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Deepa Kumar on Reality Asserts Itself (1/5)

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John Esposito

John Esposito

John L. Esposito


John Esposito
Zafar Bangash

It is open season on Muslims. There is hardly a country in the world where Muslims do not face genocide, racist attacks, ethnic cleansing, and abuse. If Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are the latest group to join a long list of victims, others such as the Kashmiris and Palestinians who have suffered at the hands of Hindu Nazis and Zionists respectively have preceded them by decades.

Vile propaganda against Muslims has become the norm; branded as “terrorists,” millions have been killed worldwide since 2001. Places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have become synonymous with death and destruction. Add to that Yemen where so-called Muslims (Bani Saud) are busy slaughtering other Muslims as well as starving them to death. Cholera stalks the alleyways of villages and towns in Yemen affecting at least 500,000 people, mostly children.

This is the case in the Muslim world. There is an equally sinister campaign underway in the West. It would be wrong to assume that it started in America with the rise of the foul-mouthed bigot, Donald Trump. Islamophobia has been raging in Europe and North America long before 9/11; it has gained public acceptability since. A raft of Muslim-specific laws was passed in many countries. Even Canada, considered a model of multiculturalism, has not escaped the ill wind of Islamophobia.

Last month, the French-speaking province of Quebec passed Bill 62 prohibiting government services to Muslim women wearing the niqab because it is a religious symbol in a “secular” Quebec! The province has no problem with a huge crucifix installed behind the speaker’s chair in the National Assembly. So much for Quebec’s religious neutrality; hypocrisy and Islamophobia have no limits.

The racist Islamophobic bill was proposed and passed by the ruling Liberal Party. The opposition Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois berated the Liberals for not going far enough. Perhaps, they wanted niqab-wearing Muslim women to be stoned to death! The poster-boy “Sunny Ways” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also tiptoed through the issue, refusing to take a clear stand on a bill that is targeting a tiny minority of Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab. In Canada, women can go topless — and are protected by the law — but they cannot cover their faces as a matter of choice.

If a supposedly progressive province like Quebec can pass such a regressive law, what hope is there for Muslims in Alberta, home to racists and bigots like Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, and Andrew Scheer. At a time when Canada is coming to terms with the crimes it committed against its Indigenous people, Islamophobia continues to rage, receiving official patronage.

Across the Atlantic, Europeans continue to display their customary racism, now targeting Muslims. People in Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, and Austria have provided massive support to anti-immigrant parties that openly declare Islam has no place in their societies. The British Home Office reported last month 80,000 hate crimes in one year. In September, the racist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), gained seats in the German parliament, the first in 90 years, garnering 21.5% of the popular vote. There was even more bad news from Austria when the anti-Muslim Freedom Party came a close third in last month’s election winning 26% of the popular vote. The leading party, the People’s Party, gained 31.5%.

Why are people flocking to anti-Muslim parties in such large numbers? The simplistic answer would be that there are terrorist acts being perpetrated by Muslims riling up ordinary people. The reality is rather different. In almost all cases of terrorism, the security and intelligence agencies are fully aware of the perpetrators before they carry out such acts. Why they are not apprehended before the crimes are committed is a question the intelligence agencies refuse to answer.

There is a parallel reality that is also conveniently ignored. When a white, non-Muslim person perpetrates a terrorist act as happened with Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas last month, it is not called a terrorist act. Paddock was described as a “lone wolf” and “nutcase” but perish the thought if anyone calls him a terrorist even though he perpetrated the worst bloodbath in recent American history.

Islamophobia is a policy deliberately promoted for ulterior motives. Western regimes are always in need of “enemies” to divert attention from failing economies at home and justify warmongering policies abroad. Numerous Muslim countries are under attack resulting in millions of innocent deaths. The West is supposedly fighting the “bad guys.” If Muslims in the West are seen as hardworking law-abiding citizens, it would be difficult to sell their war-mongering agenda and justify huge military budgets. 

Islamophobia is part and parcel of the West’s policy of perpetual war.
Harun Karcic 



The UN-established International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, better known by its acronym, ICTY, sentenced former General Ratko Mladic to life in jail. Mladic, the former army chief of Bosnian Serbs, has since 1992 symbolised the worst that human beings are capable of. As a Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) who was forced to flee Sarajevo from the onslaught of marauding Serb soldiers, I feel no satisfaction with the verdict whatsoever. Many fellow Bosnian Muslims would agree. The reason is simple: though Mladic will spend the rest of his life behind bars, his idea lives on and the Serb-only statelet that he and Radovan Karadzic fought for is now a reality. It is a legal part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, highly autonomous, makes up 49 percent of Bosnia's territory, and has been threatening to secede and join neighbouring Serbia for the past 10 years.

