Monday, 7 September 2009

The SNP's Islamist connections

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of ‘The Illusion of Freedom’, Tom Gallagher’s examination of the minority nationalist administration in Scotland, released later this month. Its author has written previously about links between the SNP and Islamist groups, particularly the Scottish Islamic Foundation, directed by Osama Saeed, a parliamentary candidate for Alex Salmond’s party in Glasgow Central.

Picking up on an allusion to the SNP’s connection with radical Islam, below, Alec has pointed me in the direction of this excellent blogpost, which highlights upon some of the funding issues surrounding the SIF. Last month the organisation, which is intimately linked to the nationalist party, was forced to repay £128,000 of public money, granted to it by the Scottish Executive.

Alec observes that the SIF, which was formed in 2008, managed to leapfrog pre-existing Muslim cultural and religious bodies in Scotland, in order to claim large injections of taxpayers’ cash. This despite its director’s extremist alignments.

Saeed has been intimately involved in several organisations heavily influenced by the Egyptian writer, Sayyid Qutb, whose writings have provided an ideological framework for al Qaeda. Even if we set aside its radical sympathies, a ‘Saudi inclined’, Salafist orientated group is not representative of the bulk of Scottish Muslims, who hail from South East Asia and tend to be Sufis or Barlevis.

It is worth reading Alec’s article in full in order to get a flavour of the type of links which the SNP is fostering and the tenuous basis by which it fills the SIF’s coffers.

15 comments:

Alec said...

Muchy grassy arse, as we say in Caithness, Chekov.

In more shameless self-publicity, note what happened to those really naughty missives on the blog affiliated to the Scottish-Islamic Foundation (note the hyphenation) I was linking to.

By way of a ouija board, Khalid ibn al-Waleed observed the same thing.

Although Google Cache had picked-up one or two, others are sadly lost to Saeed's posterior. Fortunately, the main SIF website and Saeed's own blog have a good record in Web Archive.

Maybe one of the greeting party in Tripoli will be in Glasgow in November.

Also check this. Not directly related, but funny all the same... mmmm, Turks. Yummy!

Sally said...

I'm becoming increasingly concerned with how unionism is being hijacked by the far right. I find it at odds with my own unionism.

Tom Gallagher is a well know hawkish commentator who's collective writings are at best tenuous and at worst reactionary & xenophobic.

Slinging mud like this is damaging the unionist message and keeping alive notions of elitism, division and racism in British Society.

Alec said...

Sally, then perhaps the centre-ground should display a more concerted response. Salmond is the tallest person in Lilliput and could be combatted by individuals who didn't come down with the last haggis boat.

Furthermore, could you justify your allegation of Gallegher's fascist/BNP sympathies (implied by your reference to the far-right)? Also, are you suggesting that the SIF is inclusive and progressive?

I think you'll find that the reactionary and parochial SNP is ahead of the curve in accommodating fascism.

Faresh Haddad said...

You seem to be conflating a number of issues here by suggesting that the SNP is playing a dangerous and divisive game, albeit it one which is consistent with the their predilection for emphasising ‘group rights’ rather than individual rights.

Why shouldn't a political party cater for specific communities?

That seems to suggest that you do not recognise the Muslim community as having different needs to say the Protestant Northern Irish community.

Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

After all, the parties which you purport to support cater exclusively for such groupings.

Like Gallagher you speak of 'links' and 'allusion', where is the evidence?

You seem to be content to repeat smears from a proven anti-islamic writer, namely Tom Gallagher who's bile became evident with this rather alarmist statement on Alec Salmond back in 2007.

He described Salmond as...

"Scotland's answer to Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt or the Irish leader Michael Collins....'

I think most people would consider that type of statement way beyond the pale and pandering to a wide eyed swivelling head extremist mentality that inhabits such parties as the BNP and the far right of the conservative & UKIP parties.

It could hardly be described as a statement from a calm and reasonable author.

You then go on to say that the SIF "is not representative of the bulk of Scottish Muslims, who hail from South East Asia and tend to be Sufis or Barlevis."

Again, it appears that it is you that is being sectarian here, the SIF is a national organisation dealing with all branches of the Islamic faith, why do you think it should it be particularly aligned with any one group?

In any event, you have presented the SIF inaccurately here, have a look at the board of directors. It represents a wide variety of Islamic beliefs, cultures and
traditions.

To paint it otherwise simply attracts cranks and social conservatives with a faintly racist fervour, see the poster's Alex contribution for prima facie evidence of this.

Chekov said...

You seem to be conflating a number of issues here by suggesting that the SNP is playing a dangerous and divisive game, albeit it one which is consistent with the their predilection for emphasising ‘group rights’ rather than individual rights.

Why shouldn't a political party cater for specific communities?


