophobia has also created a generational conflict and led to contradictory discourses being shared on cultural–religious codes. A common

184 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

theme throughout the interviews with respondents was the issue of wearing the hijab. On the one hand, women’s dress code was seen to represent their faith, and, on the other hand, it marked them out for potential Islamophobia. Interestingly, family members often objected to some of the young women’s decision to adopt a particular dress code, because they feared it may mark them out for attack. However, for many young women, the hijab was seen as a form of protection and identity. Iffat (aged 19, female) said, ‘You know when I wear my hijab? What I feel is it’s like identification, that OK I’m a Muslim, oh look, it’s that kind of thing. It sometimes feels nice because you feel protected; do you know what I mean? Do you get it?’ At the same time, women are aware that wearing the hijab makes them appear more suspicious to the general community. Iffat gave the example of when she visited Italy in April 2004: I was stopped by the police because I was wearing a scarf and . . . these policemen came and said, ‘Where are your documents?’ and this, that and the other. They just said it to me, not my sister because she doesn’t wear a scarf, so I was like ‘We are British’, ‘We are from Britain’, so then he just shut up and just walked off.

What is interesting is how Iffat strategically deployed her national identity as opposed to either her ethnic or religious identities. In this instance, she was conscious of the potential ‘problems’ associated with faith identity. In many cases, the parents were a lot less religious than their daughters and sometimes were considered to be more ‘cultural’. So, for example, Iffat said that, my mother because of all this terrorism she was watching on the news she said, ‘Iffat, I fear for your life so take it off’ . . . and my father would say ‘Oh, there’s no need to wear it, it’s OK you know’.

So, despite parental concerns, reservations and, in some cases, outright opposition, young women still decided to wear the hijab. Another important theme to come out of the interviews with young women is how they negotiate access to education through religion. In the context of Bradford, Knott and Khokher (1993) identified the ways in which individuals negotiate their ‘religious’ or ‘ethnic’ identifications. They highlighted the following differentiating trends: those who are religious but uninterested and sometimes hostile to Pakistani culture; those who combine an active interest in Islam with an enthusiasm for Pakistani culture; those for whom cultural rather than religious beliefs pre-dominate; and finally, those who are not knowledgeable about Islam or features of their Pakistani heritage. These delineations are useful, though a bit descriptive, since Knott and Khokher do not develop these further to indicate whether some or all of them are useful to understanding the ways in which women negotiate education or employment opportunities. In comparison, Abbas (2003) has argued that Muslim women are more likely than their non-Muslim

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 185

South Asian (Hindu and Sikh) peers to adhere to their religion. Basing his research at three sites in the city of Birmingham – selective school, comprehensive school and college – and dividing his sample between ‘middle class’ and ‘working class’ groups, Abbas argues that though both groups see religion as important, girls at comprehensive school seem more constrained by their parents’ control, which the girls thought was because parents confused Islam with South Asian culture. In our research, young women distinguished or decoupled religion and culture, often understanding religion as more progressive than culture or cultural heritage. Young women used the term ‘cultural’ to make sense of traditions (norms and practices) transported by parents and elders from Pakistan. Iffat (aged 19, female), in relation to her brother, stated: ‘He’s not religious but because he were born in Pakistan he is very into that way, which I don’t understand because he came here when he was I don’t know . . . four or five but I don’t know, he’s so into the cultural way.’ When talking about her mother’s gendered perceptions, Laila (aged 17, female) said, ‘I think my mum can sometimes be a bit like that . . . you know . . . “girls don’t do that type of thing” but I think that’s cultural.’ For many female respondents, culture was seen to be a hurdle to their educational and career development. Indeed, they were often very critical of their parents for ‘holding on’ to cultural practices that are on longer even relevant ‘back home in Pakistan . . . It’s moved on, but they [their parents] ain’t.’ When asked about why their parents ‘hold on’ to traditions, young women talked about how traditions are associated by their parents with ideas of identity and provide a sense of security and continuity in a ‘foreign land’. Again, the young women talked about how culture burdened them and not their male counterparts. In alluding to cultural practices, Akhtar (1989) argued that Muslim women should become more proactive and begin ‘to interpret the sacred text and question the traditional male bias that has patronised their oppression for so long . . . [because] some divine imperatives may seem to a modern secularised conscience, demanding and harsh’.51 Young women talked about how education was important Islamically, and therefore used this strategically. Indeed, education was considered to be an important means through which to understand their religion and faith and to use this to negotiate access to higher and further education. According to Sara (aged 17, female), What I have learnt from my religion is that you need to educate yourself, if you want to achieve anything. What I found is that people who are more religious have gone further in education so there is a kind of co-relation between people’s religious kind of spirituality and their achievement.

Women used their religion to challenge opinions in the community, despite the gendered pressures and scrutiny to which the community subjects individuals. Interestingly, young women who considered themselves to be religious and wore the hijab talked about how they were often trusted more by their parents

186 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

than were their ‘less religious’ female siblings, when out in the public domain. Sara (aged 17, female) said that, I think that as long as it is Islamically OK to do a certain thing, even if the whole community was against it, I will do it because the community is not always right.

Laila (aged 17, female) said that, Learning that knowledge is light . . . comes from faith. I would like to clarify that, in terms of an Islamic point of view, you get a country like Afghanistan where women are not being educated, which is not Islamic at all, I would class that and see that as patriarchy and that is totally cultural.

In many cases, more religiously conscious women talked about how they differentiated between their ‘religious community’ and the ‘cultural community’ in which they lived. The religious community was not their immediate community; rather, it comprises young women (and men) that they met at Islamic conferences, book readings, school or college, and pray sessions. Indeed, the ‘religious community’ was seen to be more progressive, in that education for all was considered to be very important. It is both a source of inspiration and support for many of the young women in challenging cultural practices and bringing about positive social change in Bradford. Thus, unlike Lewis (2002), who suggests that Islam becomes a cultural resource in the construction of an assertive masculinity, for many of the young women interviewed it was both a ‘tool’ for personal betterment in terms of education and employment, and also for challenging restrictive cultural practices. Conclusion This chapter argues that for a more complete understanding of Islamic political radicalism, we have to analyse its expression through both masculinities and newly emerging femininities in Bradford. As the title suggests, young women are aware that because of their religion and gender, they too have become ‘politicised’, especially post-9/11, where Muslims have faced a backlash and Islamophobia. We argue that political radicalism need not be associated with sensationalised public articulations. Rather, drawing on data from Bradford, a city with its turbulent and visible political history, young women are engaged in a form of political radicalism that does not make the headlines of news programmes or newspapers because it is non-confrontational and entails a form of social criticism that decouples religion and culture. The latter is considered to be retrogressive and the former is used to challenge dominant (male) community values. While some have sought to explain the rise of extremism in certain communities in terms of structural deprivation and cultural pathologies, we show

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 187

that these are deeply problematic when utilised in isolation from each other and suggest that one needs to draw on both, especially when exploring the construction of Muslim male identities, both generally and more specifically in the context of Bradford. Drawing on this, we highlight how young women construct masculinities in Bradford and the extent of their awareness of the involvement of young men in a drug culture, sexual promiscuity, and young men’s negative attitude toward education. At the same time, young women do not hesitate to question the inter-generational influence of older males both within and outside the family network. What is clear is that young women are deeply critical of their male peers, and that this social criticism is informed largely by their faith. The key features of these newly emerging femininities are that they are increasingly becoming more public, and they negotiate rather than challenge patriarchal practices. Moreover, despite growing hostility towards Muslims, religion is regarded by women a resource. Rather than seeing religion as oppressive and as a marker of exclusion, as some previous accounts suggest, many young women see their faith as a source of their own empowerment (for example, to access education). What is most significant is that many young women are developing their own understandings of the global, national and local events that impact on their everyday lives. They lack the resentment of their male counterparts and instead seek to ‘make things better’ in their communities through what they consider to be legitimate and peaceful means. They are not passive bystanders to events around them, but are active agents of social change. Indeed, it is widely acknowledged that the future of Pakistani Muslim communities across the UK lies with young women. Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

For example, Lewis (2002) and Saifullah-Khan (1977). Bagguley and Hussain (2005). Amin (2003). The Observer, 8 July 2001. Although the Pakistani ‘community’ in Bradford is heterogeneous, a large proportion of Pakistanis originate from the Mirpur region of Kashmir. For a discussion on the problems associated with the term ‘Pakistani community’, see Macey (1999), pp. 861–2, footnote 1; Burlet and Reid (1998), pp. 270–1; Saifullah-Khan (1977). 6. Pakistani Muslims make up 14.5 per cent of the whole of Bradford District’s population, which stands at 477,700 (2001 Census). 7. For discussions of these controversies, see Bagguley and Hussain (2005); Alexander (2004); Solomos (2003); Denham (2002); Lewis (2002); Macey (2001) and (1999); Ouseley (2001); Burlet and Reid (1998); Samad (1996); and Parekh (1990). 8. See Macey (1999) and Allen and Barrett (1996).

188 ] 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

17.

18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

Allen and Barrett (1996), p. 84. See Abbas (2005); Allen and Nielsen. Barber (1995). Ansari (2004), p. 394. Afshar et al. (2005), p. 276. Swindon Advertiser, 1 October 2005; also see Ramadan (2005). Bagguley and Hussain (2005); Alexander (2004). This chapter draws on data from a two-year Leverhulme-funded project, ‘Social Capital, Gender & Differential Outcomes’ (2003/05). The team also included Professor Tariq Modood (University of Bristol), Dr Claire Dwyer (UCL) and Dr Bindi Shah (UCL). The Bradford Commission, which was established following the Manningham disturbances in 1995, noted that social problems of ill discipline, poor education, overcrowded homes, poverty and unemployment might predispose some young men, especially those of ethnic minority origin, towards criminality and violence (Allen and Barrett 1996). Also see Alexander (2004) and Macey (1999). Darlow et al. (2005), p. 63. Lewis (2002). As of 2001, Pakistanis were the largest ethnic group in the Manningham neighbourhood, comprising 62.1 per cent of its population. By contrast, ‘whites’ comprised 18.1 per cent, Bangladeshis 8.3 per cent and Indians 5 per cent. See www.bradford.gov.uk/census 2001. Allen and Barrett (1996). McLoughlin (2006). Macey (1999), p. 848. Alexander (2004), p. 529. Also see Bagguley and Hussain (2005). Alexander (2000), p. 3. Drawing on Tishkov’s work, Fenton (2003, p. 89) describes non-civic primordial ties as ‘those deriving from birth into a particular family, community, religion or large group’ and, importantly, socialisation occurs from birth and ‘experience of living in these primary groups brings with it a complex of attitudes and cultural disposition’. Lewis (2002). For the social construction of masculinities, see Connell (1995); Cornwall and Lindisfarne (1994); Kimmel (1994) and Kaufman (1994). These accounts highlight that masculinities need to be understood on a continuum – fluid, multiple and plural. Alexander (2000), p. 12. Archer (2003), p. 35. Archer (2001), p. 81. Archer (2003), p. 86. Macey (1999), p. 846. Ibid., p. 855.

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 189

35. Ibid., p. 852. 36. The cultural borrowing of masculinities is explored by Cornwall and Lindisfarne (1994). 37. TAJ (1996) cited in Macey (1999), p. 852. 38. See Seddon et al. (2004), pp. 1–3; McLoughlin (1996); Ansari (2004). 39. Afshar et al. (2005), p. 264. 40. Macey (1999), p. 852. 41. Macey (2002), p. 14. 42. Burlet and Reid (1998), pp. 275–6. 43. Ali (1992), p. 115. 44. Ibid., p. 115. 45. Lewis (2002), p. 218. 46. Ibid., p. 219. 47. The ethnic minority code used by Bradford Metropolitan Council in schools, where parents self-identify and identify their children’s ethnicity, does not allow them to choose Pakistani as an ethnic group. They must choose either ‘Mirpuri Pakistani’ or ‘Other Pakistani’. This may have informed the choice of these young women (W. Rennison 2005, private correspondence). 48. For example, Abbas (2003); Archer (2002); Haw (1998); Basit (1996) and (1997); and Afshar (1989). 49. See Macey (1999). 50. Ahmed (1989), p. 2. 51. Afshar (1989), p. 100.

Bibliography Abbas, T. (2003) ‘The Impact of Religio-Cultural Norms and Values on the Education of Young South Asian Women’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24 (4), pp. 411–28. —— (ed.) (2005) Muslim Britain: Communities under Pressure, London: Zed Books. Afshar, H. (1989) ‘Education: hopes, expectations and achievements of Muslim women in West Yorkshire’, Gender and Education, 1 (3), pp. 261–72. Afshar, H., R. Aitken and M. Franks (2005) ‘Feminisms, Islamophobia and Identities’, Political Studies, 53 (2), pp. 262–83. Ahmed, N. (1989) Link International, 4 (1). Alexander, C. (2000) The Asian Gang, Oxford: Berg. —— (2004) ‘Imagining the Asian Gang: Ethnicity, Masculinity and Youth after “the Riots” ’, Critical Social Policy, 24 (4), pp. 526–49. Ali, Y. (1992) ‘Muslim Women and the Politics of Ethnicity and Culture in Northern England’, in Sahgal, G. and N. Yuval-Davis (eds), Refusing Holy Orders, London: Virago, pp. 101–23. Allen, C. (2003) Fair Justice, London: FAIR. Allen, C. and J. S. Nielsen (2002) Summary Report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11

190 ]

Gurchathen Sanghera and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert

September 2001: www.eumc.eu.int/publications/terror-report/Synthesis-report_en. pdf. Accessed 7 March 2006. Allen, S. and J. Barrett, (1996) The Bradford Commission Report, London: The Bradford Congress amd HMSO. Amin, A. (2003) ‘Unruly Strangers? The 2001 Urban Riots in Britain’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27 (2), pp. 460–3. Ansari, H. (2004) ‘The Infidel Within’: Muslims in Britain since 1800, London: Hurst. Archer, L. (2003) Race, Masculinity and Schooling, Buckingham: Open University Press. —— (2002) ‘Change, culture and tradition: British Muslim pupils talk about Muslim girls’ post-16 “choices” ’, Race, Ethnicity and Education, 5 (4), pp. 359–76. —— (2001) ‘Muslim Brothers, Black Lads, Traditional Asians: British Muslim Young Men’s Constructions of “Race”, Religion and Masculinity’, Feminism and Psychology, 11 (1), pp. 97–105. Barber, B. (1995) Jihad versus McWorld, New York: Tune Books. Basit, T. (1997) ‘I want more Freedom, but Not Too Much’: British Muslim Girls and the Dynamics of Family Values’, Gender and Education, 9 (4), pp. 425–39. —— (1996) ‘I’d hate to be just a housewife: career aspirations of British Muslim girls’, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 24, pp. 227–42. Bagguley, P. and Y. Hussain (2005) ‘Flying the Flag for England? Citizenship, Religion and Cultural Identity among British Pakistani Muslims’, in Abbas, T. (ed.) Muslim Britain, London: Zed Books, pp. 208–21. Burlet, S. and H. Reid (1998) ‘A gendered uprising: political representation and minority ethnic communities’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 21 (2), pp. 270–87. City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (1993) Areas of Stress within Bradford District, BMC: Research Section. Connell, Bob (1995) Masculinities, Cambridge: Polity Press. Cornwall, A. and N. Lindisfarne (1994) ‘Dislocating Masculinity: Gender, Power and Anthropology’, in Cornwall, A. and N. Lindisfarne (1994) (eds), Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies, London: Routledge. Darlow, A., T. Bickerstaffe, T. Burden, J. Green, S. Jassi, S. Johnson, S. Kelsey, M. Purcell, J. South and F. Walton (2005) Researching Bradford, York: Joseph Rowntree Fund. Denham, J. (2002) Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion, London: Home Office. Fenton, S. (2003) Ethnicity, Cambridge: Polity Press. Haw, K. (1998) Educating Muslim Girls, Buckingham: Open University Press. Kaufman, M. (1994) Cracking the Armor: Power, Pain, and the Lives of Men, Toronto: Vintage Books (Penguin paperback, 1994). Kimmel, M. (1994) ‘Masculinity as Homophobia’, in Brod, H. and M. Kaufman (eds) (1994), Theorising Masculinities, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Knott, K. and S. Khokher (1993) ‘Religion and Ethnic Identity among Young Muslim women in Bradford’, New Community, Vol. 5, pp. 99–108. Lewis, P. (2002) Islamic Britain – Religion, Politics and Identity among British Muslims, 2nd edn, London: I. B. Tauris.

Gendering Political Radicalism

[ 191

Macey, M. (2001) ‘Race, Gender & Sexuality: the Oppression of Multiculturalism’ (with Clare Beckett), Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 1, 24 (2/3). —— (2002) ‘Interpreting Islam: Young Muslim Men’s Involvement in Criminal Activity in Bradford’, in Spalek, B. (ed.) (2002), Islam, Crime and the Criminal Justice System, Devon: Willow Publishing, pp. 19–37. —— (1999) ‘Class, gender and religious influences on changing patterns of Pakistani Muslim male violence in Bradford’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22 (5), pp. 845–66. McLoughlin, S. (1996) ‘In the Name of the Umma: Gobalization, “Race” Riots and Muslim Identity Politics in Bradford’, in Shadid, W. A. R. and P. S. van Koningsveld (eds), Political Participation and Identities of Muslims in Non-Muslim States, Herndon: Kok Pharos Publishing House, pp. 206–29. McLoughlin, S. (2006) ‘Writing a British-Asian City: Ethnicity, “Race”, Culture and Religion in Accounts of postcolonial Bradford’, in Ali, N., V. S. Kalva and S. Sayyid (eds), A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain, London: Hurst, pp. 110–49. Ouseley, H. (2001) Community Pride, Not Prejudice – The Ouseley Report on Bradford, Bradford: Bradford Vision. Parekh, B. (1990) ‘The Rushdie Affair: research agenda for political philosophy’, Political Studies, 38(4), pp. 695–709. Ramadan, A. (2005) Rise in racist and anti-Muslim attacks since 7 July terrorist attacks in London, CAABU Report: London. Retrieved 1 September 2005 from www. caabu.org/press/briefings/Anti-Muslim-backlash.pdf. Accessed 7 March 2006. Saifullah-Khan, V. (1977) ‘The Pakistanis: Mirpuri Villages at home and in Bradford’, in Watson, J. L. (ed.), Between Two Cultures: Migrants and Minorities in Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 57–89. Samad, Y. (1996) ‘The politics of Islamic identity among Bangladeshis and Pakistanis in Britain’, in Ranger, T., Y. Samad and O. Stuart (eds), Culture, Identity and Politics, Avebury: Aldershot, pp. 90–8. Samad, Y. and J. Eade (2003) Community Perceptions of Forced Marriage, London: FCO. Seddon, M. S. et al. (2004) British Muslims Between Assimilation and Segregation: Historical, Legal and Social Realities (Mohammad Siddique Seddon, Dilwar Hussain, Nadeem Malik), Leicester: Islamic Foundation. Solomos, J. (2003) Race and Racism in Britain, London: Palgrave. TAJ (1996) A ‘Can Do’ City: Supplementary Observations, Comments and Recommendations to the Bradford Commission Report, Bradford: Taj.

CHAPTER

14 Disconnection and Exclusion: Pathways to Radicalisation? Basia Spalek

Introduction In the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 bombings in London, and with the dawning realisation that the terrorists were home-grown British citizens, much political and media attention has focused upon examining potential pathways to radicalisation, and identifying possible sites that may aid and abet the transmission of extremist Islamist viewpoints and violent action. In many ways, this exploration, and the concomitant anxiety that both feeds from and into this, mirrors the conditions of contemporary Western society, characterised as late modern society by social theorists such as Giddens (1991), Young (1999) and Bauman (2004). Late modern society consists of a continuous probing of established beliefs and increasing reflexivity, where ‘the deviant other is everywhere’ and ‘everyone is a potential deviant’ (Young 1999, p. 15). As such, the radicalised Islamist extremist within our midst could potentially be everywhere, hidden from public view, potentially holding the technical and logistical skills and support necessary to bring about a devastating act of terror. Such reflexivity, however, whilst leading to an increased scrutiny of Muslim communities, where questions regarding the extent of their assimilation into British culture have been raised, has not led to any significant ‘soul-searching’ by politicians, policymakers nor the media, in relation to the characteristic features of late modern society and the broader context within which to view and to attempt to understand processes of ‘radicalisation’. Following the July bombings, within media and political discourses themes that underpinned the discussions about potential pathways to radicalisation have included the risks posed by marginalised Muslim youth; the extent to which Muslim communities are ‘assimilated’ within British society; whether Muslim converts, particularly those who convert to Islam inside prison, are at [ 192 ]

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 193

risk from ‘radicalisation’; whether Islamic institutions and organisations are ‘out of touch’ with their young people, and whether this also creates the potential for ‘radicalisation’. This chapter attempts to situate these debates within a broader academic literature so as to go beyond popular perceptions and understandings of Islamist extremism and to produce a more reflexive account. It is argued that, although secularisation has occurred at a societal level in Britain (as in other parts of Western Europe), it has not necessarily occurred at the level of individual consciousness, such that people continue to seek out religious and/or spiritual frameworks of understanding to help make sense of their lives (Berger 1999). Moreover, in the context of late modernity in Britain, where identity attachments have increasingly become fluid (Bauman 2004), and the influence of traditional religious institutions has declined (Davie 2002), the flexibility and unpredictability of faith identities has heightened. ‘Radicalisation’ both reflects, and is a product of, increased fragmentation and self-reflexivity, where people look for meaning in their lives. At the same time, it is important to stress that the July 2005 terror attacks were not the product of ‘unassimilated Muslim youth’, but rather they were the product of social, economic and cultural contexts that are strained and that have the capacity to produce subcultures that may build ‘trenches of resistance’ by stressing their differences from the mainstream institutions of society even though they are in fact a product of the re-interpretation and re-contextualisation of general values pervading late modernity. As a result, when discussing Muslim youth subcultures that may be engaged in illegal or deviant activity, it is important to draw upon subcultural theory, as, in many ways, these groups constitute responses that are similar to other groups experiencing social and economic marginalisation. At the same time, however, where Islam is drawn upon as a resource to construct particular kinds of masculinities by marginalised youth, there is the potential for extremism amongst a minority, particularly when terrorist propagandists seem to be highly efficient at using, and exploiting, masculine rhetoric that perhaps connects with some of these young men. Radicalisation Before presenting the main body of the work here, it is important to first briefly discuss the notion of ‘radicalisation’, as it is a complex term with many different potential meanings and constructions. For example, Dr Marcus Garvey, a Black Jamaican spiritual leader, once referred to radicalism as ‘a label that is always applied to people who are endeavouring to get freedom’ (in Wilmore, 1999, p. 197). In the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1990, p. 987), the word ‘radical’ is defined in the following ways: far-reaching; thorough; advocating thorough reform; holding extreme political views, revolutionary; a fundamental principle, a basis. So whilst the term ‘radical’ may often be interpreted as extremist, this may not necessarily be the case, and indeed, whilst individuals

194 ]

Basia Spalek

may argue that their faith has radically altered their lives, we should be careful not to link this unquestioningly with extremism and terrorism. In the aftermath of the terror attacks in London in July 2005, considerable discussion was generated within media and political arenas about the possible pathways to radicalisation that young men in Britain may take,1 and the sites at which radicalisation or extremist recruitment may occur. Within these discussions, populations deemed ‘at risk’ from radicalisation were identified, and featured North African male immigrants; second- or third-generation Muslims, particularly Pakistani males; and those (predominantly Black Caribbean and East African2) males who have converted to Islam. Places that were recognised as ‘at risk’ included universities, mosques, Islamic book shops, youth centres and prisons. Nonetheless, sustained and detailed research exploring potential pathways to ‘radicalisation’ is rare, as is public information about Islamist terrorists (Pargeter 2006). According to a paper commissioned by the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, on how to prevent British Muslims, especially young Muslims, from becoming attracted to extremist movements, most young extremists fall into one of two groups: well-educated undergraduates, or those with degrees and technical professional qualifications in engineering or IT; or under-achievers with few or no qualifications and often a criminal background. Among the latter group there is concern that Islamist terrorist recruiters are targeting the poor and the jobless. There is also concern that some of these individuals are drawn to mosques where they may be targeted by extremist preachers; the paper also highlights the fact that some young men may be radicalised or converted whilst in prison (Leppard and Fielding 2005). Indeed, there has been something of a moral panic about individuals converting to Islam, or being radicalised by Islam, whilst incarcerated. Newspaper articles have claimed that prisons can provide a potentially ‘toxic mix of extremist ideology and a criminal past’, and the case of Richard Reid has been frequently cited, as Reid converted to Islam whilst in a British jail and subsequently attempted to blow up a plane headed for Miami in December 2001. ‘Secularisation’, the search for personal meaning, and faith That young British men are claiming faith identities for themselves, or being drawn specifically to Islam, is unsurprising. According to Beckford (1996), despite the effects of the Enlightenment, religion has continued to be used as a cultural resource, in both modern and late modern society. Indeed, Berger (1999) argues that secularisation3 on a societal level does not necessarily mean secularisation at the level of individual consciousness. According to Davie (2002, p. 162), the number of young people in Northern Europe who believe in life after death and in a ‘God within’ is growing. This may be because late modern society, whilst providing a certain degree of material comfort, nevertheless contains mechanisms that have led to the marginalisation of moral

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 195

questions, leaving people with little sense of a purpose in life (Giddens 1991; Sacks 2002). Indeed, Giddens (1991, p. 9) states that ‘personal meaninglessness – the feeling that life has nothing worthwhile to offer – becomes a fundamental psychic problem in circumstances of late modernity’. The Sunday Times newspaper recently contained an article featuring a bestselling book entitled, Is It Just Me or Is Everything Shit? The Encyclopedia of Modern Life, written by two British men, perhaps graphically illustrating people’s disillusionment with modern life (Hattersley and Woods 2005). Clinical psychologist Oliver James (1997) claims that late modernity signals the shift to a relatively toxic society, creating a higher proportion of people who are at risk from depression, aggression and compulsive disorders. Indeed, under the heading ‘The rise in angst’, James (1997) argues that in post-Second World War society in the West, rates of depression, suicide, alcoholism and illegal substance abuse have sharply risen. Interestingly, studies on religious conversion4 suggest that personal problems that characterise life situations prior to religious conversion include those relating to the ‘spiritual’ (involving the meaninglessness of life, a lack of direction and poor self-image); the ‘interpersonal’ (including marital problems and parental problems); the ‘material’ (unemployment, schoolrelated problems); and ‘character’ (including drugs, alcohol and uncontrollable temper) (Snow and Phillips 1980; Kose 1996). Therefore, it seems plausible to suggest that in late modernity, although the influence of institutional religious settings may have decreased, the individual demand for religious and/or spiritual frameworks of understanding has increased, and is likely to continue rising. Faith identities as volatile Crucially, in the context of debates about pathways to extremism, it is important to note that religion and individuals’ religiosity is constantly undergoing transformation and change (Lyon 1996). In the context of late modernity, amid significant social and economic transformations, identity attachments have increasingly become fluid, as being ‘fixed’ to an unmoving identity is unpopular and undesirable (Bauman 2004). Traditional social affiliations, based on family or social class, have been eroded, as evidenced by, for example, the reduction in union and party political membership (Bauman 2004; Furedi 1997). Rising divorce rates also mean that people are increasingly likely to live alone (James 1997). At the same time, the reduction of tenured secure employment has led to an increasingly mobile labour force, thereby dislocating people from their local communities (Furedi 1997; Young 1999). Amid these social and economic transformations, people have increasingly experienced a loss of a sense of ‘belongingness’, and so may seek to find or establish new identities that can, at least for a short moment, make them feel that they are part of a wider community, whilst continuing to be constantly ‘on the move’ (Bauman 2004).

196 ]

Basia Spalek

Under the circumstances highlighted above, it is likely that the volatility and unpredictability of faith identities has heightened. Hervieu-Leger (2000, in Davie 2002) argues that Western European societies are amnesic, since, with the decline of religious institutional disciplines, alongside the fragmentation of communities, societies are less capable of maintaining memories bound by traditions that lie at the core of religious existence. However, personal beliefs persist, and so increasingly become ‘personal, detached and heterogeneous’, particularly so for young people (Davie 2002, p. 8). Indeed, in the context of Islam, it has been claimed that increasing numbers of young Muslims in Britain are using the Quran and Hadiths directly as a resource, rather than accepting the traditional views passed on to them from their parents (Joly 1995). This suggests that the likelihood of individualistic responses to personal crises has amplified, thereby leading to a larger pool of people extremists can tap into, and from which extremists may emerge. Juergensmeyer (2003) argues that individuals who join new religious movements tend to be young and disconnected from their families and wider communities. A crisis of legitimacy in political institutions, likely to have been further compounded by the Iraq war in 2003, and the recent revelations of the policy and practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ by the US Government, further exacerbates individuals’ feelings of alienation, and so the rise of religious movements and religious extremism reflects individuals’ sense of disempowerment and their disillusionment with secular nation-states. Indeed, according to the St Andrews Chronology of International Terrorism, the proportion of religious groups in the late 1990s increased from 16 of 49 terrorist groups to 26 of 56 groups (Juergensmeyer 2003, p. 6). Roy (2004) argues that radicalised Muslims are pursuing their own individualised quests, which may have little, if any, connection with any wider communities that they may nominally belong to, in terms of family, ethnic grouping or nationality. It seems that radical militants may join an ‘imagined community’ that works through minds, attitudes and discourses, rather than through geographical locales or social and familial ties. In the context of discussions about radicalisation, it is perhaps important to differentiate between struggles for liberation and justice that can be found operating through religious structures that are based on historical continuity and broader group collectivities in relation to race, ethnicity or nationality, and those struggles that constitute highly personalised religious/spiritual responses. Throughout history, religion has constituted a form of identity politics, whereby groups whose individual members have shared a wider religious consciousness have coalesced in order to bring about justice and liberty (see, for example, G. Wilmore (1999), Black Religion and Black Radicalism, in relation to black communities in the US being bound together through biblical stories and the event of worship). Indeed, Marx (in Horowitz 2004, p. 129) has written that ‘religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and protest against real suffering’. Therefore, collectivised religious responses

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 197

such as these might be viewed from a Durkheimian perspective, whereby religion is conceptualised as a form of collective memory or collective consciousness, based upon a community of past, present and future members, as well as tradition (Davie 2002). On the other hand, struggles that constitute highly personalised religious/ spiritual responses to suffering might be viewed as being more volatile and individualistic, and, in the contemporary context, more open to extremism, so that individuals are perhaps more easily and more likely to be recruited by terror networks. This scenario can be illustrated with the case of 34-year-old Andrew Rowe, a father of four from west London, a Muslim convert, who has been tried for alleged terror activities. During his trial, Rowe told the jury that he had become a Muslim in the 1990s, after a drug-fuelled conversation at a rave. He argued that conversion had ‘put meaning into his life’ (Laville 2005). So it may be the case that, in late modern society, a social context that enables young people to question their religious/secular/spiritual beliefs as part of the communities they are traditionally attached to is largely missing, and so many perhaps experience this angst alone, thereby increasing the likelihood that they may be influenced by extremist networks. This may be partly why concern around the recruitment and/or radicalisation of young Muslims has focused not only upon mosques or Islamic organisations but upon sites such as pubs, nightclubs and casinos as well. Muslim organisations as ‘out of touch’ Interestingly enough, in the aftermath of the July bombings in London, a considerable amount of attention has been placed upon Muslim leaders, mosques and Muslim representative bodies, which have been accused of being out of touch with young people and of being unrepresentative (see, for example, Sardar 2005, and Bunting 2005). However, two key issues are generated here. One is that the criticism of being out of touch could also be made about other faith communities in Britain, as ritual participation in religious services and attachment to religious institutions has considerably declined, with only 14.4 per cent of British people saying that they attend church once week in a survey carried out between 1999 and 2000 (Davie 2002, p. 6). Considerable media and political attention has also been placed upon Muslim converts, since a number of converts seem to be implicated in the terror attacks that have taken place or those that have been prevented. Scrutiny here has firmly been placed upon conversion to Islam, and the sites at which this has taken place, with so-called ‘extremist’ mosques and preachers, as well as prisons and prison imams, being highlighted as constituting a particular problem. The question of the previous faith identities of these converts has rarely been raised, and yet in the context of the issues raised in the previous paragraph, it might be argued that this is relevant. For example, it appears that

198 ]

Basia Spalek

Germaine Lindsay, one of the four July bombers, was nominally a Christian before converting to Islam. He was Jamaican-born and attended a church junior school before then converting to Islam (Gillan, Cobain and Muir 2005). Another convert, Abdullah Al-Faisal, who was jailed in July 2005 for nine years for soliciting the murder of Jews, Hindus, Americans and other ‘non-believers’, was Jamaican-born (Smith 2005), and so again it seems that he is likely to have been brought up, at least nominally, as a Christian. A study of seventy individuals who converted to Islam has found that the majority of converts were nominally religious in their preadolescent years, and even when they became disillusioned with the faith of their parents, many (83 per cent of the sample) continued to have a belief in God (Kose 1996). Therefore, it seems that, in the context of late modernity, religious institutions have been unable to provide many young people with the appropriate context within which to explore and question their beliefs and values, whilst at the same time maintaining a connection with those institutions. Religious conversion clearly illustrates that, even in a secular environment, people will continue to seek out religious and/or spiritual frameworks of understanding to provide them with a moral basis from which to lead their lives and to provide them with a sense of purpose. A further point to note in relation to Davie’s (2002) claims that beliefs have become increasingly personal, particularly amongst young people, is in connection with a question that has been repeatedly raised in the public arena regarding why a significant number of British black Caribbeans are converting to Islam. It has been suggested that perhaps black men are converting to Islam because of their cultural roots, as historically a large number of black slaves would have been Muslim. However, this idea has been contested, and studies on religious conversion show that converts tend to cite more personal reasons for conversion than those to do with their ‘race’, nationality or ethnicity. For example, individuals may speak about religion in terms of instilling a positive framework around which to structure one’s life, as a way of preventing inmates from carrying out illegal activities in the future after leaving prison, and as a way of helping inmates to cope with prison life, in terms of lowering their levels of aggression so that their interactions with other inmates were less stressful (Clear, Hardyman, Stout, Lucken and Dammer 2000). A further point to make in relation to Muslim leaders being out of touch with young people is that this may be an over-generalisation and a stereotype. In some areas, mosques do indeed have good links with young people, especially those mosques that are run by young Muslims who may themselves know and understand ‘street cultures’. However, social commentators and the wider media may view such mosque leaders as being ‘radical’ and ‘extremist’ when they are in fact very much against terrorism, working to challenge any extremist views that they encounter and to provide moderate forms of Islam in an engaging way that will appeal to marginalised youth (Lambert 2005).

