It is with this in mind the launch of the Centre for Secular Space tonight is a welcome development. Shiraz Maher writes:
The story of Gita Sahgal has been covered before but is worth revisiting. A lifelong human rights activist, Sahgal worked on issues relating to women’s rights, religious extremism, and racism before heading up the Gender Unit at Amnesty International. Then, three years ago she was dramatically sacked after expressing concern at the way the group was embracing deeply reactionary Islamists.
In particular, Sahgal was upset at Amnesty’s relationship with Moazzam Begg who is perhaps Britain’s best known and most high profile Guantanamo Bay detainee. Begg had run a bookstore in Birmingham during the 1990s which was investigated on suspicion of supporting terrorism, although no charges were ever brought against any of the staff. Begg then packed his bags and moved from the Midlands to Afghanistan where he lived until shortly after 9/11. When the American invasion took place he fled to Pakistan, was arrested, and subsequently sent to Guantanamo Bay
The full report can be read at the Spectator here: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/02/a-long-overdue-counterblast-to-the-lefts-thinking-on-islamists/
This comes at a time when the fight against Islamo-fascism is reaching new heights in Africa. The crisis in Mali is one example but for those of us in the trade union movement concern must also be addressed to Tunisia where the UCTT has come under attack from the salafists with several of its' offices being burnt down in recent months.
The recent assassination of Choki Belaid an opposition party leaders caused a General Strike. The TUC published a statement that included the following:
The International Confederation of Trade Unions (ITUC) has also issued a statement:
The ITUC has firmly condemned the killing, on 6 February, of Tunisian opposition leader Mr Chokri Belaïd, and has expressed full support for the general strike called by its Tunisian affiliate, the UGTT.
The full statement can be found here: http://www.ituc-csi.org/tunisia-no-to-the-return-of-the
Trade unions need to promote full solidarity with working people struggling against these fascists in the Muslim world. The islamists should not be allowed to pretend that they are anything to do with religion at all. They are a threat to justice and human rights everywhere. The vast majority of Muslims around the world simply want to live in peace amongst themselves and with their neighbours. These extremists need to be combated wherever they appear.
Like the Nazis in the thirties the left must not be allowed to get away with appeasement.
Freedom is not negotiable and must be defended against all threats whether it comes from the Far Right, the Far left or Religious Fundamentalists.