The media shows us terrorists, extremists and murderers, and a constant association with Islam. In reality the majority of Muslims live in peace and many are fighting back against Islamic Extremism. Yet, is it fair to expect Muslims to apologise for extremists?
Islam is the world’s second largest religion. Muslims believe Allah is the one true God and that the prophet Muhammad communicated his will. Islam promotes messages of peace; the Qur’an (Muslim holy book) states that you should not kill. In Britain there are about 2.7 million Muslims.
Islamism, also called political Islam, is very different. It’s the belief that Islam should be political as well as just personal. It’s often (though not always) linked to violent Islamic extremism, fundamentalist beliefs and terrorist groups.
To Paris, From Pakistan Please share it as much as you can so it reaches the people in Europe!#PrayForParis #PrayForTheWorld House of Lolz
Posted by Pakistani Comedians on Sunday, November 15, 2015
On Friday 13th November 2015, Paris was decimated by a series of terror attacks. At least 129 people are dead and around 99 are seriously injured. Shootings and suicide bomb attacks were carried out across multiple locations. Extremist group the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In the wake of the attacks a series a videos of Pakistani Muslims denouncing the attacks went viral. It begins by saying “we’d like you to know that we’re just a shocked and horrified as everyone else around the world.” It then goes on to say that they would not be apologising for the actions of Islamic State. “We can’t possibly be held responsible for the actions of a few deranged individuals who somehow claim to be like us… that’s like blaming all Germans for the actions of Hitler.”
The hashtag “nous sommes unis” which means “we are united” in French also started trending on twitter.
Earlier in 2015 killer Seifeddine Rezgui murdered 38 people in Tunisia. Islamist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
When Sky News released this image some people commented that it looked as though the Muslims on the beach were just standing by.
Later, a video would show locals and hotel workers chasing the killer, picking up bottles as weapons and shouting at him “Why?”
Other witness accounts confirmed the bravery of the Tunisians. They placed their own lives in danger protecting the guests.
Sajda Mughal was the only Muslim in the underground carriage targeted in the 7/7 bombings in 2005.
After the attack she quit her job in the city and now works for a charity attempting to stop young people becoming radicalised.
“Islam teaches you to respect life, not even to harm an ant – how could you harm a human being in the name of Islam?” – Sajda Mughal in an interview with the Mirror.
Imams are leaders of the Mosque. They lead the prayers, teach the religion and help out in the community. In the past people have worried that Mosques were places where extremist views could be preached in secret. A group of Imams from around the UK decided to make this video, setting themselves against the actions of Islamic State.
More and more reports describe young Muslims who are radicalised by extremist messages. Many are travelling to areas like Syria and Iraq to join Jihad (“holy war”). It’s worth noting that Jihad isn’t actually a violent concept; it has been misappropriated by extremists.
The Muslim Youth League decided to do something about this. They launched a campaign urging politicians and leaders from the Muslim faith to condemn violence and extremism.
The group used an image of a Muslim woman using a Union Jack flag as a headscarf. Visiting cities up and down the country, they educated many against the dangers of radicalisation.
The campaign was created by Sara Khan who also co-founded the Inspire group; which was created to empower Muslim women and work towards gender equality.
You can view some of the women making a stand on the MAS wall as part of the Inspire website.
Activists and ordinary people uploaded images to social media with #NotInMyName.
Groups like ISIS have used social media to spread their message and many fear they are winning the online battle.
‘After finding out that James Foley had been beheaded and David Haines was next, we decided enough was enough and that we must take action and take a stand to show the world they do not represent us Muslims. They will not kill in the name of Islam.’ – Zahra Qadir from Active Change, the charity behind the campaign.
This year, to mark the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings, Mosques around the country opened their doors. They invited non-Muslims to attend a peaceful “iftar”; the meal eaten after sunset by fasting Muslims. Imams are also encouraged to mention 7/7 in their sermons.