Bosnian Serb leaders Ratko Mladic and Karadzic, with overt political, military and financial support of neighbouring Serbia, led a military campaign to forcefully rid significant areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina of hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims. They knew exactly what they were doing from the very start. 


Exhibit that was scheduled be held in European Parliament cancelled after certain members disapproved of its content.

An exhibit titled "Genocide in Srebrenica: Eleven Lessons for the Future" has opened in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, after it was turned away from its original event location in Brussels by certain members of the European Parliament (EP) for displaying "too many skulls and bones".

Exhibit organiser Hikmet Karcic, an author and genocide researcher from Sarajevo, told Al Jazeera that he had been in contact for a year with some members of the European Parliament, who had agreed to host his exhibit in parliament on July 11, commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II.  However, when the members realised that the exhibition focuses on the steps that lead to genocide instead of the genocide's consequences and reconciliation – they decided to cancel the event just a few days before the exhibit was supposed to start.
"They requested that we take out photos of [Serb war criminals] [Slobodan] Milosevic, [Radovan] Karadzic, [Ratko] Mladic and photos of mass graves," Karcic said.

He added that the decision wasn't the official stance of the European Parliament, but the opinion of certain members who canceled the event due to personal "political calculations".

"It's important that we talk about this theme and with as many details as possible. If we don't look at the causes then we don't get a complete image of genocide," Karcic said.
"That's why it was important to hold this exhibit in parliament to show how nationalists, right-wing movements can very quickly turn to mass killings in the centre of Europe."
Karcic did not name the EU parliament members involved for reasons of anonymity. A spokesperson from the European Parliament was not available for comment.

The return and rise of far right groups across Europe and controversial policies targeting minorities in the United States have alarmed the public, and what happened in Srebrenica has become more relevant than ever as it serves as a reminder of how the "impossible" can quickly and easily unravel into a reality.

When the 'impossible' became a reality
Much of the Bosnian nation and the world was stunned in disbelief when Serb and Croat forces began their attack on Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 with the goal of creating a greater Serbia and Croatia respectively. 
Bosnian Muslims and other non-Serbs were raped, tortured and executed - often by people they personally knew such as neighbours, former elementary school teachers and colleagues. The nearly four year war on Bosnia culminated with a genocide on July 11, 1995 when over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically executed in Bosnia's eastern town of Srebrenica – a UN-declared protected enclave. From 1992-1995 at least 100,000 people were killed in the country and as many as 50,000 women were raped.

'Justice eludes victims' as Yugoslavia tribunal ends

The Bosnian War ended with the signing of the Dayton Agreement, which divided the country into two administrative entities: the Bosnian-Croat "Federation" entity and the "Republika Srpska" (Serbian Republic) for Bosnian Serbs. Karcic decided to focus his exhibit on the 10 stages that led to genocide in Bosnia, a process coined by American genocide researcher Gregory H. Stanton, but also added an 11th stage, specific to Bosnia's case – "Triumphalism", or the celebration and glorification of genocide and war crimes – coined by Bosnian Australian anthropologist Hariz Halilovic.

Karcic's exhibit highlights the historical, political and military aspect of the Srebrenica genocide starting from former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power in the late 80s to today's denial of genocide common among Bosnian Serb politicians and society.
However, the hosts disapproved of this focus and Karcic says he was surprised to hear them say that his exhibit was problematic because it could potentially jeopardise Bosnia's path to Euro-Atlantic integration. "That's what hurts me the most – that people would quit on these kind of exhibits just so they can score personal, short-term political points," Karcic said.

"We didn't see the point in having an exhibit without photos of Mladic, without photos of mass graves, etc; I think that's an extermination of the truthful image of Srebrenica."
Unwelcome in Brussels, the exhibit moved to Sarajevo where it could be presented without complications. Karcic still remains determined for the exhibit to be presented elsewhere in Europe and around the world. "Of course anyone who is interested in viewing our exhibit, which wasn't welcome in the European Parliament, we will eagerly organise it in any city, any institution," Karcic said.