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 199

Conversion to Islam, Muslim converts in prison Media accounts tend to suggest that religious conversion is an instant event, when for many individuals it is actually a long and complex process. Since the July 2005 bombings, many articles have appeared in the press noting how British Muslim radicals have converted to Islam whilst inside prison (see, for example, Campbell, Cowan, Morris and Ward 2005). However, studies on religious conversion suggest that individuals are questioning their own beliefs and seeking out alternative views prior to their conversion, so that long before entering prison they have been looking for religious and spiritual guidance (Kose 1996). Prisons can therefore be seen as an opportunity to teach the potential convert moderate forms of Islam, and to challenge extremist belief systems that an individual may have picked up outside of prison whilst they were going through their questioning phase prior to their conversion. All prison imams in Britain are now security vetted and they also undergo some basic training. Within penal institutions, masculinist ‘hierarchies of identities’ can operate, influencing inmates’ risk from sexual or physical violence (Genders and Player 1989). Prisoner biographies reveal that inmates who are thought by other inmates to be weak or vulnerable will be targeted for physical and sexual violence (for example, see Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter 1974; Cook and Wilkinson 1998). Converting to Islam may be an inmate’s way of negotiating their personal safety, since this may be part of the construction of a masculinist identity that places the inmate further up a hierarchy. This has been noted in research relating to race relations in a penal setting, whereby it has been suggested that the over-representation of specific ethnic groups may lead to certain forms of prisoner unity (Bosworth and Carrabine 2001). So, within prison, Islamic conversion may be as much to do with managing social relations and one’s personal safety as constituting individualistic searches for personal meaning. But when discussing Muslim subcultures, and particularly Muslim youth subcultures and the issue of radicalisation, it is important to highlight that the notion of subculture is complex and contentious, and within the criminological field has generated much research and debate, as the following section will elucidate further. Muslim youth subcultures Within criminological research, youth subcultures have been a focus of attention for many years. Attention has been placed upon young people, especially young men, due to their propensity to engage in the types of illegal or deviant activities that come to the attention of law enforcement authorities. According to Young (1999, p. 89), subcultures are ‘jointly elaborated solutions to collectively experienced problems’. According to the Collins Dictionary of Sociology (Jary and Jary 1991, p. 638), a subculture is ‘any system of beliefs, values and

200 ]

Basia Spalek

norms which is shared and actively participated in by an appreciable minority of people within a particular culture. The relationship of the subculture to the so-called dominant culture has been identified as one of subordination and relative powerlessness.’ Thus, structural inequalities of race, gender, Islamophobia and so forth impact upon individuals’ everyday lives and so, to try and tackle the discrimination and marginalisation that they experience, individuals may seek out subcultural solutions. The significant decline of the manufacturing sector in Britain over the last thirty years (Lasch and Urry 1987; Newton and Porter 1988), alongside the reduction of secure long-term employment and the rise of short-term, unstable employment, has impacted particularly severely upon young men, especially those who are unskilled and who live in areas where factories were once based, these having been closed down, reduced in size or replaced by supermarkets and other retail outlets. Young (1999) argues that some young men attempt to cope with the social and economic climate that surrounds them by creating subcultures based upon the construction of strong or aggressive masculinities, where physical strength and other masculine powers are valued. When turning specifically to young British Muslim men, in the aftermath of the July bombings, there appears to have been considerable discussion within media and political arenas about the extent to which second- or thirdgeneration Muslim men, particularly South Asian men, have been assimilated into British culture. Elsewhere, a reporter in The Sunday Times claimed that the young men who are the genus most susceptible to Islamic extremism in this country are second-generation British Pakistanis, because of a lack of a sense of identity (Taseer 2005). However, debates around assimilation appear to miss out key issues that arise when considering British Muslim identities and male Muslim youth subcultures. First, Muslims constitute the most socially and economically deprived faith group in the UK. Statistics show that Muslims are the most likely faith group to experience poor housing conditions, and that 42 per cent of Muslim children live in overcrowded accommodation, compared to 12 per cent for the general population; 12 per cent live in households with no central heating, compared to 6 per cent for all dependent children; and 35 per cent are growing up in households where there are no adults in employment, compared with 17 per cent for all dependent children (Choudhury 2004, p. 14). Furthermore, almost one third of Muslims of working age have no qualifications, the highest proportion for any faith group, and 17.5 per cent of young Muslim people between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed compared to 7.9 per cent of Christians and 7.4 per cent of Hindus (Choudhury 2004, p. 16). In the context of this chapter, the economic and social deprivation experienced by a significant number of young Muslim men means that they, like other socially and economically deprived male youth, are likely to form subcultures, which are also likely to have strong masculinist ideals underpinning them. Indeed, Archer (2003) argues that young Asian men may construct a ‘strong’

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 201

Islamic identity for themselves as a way of resisting the ‘weakness’ that they perceived to be associated with the category ‘Asian’. Similarly, Saeed et al. (1999) argue that the concept of ‘ummah’ means that a global Islamic community supersedes national or ethnic identities. Young people may be claiming an Islamic identity for themselves because this places them within a global community that means they no longer feel so marginalised. This connection with a global Islamic identity, one which has a rich and powerful history, may serve to undo local stereotypes of Islam, which may be particularly negative. So it might be argued that young Muslim men who are experiencing social and economic deprivation are reacting to their social situations in ways that are very similar to other marginalised male youth. Young (1999, p. 89) maintains that unique cultures within contemporary Western society are unlikely, as cultures are constructed by ‘crossover, by hybridization and by innovation’. This point is further highlighted by Roy (2004), when he argues that immigrant identities, the longevity and strength of biraderi, are shaped by the host country. He states that ‘the second and third generations solidarity groups are more reconstructed than imported. One tends to pass from a ‘real’ community to an ‘imagined’ one, based on ethnicity, nation or religion’ (Roy 2004, p. 118). Roy (2004) also claims that young Muslims living in the suburbs of France are fascinated by Western urban youth subculture, as exemplified by the way that they dress, the food that they eat and the genre of music that they listen to. Indeed, one of the suspects of the later bombing attempts in London on 21 July 2005, Hussain Osman, dressed in rapper-style clothing, drank beer and his idol was US rapper Tupac Shakur, although he did not eat pork and so perhaps, in some nominal way, identified himself as being Muslim as well (Hooper 2005), thereby highlighting the multitudinous nature of subjectivity. It seems that the rampant consumerism of late modernity touches most people (Young 1999), and so perhaps it is identification (or even overidentification) with values pervading to late modernity that actually may play a role in radicalisation. Young stresses that not only does late modern society lead to young people having high expectations about the kinds of lives that they are going to lead, it also denies many individuals the opportunity to attain their aspirations. As a result, this leads to widespread frustration and a crisis of identity amidst economic uncertainty, especially amongst socially excluded groups (Young 1999). Relative deprivation can lead to crime, and it has been claimed that Muslim youths who are engaged in illegal activities may be exploited, knowingly or unknowingly, by extremist Islamist organisations and agents, since their criminal activities can be used logistically to support operations or to run errands. Within some Muslim youth subcultures, religion may be used to justify and/or absolve deviant or criminal acts. Justifications may include claims that the victims are not Muslim, or that they belong to a different religious community, and individuals may pay some of the proceeds from crime to Islamic causes or centres as a way of absolving themselves from guilt (Pargeter 2006).

202 ]

Basia Spalek

But rather than viewing this through a lens of ‘deviant Muslim subcultures’, or through a lens that portrays Islam negatively as a religion, it is important to draw upon David Matza’s version of subcultural theory, as set out in his 1964 book, Delinquency and Drift. According to Matza (1964), the delinquent drifts between delinquent and conventional behaviour. Most young offenders recognise the legitimacy of the dominant social order, and so experience feelings of guilt from their behaviour. As a result, they will draw upon justifications in order to help neutralise their guilty or anxious feelings. Matza argues that young offenders may identify special groups to victimise, and there may also be a denial of responsibility, a denial of injury, a denial of the victim, the condemnation of the condemners, as well as appeals to higher loyalties (‘you’ve got to help your mates’, for example). Therefore, it is helpful to view the justifications used by Muslim youths when engaged in illegal or deviant activities through the wider lens of subcultural theory. This means that it can be claimed that most, if not all, youth subcultures that engage in delinquent and criminal acts will draw upon justifications so as to neutralise any feelings of guilt that they have, both consciously and subconsciously. These justifications are likely to be linked to individuals’ subject positions, in terms of their ethnicity, nationality, age, gender and so forth. Religion is another resource from which identities are built and maintained, and so religion is also likely to be used as a cultural resource when attempting to legitimise criminal activities. At the same time, however, it is important to point out that Islamist extremists who are intent on recruiting young British Muslim men combine masculine imagery with religion in order to try to connect with potential recruits.5 However, it is important to point out that there may not necessarily be a ‘criminal pathway’ that young Muslim men follow, which leads them to extremism. As such, those individuals who use religion as a cultural resource and as part of a way of ‘doing masculinity’ may not then become extremists, and so over-policing these young men may be harmful and may increase their sense of alienation. Resistance identities It is also important to stress that the mobilisation of Muslim identities reflects broader processes within late modern society, whereby, as previously argued in this chapter, a sense of ‘belongingness’ has been gradually eroded through severe social and economic changes (see Furedi 1997; James 1997; Bauman 2004). Subcultures based on ‘resistance identities’ may be built, generated by actors who are in devalued and disempowered positions, ‘building trenches of resistance and survival on the basis of principles different from, or opposed to, those permeating the institutions of society’ (Castells 2004, p. 11). ‘Resistance identities’ may draw upon old rigidities as a way of countering the instability of the present broader concerns about the nature of contemporary life in Western liberal democracies. Thus, Jacobson (1997) argues that young

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 203

Pakistanis inevitably face many contradictions between the values that have been instilled in them by their families and their wider community, and those values evident in a modern secular society. The discomfort felt as a result of these contradictions can lead some young people to claim a religious identity, since Islam may provide a way of handling the ambiguities and uncertainties that individuals face by providing them with a moral framework regarding aspects of everyday life. For Joly (2003), whereas ethnic boundaries may seem permeable, religious boundaries are clear-cut and so can provide individuals with a sense of security in an uncertain social environment. Also, group identities are formed and reinvigorated through the ‘threat and practice of exclusion’ (Bauman 2004, p. 21), which means that members will exaggerate differences between themselves, the in-group, and outsiders. Perhaps this is why some young Muslims, whilst expressing anger about Iraq and Palestine, do not feel connected to non-Muslim Britons who are also enraged by these issues (Taseer 2005). At the same time, as identities are constructed, and individuals possess a large number of social identities (Castells 2004; Taylor and Spencer 2004), it is important to take into consideration the post-9/11 context, as this will have provided further material from which to build Muslim identities. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, Muslim women who wear the hijab were particularly targeted for violence and harassment because the act of veiling is a signifier of Islam. Women reported having their veils pulled off their heads, and were also violently attacked and verbally abused. Some Muslim men were also physically and verbally abused, and mosques were vandalised (in one case firebombed), leading to many Muslim communities investing in private security measures, for example, through the introduction of CCTV (Spalek 2002). It is likely that this violence and abuse, and the fear generated by it, helped to construct individuals’ self-identities, leading to a significant number of individuals from minority ethnic groups who were nominally Muslim to claim Islamic identities for themselves more vigorously (Hattersley 2005). The impact of antiterror legislation has further compounded this, leading perhaps to dormant Islamic identities being re-awakened. Added to this, of course, is the power of older, religious, traditions to instil values of justice and compassion within late modern society, which, according to Sacks (2002, p. 12), is ill-equipped to deal with moral considerations, as ‘contemporary politics and economics have little to say about the human condition’. Conclusion This chapter raises many more questions than it answers. The concern has been to situate debates around radicalisation within a broader social context because so often Muslim community leaders, Muslim youth and Muslim converts have been scrutinised by the media, social commentators and politicians as though they were somehow separate from the broader cultural processes underpinning

204 ]

Basia Spalek

late modernity. This chapter puts forward the case that increasing selfreflexivity in late modern society, coupled with rising fragmentation and individualism and the demise of the social influence of institutional religious settings, has perhaps helped to feed extremism, particularly amongst younger people. Within a secular, materially wealthy society, individuals continue to experience all sorts of personal and moral crises, and they may seek out religious and/or spiritual frameworks of understanding to help guide them in their everyday lives. Young socially and economically marginalised people, and the relative deprivation that they experience, may lead some to experience increasing religiosity. In the absence of a social environment that is sensitive to, and supportive of, than religious/spiritual/moral questions that people experience, perhaps the proportion of individuals who have the propensity to become radicalised rises. This is not to suggest that institutional religious settings are necessarily the solution. Rather, developing strategies and mechanisms through which moral and spiritual questions and issues can be safely explored, with of course contribution from all the major religions, is the way forward. Notes 1. All of the bombers in the July 2005 attacks were male. 2. The would-be suicide bombers of 21 July were predominantly of Somali and Ethiopian origin. None of them were born in Britain, although most attended school there. 3. Secularisation is a contentious concept, but for the purposes of this chapter it can be regarded as being a widespread alienation from organised churches and religious institutions (Berger 1999). 4. Religious conversion can be defined as ‘an experience of increased devotion within the same religious structure, a shift from no religious commitment to a devout religious life, or a change from one religion to another’ (Kose 1996, p. 1). 5. For example, Mohammad Sidique Khan, the eldest London bomber, recorded a video message to explain his reasons for the attack, and within this message it is clear that he was ‘doing masculinity’. He said, ‘Jihad is an obligation on every single one of us, men and women, [whereas] our so-called scholars of today are content with their Toyotas and semi-detached houses . . . they are useless. They should stay at home and leave the job to real men – the true inheritors of the prophet (Lambert 2005).

References Archer, L. (2003) Race, Masculinity and Schooling: Muslim Boys and Education, Maidenhead: Open University Press. Bauman, Z. (2004) Identity: Conversations with Benedetto Vecchi Cambridge: Polity Press.

Disconnection and Exclusion

[ 205

Beckford, J. (1996) ‘Postmodernity, High Modernity and New Modernity: three concepts in search of religion’, in Flanagan, K. and P. Jupp (eds) Postmodernity, Sociology and Religion, London: Macmillan, pp. 30–47. Berger, P. (ed.) (1999) The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Bosworth, M. and E. Carrabine (2001) ‘Reassessing Resistance: race, gender and sexuality in prison’, Punishment & Society, 3 (4), pp. 501–15. Bunting, M. (2005) ‘Muslim Voices have been Lost in the Rush to make Headlines’, The Guardian, 10 October, p. 23. Campbell, D., R. Cowan, S. Morris and D. Ward (2005) ‘Net closes on bomb suspects’, The Guardian, 28 July, p. 1. Carter, R. (1974) The 16th Round: From Number 1 Contender to Number 45472, Ontario: Penguin, Castells, M. (2004) The Power of Identity, 2nd edn, Oxford: Blackwell. Choudhury, T. (2004) ‘Overview’, in Open Society Institute, Muslims in the UK: Policies for Engaged Citizens, Budapest, pp. 10–41. Clear, T., P. Hardyman, B. Stout, K. Lucken and H. Dammer (2000) ‘The Value of Religion in Prison: an inmate perspective’, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 16 (1), pp. 53–74. Cook, F. and M. Wilkinson (1998) Hard Cell, Liverpool: Bluecoat Press. Davie, G. (2002) Europe: The Exceptional Case, London: Darton, Longman and Todd. Furedi, F. (1997) Culture of Fear: Risk-taking and the Morality of Low Expectation, London: Cassell. Genders, E. and E. Player (1989) Race Relations in Prisons, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Giddens, A. (1991) Modernity and Self Identity, Cambridge: Polity Press. Gillan, A., I. Cobain and H. Muir (2005) ‘Jamaican-born convert to Islam coordinated fellow bombers’, The Guardian, 16 July, p. 4. Hattersley, G. (2005) ‘Turning from Britain’s youth culture to Islam’s certainties’, The Sunday Times News Review, 10 July, p. 2. Hattersley, G. and R. Woods (2005) ‘Time to take a Pot Shot at Bilge Britain, The Sunday Times, 4 December, p. 15. Hooper, J. (2005) ‘Suspect was a Roman Romeo in love with US’, The Guardian, 2 August, p. 12. Horowitz, D. (2004) Unholy Alliance, Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. Jacobson, J. (1997) ‘The Persistence of Religious and Ethnic Identities among SecondGeneration British Pakistanis’, PhD thesis, University of London: London School of Economics and Political Science. James, O. (1997) Britain on the Couch, London: Century. Jary, D. and J. Jary (1991) Collins Dictionary of Sociology, London: HarperCollins. Joly, D. (1995) Britannia’s Crescent: Making a Place for Muslims in British Society, Avebury: Aldershot. —— (2003) ‘Group Formation and Identification: the case of Muslims’. Paper to Conference, ‘Muslims in Prison: a European challenge’. Centre for Research in

206 ]

Basia Spalek

Ethnic Relations and Department of Sociology: University of Warwick, 12–13 December 2003. Juergensmeyer, M. (2003) Terror in the Mind of God, London: University of California Press. Kose, A. (1996) Conversion to Islam: A Study of Native British Converts, London: Kegan Paul. Lambert, B. (2005) ‘Countering al-Qaida Propaganda: UK Muslim Community Initiatives’, unpublished draft paper, Department of Politics: University of Exeter. Lasch, S. and J. Urry (1987) The End of Organized Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity Press. Laville, S. (2005) ‘Terror suspect denies using his socks to clean mortar’, The Guardian, 15 September, p. 11. Leppard, D. and N. Fielding (2005) ‘The Hate’, The Sunday Times News Review, 10 July, p. 4. Lyon, D. (1996) ‘Religion and the Post-modern: old problems, new prospects’, in Flanagan and Jupp (eds) (1996), pp. 14–29. Matza, D. (1964) Delinquency and Drift, New York: Wiley. Newton, S. and D. Porter (1988) Modernization Frustrated: The Politics of Industrial Decline in Britain since 1900, London: Unwin Hyman. Pargeter, A. (2006) ‘North African Immigrants in Europe and Political Violence’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 29 (7). Roy, O. (2004) Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, New York: Columbia University Press. Sacks, J. (2002) The Dignity of Difference, London: Continuum. Sardar, Z. (2005) ‘Young, bright, Muslim, ignored’, The Guardian, 11 October, p. 12. Saeed, A., N. Blain and D. Forbes (1999) ‘New ethnic and national questions in Scotland: post-British identities among Glasgow Pakistani teenagers’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22 (5), pp. 821–44. Shah, S. (1998) ‘Flash-backs-and-forth: re-searching the roots’, in Haw, K. (ed.), Educating Muslim Girls, Buckingham: Open University Press, pp. 43–62. Shain, F. (2003) The Schooling and Identity of Asian Girls, Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books. Smith, L. (2005) ‘Black Muslims converts cite African roots’, The Guardian, 16 July, p. 4. Snow, D. and C. L. Phillips (1980) ‘The Lofiand-Stark conversion model: a critical assessment’, Social Problems, 27, pp. 430–7. Solomos, J. (2003) Race and Racism in Britain, 3rd edn, Basingstoke: Palgrave. Spalek, B. (2002) ‘Hate Crimes against British Muslims in the Aftermath of September 11’, Criminal Justice Matters, 56, pp. 16–17. Taseer, A. (2005) ‘Made in Britain’, The Sunday Times News Review, 31 July, p. 3. Taylor, G. and S. Spencer (2004) ‘Introduction’, in Taylor, G. and S. Spencer (eds), Social Identities: Multidisciplinary Approaches, London: Routledge, pp. 1–34. The Concise Oxford Dictionary (1990) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wilmore, G. (1999) Black Religion and Black Radicalism, 3rd edn, New York: Orbis. Young, J. (1999) The Exclusive Society, London: Sage.

CHAPTER

15 Transitional Religiosity Experiences: Contextual Disjuncture and Islamic Political Radicalism Akil N. Awan

On 7 July 2005, four young indigenous British Muslims, three of Pakistani provenance and the fourth a Jamaican convert to Islam, became Britain’s first domestic suicide bombers. A fortnight later, eliciting an unsettling sense of déjà-vu, a second abortive wave of attacks on the London transport network followed, the culprits this time being British asylum seekers hailing from the troubled horn of Africa. These ‘martyrdom operations’ (as they are alluded to in the idiom of IslamistJihadist discourse), until now, only experienced vicariously through theatres of conflict such as Iraq and Israel, shocked us all, leaving many of us reeling at the prospect of this new threat posed by a small (but as of yet unknown) proportion of Britain’s 1.6 million-strong Muslim community. The events of July 2005 were exceptional only in the sense that this was the first time British Muslims had perpetrated terrorist acts of this magnitude on home soil; however, they were not entirely without precedent. British Muslims have been drawn to radical Islamism in the past and have included, inter alia, Richard Reid, the ‘shoe bomber’ of December 2001; the five members of the ‘Tipton Taliban’ captured by coalition forces in Afghanistan in January 2002; Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, responsible for conveying US journalist Daniel Pearl to his death in Pakistan in February 2002; the group of Britons granted asylum from North Africa who were responsible for a failed chemical attack on the London Underground in November 2002; Asif Mohammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, who conducted suicide bomb attacks in Tel Aviv in May 2003; and eight British Pakistanis from Luton, who were found to be in possession of a large quantity of explosive material in March 2004. According to a leaked confidential report commissioned by the government, ‘the number of British Muslims actively engaged in terrorist activity, whether at home or abroad or supporting such activity, is extremely small and estimated at less than 1%’ (FCO and Home [ 207 ]

208 ]

Akil N. Awan

Office 2004), although, bearing in mind the clandestine nature of the source, it is difficult to ascertain the veracity of any such claims. Despite numerous indicators portending a rise in extremist tendencies amongst Muslim youth (FCO and Home Office 2004), the government has been caught unaware, responding instead in a largely ad hoc manner by introducing draconian new legislative measures intended to curb extremism amongst its Muslim populace, and by questioning the renowned British paradigm of multiculturalism itself, as an obstacle to effective integration of the minorities within its midst (Phillips 2005).1 Moreover, the state has also placed the onus for ‘rooting out extremism’ principally on the Muslim community itself, through such measures as the creation of a predominantly Muslim taskforce composed of community representatives (Home Office 2005), pejoratively referred to as the ‘house Muslims’ by Yvonne Ridley at a recent conference.2 Concomitantly, both the media and the wider social discourse have been rife with self-appointed punditry and a plethora of commentators pontificating on British radical Islam’s putative causal factors and remedies. Providing answers and solutions to this seemingly intractable problem is naturally beyond the remit of this chapter; however, a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the paths and motivations to extremism amongst British Muslims (and by extension their Western European counterparts)3 is imperative if these pressing issues are to be addressed in a coherent and comprehensive manner. Consequently, this is where my contribution to the debate lies. The role of religion A cursory reading of the biographies of many of the individuals implicated in these terrorist acts points to one glaring, inescapable commonality: their political radicalisation, culminating in terrorism, is somehow inextricably linked to, or perhaps even contingent upon, the complex phenomenon of sudden or increasing religiosity. This in no way infers that an intensification in religious praxis or sentiment somehow results in a predilection for extremism and violence, as can be evinced by the ubiquity of peaceful, moderate Islamic voices in Britain and the wider Islamic world, the overwhelmingly vast majority of whom do not subscribe to the aberrant worldview espoused by radical Islamism or Jihadism (for a slew of recent surveys of Muslim public opinion see Fair and Shepherd 2006; Pew Research Center 2005; FOSIS 2005; YouGov 2005; Guardian/ICM 2005). Rather, the crux of the problem appears to lie with the misappropriation of religious labels for violent ends, which in itself is neither new nor confined to the Islamic tradition. Nevertheless, these are rendered moot points, for whatever the theological justification behind such actions (or perhaps a lack thereof), it remains an indelible sociological fact that these individuals considered themselves to be Muslim, and indeed Islam provided (at least in their minds) the raison d’être for their acts of terrorism and even self-immolation.

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 209

In order to further explore the compelling role played by religion in such cases, I will draw upon my own extensive research on religious conversion and patterns of shifting religiosity amongst British Muslims. The growth of religiosity, along with its concomitants, can perhaps be better understood within the broad interpretational framework of Transitional Religiosity Experiences (TRE), which encompass five key motifs, namely adoption, intensification, transition, attenuation and defection. In light of our current ambit, we will focus principally upon those motifs that signal a heightened state of religiosity, namely: 1) intensification – transitions from a state of nominal or moderate to strong(er) adherence, commitment or affiliation within the same religious tradition, for example, those individuals who undergo born again experiences, or simply become more ‘practising’, as the process is referred to in the contemporary British Muslim idiom; and 2) adoption or transition – a move from no tradition or one tradition to another, for example, conversion to Islam, or conversion within Islam (denominational switching, a move from one branch, sect or school to another). The change undergone may be sudden, entailing the contentious phenomenon of ‘snapping’ or sudden personality change, identified by Conway and Siegelman’s (1978) seminal study, but has a far greater propensity to be gradual, becoming manifest over prolonged periods of time (Buckser and Glazier 2003). These experiences are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and individuals may undergo multiple TREs throughout their lives, as is illustrated by the example of Asif Mohammed Hanif, who was for many years a committed member of the renowned LightStudy group, a congenial Sufi Muslim organisation based at Hounslow mosque, that rejects violence and extremism. However, during numerous trips to Syria, ostensibly to learn Arabic, his views are thought to have been altered drastically, to such an extent that he then travelled to Tel Aviv in May 2004 to undertake a ‘martyrdom operation’. The now defunct radical Muslim organisation Al-Muhajiroun posthumously claimed Hanif as one of its members (Bright and Alam 2003; Dodd et al. 2003). Similarly, Sajid Badat, a devout Muslim training to be an Islamic scholar at the College of Islamic Knowledge and Guidance in Blackburn, one of the Dar al-ulum seminaries that trains indigenous British imams, departed for Pakistan in 2003 prior to graduating. He is alleged to have then travelled to Afghanistan, where he received Jihadist training at the infamous Khalden camp. Upon his return to Britain, he was arrested under terrorism charges and found to be in possession of an explosive device identical to that used by Richard Reid in 2001. He later admitted to conspiring to blow up an aircraft in mid-flight (Johnson et al., 2003; Leppard and Fielding 2003; Naughton 2005). Both cases reveal an initial, fairly gradual intensification experience during adolescence or early adulthood, which was then followed some years later by a secondary, quite sudden transition experience that resulted in or led to radicalisation. This tentative pattern may in fact explicate the ubiquitous lag phase witnessed

210 ]

Akil N. Awan

between a rise in religiosity and the manifestation of radical Islamist inclinations. To put it another way, increasing religiosity per se, particularly through intensification experiences, is unlikely to result in radicalisation and often requires some further catalyst, such as an abrupt transition experience. It is important to reiterate in this respect that TREs are not prima facie evidence of terrorist proclivities, and experiences of increasing religiosity should not ipso facto imply a causal link between faith and attitudes. On the contrary, religious fundamentalism or ‘strong religion’ may even serve as an effective obstacle to radicalisation, as it can stave off feelings of loss and dereliction (Almond et al. 2003). In some cases, it may even be disingenuous to associate religion with radicalisation, for, if that were the case, how do we reconcile Hussain Osman’s statement that ‘religion had nothing to do with it. We were shown videos of the Iraq war and told we must do something big’ (Campbell and Hooper 2005). This proviso is crucial at this stage, for the discussion that ensues is naturally primed towards the experiences of those individuals espousing radical Islamism. The immediate consequences of TREs can be highly significant to the issue of potential radicalisation, and relate principally to the two primary ways in which individuals choose to (re)construct their life narratives following the experience. The first paradigm does not engage in any level of polarisation between the pre- and post-TRE phases of life; such cases maintain contextual continuity. Indeed, individuals adopting this viewpoint often fail to differentiate between life phases, choosing instead to view both as belonging to a continuum in which events transpire without fundamentally fracturing the overall life story. Although this first paradigm typically accounts for the vast majority of TREs in general, it is curiously absent from the experiences of radical Islamists and so of little relevance to our present study. Conversely, the second paradigm employs the TRE as a pivotal point in the narrative, in order to construct a harsh dichotomy between the two life-phases, a process I refer to as contextual bifurcation. The past life and all that it entailed is now diametrically opposed to the present life. Indeed, the more severe the distinction between the two phases, the more likely the individual will be to consider the change wrought to be genuine and meaningful. Often the individual’s recollection of pre-TRE life is marked by confusion and crisis, which is then seemingly resolved through acceptance of a totalitarian vision of Islam, a system of unflinching moral absolutes. Indeed, anything that fails to conform to this perceived moral clarity (including other Islamic viewpoints) is to be shunned and condemned, and this perspective is facilitated by an almost Manichean separation of reality into good and evil, represented by the Islamic concepts of halal and haram respectively. This view is also typically characterised by the severing (or at least weakening) of familial and social networks, though the disavowal of parents, siblings, wives and children, which also signifies a ‘break’ with the past. The sudden contextual

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 211

disjuncture is epitomised by the experience of Hasib Hussain, as described by a classmate: He liked playing cricket and hockey, then one day he came into school and had undergone a complete transformation, almost overnight . . . He started wearing a topi hat from the mosque, grew a beard and wore robes. Before that he was always in jeans. (Mail on Sunday 2005)

Antecedents of TREs In addition to social, psychological, emotional, cultural and numerous other factors, the motivation for and experience of shifting religiosity can often be shaped by substantive religious or spiritual desires, yearnings and experiences that cannot simply be summarily dismissed, as is often the wont of many reductionistic strains of literature on religious transformation within the social sciences (Rambo 2003). Rather, this particular dimension must be retained if we are to avoid divesting the individual’s experience of any real religious specificity, or else we will fail to address the appeal of any one particular worldview over another.4 However, we must also concede that TREs do not occur in complete vacua, and are also a product of ambient social, cultural and political milieux, which therefore also need to be accorded credence as factors that are integral to this process. Consequently, a holistic understanding of the antecedents of TREs is central to the study. There are numerous extraneous factors that can lead to a predisposition for TREs. Diverse socio-economic factors may be cited and typically include high levels of unemployment, poor job prospects, low educational attainment, a disproportionately high prison population and poor housing facilities, compounded by the presence of endemic and often institutionalised racism and Islamophobia (Office for National Statistics 2005; Trades Union Congress 2005; Peach 2004; Strategy Unit 2003; Department for Education and Skills 2003; European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia 2003). Hasib Hussain left school in July 2003 with no formal qualifications. Unemployed, with virtually no career prospects and resentful towards an environment that was unable to nurture his passion for football, he wiled away his youth smoking marijuana with friends and having the occasional altercation with neighbouring white youths (Jenkins 2005). Germaine Lindsay displayed a much higher aptitude for schooling, although circumstances appear to have placed him in a similar predicament. His application to Greenhead College, a nationally acclaimed school in Huddersfield to which he was assured admission as a result of his exceptionally high grades, was lost in the mail. He was required to re-submit his application, by which time the school was oversubscribed and he subsequently spent the entire year casting about for something else to do (Stockman and Slack 2005).

212 ]

Akil N. Awan

An ambience of deprivation is perhaps most evident in the biographies of the group responsible for the abortive attack on 21 July, which, being comprised entirely of former child asylum seekers, was located at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. Their experiences are epitomised by the case of Yassin Hassan Omar, who sought refuge in Britain from his native war-torn Somalia in 1992, aged eleven. Although he arrived with his elder sister and her husband, he was soon placed in foster care and spent the remainder of a peripatetic childhood in various foster homes. Prior to his participation in the London attacks, he was struggling to subsist on a combination of state subsidies and part-time employment (Tumelty 2005). Farrar (2005), intimately familiar with Muslim youth in Leeds (the nexus for the 7 July attacks) through his many years of work as a sociologist and community activist, contends that the attacks can be viewed as an extreme variant of violent urban protest,5 being deeply rooted in years of cumulative deprivation, marginalisation and grievances against the British state. The joint report produced by the FCO and Home Office (2004) referred to earlier corroborates this finding by suggesting that the poor and jobless are considered to be particularly susceptible to exploitation and recruitment by extremists. Although Mohammad Sidique Khan and many of his cohort possessed impeccable records, and in many cases were upright members of their respective communities, criminal activity does appear to be associated with a significant proportion of Islamists prior to their radicalisation. Richard Reid was raised in a largely dysfunctional home; his parents separated when he was four and his father remained incarcerated for much of Reid’s youth. He rarely attended school and instead drifted into the world of petty street crime, which resulted in numerous convictions, leading to several spells in prison, the youngest at the age of fourteen (Alleyne 2002). Similarly, Mukhtar Said Ibrahim, a cannabis-smoking bully at school, abandoned his parental home at age sixteen and became involved in youth gangs. In 1996, he was jailed for five years for violent street muggings and moved around a series of young offenders institutions, including the notorious Feltham YOI (Gardham and Johnston 2005). Hasib Hussain and Shahzad Tanweer both had more minor altercations with authorities in 2004; Hussain was arrested for shoplifting and Tanweer for disorderly conduct, however both received only cautions (Naughton 2005; BBC News 2005). Drawing the field internationally, Mohammed Bouyeri, known to have an unruly temper, served seven months in prison on a violence-related crime (Leiken 2005), as did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of the Iraqi insurgency and often referred to as bin Laden’s Iraqi lieutenant. Devastated by the death of his father, the 17-year-old adolescent dropped out of school and descended into a life of drinking, drug abuse and violence on the streets of Zarqa, which eventually culminated in a prison sentence for drug possession and sexual assault (Gambill 2004). With the exception of Hussain and Tanweer, all of the above are thought to have developed strong Islamist views whilst in prison, which could suggest that the espousal

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 213

of violent radical Islamism may in fact constitute a form of recidivism that supplants more conventional modes of criminality. Although we have demonstrated, to some extent, the pervasive and very real socio-economic deprivations that may underlie the sentiments held by many radical Islamists, conversely, we are presented with the striking incongruity that a significant proportion of these individuals were not particularly deprived or marginalised. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Sajid Badat and Omar Khan Sharif all attended private schools, Mohammad Sidique Khan was a university graduate, and both Omar Khan Sharif and Shahzad Tanweer attended university but failed to complete their studies. However, by focusing on individual circumstances and achievements, we not only do a great disservice to the genuinely impoverished communities from which they hailed, and which held a profound resonance for them, we also fail to apprehend the communal nature of radical-Islamist discourse. Khan, in his posthumously released ‘martyrdom’ testament, repeatedly invokes a communal identity in which he identifies the subjugation of ‘my people’ and ‘my Muslim brothers and sisters’ as being principle amongst his grievances. However, even prior to this, in 2002, by some strange irony Khan gave an interview to the Times Educational Supplement in relation to his job as a learning mentor, in which he expressed utter disdain at the lack of regenerative funds needed to help raise his native Beeston from its endemic squalor (Jenkins 2005). As Farrar (2005) contends, the one unifying thread amongst all these narratives is not necessarily poverty, but the complete divorce between all of these men and conventional political processes. Young Muslims can often experience a two-fold disaffection, in which they experience exclusion from both mainstream politics and society, and from minority community politics (as alluded to later). Political impotence, such as that witnessed in the wake of unprecedented anti-war marches and demonstrations that nevertheless failed to avert the course of the Iraq war, can lead to disillusionment with democratic principles and processes.6 Potentially, this may result in a retreat to Islamism as advocated by groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, who decry the notion of democracy and positively revelled in the failure of conventional political activism in preventing the Iraq war.7 Hussain Osman explained to Italian interrogaters that he was motivated to participate in the attacks after viewing videos of wartorn Iraq. He further claimed that the bombs were never meant to detonate or inflict death, but only to draw attention to the Iraq war, which he’d failed to achieve through conventional processes: ‘I am against war . . . I’ve marched in peace rallies and nobody listened to me. I never thought of killing people’ (CNN 2005). Political disenfranchisement was also alluded to in Mohammed Bouyeri’s open letter pinned to the body of his victim, Theo van Gogh: ‘There shall be no mercy for the unjust, only the sword that is raised at them. No discussion, no demonstrations, no parades, no petitions; merely death shall separate the Truth from the Lie.’8

214 ]

Akil N. Awan Identity construction

One particularly significant antecedent of TREs appears to be the presence of unresolved issues vis-à-vis identity construction. Of course, this search for identity and belonging is an intrinsic part of adolescence and early adulthood, and occurs universally, quite irrespective of religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, nationality or any other such identity marker. However, as the case studies of many radical Islamists will attest, this process appears to take on an urgency and prominence in these individuals that belies its ubiquitous, and often mundane, nature. For radical Islamists, the most salient elements of this contested identity construction may be considered to equate to the abstractions of majority culture (mainstream or host society), minority culture (ethnic or parental), and religion. Admittedly, this facile demarcation is in many ways specious, for none of these elements are diametrically opposed to one another, and there is considerable interaction and overlap between their spheres of influence. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that they may simply reinforce the validity of a ‘Tebbit test’ or its trite post-7/7 equivalent, ‘Are you British or Muslim?’, iterated ad nauseam in the media recently, they do offer a convenient means of approaching the subject. The importance ascribed to the various elements of this identity construction varies according to the principal actors involved and so it is important to recognise these intrinsic differences if we are to avoid spurious generalisations. Radical Islamists within European contexts may be broadly assigned to three primary groupings: 1) converts to Islam; 2) first-generation migrants (often asylum seekers or students); and 3) second- or subsequent-generation progeny of early immigrants.9 Minority culture For converts, the notion of an ethnic or minority culture may appear paradoxical, and although some converts may view parental culture in highly parochial terms that render it discernible from a more general notion of mainstream culture, the vast majority will perceive an inevitable conflation between majority and minority cultures, rendering the latter term somewhat redundant. Conversely, minority culture has a far greater bearing upon identity constructions in the experiences of first-generation migrants, for whom it occupies the position of majority culture prior to their migration. Their sentiments vis-à-vis minority culture are largely contingent upon the degree and duration of embedment within the said culture prior to displacement, and the underlying reasons for that displacement – that is, whether or not the dislocation was voluntary. Subsequent to their displacement, their experiences often mirror those of the final grouping. Second- and subsequent-generation members of migrant communities are much more ambivalent towards the notion of a minority culture. Those who

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 215

choose to affirm its validity can do so in one of two main ways. They may construe their ethnic culture as a symbol of political mobilisation and belonging (Song 2003), as in the example of Mohammad Sidique Khan, who established a youth centre gym in 2000, with a local government grant, under the rubric of the Kashmiri Welfare Association, aimed at keeping British Kashmiri youth off the streets through weightlifting and other youth activities. He was also instrumental in the opening of a second youth centre gym in 2004, the Hamara (‘ours’ in Urdu) Youth Access Point, to cater once again to ‘ailing’ Kashmiri youth (Tumelty 2005; Jenkins 2005). Others, however, retain identifications with parental culture through the atavistic expression of ethnic cultural components such as language, cuisine, dress or music. However, even in cases where individuals attempt a nostalgic reconciliation with their ‘roots’, it typically entails the adoption of a distinctively diasporic expression of that culture (such as ‘Asian’ hip-hop or bhangra music), which may not necessarily be deemed ‘authentic’, nor grant cultural legitimacy. Despite the fact that Shahzad Tanweer spent two months in his family’s village home in rural Faisalabad, ostensibly to learn more about his roots, he rarely ventured outdoors as he did not feel particularly welcomed by the locals who viewed him principally as a Briton (BBC News 2005). Similarly, the British Pakistani Muslims who travelled to Pakistan in 2002 in order to join the Jihadist group Jaish-eMuhammad, intending to help towards the ‘repatriation’ of their Kashmiri homeland, could only respond in English during their trial, evincing a complete loss of mother-tongue language faculties (Ahmad 2002). However, the predominant paradigm for radical Islamists by far appears to be the staunch repudiation of one’s minority culture, and this can occur for a variety of reasons. Individuals may deem the community and culture associated with parents to have exerted a serious stultifying effect on their aspirations and prospects for the future. Consequently, a sense of powerlessness and a lack of self-determinism may ensue, which the individual perceives to be the result of excessively moralising influences, overbearing familial control, and conservative social and sexual mores. These, combined with inflated parental expectations and an unattainable study or work ethic, are seen as seeking to stifle creativity, experimentation and freedom of choice. Individuals may attempt to rebel against this imposition of cultural constraints in tentative ways; for example, Omar Khan Sharif rebelled against parental cultural mores (but curiously not Islamic mores) by marrying a girl he met at university, against his mother’s wishes (Dodd et al. 2003; Britten et al. 2003), while Mohammad Sidique Khan invoked parental opprobrium by marrying an ethnically Indian Muslim (Herbert 2005). The problem may be compounded further by the presence of tribal or clanbased power structures, epitomised by the South Asian biraderi and commensurable systems in other cultures, which can have the ostensive effect of divesting youth of any real tangible control over their own lives. The socio-political impotence that may be imposed by the biraderi was poignantly illustrated by the

216 ]

Akil N. Awan

Labour ‘postal voting’ fraud in Birmingham in the 2003 elections (Kennedy 2005; Akhtar 2003).10 A slew of reports following the ‘race riots’ of 2001 in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, primarily involving young British Muslim men of South Asian descent, all drew attention to precisely this sort of cumulative marginalisation of youth voices by decision makers and community leaders (Cantle 2001; Clarke 2002; Ouseley 2002; Ritchie 2001; Denham 2002). More recently, the Home Office Report (2005, p. 15) ‘Preventing Extremism Together’ Working Groups, precipitated by the events of July 2005, also arrived at a similar conclusion: Many young Muslims feel that they do not have a voice or a legitimate outlet for protest, political expression, or dissent. Leadership roles are traditionally held by the elders, and the young people can feel frustrated at their inability to actively engage in decision making structures.