A political party can of course cater for specific communities, but I would prefer to see parties catering for the needs of individuals within those communities, rather than with self-appointed ‘representatives’.

That seems to suggest that you do not recognise the Muslim community as having different needs to say the Protestant Northern Irish community.

I am sure that members of the Muslim community have needs which are similar to the needs of members of any other community. There will be differences there to. Both elements can be catered for without resorting to ‘group rights’.

After all, the parties which you purport to support cater exclusively for such groupings.

I don’t think you’re a regular reader. I consistently criticise politics which fetishise the perceived ‘communities’ in Northern Ireland.

You seem to be content to repeat smears from a proven anti-islamic writer, namely Tom Gallagher who's bile became evident with this rather alarmist statement on Alec Salmond back in 2007.

I have linked and discussed a Gallagher article previously and in the piece I have linked Alec’s piece. Their arguments are there to be discussed on their merits, rather than the perceived bias which you allege.

I think most people would consider that type of statement way beyond the pale and pandering to a wide eyed swivelling head extremist mentality that inhabits such parties as the BNP and the far right of the conservative & UKIP parties.

I think the comparison of nationalist extremists with other nationalist extremists is a perfectly normal piece of political discourse.

Again, it appears that it is you that is being sectarian here, the SIF is a national organisation dealing with all branches of the Islamic faith, why do you think it should it be particularly aligned with any one group?

My point is that it is a conduit arbitrarily favoured, and funded, by the SNP. It epitomises the wrong headed approach to dealing with minority communities en bloc.

To paint it otherwise simply attracts cranks and social conservatives with a faintly racist fervour, see the poster's Alex contribution for prima facie evidence of this.

Please deal with the issues which his posts raise, rather than indulging in ad hominem attacks

Sally said...

Alec

I'm not suggesting Gallagher is a facist but his writing is hawish and right wing and certainly attracts the attention of the BNP.

With regards to the SIF, I haven't seen any evidence att all to substantiate your claims, indeed you seem to be trying to smear by loose association.

They are a government funded charity, by implicating the SNP, you are also implicating the Scottish civil service who audit them and indeed the charity commission who register them.

Is it me, or do your claims just not stack up?

Lastly, with regards to 'the centre-ground', it's exactly this type of attack that is damaging unionist sentiment amongst the broader church of political parties in Scotland.

It leaves wide open SNP accusations that unionism or a belief in the united kingdom is somehow linked to notions of elitism, division and racism.

Or even worse that this is associated with unique British Society.

That is a very negative and untrue picture to paint. We are a multi-cultural union, proud of our common wealth heritage and seeking to be open and honest about other cultures, faiths and traditions.

Gallagher's writing is to subvert that vision of unionism and hijack it as some banal form of cultural imperialism best consigned to the dustbin of history.

He is doing no favours to those of us that seek a liberal unionism, which I believe is the tenet of this blog.

Farook Imlach said...

I agree with Sally's sentiments.

Aligning with writers like Gallagher does unionism no good whatsoever.

We must not allow the separatists to paint unionism as a mono-cultural drone reacting against the varied and contributory cultures that make up the united kingdom.

This will not keep British together, it will only divide us.

Alec said...

I'm sorry Sally, but "far right" can only be expected to conjur up images of fascism and the BNP.

If, as you say, Gallagher is right-of-centre and reactionary, the thought does arise, why is the centre-ground and progressive/inclusive part of the body politic not doing something?

Well, I am.

>> They are a government funded charity, by implicating the SNP, you are also implicating the Scottish civil service who audit them and indeed the charity commission who register them.

Yes.

>> Is it me, or do your claims just not stack up?

I have given you my argument. Try engaging with it.

>> Lastly, with regards to 'the centre-ground', it's exactly this type of attack that is damaging unionist sentiment amongst the broader church of political parties in Scotland.

Talk about blaming the victim! Unionism, which I did not use, is not a coherent ideology - it's represented by a disparate group of political parties.

The case for Independence, though, is the domain of the SNP; and *they* have turned the debate into an ethno-nationist debarcle.

>> It leaves wide open SNP accusations that unionism or a belief in the united kingdom is somehow linked to notions of elitism, division and racism.

Just back from Jupiter? How has it been the past few years?

At least try to create the impression you're acquainted with the case.

FARESH HADDAD >> Why shouldn't a political party cater for specific communities?

Erm, because it's communalist; as seen with the fun and games in Norn Ireland, which you go onto castigate Chekov for (apparently thinking he, an individual, is responsible for his co-religionists).

A community should be seen only in terms of a geographical location - either an urban street, or rural hamlet. One should not choose which "community" to identify with and allow it to supercede other factors.

>> That seems to suggest that you do not recognise the Muslim community as having different needs to say the Protestant Northern Irish community.