At the exhibit a map of Srebrenica is on display with a message written by convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Radislav Krstic reading "Srebrenica has been Serbian and remains Serbian. 12 July 1995." [Courtesy of Mirnes Kovac]

'Genocide is worth it'
The European Parliament adopted the Resolution on Srebrenica in 2009 calling for July 11 to be marked as the day of mourning for victims of genocide in Srebrenica.
Srebrenica has long been internationally recognised as an act of genocide, including by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice. The Hague Tribunal has convicted numerous Bosnian Serb war criminals of genocide including former military commander Radislav Krstic, former president of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic and military leader Ratko Mladic.
However, genocide denial is widespread in Republika Srpska and Serbia's political establishment and society.

The president of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, one of the most outspoken Srebrenica genocide deniers, has called the massacre, "the greatest deception of the 20th century". 
Bosnian Serb leader describes Srebrenica genocides as a 'lie'.  "We cannot and will never accept qualifying that event as a genocide," Dodik said in a 2010 interview with the Belgrade daily, Vecernje Novosti.  Convicted war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik was welcomed back as a national hero with over 2,000 people partying in the streets in his hometown of Pale, about 18km east of Sarajevo, after being granted an early release from prison.

Bosnian journalist Mirnes Kovac told Al Jazeera that the members of European Parliament who decided to cancel the exhibit shows that Europe in fact isn't ready to come to terms with the worst atrocity committed on its soil since the Holocaust.  "The denial of genocide in Srebrenica, which for the most part has been led by the Serbian political establishment in Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity and in Serbia has obtained an institutional character and support in the media," Kovac said.

"With triumphalism along with the European Parliament [members'] mitigation with its rejection of the exhibit on Srebrenica, the world is in fact confronting with the most brutal lesson from Srebrenica, from Bosnia and it's short and clear: "Genocide is worth it".


Riada Asimovic Akyol

In October of that year, seeing that Yugoslavia(where Serbs dominated in politics) was breaking up, and emboldened by rising nationalism among the masses and an ever-assertive Orthodox church, the Bosnian Serb leadership (in coordination with Belgrade) decided to embark on establishing its centuries-old idea of having an ethnically pure "Greater Serbia". This would include significant parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Serbs constituted considerable numbers.

In order to carry out their plan, they established illegal parallel political institutions known as "Serb Autonomous Regions", which were tasked with implementing the Serbian Democratic Party's (SDS) notorious genocidal policies on a local level. In August 1991, the SDS, Karadzic's party, began boycotting Bosnian state presidency meetings, and, by October, it had removed all its deputies from the Bosnian parliament and set up its own "Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina", first in Sarajevo, then in Pale.

Having parallel political institutions on the local and state level, along with the already Serb-dominated police force, Bosnian Serbs embarked on their plan. In May 1992, Karadzic presented to his fellow Bosnian Serb politicians in the Serb Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina a document titled "Six Strategic Goals of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina". One of their strategic goals was, in their own words, the "separation from other ethnic groups on the territory rightly claimed by Serbs, by force if necessary".

For such a radical plan to be implemented in an ethnically mixed country, with its capital, Sarajevo, having the highest percentage of inter-ethnic marriages in former Yugoslavia, it could only mean one thing - utterly destroying the Muslim and Croat populations, either through killings or mass expulsions. Mladic stood up, not to disagree, but rather to make sure the entire Bosnian Serb leadership was on the same page. ''We cannot [ethnically] cleanse, we don't have a sieve to sift so that only Serbs can stay, and others leave," he said. "I don't know how Mr Karadzic and Mr Krajisnik will explain this to the world. This is genocide, people.''
Everyone present agreed this was the way forward. Having the necessary political backing, the self-proclaimed Army of the Serb Republic, as well as Serb police forces, proceeded to implement their plan.

What took place over the following four years was a systematic campaign of death, terror, and destruction straight out of the Nazi handbook. Bosnian Muslim women were systematically raped, as was well documented by the UN during the war. Muslim men and young boys were locked up in concentration camps such as Omarska, Trnopolje, and Keraterm. Ed Vulliamy from the Observer was one of the first western journalists to discover Serb-run concentration camps. Here is how he described what he saw: ''...the bones of their elbows and wrists protrude like pieces of jagged stone from the pencil-thin stalks to which their arms have been reduced. Their skin is putrefied, the complexions ... have corroded. [They] are alive but decomposed, debased, degraded, and utterly subservient, and yet they fix their huge hollow eyes on us with [what] looks like blades of knives".

