I was radicalised by my student Islamic society. It started as an innocent means through which to meet down-to-earth and like-minded people. Then we started to break fast together in the prayer room, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was raising money for orphans and contributing to interfaith campaigns.
Inspired by all of this, I have gone on to delve in national student policy, campaign on free speech, rally for Gaza and help shape welfare provision for students around the country.
Faisal, I have been at those rallies for Gaza where Hamas and Hezbollah flags are proudly waved - how could anyone possibly associate waving the flags of genocidal maniacs with extremism? Of course it is not likely we had a proper introduction at one of these events since you refuse to shake the hand of a woman:
Last year, a colleague of mine attended a lecture hosted by Queen Mary's ISOC. At this event, women had to enter through a separate door, were sat separately at the back, and were prohibited from vocally asking questions- being provided instead with pen and paper. The head of Queen Mary's ISOC at the time was Faisal Hanjra. He was also president of FOSIS (the 'voice of Muslim students' that claims to co-ordinate ISOCS nationwide). I met him last year at a conference. As is customary in Britain, I offered to shake his hand. However, having accepted my male colleague's hand, my gesture was refused. My hand remained awkwardly hovering in mid-air; apparently it was not fit to shake- it belonged to a woman.
It seems Faisal Hanjra (the author of The Guardian's piece shilling for ISOC's) has a lot to say about Gaza. Here is appearing on tv speaking about Operation Cast Lead (text of what he said below the video).
“Our message to the government and to the taxpayer is that the millions of pounds you are investing in all this Prevent is all a waste of money if you are not going to tackle the root cause – and the root cause has always been foreign policy. To the Muslim community it’s quite simple, there are Muslim organizations out there who have suggested that the cause of radicalization are complicated and involve economics….and they suggest that if you’re part of this organization you’re more susceptible. You know if you follow political Islam you’re most susceptible to the process of radicalization. That is utter nonsense. Every single young British Muslim out there, from whatever ideology, whatever background, is angry because of the silence of, and the complicity of the west in the mass murder of the Palestinian people. It’s as simple as that. And fundamentally it’s tragic that the government seems to only act when their interests are involved. We saw this in the Mumbai bombings, and we saw how quickly the government was out there trying to assess the situation…….but maybe the Prime Minister needs to realize that what’s happening in Gaza is going to reflect on the streets of Britain and it’s in their interest now to act.”
But hey, there's nothing to worry about.
Hanjra complains in his article that ISOC's are maliciously being linked to extremism. Yet living in a post 9/11 and 7/7 world where the threat of terrorism is very real, a different sort of radicalism pervades the discourse surrounding Muslim students today. In its most malevolent manifestation, there has been a concerted effort by some to link Isocs to extremism. These accusations have been particularly virulent following the alleged attack on a Detroit airline by a former president of UCL Isoc. Boo. Hoo.
I do agree with Hanjra's take on Freedom of Expression - but am curious to know if he actually practises what he preaches. Wondering if he has seen South Park lately...
Spending time vexing over the veil, or worrying that Muslim men aren't integrated because they keep away from wine and women, will not prevent terrorism. No kidding Sherlock. Aren't you the one who appeared on tv saying it's all rooted in Britain's foreign policy?
The same Muslims that run Isocs and those that they invite to campuses are the most vehement opponents of terrorism, publicly stating – with street credibility – that terrorism has no foundations in Islamic thought.
Really?? Would you care to provide some examples?
Charges of extremism placed on Isocs are thus incredibly irresponsible – and resistance to be warped into viewing campuses and Muslims through the prism of extremism is imperative.
No, what is irresponsible is denying that there is ANY extremism in ISOCs when they are hosting events like this.