Consequently, the repudiation of one’s ethnic culture and its appurtenances can in itself symbolise a form of self-empowerment. The loss of minority culture may also correlate to a profound sense of alienation from one’s family and is often precipitated by a breakdown in communication, particularly with parents, who are therefore unlikely to be made privy to issues of utmost importance in their children’s lives. Hasib Hussain’s distraught mother, unaware of her son’s heinous actions, reported him missing to the Police Casualty Bureau on the evening of 7 July (Burke et al. 2005). Similarly, Mukhtar Said Ibrahim, one of the failed bombers on 21 July, was only identified after his bewildered family recognised their estranged son from CCTV images distributed throughout the media (CNN 2005; Gardham and Johnston 2005). Indeed, in the numerous cases presented before us, none of the families appear to have been cognisant of the paths upon which their children were embarked, and for many, the disavowal of their children’s actions were preceded initially by vociferous doubts over their culpability, evincing a state of profound shock and denial. One of the charges routinely levelled at minority culture by radical Islamists is that the traditions and customs associated with it seek to adulterate their pristine vision of Islam. This is hardly surprising, considering that prior to their TREs, most individuals possess only a rudimentary grasp of their parental faith, which rarely extends to religious praxis of any sort. Consequently, when they do begin to tentatively explore their religious heritage, the discovery of ‘extraneous’ material interjected into the Islamic canon can appear as something of a revelation, providing them with an authentic vehicle through which they can forge an alternative Islamic identity to that bequeathed by parents (Lewis 1994; Roy 2004). The growing attraction of an austere Wahhabism or Salafism amongst diasporic Muslim youth, that condemns many ethnic customs and norms as bidah (reprehensive religious innovation),

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 217

is testament this fact. Mohammad Atta, one the 9/11 hijackers, stated in his will that after death he did not want to be memorialised every forty days or every year as per Egyptian tradition, as this was not an authentic Islamic custom (Der Spiegel 2002). But perhaps the most damning indictment of minority culture for many radical Islamists is that it holds little or no relevance in the diaspora. There is no ‘myth of return’, no solace to be found in a nostalgic struggle for the homeland (or if there is, it is at least re-framed in supranational terms that renders its parochiality anachronistic), and ethnic languages become defunct through neglect whilst English assumes the role of lingua franca. Moreover, ambient cultural racism11serves to negate any intrinsic worth thought to reside in ethnic traditions and customs, whilst concomitantly those very same traditions and customs are exposed as subverting authentic Islam. By virtue of this twopronged attack, minority culture can effectively become obsolete. Majority culture One of the more striking aspects of radical Islamism in the West is the degree to which its proponents are often ensconced within the majority culture prior to their radicalisation. Indeed, most biographies are rife with details alluding to an espousal of secular, Western lifestyles that are wholly appropriated from the ‘host’ culture. Mohammad Sidique Khan was raised in Beeston, in what was, at the time, a predominantly white area. Attempting to shrug off his Pakistani-Muslim identity, he adopted the anglicised name ‘Sid’ and maintained a largely white social circle during his youth, displaying a general indifference to religion and ethnic or parental culture. A close friend, Rob Cardiss, remembered Khan as being ‘very English’, an observation iterated by another member from his childhood clique, Ian Barrett: ‘If it wasn’t for the colour of his skin, he would have been English . . . I just thought of him as a Beeston lad – and that’s what he was – a Beeston lad, born and bred’ (Suleaman 2005). Khan’s emphatic espousal of a Western identity continued beyond his formative years. At one point, he became completely enamoured with the US, and dreamt of migrating there and becoming an American – an image strikingly at odds with his later vehement denunciation of Western foreign policy, spearheaded by the US (Khan 2005). Similarly, Asif Mohammed Hanif was regarded as being very ‘Westernised’ by those around him. A close family friend and neighbour remarked, ‘I was surprised. I didn’t understand why he had changed, because his whole family were all westernised. The sisters all wore tights and skirts’ (Dodd et al. 2003). Not only does the espousal of majority identities appear to be the norm, it often includes elements that are anathema to individuals’ own minority cultural expectations and norms. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh had a history of drinking and flings with older girls (Akhtar 2005a), whereas Omar Khan Sharif was expelled from his school for severe disciplinary problems

218 ]

Akil N. Awan

(Britten et al. 2003). Hasib Hussain ‘went a bit wild’ with drinking and swearing shortly after leaving school (Cobain 2005), and was not alone in flouting his parental mores; his sister Alia had sparked a family scandal earlier by eloping with her Sikh lover (Mail on Sunday 2005). Enculturation of this sort is perhaps to be expected of converts and secondor subsequent-generation British Muslims who, by virtue of being raised in a pervasively British environment, imbibe many of its values and cultural norms. However, even the more recent arrivals appear to have displayed a remarkably rapid embedment in majority culture. Hussain Osman, one of the 21 July bombers, was renowned for his popularity with girls, and a former Italian girlfriend who nicknamed him ‘Bambi’ remembers him fondly: We called him that because of his big dark eyes, like those of a fawn, and his long, thick eyelashes . . . we went to a disco every Saturday afternoon. He was obsessed with America. It was his dream. The music. Hip-hop – He dressed rapper-style. Trousers with a dropped crutch and a basketball vest. He drank alcohol – beer. He danced really well. Everyone knew he was a Muslim and a believer, but he never talked about it to me, nor did he have any problems going out with those of us who were not Muslims. It was just that he didn’t eat pork. (Hooper 2005)

Her account reveals a portrait not dissimilar to that of other young men prior to their radicalisation; one comfortably immersed in popular, mainstream youth culture, lax in religious praxis but also, critically, one who clearly retains some vestige of his minority cultural and religious identity. At best, such examples illustrate that an individual is particularly adept at traversing cultural spheres, however, at other times and points in the individual’s life (such as those induced by crisis, or changes in circumstances or commitment), it may also point to a cultural schizophrenia of sorts that cannot reasonably be sustained for any prolonged period of time. Identity is not a static construction and as self-categorisation theory contends (Oakes et al. 1994; Turner et al. 1987), the self may be defined at different levels of abstraction depending upon differing circumstances; at times, it may be in terms of individual uniqueness, whilst at others, in terms of specific group membership. The salience of a communal identity may, for example, arise during periods of perceived group crisis, evoked by events such as the Iraq war, the Palestinian Intifada or the global ‘War on Terror’. It is in these instances that individuals become more prone to reassessing what religious identity means to them, either as reconstruction in part of the lost minority identity or as a response to pressing questions and challenges from a pervasively nonMuslim environment. Moreover, this new interest in religion may also stem from a gradual disillusionment with majority culture, particularly in light of its perceived hedonism, rampant capitalism and the general imposition of conflicting core value-systems from the ‘host’ society, which may render the individual unwilling or unable to perpetuate assimilation into the predominant paradigm.

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 219

This leaves the individual in something of a quandary: a distinct lack of identification with both minority and majority cultures, as a result of being unable or unwilling to fulfil either group’s normative expectations, gives rise to a dual cultural alterity. In the absence of an appealing cultural paradigm from either group, the individual simply resorts to a cultural entrenchment that assumes a religious hue by default (due to a lack of viable alternatives), thus transforming religion from religion per se into an anchor of identity. Consequently, religion not only provides an emphatic rejoinder to Western identity, but is also interpreted de novo, without the perceived cultural accretions of the Islam associated with their parental or ethnic identity, thereby constructing a legitimate identity outside both minority and majority cultures. Roy (2004) argues that globalised radical Islam is particularly attractive to diasporic Muslims precisely because it legitimises their sense of deculturation and uprootedness by refusing to identify Islam with the pristine cultures of their parents, pointing to a strong correlation between deculturation and religious re-formulation. Antecedents of radicalisation As indicated earlier, TREs, including those that occur suddenly and entail contextual disjuncture of some form, do not imply, ipso facto, the presence of radical Islamist proclivities. Some individuals may even be drawn to the austere, puritanical forms of Salafism or Wahhabism (which provide the principle ideological basis for global Jihadism) but nevertheless eschew violence of any form themselves. Clearly something beyond a simple TRE must transpire if an individual is to be drawn to radical Islamism. How, then, does one progress from a TRE to Jihadist inclinations? A number of factors appear to be instrumental to this process. A recent survey of Muslim students (FOSIS 2005) found that 83 per cent were unhappy with British foreign policy, principally in Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, and the alliance with the US – all areas in which Muslims are perceived to be the victims of Western aggression and persecution. Clearly, within such a widespread sea of discontent, the presence of a small minority who may countenance the articulation of that discontent through violent means is eminently plausible. For these putative latent radicals, any new perceived provocation, such as the occupation of Iraq or the lurid excesses witnessed at Guantanamo Bay or in Abu Ghraib, may serve as a casus belli that sanctions the recourse to jihadism. The International Institute of Strategic Studies (2004) in its Strategic Survey 2003/4 reported that the Iraq conflict had resulted in an acceleration of recruitment, with up to 1,000 foreign Jihadists having infiltrated Iraq, highlighting the role of political events in the incubation and catalysis of radicalism. One of the potential consequences of socio-economic deprivation, political disaffection, and the gradual lack of identification with minority and majority cultures referred to earlier, is the manifestation of a state of anomie. This

220 ]

Akil N. Awan

absence of values and standards, with concomitant feelings of alienation and purposelessness, are not necessarily alleviated by recourse to TREs. Instead, the individual turns to the espousal of radical Islamism, which serves as an emphatic rejoinder to the banality and humdrum inanity of daily life. In its stead, this new worldview provides, perhaps for the first time, a sense of being part of an elite that compensates for the shortcomings of one’s own petty existence. Moreover, sacralised violence and ultimate martyrdom provide a conduit for these otherwise seemingly implacable feelings of dejection, with the individual spurred on by the vainglory of being included amongst the alumni of the ‘shuhada¯’ (martyrs). Given the amorphous and egalitarian nature of Islamic ecclesiastical structures, and the fluidity of its jurisprudence, the conspicuous absence of a clearly delineated religious hierarchy can also pose a serious problem. As Hefner (2005, p. 6) contends, ‘most Muslim societies are marked by deep disagreements over just who is qualified to speak as a religious authority and over just how seriously ordinary Muslims should take the pronouncements of individual scholars’. The pressing issue of locating religious authority becomes much more acute in the predominant Sunni tradition, and can leave laity with a vast array of differing (and sometimes conflicting) religious opinions and rulings (Ayoob 2005). Moreover, these rulings are all grounded to varying degrees within the traditional canons of Islam, and are traditionally held to be equally valid, at least in their methodology if not in their actual content, with believers often being encouraged to follow the ruling of a scholar they respect or trust. The problem is further compounded by the fact that the traditional ulema (religious scholars) are no longer considered to be the ultimate repositories for moral authority and guidance they once were. With the advent of globalisation and an age of virtual fatwas,12 it can prove increasingly more difficult for the uninitiated (which most radical Islamists are, prior to their TREs) to discern the authentic and eminently trustworthy from those who are not. It is in this context that we should seek to understand Shahzad Tanweer’s adulation of Osama bin Laden, whom he considered to be ‘his personal hero’ (McGrory and Hussain 2005; Foster and Malick 2005). It is easy to understand why a figure like Osama bin Laden, who strikes a compelling pose as the classic warriorcleric, is considered eminently more trustworthy, more genuine, more rightlyguided than ‘mainstream’ scholars, perceived to be corrupted by complicity with and subservience to secular or despotic regimes. Indeed, his pariah status grants him autonomy from the political machinations, internecine conflicts and ‘worldly’ affairs within which mainstream scholars are seen to be embroiled, granting him a potent legitimacy not based on scholarly erudition. Consequently these types of charismatic lumpen-ulama, some of whom may not even be theologically qualified to give religious edicts (Taarnby 2004),13 can quote selectively from the Quran and prophetic traditions, both ahistorically and sans context, to formulate novel interpretations that may violate mainstream

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 221

scholarly consensus (ijma), for example, in the unlawful targeting of civilians.14 This very same process, that equates dissidence (against the state, Western hegemony or secularism) with probity, also granted legitimacy to notorious fringe scholars in Britain such as Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, Abu Hamza al-Masri and Abu Qatada, who have been instrumental in at least some of the radicalisations witnessed, including those of Richard Reid, Zacarias Moussaoui (the alleged twentieth hijacker on 9/11), Asif Mohammed Hanif, and numerous others, through links with the Finsbury Park Mosque (Leiken 2004; McGrory 2003; Shameen 2002). Curiously, in light of these revelations, the media has been awash with spurious claims of bullying harangues from pulpits and pathological hatred spewed out in mosques. This is, in fact, a fallacy with little or no basis in reality; aside from the cases of the infamous preachers already mentioned, and the notorious case of the Finsbury Park Mosque, control over which was temporarily usurped by the incendiary preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri and his coterie of radicals, no other British mosque has allowed itself to be used in the same way. Instead, the primary inspiration for radicalism is to be found in the first instance on the Internet, in particular in the growing phenomenon of Jihadist websites and blogs. Virtual propagation of Jihadism is proceeding apace, with exponential growth in Jihadist websites, witnessing a proliferation from 14 to over 4,000 within the last five years alone (Atran 2005). In addition to the publication of ‘official’ statements from Jihadist leaders, the Internet not only provides the ideological treatises and theological ‘evidences’ underpinning the culture of jihad, but also the means through which to carry it out (Ulph 2005a). A plethora of technical and military manuals, such as the notorious Mawsuat al-Idad (Encyclopaedia of Preparation), cover topics as diverse as how to kidnap and murder hostages, weaponry manufacture and deployment, guerrilla warfare, training, tactics and bomb-making expertise. For example, the manufacture of acetone peroxide, the material allegedly used in both the 7 July and 21 July attacks, is given a comprehensive treatment in the online Al-Aqsa Encyclopaedia, available on a number of jihadi forums.15 Just as significant are the numerous bulletin boards and forums for the global cadres of Jihad, which, aside from facilitating the discussion and dissemination of new material, also allow ‘outreach’ facilities through which the uninitiated may express discontent and discover a channel for its expression.16 More recent developments have seen the advent of the Internet streaming of video news programmes such as the weekly Sawt al-Khilafah (Voice of the Caliphate), ‘dedicated to the leaders of al-Qaeda, the Islamic armies in Chechnya, Kashmir and the Arabian Peninsula’, and which consists of a fifteen-minute news round-up. The potency and legitimacy of this increasingly more sophisticated brand of Jihadist media is bolstered by the conspicuous absence of commensurate reports from the mainstream media on these conflict zones. In cases where they are afforded coverage, they usually lack the graphic portrayals of violence and its aftermath,

222 ]

Akil N. Awan

simply reinforcing the perception that the Western media is, at best, presenting a censored, sanitised version of conflict that fails to countenance real Muslim suffering, or, at worst, is somehow complicit in the events themselves. Some Jihadist groups are now becoming alarmingly cognisant of the Internet’s radicalising efficacy and appear to be explicitly focusing their energies upon virtual radicalisation and recruitment. The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) recently wrote: ‘this is the Internet that Allah has enlisted in the service of jihad and of the Mujahedeen, which has come to serve your interests – given that half the battle of the Mujahedeen is being waged on the pages of the Internet – the sole outlet for Mujahedeen media’ (Ulph 2005b). A recent posting by the GIMF entitled the ‘Pledge of Death in God’s Path’,17 went further and requested a virtual pledge of allegiance (bayah) from site visitors, in the hope that they might be prepared to actively engage in jihad and ‘allegiance to death . . . in the very near future . . . so that Osama bin Laden will have an army in Afghanistan, an army in Iraq, and a huge army on a waiting list on the Internet pages’ (Ulph 2005b). Other forums list the exploits and ‘glorious’ martyrdoms of those slain in the global arena of Jihad, with the prospect of drawing others to the same path. One such highly publicised recent list, detailing the names and accomplishments of 429 such fighters in Iraq, is suspected to have been largely falsified,18 with its primary purpose serving as a propaganda tool for mobilisation and recruitment (Cordesman and Obaid 2005). The 2004 Madrid train bombings are prime examples of the consequences of virtual radicalisation. The Internet text Iraqi Jihad: Hopes and Dangers, which suggested that the strategic bombing of trains would compel Spain’s withdrawal from the US-led coalition in Iraq, is thought to have been seminal to the actions of the perpetrators (Comisiones de investigación sobre 2004). Similarly, Hussain Osman stated to Italian investigators that the group regularly met up in a basement gym in Notting Hill, where they repeatedly watched videos of the conflict in Iraq and used the Internet to ‘readup’ on jihad. Although he denied any direct links to al-Qaeda, he did admit to utilising their platforms on the Internet (Elliott et al. 2005). One of the oft-overlooked aspects of radical Islamism is the degree to which humanistic aspirations underlie the changes in worldview associated with incipient radicalism. Empathy for fellow-Muslims inculcates many potential radical Islamists with a sense of duty and justice, which finds effective expression through the conduit of Jihadism. Hussain Osman told Italian investigators that during preparations for the attack the cell steeled its resolve by ‘watching films on the war in Iraq . . . especially those where women and children were being killed and exterminated by British and American soldiers . . . of widows, mothers and daughters that cry’ (Fusani 2005). Similarly, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh’s radicalisation harked back to the conflict in Yugoslavia, ostensibly stemming from compassion towards Bosnian Muslims and the perceived apathy of Europeans towards their ethnic cleansing: ‘it was the unjust armed

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 223

embargo perpetuated by the European members of the United Nations on Bosnia’s Muslims while they were being slaughtered in the most horrific way by Serbian forces that made me realise that the pillars of Western civilisation are not for us Muslims’ (Ansari 2005). According to interrogators, would-be suicide bombers are always sincerely compassionate to those they see themselves as helping (Atran 2004) – a point corroborated by Durkheim’s sociological taxonomy of suicide, through which ‘martyrdom operations’ are also considered to be altruistic in nature (Durkheim 1897; Stack 2004). Pape’s (2005) comprehensive study of suicide terrorism reveals that suicide bombings are virtually always a liberation strategy in response to occupation that places the community over and above the self; that is why the occupied communities often call them martyrs and consider their actions to be altruistic.19 The notion of community here is expanded beyond its traditional ambit to that of the Ummah (the global community of believers), which is central to Islamist discourse, and indeed the Jihadist movement’s actions and rhetoric constantly, and rather shrewdly, invoke the spectre of a global community. This helps to explicate why a British jihadist of Pakistani or Jamaican provenance (who feels little or no identification with Britain, Pakistan or Jamaica, but complete allegiance to the Ummah) would undertake a martyrdom operation in Britain, ostensibly in response to occupation in Iraq or elsewhere. It is easy to conflate all Jihadist acts and actions under the singular rubric of terrorism, but even amongst radical Islamists themselves there exist degrees of ‘acceptability’.20 Causes associated with national struggles for independence against repressive regimes, such as those of Chechnya, Kashmir and Palestine, enjoy widespread sympathy and consequently have far greater legitimacy than, for example, khilafah movements or the global jihadism of al-Qaeda. In the same way, conflict with military occupiers is not accorded the same inviolable taboo status as violence against civilian populations. It appears that many potential radicals, with romanticised and earnest but largely inchoate notions of defending the ummah and championing the cause of the oppressed, can have their (often laudable) empathies diverted (due to a lack of accessibility to the principle cause) or manipulated to deadly effect. They may not wish to participate in more ‘controversial’ operations, but by that point they have long crossed the Rubicon. Indeed, even Mohammad Atta reputedly wanted to travel to Chechnya to defend its Muslims against the brutal repression of the Russians, prior to his involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks (American Future Foundation 2003). Similarly, several members of the London ‘ricin plot’ in 2003 were found to have trained in the Pankisi Gorge camps, with the stated aim of undertaking Jihad in Chechnya (Bale et al. 2003; Norton-Taylor et al. 2003). Mohammed Bouyeri, who emerged from jail an Islamist, incensed over injustices in Palestine and strongly sympathetic to Hamas, nevertheless articulated this anger through the ritualistic killing of Theo van Gogh in his native

224 ]

Akil N. Awan

Netherlands (Leiken 2005). In the case of the 21 July cell, the absence of a conduit for their anger over the Iraq conflict precipitated the abortive attack that instead sought to punish Londoners by proxy. In other scenarios, there may be a gradual progression to increasingly more ‘hardline’ radicalism that transcends the individual’s initial largely humanistic aspirations. The small number of Britons who struck out to join the Iraqi insurgency (Leiken and Brooke 2005), which is viewed as a legitimate movement against Western occupation, will inevitably return to their host societies, as did earlier British Jihadists who travelled to the theatres of conflict in Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bosnia before them (Taarnby 2004). These survivors, brutalised by the ravages of war and possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, may prove incapable of slipping back into mainstream society, and consequently may more easily resort to more extreme or taboo modes of violence. The paths and motivations to Islamic political radicalism amongst British Muslims are many and varied, with no simple cause-and-effect calculus appearing to be tenable. Rather, socio-economic deprivation and political disaffection, potently combined with the dual cultural alterity experienced by diasporic Muslims, can lead to an entrenchment that takes on a religious hue by default. In light of this deculturation, identification and loyalty is transferred from the majority and minority cultures to the Ummah exclusively. In times of group crisis (such as that imposed by perceived Western aggression), humanistic aspirations and a state of anomie may compel the individual to undertake altruistic violence in the hope of liberating his community (Ummah), and himself, through his own sacrifice. Perhaps, ultimately, what impels the radical Islamist towards sacralised violence is not entirely removed from Horace’s dictum, effectively employed to spur on generations of soldiers to the glories of war and martyrdom: ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ – it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. Notes 1. See Modood (2005b) for an emphatic rejoinder to the facile linkage between the events of July 2005 and the UK’s policy on multiculturalism. 2. The Global Peace and Unity Event, 4 December 2005, Excel, London. 3. We must of course remain cognisant of inherent differences; there is a world of difference between the experience of South Asian Muslims living within a British or Dutch multiculturalist paradigm, and the experience of North African Muslim youth chafing under a rigid Laïcité in French banlieues. 4. This is particularly pertinent when we look at the experiences of converts to Islam who are, in principle, at liberty to choose from the entire gamut of religious options. 5. Such as the ‘race riots’ of 2001 in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford, or the more recent disturbances involving French youth in Paris and Lyon.

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 225

6. Conversely, the potent efficacy of the Madrid bombings in precipitating the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq serves to legitimise alternate means. 7. Hizb-ut-Tahrir ran an intensive campaign in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, employing the slogan ‘Don’t Stop the War – Except through Islamic Politics’: www.khilafah.com/home/category.php?DocumentID=6108&TagID=28. Accessed 27 February 2006. 8. For a transcript of the letter, see www.faithfreedom.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t= 5270. Accessed 27 February 2006. 9. The ethnicity of second- and third-generation European Muslims varies across Europe and broadly follows patterns set by colonial legacy: Muslims in the UK are principally from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, whereas French Muslims tend to be of North African descent. 10. Nevertheless, we must be wary of overstating the influence of cultural institutions such as the biraderi in diasporic communities. Shahid Malik was elected Labour MP for Dewsbury in 2005 despite being denied the specific endorsement of any local mosque. Similarly other successful community leaders such as Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham have fared extremely well despite falling foul of biraderi politics in the past (Akhtar 2003). Although we must also temper this point by acknowledging the fact that both were immersed in ambient biraderi politics and thus not totally aloof from the system. 11. Modood (2005a) contends that the familiar ‘biological racism’ has been displaced by a newer ‘cultural racism’, which focuses on language, religion, family structures, dress and cuisine – traits that define what it means to be Asian. 12. A number of Islamic websites offer online fatwa databases and the provision of fatwa Q&A sessions. See, for example, www.islam-qa.com and www.islamon line.net/English/index.shtml. Accessed 27 February 2006. See also Bunt, G. (2003). 13. By all accounts, Osama bin Laden has had no formal religious training. 14. For a discussion of some of the arguments put forward by radicals in order to justify the killing of civilians, see Wiktorowicz (2005). 15. See, for example: http//elaqsa.2islam.com/Explo/11.html. Accessed 27 February 2006. 16. For examples, see: www.tajdeed.org.uk and www.al-farouq.com. Accessed 27 February 2006. 17. Posted on the ‘al-Hesbah’ Jihadi forum: http://www.alhesbah.org. Accessed 27 February 2006. 18. The list is available from the ‘al-Saha’ forum: http://alsaha.fares.net/sahat/.ee6b2ff. Accessed 27 February 2006. 19. The large number of US troops stationed in the Arabian Gulf, particularly in the hijaz, was seen as occupation by al-Qaeda and their supporters, and indeed their removal constituted the earliest articulated demand by Osama bin Laden. See ‘The Ladinese Epistle: Declaration of War (I)’, MSANEWS, 12 October 1996. See also Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places: http://azzam.com/html/articlesdeclaration.htm. Accessed 27 February 2006.

226 ]

Akil N. Awan

20. See, for example, Haykel, B. (2005) ‘Among jihadis, a rift over suicide attacks’, The New York Times, 12 October. More recently, the London bombings were condemned by both Hamas and Hezbollah, who have been known to employ the tactic of suicide bombing as part of their strategy against Israeli occupation (The Daily Star 2005).

References Ahmad, K. (2002) ‘The Rise of Hizb al-Tahreer’, Friday Times (Lahore), 14 October. Akhtar, N. (2003) The Biraderi, BBC Radio 4, 26 August. —— (2005a) ‘Torn between cultures, Britain’s “orphans of Islam” turn to terror’, The Guardian, 23 October. Alleyne, B. (2002) Radicals Against Race – Black Activists and Cultural Politics, Oxford and New York, Belg. Almond, G. A., R. S. Appleby and E. Sivan (2003) Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalism around the World, Chicago: Chicago University Press. American Future Foundation (2003) ‘Chechnya. The New Afghanistan?’, American Future Foundation Magazine, 1 July. Ansari, M. (2005) ‘Our son’s murderer is advising on terror strikes’, The Telegraph, 24 July. Atran, S. (2004) ‘Soft Power and the Psychology of Suicide Bombing’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 2 (11). —— (2005) ‘The “Virtual Hand” of Jihad’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 3 (10). Ayoob, M. (2005) ‘Deciphering Islam’s multiple voices: Intellectual luxury or strategic necessity?’, Middle East Policy, 12 (3). Bale, J. M., A. Bhattacharjee, E. Croddy and R. Pilch (2003) Ricin Found in London: An al-Qaida Connection?, Center for Nonproliferation Studies: http://cns.miis. edu/pubs/reports/ricin.htm#fn1. Accessed 27 February 2006. Bright, M. and F. Alam, (2003) ‘From Pacifism to Jihad’, The Observer, 4 May. BBC News (2005) News report (Faisalabad), BBC News 24, 24 July. Britten, N., R. Waterhouse and S. O’Neill (2003) ‘What turned two happy teenagers into hate-driven suicide bombers?’, The Telegraph, 2 May. Buckser, A. and S. D. Glazier (eds) (2003) The Anthropology of Religious Conversion, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Bunt, G. (2003) Islam in the Digital Age: E-Jihad, Online Fatwas and Cyber Islamic Environments, London: Pluto Press. Burke, J., A. Barnett, M. Bright, M. Townsend, T. Panja and T. Thompson (2005) ‘Three cities, four killers’, The Observer, 17 July. Campbell, D. and J. Hooper (2005) ‘Second bomb suspect was seen in Rome’, The Guardian, 1 August. Cantle, T. (2001) Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review Team, London: Home Office. Clarke, T. (2002) Report of the Burnley Task Force: http://ww.burnleytaskforce.org.uk. Accessed 27 February 2006.

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 227

CNN (2005) ‘London bomb suspect arrested’, 27 July: www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/ europe/07/27/london.tube/. Accessed 27 February 2006. Cobain, I. (2005) ‘The boy who didn’t stand out’, The Guardian, 14 July. Comisiones de investigación sobre el 11 de-marzo-de-2004 (2004) Congreso de los Deputados, Madrid, Session 13, 19 July 2004, and Session 30, 15 November 2004: www.losgenoveses.net/11M/CI_007.pdf. and www.losgenoveses.net/11M/ CI_017.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. Conway, F. and J. Siegelman (1978) Snapping: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change, New York: Stillpoint Press. Cordesman, A. H. and N. Obaid (2005) Saudi Militants in Iraq: Assessment and Kingdom’s Response (revised 19 September 2005), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Daily Star (2005) ‘Middle East condemns London bombings: Hizbullah joins regional denunciation of suspected Al-Qaeda attack’, The Daily Star (Beirut), 8 July. Denham, J. (2002) Building Cohesive Communities: A Report of the Ministerial Group on Public Order and Community Cohesion, London: Home Office. Department for Education and Skills (2003) Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Ethnic Minority Pupils, London: Department for Education and Skills. Der Spiegel (2002) Inside 9–11: What Really Happened, New York: St. Martin’s Press. Dodd, V., J. Vasagar and T. Branigan (2003) ‘Polite and caring sons who turned to terror’, The Guardian, 2 May. Durkheim, E. ([1897] 1952) Suicide : A Study in Sociology, translated by Spaulding, J. A. and G. Simpson, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Elliott, F., S. Goodchild and J. Phillips (2005) ‘Extraordinary admission to interrogators by London bomb suspect’, The Independent, 31 July. European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (2003) The Fight against Antisemitism and Islamophobia: Bringing Communities together, Vienna: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. Fair, C. and B. Shepherd (2006) ‘Who Supports Terrorism? Evidence from Fourteen Muslim Countries’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 29 (1). Farrar, M. (2005) ‘Leeds footsoldiers and London bombs’, openDemocracy, 22 July: www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-terrorism/leeds_2696.jsp. Accessed 27 February 2006. FCO and Home Office (2004) Young Muslims and Extremism, 6 April: www.timesarchive.co.uk/onlinespecials/cabinet1.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. FOSIS (2005) The Voice of Muslim Students, August 2005, Federation of Student Islamic Societies, London. Retrieved 14 October 2005: www.fosis.org.uk/com mittees/sac/FullReport.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. Foster, P. and N. Malick (2005) ‘Bomber idolised bin Laden, says Pakistan family’, The Telegraph, 21 July. Fusani, C. (2005) ‘ “Non volevamo colpire l’Italia” la lunga confessione nella notte’, La Repubblica, 30 July.

228 ]

Akil N. Awan

Gambill, G. (2004) ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: A Biographical Sketch’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 2 (24). Gardham, D. and P. Johnston (2005) ‘Terror suspect is convicted mugger’, The Telegraph, 27 July. Guardian/ICM (2005) Muslim Poll (November 2004): http://image.guardian.co.uk/ sysfiles/Guardian/documents/2004/11/30/Muslims-Nov041.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. Haykel, B. (2005) ‘Among jihadis, a rift over suicide attacks’, The New York Times, 12 October. Hefner, R. W. (2005) ‘Modernity and the Remaking of Muslim Politics’, in Hefner, R. W. (ed.) Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Herbert, I. (2005) ‘Not Very Religious: The “Very English” London Terrorist’, The Independent, 19 November. Home Office (2005) ‘Preventing Extremism Together’ Working Groups, August– October 2005: www.communities.homeoffice.gov.uk/raceandfaith/reports_pubs/ publications/race_faith/PET-working-groups-aug-0ct05. Accessed 27 February 2006. Hooper, J. (2005) ‘Suspect was a Roman Romeo in love with US’, The Guardian, 2 August. International Institute of Strategic Studies (2004) Strategic Survey 2003/4, London: International Institute of Strategic Studies. Jenkins, R. (2005) ‘Killers may have been recruited at youth centre’, The Times, 16 July. Jenkins, R., Kennedy, D., Lister, D. and Midgeley, C. (2005) ‘London Bombs’, The Times, 15 July. Johnson, A., S. Carrell and J. McGirk (2003) ‘The War on Terror: Is This the First Evidence of a Suicide Bomb Plot in Britain?’, Independent on Sunday, 30 November. Kennedy, D. (2005) ‘Labour election fraud “would disgrace a banana republic” ’, The Times, 5 April. Khan, M. S. (2005) Statement (‘Martyrdom testament’), Al-Jazeera: http:// news. bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4206800.stm. Accessed 27 February 2006. Leiken, R. S. (2004) Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11, Nixon Center monograph: www.nixoncenter.org/publications/monographs/ Leiken_Bearers_of_Global_Jihad.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. —— (2005) ‘Europe’s Angry Muslims’, Foreign Affairs, 8 (44). Leiken, R. S. and S. Brooke (2005) ‘Al Qaeda’s second front: Europe’, International Herald Tribune, 15 July. Leppard, D. and N. Fielding (2003) ‘Race against time in hunt for Britain’s Al-Qaeda sleepers’, Sunday Times, 30 November. Lewis, P. (1994) Islamic Britain, London: I. B. Tauris. Mail on Sunday (2005) ‘Suicide bomber profile: The Teenager’, 13 July. McGrory, D. (2003) ‘A haven for faithful hijacked by extremists’, The Times, 21 January.

Transitional Religiosity Experiences

[ 229

McGrory, D. and Z. Hussain (2005) ‘Cousin listened to boasts about suicide mission’, The Times, 22 July. Modood, T. (2005a) Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. —— (2005b) ‘Remaking multiculturalism after 7/7’, openDemocracy 29 September: www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-terrorism/multiculturalism_2879. jsp. Accessed 27 February 2006. Naughton, P. (2005) ‘Profile: Friendly, popular, Badat hid dark secret’, The Times, 28 February. Norton-Taylor, R., N. Hopkins and J. Henley (2003) ‘Poison suspect trained at al-Qaida camp’, The Guardian, 10 January. Oakes, P., S. A. Haslam and I. Turner (1994) Stereotyping and Social Reality, Oxford : Blackwell. Office for National Statistics (2005) The UK population: by religion, April 2001: www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=293&Pos=1&ColRank=1&Rank=176. com. Accessed 27 February 2006. Ouseley, H. (2002) Community Pride, not Prejudice – The Ouseley Report on Bradford, Bradford: Bradford Vision. Pape, R. A. (2005) Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, New York: Random House. Peach, C. (2004) ‘Britain’s Muslim Population: An Overview’, in T. Abbas (ed.), Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure, London: Zed Books. Pew Research Center (2005) Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics: Support for Terror Wanes among Muslim Publics (17-Nation Pew GlobalAttitudesSurvey):http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php? ReportID=248. Accessed 27 February 2006. Phillips, T. (2005) ‘After 7/7: Sleepwalking to Segregation’, Commission for Racial Equality, 22 September 2005: www.cre.gov.uk/Default.aspx.LocID-0hgnew07s. RefLocID-0hg00900c002.Lang-EN.htm. Accessed 27 February 2006. Rambo, L. R. (2003) ‘Anthropology and the Study of Conversion’, in Buckser and Glazier (eds) (2003). Ridley, Y. (2005) The Global Peace and Unity Event, 4 December 2005, London: Excel. Ritchie, D. (2001) Oldham Independent Review, Oldham: Oldham Independent Review Panel and Government Office North West. Shameen, A. (2002) ‘Secrets of the Mosque; A Rare Look Inside the Religious Centers that have made Britain a Hotbed of Radical Islamic Agitation’, Time International, 6 May. Song, M. (2003) Choosing Ethnic Identity, Cambridge: Polity Press. Stack, S. (2004) ‘Emile Durkheim and Altruistic Suicide’, Archives of Suicide Research, 8 (1). Stockman, F. and D. Slack (2005) ‘For Jamaican native, life path led from success to extremism’, The Boston Globe, 22 July. Strategy Unit (2003) Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market, London: Cabinet Office. Suleaman, N. (2005) Biography of a Bomber, BBC Radio 4, 17 November.