In the town of Visegrad in eastern Bosnia, so many Muslim men were slaughtered and tossed off the beautiful Ottoman-era bridge into Drina river that Milan Josipovic, then a Visegrad police inspector, received a macabre complaint from the manager of a nearby hydroelectric plant, asking whoever was responsible to please slow down tossing dead Muslims into the river as they were clogging up the culverts in his dam. Muslim houses in areas under Serb military control were burned to the ground, so they would have nowhere to return after the war. Those who did return after 1995 were attacked, threatened, and their mosque vandalised. Such a policy continues to this day.

Under Mladic's policy of spreading death and terror, Sarajevo was shelled for nearly four years while the Bosnian towns of Trebinje, Foca, Prijedor, Banja Luka, and Visegrad were ethnically cleansed of their non-Serb populations. Mladic's forces stand accused of killing more than 100,000 people, mostly Bosnian Muslims, between 1992 and 1995, and raping more than 20,000 Muslim women.

The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, waged against Bosnia's multiethnic but predominantly Muslim government, ended with the signing of the Dayton Agreement in the United States, which effectively divided the country into two autonomous political entities: the Bosniak-Croat "Federation" and the ''Serb Republic'' for Bosnian Serbs.


Nidzara Ahmetasevic

After Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in jail last year, for genocide and crimes against humanity carried out against Bosnian Muslims, former General Mladic is the highest-ranking military leader to be imprisoned for the same crimes. This means that two of the highest-ranking Bosnian Serb leaders, who are credited with establishing the Serb Republic, have been found guilty by a UN-established court of committing the worst of crimes against humanity.
This falls in line with the existing Bosnian Muslims' stance that the autonomous Serb Republic was created through genocide and as such has no legitimacy.  

Mladic has systematically denied all charges levied against him, describing them as "obnoxious" since his first appearance in court in 2011. He claims to have been defending Bosnia's Serbs against ''radical'' Muslims. Will such a verdict change anything in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Hardly so. Take Visegrad as an example. Before the war, there were more than 13,000 Bosnian Muslims living in that eastern Bosnian town. Today, less than 1,000, mostly elderly, Muslims remain. Only 7.69 percent of the prewar Muslim population returned to live in Visegrad. Once these Bosnian Muslim men and women, now in their 60s, 70s, and 80s pass away, hardly any Muslims will be left in Visegrad. Almir Salihovic, a Bosnian Muslim who fled marauding Serb soldiers from Srebrenica in 1995 and returned to the town in 2014, speaking of the Mladic verdict told Reuters: "For most Serbs he will remain a hero, for others he will be the butcher and criminal, and we will continue to live in our folds, side by side, not together."  

The Bosnian Serb political idea of creating an ''ethnically pure'' Serb statelet has been a success. So no verdict, no matter how harsh, will change facts on the ground. Bosnian Serbs achieved what they envisioned in the 1990s. 
Dr Yasir Qadhi

Dr. Yasir Qadhi 

 Chris Hedges

The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims. Islam is condemned as barbaric and equated with terrorism. The resistance struggle against foreign occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Gaza, sees Muslims demonized as the enemy. Muslims are branded as irrational and inclined to violence and terrorism by their religious beliefs. We attack them not for what they do but because we see them as being different from us. We must eradicate them to save ourselves. And thus we perpetuate the very hatred and counterviolence, or terrorism, that we fear.

Muslims in this age of racialized authoritarianism have been stripped of due process in our courts and are subject—as Abid Naseer and Haroon Aswat were in Britain before being extradited to the United States—to pretrial incarceration for years. They endure police brutality and secret trials, are convicted on secret evidence they cannot see and suffer long-term detention in solitary confinement, often in clandestine prisons known as black sites. They are kidnapped anywhere in the world and taken, hooded, drugged and shackled, to the secret sites. They are tortured through savage methods such as beatings, “walling,”  sexual humiliation, close confinement, prolonged isolation, water dousing, electric shocks, waterboarding and so-called rectal rehydration. Their citizenships are revoked. Their communities and mosques are harassed, infiltrated and monitored by law enforcement. Muslim children are viewed as future terrorists. Muslim women as breeders of terrorists. Muslim men as dangerous. We are the maniacal Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” keeping the heads of “savages” on stakes outside our fortress and crying out “Exterminate all the brutes!”

