Tuesday, August 02, 2011

And if you like you can buy the ring...

Or, Quilliam the third (installment).

[T]he world’s first counter-extremism think tank.

Here's Noman Benotman [of the] Quilliam Foundation and former key figure in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group talking a Policy Exchange wafflefest (he's the first speaker). He's talking about 'surgical strikes' and the like in Libya, even thought the civil war clusterfuck was inevitable by March.

Libyan rebels to probe commander's killing [al-Jazeera]:

The February 17th Martyrs Brigade is a group of hundreds of civilians who took up arms to join the rebellion. With their headquarters in Benghazi, the new fighters participate in the front-line battles with Gaddafi's forces but also act as a semi-official internal security force for the opposition.

Agoury, the special forces commander, said the brigade had an agenda against Younes, because he was previously Gaddafi's interior minister and was involved in crackdowns against conservative, anti-regime Islamic groups.

One of those is the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which waged a guerrilla campaign against Gaddafi's regime in the 1990s, including assassination attempts on the leader. The LIFG has been connected to al-Qaeda, and some of its members fought against international troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has long foresworn any allegiance with the jihadi group.

Agoury said there were LIFG members in the February 17th Brigade, and that they "don't trust anyone who was with Gaddafi's regime, they wanted revenge."

A member of the brigade said his group had evidence that Younes was a traitor and that the evidence will come out in a few days.

I'm really convinced that these guys are going to bring democracy, peace, universal love and hope to Libya. Who better?

In all seriousness, the front page of the Quilliam site has a link to the Soaraway: London borough 'put under Sharia law'.

Ghaffar Hussain of Quilliam, a counter-extremism and pro-democracy think-tank, said: "Muslims Against Crusades are a lunatic fringe of troublemakers not even taken seriously by genuine extremists, let alone ordinary Muslims who abhor their rhetoric and tactics and find them an embarrassment."

In other words, a total non-story run under a scare headline which would be more true if the verb in the headline had 'NOT' in front of it.

Dozens of posters had been put up - quickly removed by the council - insisting: "You are entering a Shariah controlled zone - Islamic rules enforced."

Yep, that's the Muslim future we should all fear. A few posters "quickly removed by the council" which like all councils is probably run by dhimmi multiculturalists. Some might say that running such a scare story would stoke extremism. All I can say is, if I were billed as combatting extremism, I'd be pretty ashamed to be quoted in a story which, under before you get to all the sensible stuff is mostly racist dogwhistle. I'm sure Sun writers know that their readers don't read stories to the end.


Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I thought that was a bit odd too (the Sun link) - I would have thought they'd be against both whatever it is precisely being attacked by the Sun (my home open DNS set up stops me visiting the Sun)and the Sun's methods of reporting the story, building it up into a scare story.

8/02/2011 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

DA is doing the Sky News press preview as I write. I only caught the end of the first half, so only saw him say sensible things about how Ed Miliband would like to be seen as distanced from the unions.
The Sky team still consider him left wing enough to balnce a Tory MP.

8/02/2011 08:48:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I would have thought they'd be against both whatever it is precisely being attacked by the Sun (my home open DNS set up stops me visiting the Sun)and the Sun's methods of reporting the story

isn't this just a problem with think tanks per se - in order to become an established name and then maintain that establishment, they have to offer talking heads to all and sundry, and they have to advertise themselves as the people to go to - and thus they end up being quoted in pieces like tht even if they're pretty much anathema to what Quilliam are meant to stand for.

Linked to the Dougie Murray discussion above, I always got incredibly annoyed when someone from the 'CSC' came on the air acting like an impartial monitor of extremism; but journos are busy and if you can become their go-to person, you've succeeded in think tank life.

8/04/2011 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I think I completely failed to read this story properly first time round - it's now clear to me that Quilliam's statement was sensible and, although the Sun isn't my paper of choice, it's probably quite helpful for the statement to get aired there. But it would be much better if the Sun had simply ignored it of course.

8/04/2011 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I mean they should probably have ignored the original story, not the statement!

8/04/2011 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Yes, Quilliam's statement was sensible, but it came a long way after this:

But yesterday bemused residents of Waltham Forest were reacting to news the borough had been declared an Islamic emirate by a fringe group of fundamentalists.

The group Muslims Against Crusades has demanded strict Sharia law in the east London community - banning gambling, smoking and alcohol.

Dozens of posters had been put up - quickly removed by the council - insisting: "You are entering a Shariah controlled zone - Islamic rules enforced."

The group's Islamic Emirates Project aims to establish independent Muslim states within Britain and has also earmarked Bradford and Dewsbury in West Yorks, and Luton, Beds.

The Islamic group's website said: "Muslims Against Crusades would like to announce that Waltham Forest is to be the first borough to be targeted for an intense Shariah-led campaign."

If we assume, reasonably enough, that Sun readers aren't as media literate as people who write blogs on the media are, I can say that your average Sun reader could take away from this, not "two men, a dog, and a website said some silly things to no one in particular" but "Waltham Forest is now part of Saudi Arabia; they'll be stoning your daughters for having a bevvy and flashing their tits; it's the end of England as we know it!" There are another six paragraphs of this stuff, and the Quilliam refutation is further down again. I'm sure they didn't mean it, but it gives a veneer of respectability to a tawdry article, and adds just enough balance that the PCC, even if it wasn't wholly useless, couldn't do anything about it.

Here's another Sun piece: BNP chief’s Hitler salute to Breivik heroine. The main article is an emotional demolition ("He also spouted racist bile to an undercover Sun team who infiltrated the hate-filled festival") of Chris Hurst based on what is largely a non-story. (I don't think BNP member seig heils is news.) But the political editor appears in a column next to it and opens, "THE BNP worked hard for more than a decade at giving fascism an acceptable face." Eh?

Yes, the Sun and the Mail bash the BNP, but I'm far from convinced this is out of anti-fascism rather than the fear that the far right may steal the narrow lead Tories have in marginal seats.

8/04/2011 08:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah AB said...

I agree with your analysis of the likely impact of the article.

I suppose bashing the BNP is a fairly good tactic if you are trying to generate support for the EDL, and reassure people that it isn't racist. I'm not saying that's what the papers are doing, though casual glances at tabloid headlines (mostly Daily Star) might give that impression.

8/05/2011 06:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going back to Quilliam, Noman Benotman argues about the good jihadists and bad jihadists in the Libyan uprising here


8/06/2011 03:29:00 PM  

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