230 ]

Akil N. Awan

Taarnby, M. (2004) ‘The European Battleground’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 2 (23). Trades Union Congress (2005) Poverty, Exclusion and British People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Origin: www.tuc.org.uk/extras/Poverty.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. Tumelty, P. (2005) ‘An In Depth Look at the London Bombers’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 3 (15). Turner, J. C., M. A. Hogg, J. Oakes, S. D. Reicher and R. L. Webb (1987) Re-Discovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorization Theory, Oxford: Blackwell. Ulph, S. (2005a) ‘A Guide to Jihad on the Web’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 2 (7). —— (2005b) ‘Mujahideen to Pledge Allegiance on the Web’, Global Terrorism Analysis, 2 (22). Wiktorowicz, Q. (2005) Radical Islam Rising: Muslim Extremism in the West, London: Rowman and Littlefield. Woolcock, N. (2006) ‘Islamist cell “tried to con young men into attacks on the UK”’, The Times, 28 March. YouGov (2005) Muslims (Daily Telegraph 25 July 2005): www.yougov.com/archives/ pdf/TEL050101030_1.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006.

CHAPTER

16 An Assessment of Colonial Strategies of Resistance, Liminality and Herberg’s Thesis in the Rise of Radicalism among British South Asian Youth Ron Geaves

Introduction After the events of 7/7, much thought has been and will continue to be given to the motivations of the ‘terrorists’ and the causes that lie behind them. The author’s position is that there is no single cause but rather a complex interweaving of cosmology, history and circumstances. This article will claim that one set of historic contributory factors could ignite into religious violence if certain circumstances occurred. A number of Muslim movements have transmigrated from the subcontinent into Britain and have been a major factor in establishing the religious infrastructure of Islam in Britain. Although such movements are not in themselves violent in their reaction to the West, strategies of resistance to the colonial presence of Britain in India and the loss of Muslim power created an animosity towards Western political and educational institutions, and the selection of a self-conscious defensive posture of isolation. These strategies formed part of an older historical response to political failure arising from within the religious realm, namely the doctrine of ‘Manifest Success’ espoused by Sunni Muslims and endorsed by the Quran. These strategies of isolation and the subsequent related production of Muslim apologia adopted respectively by Deobandi-influenced groups and Jamaat-i Islami-influenced movements have contributed to an ambiguous relationship to the new homeland amongst first-generation South Asian migrants, and continued to influence the mosque through imported imams and elders who maintain the politics of the countries of origin. These strategies of resistance developed in the colonial era have been maintained, refined and sharpened by the continuing post-colonial relations of the majority world, especially Pakistan and Bangladesh, with the wealthy, non-Muslim nations of the West, who are still perceived to hold the Muslim nations in the grip of poverty and [ 231 ]

232 ]

Ron Geaves

underdevelopment. These unequal post-colonial relations have formed part of the processes of economic migration, and strategies of resistance have been maintained in the new environment, thereby hindering any attempts at successful integration of the new world and the old. In assessing such strategies, this chapter will reassess Herberg’s thesis, which argues that the religious consciousness of ethnic or migrant populations is stronger than other mainstream communities because religion offers a strong identity during times of dislocation. In addition, the classic anthropological thesis developed by Van Gennup with regards to rites of passage and the concept of liminality will be applied as a conceptual tool to contextualise the arguments further. Utilising Turner’s developments of Van Gennup’s ideas, where he extended the concept to include all forms of movement in social life, the chapter will argue that the British ‘suicide’ bombers can be explored as ‘threshold people’ – that is, liminal entities that are between positions assigned by law, custom, tradition and convention. The paper will go further and argue that ‘suicide bombers’ as a phenomenon can be compared to the status of the liminal in rites of passage, such as puberty or initiation rites, where the denizens of the liminal worlds are often depicted as the monstrous. The actual act of selfdestruction can then be viewed as the ultimate manifestation of embodiment, the way in which ritual works on and by means of the body. ‘Manifest Success’ The doctrine of ‘Manifest Success’ provides an underlying pattern that repeats itself throughout Sunni Muslim history. Arising out of the Quran’s response to the two battles of Badr and Uhud, ‘Manifest Success’ provides a theology that is linked to worldly success and failure. Found also in parts of the Jewish sacred texts, the doctrine asserts that the evidence of divine favour is found in political success, expansion or prosperity. Although originally the Quran during the period of the Meccan revelations avoided ‘Manifest Success’ in favour of persecution as the sign of God’s favour and the truth of his message, asserting that all the prophets and messengers of God had experienced incredulity and the taunts of their respective people, this approach was to change after the Hijra to Medina and the military success at Badr. For the fledgling religious community of Meccans and Medinans, the overwhelming victory over the superior forces of the Quraysh and their allies was seen as divine intervention and favour for the new people of God. If the Prophet Muhammad’s period of intense ridicule and revilement from the Meccan merchants had been confirmed in the Quran as the lot of God’s prophets, drawing upon a number of examples from Jewish religious history and also citing Jesus’s inability to win the authorities to his side, the Hijra (migration) to Medina had transformed Muslim fortunes. After the battle of Badr, against an overwhelming Meccan force, provided both the first Muslim deaths in battle and a

Strategies of Resistance: the Rise of South Asian Radicalism

[ 233

surprising victory, the Quran was to declare that angels fought alongside the Muslims: ‘Remember you implored the assistance of your Lord, and He answered you; “I will assist you with a thousand of the angels, ranks on rank”.1 After this formative event, Muhammad’s position was one of influence and status in the oasis settlement of Medina, and his success was to bring about an important change in the theological position developed in Mecca. In this context, Malise Ruthwen refers to Islam being ‘programmed for victory’ and argues that it is a ‘triumphalist faith’.2 From this date forward (624 CE), the majority of Muslims would regard victory and success in the world as proof that they were God’s final community of revelation. Once more, the Quran noted the transformation: Call to mind when you were a small band, despised throughout the land, and afraid that men might despoil and kidnap you; but He provided a safe asylum for you, strengthened you with His aid, and gave you good things for sustenance: that You might be grateful.3

The Quran called the phenomenon ‘Manifest Success’ or ‘Manifest Victory’: ‘Verily We have granted you a Manifest Victory that Allah may forgive you your faults of the past and those to follow; fulfil His favour to you; and guide you on the Straight Path’.4 And successes there were: the next two centuries would see Islam become a major religious force in the world, and the Arabs a significant civilisation. However, soon after the battle of Badr, Muhammad led a force of Muslims against the Meccan merchants who were seeking vengeance for the defeat at Badr. The two enemies met at a place called Uhud. The Muslims met with heavy losses, including the death of Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, and even Muhammad did not escape without injury. The Quran was to state: ‘How else could God know who were true believers, except by observing who persevered in the face of adversity.’5 The fault of the Muslims was that they disobeyed the Prophet, who wished to remain in Medina, and persuaded him to engage the enemy against his wishes. The response of the Quran is the classic religious defence for failure once the doctrine of ‘Manifest Success’ has been accepted. Material misfortune raises the spectre of the withdrawal of God’s favour. The only reasonable response for the believers is to seek reparation, the means to restore divine favour, but the logic of the theological position insists that the only evidence of the return of God’s favour will be a restoration of material well-being. Thus the theology of ‘Manifest Success’ demands that all future failure be seen either as a test of God’s faithful in adversity or a sign that in some way the believers were lacking in the required submission, faith or obedience. But in reassuring the faithful concerning the setback at Uhud, Allah explains: ‘Such days of varying fortunes We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those that believe, and that He may take to Himself from your

234 ]

Ron Geaves

ranks Martyr-witnesses to Truth’.6 Thus the cycles of fortune require responses from the faithful; and Allah will look to those who remain steadfast under fire. For those who remained ‘steadfast’ and lost their lives, eternal reward is promised in the afterlife: ‘Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the Presence of their Lord. They rejoice in the Bounty provided by Allah.’7 In these two battles, Sunni Muslims found a pattern that was to re-emerge again and again throughout history. When confronted with political setbacks and military failure, the ulema or religious reformers demanded religious revival as an attempt to regain God’s favour. Significantly, there was no challenge to the doctrine of ‘Manifest Success’ until the invasion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century destroyed the centres of Arab Muslim civilisation. The shock to the Sunni mentality resulted in self-reflection, the religious seeing the downfall of the dynasty caused by its profligate behaviour and departure from the ways of the Prophet and the first Muslims. They called for religious revival to revitalise Muslim fortunes and return the community to its supremacy. Yet the fall from power that resulted from European colonialism was to be the biggest shock of all – for the new imperial powers brought before Sunni Muslims the vision of a revival of Christian authority, a religion which God was supposed to have supplanted with Islam as his new community of salvation. The response throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a succession of regional religious revivals, for defeat could only be interpreted as a sign of God’s disfavour. To restore favour to his last community it was necessary to be self-critical, and seek revival and the reform of Islam. The situation in India For Muslims in India, the situation until the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh was always going to express the pattern described above in a form different to that found in the Arab heartlands of Islam. Although the various conquests of India could be perceived as further evidence of ‘Manifest Success’, Muslims remained in the subcontinent as a minority surrounded by a vast number of Hindus, and were to lose their empire to the British. The latter event was to significantly impact on the psyche of the Muslim community, and effect political and religious activity. The particular expression of ‘Manifest Success’ to appear in India can be described under the rallying cry of ‘Islam in danger’, especially as seen from the point of view of the Muslims and how they were treated by the Raj. First raised was a rallying cry and a call for revival and reform by Ahmed Sirhindi (d. 1625), who feared the innovations he felt creeping into Islamic belief and practice, and especially manifest in popular Sufism and vernacular forms of Islam. In order to prevent this taking place, Sirhindi advocated a policy of non-contact with the Hindu population.8 His deep awareness of the need for

Strategies of Resistance: the Rise of South Asian Radicalism

[ 235

reform, combined with his intense suspicion of innovation and his distrust of any contact with the non-Muslim world, made him a pioneer of Muslim isolationism in South Asia, and sowed the seed of Muslim separatism that culminated with the creation of Pakistan.9 A century on from Ahmed Sirhindi, the political situation had been transformed. Shah Wali-Allah (1702–63) was faced with a situation in which the Mughal empire was in serious decline. There were rebellions by the Marathas, Sikhs and Rajputs, and in 1739 Nadir Shah sacked the city of Delhi. Many Muslim thinkers were to regard the loss of territory and the absence of strong leadership as an indication that Muslims in India were no longer counted amongst the righteous and needed to reform. There was a call for the renewal and purification of Islam. However, Shah Wali-Allah did not prescribe isolation, but rather that Indian Muslims should identify more strongly with the wider Islamic world and less with being Indians. He did insist that the lack of moral standards that had led to the decline in Muslim fortunes had arisen from contact with Hindus and badly converted Muslims. Recommitment was required: no true Muslim could accept the contemporary situation and should therefore dedicate themselves to work for a regeneration of Islam that would stop both internal decay and external domination. As with Sirhindi, he rejected popular styles of Islam in favour of scripturalist emphasis on the fundamentals of the religion. Shah Wali-Allah continued the strategy of isolation, in spite of his insistence that Muslims should see themselves as an integral part of the wider Muslim world. His emphasis on reform and renewal led towards the community looking inwards upon itself and becoming deeply conservative; the solution was to maintain the Shariah and to rally around its implementation, as it was a perfect system that could not be improved upon or changed in any way. However, Shah Wali-Allah did not live to see the battle of Plassey that effectively placed Bengal in the hands of the British through the East India Company, events which occurred four years after his death. In 1803, Lord Lane occupied Delhi. By the opening of the nineteenth century, real power over the heartlands of the old Mughal empire had passed into non-Muslim hands. Furthermore, after the Mutiny or War of Independence in 1857, Muslims had to come to terms with not only being a minority in Hindu India, but also with being relatively powerless under British rule. They were no longer able to control a whole range of issues relating to the organisation of the law and, as a consequence, the ulema turned to the issuing of fatwa(s) concerned with the minutiae of everyday life Although these had no coercive power, they were essential to Muslims searching for a way to preserve the true expression of their faith under foreign domination. The issuing of fatwa(s) also indicated a move towards creating self-contained communities in matters of religion and everyday behaviour. The thousands of fatwa(s) issued by various alims were to help maintain the boundaries of the various movements that appeared throughout the nineteenth century, as they condemned the

236 ]

Ron Geaves

beliefs and practices of other groups and gave authority to one’s own. The fatwa(s) functioned not only to form group identity, but also to allow for some control over keeping Muslim life within the framework of the Shariah when there was no Muslim state to enforce the law. The detailed restrictions on everyday life also functioned as a boundary that isolated those Muslims who observed these practices from both Hindu and British life.10 Many of these fatwa(s) were issued by the descendents of Shah Wali-Allah. It was his sons and successors who were to develop his ideas into coherent strategies and movements to deal with the loss of Muslim power to the British. The nineteenth century was to see his ideas organised into energetic social-political religious movements adopting various strategies. One such strategy was selected by the charismatic Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly (1782–1831), who established a small kingdom in the North-West Frontier, from where he waged war against the Sikhs. Any territory that he was able to carve out for his kingdom was placed under the rule of Shariah. In 1831, he was trapped and killed by Sikhs at Balakot. The option of militant jihad was continued by small groups of his followers until the early 1860s, but the defeat in 1857 and the consequent British backlash finally destroyed any hope of removing the British by such means.11 Perhaps of more significance was Sayyid Ahmad’s strategies of resistance prior to his military activities in the NorthWest, as these survived his death and became far more influential. After returning from hajj, he began to organise and orchestrate his followers into a close-knit network of centres consisting of preachers and workers engaged in reform and revival activities. Working at village level, these activists distributed texts and engaged in preaching, collected subscriptions, set up courts to administer Shariah locally and appointed to mosques imams who were sympathetic to their message. These groups of activists were the prototype of the twentiethcentury jamaat-style movements and in the same manner believed themselves to be a part of special and exclusive elite selected to live and teach the true Islam. Sayyid Ahmad’s heritage was the possibility of an Islamic society made actual and a means of revitalising Muslim fortunes through reform-movement revivalist jamaats.12 It is significant at this point to note that Metcalf comments that the importance of Sayyid Ahmad’s activities was that they gave meaning to people whose lives appeared to be outwith their own control.13 An alternative strategy was adopted by the family descendents of Shah WaliAllah, who continued to espouse the policy of isolation, but in the context of relations with the British. Shah Abdul Aziz, who died in 1824, had insisted that it was improper for Muslims to learn English in order to secure positions in the British administration or to promote better relations.14 At the extreme, there were even several murders of British employers committed by Muslim servants who came to regard their positions as sinful.15 Before 1857, Indian Muslims continued the strategy of purifying their own religion; but after 1857, the inclination towards isolation developed pace. In their efforts to keep Muslim society

Strategies of Resistance: the Rise of South Asian Radicalism

[ 237

distinct from the British invaders and the taint of Christianity, the reformers following after Muhammad Ishaq (1778–1846) and the Bengali reformer Shariatullah (1781–1840) avoided jihad and instead constructed a wall of isolation that was cemented together by religion. The call to reform advocated a return to a scripturalist religion that rejected medieval Indian Islam and asserted that a return to ‘pristine’ faith based on Quran and Sunna could unite and revive the fortunes of Indian Muslims who were divided by class, education, language and regional culture. After 1857, very few believed that the British could be removed by force. The ideal of a separate Muslim state governed by Shariah and led by a righteous Muslim leader, however, lived on. The majority of the reformers took the pragmatic decision that, as long as the British did not interfere with the practice of religion, then the British government could be considered as an established regime and it would be against the law to dissent against it.16 Consequently the reformers turned their zeal and enthusiasm towards establishing a vision of Islam that could be capable of surviving and maintaining the religion in the absence of an Islamic state. They were certainly successful in achieving this goal, but the price paid was an isolationalism they justified by perceiving the culture of the British as Jahiliyyah, to be avoided. On the other hand, the jamaat-style organisations created for the purification of Islam suffered from the members’ sense of exclusiveness. This exclusiveness had rather dire consequences for Islam in South Asia, for although it could be argued that Islam was preserved in a time of crisis and even renewed, the reformers failed to unite Muslims in the region. Indeed, on the contrary, the various movements established began to develop sectarian tendencies, in the sense that they were constructed with rigid boundaries and a strong sense of otherness towards those who did not belong. This was especially pronounced in the conflict between Deobandis and Barelwis, but existed even in rivalries between the various reform movements, as in the case of Deobandis and Ahl-i Hadith. The nineteenth-century reformers helped to create a unique faith-based identity for South Asian Muslims, but the negative possibilities of such an enterprise lay in a sense of specialness. Arising out of religious selfconsciousness it could, in certain circumstances, spill over into an exclusive isolationism that perceived outsiders as other, and that in the political sphere kept Muslims away from a full sense of shared citizenship when living as a minority community. The culmination of the reformers’ activities was the strategic development of creating madrasahs as the institutional centre of their activities. The intention was to maintain a doctrinally correct Islam that would keep Muslim consciousness awake and organised on a national basis. Attention was further focused on the Muslim community, with the reformers leaving Delhi and the other centres of British governance, and settling in the strong Muslim territories in the North-East of Uttar Pradesh, such as the towns of Deoband, Saharanpur, Gangoha, Bareilly and Khowlah. In 1867, the Deoband Dar

238 ]

Ron Geaves

al-Ulum was founded. The curriculum known as Dars al-Nizami was based on the eighteenth-century model of Farangi Mahal in Lucknow, in which the traditional Islamic sciences of Tafsir, Fiqh and Hadith were emphasised to ensure correct belief and practice. There was no accommodation for non-religious education. The intention of the college was to train well-schooled ulema who would be committed to the cause of the reformers as taught by Shah Wali-Allah and his successors. The staff and the students perceived themselves to be not just an educational institution, but an independent school of thought and an active, effective movement within Islam.17 Within six months of the foundation of the school, a second institution, the Madrasa al-Mazahir-I Ulam, opened in Saharanpur. By 1880, there were a dozen schools identifying themselves as Deobandi, stretching across India from Madras to Bengal. Less than a century later, in 1967, there were 8,934 Deobandi schools across South Asia.18 The education system was self-perpetuating. With little or no qualifications, the graduates either became imams or opened their own schools. All the schools exchanged staff and the personnel were often linked by family as well as religious orientation. The success of Deoband led to rival movements following the same pattern, and the Barelwis, who supported the status quo of traditional Sufiorientated Islam, also began to open such institutions. In 1971, a census of 915 madrasahs found that 458 were Deobandi and the remainder belonged to Shia, Ahl-i Hadith and Barelwi groups.19 The fame of the college went throughout the Muslim world and it soon began to attract students from outside India. In the century between its founding in 1867 and 1967, the college recruited students from Afghanistan, Burma, China, Malaysia, Iraq, Iran, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Kuwait, Ceylon, Saudi Arabia and the Yemen, although the vast majority were South Asian. Difficulties in obtaining Indian visas has led to a decline in international students, but the task of globalising the movement has been achieved. Young South Asian diaspora Muslims do not need to visit India, for there are Deobandi colleges in Pakistan, Bangladesh and England. Deoband utilises other ways of spreading its reform message. Primarily, they have made efficient use of fatwa(s). From within ten years of the college’s foundation, legal queries began to arrive in increasing numbers.20 The teachings of the founders emphasised that, in periods of disorder, certainty was vital to safeguard against error, and the strategy of issuing fatwa(s) was introduced to ensure such certainty. In the first hundred years of the college’s existence, 269,215 were issued, most of which focused on belief and ritual. Rival movements followed suit with counterclaims of correct aqidah. In addition to fatwa(s), the staff of Deoband and rival ulema engaged in preaching and religious debates. This activity was often directed against other religions, notably Christianity and Hinduism, but much of the debating took place between rival Muslim groups. These debates further helped to establish

Strategies of Resistance: the Rise of South Asian Radicalism

[ 239

boundaries between diverse Muslim points of view and assisted the growth of sectarianism. The movements were all essentially deeply conservative, and the proliferation of fatwa(s) helped to reinforce the lack of flexibility and innovative response to new situations. The decision to avoid Western or secular subjects on the curriculum has led to the criticism that the Dar al-Ulum graduates and their teachers are deeply out of touch with the contemporary world and the problems faced by Muslims living within it. Some students have even admitted that they felt qualified only to become members of the ulema and inadequate to deal with problems posed by contemporary society.21 This conservatism is joined to the reformers’ belief that they have a special understanding of the reality of God, which, in turn, develops a sense of specialness or uniqueness amongst their followers. Each set of followers believed that they alone conformed to the identity of being true Sunni Muslims, and this conviction became central not only to Deoband, but to their rival movements as well. Members of other movements are viewed as either deluded or confused, and in jeopardy of compromising Islam. This defining of others as confused or deluded went as far as branding them as kufr, outside the fold of Islam. In fact, the term kufr or unbeliever was redefined from its original Quranic meaning, where it is used neutrally as a label for the non-Muslim. Increasingly the term became to be laden with hostile and pejorative associations. The emphasis on correct religious practices provided a means for people to express their own value in one situation, ever whilst they were powerless in other areas. But this was achieved at the cost of defining themselves against the other as morally superior – and with an increasing awareness of their differences from other communities, not only the Hindus and the British but also Muslims who belonged to rival groups. There was a satisfaction to be gleaned from considering oneself morally correct, but it resulted in separation from those judged to be wrong.22 Islamic identity in South Asia developed along three distinct lines, each with its roots in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century colonial situation. The loss of Muslim power resulted in the growth of sectarian movements, each hostile to the other, each claiming to be the true form of Islam, and all preaching that the change in Muslim fortunes would come about with a renewed commitment to the religion. However, in reality, this recommitment meant following the sunna as outlined by that particular grouping. The three broad groupings are: (1) the heirs to the nineteenth-century reformers of Deoband and Saharanpur, which include Deobandis, Ahl-i Hadith, Ahl-i Quran and the international preaching movement, Tablighi-Jamaat; (2) the twentieth-century politicised jamaat-style movements, with their agenda of an Islamic state whose roots lie in the jihad-type movements typified by Sayyid Ahmed of Rae Bareilly; and finally, (3) the embattled adherents of traditional regional Islam, who had themselves been organised into the Barelwi sectarian identity as a reaction to the reformers’ hostility by Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi (1856–1921).

240 ]

Ron Geaves The relevance of the reform movements in Britain

These three trends and their antagonisms to each other were to shape religious life in Pakistan and Bangladesh after the partitions of 1947 and 1971, and also the formation of Muslim identity and religiosity in the South Asian British diaspora. The South Asian Muslim presence in Britain is predominantly a result of economic migration and continues the colonial relationship forged in the subcontinent in a new post-colonial context. Thus, British South Asian Muslims have continued to perceive themselves as a relatively powerless minority in the midst of non-Muslim territory and have sometimes utilised the same strategies developed in opposition to the colonial presence. Herberg’s thesis basically asserts that migrant communities reaffirm traditional values and that consequently their religious traditions are strengthened.23 The experience of British Muslims would suggest that this is so, but the thesis does not account for transformation across generations, or for the historical context in which a particular tradition has developed. Any assessment of the events of 7/7 will need to take note of increased religiosity among many secondgeneration British South Asian Muslims, but within the context of the religious environment that transmigrated with the first generation. The religion of the parents had been created in an earlier atmosphere of defensiveness, where movements struggled against the enemies of materialism, atheism, the influence of Christianity and Western political domination, but also regarded each other as doctrinal enemies. A more useful tool for understanding the creation of small numbers of second-generation South Asian British Muslims prepared to turn towards political/religious violence would be Victor Turner’s ideas on liminality.24 Building upon Arnold van Gennup’s (1960) earlier work on rites de passage, defined as ‘rites which accompany every change of place, state, social position and age’, Turner can be accredited as one of the first to acknowledge embodiment in scholarly study.25 Van Gennup, in his classic work on rites de passage, had posited a three-stage process. The first phase is that of separation or detachment of the group or individual from the previous fixed point in the social structure or set of cultural conditions; the second is the liminal stage, in which the group or individual passes through a period that is ‘betwixt and between’ located states and positions in cultural space; the third and final stage is the reemergence of the group or individual to a new stable state described by Turner as possessing ‘rights and obligations vis-à-vis others of a clearly defined and structural type; he is expected to behave in accordance with certain customary norms and ethical standards binding upon incumbents of social position in a system of such positions’.26 The processes of migration can be compared to rites de passage in that they possess similar stages. In establishing their religious life based on the forms already existent in South Asia, the newly arrived migrants tried to deal with the

Strategies of Resistance: the Rise of South Asian Radicalism

[ 241

separation or detachment from a particular set of cultural conditions by duplicating them in the new environment. Although the creation of religious forms and structures provided the constructive potential of public engagement, the continued strategies of isolation, and a rhetoric of ‘otherness’, provided the possibility for the growth of destructive trends. Herberg’s thesis of increased religiosity when migration occurs can be seen in a number of ways, not least in the level of Islamicisation that has taken place in Britain – but not all of this should be viewed in a negative light. However, Herberg’s thesis appears to operate in particular, as well as in an overall increase in religiosity. For example, the isolation of the Islamic seminaries in South Asia is far more marked in the British Deobandi reproductions than in the subcontinent. A number of Western scholars have been able to stay in Deoband or Tablighi-Jamaat institutions in India and Pakistan as part of their research,27 whereas entry to the British equivalent at Bury or Dewsbury is strictly policed and virtually impossible to negotiate. As noted by Sophie Gilliat-Ray, after her own thwarted attempts to gain access in recent years, various individuals and organisations have attempted to access Deobandi Dar al-Ulums for a variety of reasons and have met with refusal.28 The position had not changed over two decades. In 1988, Danielle Joly commented that the Deobandis had a reputation for ‘being the least open to British society’.29 The author of this article met refusal to visit Bury Dar al-Ulum in 1993 and has been escorted from the premises of the Tablighi-Jamaat European headquarters in Dewsbury, in spite of his informing the administration that he had been given hospitality and cooperation in India and Pakistan. For the first-generation migrants, the reform message offered the attraction of an apparently successful strategy for survival. Just as it once attempted to unite all the disparate Muslim strands in India, so it could now bring together all the many ethnic divisions amongst Muslims in Britain, and serve to unite a Muslim minority community from the subcontinent with a wider worldwide movement of revival. The nineteenth-century movements had stockpiled nearly two hundred years of experience in maintaining an authentic religious expression and providing a vehicle for cohesive community identity; in addition, they were skilled at supplying detailed information on religious matters concerning everyday life. However, in achieving these goals, the policy of isolation led to them being hopelessly adrift from contemporary life and riven by sectarian differences. The reproduction of religious life and the re-appropriation of Shah WaliAllah’s old rallying cry of ‘Islam in danger’ may have constituted a continuation for the first generation, but the cultural conditions did not suit the young British-born generation who found themselves caught in a liminal stage between the laws, customs, conventions and ceremonials of the way of life reproduced by their parents and those dominant in twentieth- and twenty-firstcentury Britain. Turner observed that liminal entities in puberty or initiation rites may be presented as possessing nothing to indicate their lack of status.

242 ]

Ron Geaves

Deprived of leadership roles in the mosque, and socially under-privileged in British society, they had been brought up in the environment of isolation, divisiveness and awareness of ‘otherness’ that constituted their parents’ separation and detachment. Islam was not utilised as a voice of integration, but rather separation and exclusiveness. In this state of liminality, the young sought new avenues to express their condition, often seeking for the comradeship and egalitarianism that Turner notes marks the neophyte in rites de passage. Not finding what they sought available in the movements and structures created by their parents, they turned to the twentieth-century politicised jamaats that were able to symbolically parallel the liminal condition’s need for communitas. They could offer a sense of sacredness, homogeneity and intense comradeship. The parallels can be best observed in Turner’s own words: We are presented, in such rites, with a ‘a moment in and out of time’, and in and out of secular social structure, which reveals, however, fleetingly, some recognition of a generalised social bond that has ceased to be and has simultaneously yet to be fragmented into a multiplicity of structural ties.30

It is my contention that membership of the radical Dawah movements, with their stress on jihad and the internationalising of the warning ‘Islam in danger’, provided such ‘a moment in and out of time’ whilst at the same time appearing to overcome the inadequacies of their parents’ religious life. However, the sense of ‘the other’ remained as strong. Unfortunately, the liminal stage in religious rites is also frequently linked with death and wilderness. The neophytes in such rites are sometimes even disguised as monsters. Such rituals recognise the dangers inherent in liminality, and for those who walk ‘betwixt and between’ it can sometimes throw up the monstrous. My contention is that the rhetoric of difference taken to its ultimate extreme in the liminal condition can result in the body itself being used in the ultimate performative rite de passage, in which the suicide bomber differentiates itself culturally and religiously in order for it to be perceived as ‘naturally’ different. The body itself becomes the absolute differentiator and yet simultaneously makes a statement of transformability.31 It is not my intention to suggest a direct causal link between membership or contact with South Asian Islamic reform movements and acts of terrorism by British-born South Asian Muslims, but to argue that, in the transition process, the continuity of nineteenth-century strategies of isolation and the re-creation of the discourse of ‘otherness’ have not helped the integration of Islam in Western society. There are signs of the third stage of rites de passage emerging – that is, a new stable state possessing rights and obligations vis-à-vis others, in which the British Muslim is expected to behave in accordance with certain customary norms and ethical standards ‘binding upon incumbents of social position in a system of such positions’. Muslims need not fear such an event as assimilation, for it has been demonstrated by the writings of Tariq Ramadan

Strategies of Resistance: the Rise of South Asian Radicalism

[ 243

that Islam can accommodate the best aspects of Western democracies without in any way compromising its own ethics. In fact, this final stage (in terms of the rites de passage analogy) can be viewed as embodied in the thoughts of Tariq Ramadan32 and Sheikh Hamza Yusef33 and is beginning to gain some support amongst young British Muslims. Although it has been suggested that the above scholars are outsiders in the British context (Ramadan is Swiss and Yusef is American), and therefore potentially marginalized,34 I would suggest that the very lack of institutional support from within the Muslim community enables them to be perfectly placed to speak to the liminality of young Muslims. Indeed, the international dimension enshrined in their respective backgrounds is an ideal fit for the ethos of ummah that has been so heavily invested in by many young South Asians of the British Muslim population. Notes 1. The Holy Quran, 8: 9. I have used the English translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali, published by IPCI: Islamic Vision, Birmingham, in 1998, and first published in 1934. Although the Arabic text of the Quran is standardised amongst Sunni Muslims, English translations vary, as do commentaries. I am aware that this is a highly contested area amongst various movements within the Muslim community and I know precisely who favours or disfavours my chosen translation. There was no ideological commitment informing my choice. I am also aware that the English is open to a variety of interpretations of the meaning of the language. 2. Ruthwen, M. (2004) Fundamentalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 39. 3. Holy Quran, 8: 26. 4. Holy Quran, 48: 1–2. 5. Holy Quran, 3: 136. 6. Holy Quran, 3: 140. 7. Holy Quran, 3: 169–70. 8. Ikram, M. (1964) Muslim Civilization in India, New York: Columbia University Press, p. 172. 9. Geaves, R. (1996) Sectarian Influences in British Islam, Leeds: Community Religions Monograph Series, p. 131. 10. Metcalf, B. D. (1982) Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860–1900, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, p. 52. 11. Karandikar, M. A. (1968) Islam in India’s Transition to Modernity, Bombay: Orient Longman, p. 134. 12. Geaves (1996) p. 135. 13. Metcalf (1982) p. 61. 14. Mujeeb, M. (1967) The Indian Muslims, London: George Allen & Unwin, p. 398. 15. Ibid., p. 398. 16. Agwani, M. S. (1986) Islamic Fundamentalism in India, New Delhi: Twenty-First Century India Society, p. 17.

244 ]

Ron Geaves

17. Rizvi, S. M. (1980) History of the Dar al-Ulum Deoband Vol.1, Deoband: Maulana Adbul Haqq, p. 336. 18. Metcalf (1982), p. 136. 19. Rizvi (1980), p. 364. 20. Ibid., p. 143. 21. Geaves (1996), p. 151. 22. Ibid., p. 152. 23. Herberg, W. (1983) Protestant–Catholic–Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology, 2nd edn, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 24. Turner, V. (1969) ‘Liminality and Communitas’, in The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Chicago: Aldine Publishing. 25. Turner, V. reproduced in Lambek, M. (ed.) (2002) A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion, Oxford: Blackwell, p. 358. 26. Ibid., p. 359. 27. Reetz, D. (2001) God’s Kingdom on Earth: The Contestation of the Public Sphere by Islamic Groups in Colonial India (1900–1947), Berlin: Freie Universitat Berlin; Geaves (1996) and Metcalf (1982) were all studies completed as a result of fieldwork carried out in Deoband, Bareilly and other religious institutions in India and Pakistan. 28. Gilliat-Ray, S. (2005) ‘Closed Worlds: (Not) Accessing Deobandi dar al-uloom in Britain’, Fieldwork in Religion, 1 (1), p. 15. 29. Joly, D. (1988) ‘Making a place for Islam in British society: Muslims in Birmingham’, in Gerholm, T. and Y. G. Lithman (eds), The New Islamic Presence in Western Europe, London: Mansell, p. 38. 30. Turner, V. reproduced in Lambek (2002), p. 360. 31. De Castro, E. V. (1998) ‘Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4 (3), p. 458. 32. Ramadan, T. (2004) Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 33. Yusuf, H. (2004) Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart, USA: Starlatch Press. 34. Abbas, T. (2005) ‘Muslims in Britain after 7/7: the Problems of the Few’: www.open democracy.net/conflict-terrorism/muslims_3120.jsp. Accessed 27 February 2006.

chapter

17 Ruminations and Reflections on British Muslims and Islam post-7/7 1 H. A. Hellyer

Introduction On 7 July 2005, between 8.50 a.m. and 9.47 a.m., four bombs went off in London on public transport, killing 56 people (including the bombers themselves) and wounding around 700. Two weeks later, four more bombings were attempted but failed. Preliminary police investigations led the government to claim, and the public to accept, fairly quickly, that these were terrorist attacks on the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and that the culprits were Muslims. In and of itself, this was hardly a shock; London had been bracing itself for an attack for a long time, ever since 11 September 2001, and more so since the attacks on Madrid on 11 March 2004. The war in Iraq had enraged radical Muslim extremists, and their wrath was being awaited with some anticipation. What came as a revelation to the British public was the police disclosure that the criminal element was not foreign, but domestic. According to the evidence publicised by the police, the perpetrators were British citizens; moreover, they were not from disenfranchised and marginalised sectors of society. One of the accused was a teacher responsible for children with special needs and worked at a community centre. Another was a university graduate and active in local sporting activities. The surprise that the bomber suspects were British was compounded by the fact that they were fairly well-integrated (according to certain standards) members of British society; a surprise that ignored how much immersion previous radical criminal extremists had in Western cultures. Further escalating the astonishment that befell British society was the news that other Muslims in Britain, although by no means more than a small minority, had expressed sympathy for the attacks, even if they would not engage in them themselves. These were not men whose houses had been bulldozed on the [ 247 ]

248 ]

H. A. Hellyer

West Bank or Gaza, or whose families had been caught in the Russian levelling of Grozny. Yet British multiculturalism had not stopped them from supporting attacks on their neighbours, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. A minority of people in the Muslim community were citing a ‘religious imperative’ for these attacks; documents posing as fatwa (juridical opinions) that permitted these operations were on Internet forums, and individual Muslims were taking sides on them. In response to the idea that this was actually a ‘problem with Islam’, it was claimed that the religion of Islam had to be reformed, in order to protect society. Salman Rushdie wrote in the Washington Post (11 August 2005): ‘The Islamic Reformation has to begin here, with an acceptance of the concept that all ideas, even sacred ones, must adapt to altered realities.’ Norman Tebbit, in an interview with Epolitix.com, declared: ‘the Muslim religion is so unreformed since it was created that nowhere in the Muslim world has there been any real advance in science, or art or literature, or technology in the last 500 years’ (19 August 2005). Inconvenient conflicting evidence from history notwithstanding, this was the feeling expressed from selected quarters. As causes for these attacks, domestic topics (the failure of multiculturalism, Islamophobia, and so on) and foreign policy (specifically Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Palestine) were cited by many in Muslim and non-Muslim civil society: if these issues disappeared, it was claimed, the problem of terrorism would be solved. In the government’s own taskforce on ‘Working Together to Prevent Extremism’ there was an overwhelming recognition of foreign policy as a key issue to be considered.2 In the midst of the confusion and upheaval that so characterised the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in British society, many questions from different quarters were asked: where had we, as a society, failed, and how could we rectify ourselves for the future? What could we do to insulate ourselves from these acts that befell our capital, and what were the root causes of these acts? The current discourse seems to be indicating that ‘solutions’ are to be found overwhelmingly from the constructed ‘Muslim community’ (when there are many Muslim communities) or from the (also constructed) mainstream, invariably meaning government. The reality is that solutions for society that desire ‘integration’ have to be integrated solutions; they have to be solutions that relate to all parts of society, and that are delivered as part of a collaborative process. Nor is it the case that government has to take a leading role on those solutions; that should be left to the different parts of civil society that are responsible for particular aspects. In an attempt to offer an explanation for and reflections on the modern phenomenon of radical Muslim extremism in twenty-first-century Britain, there are short-term, medium-term and long-term issues and topics to be considered. From one perspective, one of these issues might be the metaphorical ‘trigger’, whereas, from another perspective, the same issue might be the metaphorical ‘barrel’.