We have declared a worldwide war on Muslims. Muslims, who read us better than we read ourselves, are rising up to resist. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East have been butchered since our invasion of Afghanistan. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya have been destroyed as viable states. Millions of Muslims have been displaced or are refugees. And when desperate Muslim families attempt to flee to Europe or the United States from the hell we created in the Middle East, they are thrown into displacement camps or turned back and branded as disease carriers, thieves, rapists, barbarians and terrorists. Islamic culture and religion in our Manichean narrative have been shorn of all nuance, humanity, complexity and depth. Islam has been replaced by a xenophobic cartoon version, an image that, to use the words of Frantz Fanon, is the “quintessence of evil.” We respond to the crisis we created out of ignorance, self-exaltation and racism.

As the imprisoned poet Syed Talha Ahsan writes:

to kill

is to erase an image

off a mirror:


no body

just a gaping hole

upon an indifferent world

Israel’s slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, justified by the racism and Islamophobia that are central to Israeli identity, has entered a new, deadlier phase. No longer constrained by any pretense of respecting human rights or a peace process, Israeli soldiers, although they are not threatened, fire indiscriminately into crowds of unarmed Palestinians, killing or wounding men, women, children, the elderly and journalists. The sheer number of the dead and wounded—nine or more Palestinians killed by Israeli fire and hundreds injured on Friday alone—testifies to raking the crowd with gunfire. In a civilized world, Israel would be immediately slapped with sanctions, boycotts and divestment—the only mechanism left to protect the Palestinian people from extermination—but we do not live in a civilized world. We live in a world where murder and racism are state policy, where the oppressed are dehumanized and unworthy of life and where our mutant demagogues and despots revel in the rivers of blood they create.

This racialized authoritarianism, one that defines Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has ominous consequences for the oppressed. It is fed by a willful refusal to accept our responsibility for the social and political disintegration as well as the violence in the Middle East and, increasingly, at home. Most academics, trapped in the meaningless silo of Islamic writings on apocalyptic terrorism, contribute nothing to the debate. The press, which has turned journalism into nonstop entertainment and the celebration of nonexistent American virtues, is complicit in this perpetuation of anti-knowledge, which Tennessee Williams once called our voluntary matriculation into a school for the blind. It dehistoricizes these movements. It certifies radical jihadists, and by extension Islam, as incomprehensible. Since terrorism is incomprehensible, and since it is an intrinsic part of Islam, Muslims are worthy not of investigation but annihilation. But facts don’t speak for themselves, as Edward Saidnoted. They require context to be understood, and all context is absent.

“You could hardly begin (in the public sphere provided by international discourse) to analyze political conflicts involving Sunnis and Shi’is, Kurds and Iraqis, or Tamils and Sinhalese, or Sikhs and Hindus—the list is long—without eventually having to resort to the categories and images of ‘terrorism’ and ‘fundamentalism,’ which derived entirely from the concerns and intellectual factories in metropolitan centers like Washington or London,” Said wrote in “Culture and Imperialism.” “They are fearful images that lack discriminant contents, or definition, but they signify moral power and approval for whoever uses them, moral defensiveness and criminalization for whomever.”

The pattern of persistent decontextualization traps us in an endless cycle of violence for violence. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou in his book “A Theory of ISIS: Political Violence and the Transformation of the Global Order” writes of the now-standard response following a terrorist attack:

For every time a new radical Islamism-related attack takes place in New York, Washington, London, Paris, Brussels or Berlin, a ritual of denial of the deeper political issues plays out in an increasingly familiar fashion. The sequence is performed thus: shock gives way to fear followed by anger; security experts step up hurriedly in television studios and on social media to denounce the lack of preparation by the authorities; specialists in radical Islamism (or simply Islam) follow, declaring that IS (previously Al Qaeda) has been weakened, is on its way to be defeated and is merely lashing out with desperate attacks; Muslim communities in Western countries are called out and racist and violent attacks against them sometimes take place (hours after the March 2016 attacks in Brussels a #stopislam movement started trending, revealing the depth of bias that had come to overtake sectors of the Western world, readily associating Islam and terrorism); sympathy movements for the victims of city where the attack took place are set up (Je suis Charlie, I am Brussels, etc.); calls for tougher legislation (surveillance mechanisms, detention conditions, nationality measures, immigration procedures, travel regulations, dress codes, access to pools, prayer sites, etc.) are spoken urgently; arrests are made in neighborhoods where Muslim migrants are known to reside and bombing is redoubled in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen or Libya.

