Monthly Archives: October 2009
On July 4th, 2003, the ally American squads arrive at the unofficial, semi-confidential headquarters of eleven members of the special Turkish forces deployed in Northern Iraq. The Turkish squad assumes it to be a usual visit of their allies. But this time, it is different. With the changing conjuncture, the USA aims to be the only power “to have the last word” in the region. To them, no Turks are needed in the region. That day, eleven soldiers are deported with sacks on their heads and with their military pride disregarded before the eyes of the public. Suleyman Suleyman “>Aslan is one of those eleven people. Unable to stomach being scorned, First Lieutenant Suleyman commits suicide, leaving a letter behind. The letter is written to Polat Polat “>Alemdar, a privately and well trained Turkish intelligencer. He took part in countless operations both within the country and abroad for an intelligence agency working for the state. Always living for the sake of duty, Polat Alemdar cannot be indifferent to the will of his friend who committed suicide for the pride of his duty. He is now in Northern Iraq with his men, even to die if necessary.
Review: Kurtlar Vadesi Irak (Valley of the Wolves Iraq) was released in 2006 though I only came across it recently, I had read the article on Wiki and wanted to see for myself what the fuss is about. The portrayal of atrocities in Abu Ghraib prison, the massacre and deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis in public places, weddings, bazaars, towns all brought back memories of the grim reality in Iraq. Scene after scene, some factual, others semi-factual were all given a sensible and somewhat accurate context, something Hollywood could never do.
The ratings for this movie came from the controversy it raised away from the weak plot and some over exaggerated action, explosions after explosions and people being killed everywhere. I guess thats expected from a war movie although the movie gives its viewers a short break and much needed time to reflect during the dramatised zikr session. Apparently some people found it quiet disturbing, anti Semite, racist and even anti Christian but like all other movies with a political theme, you can’t please everyone.
The movie centres around the ‘hood event’ penetrating deep into political reality in Iraq. Injustices and atrocities against people make ‘extermists’ out of ordinary people, the cold blooded murder of a child by US soldier makes his father (Abu Ali) a suicide bomber who pulls the trigger in the bazaar with the intention of killing Sam Marshall. Another victim Layla, is influenced by the Sufi teachings of the Shaykh who talks her out of becoming a suicide bomber. She unsuccessfully tries to stop Abu Ali but later tries to kill Sam Marshall by a stab in the heart with gifted dagger from her murdered husband. The movie explains, not all Muslims are terrorists, although the movie’s definition of terrorist is someone who blows themselves up out of despair and hopelessness however fighting and killing with guns and daggers is fine. Everyone else cruises in Mercs and Bmw’s, but the shaykh rides a horse to a beheading scene and stops the potential beheading of a journalist, again emphasising the point that not all Muslims are extremist terrorists.
Americans are the bad guys (for once), Turkmen are the victim, Kurds are sell outs (except Abdulhey of course), Sufis are good and basically the underlining message: You don’t mess with the Turks. Nonetheless a brilliant war movie with a different perspective. Now some time to reflect:
Earlier this week, Rageh Omar presented a documentary investigating the much debated and almost provocative topic of the link between intelligence/IQ and race on C4.
A few years ago the debate was re-ignited when an American professor in genetics resurrected the not quite so buried topic of intelligence across different races; with the view that the black race was intellectually inferior as IQ was biologically determined – they would never be as intelligent or as successful as their Eastern Asian counterparts nor be on par with the Whites.
What was intriguing to see was the isolation of race as a determining factor of intelligence, there was little focus on the contents of these tests although what was apparent was the type of intelligence being measured. IQ tests were introduced in the US to create an apartheid system of keeping the feeble minded out of various schools and educational establishments and eventually the eugenics reared its ugly head and along came forced sterlisation of peoples who were considered below average in IQ – the “morons”, “idiots” and “imbeciles”.
Fast forward to recent times and the system of IQ testing is still popular in extracting the brightest individuals in schools, certainworking sectors (such as finance) and as a general marker of intelligence for those who want to know. Much was made of brain sizes (where blacks have smaller brains and so are inferior to whites in general intelligence, but women who also have smaller brains than men were as intelligent as men….scientifically this a legless piece of “evidence” to stand on) colour of your skin (without taking into account of the various subgroups within the White populaton, or Blacks or East Asians – as if all from Africa were collectively categorised as Blacks and all those from Europe as Whites, recognising the variety of subgroups within particular ethnic groups didn’t seem to matter much – so these terms were used extremely loosely as inaccurate as they are) or even factors such as educational attainment, cultural differences, exposure to puzzles, riddles, the different types of intelligence (including wisdom, spoken language, non-verbal) and other talents including music and sports.
There was an intriguing point made by a social anthropologist (who himself was black) that black children see being intelligent as a “white” thing – to be intelligent you have to talk a certain way, be a certain way and have a certain lifestyle: reading books is definitely a “white” thing. I found this point to be quite poignant and reflected on the number of Asian children who are considered smart and intelligent, they often have different styles of speaking (mostly refined with less of the slang laced in it) and may just present as being “posh” or at best “nerdy”.
