Sadiq Khan and Khurram Zaki: Stand With Liberals Against Islamists

Yesterday, Pakistani human rights activist and editor of Let Us Build Pakistan, Khurram Zaki published this statement on Facebook:

“Sadiq Khan is not a Pakistani. He is a Britisher. Credit for his rise and success goes to his own hard work and the equal opportunity quality of the British system. Pakistan and Islam have played no role in his meteoric rise. And he has proved for all British Muslims and Brits of other ethnicities that anyone who blames that system as biased and discriminatory that they are lazy and liars.

I am celebrating the greatness of Western Secular Democracy. In this day and age of Takfiri Deobandi/Wahabi terrorism and Islamophobia, London has risen above discrimination and bigotry and emerged as great centre of human civilisation setting a great example for the world. Can we ever elect an Ahmadi or Hindu or Christian PM? Forget that, we have deprived all legal powers and discretions of a democratically elected Mayor of the third largest city in the world (Karachi) on the basis of ethnicity.

And it’s so stupid and shameful of us Pakistanis that we run down humiliate our own successes like Malala and Sharmeen.”

Hours later, he was murdered, it is believed by Islamist gunmen.

Let Us Build Pakistan has said:

For the last one year, Shaheed Khurram Zaki was a target of a systematic hate campaign organized by Deobandi fanatic, Shamsuddin Amjad of the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan in collaboration with the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP aka ASWJ/LeJ).

In particular, hateful and violence inciting posters against Shaheed Khurram Zaki had been published recently by the Mashal Facebook page run by Shamsuddin Amjad, Asad Wasif and a few other pro-Taliban fanatics of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Shaheed Kurram Zaki was a bigger journalist and rights activist with more valuable credentials and contributions than those in mainstream media or NGOs who remain silent on or obfuscate systematic target killing of Shia Muslims, Sunni Sufis Muslims, Christians and other communities in Pakistan at the hands of Takfiri Deobandi militants.

Khurram Zaki took a principled and courageous stance against the notorious Lal Masjid Deobandi cleric, Abdul Aziz, when the latter refused to condemn the same Taliban/ASWJ terrorists who killed 150 school children in Peshawar. Zaki’s bold and unwavering stance against this cleric brought him to the attention of the Takfiri Deobandi nexus which is also responsible for 100% of suicide bombings in Pakistan.

In boldly highlighting and supporting the rights of Sunni Barelvis, Shias, Sufis, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians, his contribution as citizen journalism was much bigger than all journalists combined in Pakistan. His death is the grim reminder that whoever raises voice against Taliban, ASWJ/LeJ and Jamaat-e-Islami Deobandi mafia in Pakistan will not be spared. And when they have to murder, they never fail.

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London is a liberal. He supported gay marriage. He was one of the first to speak out against Ken Livingstone.

However, until now, he has often chosen to work uncritically with, and sometimes to defend, those tied to precisely those Islamist groups which promote – on political and theological grounds – hatred and ultimately violence against liberals.

Muslim liberals in particular.

As Maajid Nawaz notes:

Sadiq Khan is no Muslim extremist. And it is not only his track record voting for gay rights that proves this. Having known him when I was a Muslim extremist, I know that he did not subscribe to my then theocratic views.

Again, Khan is no Muslim extremist. Indeed, this cannot be repeated enough. Nor can the fact that Khan clearly has a record of terribly poor judgment in surrounding himself with Islamists and Muslim extremists, and in using them for votes.

Ironically, Sadiq Khan’s election demonstrates that he does not need the support of Islamist groups and hatemongers in order to succeed in London. However, nationally, pandering to that constituency will be one of the factors which keeps Labour out of power for another generation.

The calculus in the past, for many in Labour has been:
“Will I lose more votes in cities than I gain by working with Islamists and Hamas fans and turning a blind eye to antisemitism?”

In London, the answer to that question is “no”. Not even now that the problem has become headline news. Not in safe Labour seats in cities, certainly.

But the size of Sadiq Khan victory prove that you do not need their votes for Labour to win.

By contrast, nationally, the answer to that question is “yes”. You cannot present yourself as an anti-racist, progressive party without opposing racists and theocrats. The voters understand this, even if many Labour activists still do not.

Sadiq Khan, a liberal Muslim on a journey away from a politics which was prevalent, and may now even be dominant with the grassroots of the Labour Party can make a virtue of necessity. It is a strength he can play to.

There has been a tendency in Labour to turn a blind eye to those within the party who have chummed up with Islamist groups which promote theocracy and hatred. Some have tried to make a distinction between those who support Islamist states abroad: as long as they do not support it in the United Kingdom.

That stance is both bad politics and bad principle. The Left is nothing if it does not hold to its liberal values. It is nothing if it does not show the clearest solidarity with liberals such as Khurram Zaki. It is nothing if it is not internationalist. After all, their Islamist opponents are most certainly men of principle, and internationalists to boot.

Those who murder in Karachi see no reason not to murder in London. They are no respecters of national borders.

A hallmark of Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty should be a clear stance against hatred and divisive rhetoric and politics. He should make  it clear that he won’t have any truck with organisations and institutions which sponsor and promote hatemongers. If he attends their meetings, he should not simply deliver platitudes, as he did at the conference of the hate preacher promoting FOSIS. Rather, he should take the opportunity to promote the liberal values that he cherishes.

As well as helping to detoxify Labour, such a clear stance would have the additional effect of weakening the far Left within Labour, which is wedded to its alliances with Islamists and pro-Hamas groups, and contains more than a few people who are antisemites.

Does Khan have the courage to do this. Will he dodge the issue, talk in generalities, and carry on working with the hatemongers, with the justification that we need a “Big Tent” and that you can’t just talk to “Uncle Toms”.

If he does so, it would be the wrong choice. It would also be a betrayal of solidarity with comrades such as Khurram Zaki.