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 249

Nevertheless, there is likely not much debate to be had on the ‘bullet’: an act of wanton violence against civilians designed to further political ends (the ‘magazine’ is the collection of these acts). The solution to that part of the phenomenon is quite simply a police affair; these are crimes and are tobe dealt with accordingly, through due process and the rule of law, as with any other criminal act. If there is any substitute for this, a war on an abstract noun is not one such alternative. As to the rest of the parts of the ‘gun’: this is what is discussed here in some more detail. If the evidence that has been laid out in front of the British public is to be believed, then it is quite obvious that there are in fact a number of factors involved in this problem. Foreign policy Foreign policy was on top of the agenda for every working group in the aforementioned taskforce, and rightly so, as British foreign policy impacts on Muslim communities around the world. The current policy of the Western world vis-à-vis the Arab and Muslim worlds, and particularly (but not exclusively) in Palestine and Iraq,3 has met with significant resistance in many Muslim communities. This is exacerbated by the advances made in modern communication: if an Israeli soldier kills a Palestinian civilian, it may not always make the evening news in Britain, but it will certainly make its way to Muslim households via the Internet and other mediums. This is not to say that all British and Western foreign policy is unjust and terrible; however, the perception in many Muslim communities is that, where it pertains to Muslims, it is disproportionately unfair and prejudiced, pointing in particular to Western support for unsavoury regimes and Israel. It is debateable which one is more important for Western Muslim communities. Within even the radical Jihadi global movement, most are concerned with the enemy ‘within’ (that is, present governing structures in the Muslim world), rather than the enemy ‘without’ (for example, Israel and the US), which they claim would be sorted out anyway if Muslim-majority states were run by what they perceive to be ‘just rulers’, as opposed to ‘Western puppets’ as noted by Gerges (2005). That opposition to foreign policy ebbs and changes according to various circumstances, but it is hard to think of a period in recent history in which British foreign policy has been identified by so many Muslims, of so many different trends, to be a cause of great distress. As reports from both Chatham House (an independent think-tank) and the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre (which includes officials from MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the police), US-led involvement in Iraq was explicitly linked to terrorist activity in the UK, and the subsequent rise in the threat of terrorism in the UK. The Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre had concluded pre-7 July, however, that no group currently had the ‘intent and capability’ to mount an attack; a miscalculation that was obviously debunked later on.

250 ]

H. A. Hellyer

Even British media coverage of foreign events provides immense excuse for many Muslim communities: for example, the recent expulsion of settlers in Gaza being treated with such delicacy and sympathy, whilst the simultaneous building up of settlements on the West Bank, presumably causing at least as much human distress for Palestinians living there, was practically ignored. When the bombings took place in London, 56 people died and there was immense media coverage; on the same day, hundreds and thousands of people died elsewhere, and there was no coverage whatsoever. In that context, the perception that, in the eyes of the ‘West’, some lives are worth more than others is merely strengthened. But it is not just a sense of dissatisfaction with foreign policy that is a trigger to these types of events. Indeed, it is foolhardy to suggest that there are no other pertinent issues in the Muslim community that would affect it. Muslims’ position in British society in particular, and European society as a whole, is not defined by their support or opposition to certain foreign policies, and their positioning, or lack thereof, also needs to be understood and explored. Islam, social exclusion and ‘mainstreaming’ Muslims Social exclusion, as academics and practitioners alike have been talking about for decades, is also an issue to be taken seriously; a lack of social cohesion and integration does not bring forth a healthy society of citizens. It breeds instead a society of disparate and disconnected entities, which, in turn, may easily contribute to the exacerbation of a number of factors that can result in any number of forms of social upheaval. For this reason, the government taskforce working streams, one and all, invariably recommended measures designed to ‘mainstream’ the Muslim community; not assimilation, which has been rightly castigated, but a form of integration that allows the Muslim community to maintain its connection to Islam whilst facilitating the recognition of its integral nature in relation to the society in which it exists. In short, under the current framework of multiculturalism, there is a sense, not wholly illegitimate, that the predominant public discourse of multiculturalism has not really delivered, vis-à-vis bringing Muslims into the mainstream, something that is considered to be a prerequisite of a healthy society. Communities that are marginalised are not particularly encouraged, and in the aftermath of 7 July that feeling will intensify – but it remains to be seen how that ‘mainstreaming’ process is to be accomplished. Obstacles in that effort have already been identified; the public relationship between ‘Islam’ and the ‘West’, for one, is inextricably associated with prejudice and discord. This matter is rather infamous now (as discussed by Allen 2004). Recognised by the United Nations4 as a reality the world over (and in Europe specifically), Islamophobia has been confirmed as a problem by a plethora of studies. It cannot be ignored, and it will remain to be a factor in the survival and the thriving of Muslim communities as long as it exists.

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 251

But the discussion has taken an interesting twist in recent years. It used to be about the ‘West’ and Islam – that is, about something ‘out there’, not ‘in here’. When people in the ‘West’ said ‘Islam’, they did not mean their neighbours; they meant the outer frontier. When Muslims used to say the ‘West’, they did not mean something that they recognised as familiar; they meant an alien environment. That has changed. There are still more of the fear-mongering book titles, but there are now other titles such as The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization: note Buillet’s thesis (Buillet 2004), in which he argues that the Islamic civilisation and the Western civilisation are in fact variants of the same civilisation, and that struggles within them should be viewed as struggles within a single ‘family’. It is now no longer even remotely justifiable to speak of ‘Islam’ as something ‘out there’, nor is the ‘Yin’ of ‘West’ disparate from the ‘Yang’ of ‘Islam’. Both are connected to each other and exist, in different ways, within each other; the Burda of Busayri (a devotional Muslim poem) is recited in the heart of London, and Macintosh i-Macs are being used in Mecca. Obviously these are different categories of phenomena (cultural and technological), but they are both signs of the phenomenon of globalisation. Both types of interactions are of great consequence, and should be properly understood, but it is the phenomenon of Islam in the ‘West’ that attracts more attention at the moment. In the ‘West’, Islam exists not simply as an extension of some sort of Arabian or Pakistani interloping cultural imperialism, but as a living reality that is challenging what it means to be a Briton, a Frenchman, a German – a European, in all the shapes and forms that identity expresses itself in. That challenge needs to be taken seriously, for what is at stake is the future of Europe as Europeans know it. Daring to be Muslim in Europe today: issues and tests Just as societies in the ‘West’ appear to be challenged on a variety of levels by the growing Muslim presence, so are Western Muslim communities being tested by the situations they find themselves in. By and large, these tests are the same challenges facing all Muslims around the world: 1) The ramifications of living as a Muslim in world where modernity has altered concepts and paradigms in a way unseen in pre-modern times.5 2) The recognition of orthopraxy in a world where non-normative solutions have taken root beyond the radical violent fringe. 3) The reconstitution of Islamic identity for Muslims, where ‘Bani Islam’ (that is, a neo-nationalism based on religiously-inspired affinity) and tribalism of a universal faith are deemed worthy.

The first test is a global one, and one that requires a great deal of discussion that cannot be entered into here with sufficient justice, although there is evidence that it is being taken seriously in some Muslim quarters. The second is a subject that

252 ]

H. A. Hellyer

is examined later on in this chapter. The last relates directly to the integration/ identity debate that has become so popular of late. The answer to the issue of identity crisis in Muslim communities, which is a factually recognised problem, is not as easy as assimilation or integration, both of which have already received meanings in the English language, particularly in the context of multiculturalist debates and discussions, and are not essentially comprehensively positive courses of action for communities to pursue. In general, the multiculturalists have ‘won’ a part of the social argument: it is almost taken as a consensus that there should be genuine respect for diversity in societies. The next phase is now under way: how much respect should be given, and how does this relate to the need for a common citizenship? What useful kind of multiculturalism can be used to uphold the principle of respect for diversity, as well as a addressing concern for a sustainable common citizenship, which is necessary for the cohesiveness of modern European societies? From the perspective of state/government actors, this integration/multiculturalism agenda is entirely legitimate, even if it has to be continually tweaked in order to reflect the concerns above, as well as other concerns that may make themselves known in the future, with as much input from all parts of civil society as possible. For multiculturalism is not a comprehensive ideology, nor do multicultural theorists such as Muhammad Anwar or Tariq Modood claim it to be as such. Yet, from within civil society, and the Muslim community as a part of civil society, there is a different dialectic that needs to transcend this discourse based on minimum common denominators. The word ‘localisation’ does not quite accomplish the task, and ‘acculturalisation’ does not exist in the vocabulary; but a sense of ‘Us-ness’ as opposed to ‘Other-ness’, whether imposed or voluntary, is what is needed for the future, and it is a subject that is often discussed in citizenship debates. That ‘Other-ness’ exhibits itself both within the non-Muslim and Muslim communities of our society, and whilst a novel form of asabiya (partisanship) as some sort of superior national identity combined with tasub (prejudice) may be somewhat emotionally satisfying and psychologically gratifying, it does not come without consequence. Western Islam cannot rely on being inexorable: on the horizon, there may easily be a deepening of Islamophobia, with the possibility of the destruction of Muslim communities by demographic majorities who, for whatever reason, fear the ‘infidel’ in their midst. Already there are efforts amongst some parts of the non-Muslim intelligensia to exhibit regrettable bigotry under the fig leaf of ‘intellectual inquiry’ that needs to be challenged by any European concerned about the future of Europe. This is not intended to be an alarmist call, but merely to point out that the possibility exists.

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 253

Integralisation: past, present and future? This challenge of ‘integralisation’ is not a new one: the Muslims of China historically had far fewer numbers and far fewer resources than today’s European Muslim communities at the dawn of their existence as a Chinese Muslim community in the face of an overwhelmingly more difficult situation. Within a few generations, the Chinese Muslim community were heavily influencing the economy, having become not integrated, nor assimilated, but integral to the country, to the point that Islam was recognised as one of the great religions of the Empire. They met the non-Muslim Chinese with words they understood, with concern for Chinese societies and their contexts, becoming Chinese in the process, but remaining Muslim to this day.6 This was the same elsewhere, regardless of whether the Muslim presence had political sovereignty (as it did in Egypt) or not (as in China); in all places, the Muslims ‘went native’. The civilisation of al-Andalus was not an ‘Arabian seed’ planted in Europe, but a fresh, new culture of its own. The same is true all over the Maghreb, the Fertile Crescent, Turkey, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, India, and all the lands where Muslims went. All became attached to the land and formed new cultural expressions that were at the same time indigenous and Muslim7: a particular type of ‘Muslim assimilation’. It is odd to see that, in the modern age, movements have emerged that are so avidly against such a natural authenticity that marries the indigenous culture to the orthodox principles of Islam, choosing instead to import alien ‘Arab’ norms, even though, in so doing, they find little justification in the classical juridical tradition. Drawing parallels with a form of ‘Islamic assimilation’ in the modern age is tempting, but there must also be a realisation that, in a post-Enlightenment world, the dynamics and mechanisms to ‘indigenousise’ a community are rather different, and present different trials. Some of them are the same challenges that face modern European societies: European integration, modernity, the different role of religion, secularism and so forth, which cause Europeans to find themselves in a crisis of identity that is continually exploited by far-right xenophobes. Instead of confronting that problem on a fundamental level, however, taking into account the new dynamics, the ‘Muslim Other’ is used to avoid answering the true conundrum of defining what it is to be ‘European’. The full weight of these challenges does not necessarily lie with the Muslim presence, who appear to be useful scapegoats and an excuse to escape the painful process of self-examination that European societies must undergo. In this context, the left wing is seen as hammering the death-blows into the coffin of the nation, under the pretext of respect and tolerance for minorities, whereas the right wing prefers to ignore that national identities need to be re-examined, as they always have been over the centuries. Some parts of the former respect Muslims, but as ‘Other’. Portions of the latter reject Muslims, also as ‘Other’.

254 ]

H. A. Hellyer

After examining the destruction of tolerance in Dutch society in the aftermath of Theo van Gogh’s murder and the subsequent attacks on Muslim communities, an author in a recent issue of The Spectator notes that a ‘recent study suggested that within six years at least three large Dutch cities will have an effective Muslim majority. There’s also the nightmare scenario of the Low Countries’ caliphate . . . And all of this is aided and abetted by the European Union, its liberal immigration laws, its espousal of multiculturalism and, crucially, its implicit disavowal of the concept of a sovereign nation state with a coherent national identity . . . How, then, do you attempt to inculcate a belief in unity and nationhood among new citizens when the nation is withering away in front of you?’ (Liddle 2005). The writer may be commenting about Islam and Muslims in his piece, but a key point that he exploits, and which many sectors of our European societies feel vulnerable about, is the dissipation of the cohesion of society and the nation. European societies have serious issues to deal with relating to identity, and instead of facing them reactionary sections prefer to deconstruct those identities to an unsophisticated bastardisation vis-à-vis the ‘Muslim Other’ and focus on that ‘Other’ instead of re-evaluating themselves in the face of modernity.8 In this context, should Muslims appear to be encouraging the damaging development of the dissipation of civil consciousness, non-Muslims will be apt to view them and their religion as suspect. Even those sympathetic to Islam may not wish to unnecessarily commit cultural apostasy at the best of times. How much cultural assimilation the European Union should legitimately claim from its citizens is forever being argued, as are the roles of government and civil society in that discussion. It is a discussion European Muslims need to engage in; if they do not, then the structural reshuffling that is currently under way may turn out to be even more damaging to them as a community than what they fear at the moment, especially in the wake of 7 July. Simultaneously, engagement must be recognised as a two-way process; if European Muslim communities are not given the means of inclusion, or systematically excluded from discussion, the process is not genuine. Another component of the equation: a radical extreme neo-religious imperative These aforementioned factors of policies and social dynamics were indeed factors behind 7 July, and it is important to recognise them as such. If these ‘triggers’ are removed as issues, then no ‘bullet’ may ever be fired, and no shortage of effort should be expended in tackling them. However, this cannot be surmised as a comprehensive analysis. If foreign policy was sufficiently volatile in and of itself to cause British citizens to blow themselves up, then why had Irish Britons not committed similar actions during ‘the Troubles’? Or, more to the point, why had British Muslims

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 255

not committed such actions before; surely pre-twenty-first-century Muslim communities had no shortage of reasons emanating from foreign policy? If integration was an issue that provoked such anger, then why had other migratory communities not carried out such operations? These lines are obviously simplifying the issue, but it remains the case that considering only these issues leaves a gap in the analysis. This gap, however, can be partly filled by critically examining the discourse of modern radical violent Muslim extremists: the recognition of a radical and extreme interpretation of the Muslim intellectual heritage. Dispelling certain notions From the outset, there are a few notions that should be dispelled. First, that terrorism is not only used by al-Qaeda. It is important to do away with the concept that the ‘bogeyman’ of ‘Terrorists-R-Us’ is an organised multi-national neocorporation that can be attacked, and whose ‘CEO’ (Osama bin Laden) can be assassinated. Despite the protestations of some commentators, an act of wanton violence does not require vast amounts of resources; it requires only a small number of angry, dedicated people who have no moral inhibition against such actions. Second, it should be made very clear that the subject of this particular work is the numerically minor section of the radical Jihadi movement that is concerned with violent operations beyond the confines of Muslim-majority states. There are different wings in the movement: the majority of the radical Jihadi groups are concerned with ‘revolution at home’ in contrast with the minority who are concerned with attacking targets in the ‘West’. It is a subject in and of itself, but an appreciation of the dichotomy between the majority who concentrate on al-adu al-Qarib (the ‘Near Enemy’, that is, Muslim regimes) and the minority who focus on al-adu al-Baid (the ‘Far Enemy’, that is, the ‘West’) should be upheld if any analysis is to be accurate (see Gerges 2005, for more of a discussion on this point). Finally, it must be understood that there may be political standpoints within the Muslim context that may seem unpalatable to a non-Muslim context, but this does not in and of itself make them ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’. In Canada, the idea of religious arbitration based on Shariah has gained a modicum of acceptance, but it might have been concerned fairly ‘radical’ in the UK: that does not make the proposition for it (or against it) necessarily ‘extreme’, and the same sophistication should be used when considering other political demands of Muslim groups. Anger, morality and normative religious imperatives In the aftermath of the 7 July attacks, the Muslim community appeared united on a common platform: Islam and terrorism were mutually incompatible. Press releases from ulema were rampant, as different experts in Muslim jurisprudence

256 ]

H. A. Hellyer

rejected any justification for the bombings from within the classical tradition (and many adherents to less normative interpretations were also adamant). In the discussions that took place amongst the Muslim community, there was a rejection of any ‘neo-religious imperative’ emanating from Islam, and at the same it was recognised that a subjectively erroneous reading of Islamic heritage had played a role in these attacks. In other words, they generally accepted that there had been Muslims who had been culpable. This did not come easily, for if Muslims followed Islam, and Islam rejected terrorism, then how could a Muslim be a perpetrator of terrorism? However, unlike post-9/11, where a larger proportion of Muslims refused to believe that Muslims could ever be party to such a travesty, there was no such significant denial in the aftermath of the 7 July: an internal reflection process became widely acceptable. A short historical reflection shows that the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are not the only times in history that Muslims have suffered injustices; indeed, they have suffered far more in other periods than in this one. Taking Palestine as an example, and one often quoted as justification for criminal acts, it is well known the Crusaders who took Jerusalem in 1099 butchered the inhabitants with dire cruelty. Women and children were not spared, nor were the Jews who sought refuge in their synagogues, nor were those who tried to find sanctuary in the mosques. The Crusaders destroyed monuments to Orthodox Christian saints, and carried out massacres of the most brutal of types. As Fulcher of Charters noted: ‘They desired that this place, so long contaminated by the superstition of the pagan inhabitants [the Muslims], should be cleansed from their contagion.’ In a day, they slaughtered tens of thousands. Yet, when Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, the Kurd from Tikrit, re-conquered Jerusalem, his example was one of such chivalry and nobility, even his enemies sang his praises. Such behaviour is foreign to the modus operandi of modernday radical Muslim extremism; and yet both claim to have ‘Islam’ on their side. That type of radical reading had a following in the British Muslim community, and it appears to be the unique ingredient within radical Muslim extremism. Not that radical extremism is limited to Muslims – non-Muslims, not Muslims, commit the overwhelming majority of terrorist acts that take place in the world, according to statistics issued by the US State Department. The issue of violence is not a ‘Muslim’ problem per se; using violence to further political ends is an activity that groups and individuals from all sorts of backgrounds participate in and, in terms of actual statistical casualties, more have suffered from non-Muslim terrorism than radical Muslim extremism. But in terms of radical Muslim extremism, there is a neo-religious imperative that uses a particular methodology to justify itself by relating to religious discourse, and allow excesses to emerge from the Muslim community (and the excesses are different in different groups). A non-normative religious imperative steps in and exploits the normal discontent, whereas historically, normative imperatives would channel it, place it in perspective theologically, and provide guidance for moral material action.

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 257

The non-normative nature of that radical imperative is perhaps most clearly evident from an emotional point of view. Preliminary research and examination of the discourse of radical extremists is quite clear: the predominant emotion involved is volatile anger. Some may have a deep-seated, quiet anger (such as Osama Bin Laden), whilst others, such as the British Muslim suicide bombers who went to Israel, are quite openly livid, as their recorded statement indicated. They were angry, and they sought justification for acting in accordance with that anger through their beliefs. Historians looking retrospectively on the rise of Hitler in Germany after the First World War often explain his mass appeal in relation to the widespread feeling of humiliation that the German people felt after that conflict, which was one war over a few years. Over the past century or so, Muslim populations have suffered far more humiliation, and no one of Hitler’s stature has emerged; even while radical interpretations have exploited such feelings in a numerically minor section of the community, normative understandings of Islam collectively represented a restraining mechanism for the overwhelming majority of the 1.2 billion global Muslim community. Whereas the classically bound interpretations of Islam that gave rise to luminaries like Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi were bound to such restraining concepts that Islam delivers through normative approaches of aqidah (theology) and the madhhab (schools of law) that have been passed down in unbroken and masstransmitted chains of diffusion, modern radical Muslim extremism has no time for such scholastic niceties. Normative classical readings leave no room for such wanton violence as evidenced by the 7/7 bombings: such acts are theoretically non-options, as they violate the sacred law (Shariah). Religious reformation Yet, despite the ‘reformative’ impulse that underpins such neo-religious imperatives, in the post-9/11 world in which we live, the idea of a ‘religious reformation’ has become popular in many quarters. It is difficult to ignore the empirical observation that it is precisely such ‘DIY’ methodological thinking that permitted a type of interpretation that allowed 7/7 to take place. The good intentions of many who are calling for ‘reform’ in the Muslim world notwithstanding, once you let the proverbial genie out of the bottle, you cannot easily put it back in. In a very real sense, this wanton violence is a product of a particular type of ‘Islamic Reformation’: not the result of a lack of one. As a matter of public security, therefore, Muslim communities around the world have renewed their connections to this time-honoured orthodoxy, recalling that, in the past, the only ones to commit suicide operations of the modern type were the heretical Assassins. They were necessarily ‘heretical’ because no type of normative orthodoxy could have allowed their operations. In our time, this type of thinking is the only way that these types of operations could be legitimised.

258 ]

H. A. Hellyer

It is important, however, to note that part of the contemporary problem is that whilst radical extremists have taken to meddling with Muslim methodology with ‘DIY Islam’, there has been a grave drop in the scholastic level of many classical communities. One factor in the rise of extremism is the perception that normative understandings of Islam generally do not critically engage with modernity. Another factor is the perception that there are not that many scholars left in the world today; that most of the scholars are in fact ulama al-sultan (the scholars of the ruler) and thus morally compromised (‘scholars for dollars’). If they were not compromised, then they would either be dead (assassinated by the regime) or imprisoned (by the regime); their very freedom becomes a proof against them. The minutiae of Muslim jurisprudence on the rules relating to the overthrow of rulers, even unjust ones, are either unknown or unimportant to unhappy and angry revolutionaries. However, by refusing to modernise or reform themselves, the ulema are ignoring the potential instability in their societies. Unsatisfied with what is on offer, many Muslim youth then drift into the world of ‘Yahoo.com Islam’, a world in which anyone who claims to be as such is a mufti (issuer of fatwas) (‘Shaykh Google’), and classically trained scholarship is derided as out of date and woefully inadequate. Confusion surrounding the different levels of ijtihad (independent juridical interpretations), taqlid (imitation) and other juridical matters is routine, leading many to conclude that, indeed, there is a problem with ‘Islam’. This is another variety of ‘reformism’ that lacks any juridical grounding. Whilst generations of academic sages articulated the finer points of practice, theology and spirituality, in unbroken chains of academic intellectual inheritance (the Muslim alternative to an ecclesiastical hierarchy or Church), a scarce few have continued in their level of excellence in relating to the modern world in the modern day. There are some, such as the famous Malaysian scholar Syed Muhammad Naqib al-Attas (whose work on Islam and secularism (al-Attas 1985) is perhaps one of the most sophisticated discussions on the subject to date), or the Oxford-based mufti Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti (whose expertise in drawing connections between contemporary Western theological constructs and traditional Muslim ones is rare), but there is a danger that, without further training of the current generation, such individuals may become exceptional. Even now, there are ulema self-identifying themselves as followers of the traditional legal schools who yet generally sanction the use of suicide bombing in Palestine/Israel. Nevertheless, they have not yet particularly and specifically justified that position through the methodological processes of their schools, unlike other fatwa that stand in contradistinction. Short-term fixes There are some short-term fixes to address the situation, but it would be advisable for governments to resist the temptation to follow through with quick

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 259

reactions, for example pertaining to religious institutions. It is difficult for governments to actively support ‘good’ interpretations without seeming partial or biased; but it is equally a non-answer to simply ban all institutions of learning, which is self-defeating, and will create even more of a vacuum. Youth will continue to learn a form of Islam, but in an environment where there is no sense of intellectual authority or scholastic legitimacy. Indeed, this is whence the original problem originates. The cliché that ‘the West brought this on itself through its own foreign policy’ is partially correct; the deconstruction of normative institutions during the reign of colonialism is still producing effects today. It is also essential to get the analysis correct in details, as mentioned before. Even as radical violent Jihadis are generally rooted from within the Salafi/ Wahhabi paradigm, it is inaccurate or unconstructive to conclude that all Salafis or Wahhabis are violent threats to the ‘West’. The majority of Salafis and Wahhabis in the modern age are non-violent, and have been at the forefront of combating the radical violent tendencies in their midst.9 Nor is it useful to consider that those among them who are politically orientated (‘political Islamists’) are radically, militantly so: they are not. Further, not all Jihadi groups are concerned with the ‘West’; as mentioned before, most of these violent groups are more concerned with the Muslim world. Some are concerned with particular regions, others with particular countries; there are distinctions to be made. Neither should the case be made that non-Salafi or non-Wahhabi Muslims are immune, for this is clearly untenable, even if the normative tradition should, in theory, remove any legal permissibility for them to indulge in such acts. These expressions of the classical tradition of Muslim intellectual history may be somewhat non-normative, but fudging the acute divisions between them does not assist in either theoretical or practical matters. For centuries, other non-normative tendencies (also not necessarily violent) have arisen periodically in Muslim communities, and were viewed as challenges to be dealt with on the battleground of ideas. Without negating the need for other types of responses under certain circumstances, this is by and large an ideational conflict. The same exists in our time, and the historical and contemporary record of how this has played out is quite optimistic. In the aftermath of the bombings, the leader of a far-right Muslim radical group (Al-Muhajiroun) spread a so-called ‘fatwa’ validating the attacks and others like them (although it was written pre-7/7). Part of an effective response to it was a complete rebuttal by a classically trained scholar10 useing normative jurisprudential tools to invalidate the very basis of the ‘fatwa’. Intra-Muslim discussions between Muslims who disavow violence must continue to take place; those who are not necessarily theologically convergent should be drawn together, rather than be allowed to spiral out of control. Those who do not disavow violence should not receive any special treatment under the laws of the UK, nor should the standard of the law be sacrificed to combat this modern phenomenon. In the final analysis, this is precisely the victory that

260 ]

H. A. Hellyer

is sought by the perpetrators: our greatest triumph is in upholding the highest standards of decency and integrity, for it is against those same standards that war has been waged. Nor should exchanges be limited to the free public domain; in Yemen, Judge Hamoud al-Hitar challenged radical extremists in jail, with some success, albeit called into question recently.11 In Singapore, the (non-Muslim) government facilitated orthodox Muslims to enter into discussions with arrested radical extremists, and was able to make some progress, and there are other instances in Muslim countries where this has taken place. This is far more effective for the future, and ethically more viable, than employing methods of torture that are known to be employed in some places, which actually has a long-term price in the rise of radical extremism and terrorism. Nevertheless, it is a strategy that must be carefully considered, for the tendency in some quarters is to treat it as an almost immediate solution; radicalisation processes often take many years, and it is not unreasonable to expect that a de-radicalisation educational progression may take a significant amount of time to fully run its course. Conclusion This paper has been an attempt to briefly sketch what is perceived to be the reality behind the issues in the aftermath of 7/7. This is a matter of some urgency; the same conditions that existed before 7/7 continue to exist. When Muslim intellectuals and scholars describe an indigenous Muslim identity in the countries of the ‘West’, they are not trying to solve the identity crisis of Muslims as a side issue to their concepts of Islam. Rather, these solutions emanate from their own normative understandings of the religious imperatives involved. A form of multiculturalism that will succeed amongst Muslims is going to have to take into account some sort of religious imperative, and other solutions are also bound to take this on board. If this awareness is actualised, then the collective result may be that wanton acts of indiscriminate violence by Muslims and non-Muslims continue, but are responded to with actions reflecting classical ideals of justice and equity. Collectively, those ideals have as much of a role to play in issues relating to foreign policy as they do in the domestic sphere. The aforementioned al-Attas of Malaysia correctly identifies the malaise of the modern Muslim as the loss of adab (etiquette), which, in turn, leads to a process where by legitimate authority and valid hierarchies of knowledge and expertise are supposedly equal to ‘arrogance’ and ‘obstinacy’ based on ‘ignorance’ (al-Attas 1985, p. 105). The modern Muslim is faced with an imbalance, shaken by circumstances and unable to approach his heritage, his neighbours and his environment with the correct etiquette. On the other hand, with the correct adab in place, no matter what the situation, the underlying triggers become non-excuses for the non-option of crimes, even while the adab of gentlemen and

British Muslims and Islam Post-7/7

[ 261

ladies of valour demands responses informed by justice and equity, unpopular though such responses may be. These issues that have been touched upon here are deliberately done in a ‘crisis management’ style, because, precisely, they are crises. They are essentially negative, corrective measures that are being proposed. This should not, and must not, be the overwhelming tenor of discourse; there must be a sense of vision, and courage, looking far beyond these issues, which will eventually be solved. The endless mantras surrounding ‘Islam and terrorism’ or ‘Islam and women’, and so on, may be emotionally gratifying for Muslims and nonMuslims alike, but they do not usually provide much insight. Muslim scholars are the ones who are qualified to give authoritative opinions as to what Islam does or does not stand for. For my own part, it seems Islam in its pristine form is a message of al-alammiyah (universalisation); a universal message of rahmah (mercy), for the preponderant quality of God in Islam is mercy, the final prophet of which was none other than mercy unto the worlds (wa ma arsalnaka illa rahmat-l-alamin (Quran 21: 7)). Muslim communities and societies have the intellectual resources needed to fulfil that vision; whether that potential will be fulfilled remains to be seen. Notes 1. Preliminary versions of this article were delivered as a guest lecture at a seminar organised by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in Oxford, UK, on 12 October 2005, and at a conference organised by Zaymar Services for Islamic Research and Development in Abuja, Nigeria, on 22 October 2005. I am grateful for the comments and critiques that came out of those contacts and improved the quality of this work. In particular, Jonathan Birt and Maisoon al-Suwaidan provided important insights. 2. As part of this taskforce, I was asked to be Deputy Convenor on the working stream on ‘Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation’. 3. Note the perhaps more pronounced objections towards Western foreign policy in Kashmir and Kurdistan. 4. www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/hr4801.doc.htm. Accessed 27 February 2006. 5. It should be noted that, from the point of view of classical Muslim orthodoxy, the beginnings of this process began as soon as the generation of the first companions of the Prophet began to pass. 6. See ‘Chinese Islam with its own unique characteristics’: www.islamonline.com/ cgi-bin/news_service/world_full_story.asp?service_id=1392. Accessed 27 February 2006. 7. See Umar Faruq Abd-Allah’s archived article, ‘Islam and the Cultural Imperative’: www.nawawi.org/downloads/article3.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2006. 8. It should go without saying that different European societies have different issues to work with, and that European societies are individually unique in comparison

262 ]

H. A. Hellyer

to the USA, for example, where the issue of immigration is not linked to Islam (unlike the EU). 9. The over-simplification of these details is rampant in Muslim and non-Muslim commentaries, to the point that Ibn Taymiya, a classical Hanbali jurist, is derided as the founder of modern terrorism, whereas the historical record is clear that he was, by all accounts, an ‘establishment’ conservative figure who generally worked within the classical normative tradition. 10. See Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti’s archived fatwa, www.livingislam.org/maa/dcmm_ e.html. Accessed 27 February 2006. 11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/4328894.stm. Accessed 27 February 2006.

Bibliography al-Attas, M. N. (1985) Islam, Secularism and the Philosophy of the Future, London: Mansell. Allen, C. (2004) ‘Endemically European or a European Epidemic? Islamophobia in a post 9/11 Europe’, in Geaves, R. and R. Gabriel (eds), Islam and the West: Post September 11, Avebury: Ashgate. Buillet, R. (2004) The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, New York: Columbia University Press. Gerges, F. (2005) The Far Enemy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Liddle, R. (2005) ‘No Tolerance, Please, We’re Dutch’, The Spectator, 5 February.

