By Tim Marshall.
You often hear the refrain ‘Why aren’t the Muslims doing more to condemn the Islamists?
This is partially because there is a degree of equivocation and ‘what aboutery’ from the usual suspects who describe themselves as spokesmen for the Muslim community, but it’s also because of a degree of ignorance about what goes on within the various Islamic communities in both Europe and the Middle East.
A Buzzfeed user has put together a list of videos which are aimed at countering the ISIS type narrative being pumped at young Muslims, much of which the usual suspects do little to kick back against. The videos are mostly put together by young Muslims who can see straight through the narrative lies.
For example, here two Brits use humour to deconstruct the wafer thin propaganda of jihad in which there is a nod to the famous Monty Python ‘What have the Romans ever done for us’ sketch – “Stupid liberal west giving us rights and prayer rooms and an education – well out of order”.
Some Muslims I know feel the same way about the ‘beardy weirdies,’ as one Muslim friend describes them, the way non-Muslims used to feel about the beardy student activists of the 1970’s and 80’s who, when everyone else was getting dolled up to go out of a Friday night, would be hanging around street corners wearing proletariat donkey jackets and shouting ‘Socialist Worker!’ whilst thrusting badly written pamphlets in your face. They were invariably from well off families and going through a temporary guilt trip concerning their good fortune in life. They were amusing from a distance but you wouldn’t want to be too bored by being stuck in a lift with them.
Of course ISIS et al are somewhat more threatening than the true believers in the dictatorship of the proletariat, but in some ways that makes them even more open to being figures of fun.
Among the dangerous themes in the jihadi narrative is that it is ‘cool’ to be a jihadi. You get to wear romantic kit and wave guns around whilst feeling righteous. One example is from one of their murder videos where a young man poses with his gun turned to one side – ala ‘Straight outa Compton’. Sort of ‘Jihadi Gansgsta chic’.
Perhaps because of this ‘chic’ and the fact that Islamophobia does exist, some western apologists utterly fail to see that the jihadi movement, and other Islamist movements are riddled with fascistic imagery and behaviour. Few ‘We’re all Hezbollah’ now types probably know that the shock troops of the Hezbollah march in goose step Nazi style and give the fascist salute.
Anyone white behaving in a similar fashion is seen for what they are, but self-hating westerners cannot see past the end of their usually white noses.
Happily those putting together the counter ISIS narrative videos are not fooled by the cool of the ‘Brothers against the West’ message.
Some videos in the Buzzfeed list are satire, and go very close to the edge of ‘taste’. However, I suspect that the one ridiculing Jihadi John might have more impact on a young audience than ten David Cameron statements condemning Isis murders.
The efforts by the Government to counter radicalism are required, but the grass roots stuff going inside Islam is equally important. Humza, who has a Twitter following of 75,000, takes his message right into schools across the UK.
Not all of the videos are satire, there are some heartfelt, and heart wrenching appeals to family love, and equally to humanity. They counter not only the false narrative of ISIS, but also partially answer the question ‘What are the Muslims doing to stop radicalism?”