Cross Post

Human Rights, The Gaza Protests and the Future of Afghanistan

This is a cross post by Paul Stott

In January the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) issued a highly critical report on the Metropolitan Police’s conduct at the protests against Israel’s assault upon Gaza in December 2008 – January 2009.

The IHRC analysis can be downloaded here. It was widely publicised at the time, even, to my disappointment, on Anarchist websites such as Fitwatch, a site which monitors and indeed challenges police monitoring of demonstrators.

One of the IHRC’s best known spokesmen has been Fahad Ansari. A busy little bee, Ansari works for the jihadi support group Cage Prisoners, at the centre of the division in Amnesty International this year over their naive approach to working with Islamists. Ever since then Cage Prisoners has been desperately polishing and updating its website to give the impression it merely supports the victims of the war on terror, and simply advocates the human rights of those arrested in this ‘war’. This of course is nonsense, as I found when I visited Islam Expo in 2008, where Cage Prisoners were inviting people to write to well known prisoners of conscience such as Abu Hamza, would be shoe bomber Sajid Badat and Andrew Rowe. These men are far from being victims, and if they have taken part in a ‘war’ it was one of their own choosing, and one they aimed, or attempted to aim at, civilian populations.

The IHRC has always been associated with, and extremely supportive of, the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the July issue of Crescent International, which styles itself the magazine of the global islamic movement, their is a brief pause from the usual cheer leading of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (don’t mention the stonings!) as Fahad Ansari steps up to discuss the Taliban and the future of Afghanistan. What will this champion of human rights, inclusion and progressive politics have to say about the future of this most benighted of nations?

Er – carry on fighting boys, and lets make sure all Muslims rally behind you when you win, is the best summary anyone could give of the article. The Taliban are described as bringing justice to communities, both before they took power in the 1990s, during their time in office, and subsequently as they have returned to dominate many areas of Afghanistan. Indeed it was because of their good work that so many foreign Muslims (such as Ansari’s good chum Moazzam Begg) migrated to the Islamic Emirate:

While many did comment on the Taliban excesses in their imposition of shariah, the general overall sentiment in Afghanistan was that they were living in the closest semblance of an Islamic state that existed in the Sunni world”.

Here Ansari resembles a sort of Islamist Harold MacMillan, declaring ‘you’ve never had it so good’. Just remember – this is the Taliban he is praising here. Showing he is very much a child of the new Labour era though, Ansari does find some faults in Mullah Omar and the boys. He reaches the bizarre conclusion that part of the problem was not the Taliban’s actions in office, but their lack of a good PR strategy. This, he is pleased to report has now been resolved, with Mullah Omar sending his 60 page code of conduct to Al Jazeera. He ends his article expressing the fear that when the Taliban return to power they may face isolation (perhaps from lots of nasty governments, feminists and NGO’s worried about human rights?) His solution to this potential problem is simple:

“It is only if the Muslim world offers them support and recognition that they will have a fair chance to govern and be judged accordingly”

Can we expect to see that declared Islamic Human Rights Commission policy? The usual response from UK Islamists when asked tricky questions on human rights in the Muslim world is to argue that as they do not live in those countries, they cannot hope to shape their polices, so can only comment on human rights here in the UK (this argument should really be copyrighted by Inayat Banglawara) Noticeably of course it rarely stops UK Islamists accepting fat wads of cash from certain parts of the Muslim world! In his comments, Ansari has been rather bold in stepping so far beyond the usual party line.

We must punish him for it.

Fahad Ansari no more believes in ‘human rights’ than he believes the moon is made out of green cheese. Put simply, the cause of human rights is a musical instrument he and the IHRC believe they can pick up and play selectively, a song to sing against certain governments or on particular issues. When parts of the Muslim world are mentioned though, the orchestra goes quiet.

Cheerleaders for the Taliban should not be embraced by those, like Fitwatch, who claim to be Anarchists or to have progressive politics for a better society. Those on the left stupid enough to be taken in by the tune  from Cage Prisoners need to look at exactly what, and whose song they are singing. And the next time the Metropolitan Police are pushing people about in central London, if anyone sees Fahad Ansari with his little guitar, the above points all need to be made. Lets leave the Islamic Human Rights Commission to sing their own song. It is not a very good one.