CHAPTER

18 Electronic Monitoring and the Creation of Control Orders for Terrorist Suspects in Britain Mike Nellis

Introduction The electronic monitoring (EM) of offenders’ whereabouts (usually a curfew confining them to their own home or to other designated accommodation) – colloquially called ‘tagging’ – is becoming an increasingly common response to offenders in many Western countries (Mayer, Haverkamp and Levy 2003; CEP 2005). It has mostly been accepted by the probation and social work staff on whose professional territory it has impinged (Nellis 2004). The technology originated in the United States in the early 1980s and countries as diverse as Canada and Singapore subsequently became users (Lilly and Ball 1987). In Europe, England and Wales pioneered it in certain areas in 1989, expanded it throughout the region in 1999, and plan to expand from the present 10,500 offenders tagged per day to 18,000 by 2009 (Home Office 2004b). The legislative region of England and Wales remains the largest European user of EM and have now become the first country to apply the technology to terrorist suspects. This chapter will explore the latter development. The most widespread version of EM in England and Wales – using radiofrequency (RF) technology to monitor curfews of variable length – is used with sentenced offenders, released prisoners and bailees, sometimes alone, and sometimes in conjunction with other forms of supervision to create intensive packages of control. Prior to its use with terrorist suspects, the most intensive forms of regulation had been applied to particularly risky individuals who had been released on bail (pending trial) or on parole (after prison). Voice-verification technology has been used with juvenile offenders but has never been widespread. Three pilot schemes using GPS satellite tracking technology on offenders ran between in September 2004, and June 2006. A small pilot scheme for supervising asylum seekers using all three variants of EM technology – RF, [ 263 ]

264 ]

Mike Nellis

voice verification and GPS – was established simultaneously. All schemes are operated on a regional basis by commercial organisations contracted to the Home Office. Since April 2005, Group4Securicor have covered the North and the South of England and Serco-Premier have covered London, the Midlands and Wales. In the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, EM was formally extended to a new category of people – terrorist suspects (all Muslims) who were currently being detained without trial. Although the onerousness of ‘control orders’, as the new, technically ‘non-custodial’ measure for these people was called, was constituted by an extensive matrix of restrictions on the suspect’s movements, communications and contacts, it was primarily EM (RF and voice-verification technology combined) that made them seem like a feasible solution to the dilemma created for the Home Office by the Law Lords’ ruling of December 2004 that the detention without trial of terrorist suspects was unlawful. Control orders were seen by the Government as a viable middle way between detention without trial in prison and release on unconditional bail. EM technology seemingly offered the decisive element of (relatively) low-cost regulation that would enable control orders to be both controlling and yet, in abstract human rights terms (if not, as it happened, experientially), less onerous than imprisonment. Terrorism and internment The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 was enacted swiftly after the 9/11 attack on New York (Fenwick 2002). The legislation permitted the detention without trial of foreign nationals (but not British citizens) suspected of involvement in terrorism. Such detention entailed derogation from (‘opting out’ of) Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights – something the Convention allows for ‘in time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation’, although Britain is thus far the only member country to have done so. The Act took for granted that detention meant imprisonment, bail being permissible only in exceptional circumstances, although in an early review of the Act the Newton Report (Privy Councillor Review Committee 2003) had suggested that bail combined with EM and other stringent conditions might be a more proportionate response. For Newton, the decision to detain, taken by the Home Office, was to be based on secret intelligence that there was no obligation to publicise or share with the detainees themselves, in court or outside it, because it would jeopardise intelligence sources. A right of appeal was to be allowed to the pre-existing Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), although evidence was to be heard by a panel of judges in secret, and without the detainee’s lawyers being present. A total of 701 people were detained under the legislation between 2001 and March 2005. Half were released without charge. Seventeen were convicted, only

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 265

three being associated with Islamic extremism. The others involved Irish paramilitaries, a Sikh and the Tamil Tigers. However, sixteen men, all Muslim (mostly North African), were detained without trial under the Act (and one under other powers). They were mostly asylum seekers or refugees (some single, some with families) who were either free to leave Britain or were technically deportable. Most, however, risked torture if they returned to their homelands, and Britain was party to the 1996 European Convention Chahal ruling forbidding deportation to such countries. Most were detained in the high-security prisons Belmarsh and Woodhill. One was subsequently transferred to Broadmoor (a secure psychiatric hospital) with mental health difficulties. Several were released by the SIAC, and one by the Government itself when, in the light of new intelligence, it reduced his threat level. In the case of ‘G’ (most detainees were known only by initials), considered in April 2004, the SIAC accepted that he was linked to alQaeda (having sent recruits to training camps in Afghanistan) but – given that he was wheelchair-bound and had become mentally ill whilst in prison – felt that the public would be adequately protected if he was bailed and subject to EM house arrest. Despite stringent conditions – G could only leave his one-bedroom flat if accompanied by police, all his visitors were vetted and he was allowed no telephone or Internet contact with the outside world – the then Home Secretary David Blunkett publicly criticised the SIAC’s ‘soft’ decision. Nonetheless, recognising the precariousness of its legal position, and aware that the Newton Report had already suggested the kind of arrangement to which G was subject, the Home Office began to consider ostensibly less incapacitative means of dealing with suspected terrorists. Pressure to develop an alternative to detention without trial in prison increased in July 2004, when the SIAC ruled generally that detention without trial under the 2001 Act contravened Britain’s human rights obligations. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (House of Commons 2004, paras 75–80) supported this, calling for the repeal of the internment powers on the grounds that they discriminated against foreign nationals, and damaged the culture of respect for human rights. They promoted an alternative idea: ‘civil restriction orders’. In October 2004, the Home Office gained a little breathing space, when the Court of Appeal reversed the SIAC decision and ruled that indefinite detention without trial was compatible with British and international law. In December 2004, however, the House of Lords ruled emphatically that a) derogating from the European Convention was unjustified because it was disproportionate to the actual threat posed by contemporary terrorism, that is to say, a ‘public emergency’ did not prevail, and that b) the detention without trial of foreign but not British nationals was inherently discriminatory. The Law Lords gave the Government until 14 March 2005 – when the 2001 legislation was due for annual review – to remedy the situation. The Government had no ready-made response to this judicial challenge to executive authority, and was unwilling to release the suspects there and then (on

266 ]

Mike Nellis

bail), which some of the detainee’s advocates, at least, believed would have been the correct response. On 26 January 2005 the Home Office adopted the idea of a civil, ‘non-custodial’ response to terrorist suspects, whether British or foreign. These new ‘control orders’, as they were now called, would be imposed for indefinite periods and entail a range of restrictions – curfews of variable length, electronic tagging, a ban on the use of telephones and the Internet, and restrictions on the suspect’s contacts. The penalty for breach, even though it was a civil order, would be imprisonment (Beattie 2005). The most intensive form of control orders was understood by almost all commentators as ‘house arrest’, although the new Home Secretary (Charles Clarke) pointedly avoided using a term infamously associated with oppressive regimes (the Attorney General was apparently of the view that this measure may itself breach the Human Rights Act 1998, again requiring derogation from it, and would not therefore resolve the Law Lords’ challenge). The orders themselves were envisaged as executive measures, requiring neither prior nor retrospective judicial oversight. As with detention in prison in the 2001 Act, MI5 were to select initial suspects for control orders, on the basis of reasonable suspicion of terrorist involvement, and would present evidence to the Home Secretary (but not to the suspects themselves). The need to keep the source of information, and the technical means by which it had been gathered, secret was repeatedly given by government as the reason why due process – prosecuting suspects in a criminal court, where ‘evidence’ could be openly tested – was not their preferred option, even if the alternative meant derogating from the European Convention. Doubts were nonetheless cast on MI5’s judgements of suspects’ dangerousness by the Government’s surprise decision to release detainee C on 31 January 2005, after three years in Belmarsh (Barder 2005a; Rosenberg 2005). The Government’s proposals created deep unease in the opposition parties, among its own backbenchers and peers, and indeed in the Cabinet itself. It engaged informally with critics to allay anxieties about the proposals before bringing forward a Bill. Its one concession – retrospective judicial review of the more intensive, house arrest variant of control orders – did not placate its critics, and throughout February a powerful civil liberty lobby developed outside Parliament, as well as within it, to challenge Government plans (Liberty 2005; Human Rights Watch 2005). The lobby’s core consisted of the prominent ‘liberal left’ organisations Liberty and Justice, and mainstream liberal newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent and The Observer, often augmented by newspapers like the London Evening Standard and The Daily Telegraph, which did not traditionally align themselves with civil libertarian positions, but in this instance did so. Intellectuals and columnists used these papers to denounce the Government’s proposals in terms every bit as trenchant as the Law Lords’ original verdict (Kettle 2005; Hastings 2005; Slovo 2005; Whitham-Smith 2005a and 2005b).

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 267

Debating the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2005 The Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2005 was presented to the House of Commons on 22 February, with the Government claiming that the potentially catastrophic scale of a modern terrorist attack pointed inexorably towards the need for preemption by surveillance and executive action (rather than the deterrent effect of draconian sentences), even if it meant sidelining some of the legal and political principles that the Law Lords had deemed sacrosanct. The Madrid bombings a year earlier signified the threat, but reference was also made to attempted attacks on London, details of which the police had kept from the public. The Home Office assumed that these events would generate a shared sense of emergency in Parliament, strong cross-party support and a speedy passage for the Bill. More cynically, it hoped that neither of the opposition parties would risk looking ‘soft on terrorism’ with a general election (anticipated for May 2005) so near. However, it hugely underestimated opposition willingness to question the aptness of its fear-driven proposals, the cogency of other, more democratically defensible courses of action, and the degree of support for traditional British liberties, notably habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence. The Liberal Democrats, taking their cue from the Law Lords, questioned the principle of detention without trial in any form, and pressed for the use of phonetap evidence in court (see Sharpe 2002), while being prepared to accept control orders as an interim measure only if they were made (not just reviewed retrospectively) by a judge, rather than by the Home Secretary. The Conservatives argued similarly, but on the grounds that due process was more likely to result in a defendant’s eventual imprisonment and to obviate the need for a dubious non-custodial alternative like control orders. Michael Howard, the then Conservative leader, said: Labour seems to claim that unless you support their proposals for house arrest you are soft on terrorism. To be truly tough on terrorism you need to ensure terrorists are detained in a prison cell – not their living rooms. (The Times, 19 February)

The Bill was passed in the Commons with an embarrassingly small majority (14 out of a potential 161). In the Lords (on 28 February), the Government tabled amendments increasing judicial involvement. They now distinguished between derogating and non-derogating control orders. Derogating control orders would still require the government to opt out of Article 5 of the European Convention, the right to liberty. These orders would impose restrictions up to and including 24-hour house arrest. The Home Office would simply apply to a high court judge, who would decide whether a prima facie case has been made out. The suspect would be notified and a contested hearing permitted – but without the suspect having access to the intelligence on him, or his special advocate being able to disclose it to him, or take instructions that might counter Home Office

268 ]

Mike Nellis

allegations. ‘On the balance of probabilities’ would be the standard of proof, not the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ traditionally sought in criminal cases Non-derogating control orders would include 17 potential restrictions, including bans on Internet and telephone access, restrictions on place of residence, on visits, on travel, whether and at what a person can work, plus electronic tagging but not to the degree of ‘full’ house arrest. The standard of proof – reasonable suspicion – was lower than for derogating control orders because (according to government) the consequence in the case of nonderogating control orders, though onerous, was not ‘full’ deprivation of liberty. A right to judicial review – of Home Office procedural correctness, rather than the merits of the evidence – within 28 days was the only safeguard. Some nonderogating control orders would be more restrictive than others, depending on the mix of conditions imposed. Imprisonment was the likely sanction for any breach of either type of control order. The House of Lords continued to insist on judicial control over the making of the lesser control orders as well, and argued that the balance of probabilities should supplant reasonable suspicion as the standard of proof. A Guardian editorial (9 March 2005) called their massive vote against the Government ‘as emphatic a revolt against part of a major Bill as the upper house as seen in at least a generation’. Even Lord Carlile, a Liberal Democrat peer appointed by Government to oversee earlier anti-terrorist legislation, who had seen some of the intelligence on the detainees, had suggested that some of them could be released without risking security. The Government accepted the case for judicial control over the non-derogating orders (albeit with the Home Secretary reserving the power to make them in emergencies, whereupon a judge would review them within seven days), but not the case for a higher standard of proof. Opponents of the Bill were not all of like mind. Some – inside and outside Parliament – simply opposed involving judges in the making of legally dubious orders; others were more pragmatic, believing judicial involvement to be a desirable restriction on otherwise untrammelled executive discretion, whilst hoping, nonetheless, that the need for control orders would be short-lived. Lord Ackner (Lords, 7 March) took the former view: ‘there is great concern that it looks as if [the judges] are going to be dragged into the political scene by being asked to rubber stamp a procedure that is quite alien to their function’. Lady Kennedy (2005) called it ‘sugar-coating the unpalatable’, warning that ‘judges can be unwittingly collusive in the erosion of the rule of law by allowing themselves to be co-opted into processes where the genuine balancing of the security of the state and human rights considerations often become impossible’. Rejecting the semblance of legitimacy that judicial involvement would give control orders, Gareth Pierce (2005), solicitor for some of the detainees, put it more strongly still: ‘what the government asks for here is the ultimate demand of any totalitarian regime: the executive is the accuser; the moment of accusation is also the moment of the imposition of the penalty’.

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 269

The case for executive discretion reflected an increasingly managerial ethos within the Labour Party. It was based specifically on the claim that the new terrorist threat (as determined by the police and security services) was unprecedented, that maximum flexibility was needed to deal with it, that appeals to Magna Carta were anachronistic, that its impact would be highly selective and localised, and that the supposed alternatives (open court hearings) were not in this instance viable. Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens, for example, stated that there were at least 100, and probably 200, al-Qaeda-trained terrorists ‘walking the streets of Britain’ who warranted detention – and personally favoured imprisonment, not control orders (News of the World, 6 March 2005). Other ‘anti-terrorist sources’ (quoted anonymously by The Guardian, 8 March 2005) considered this alarmist, but even they put the figure at 40. The Home Office’s own plans for implementing control orders mentioned only 10 to 20 likely candidates. The figures for those expected to be subject to control orders were ‘not expected to be substantial’, its internal report said (quoted in The Guardian, 7 March 2005). Costs were important. It costs £40,000 per year to keep a terrorist suspect in high security prison like Belmarsh. The cost of keeping 20 suspects under surveillance for a year, including monitoring their bank accounts, would be between £100,000 and £200,000. The full cost of ‘full’ house arrest was not clear. The contracts to manage the EM aspects of control orders were to go to Premier and Securicor, raising concern in NAPO (the probation officers’ union) about the security vetting of private-sector staff (NAPO 2005). Interestingly, the Home Office’s implementation plan acknowledged that control orders may increase interethnic tensions, admitting that Muslims ‘may feel disproportionately affected by the new anti-terror powers’. The plan emphasised the importance of engaging with local communities to minimise the adverse impact of control orders. The need for this was confirmed a few weeks later, when the Home Affairs Select Committee confirmed that while the majority of British Muslims opposed terrorism, they increasingly felt stigmatised by the police, particularly in relation to the use of stop-and-search powers. The final stage of the argument between Government and Parliament focused on the merits of a sunset clause, intended by the opposition to ensure the legislation’s lapse from the statute book after nine (later extended to twelve) months – by which time it was hoped that more considered solutions would have been devised. Under pressure, the Government grudgingly agreed to bring forward anti-terror legislation being planned for spring 2006, and to allow parliamentary scrutiny of it in autumn 2005. With this compromise, the Bill received Royal Assent at 8 p.m. on Friday 11 March, after one of the longest sittings (31 hours) in parliamentary history, and perilously close to the 14 March deadline, at which point the Home Secretary would have used special autocratic powers to extend the existing legislation for 40 days. As it was, he

270 ]

Mike Nellis

was able to authorise the first control orders on the Saturday morning, although by then the SIAC had already released the detainees from prison. Releasing the detainees from prison In the aftermath of the Law Lords’ ruling in December 2004, senior lawyers for the detainees had been pressing the SIAC to release them, on bail, under the provisions of the 2001 Act, in advance of any new measures devised by the government. Insisting the men were dangerous, MI5 and the Home Office resisted. The SIAC granted the lawyers a hearing in early March and, following intense debate on several of the cases, Mr Justice Ouseley, the SIAC’s chairman, released all ten detainees on 11 March. One, an Algerian national known as A, was released in full. Eight detainees were released on bail. The tenth detainee, G, already on bail, somewhat pointedly had his conditions relaxed, for in February 2005 the Home Office had sought unsuccessfully to have G returned to Belmarsh on the grounds that he had received unvetted visitors at his home. The SIAC regarded the matter as unproven and left G on bail (The Guardian, 8 February 2005). Ouseley’s overall decision, which, in his view, was commensurate with the Law Lords’ ruling, reflected the SIAC’s loss of patience with the Home Office’s intransigence in individual cases and slow response to the ruling. The bail conditions agreed for the detainees nonetheless mirrored those the Government was seeking to embed in control orders. Ouseley also banned the media from publishing the detainees’ addresses, and photographs of them or their immediate family. Who, at this point, were the detainees? The ten suspects still detained on 11 March were mostly Algerians, all men. Few details were in the public domain. Only two were named. Abu Qatada was a Jordanian Islamic preacher agreed by the SIAC to have links to al-Qaeda, and to be dangerous. Mahmoud Abu Rideh was a Palestinian refugee who had been moved from Belmarsh to Broadmoor after his mental health deteriorated and he attempted self-harm. He spent three and a half years in custody, but disputed Government claims that he had links to international terrorists. All the other detainees were known only by their initials, A, B, E, G, H, K, P (who has had both hands amputated) and Q. Of these, P and B had also been in Broadmoor. All were variously claimed to have aided terrorists in Algeria, Chechnya, Tunisia or Afghanistan, sometimes directly, sometimes by fundraising. One (K) was alleged to have supported Islamic terrorists planning attacks in the UK and Europe, using toxic chemicals. An eleventh (former) detainee, known as I, was not allowed to apply for bail as he was now serving a prison sentence for other offences. The Home Office had wanted suspects tagged from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.; Ouseley allowed 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., to allow for evening childcare responsibilities. So long as the tagging equipment permitted it, they were allowed to spend time in their gardens. They could not leave the house during curfew without Home Office permission. Outside the curfew, they had to notify Premier whenever they left

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 271

or returned to the house. Those without homes were to live in Home Office accommodation. The detainee could not meet anyone outside his home without giving notice to the Home office a day ahead – with names, birthdates, addresses and photographs of those he was likely to meet. Repeat clearances for regular contact with health, welfare or educational establishments were not necessary. Advance permission was also needed to attend group meetings of up to 10 people, except at the mosque. Prayer meetings could be attended but not led. The detainee could not let anyone into his home who was not part of his immediate family or authorised by the Home Office. To allow children’s friends to visit, visitors under 16 years of age need not be vetted, but the parents who delivered and collected them (who did have to be approved) could only come as far as the front door. Emergency services could visit the house in the course of their duties. A special exception was made so that the landlord of one detainee could visit his property. Detainees had to allow police and security services to search the premises at any time. To avoid offending Muslim women in the house, the judge ruled that a female officer had to be present. Suspects were allowed one fixed landline, and a computer without Internet access. Mobile phones were banned, even for children. No other communication device – pager, fax – was allowed. The detainees were banned from leaving the country without telling the Home Office. They were banned from holding more than one bank account, which had to be British-based, and they had to give monthly statements to the Home Office. They were banned from transferring money or goods to any destination outside Britain without permission. The preacher Abu Qatada, specifically, was banned from buying or selling, or giving to anyone else, any form of communication or computer equipment. The detainees’ release was accompanied by panoply of high-security measures that attested, symbolically at least, to their presumed dangerousness. Some, for example, were first ‘moved across London by a convoy of three prison wagons flanked by two police vans and two motorcycle outriders’ (The Guardian, 12 March 2005). In other respects, the arrangements made for the bailed men (even allowing for the haste with which they had to be made) were surprisingly disorganised, given the threat they supposedly represented: One of the men released from Broadmoor immediately had to be taken from his new home to a psychiatric ward. Two of the detainees were homeless, and flats had to be found for them; at one, the police had to break a window to get in because the keys did not work . . . Another former detainee was released with no money or food and spent yesterday alone and hungry in his empty flat. (Independent on Sunday, 13 March 2005)

The telephone line to the Home Office, which detainees were required to use to seek permission, only operated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A senior Metropolitan Police officer, knowledgeable about the operation, told The Independent on Sunday that it may not be possible to guarantee the released men’s security in

272 ]

Mike Nellis

their homes, and that they may need to be given new identities. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who had opposed so much of the legislation predictably expressed anger at the shambles, given that the government had had ample time to prepare for the eventuality of the detainees’ release. Gareth Pierce was quoted as saying that ‘it is a state of utter and compete confusion and it is terrifying for the individuals concerned’ (2005). ‘Gagged and tagged’: experiencing control orders The ten bail orders were converted into non-derogating control orders, with no change to the regime under which the men were living, although with far harsher criminal penalties in the event of a violation. Some newspapers coined the phrase ‘gagged and tagged’ to capture the essence of this regime. Largely to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned – and because there are restrictions on whom they can talk with – little has appeared in the media about the detainees’ experience of control orders (or, indeed, of detainees-in-general experiences of Belmarsh, though see Saidi (2005)). It is known via their advocate, Ben Emmerson QC, that some of the ten, when the SIAC was considering placing them on bail, said they would prefer to remain in Belmarsh if the only alternative was the anticipated isolation and claustrophobia of house arrest. Those with families were more ambivalent; whilst wanting to be with them, they feared that their stringent bail conditions would cause them to suffer too (The Guardian, 1 February 2005). Later, when the Home Office sought to have G’s bail revoked, it emerged in the SIAC hearing that G had alarm clocks in every room of the flat which go off at the times he is obliged to check in. G also keeps a ‘meticulous’ note of the code words he is given to prove he has checked in. (The Guardian, 8 February 2005)

Only one of the detainees has gone public about life under a control order. Mahmoud Abu Rideh returned home to live with his wife and five children. He went to The Guardian’s offices on 23 March, without an escort, to point up the absurdity of his situation, of being curfewed at night but able to move about freely during the day. He had previously spent time in Belmarsh and Broadmoor, has been diagnosed as mentally ill, and claims the control conditions were aggravating his mental health. His particular conditions included not being allowed to make arrangements to meet anyone – though he can drop in unannounced. He is allowed no visitors at home unless they have been vetted, but can attend group prayers at a mosque. Mahmoud Abu Rideh told Guardian reporters: I go everywhere now – on the underground, buses, the mosque. But I must be home by 7 p.m. People think that I am dangerous, but I am not dangerous. The government

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 273

is playing games. If I am a risk to security, why are they letting me out to be with people? I would not do anything silly. I am not a dangerous man. (The Guardian, 24 March 2005)

In addition, Mahmoud Abu Rideh’s home was subject to surprise police searches (his wife, he said, sleeps fully clothed to avoid possible embarrassment). His children worried that he would be arrested, and not be there when they returned from school. He claimed that his confusion about the operation of control orders, and the lack of support, had led him to take a drug overdose the previous weekend. He found the conditions unbearable: I only want to kill myself. I don’t want to kill anybody else. I am not a danger to anybody else, but this government has made me a danger to myself. It is just as bad to be free with a control order as it is in Belmarsh prison or Broadmoor hospital. (The Guardian, 24 March 2005)

Mahmoud Abu Rideh was eventually returned to prison for breaking the conditions of his control order, having initailly had a period in which his tag had been officially removed while he underwent hospital psychiatric treatment. The Guardian (29 April 2005) reported that he had gone to a police station two days previously, told officials he did not wish to wear the tag again, and did wish to return to prison. He was remanded from Bow Street Court to the hospital wing of HMP Brixton. Shami Chakrabati, Director of Liberty, accused the Home Office of cruelty for penalising a man who was patently mentally ill. In the absence of information from the other suspects, it is impossible to generalise about the experience of control orders. A Guardian editorial (27 January 2005) had taken the in-principle view that ‘house arrest can be just as insufferable as prison’, but it seems that there are already reasonable grounds for thinking that the ostensibly ‘lesser’ control orders are insufferable too – even more so when the infrastructure intended to support them is lacking. When lawyers for the ten detainees initiated a legal challenge to the orders on 21 March, they described the preceding ten days as ‘continuous crisis management’. They claimed that neither the Home Office emergency phone number, nor the voice-verification technology supplied by Premier, worked reliably. (There is a little irony in the early failings of the relatively mundane technologies needed to make control orders operational, when one remembers that the identification and selection of the detainees in the first place had rested in part on global surveillance technologies of the utmost complexity and sophistication). These and other difficulties – the barring of the SIAC’s special advocates from speaking to their clients, once they have seen the classified documents containing the information being used to justify their detention – prompted the Constitutional Affairs Committee to urge a review of control orders within a fortnight of them becoming law (House of Commons 2005).

274 ]

Mike Nellis Conclusion

This chapter has been concerned only with the creation and immediate impact of the first wave of control orders, but it should be noted that, in the aftermath of the London bombings carried out by British-born Muslim suicide bombers on 7 July 2005, the government’s position on international terrorist suspects living within Britain’s borders changed dramatically. In August 2005, the Home Secretary revoked all but two of the existing control orders and ordered that the detainees be returned forthwith to prison, along with a number of other foreign nationals still at liberty, pending their deportation. The former obstacle to their deportation – the likelihood of their being tortured in their countries of origin, and the European Convention’s 1996 Chahal ruling forbidding deportations to such countries – was now to be overcome by drawing up memorandaof-understanding with the countries concerned, to ‘guarantee’ that returned suspects would not be tortured. Doubting whether such assurances would be honoured, the detainees began an appeal, which, at the time of writing (March 2006), was in process but not resolved, although in October three of them – A, G and H (and one of the newly imprisoned detainees, T) – were granted bail by the SIAC. Mr Justice Ouseley repudiated the Home Office demand for a presumption against bail in these cases, and is reported as saying: ‘SIAC does not consider it should regard the incidents of July as evidence of a greater national security risk posed by these applicants than before’. The men were bailed on strict conditions, including EM, and although not formally re-subjected to control orders, are subject to such onerous regimes that Amnesty International has expressed concern about them (The Independent, 15 December 2005). The fact that not all the detainees were bailed possibly acknowledges the delicatelyphrased view of the Government’s independent reviewer of anti-terrorist legislation (Carlile 2005, para 103) that there had indeed been ‘some difficulties as to the effectiveness of the control [order]s in terms of national security’, though he acknowledged that they were being ‘addressed diligently and efficiently’. Four new control orders were made in November 2005 and one in December, although on whom and with precisely what conditions was not made clear (Home Secretary, Written Ministerial Statement, 12 December 2005). They are also now available for use with a wider range of suspects than was originally considered in the 2001 Act, possibly including ‘animal rights’ activists. A compelling legal case against their present form – even the nonderogating orders – has been made by Alvaro Gil-Robles (2005), the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, who argues that although they masquerade as civil preventative measures they are in fact tantamount to being penal treatment – akin to what Roberts (2004) calls, in a criminal justice context, ‘community custody’ – and, as such, they indubitably violate the ECHR. He concedes that ‘exceptional times’ may require exceptional measures, but still wants clear limits set on them:

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 275

The indefinitely renewable nature of control orders . . . risks elevating the exceptional to the permanent by obviating the need ever to prove suspicions the restrictions are supposed to counter. Failure to find sufficient evidence to bring charges within the generous 12-month period allowed for control orders ought in my view to constitute grounds for lifting the restrictions imposed. (Gil-Robles 2005, para 25)

One important lesson of ‘the control order debate’ concerns the part played by technological developments in shaping new legal and administrative possibilities. A long-established debate about the (in)admissibility of ‘phone-tap evidence’ in court – in reality, much more sophisticated eavesdropping and data-mining technologies than mere ‘phone-tapping’ were in play (Sharpe 2002; Todd and Bloch 2003) – was intensified by the Prevention of Terrorism Bill. To the enduring issue of not wanting to expose informants’ identities, or jeopardise their safety, was added the new issue of preserving (and creating) mystique about one’s precise surveillant capacities. As Sir Stephen Lander, former head of MI5 and chairman of the newly created Serious and Organised Crime Agency, told a conference in February 2005 (reiterating the point on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, 18 February 2005): we have in this country a technical edge over most countries. The risk is that by opening this up to due process . . . in the courts, you will expose what we can and can’t do.

It is stretching things only a little to say that this new techno-political development lay at the root of the Government’s original dilemma. If court proceedings are ruled out because of this alone, how does one then constrain and isolate people who may, realistically, be a danger to society? In the event, the constraining measure adopted – EM-control orders – was made possible by utilising aspects of the pre-existing information and communication technology infrastructure to pinpoint an individual’s location at certain times of the day. Isolation (of a kind) was in turn accomplished by denying the persons concerned access to other aspects of that infrastructure, such as the Internet and mobile phones. Such can be the nature of legal constraint in the twenty-first century. It is unsurprising – but still worrying – that the law struggles to keep up. The Prevention of Terrorism Bill was arguably improved by fierce and intelligent debate, but even so, ‘the concessions that the Government made in order to get [it] . . . were not as great as the protracted sound and fury suggested, nor as great as the Opposition pretended’ (editorial, The Independent on Sunday, 13 March 2005). This was particularly true in respect of the derogating control orders, which were legislated for despite the Home Secretary himself saying that, at that particular point in time, they were not needed: But if he does not need this power against people who we are assured are dangerous, because they can be tagged and kept under curfew, why and when would he need it at

276 ]

Mike Nellis

all? Surely the power to detain terrorist suspects for 14 days without charge, backed up by the power to impose such extremely restrictive control orders as have been imposed in recent cases, would be sufficient? (Independent on Sunday, 13 March 2005)

In fact, in the post-7/7 legislative and political debates, the adequacy of ‘detention without trial for 14 days’ itself became an issue. On the basis of the time the police claimed they now needed to investigate suspects in complex plots and networks – a claim that itself had a technological dimension, namely decrypting computers, breaking electronic codes, sifting CCTV footage – the Government argued for extending detention to 90 days. The ensuing parliamentary debate was every bit as rancorous as the debate on control orders had been, and raised some of the same constitutional issues (Carlile 2005). The Government, which had the support of the general public but not of its own backbenchers, lost by 31 votes, and settled for an increase in the detention period to just 28 days – which, ironically, is less than that already permitted in a number of other European jurisdictions (The Guardian, 13 October 2005). Terrorism undoubtedly presents Britain with new challenges, but the settlement between the imperatives of security and democracy achieved by the new Prevention of Terrorism Act was unsatisfactory. State surveillance has a legitimate place in repertoires of response to terrorism, but it is being enhanced daily by shadowy technological developments that create new political options and permit new legal forms, to whose provenance and consequences we must, from now on, pay careful attention. References Barder, B. (2005a) ‘Freed – But Why?’, The Guardian, 8 February. —— (2005b) ‘Better than Belmarsh – Just’, The Guardian, 28 January. Beattie, K. (2005) ‘Control Orders and ASBOs: taking liberties’, Legal Action, April, pp. 7–8. Carlile, Lord (2005) Proposals by Her Majesty’s Government for Changes to the Laws Against Terrorism. Report by the Independent Reviewer Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, London: Home Office. CEP (2005) Electronic Monitoring. Report of fourth Conference on Electronic Monitoring at Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands. Cook, R. (2005) ‘Morally, this is indefensible. Politically, it’s plain stupid’, The Guardian, 4 March. Fenwick, H. (2002) ‘The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001: a proportionate response to 11th September?’, The Modern Law Review, 65 (5), pp. 724–62. Gibb, F. (2005) ‘Has Justice Become a Casualty in the War on Terrorism?’, The Times, ‘Law’ section, 29 March.

Electronic Monitoring for Terrorist Suspects in Britain

[ 277

Gil-Robles, A. (2005) Report by the European Commissioner for Human Rights on his visit to the United Kingdom, Strasbourg: Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. Hastings, M. (2005) ‘Our Greatest Danger is from Within’, The Guardian, 12 March. Home Office (2004a) Reducing Crime, Changing Lives – The Government’s Plans for Transforming the Management of Offenders, London: Home Office. —— (2004b) Confident Communities in a Secure Britain: The Home Office Strategic Plan 2004–2008, London: Home Office. House of Commons (2004) Joint Committee on Human Rights, 2003–2004 Session, Eighteenth Report: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200304/jtselect/jtrights/ jtrights.htm. Accessed 7 March 2006. —— (2005) Constitutional Affairs Committee, 2004–2005 Session, Seventh Report: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmcon st/cmconst.htm. Accessed 5 March 2006. Human Rights Watch (2005) UK: New Terrorism Law Fundamentally Flawed, 16 March, New York: Human Rights Watch. Kettle, M. (2005) ‘Are We at War? The Answer is Beyond Doubt: We Are Not’, The Guardian, 29 January. Kennedy, H. (2005) ‘Why Labour Stands Condemned’, The Observer, 27 February. Liberty (2005) Control Orders and Human Rights Principles, London: Liberty. Lilly, J. R. and R. Ball (1987) ‘A Brief History of House Arrest and Electronic Monitoring’, Northern Kentucky Law Review, 13, pp. 343–74 Mayer, M., R. Haverkamp and R. Levy (eds) (2003) Will Electronic Monitoring have a Future in Europe?, Freiburg: Max Planck Institute. NAPO (2005) Electronically Monitored Curfew Orders: Time for a Review, Briefing Paper, March, London: NAPO. Nellis, M. (2004) ‘Electronic Monitoring and the Community Supervision of Offenders’, in Bottoms, A. E., S. Rex and G. Robinson (eds) Alternatives to Prison: Options in an Insecure Society, Cullompton: Willan. Pierce, G. (2005) ‘A Stampede Against Justice’, The Guardian, 8 March. Privy Councillor Review Committee (2003) Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 Review, 2003–2004 Session, 18 December (the Newton Report). Riddell, M. (2005) ‘On the Road to Tyranny’, The Independent on Sunday, 30 January. Roberts, J. V. (2004) The Virtual Prison: Community Custody and the Evolution of Imprisonment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roth, P. (2004) The Plot Against America, London: Jonathan Cape. Rosenberg, J. (2005) ‘National Security Safe as Houses’, The Daily Telegraph, 3 February. Saidi, K. (2005) ‘A Dream Destroyed’, The Guardian, 18 March. Sharpe, S. (2002) ‘Covert Surveillance and the Use of Informants’, in McConville, M. and G. Wilson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminal Justice Process, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

278 ]

Mike Nellis

Slovo, G. (2005) ‘Banning, House Arrests – It All Sounds Eerily Familiar’, The Guardian, 2 February. Todd, P. and J. Bloch (2003) Global Intelligence: The World’s Secret Services Today, London: Zed Books. Whittam Smith, A. W. (2005a) ‘I’d Rather Risk Terrorism than Destroy the Rule of Law’, The Independent, 31 January. —— (2005b) ‘On This Issue I am Ready to Take to the Streets’, The Independent, 28 February.

CHAPTER

19 British Islamic Political Radicalism Salma Yaqoob

Introduction Speaking before the 7/7 bombings, the commander of London police’s Muslim Contact Unit, Janet Williams, described the greatest threat to British homeland security as being Muslim ‘radicalisation’ (Munthe 2005). This new danger could not be challenged effectively by a counter-terrorist strategy confined purely to a security agenda. In this new cold war, ideological hegemony was paramount. As Tony Blair outlined at a No. 10 press conference shortly after the London attacks, combating Muslim radicalism involved engaging in a battle of ideas: I see this as a global threat that has to be handled at a number of different levels; including the level of ideas and ideology . . . I think it has got some of the same characteristics as revolutionary Communism. (Downing Street, 2005a)

In the post-war period, critics of Western imperialism, peace movement activists, trade union militants and supporters of Third World liberation struggles were conveniently described as a ‘pro-Soviet’ camp dedicated to undermining British security. In the new cold war, it is equally convenient to bracket all expressions of Muslim radicalism as paving the way to terrorism. Yet the dominant character of Muslim radicalisation in Britain today points not towards terrorism or religious extremism, but in the opposite direction: towards political engagement in new, radical and progressive coalitions that seek to unite Muslim with non-Muslim in parliamentary and extraparliamentary strategies to effect change. What is unique about British Muslim radicalism in the European context is the degree to which it has overlapped, intertwined and engaged with indigenous non-Muslim radicalism post-9/11. [ 279 ]

280 ]

Salma Yaqoob

To reduce Muslim radicalism to a growth in ‘fundamentalism’ is to misread contemporary developments. It ignores the sea change that has taken place in the transformation of Muslim ideas of citizenship through participation in the anti-war movement (Geaves 2005). This participation, and not a growth in al-Qaeda-style religious extremism, has had the single biggest political impact on British Muslim radicalism. The lesson from the British context is that it is only by encouraging the widening of this progressive expression of Muslim radicalism that the political purchase of strategies based on either terrorism or Muslim sectarianism can be minimised. Understanding British Muslim radicalism pre-9/11 Muslim anger and concern about injustices fellow-Muslims suffer in far away lands is not new. Most British Muslims will have grown up being familiar with Islamic networks in which fundraising for those suffering oppression in Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia and Chechnya were commonplace. Many will have friends and family who will have directly travelled to those countries to do charity work. Some will be aware of individuals who have attended Islamic paramilitary training camps abroad. As Liz Fekete (2004) points out: For government and intelligence services that view the Muslim community through the lens of Islamophobia, support for all such international causes is proof of Islamic fanaticism. But viewed through the lens of human rights, coming to the aid of people under occupation and at risk of serious human rights violations, even genocide, could be construed as the same kind of idealism that motivated anti-fascists to join the International Brigades and risk their lives fighting Franco.

Within the Muslim community, an open culture of solidarity existed with what were regarded as legitimate liberation struggles. In some respects, it had similarities to the culture of solidarity in the Catholic community of Northern Ireland towards the republican struggle. In both cases there existed tightly-knit networks and communities united by a sharp sense of identity made all the more acute by a shared feeling of grievance. In the case of the Catholics of Northern Ireland, that grievance centred on injustices close to home. Denial of their national identity, economic and political discrimination, and repression at the hands of the British state engendered solidarity with those engaged in radical republican politics – including those engaged in armed struggle. For British Muslims, that sense of political grievance was not experienced directly, but was found in the profound sense of connection with Muslim brothers and sisters in other countries. Central to Islam is the concept of the Ummah, an Islamic internationalism expressing the ideal that Muslims of all lands are united as one community. The fact that other Muslims were suffering injustice hundreds or, more often,

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 281

thousands of miles away did not lessen its impact for British-born Muslims. Nor did it lessen their sense of responsibility to redress it. These were days, of course, in which Islamic radicalism was not seen as the biggest threat to Western civilisation. On the contrary, the Soviet Union occupied pride of place as the ‘evil empire’, and intelligence services turned a blind eye to expressions of support for Islamic fundamentalist movements. As long as Islamic organisations abroad were prepared to act as conduits for CIA policy in Afghanistan, British Muslim activism in support of those organisations was tolerated. While American intelligence agencies were busy arming Osama bin Laden and his associates, the British state was prepared to offer de facto support for Mujahedeen fighters on its soil because it coincided with British foreign policy interests. The Satanic Verses protests of the late 1980s also marked a pivotal moment in national Muslim participation. Many Muslims were deeply offended and angry with the book, and media coverage of their protests suddenly catapulted them into the public eye. The consequences of the protests were to be profound and farreaching. For some, they were an assertion of Muslim self-respect and community empowerment. For the broader British society, however, the protesters reinforced assumptions of Islam as a reactionary religion and deepened the isolation of the Muslim community. In particular, ‘the symbolic significance of book-burning in a society which still retains strong collective narratives based on resistance to fascism . . . received widespread animosity’ (Geaves 2005, p. 69). Understanding British Muslim radicalism post-9/11 On 30 October 2001, concerned about opinion polls showing a 12-point drop in public support for war in Afghanistan, Tony Blair said the following in a speech to the Welsh Assembly: It is important that we never forget why we are doing this; never forget how we felt watching the planes fly into the trade towers; never forget those answer phone messages. Never forget how we felt imagining how mothers told children how to die. Never forget the gloating menace of Osama bin Laden. (White 2001)

British Muslims were as horrified as the rest of the population at the attacks on the Twin Towers. They were also fearful. Muslims were now the focus of an attention in the British media that was without precedent and largely negative. But fear was mixed with anger at what was perceived as blatant hypocrisy. The New Labour politicians who pronounced their grief for the dead in New York were the same people who had presided over sanctions against Iraq that had cost the lives of over half a million Iraqi children – ‘A price worth paying’, in the infamous words of the then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Pilger 2000).