Define "Muslim community". It does not exist. If you're saying that Norn Ireland is a case-book example for promoting inter-communal relations, oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Oh. Dear.

Chekov said...

I will reserve judgment until I've read Gallagher's book, but nothing I have read thus far makes me think he wants a mono-culture. There is a not so subtle difference between celebrating diversity and communicating with people primarily through their membership of a perceived group.

Sally said...

Alec

You seem incapable of debate, you have postulated a position but haven't provided any concrete evidence whatsoever of it's main thrust.

It's your views, you should back them up with evidence not slur and smear.

There is really no need to start abusing other posters who disagree with you and your views, your simply proving what I'm saying.

There is an 'awkward squad' who may well believe in the united kingdom but whose political ideology is actually quite extreme and rather off putting.

I can see that your brand of right wing conservatism is at odds with my more liberal view. Unfortunately it's your hardline approach that will lead to division.

PS Please refrain from indulging in ad hominem attacks, it's not big and it's not clever.

Coup d'état said...

"A community should be seen only in terms of a geographical location"

Isn't it a bit fascist to define what a 'community' is?


"Muslim community.. It does not exist"

Isn't it a bit fascist to tell other people whether their notions of 'community' exist?


"communalist"

Christ, you even manages to mix up unionism, conservatism, nationalism and communism......



Which century is Alec from?


I'm an occasional reader of this blog, conservative voter and a liberal unionist and you don't speak for me.

Chekov said...

I'm an occasional reader of this blog, conservative voter and a liberal unionist and you don't speak for me.

Does Dominic Grieve, Shadow Justice Secretary speak for you? He articulates rather a similar argument on group rights here.

Alec said...

COUP D'ETAT >> Isn't it a bit fascist to define what a 'community' is?

Only if one views populations in terms of communities or plural mono-cultures, and defines who does or does not belong to these (with or without the individuals' consent).

Which I ain't doing. Because I try not to see the world in fascistic terms in which the individual serves the state (or sub-state organizations). I prefer to think of the state serving the individual.

>> Isn't it a bit fascist to tell other people whether their notions of 'community' exist?

Nope again. I invite you to return to my original missive and consider my assertion that Muslims in Scotland are *not* one homogeneous mass, but a collection of differing ethnicities and religious confessionals.

Most importantly, the Muslim Brotherhood led narrative being promoted by the Saeed Clan is *not* representative of Scottish Muslims.

Furthermore, being a Muslim is elective or based on what religion one's parents were, and a great many "Muslims" do not wish for self-appointed gatekeepers to define what they are. Muslims, and other faiths, have freedom of assembly and are not molested - they merit no more.

>> Christ, you even manages to mix up unionism, conservatism, nationalism and communism...... Which century is Alec from?

I said "communalism", not "communism". You know, Norn Ireland continues to have problems with "communalism". The current set-up with the SIF would be like a Stormont Assembly controlled by Ian Paisley handing out state grants to the hardcore Orange Order, which then invites various Red Hand Loonies to speak on junkets.

I follow these politics quite closely. I don't expect others to know about them in the same detail, but I do expect those claiming to have knowledge of them (e.g. you and Sally) to demonstrate a knowledge of them.

Who knows? Maybe in discussions about the BNP, you would call it "a bit fascist" to demand that Nick Griffin not have the right to define his identity.

Anything is possible.

Alec said...

SALLY >> You seem incapable of debate, you have postulated a position but haven't provided any concrete evidence whatsoever of it's main thrust.

I know what you are, but what am I?

>> It's your views, you should back them up with evidence not slur and smear.

I know blogging can often be mistaken for a post modern game in which words mean whatever the poster wants them to mean, and which everything which is said is equally 'real', but put some effort into it!

>> There is really no need to start abusing other posters who disagree with you and your views, your simply proving what I'm saying.

Spare us the passive aggression. I have called your statements nicompoopery and bogus; I have not made comments against your person. Well, not unless you think the only reason one could disagree with you is because one is engaged in personal attack.

But, that would be your problem.

>> I can see that your brand of right wing conservatism is at odds with my more liberal view.

Yeah, right. I'm sorry to break it to you, but 1968 is dead and buried. Shouting "right-wing" across the room does *not* work. Please do tell me which of my statements point to a right-wing mentality - or is this ju-ju debate in which you get to call yourself "liberal", which all the sugar and spice and all things nice which goes into it, and label the nasty man as "right-wing" which all the slugs and snails and puppy dog tails which go into that?

Now, I am going to ask this out of hope rather than expectation, are you able to tell the difference between the poorly-defined concept of "Unionism" and the tangible examples of sectarianism and communal-based politiking which is being encouraged by the SNP?

Other than complaining about the people who are doing something, d'you have anything constructive to offer?

Alec said...

more on Osama Saeed and Islamism in Scotland.