Taj Hargey criticises British Muslim “silence” on ISIS
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday August 19 2014
The Daily Mail on Friday published a column by Taj Hargey in which he decried the ‘silence’ of British Muslims’ in the face of the atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Hargey opines that “mainstream Muslims here have remained largely silent at what is happening in Iraq today.”
He states: “Where is the mass outcry against the systematic killing of the Iraqi Yazidis, the deadly harassment of Christians and the mindless destruction of their churches? Where are the co-ordinated protests against the Islamic State? Where are the popular calls for an end to organised genocide by Sunni Muslim militants in Iraq?”
“This is pure hypocrisy and double standards from British Muslims. Only last week, more than 200,000 people – a large proportion of them British Muslims – took to the streets of London and Manchester to protest against Israel.”
It is ironic that Hargey fails to see any ‘hypocrisy and double standards’ on the part of the British government which has decided to intervene in Iraq beyond a humanitarian mission, by deploying warplanes to monitor ISIS positions, while simultaneously refusing to condemn Israeli aggression in the brutal bombardment of Gaza as ‘disproportionate’ much less take any action like suspend arms sales.
Nor does Hargey discern any ‘hypocrisy and double standards’ while raising the issue of Gaza protests in London and Manchester, of insisting that British Muslims condemn the atrocities committed by ISIS but not, while Israeli missiles rained down on UN-run schools and hospitals in Gaza, insisting that British Jews denounce Israel’s actions and the mass murder of Palestinian civilians.
Hargey also draws on the events on 7/7 saying “…there was not a single march organised by the UK Islamic community against those fanatical killers.
“No Muslim group took to the streets chanting ‘not in my name’ after the brutal murder of 52 innocent people by these Muslim assassins.”
It is not surprising that as with the case of ISIS and the open letter issued by British scholars urging British Muslims not to travel out to Syria, Hargey also appears to have missed the declaration signed by the most prominent Islamic scholars in the UK, from all schools of thought, denouncing the actions of the 7/7 bombers as having no basis or validity in Islam. If Hargey intends to accuse ‘mainstream Muslims of remaining silent’ might he at least verify the facts first?
Hargey goes on to speculate on the motives driving young Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq claiming they are presented with a “intoxicating romantic vision” of jihad as “the ultimate expression of true religious devotion” and “a great Boy’s Own adventure” in which they will merit the company of “72 voluptuous virgins” as martyrs. He claims the incentive is “reminiscent of a sleazy Las Vegas nightclub, full of nubile, insatiable women eager to please their men”. For him, this “has an undoubted appeal to a sex-starved young Muslim from urban Britain.”
He further argues that young Muslims are seduced by the “pro-jihadi messages from some mosques, mullahs and madrassas (religious schools) which fuel and exploit their disillusion with British society.”
Hargey demonstrates a remarkable degree of ignorance of factors that have been identified as contributing to radicalisation. Furthermore, his assertion of ‘mosques, mullahs and madrassas’ teaching pro-jihadi messages is not backed up by any factual evidence to suggest that this is indeed taking place.
While he raises concern that “the silence of the moderate Muslim majority is only serving as an ally of bigotry and injustice”, he seems to ignore that religious leaders have criticised the ISIS movement from the outset. One such example is the statement issued by religious leaders alongside Welsh MPs and members of the Welsh Assembly following reports about young men from Cardiff who appeared to have joined extremists fighting with ISIS in Syria.
He concludes that “Mainstream Muslims in Britain have yet to come out against the toxic forces of militant jihadism, which is inflicting so much carnage and suffering across the Middle East.
“Unless we do so loudly and clearly, we are colluding with a theological tyranny that has no basis whatsoever in Islam’s sacred scripture”.
Aside from the fact that this has already happened and in more than one instance, it is disturbing that Hargey considers it an obligation on British Muslims to actively denounce extremist activity in order to explicitly dissociate themselves from it. What other faith or social group is called upon to do the same?