282 ]

Salma Yaqoob

As the Blair government prepared the grounds for war, Iraq was accused of violating UN resolutions. Muslims were acutely aware that successive Israeli governments had violated with impunity numerous UN resolutions critical of their treatment of the Palestinians. While the Russian and Indian governments were welcomed as partners in the ‘War on Terror’, large numbers of British Muslims would have read and seen video accounts of human rights abuses by those same governments in Chechnya and Kashmir. With the emergence of a large anti-war movement, initially to oppose the war in Afghanistan and then gathering greater momentum as the deadline for war in Iraq approached, the space for public dissent grew. Muslims found themselves increasingly in a position where large swathes of the non-Muslim population were echoing their concerns. This new situation fractured Muslim responses along three lines. First, the sense of disillusionment and helplessness was very marked in the Muslim community (most of whom did not belong formally to any particular religious organisation, although some were linked to mosques). A combination of genuine concern as to whether explicit public opposition was tactically in the best interest of the Muslim community in these difficult times, fear of stoking the flames of a racist backlash, and awareness of long-established political ties and patronage with the Labour Party combined to create a state of public selfcensorship. Under intense political pressure from the Blair government to either support the coming war with Afghanistan or, at the very least, not voice their opposition, many reached a halfway compromise. The largest national Muslim umbrella body, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), ‘withdrew support for the first anti-war march to placate the government’ (Birt 2005). This stance would change, under pressure from below, but it reflected a somewhat agnostic attitude to participation. In reality, the MCB and most of its affiliates initially did little to mobilise pro-actively within the Muslim community for the anti-war cause – although later they were to declare public opposition to the war in Iraq. It was left to the Muslim Association of Britain, which has a largely Arab-derived membership, to be the main representative of the Muslim community in the leadership of the anti-war movement (Murray and German 2005). Second, there were those involved in extreme Islamic political groupings that opposed working with non-Muslims on principle. Groups like Hizb-utTahrir should have expected to reap the benefits from the vacuum in Muslim leadership. Their message, however, was deeply sectarian and negative, counterposing a Muslim identity to a British identity and exuding a deeply hostile opposition to political engagement with non-Muslims (Akhtar 2005). They actively discouraged Muslims from joining the anti-war movement, even attempting to disrupt meetings, and declaring alliances between Muslims and non-Muslims to be ‘haram’ (forbidden). This effectively confined their appeal

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 283

to a small ideological, and primarily student, milieu. Despite inordinate media attention, such groups were effectively sidelined in what was the biggest political crisis the British Muslim community had ever faced. Third, there were those Muslims who saw the anti-war movement as a vehicle to express their dissent in accordance with their Islamic duty to ‘stand up for justice’. The fact that they were able to do so on an equal footing as citizens, having their sentiments shared by so many non-Muslims, was ironically the first time many Muslims felt a true sense of belonging in Britain. The existence of a secular and inclusive anti-war movement provided an alternative route of political engagement for Muslims. An important part of its success was its ability to reduce the feelings of marginalisation and isolation that Muslims had been experiencing. As one commentator noted: There is a new buzz among British Muslims – there are few calls for violent retaliation or slogans of hatred, even from groups of young men. Instead the anger is being channelled into the broader movement of Britons who oppose this war, and which . . . British Muslims have come to respect and trust. [Muslims] are re-engaging, mobilising and, by the looks of it, being thoroughly British. (Alam 2003)

A striking feature of this new Muslim radicalism was the leading role of the young generation. Students, largely female and often in hijabs, played a prominent role. This new leadership raised the anti-war movement to a new and previously unseen level. This was most graphically demonstrated in the school strikes that swept through Birmingham (and other British cities) during 2003. With young Muslims in the leadership, over 4,000 Birmingham school students walked out of their schools and colleges, and occupied the city centre (Birmingham Post 2003). The anti-war movement was the largest and most important avenue for Muslim radicalism, but it inevitably raised wider political questions and posed new problems for Muslim political engagement. This engagement was felt strongly at the ballot box, with many Muslims switching allegiance from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, and subsequently to RESPECT. The dramatic successes of RESPECT, although confined largely to East London and Birmingham Sparkbrook (both areas with large Muslim communities), was evidence of this new Muslim radicalism expressing itself at the ballot box (Dodd and MacAskill 2005). Other united fronts, such as trade union sponsored initiatives against racism like Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and the National Assembly Against Racism (NAAR), or campaigning initiatives against anti-terror legislation from the Mayor of London’s office and human rights organisation Liberty, have all had a reciprocal engagement with British Muslims that is without precedent. And that engagement shaped the ensuing political interaction, creating greater sensitivity among non-Muslims to Muslim grievances. This was evident in the

284 ]

Salma Yaqoob

way the issue of Palestinian rights emerged as a central political demand in the anti-war movement. The founding declaration of the Stop the War Coalition did not originally incorporate the Palestinian question. There was a legitimate concern at its inception that widening the political demands of the coalition beyond what was then building opposition to pending war with Afghanistan might fracture its unifying potential. Two factors changed that. First, as the spectre of war with Iraq emerged, the issue of a solution to the Palestinian problem became indispensably intertwined with prospects for peace in the Middle East. Second, Muslim-led pro-Palestinian activism propelled the issue onto the agenda. In particular, the 80,000-strong, overwhelmingly Muslim ‘Justice for the Palestinians’ demonstration held in London in April 2002, and organised by the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) with the backing of Stop the War, reenergised Palestinian solidarity in the UK (Karmi 2005). A similar dynamic was illustrated at the European Social Forum (ESF) held in London in 2004 and attended by over 20,000 activists. Whereas the ESF held in Paris in 2003 was mired in controversy over the presence of the Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan, his presence at the London ESF was relatively uncontentious. In Paris, the debate on defending the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab in France revealed deep divisions. In London, by contrast, the same meeting, organised by the National Assembly Against Racism in conjunction with the public sector union UNISON, was very heated but overwhelming supportive (NAAR 2004). It is impossible to understand this contrast without situating it in the context of the positive engagement between Muslim and non-Muslim radicals in the UK. As Ron Geaves (2005, p. 77) observes: The anti-war demonstrations have accelerated a process whereby British Muslims are more able to engage in their society with an increasing emphasis on mutual interests and commonalities with a wider non-Muslim population.

London bombings and after On 7 July 2005, 52 people were killed and more than 700 injured in the largest single terrorist attack London has ever experienced. British-born Muslims had carried out the first suicide attack on British soil. In the immediate aftermath, the debate surrounding Muslim ‘extremism’ was seriously skewed by the Government’s interventions. However, it is not at all clear what it means to be ‘extreme’. The Daily Telegraph’s Political Editor, George Jones, in an article entitled ‘The Men Who Blame Britain’, succeeded in lumping together London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Sir Iqbal Sacranie (Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain), who had condemned the bombings, with fringe figures from al-Muhajiroun who had pointedly refused to

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 285

make any such condemnation (Jones 2005). The extremism under the spotlight here was not so much the act of terror but the holding of broad anti-imperialist views that located the causes of the bombings in Britain’s foreign policy. Political explanations were to be firmly excluded from consideration on pain of the accusation of ‘justification’. Prime Minister Tony Blair encapsulated this approach in his very first response. In a statement issued from the Scottish resort of Gleneagles, where he was chairing a meeting of the G8, the Prime Minister outlined what would be the cornerstone of the Government’s response: Our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world. (Downing Street 2005b)

For the Prime Minister, the bombings of 7/7 were an attack on ‘our values and our way of life’. In an echo of George Bush’s statements in the aftermath of 9/11, the London bombings were seen as evidence that the Western world was subject to a new threat, motivated by an ‘evil ideology’ infused with hatred towards Western values, which was driving some Muslims to kill and bomb in the name of Islam. Despite the heightened emotional atmosphere, and the real sense of fear in London and elsewhere, other voices began to be heard that located the causes of the attacks in politics rather than in values or beliefs. This current of opinion pointed directly at the occupation of Iraq as a cause of deep anger, an anger that had led some Muslims towards extremism. Such views were highly controversial in the immediate aftermath of the bombings. The newly elected RESPECT MP, George Galloway, spoke in the House of Commons on 7 July. His condemnation of the attacks was forthright: I condemn it utterly as a despicable act, committed against working people on their way to work, without warning, on tubes and buses. Let there be no equivocation: the primary responsibility for this morning’s bloodshed lies with the perpetrators of those acts.

But he went further than ritual condemnation: We cannot separate the acts from the political backdrop. They did not come out of a clear blue sky, any more than those monstrous mosquitoes that struck the twin towers and other buildings in the United States on 9/11 2001 . . . The experts in our own Foreign Office . . . told us in leaked documents . . . that we would be placing ourselves in greater danger if we [invaded Iraq]. So there was nothing unpredictable about this morning’s attack. Despicable, yes; but not unpredictable. It was entirely predictable and, I predict, it will not be the last. (Hansard 2005, Column 521)

286 ]

Salma Yaqoob

His speech was greeted with outrage. The Conservative Party Shadow Defence Minister, Adam Ingram, accused him of ‘dipping his poisonous tongue in a pool of blood’ (Milne 2005). This debate was to be rehearsed on innumerable occasions in the days and weeks that followed. The British Government fought to maintain the line that the reasons for the bombings were rooted first and foremost in religious dogma, and divorced from any broader political contextualisation. A public debate about the British model of multiculturalism as an incubator of terrorism was renewed with added vigour. Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, argued that British multicultural practice was fomenting divisions and ‘separateness’, and his views appeared to have new relevance. Phillips’s claim that Britain was ‘sleepwalking to segregation’ (CRE 2005) was not, however, borne out by the facts. Research carried out by academics from Manchester University found the opposite to be the case: Britain had become more racially integrated over the last decade. Social exclusion was more rooted in poverty, lack of equal access to jobs and housing (Dodd 2005). It is probably fair to conclude that the Government lost in the battle for public opinion. An ICM opinion poll carried out for the Guardian newspaper in July found that 64 per cent of respondents said Tony Blair was ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ responsible for the bombings for his decision to invade Iraq (ICM 2005). However, the second attempted bombings on 21 July ratcheted up the fear in London to another level. The extent of this fear was underlined by the police shooting of an innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes, at Stockwell tube station. According to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, de Menezes was one of 250 people in the two weeks since 7 July who had been wrongly identified as a suspected suicide bomber, ‘some seven of whom the police had believed – until almost the last moment – warranted response on that suspicion, presumably by using a shoot to kill policy’ (Austin 2005). Intelligence chiefs raised the prospect of a new danger of British Islamic radicalism. One chief constable described the bombings as marking the beginning of a ‘home-grown insurgency . . . thousands of young Muslim men with military training are now resident in this country’ (Times Online 2005). The cause of this new danger of Muslim radicalism was located entirely within Muslim communities and reduced to the malign influence of radical Islamic preachers. While a particular interpretation of Islamic theology is a factor in understanding events like 7/7 and British Muslim radicalism, to focus on theology alone is inadequate. It ignores the political drivers behind such attacks, in particular the radicalising impulse of British foreign policy. Indeed, the Government’s own advisers in the Foreign Office had identified the anger the occupation of Iraq was generating within the Muslim community more than a year before the London bombings (Ali 2005).

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 287

The most extensive research on the topic of suicide bombings, conducted by the American academic Robert A. Pape, identifies the root cause for such actions as political, not religious: The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign – over 95 percent of all the incidents – has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw. (McConnell 2005)

This analysis has been further confirmed from the very mouths of the terrorists themselves. Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7/7 bombers, in a recording shown on Al-Jazeera, unequivocally identifies British foreign policy and his opposition to it as the justification behind the attacks. In his eyes, the fact that ‘democratically elected governments’ were complicit in the ‘bombing, the gassing, the imprisonment and torture’ of Muslims meant that the British public were legitimate targets (Dodd and Norton-Taylor 2005). Any doubts about the morality of killing innocent civilians were resolved via a perverted interpretation of Islam in which the deaths of innocents become legitimised as collateral damage for the higher cause of shattering the complacency of western governments and getting western troops out of Muslim lands. In fact, Islamic teaching is unequivocal in its condemnation of certain forms of struggle, such as killing of innocents and the use of suicide (Khwaja 2005). The ‘theology’ of the bombers was, in effect, moulded to justify an immoral act born of political anger. However, the Government’s own advisers in the Foreign Office had identified the anger the occupation of Iraq was generating within the Muslim community more than a year before the London bombings (Ali 2005). Following the 7/7 bombings, the Home Office carried out a consultation exercise across the country with British Muslims to tackle ‘extremism and radicalism’. In August 2005, seven task forces were set up with a remit to feed back recommendations to the Government by September 2005. Interestingly, the final report of the Working Group, entitled Preventing Extremism Together (Home Office 2005), emphasises at the outset the role of British foreign policy in giving rise to grievances that provide a motivation for extremism. Whilst seeking to emphasise a positive engagement between British Muslims and the Government, it calls for a public inquiry into the root causes of the events of 7/7 and 21/7, and criticises existing and proposed anti-terror strategies. A number of positive strategies – including the empowerment of Muslim youth and women, the training of Imams, building the capacities of mosques, the reflection of Islam in school curricula, challenging Islamophobia and encouraging sensitive policing – were also proposed.

288 ]

Salma Yaqoob

It seems, then, that the Government has adopted a carrot-and-stick approach towards Muslim citizens. One the one hand, it is keen to portray itself as being willing to assist with promoting ‘positive’ images of British Islam, and sympathises with the problems in overcoming stereotypical media representation. On the other hand, it applies tremendous political pressure on Muslim leaders not to display any degree of criticism or political independence from the Government. In reality, any Muslim leadership which fails to give voice to the political opposition of Muslims to British foreign policy risks losing all credibility. Attempts by the Government to deny the legitimacy of Muslim grievances serve to deny space for democratic protest and blur the distinction between radical dissent and extremism. The legitimacy of Muslim radicalism The main thrust, however, of the Government reaction to the 7/7 bombings was two-fold: to propose draconian anti-terror legislation undermining existing civil liberties and to focus on internal problems within the Muslim community that allegedly hindered their ability to integrate into broader society. As part of this critique, there was a deliberate effort to exorcise from Islamic political discourse the right of the oppressed to wage struggle by blurring the distinction between legitimate, if radical, viewpoints and illegitimate support for indiscriminate violence. Yet the right of peoples to resist oppression is an inalienable one. In specific circumstances, such as countries under foreign occupation, people have the right under international law to bear arms to liberate themselves and their homelands. Supporters of the struggle for Palestine and Iraqi self-determination can therefore quite legitimately claim that they have a moral right and legal authority to wage armed struggle. In resisting foreign occupation, Iraqis and Palestinians stand in a tradition of anti-colonial struggles stretching during the twentieth century alone from the 1916 Easter uprising of Irish republicans in Dublin, to the Algerian nationalist struggle against French colonialism from 1954 to 1962, to the 40-year fight of the Vietnamese people to expel first French and then American occupiers. In each case, bloody guerrilla war was a precursor to national self-determination. There are strong and enduring political traditions that support the legitimacy of armed resistance to oppression. Whether armed struggle is, at a given moment in time, the correct tactic to pursue in the struggle for freedom, or, if it is to be pursued, what form it takes, is a separate issue and does not detract from the moral authority the oppressed have in their struggle against the oppressor. However, in giving such actions political legitimacy when directly confronted with oppression, it is necessary to identify what is most constructive and morally legitimate in terms of solidarity with struggles taking place elsewhere.

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 289

The experience, however, of the most effective international solidarity campaigns, such as the anti-apartheid movement, is that the most powerful international solidarity is that which reaches the deepest into the broad public consciousness. This is only possible through engagement in mass participatory politics that seeks to unite the broadest swathes of the population around common goals to maximise pressure on Government policy. In contrast, solidarity work that is reduced to cheerleading militarist strategies and defending the ‘purity’ of Muslim-only activism is patently counterproductive. It is incapable of connecting with broad layers of the population who, despite ideological diversity, share many common goals. It does nothing to challenge a political culture that allows elected politicians to get away with catastrophic foreign policy decisions, not least because it deliberately abandons this terrain. Although the anti-war movement did not stop the war in Iraq, it has helped inform a political debate around foreign policy issues that makes it much more difficult for this or any future government to wage similar wars in the future. Progressive Muslim radicals draw strength from this fact, and reflect on how best to incorporate Muslim principles in order to create an alternative political culture: one based on notions of peace and cooperation between peoples and nations, not war and competition. This form of radicalism is to be encouraged, as it genuinely informs and enriches British democratic culture. By effectively seeking to criminalise and drive underground any expression of solidarity with Muslims resisting oppression abroad, the risk of Muslim extremism at home is increased. A Home Office listening exercise with Muslim community groups to prevent the growth of extremism after the July terror attacks feared that a proposed Foreign Office database of ‘foreign extremists’ and a Home Office list of extremist websites, bookshops and organisations of concern will lead to a clampdown that will be seen as censorship of all those who might criticise British foreign policy or call for political unity among Muslims.

The report went on to describe as ‘disingenuous’ attempts to criminalise expressions of support from the Muslim community for legitimate support for selfdetermination struggles around the world, for these carry ‘the dual risk of radicalisation and driving the extremists further underground’ (Travis and Wintour 2005). The attempt to draw a direct line of continuity between ‘legitimate support for self-determination struggles’ and al-Qaeda is as misleading as claiming that the Red Brigades were political descendants of the Italian partisans who helped defeat Mussolini’s fascist regime. Indeed, groups like al-Qaeda have more similarities than differences with classic European terrorist organisations like the Red Brigades. In both cases,

290 ]

Salma Yaqoob

there is a profound elitism and pessimism. Ordinary people are seen to be incapable of effecting fundamental change. For al-Qaeda, the majority of Muslims are seen as lacking in their understanding of and commitment to Islam. Its actions are analogous to the terrorism of the Red Brigades, in that they alone posses the necessary consciousness to bring about real change. In both cases their ‘legitimacy’ stems not from deep social roots, but from their own profound sense of self-importance. In practice, too, the experience of both the far-left European terrorist movements and al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism is that the consequences of their actions are profoundly reactionary. The Red Brigades’ strategy of destabilising the Italian ruling class through, for example, the kidnapping and murder of Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro, had only the effect of destabilising the left and helped destroy Italy’s ‘extraordinary, multi-faceted protest movement’ (Ginsbourg 1990). The attacks of 9/11 provided an excuse for the most right-wing American administration of recent times to pursue its Project for a New American Century, and gave the green light to a new wave of Israeli aggression in the occupied territories, which has already resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian civilians. It is not in doubt that there are international networks of radical, extremist Muslims. It is not in doubt, either, that these networks have attracted some support from Muslims in the West. But the dominant form of Islamic radicalism in Britain today – centred on engagement with progressive coalitions – cannot be understood by restricting one’s reference points to some worldwide Islamic conspiracy. On the contrary, the existence of this new and progressive radicalism is a sharp break from those who would lead British Islam into confrontation with all levels of British society. It is an open challenge to the methods of the terrorists, an implicit challenge to the theology that underpins it, and it has opened a genuine route towards a meaningful social cohesion in which Muslims are equal partners. Islamic theology and radicalism The attempt to fuse all expressions of Muslim radicalism into one undifferentiated reactionary mass, rooted in an inherently reactionary religion, is pursued with gusto by a section of the pro-war media. While this might be a convenient, if disingenuous, debating ploy, it ignores a more complex reality. British-based Muslim scholars and activists, who are active participants in the anti-war and global justice movements, are challenging old dogmas about Muslim participation in British society and reclaiming Muslim radical traditions. Dr Azzam Tamimi (2005), a leading Muslim activist in the Stop the War Coalition, describes how, for Muslims living as a minority, it is their Islamic duty to be actively engaged as citizens in deepening the best of Western democratic traditions:

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 291

One of the great accomplishments of secularism is the space it provides for pluralism and a reasonable degree of coexistence . . . Under such a system of governance, it is agreed to respect the fundamental rights of all people without discrimination, without commitment to religious frames of reference. What matters in such a system is that despotism is checked.

Tariq Ramadan (2005), who calls for a British Muslim citizenship that enriches all society, echoes these views. Ramadan argues for an independent Western Islam, anchored not in the cultural traditions of the East but in the cultural reality of the West. He puts forward an understanding of universal Islamic principles leading to a confident integration in Western societies, clearly rejecting the notion that Islam must be defined in opposition to the West: not only is this bipolar and simplistic vision a decoy (and the claims that justify it are untruths), but the power it bestows is a pure illusion: in practice, the Muslims who maintain these theses only isolate themselves, marginalise themselves, and sometimes by their excessive emotional, intellectual, and social isolation, even strengthen the logic of the dominant system whose power, by contrast, lies in always appearing open, pluralistic and rational.

He also raises other sensitive issues inside the Muslim community. Among these are the rights of women, which Ramadan (2004) addresses by calling for the ‘birth of an Islamic feminism’: To believe that nothing in the message of Islam justifies discrimination against women is one thing; to say that they do not suffer any discrimination in Western (or Eastern) Muslim communities is another. Any look at these communities that could be called objective will reveal that we are far from the ideal of equality before God, complementary in family and social relations, and financial independence, behind which many ulema and intellectuals hide by quoting verses and Prophetic traditions. This does not reflect reality and to say otherwise is a lie.

The actuality of new expressions of ‘Islamic feminism’, although its practitioners would not necessarily use such a term to describe their actions, were in evidence in female Muslim participation in political activism post-9/11. A powerful feature of Muslim involvement in the anti-war movement was the role of women who attended the demonstrations and were active in arranging transport and organising protests in schools and universities. The very fact that women were even doing this work, and sometimes occupying leadership roles, in itself represented a major challenge to conservative and patriarchal cultural practices inside Muslim communities. Some of these Muslim women wore hijab, others did not. Many had never participated politically, coming from very traditional and conservative

292 ]

Salma Yaqoob

backgrounds. The participation of these women was usually facilitated by organising behind the scenes, and via women-only networks. Some women were conscious of participating whilst minimising the risks of any questioning of their ‘honour’ from their menfolk. As a result, many travelled to demonstrations in women-only transport and participated in demonstrations in full niqab – a veil drawn across the face, usually leaving the eyes visible. This was also a feature of my own election campaign in May 2005 in which teams of middle-aged Muslim women, faces covered to preserve ‘modesty’, went canvassing door-to-door with great success to activate the Muslim female vote. In so doing, they radically challenged perceptions in Birmingham’s inner-city Muslim communities that politics was a male preserve, particularly as they were campaigning for a female candidate. Conclusion While the dominant character of Muslim radicalisation post-9/11 has been in a progressive direction, there is no room for complacency. The images of Muslim extremists on the streets of London protesting about cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), while carrying placards celebrating the 7/7 bombings, are a reminder that polls conducted in the aftermath of the attacks showed around 5 per cent of British Muslims condoned them. A larger percentage, while disapproving of the bombers’ actions, will have sympathised with their intentions. Muslim anger at global injustices in Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan runs very deep, and it is this anger that is shaping interpretation of religious texts to justify such grotesque acts as indiscriminately killing innocent civilians. To focus on foreign policy as a driver in explaining Muslim radicalism is also to focus on the politicians who decide and shape those policies. Anti-terror measures that seek to limit the expression of, or engagement with, these concerns will only run the risk of feeding the very worst expressions of Muslim radicalism they seek to proscribe. The key lesson from Muslim radicalism post-9/11 is that it was not Muslim-only activism, or lobbying from within ‘the mainstream’ (Malik 2005), that placed British foreign policy under such intense public pressure, particularly as anti-war Muslim voices within the mainstream were being ‘blocked’ (Ahmed 2004). Rather, it was committed social activism, uniting Muslim and non-Muslim, initially under a very difficult political climate post-9/11, and through sheer perseverance and strategies designed to maximise unity, that managed to drag middle England onto its side and placed a public spotlight on foreign policy that is without precedent. It also ensured that Tony Blair would suffer his first-ever defeat in the House of Commons. This was despite the unprecedented spectacle of the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, entering the political debate to influence opinion in favour of 90-day detention, and three consecutive front pages in the Sun newspaper

British Islamic Political Radicalism

[ 293

denouncing MPs who were refusing to vote in favour of draconian anti-terror proposals. To see the strengthening of British Muslim identity and self-confidence as a threat to ‘British values’, or in some way as a backward reaction to Western society, is a profound mistake. In engaging in the political process in such a manner, this new generation of Muslim activists have become very much part the mosaic of British radicalism. They will take their place in the history books alongside the suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote, the workers who campaigned for trade union rights, and the Christian anti-debt campaigners who fought for trade justice – all of whom were unafraid of expressing their citizenship through protest and dissent. References Ahmed, K. (2004) ‘Labour “blocking Muslims” ’, The Observer, 15 February. Akhtar, P. (2005) ‘(Re)turn to Religion and Radical Islam’, in Abbas, T. (ed.), Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure, London: Zed Books. Alam, F. (2003) ‘How War has Brought Hope to British Muslims’, The Observer, 23 March. Ali, T. (2005) Rough Music: Blair/Bombs/Baghdad/London/Terror, London: Verso, containing letter from Michael Jay, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, to Sir Andrew Turnbull, Cabinet Secretary. Austin, G. (2005) ‘The Next Attack’, The Foreign Policy Centre: http://fpc.org.uk/publications/175. Accessed 5 March 2006. Birmingham Post (2003) ‘Kids Stage Anti-war Demo’, 19 March. Birt, J. (2005) ‘Lobbying and Marching: British Muslims and the State’, in Abbas (ed.) (2005). Commission for Racial Equality (2005) ‘After 7/7: Sleepwalking to Segregation’. Speech by Trevor Phillips at the Manchester Council for Community Relations, 22 September. Dodd, V. (2005) ‘Racial Integration Increasing: Study Shows UK Growing More Racially Integrated’, The Guardian, 15 November. Dodd, V. and A. MacAskill (2005) ‘War Factor Adds to Backlash in Labour Marginals’, The Guardian, 6 May. Dodd, V. and R. Norton-Taylor (2005) ‘Video of 7/7 Ringleader Blames Foreign Policy’, The Guardian, 2 September. Downing Street (2005a) ‘Prime Minister’s statement’, 5 August: www.number10.gov. uk/output/Page8041.asp. Accessed 5 March 2006. —— (2005b) ‘Gleneagles statement’, 7 July: http://www.number10.gov.uk/ output/Page7853.asp. Accessed 5 March 2006. Fekete, L. (2004) ‘Anti-Muslim Racism and the European security state’, Race & Class, July–September 2004, London: Institute of Race Relations. Ginsbourg, P. (1990) A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics 1943–1988, London: Penguin Books.

294 ]

Salma Yaqoob

Geaves, R. (2005) ‘Negotiating British Citizenship and Muslim Identity’, in Abbas (ed.) (2005). Hansard (2005): www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm050707/ debtext//50707-26.htm. Accessed 5 March 2006. Home Office (2005) ‘Preventing Extremism Together’ Working Groups, Aug–Oct 2005: http://communities.homeoffice.gov.uk/raceandfaith/reports_pubs/publicati ons/race_faith/PET-working-groups-aug-0ct05. Accessed 5 March 2006. ICM Research (2005) Guardian poll, 15–17 July 2005: www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/ 2005/Guardian%20-%20muslims%20july05/Guardian%20Muslims%20jul05.asp. Accessed 6 March 2006 Ingram quoted in Milne, S. (2005) ‘It is an Insult to the Dead to Deny the Link with Iraq’, The Guardian, 14 July. Jones, G. (2005) ‘The Men Who Blame Britain’, The Daily Telegraph, 20 July. Karmi, G. (2005) ‘Palestine and the Stop the War Movement’, in Murray, A. and L. German (eds), The Story of Britain’s Biggest Mass Movement, London: Bookmarks. Khwaja, M. (2005) ‘Terrorism, Islam, Reform: Thinking the Unthinkable’, open Democracy: www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-terrorism/reform_2706.jsp. Accessed 6 March 2006. Malik, S. (2005) ‘Isolated Young Men Must Join the Mainstream’, The Observer, 24 July. McConnell, S. (2005) ‘The Logic of Suicide Terrorism’, The American Conservative, 18 July. Munthe, T. (2005) ‘Terrorism: not who but why?’, openDemocracy: www.open democracy.net/conflict-terrorism/understanding_2692.jsp. Accessed 6 March 2006. Murray, A. and L. German (2005) ‘Unity with MAB’, in Murray and German (eds) (2005). National Assembly against Racism (2004) ‘Hijab – A Woman’s Right to Choose’: www.naar.org.uk/newspages/041022.asp. Accessed 6 March 2006. Pilger, J. (2000) ‘Squeezed to Death’, The Guardian, 4 March. Ramadan, T. (2004) Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press. —— (2005) ‘The Challenge Facing Western Muslims’, in M. Bunting (ed.) Islam, Race and Being British, London: The Guardian & Barrow Cadbury Trust. Tamimi, A. (2005) Islam & Secular Society: www.ii-pt.com/web/papers/society.htm. Accessed 6 March 2006. Times Online (2005) ‘Islamic Radicals Run Brainwashing Camps in Lake District’, 12 August: www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1732559,00.html. Accessed 6 March 2006. Travis, A. and P. Wintour (2005) ‘Terror Bill Chilling for Muslims, Blair Warned’, The Guardian, 11 November. White, M. (2001) ‘Blair’s Plea: Never Forget Reasons for the Bombing’, The Guardian, 30 October. Yaqoob, S. (2005) ‘Our Leaders Must Speak Up’, The Guardian, 15 July.

CHAPTER

20 Disengaging with Terrorism: The Internal Muslim Challenge in Deligitimising Radicalism as a Means of Tackling Extremism Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi

There are some very bad Muslims, some very bad Christians, and some very bad Jews, and people whose minds are warped or confused or particularly zealous – obsessed with one issue above all else, and who are capable of terrorism. G. E. Fuller (2004)1 Interpretations differ, and people understand things differently. A. A. Engineer (2002)2 There is no compulsion in religion. Quran (2: 256)

Extremism, rather than fundamentalism, is the issue for many ordinary Muslims who are today experiencing a major paradigmatic socio-political and religio-cultural shift in both the way they are perceived and the way they, as an identifiable though diverse community, perceive themselves. Is there a chasm between Islam and the West, as was recently suggested in a speech by the Malaysian Prime Minister? I was asked to comment on this by the BBC3, and expressed my belief that the issue is not so much about a chasm between civilisations as it is about clashes within civilisations, particularly within religions, or, as Professor Akbar S. Ahmed of Washington University puts it, communities ‘simultaneously under siege’.4 And nowhere is this sense of siege, and sense of internal conflict, more apparent than between the ideological forces within Dar al-Islam. The debate is lent impetus by more than just political factors – it is mainly one of ideology. Indeed, Iran’s former president, Sayyed Muhammad Khatami, speaking in Pakistan in 2000,5 warned against the ‘parochial and regressive visions’ of ‘dogmatic believers’ who are leaving ‘a clear void in religious intellectualism’. Western commentators, too, have spoken about the ‘dogmatic preaching of Western values which ignores the traditions and culture in the target countries’.6 [ 295 ]

296 ]

Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi

There is therefore an evident clash within Islam and between Muslims. It is a clash between the forces of pluralism (or what are often referred to as moderates) and the forces of extremism (not necessarily traditionalists but often individuals with extreme views and tendencies built almost exclusively around an interpretation of religious scripture that is so puritanical as to be unrecognisable to most ordinary believers). It is a clash between the forces of separatism (Takfiri-inspired political Islamist idealists) and the forces of integration (Islamic or secular Islamic pluralists). The latter see the Quran as ‘a pluralistic scripture, affirmative of other traditions’,7 whilst the former defend a rigid, legalistic and non-pluralistic idea of faith and reason. It is the presence of the former in Western societies that represents what some European diplomats, such as Italy’s Roberto Toscano, describe as ‘a big challenge to those liberal and democratic values that today are considered synonymous with the West: pluralism, tolerance, and acceptance of difference’.8 Yet, in the Western media, a distinction between this small but vocal minority of hardline misfits and the vast majority of Muslims is rarely, if ever, stressed. Indeed, the vast majority of Muslims in the West, whilst ‘unpersuaded by many triumphalist claims made for the West’ are, nonetheless, happy with the West’s ‘core values’, which they do not perceive to err from Islamic universal values.9 ‘A difficult task’ therefore ‘confronts those Muslims who occupy the uncomfortable and increasingly marginalised middle ground – those who reject unconditionally any correspondence between Osama bin Laden’s Jihadism and Islam; yet also have serious criticisms to make of western policies, policies which have contributed to the climate in which Jihadism thrives’.10 It is interesting that, among the radicalised former group, the emphasis on narrow scriptural interpretation, or what one Iraqi scholar has referred to as ‘inappropriate interpretations of holy text’, is often coupled with the adoption of a pseudo-arabicised visual manifestation of ‘Muslim identity’.11 An expression of this is the adoption of names or titles that that are overtly Arabo-Islamic in origin (the use of ‘Abu’ as a prefix to one’s name, for example; or the increasing use of the prefix ‘al-’ as an honorific; or the popularising use of pseudoIslamic terminology in everyday speech, such as repeating ‘jazakallah khair’ or ‘mashallah’ (which, like the previous examples, are not so apparent among earlier generations of Muslims)). Whilst communities naturally metamorphose as time goes by, and the lingua franca of societies change across generations in any case, what was de rigueur yesterday may not be so now. The general dilemma for Muslim communities today is the political context against which such expressions of new and emerging identities are being constructed. Yet, for all this apparent sociological shift within a particular minority, ‘few take the trouble to notice that mainstream Islam dislikes the extremists as much as the west does’.12 So my point is not so much where we lay the blame for the increasingly polarised position that European society finds itself in – whether there is an

Disengaging with Terrorism

[ 297

Islam versus West dichotomy, or whether there is an impending clash of civilisations – but how do we, as a society made of many cultures, respond in constructive ways to understanding the challenges that confront us from within our own communities? And in particular, how do minority ethnic, racial and religious communities meet that challenge from within, notwithstanding preexisting ethnic, racial, social and, of course, sectarian diversities? One of the key questions in the international context today, vis-à-vis the Islam-versus-West debate is: ‘Can Islam and democracy really be mutually compatible?’ According to some commentators, ‘Islamist thought is moving in a direction that makes all compromise with the modern ethos almost impossible.’13 But if democracy is the modern ethos referred to here, the plain fact of the matter is that it has never been easy to achieve anywhere. In Europe, for example, both communism and fascism held sway as reactions against modernization,14 just as pan-Arab nationalism and Islamism hold sway in many parts of the Muslim world today. It is tempting, therefore, to argue that the Muslim world is in a state of flux because it is experiencing a transitional process of seismic proportions. And in such an uncertain process, the cultic attraction of a messianic saviour who can at once address current inconsistencies in the status quo and at the same time raise the spectre of a return to a bygone golden age might seem inevitable. But what relevance does such a scenario hold for Muslims who are either ‘in’ or ‘of’ Europe? Whilst one can discern political Islamism as a potent and seemingly logical challenge to defunct regimes ‘over there’, we have to find appropriate means of exploring parallel and related movements ‘over here’. And if we are thinking in terms of parallels in our search for an answer as to why it is that some Muslims appear to be more prone to radicalisation than those within other communities, does the answer lie in promoting a liberalist Islam here? Is it feasible to talk of constructing a ‘liberalist Islamic agenda’ on a par with the Protestant liberalism, for example, developed by Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834), which emphasised tolerance, individualism, freedom and pluralism? It is perhaps not so ironic a suggestion that Muslims in the West take a leaf from the Christian book, as well as the Quran, in trying to find appropriate answers to tackling extremist ideologies within their own communities. From the Islamic point of view, the Quranic principle of ‘No compulsion in religion’ (2: 256), and its subsequent practical corollary of the Medinan state as a model for acceptance and coexistence, epitomises the principle of religious pluralism in Islam.15 Muslims ‘of’ the West might be closer to realising this than they think. Muslim intellectualism and Muslim civil society, both individual and institutional, have not only developed apace in the West over the last two decades, but have been assertively dynamic. Indeed, ‘the first significant Fatwa issued against the actions of bin Laden and al-Qaeda by a representative group came via European Muslims, in a text issued by the Islamic Commission of Spain on 11 March 2005, the first anniversary of the Madrid bombings’.16 The

298 ]

Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi

Spanish Commission on the Madrid bombings concluded that ‘inasmuch as Osama bin Laden and his organisation defend terrorism as legal and try to base it on the Quran . . . they are committing the crime of istihlal [that is, of making up one’s own laws] and thus become apostates [who] should not be considered Muslims or treated as such’. Likewise, Muslim scholars have pointed out that suicide bombings challenge fundamental principles of Islamic ethics, and their justification as retaliation is ‘a curious moral position’, indeed one that ‘not only abnegates moral responsibility’ but also ‘demolishes the ethical underpinning of the jihad tradition – that Muslims behave according to the dictates of divine law, not in response to the actions of their enemies’.17 Indeed, ‘it is a paradox that those who are most fanatical about the forms of the religion end up violating those very forms themselves. A slippery slope thus leads from religious formalism to sacrilegious fanaticism’.18 The existence of a healthy Western Muslim ‘voice’ augurs well for the flourishing of comparatively empowered minorities. Yet, despite this, a minority with extreme and unrepresentative views still appears to grab the headlines regularly and dictates the way ‘European Islam’ and European Muslims are seen. Indeed, to the extremists, any talk of even a conceptual development of ‘European Islam’ is anathema to a ‘pure, untainted and unified Ummah’. The monolithic necessarily think monolithically. One would have thought, then, that Western governments would lend liberalist Islam a hand in constructing a way forward for Muslims who are not only ‘in’, but very much ‘of’, the West. However, the laissez-faire approach of government has, on the contrary, helped create a climate of fear for ordinary people, whilst giving succour to extremists. Complacency and unrealistic expectations, or wishful thinking, in the UK, for instance, has led only to the futile search for a ‘golden child’ who will hopefully represent all Muslims. All this whilst grassroots leaders and representatives have pointed out, particularly since the high watermark of the rioting in northern English towns in 2001, that there is a real problem of alienation and marginalisation among certain sectors within certain communities, and that issues of policing, unemployment and endemic racism have contributed to a culture of frustration and resentment among some young people, white as well as Asian/Muslim. Self-appointed community leaders are simply seen as unrepresentative,19 and at the grassroots level, where the need for community cohesion is most urgent, there is severe despondency and mistrust. So much so that, in May 2002, the overtly racist British National Party won three local council seats, a sure indication of extreme social exclusion that would no doubt have contributed to the breakdown in community cohesion that eventually resulted in the riots. Following these disturbances, the government introduced Community Cohesion programmes, with a view to promoting integration of excluded minority communities. Whilst these dealt with ethnic minorities, little or no acknowledgment was made of alienated white communities, particularly those

Disengaging with Terrorism

[ 299

who suffer proselytisation from racist activists, a view expressed by Dr Richard Stone, an adviser to the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry. But despite these local initiatives, the attitude of central government has largely been disappointing, with policy- and decision-makers relying somewhat naïvely on ‘who they know’ from within their own civil service ranks – individuals who just happen to be Muslim. These latter individuals have subsequently become the subtle gatekeepers of an increasingly assertive Muslim community who understandably, and quite rightly, seek better relations with key government departments and personnel. Such an obstructionist intragovernmental clique has tended to filter out what it thinks ought to be excluded, and thus those in positions of power have themselves become sadly de-sensitised to the concerns of real people. What is needed is a serious overhaul of structures within government departments vis-à-vis the representation of Islam and Muslims in the corridors of power, so that radicalism can be tackled effectively, and questions relating to alienation, marginalisation, integration and/or assimilation can be better understood. Another criticism of government is what some people have described as a knee-jerk reaction to the atrocities of 11 September 2001 and 7 July 2005, when, to take the case of the UK specifically, anti-terror legislation was beefed up. The general Muslim response to this was encapsulated in a report to government by the Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) in London, which stated: ‘terrorism cannot be overcome by stripping away basic human rights, abandoning the rule of law and undermining justice and equity’.20 Human rights and civil rights organisations similarly warned that the ‘ “war against terrorism” had heralded a significant shift in states’ obligations and interests to respect human rights and international humanitarian law’.21 That states might now be ‘compelled to adopt authoritarian measures’,22 according to leading Parliamentarian and human rights advocate, Lord Avebury, was tested to the full when the United Nations unanimously voted-in Security Council Resolution 1373, allowing individual regimes to root out elements they might perceive to be threats to their national securities post-11 September. Given the above state of affairs, the crisis has become largely one of legitimacy. And there are thinkers in the Muslim world who also see the value in developing a liberalist Islamic roadmap for the future of civilisations. Indeed, one might describe the latter as truly radical in their response to the radicalist challenge from within. It is certainly a move towards openness, an enlightenment in which religion is at last realising that not only can it not be isolationist, but that ‘it is the responsibility of enlightened leaders, both religious and secular, intellectuals and scholars, educators and activists . . . to take the initiative to put their own house in order, to act on constructive criticism’.23 Abdel Al-Hamid al-Ansari, for example, a former dean of the Faculty of Shari’a and Law at the University of Qatar, talks about ‘removing the concept of sanctity

300 ]

Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi

from Islamic history’,24 so that there can be unfettered criticism. Among his radical propositions is the view that apostasy is no longer entirely relevant in the modern world. In terms of the onus of responsibility to change being on Muslims themselves, His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has gone further in his various pronouncements. He has stated that ‘the rationalisation of terror in religious terms by extremists who have overtly hijacked religion has to be addressed by religious representatives and leaders, and it is a phenomenon that can be combated through the creation of partnerships between legitimate civil society actors and legitimate governmental representatives’.25 In talking about the future of the Middle East, both Prince El-Hassan and Dr al-Ansari might be very different in the way they put forward the Islamic pluralistic position, and both are probably sadly too far ahead of their time. But liberalist Islam is gaining a following in the West, where enlightened ‘reverts’ like Joe Ahmed-Dobson have spoken of the need to identify a clear statement of ‘our norms and values’, derived from Islamic principles, that are in today’s language and appropriate to all: ‘Responsibility to stand up for one’s fellow man; equal rights between the genders; freedom to worship; struggle against oppression; freedom of speech.’26 Much will, as Toscano argued in 2003, depend on the capacity to choose the right representatives for such a message. But Islam is not, nor has it ever been, a merely geo-political entity. It is, as Ambassador Giandomenico Picco, the UN Secretary-General’s Representative to the Dialogue of Civilisations process, reminds us, ‘a universal message capable of integration with diverse and very different cultures, including American and European cultures’. Thus, ‘when we put aside the idea of a “clash”, we find widespread agreement of principles and humanitarian aims. When we succeed in distinguishing religion from culture, we see that a historical relationship between faith and tradition does not preclude a new and positively productive relationship between faith and another tradition.’27 Islam and Muslims continue to be regarded as out of synch with democracy, pluralism and the modern world per se. Yet, as scholars of all backgrounds have reminded us, the Holy Prophet legislated for a multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-social society, based on principles and values that are common to all humanity. Indeed, it is not the sense of a romanticised past that leads such scholars to suggest that Muslim society led the way in introducing religious pluralism to ideas about how the state ought to govern. Yet, somewhere along the way, the Islamic vision has been abandoned or lost by Muslims themselves. Perhaps it is time to pick up where we left off . . .

Disengaging with Terrorism

[ 301

Notes 1. Fuller, G. E. (2003) The Future of Political Islam, Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan. 2. Engineer, A. A. (2004) ‘Shariah, Ijithad and Civil Society’, Islam21: http:/ /islam21.net/Friday/23-7-04.htm. Accessed 18 April 2006. 3. BBC World Service World Update (2006), February. 4. Ahmed, A. S. (2003) Islam Under Siege: Living Dangerously in a Post-Honor World, Cambridge: Polity Press. 5. Khatami, S. M. (2000) Islam, Dialogue and Civil Society, Karachi, Pakistan: Foundation for the Revival of Islamic Heritage. 6. Macintyre, D. (2005) ‘We Must Win Hearts and Minds in the Middle East’, The Independent, 9 September. 7. Armstrong, K. (2002) ‘The Curse of the Infidel’, The Guardian, 20 June. 8. Toscano, R. (2003) ‘Muslims of Europe: An Italian Perspective’. Paper presented to International Conference – Muslim Youth: Prospects and Challenges, Al-Khoei Foundation, London, April. 9. Hanson, H. Y. (2002) ‘Islam has a Progressive Tradition Too’, The Guardian, 19 June, p. 9. 10. al-Sadiq, S. R. (2003) ‘At War with the Spirit of Islam’, Dialogue, December. 11. Bahadeli, Shaykh A. (2005) ‘Abiding by the Principle of Dialogue’, Dialogue, May. 12. Hanson (2002). 13. Manzoor, S. P. (2001) ‘Islamic Legitimacy without the Testimony of the Muslim Will?’, Islam21: http://www.islam21.net/pages/keyissues/key1-34.htm. Accessed 5 March 2006. 14. Middle East Review of International Affairs (2004) ‘Arab Liberalism and Democracy in the Middle East: A Panel Discussion’, MERIA, 8 (2). 15. El-Din, Seif I Tag (2003) ‘The Islamic Ethics of Religious Pluralism’, Dialogue. 16. Bonney, R. (2005) ‘Engaging Europe with the Islamic World: Beyond Dialogue’, Dialogue. 17. Hashmi, S. H. (2002) ‘Not What the Prophet Would Want – How Can Islamic Scholars Sanction Suicidal Tactics?’, The Washington Post, 9 June. 18. al-Sadiq (2003). 19. Tarafder, R. (2002) ‘UK: Shattering the Myths of the Oldham Riots’, Dialogue, February. 20. Fulat, S. (2003) ‘UK – Anti-Terrorism Bill and the FAIR Response’, Dialogue, August. 21. Amnesty International (2002) World Report 2002, ‘Foreword’ by Irene Khan, London: Amnesty International. 22. Notes from author’s private interview with Lord Avebury, House of Lords, Westminster, London, December 2005. 23. Niknam, M. M. (2001) ‘The Lessons of September 11: A Judaeo-Islamic Interfaith Perspective’. Paper presented to the International Symposium on Islamic Responses to Terrorism, London: Al-Khoei Foundation, November.

302 ]

Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi

24. Al-Ansari, Sheikh Abdel Al-Hamid (2002) ‘Landmarks in Rational and Constructive Dialogue with the “Other” ’, Al-Hayat, London, 31 May. 25. Prince El-Hassan bin Talal (2004) The Amman Roundtable: Human Security in the Middle East, co-hosted by Prince El-Hassan with the Oxford Research Group: www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefings/ammanreport2.pdf. Accessed 17 April 2006. 26. Ahmed-Dobson, Joe (2002) ‘Muslim or British?’, Dialogue, February. 27. Picco, G. (2000) Roundtable on ‘Dialogue of Civilisations’, convened by Iran and UNESCO, 5 September.

index

Abbas, Tahir, 151, 184–5 Abduh, Mohammed, 146 Able Sunnah group, 155 ablution, 27, 31, 32, 37 Abu Dawud, 73 Abu Gharib prison, Iraq, 7, 111, 151, 219 Abu Hamza al-Masri, 5, 155, 221 Abu Hurayrah, 120 Afghani, Jamal uddin, 146 Afghanistan, 12, 13, 42–3, 58, 60, 104, 155, 207, 209, 281, 282 Afshar, H. et al., 174, 179 Ahamadinejad, President, 29–30 Ahameddin, Iman, 87 Ahl-i Hadith, 237 Ahmed, Akbar, 76, 80, 295 Ahmed, N., 183 Ahmed-Dobson, Joe, 300 al-Akiti, Muhammad Afifi, 258 Albright, Madeleine, 281 Alexander, C., 177, 178 Algeria, 58, 59–61, 65, 288 Ali, Abdelkader Mohamed, 63 Ali, Ayaan Hirsi, 105 alienation, 45, 47, 110, 150, 157, 160, 167, 180, 216, 298, 299 Allen, S. and J. Barrett, 174 Allenby, General Edmund, 126 Altikriti, Anas, 44 Ambrose, S. E., 33 Amnesty International, 125, 274 angels, 35, 36 animism, 34 al-Ansari, Abdel Al-Hamid, 299–300 anti-Semitism, 71–81, 124, 148, 166 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), 264–5, 274 Antoun, T. R., 157 Archer, L., 178, 200–1 Armstrong, Karen, 80 Asad, T., 137–8 Ash, Timothy Garton, 67, 100 Ashrawi, Hanan, 121

asylum seekers, 174, 207, 212, 263–4, 265 Atef, Mohammed Mahdi, 44 Ates, Seyran, 111 atheism, 76 Atta, Mohammed, 38, 217, 223 al-Attas, Muhammad Naqib, 258 Azerbaijan, 84, 89 Badat, Sajid, 13, 209, 213 Badri, Malik, 152 Balfour Declaration, 75, 117–18, 126 Ballard, R., 166 Bangladesh, 133, 135, 234, 240 Barghouthi, Mustafa, 123 Barrett, Ian, 217 Bashkirs, 85, 88 Bashkortostan, 86 Bateson, G., 132, 138, 139–40, 141 Beckford, J., 194 Belgium, 58, 104, 105 Belmarsh Prison, 265, 266, 269, 270, 272, 273 Ben-Yair, Michael, 124 Berger, P., 194 Berlusconi, Silvio, 63 Bhabha, H., 140 bidah, 87–8, 90, 94, 216–17 bin Laden, Osama, 5, 155, 220, 222, 255, 257, 281, 297, 298 biraderi (caste-system), 28, 201, 215–16 Birmingham, 185, 216, 283, 292 Blair, Sir Ian, 286, 292 Blair, Tony, 7, 47, 125–6, 135, 279, 281, 285, 292 Blunkett, David, 265 BNP (British National Party), 298 Bolkestein, Frits, 62 Bosnia-Herzegovina, 12, 29, 38, 104, 151, 222–3 Bousakla, Mimount, 105 Bouyeri, Mohammed, 212, 213, 223 Bradford Muslims, 5–6, 160–8, 173–87, 216

[ 303 ]

Britain, 10, 44, 49–50, 60, 105–6, 263–76 British anti-terrorist legislation, 23, 47, 51, 66–7, 109, 135, 145, 153, 203, 208, 264–76, 288, 292, 299 British foreign policy, 7, 12, 45, 75, 118, 123–6, 127–8, 157, 219, 236–7, 249–50, 292 British Muslims, 124–6, 145–58, 160–8, 178, 181–3, 187, 198, 200, 207–13, 240–3, 269, 280–93 Broadmoor, 265, 270, 272, 273 Buijs, Frank and J. Rath, 101 Burlet, S. and H. Reid, 179 Burnley, 216 Bush, George W., 5, 7, 15, 21, 29, 47, 135 Caliphate, 93, 94, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 157, 254 capitalism, 149, 150 Cardiss, Rob, 217 Carlile, Lord, 268 Catholic Church, 32, 34–5, 45, 63, 280 Caucasus, 84–5, 89–92 Cesari, Jocelyne, 101, 102–3 Chakrabati, Shami, 273 Chatham House (think-tank), 155, 249 Chechnya, 9, 12, 18, 21, 29, 85, 89, 92, 104, 151, 223, 282 Chesnot, Christian, 44 China, 18, 253 Chirac, President Jacques, 100 Christian Aid, 125 Christianity, 6, 26, 34–5, 37, 46, 74, 77, 78, 87, 136, 140, 234, 238 civil liberty groups, 125, 266, 273, 274 Clarke, Charles, 266 clinical psychology, 25–40, 195 Clinton, Bill, 27 collateral damage, 21, 287 colonialism, 5, 58, 60, 75, 76, 117–29, 231, 234, 259

304 ]

Index

Communism, 18, 42 Conservative Party, 267, 272 control orders, 264, 266–66 conversion, 100, 107, 133, 192–3, 194, 195, 197–9, 209 Conway, F. and J. Siegelman, 209 corruption, 32, 60, 66 CRE (Commission for Racial Equality), 286 criminality, 164, 173, 175, 177, 179, 180, 181, 199, 201–2, 212–13 Crusades, 74, 126, 151, 256 culture, 109–10, 177, 185–6, 214–19, 224, 300

Farrar, M., 212, 213 fatwas, 59, 169 n, 220, 235–6, 238, 239, 258 Fekete, Liz, 280 feminities, 183–7 Fenton, S., 188 n Finsbury Park Mosque, 5, 221 France, 44, 49, 51–2, 58, 60, 66, 108, 110, 174, 201, 284 freedom, 73, 147, 150 freedom fighters, 16, 19 Freud, Sigmund, 25, 27, 32, 34 Fukuyama, Francis, 12 fundamentalism, 63, 89–92, 210, 235, 295

Dagestan, 89, 90, 92 Dakake, David, 79 Damasio, A. R., 139 Dassetto, Felice, 101 Davie, G., 194, 198 de Menezes, Jean Charles, 286 Degaugue, Muriel, 107 democracy, 147, 150, 154, 213, 297 Deobandis, 237–9, 241 deportations, 265, 274 d’Estaing, Giscard, 62 detention without trial, 7, 111, 151, 219, 264–5, 267, 276 Diez, D., 62 Dinnerstein, D., 25 discrimination, 7, 10, 131, 140, 141, 150 drug culture, 28, 181, 182, 187, 195, 212 Dudayev, President of Chechnya, 92 Duggard, John, 128 Durkheim, Emile, 223 al Durra, Muhammad, 128

Galloway, George, 285–6 Garvey, Dr Marcus, 193 Gaza Strip, 123, 128, 250 gender, 6, 174–5, 178–87 Geoghegan, V., 137 Germany, 26, 29, 33, 58, 60, 61, 79, 82, 102, 103, 106, 107, 109, 257 ghettos, 102, 103, 179 Al Ghuraba, 155 GIA (Armed Islamic Group), 60 Giddens, A., 192, 195 Gieve, John, 110–11 Gil-Robles, Alvaro, 274 Gilliat-Ray, Sophie, 150, 241 GIMF (Global Islamic Media Front), 222 Ginzberg, Asher, 121 GPS satellite tracking technology, 263, 264 Greaves, Ron, 284 group identity, 30, 39, 236 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 7, 111, 151, 219 Gulf War, 12, 151 Gurion, Ben, 127

economic migration, 231, 240 education, 3, 6, 10, 28, 76, 86, 89, 95, 111, 162, 176, 178, 180, 181, 182, 185, 210, 238, 241 Egypt, 33, 38, 42, 44, 89 El-Hassan bin Talal, Prince, 300 election campaigns, 163, 292 EM (electronic monitoring), 263, 264, 265, 269, 274 Emmerson, Ben, 272 emotions, 138–9, 140, 142, 152, 257 Erdogan, Recep Tayyip, 61 Erikson, Erik, 27 Erkbakan, Necmettin, 61 EU (European Union), 43–4, 57–8, 59–62, 62–5, 63, 66–7, 101, 105, 108–9, 124, 125, 254 European Convention on Human Rights, 264, 265 ‘extraordinary rendition’ practice, 196 extremism, 131, 137, 142, 154–6, 186, 193, 194, 196, 256, 258, 287, 295, 296 FAF (Algerian Brotherhood in France), 60 FAIR (Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism), 299 Al-Faisal, Abdullah, 155, 198 Faizrahmanists, 86 Farhad, Dalal, 25

Hadiths, 10, 76, 88, 196 Hafez, Kai, 58 hajj, 89, 95, 119 Hamas, 4, 44, 180 Hanif, Asif Mohammed, 5, 13, 207, 209, 217, 221 Hanifa, Abu, 89 Hefner, R. W., 220 Herberg’s thesis, 232, 240, 241 Herzl, Theodor, 75 Hezbollah, 4, 44 hijab, 49, 90, 100, 150, 174, 184, 185, 203, 284, 291 Hinduism, 34, 46, 148, 234, 238 al-Hitar, Hamoud, 260 Hitler, Adolf, 26–7 Hobsbawm, Eric, 100 Holocaust, 72, 75 homophobia, 148 homosexuality, 27, 32, 33–4 Hopkins, P., 133, 134 Horowitz, D. L., 166 house arrest, 266, 270–3 Howard, Michael, 267 HT (Hizb-ut-Tahrir), 5, 28, 85, 93–4, 106, 109, 145–58, 165, 166, 180, 213, 282–3 human rights, 64, 73, 123–5, 127, 128, 147, 154, 264, 265, 274, 299 Human Rights Act (1998), 266 Huntington, Samuel, 12, 100

Hussain, Hasib, 211, 212, 216, 218 Ibn Kathir, 17 Ibragim, Malik, 87, 88 Ibrahim, Mukhtar Said, 212 identity, 27–8, 39, 149, 150, 164, 166, 178–87, 184, 193, 194, 195–7, 200–3, 203, 213, 214, 216, 219, 224, 232, 236, 251, 252, 253–4, 280, 296 identity theory (Marranci), 132, 134–5, 138–40, 142 ideology, 135, 137–8, 141, 142, 146–7, 149 IJC (International Court of Justice), 128 ijtihad (independent judgement), 87, 94, 258 immigration, 45, 58, 60, 61, 66, 103, 110, 118, 174, 217, 219 imperialism, 5, 47, 60, 75, 234 IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan), 92–3 India, 5, 33, 234–9, 241 infant development, 28–40 Ingram, Adam, 286 integration, 3, 6, 8, 49, 64, 66, 81, 104, 110, 166–7, 250–1, 252, 296, 298–9 inter-generational issues, 3, 10, 184, 185, 187 international law, 20–1, 123, 125, 126, 128, 288, 299 Internet, 105, 106, 149, 156, 167, 221–2, 249, 275 IRA, 18, 21–2 Iran, 4, 29–30, 42, 58, 59, 95 Iraq, 4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 20, 29, 33, 42, 44, 47, 51, 58, 147, 148, 174, 196, 203, 210, 213, 219, 224, 281–2, 286–8 Islam, 26, 30, 31, 36, 44, 65, 119–20, 179–80, 210, 216, 220, 295–6 anti-Semitism in, 71–81 attributions, 34 condemnation of violence, 287 five pillars of, 36, 37 message of, 261 monastic/military tradition, 33–4 radicalism and, 43 reform, 146–7, 248, 257–8, 299–300 scholarship, 258, 259, 261, 298 ummah concept, 17, 30 veneration of holy words, 35 Islamic bookshops, 194 Islamic feminism, 291 Islamic Revolution (1979), 42, 58, 59 Islamism, 7, 8–9, 13, 59–61, 61, 65, 66, 85–8, 89–92, 92–4, 104, 105–6, 110, 111, 146, 214, 215–17 Islamophobia, 7, 10, 11, 47, 66, 133–4, 150, 161, 168, 174–5, 175, 177, 183–4, 203, 210, 250, 252, 299 Israel, 12, 20, 21, 22, 29, 38, 42, 47, 75, 121–2, 123–9, 282 Jabotinsky, Vladimir, 126–7 Jacobson, J., 202 Jahiliyyah, 132, 135, 136, 137, 142

Index jamaat-style movements, 236, 239, 242 James, Oliver, 195 Jerusalem, 72, 74, 81, 119, 120, 126, 256 Jews and Judaism, 26, 34, 46, 71–81, 77, 78, 80 Jihadism, 60, 90–1, 92, 131, 135, 156, 158, 215, 219, 221–2, 239, 242, 255, 259 jilbabs (long outer dress), 150 Joly, Danielle, 203, 241 Jones, George, 284–5 Jordan, 42, 94, 147, 300 Juergensmeyer, M., 196 justice, 132, 135, 136–8, 141, 142 Kadyrov, muftii, 92 Kakimov, Rafael, 88 Kamzi, Nadeem, 31 Karimov, President Islam, 94 Kashmir, 9, 104, 162, 215, 223, 282 Kember, Norman, 44 Kennedy, Lady, 268 Kepel, Gilles, 59, 60 Khan, Mohammad Sidique, 7, 38–9, 204 n, 212, 213, 215, 217, 287 Khilafah (Islamic state), 146, 223 Khomeini, Ayatollah, 59 Khsysmi, Sayyed Muhammad, 295 Kiely, R., et al., 134 Klein, Melanie, 25, 28 Knott, K. and S. Khokher, 184 Kohut, H., 38, 39 Kosovo, 151 Kuwait, 95, 147 Kyrgyz, the, 84 Kyrgyzstan, 94 Lachmann, Günther, 103 Lander, Sir Stephen, 275 Lane, Lord, 235 Langer, Walter, 26 Lawrence, Stephen, 299 leadership, 9, 26–7, 34, 44–5, 150, 198, 216 Lebanon, 4, 42, 58, 147 Levy, Gideon, 128 Lewis, Bernard, 12 Lewis, P., 177, 179, 186 Liberal Democrats, 267, 268, 272, 283 liminality, 240–2 Lindsay, Germaine, 107, 198, 210 Livingstone, Ken, 284 MAB (Muslim Association of Britain), 282, 284, 290 Macey, M., 177, 178, 179 McLouglin, S., 177 madhhabs, 84, 87, 90, 94 madrasahs, 28, 89, 109–10, 237–8 Madrid train bombings (2004), 13, 65, 99, 160, 222, 297–8 Mahmood, Khalid, 109 Maimonides, Moses, 81 n Major, John, 145 Malbrunot, Georges, 44 Mann, Michael, 16 Mannheim, K., 137 Mao Tse Tung, 18 marginalisation, 6–7, 11, 12, 92, 192, 212, 250, 298, 299 Marxism, 30, 196

Marxist-Leninism, 147 masculinity, 10–11, 176–7, 178–82, 186, 200–2 Masood, Ahmad Shah, 104 Matza, David, 202 MCB (Muslim Council of Britain), 8, 51, 282 Mecca, 89, 95, 119–20, 232, 233 media, 4, 6, 11, 58, 82 n, 92, 103, 145, 148, 194, 221–2, 249, 250, 266, 268, 269, 272–3, 284–5, 292, 296 Medina, 72–3, 79, 80, 89, 95, 232, 233 Merkel, Angela, 63 MI5, 266, 270 Milton, K. and M. Svasek, 138–9 Mitchell, George, 21, 22 Moniquet, Claude, 100 monotheism, 26, 30, 76, 77, 80, 89, 119 Montagu, Edwin, 121 moral panics, 161, 194 Moro, Aldo, 290 mosques, 120, 194, 197, 198, 203, 221, 231, 271 Motion, Andrew, 99 Moussaoui, Zararias, 221 Muflikhunov, Nurulla, 87 Al-Muhajiroun, 5, 28, 94, 106, 148, 155 Muhammad, Prophet, 17, 30, 33, 37, 72–3, 76, 77, 78, 88, 119–20, 232–3, 292 Muhammad Ishaq, 237 Mujahedeen, 60, 155, 222 multiculturalism, 66, 103, 177, 208, 248, 250, 252, 286 Musharraf, President of Pakistan, 148 Muslim Brotherhood, 44, 147 Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, 166 mysticism, 26, 90 al-Nabhani, Taqiuddin, 146 Nadir Shah, 235 narcissism, 37, 38, 39 nationalism, 16, 18, 35 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), 108 Nazism, 26, 29, 33, 79, 82, 257 NDP (National Democratic Party of Germany), 106 neo-conservatives, 6, 12 Netherlands, 65, 100, 105, 108, 110, 160, 213, 223, 254 Newton Report (2003), 264, 265 Nimeiry, Jafaar, 42 9/11 terrorist attacks, 5, 6, 38, 65, 155, 174, 281 Noon, Sir Ghulam, 105 North Korea, 46 Northern Ireland, 18, 21, 23, 45, 280 NUS (National Union of Students), 5, 148, 149 object relations theory, 28–9 OCD (obsessional-compulsive disorder), 27, 31–2 Oedipus complex, 26 oil embargoes, 59 Omar, Yassin Hassan, 212 Omar Bakri Muhammad, 5, 105, 145, 148, 221

[ 305 Oostlander, Arie, 63 OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), 59 opinion polls, Arab-Israeli conflict, 124 OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories), 123–6, 128 Osman, Hussain, 201, 210, 213, 218, 222 Ottoman Empire, 74, 75 Ouseley, Mr Justice, 270, 274 Ouseley, Sir Herman, 164 Pakistan, 5, 33, 47, 95, 109, 148, 207, 234, 235, 240, 241 Pakistanis, 10, 11, 28, 31, 35, 133, 134, 135, 160–8, 200, 203, 215 Palestine, 9, 13, 18, 21, 22, 29, 38, 43, 47, 58, 75, 117–29, 146, 151, 223, 250, 256, 284 Pape, Robert. A., 223, 287 Paris metro explosions (1995), 60 Pearl, Daniel, 207 Peel Commission Report (1937), 127 Persinger, M. A., 26 Phillips, Trevor, 286 Picco, Ambassador Giandomenico, 300 Pierce, Gareth, 268, 272 pilgrimage, 32, 89, 90, 95, 119 policing, 6, 155, 269, 286, 298 Post, Jerrold M., 27 poverty, 10, 133, 141, 176, 178, 200, 210 preachers, 105–6, 110, 194, 198, 221, 286 Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), 264, 267–70, 275 prisons, 194, 198, 199, 212–13, 265, 266, 269, 276 projective identification, 29–30, 37–8, 39 prophets, 77, 119, 232 psychodynamic psychology, 25–40 public demonstrations, 123–4, 162–3 public disorder, 163–4, 177, see also riots al-Qaeda, 22, 29, 39, 154, 155, 180, 222, 255, 289–90 al-Qaradawi, Yusuf, 44, 153 Qatada, Abu, 44, 155, 221, 270, 271 Quran, 10, 16–17, 26, 28, 33, 76–80, 86, 88, 90, 119, 120, 132, 196, 231, 232–4, 296, 297 race riots, 216 racism, 7, 10, 49, 77, 110, 121, 133, 134, 141, 148, 149, 150, 161–2, 166, 167, 168, 174, 210, 283, 284, 298 radicalisation, 42–3, 43–52, 50, 60, 66, 105–6, 125–6, 128, 151, 176–7, 192, 197, 209–10, 210–11, 217–18 Afghan war, 155 apartheid and, 122 Bradford Muslims, 160–8 conversion and, 100, 107, 197 criminality and, 212–13

306 ] radicalisation (cont.) definition, 193–4 empathy and, 222–3, 280 and higher education, 4, 5, 7, 213 HT and, 145–58 Internet, 221–2 and link to extremism, 154–6 media and, 11 non-confrontational female, 183–7 political engagement and, 279–93 religiosity, 208–13 Scottish Muslims, 132 TRE and, 209–13 Ramadan, Tariq, 49, 51, 80, 168, 242–3, 284, 291 reality-transcendence, 137, 141 Red Brigade, 289, 290 refugees, 126–9, 265 Reid, Richard, 13, 107, 194, 207, 209, 212, 221 religion, 25–6, 31, 34–5, 164–6, 178–9, 180, 183–6, 196, 197–8, 201–2, 218, 234–43, 257–8, 300 religiosity, 132–3, 208–13, 240–2 religious tolerance, 64, 73–4, 77, 78 RESPECT, 283, 285 Rida, Rashid, 146 Rideh, Mahmoud Abu, 270, 272–3 Ridley, Yvonne, 208 Riijkard, Frank, 105 riots, 67, 161, 163–6, 173, 175, 216, 298 rites de passage analogy, 240, 242–3 Roche, Jack, 107 Rothschild, Lord Lionel Walter, 117 Rowe, Andrew, 197 Roy, Olivier, 102, 107, 110, 201, 219 Rushdie, Salman, 5–6, 101, 105, 163, 173, 248, 281 Russell, Bertrand, 119 Russia, 21, 75, 91–2, 92 Ruthwen, Malise, 233 Rycroft, C., 25 Sacranie, Sir Iqbal, 284 sacrifice, 30–1, 37–9 Saddam Hussein, 27, 38 Saeed, A. et al., 134, 201 Saeed Sheikh, Ahmed Omar, 207, 213, 217, 222–3 Safin, Rashat, 88 Said, Edward, 82 n Salafism, 4–6, 9, 85–6, 87, 216, 219, 259, see also Wahhabism Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, 74, 256, 257 Sarkozy, Nicolas, 51, 63 Sattarov, Faizrahman, 86 Saudi Arabia, 47, 59, 76, 95 Savage, Timothy M., 101 Saviour Sect, The, 106, 155 Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly, 236, 239 schismogenesis, 140–2 Schleiermacher, Friedrich, 297 Scottish Muslims, 131–43 Second World War, 21, 37, 75, 123 secularism, 64, 137–8, 141, 142,

Index 149, 193, 194–5, 198 self, 25, 29, 30–2, 35–6, 37, 39, 139–40, 142, 150, 166 Semler, Christian, 102 Serbia, 18, 29 7/7 suicide bombings, London (2005), 6, 7–8, 38–9, 47, 66, 99, 135, 160, 165–6, 207, 216, 247, 255–6, 284–8 sex trade, 163, 173 sexual desire, sublimation of, 32–4, 37, 39 Shariah, 9, 36, 86, 87, 93, 136–7, 235, 236, 237, 255, 257 Sharif, Omar Khan, 5, 13, 207, 213, 215, 217–18 Shaw, A., 166 Shi’ism, 29, 31, 84 Shlaim, Avi, 128–9 ‘shoe-bombers’, 13, 107, 194, 207, 209, 212, 221 SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission), 264, 265, 270, 272, 274 Sikhs, 50–1, 174, 235, 236 Sirhindi, Ahmed, 234 social exclusion, 10, 150, 176, 178, 250–1, 286 socio-economic deprivation, 10, 177, 200, 212, 213, 219 Solana, Javier, 108 Somalia, 6, 12, 151 Sorel, Georges, 51 South Africa, 47, 121, 122 Soviet Union, 6, 18, 83, 281 Spaan, E. and Van Naerssen, T., 45 Spain, 13, 47, 65, 99, 160, 222, 297–8 spirituality, 26, 34, 195, 198 splitting of percepts, 29–30, 39 Sri Lanka, 37, 109 Stevens, Sir John, 269 Steyn, Lord, 51 Stone, Dr Richard, 299 Stop the War Coalition, 284, 290 Sufism, 26, 84, 86, 87, 89–90, 92, 234 suicide, 27, 223 suicide bombers, 5, 12, 13, 30–1, 37–9, 135, 211–12, 216, 217–18, 221, 232, 287, 298 Sulayman, Sultan, 82 n Sunna, 10, 76 Sunnism, 29, 84, 86, 220, 231, 232–4 Syria, 92, 125–6, 147, 209 Taarnby, Michael, 103 al-Tabari, 17, 79 Tablighi-Jamaat, 239, 241 Tajikistan, 42, 84, 94 Tamimi, Dr Azzam, 290–1 Tanweer, Shahzad, 212, 213, 215, 220 Tashkent, 94 Tatars, 85, 88 Tatarstan, 85–6 Tebbit, Norman, 248 Tel Aviv, 5, 13, 207, 209 temporal lobe syndrome, 26 territoriality, 177, 179, 180 terrorism, 13, 15–16, 15–18, 18, 20, 21–2, 45, 51, 60, 67, 94, 104, 108–9, 128, 155, 194, 255 theology, 10–11 Toscano, Roberto, 296, 300

Townshend, Charles, 15 Toynbee, Arnold J., 119, 126 trade unions, 283, 284 TRE (Transitional Religiosity Experiences), 209–13, 216, 219, 220 Tukhtasinov, Abdurahim, 93 al-Turabi, 89 Turkey, 28, 33, 35, 57, 58, 61–2, 62–6, 92 Turkmen, 84 Turner, Victor, 232, 240, 242 Tutu, Reverend Desmond, 122 UAE (United Arab Emirates), 92, 147 Uhud, battle of, 233 ulema, 234, 237, 255, 258 Ulfkotte, Udo, The War in Our Cities: How the Radical Islamists Infiltrated Germany, 103 unemployment, 28, 66, 110, 133, 176, 179, 181, 200, 210, 212, 298 United Nations, 19–20, 81, 120–1, 122, 127, 128, 250, 299 United States, 7, 23, 29, 42, 58, 75, 196 universities, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 148, 149, 194 utopianism, 30, 132, 137 Uzbekistan, 84, 92–3, 94, 145 Van Gennup, Arnold, 232, 240 van Gogh, Theo, 65, 100, 105, 160, 213, 223, 254 violence, 60, 66, 93, 160–1, 163–6, 177, 180, 203, 259–60 voice-verification technology, 263, 264, 273 Volga-Urals, 85–8 Wahhab, Muhammad ibn Abdul, 35, 89 Wahhabism, 86–7, 87, 89–90, 89–92, 93, 216, 219, 259 Wahid, Abdul, 156 Wali-Allah, Shah, 235, 236, 238, 241 War on Terror, 7, 15, 18, 108, 135, 155, 174, 299 Weizmann, Dr Chaim, 75 West Bank, 123, 128, 250 Western civilisation, 147, 150, 151, 157, 166–7, 195, 196, 201, 217–18, 250–1, 296–300 Williams, Janet, 279 women, 6, 10, 88, 94, 107, 175, 178, 181–3, 183–4, 185, 187, 203, 283, 291–2 xenophobia, 6, 80, 253 Yale, William, 126 Yemen, 5, 12, 13, 147, 260 Youmans, Will, 43 Young, J., 192, 200 youth, 66, 150, 151–2, 152, 157, 194, 199–202, 215, 218 Yusef, Sheikh Hamz, 243 al-Zarqawi, Abu Musab, 212 al-Zawahiri, Ayman, 39 Zionism, 75, 82 n, 117–19, 120, 121–2, 126–7