Over at Harry’s Place, in an article entitled “Salma Yaqoob picks today to support jihadists“, the inimitable David Toube denounces Respect’s Birmingham councillor as a terrorist sympathiser.
Salma’s crime is that, like millions of Muslims and non-Muslims across the world, she recognises “the rights of those in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq to resist the occupation of their countries”. According to Toube: “In each of those three countries – Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq – the only groups that are presently engaged in terrorist activities – groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army – are jihadist groups.”
Let us leave aside the fact that the article Toube attacks, which appeared in the 27 November issue of the Muslim News, was reprinted from the September issue of the Respect newspaper, so if Salma “picked a day” to publish the article, it was presumably around two months ago. Instead let us address Toube’s bizarre assertion that the resistance to the occupation of Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq consists of “jihadist groups”.
For once, among all the usual vile Islamophobic rants by the racists and nutters who infest Harry’s Place, a few sensible posts appear in the comments section following Toube’s piece, and they demolish his nonsense quite effectively. For example:
“It’s ridiculous to claim that all the people fighting in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan are jihadists. Such an idea would laughed out of court by any serious regional analyst. In Palestine half the groups opposing the occupation are secular. In Iraq there are a shifting patchwork of very differently groups fighting the Americans only some of which are ‘jihadist’ in thinking. Similarly a great deal of the fighters who are labelled ‘Taliban’ in Afghanistan are Pashtun men who have been very disillusioned by what has been happening in the country and have decided to take up arms against the Americans.”
“So the Mahdi army are now ‘jihadists’? That’s a new one. In fact it is a willfully ignorant way to characterise what is going on in Iraq – equivalent to putting your fingers in your ears and saying ‘la la la, can’t hear anything, la la la, it’s all just evil Jihadis’.”
To which it might be added that Hamas has of course been bitterly condemned by the real jihadists for participating in the electoral process.
But what else can you expect from Toube? This the idiot who has denounced Osama Saeed as a fascist and Inayat Bunglawala as a supporter of Al-Muhajiroun. Surely it’s only a matter of time before Toube announces that Tariq Ramadan is an agent of Al-Qaeda. It is a measure of the irrationality generated by the current media campaign against Islam and Islamism that an ignorant bigot like Toube is actually taken seriously in some circles.