That list only gives 8 examples. It doesn’t mention the other times Muslim leaders around the world denounced ISIS, or Muslims in the security services who protect our country from terrorists.
We should also mention the countless times Muslims have explained that terrorist groups misinterpret the teachings of Islam, which is a peaceful religion.
Is it enough to win over the public opinion? More importantly, why should Muslims have to apologise for the misinterpretation of their religion?
More than a quarter of British 18-24s don’t trust Muslims. Around 15% of Muslims are Islamists according to historian Daniel Pipes, though many would disagree with that statistic. Yet some people think that just because the figure is low it doesn’t mean we can’t debate the big issues. When confronted with this statistic American journalist Brigitte Gabriel gave this passionate response;
Is she right? The percentage of Muslims who are extremists is extremely low; does this mean we shouldn’t link Islamic Extremism to Islam? It’s unlikely a definite answer is coming any time soon. With David Cameron and Teresa May pressing the Muslim community to do more to combat extremists, this issue will be on the agenda for a long time to come.
However some might argue that it is unfair to expect Muslims to apologise for, and condemn acts of Islamic extremism. This Daily Show clip outlines the issue perfectly. It’s arguable that we wouldn’t expect a Christian to condemn all the bad things the Church has done in the past. Nor would we ask a white person to condemn all the acts of violence committed by white people. So why do we demand this from Muslims?
Do we need to do more to ensure Muslims aren’t misrepresented? Can the Muslim community do more to condemn acts of violence and should we expect this? Are people too scared to speak out for fear of being seen as racist or Islamophobic?
Iran (a Middle East country bordering Iraq and Afghanistan) just struck a deal with the USA and other countries over its use of nuclear power.
In 2002 it was made public that Iran was working towards creating nuclear power. And that they’d tried to keep it a secret. Naughty Iran.
Nuclear power ditches fossil fuels and uses Uranium to create an energy that produces less greenhouse gases. It’s purpose? Less pollution.
Messing about with Uranium is properly dangerous. If exposed to large amounts you can suffer rashes, kidney failure and the cells in your body begin to prematurely die.
The most famous nuclear disaster was 1986 in Chernobyl, Ukraine. A nuclear reactor failed, spilling radioactive material into the environment. The estimate for deaths brought on by the catastrophe is disputed: ranging from 4,000 to half a million.
There’s also no way to dispose of nuclear waste.
And then there’s the security side of things… Uranium can also be used to make nuclear weapons.
Watch-dog organisation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) doesn’t fully trust that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and isn’t just a front to create nuclear weapons.
World powers have been attempting to dissuade Iran away from nuclear power with a series of sanctions including the European Union banning importation of oil from Iran. The EU used to import 20% of Iran’s oil so this was a big step.
Whether it’s right for Iran to have nuclear power is not for us to say – but this debate has created massive tension for years.
Over several sessions Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met representatives from the governments of the United States of America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
This group is known as P5 + 1. Don’t ask us why. They also go by E3/EU+3. Again, this means nothing to us.
For over 18 months the discussions attempted to come up with a solution. In April the group were delayed in reaching an agreement.
A draft of the Iran Nuclear deal was agreed, but there were issues still to be resolved – such as what research into nuclear power Iran would be allowed to undertake and what they would get in return for cutting down their nuclear ambitions.
Finally after several delays a final deal has been agreed. Iran will cut back on its nuclear programme in return for economic restrictions being lifted by other countries. Better late than never, guys.
Iran will give up most of its Centrifuges; equipment to make nuclear fuel. They currently have around 20,000 and this will drop to 6,000. Centrifuges can also be used to create a nuclear bomb so cutting down on the numbers makes it harder for Iran to build a nuke.
Uranium will only be enriched to 3.67% – powerful enough for fuel, but not for a nuclear bomb.
Iran will also give up nearly 97% of its nuclear material. This means it would take them much longer to make a nuclear bomb. So if they break the rules it’s more likely they’ll get caught. They get to keep their two battle-protected Nuclear bases but only one will be used to create fuel; the other will become a research facility.