The Obama administration under counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, now a national security and intelligence analyst for NBC and MSNBC, set up a database, Disposition Matrix, of terrorism suspects across the globe. It is known informally as the kill list. Those on the list are targeted by clandestine CIA extradition units, special forces, militarized drones and airstrikes. These techniques for racialized control of Muslims are drawn from the blueprint of colonialism, although the state now uses the coded language of ideology to mask its racist assault. As in colonialism, those who defy the “liberal democratic” state have forfeited all rights and deserve to be treated as beasts because they are beasts. This stance of collective criminalization of a group or race will have ominous consequences as the corporate state, beset by the growing unrest from deindustrialization and global warming, begins to view larger and larger segments of the population as hostile.

“In some sense, the figure of the terror suspect forms the testing ground upon which Western versions of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ are deliberated,” writes Nisha Kapoor in “Deport, Deprive, Extradite: 21st Century State Extremism.” “It is via the representation of these individuals that cases are made in support of summary killings, bigger bombs, drone strikes, ever more grotesque forms of torture, and clandestine and indefinite detention. It is also through the policing of such individuals that mechanisms have been put in place in Britain [and the United States] for the growing use of secret justice, the retraction of the provisions of citizenship and the move away from human rights protections.”

Policies have consequences. The decision to hunt down Muslims around the globe, giving to the so-called war on terror a transnational dimension, means also that those who oppose us are not restricted by national boundaries. The terrorists who carry out these attacks are mirror images of ourselves, consumed by the same narcissism and cult of the self that define celebrity culture. They post self-indulgent videos of rants against the West and of their beheadings of captives clad in orange jumpsuits. They replicate the cultural effort to film “Life the Movie.” The images we use to communicate with the world, as well as each other, infect all of their messages to us. They are not from a medieval era. They are creations of modernity. They feed to us their own versions of the pornographic violence that fascinates and deforms our culture. They know this is how you communicate with the West. And we communicate back in the same manner.

The Israeli massacre of Palestinians is a prelude to a dystopian, neocolonial world where global elites, hoarding wealth and controlling the mechanisms of power, increasingly resort to widespread bloodshed to keep the oppressed at bay. What Israel is doing to Palestinians—impoverished and trapped without adequate food, water and medicine in the open-air prison that is Gaza, a strip of land subject to repeated murderous assaults by the Israeli war machine—will be done to desperate climate refugees and citizens who rise up to protest the pillage by global oligarchs. Those who resist will be as dehumanized as Muslims. They too will be branded as terrorists. The global elites have a plan for the future. It is visible in the killing fields of Gaza.
Quran row and a lack of Turkish studies in France behind move to stop admissions to French studies, official says
Umut Uras

Turkish universities will no longer admit new students to French language departments, Turkey's Higher Education Board has ruled, the latest development in the strained ties between Turkey and France. The decision came in response to a manifesto signed by prominent French figures, calling for the removal of certain passages from the Quran, and as a reciprocal measure over the "lack of Turkish studies departments in the European country," a Turkish official told Al Jazeera.

"We have condemned the controversial statements on the Quran coming from France. And the Higher Education Board, which is an autonomous institution, made this move as a response to those statements," said Emrullah Isler, chairman of the Committee on National Education, Culture, Youth and Sport in the Turkish parliament. Isler added that universities in France do not have enough departments teaching Turkish, that there is an imbalance between the two countries in that area.
"Lack of university departments in France that teach in Turkish is another factor behind the decision. They need to form decent Turkology departments there. "Plus, there have been too many departments teaching in the French language in Turkish universities," he told Al Jazeera from the capital, Ankara.

He added that the Higher Education Board took the decision in such a manner that currently enrolled students would not suffer from the measure. "The existing departments with active students are going to continue teaching in French as usual, but will not admit new ones," Isler said.

