By Yasmin Khatun
“The struggle for reason and justice is clearly a longer one than I once imagined” – Moazzam Begg.
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights watch made a plea from Bangui telling the world “there will be no Muslims left in the Central African Republic” should the violence continue in the region and barely a shudder took place. Physical warfare against 1.25 million Muslims with at least 2,000 killed already, burned, lynched, and abused to inconceivable extremes. The world watching on as “ethnic religious genocide” takes place in the Central African Republic.
This is physical warfare a type of attack I’ve seen and read about but not one I’ve yet experienced. Warfare I can see, but not one I completely comprehend, warfare I feel pain for but not one that I can completely understand, my understanding of warfare against my practice of Islam is one that is far more psychological.
Last week I reported on the Legoland drama, the one purported by the Daily Mail attacking British Muslims, the piece put; young, old, learned and not all under an umbrella of hate. Including virgins and children no one was left out of the mix – all of this came together to form the most bigoted piece of British print I have ever seen. Demonizing Muslims, brewing anti-Islamic sentiment and creating a climate of fear and intimidation. Children’s theme park Legoland were at the centre of the piece, for hosting a fun day organized by the Muslim Development and Research Foundation. The park have subsequently cancelled the organized day – a clear result of the anti-Islamic piece.
This week a bill to ban the niqab in public places in Britain is due for a second reading in parliament, well obviously, because Muslim women wearing niqab’s are so obviously causing everybody else so much difficulty, oh what a burden us Muslims must be.
British citizen Moazzam Begg, arrested awaiting charge – a man tortured and abused in Guantanamo bay, held there for three years with no found evidence has once again has been called a terrorist. A man who has been campaigning for due process and the human rights of victims abused in such situations. He has been working for those suffering from injustice despite the abuse he has suffered himself. A courageous man who has not sunk into the pits of security after his release but a man who questioned, picked and prodded at the perpetrators of crimes, a man fierce with valor and humble in his speech fighting for the rights of others, has he been taken aside for his ability to fight?
Moazzam’s arrest seems centered on his trip to Syria, a word which evokes so many a emotion in the hearts of humanity all over the world, physical warfare – remember the above?
During his trip to Syria, Moazzam says he “met numerous former prisoners who had been held by the Assad regime” and “spent much time accumulating testimony and information for a report on the situation of the current prisoners” as well as visiting refugee camps and witnessing the delivery of aid. Moazzam also met some fighters on his travels – is this what’s got him into trouble?
Campaigns group CAGE says that his arrest is designed to ensure that any travel to Syria is deemed suspicious. They say a “Concerted campaign of harassment against Muslim individuals and charities involved in providing humanitarian aid to the victims of the Syrian crisis.” is what is really taking place.
Whatever the intention may be, the result is that of intimidation and a vilification of British Muslims in the wider narrative of affairs involving Muslims in Britain. Dress, travel and even how to and how not to have fun, the creation of a climate of fear, one that is almost becoming completely normalized.
“I am not and never have been in anyway a threat to them, unless words seeking accountability are a threat.” – Moazzam Begg. Irresponsibility in publications, rhetoric inflaming tensions in communities, politicians assisting in the creation of a climate of fear, we need to be reminded of our responsibilities and people need to be held to account.
“At a time when Islam and the Muslim community is facing an unprecedented attack via politicians, the media and ultimately some sections of the public susceptible to this onslaught, it has been the aim of Cage Prisoners and myself in trying to empower the community that is being purposefully undermined.” As I quoted in the beginning of this piece, Moazzam Begg said not too long ago “The struggle for reason and justice is clearly a longer one than I once imagined” – “but since our aim is a good and just one, I do not believe our detractors will succeed. #ReleaseMoazzam