Economic sanctions from the other countries will begin to lift at the end of the year; so long as Iran shows commitment to the deal by autumn. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gets to check nuclear sites, especially those which look dodgy. But with some sites Iran will “manage” the visit – so investigators can’t just turn up unexpectedly.
This historic deal could succeed in stopping Iran from building nuclear bombs. If so it will be remembered as a turning point in history. The leaders of the countries involved all made proud announcements when the deal was signed. The USA especially is keen to emphasise their role in the proceedings. The Iran Nuclear Deal means that some of the politics in the Middle East might start to transform. Iran’s economy, which has been suffering due to the sanctions, could be on the rise, and it has been suggested that they might be able to support the fights against ISIS.
Those sanctions can be put back in place real quick. If member of the P5 + 1 thinks Iran has broken the deal they can list this complaint to a panel of eight countries (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran and the EU) who have 35 days to sort out the issue between themselves.
But if any member disagrees with the ruling of the panel they can send the complaint to the United Nations Security Council. Ooooh.
The UN then has 30 days to decide that sanctions should not be brought back in. They all have to be agreed, otherwise the sanctions automatically “snap back” into existence.
Not so fast, hot-shot. The deal still had to be checked and approved by the United States Congress. Things look good though.
Everyone thought the United States House of Representatives (their version of the House of Commons) was where this deal would stop dead.
The Republican party (supported by some congressmen from the Democrat party) put forward a resolution to block the deal. This resolution was blocked, and the deal is likely to pass.
If the House of Representatives had voted to block the deal, then President Obama had the option to veto their decision. This means he would use his presidential power to push the deal through anyway. Obama threatened to veto the resolution even if it made him unpopular. Maybe as he’s leaving next year he doesn’t care what people think, and wanted to score a win for the history books.
If Obama had vetoed the resolution, the deal would pass through to the United States Senate (the US upper house; their version of the House of Lords). Two thirds of the Senate would have to vote against the President’s veto to override it.
The finer details of the deal are now being discussed, but the BBC reports that Obama will be able to lift sanctions on Iran starting next week. Consider that history made.
Having passed it’s biggest test in United States Congress, things look promising for the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Israel isn’t happy about the deal though. They don’t get on with Iran (partly due to who owns land in the middle east) and their Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been slating the deal, stating that the deal is too easy on Iran.
Is the Iran Nuclear Deal enough to keep Iran on the straight and narrow? Should Iran be allowed any nuclear power at all?
Oversight of the morning: believing the news were banging on about chewing gum.
TRIDENT = UK NUCLEAR WEAPON SYSTEM, NOT GUM.
The Trident system sees nuclear-armed missiles kept at-sea around the clock on one of four submarines, patrolling the deep oceans ready to strike if an attack were launched on Britain. The missiles can hit a city 7,000 miles away and travel at speeds of up to 13,000 miles an hour.
Where is it?Faslane Naval Base on Gare Loch, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The base is one of three operating bases in the UK for the Navy. Others include Devonport, Falmouth and Portsmouth, this is also where you’ll find the majority of UK Navy ships.
Members of Parliament will vote next year on whether all this should be renewed.
Why does anything need to be renewed?
For the same reasons you have to replace your car or pants every few years, or at least every twenty years. Trident was last renewed in 1994.
The Vanguard class of ballistic-missile submarines would benefit from a new class, maintaining continuous at-sea deterrence beyond the Vanguard lifespan” – in other words, it can be made better, to last longer and there might be a way to cut some costs.
Even though the Labour party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, had voted not to talk about Trident at their conference this week, BBC Radio 4 politics programme The Today Show kind of spoiled that decision – asking Corbyn to tell them, in his new open and honest style of politics, whether or not he would personally push the button on nuclear warfare if he were Prime Minister. He said he wouldn’t, and Twitter blew up like a large bomb of some sort.