The Board had cited "reciprocity" and "graduate-employment links" on Thursday as the reasons for its decision. Turkish officials reacted with anger to a French manifesto calling on Islamic authorities to strike certain parts of the Quran. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even likened the signatories of the text to members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
The open letter, published on April 22 in French newspaper Le Parisien, and signed by nearly 300 prominent French figures, said that verses of the Quran calling for the "murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers" should be removed from the book, arguing they were "obsolete".

Erdogan slams French intellectuals: You're no different than ISIL
The Turkish government's first reaction came in early May, ahead of June parliamentary and presidential polls, despite the letter being published last month. Signatories included former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, as well as former ministers, deputies from the National Assembly and other public figures.
"Who are you to attack our scriptures? We know how vile you are … You are no different than ISIL," Erdogan retorted on Tuesday in a speech in the capital, Ankara.
"Have they ever read their books, the Bible? Or the Torah?" Erdogan asked, referring to the Christian and Jewish holy books, adding: "If they had read them, they probably would want to ban the Bible."

French-Turkish relations have been tense for a number of reasons.
Turkey slammed a recent proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to mediate between Ankara and outlawed Kurdish fighters in Turkey. Paris has been highly critical of Ankara's military incursions in northern Syria against the Kurdish fighters, which Turkey considers "terrorists". In late January, Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army fighters started a military operation into Syria's Afrin to remove a US-backed Kurdish militia - known as the YPG, or the People's Protection Units.
Ankara considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing, the YPG, to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced an anti-Islam manifesto published last month by 300 French figures calling for parts of the Qur’an, the holy book of Muslims, to be removed.

"Who are you to attack our scriptures? We know how vile you are," Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.

“Have they ever read their books, the Bible? Or the Torah?" Erdogan asked, referring to the Christian and Jewish holy books, adding, "If they had read them, they probably would want to ban the Bible."

"You are no different than ISIL (Daesh)," he added.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ® receives a copy of the Qur’an at an international students’ meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 16, 2015.  AP)

The request by the figures was made in an open letter, published last month in French daily Le Parisien. The signatories, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy, three former premiers, and several MPs, equated Islam with “anti-Semitism” and demanded that “Muslim authorities … strike with obsolescence” verses in the Qur'an, which they said, were calling for “the murder and punishment of Jews, Christians, and non-believers.”

In response, 30 French Muslim clerics published a letter in the French paper Le Monde, condemning anti-Semitism and warned that the manifesto could strain relations between religious communities in the European nation.

They also denied that Qur’anic verses could be used to justify “violence,” quoting a famous passage, which equates murder to the killing of the entire humanity.
Anti-Islam 'manifesto' sparks outrage in France

"Some have already seen [in this manifesto] a long-awaited opportunity to incriminate an entire religion. They no longer hesitate to publicly propagate, including in the media, that the Qur’an itself calls for murder. This pernicious idea is incredibly violent,” they wrote.

In reaction to the manifesto, Turkey's Europe Minister Omer Celik said on Sunday it was "the most striking example of intellectual violence and barbarity."

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said: "No one can dare to touch even a single letter of Qur'an; it is under God's protection." 


The leader of France’s far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, is put on trial for hate speech after making derogatory statements about Muslims and their religious rituals. The French politician arrived in court on Tuesday in the city of Lyon. She faces charges of “incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred towards a group of people on the basis of their religion,” leveled against her by four anti-racism and human rights groups.

"I have the right, as a political leader, to evoke a crucial issue and it's even a duty for me to do it,” Le Pen told reporters, while describing herself as a victim of "judicial persecution.”

French far-right leader and National Front party president Marine Le Pen arrives at the Lyon's courthouse, central France, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP photo)


While addressing a party rally in Lyon in 2010, Le Pen had, in offensive remarks, compared to the occupation by the Nazis Muslim worshippers praying in the streets in three French cities due to a lack of mosques or a lack of space in local prayer rooms. “I’m sorry, but for those who really like to talk about the Second World War, if we’re talking about occupation, we can also talk about this while we’re at it, because this is an occupation of territory,” she said.

Le Pen lost her European Parliament immunity over the comments in 2013.  If found guilty, she would face up to a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (USD 51,000). In the run-up to regional elections in December, she is trying to garner more votes by taking advantage of the influx of refugees and asylum seekers to Europe, which has created a crisis for the continent. She has called the crisis a "migratory submersion."


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