Later on finally social and economic factors were discussed, which I had long suspected played a factor in so called success in life and perhaps even the intelligence which these dear old white men were arguing about. Coming from impoverished backgrounds would have an effect on the level of exposure to cultural quirks such as arts, theatre and literature alongside the availability of opportunities to hone and nurture talent by way of investing time, money and the flexibility in which teaching should occur. One example was of a school in the Bronx which had a good level of its students going into prestigious universities. They had small classroom sizes, maximum of 10-15 students per class, interactive learning instead of staring at the board with a glazed look and a sense of belonging to a school by leaving their mark on it via an art murial.
One issue which wasn’t completely addressed was the type of education, particularly educational methods and models employed by various countries across the world – and whether these methods or styles had a greater effect on intelligence than race, background or the size of your brain. Eastern Asians were exemplified as the great leaders when it came to intelligence tests, with many scoring high above the average amongst the “Whites” and significantly higher than the “Blacks” – but little was discussed or investigated about the model upon which their education system focuses on. They simply attributed the hard work down to their moral teachings by Confucius & Confucianism, which may have provided an explanation for those East Asian children born and bred outside of the countries of their (and their parent’s) origin. I was glad to see they recognised the effort parents of these children put into emphasisng the value and worth of education in future success (not very different to how for parents whom education was a luxury rather than, a right ensure their children utilise all educational opportunities and emphasise its importance).
I felt the system of intelligence and IQ testing should have been investigated further, but perhaps this may have moved away from the focus of race despite being an important issue to address. Much is made about these tests and often took to be “the” way things are – just once we should think outside of the box and ask ourselves “just what do we achieve by measuring intelligence? Who gains from them, and most importantly why is there potential to abuse using it?”
Above all the nail in the race and intelligence coffin was hammered when Rageh enquiried why race was taken to be the contributory factor in differences of intelligence when there were other plausible reasons. The professor answered “because we live in a racist society” – and how spot on he was.
Sunday 31st October will see a series of marches and possibly counter protest marches taking place in Central London’s key locations: House of Commons, 10 Downing Street, and Trafalgar square. March for Shariah is what the uproar and furore is about, caused by Anjem Choudury’s Islam4uk group and Al-Muhajiroun formerly known as al-Ghurabaa, famous for protesting against British troops in Luton and their exiled controversial guide Omar Bakri.
In the minds of many the event is organised in retaliation to the recent EDL’s anti-Islam marches, though there is no hint of that in any of the advertisement by the organisers who claim the march is against the rather declining political, social and economic situation in the country. They have a vision like all other ideologues but with a difference. They believe Shariah to be a system superior to the current liberal democracy and wish to demonstrate and share with the British public their vision of a ‘better’ Britain.
Recent months have been particularly debilitating for the British population who have struggled to get by as basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter have become more cumbersome to obtain. The MPs’ expenses scandal that shocked the nation unfortunately also demonstrates the cruel indifference the British government has towards its citizens and moreover how they appear to be more concerned with wasting public money on personal frivolities than investing it for the betterment of society.
As a result of this perpetual malaise, Islam4UK with the help of sincere Muslims launched a series of Islamic Roadshow’s that provided a real answer to the problems faced by the British community; with over 16 different locations already hit including……
Islam4UK will also publish, as a run up to this special event, a fascinating insight into how Britain’s architecture, transport and culture will be revolutionised under the Shari’ah.
Any such provocative political event with a religious twist will agitate the secular people of a secular liberal society as the very basis of their value system is being challenged and perhaps ridiculed. Naturally there will be opposition from the far right and supporters of liberalism and secular democracy including some Muslims. The hype from EDL’s recent anti-Islam marches has not completely died down so it seems Anjem’s timing is great to further fuel anti-Islam sentiments and anger far-right groups. No doubt, such an event will generate the kind of reaction Anjem and his group intend on creating: to really push the limits and test the heights they can reach before a ban is splashed out or other Muslims become victim of the backlash.
By a basic definition Shari’ah are laws of Islam to do with everyday life which Muslims must adhere to. Laws concerning ritual acts, contracts, rights, interactions, eating and drinking and so on. One aspect of the Shari’ah is the penal code or the punishment system which is often paraded around the media out of context creating a barbaric and backward image in minds of the people. Although, when explained properly most victim of heinous crimes in Britain would welcome Shari’ah punishments with open arms.
However, there should be no confusion between what most Muslims want when they call for Shari’ah and what Anjem and his group are marching for. Most Muslims would like their Islamic marriages, Wills, right to wear hijab, Mosques, Charities to be recognised and not for the killing of homosexuals.
As Muslims we believe in the Shari’ah but the discussion here is not the Shariah as it has wrongly become so, rather the implementation of it. There is a disagreement between different Muslim groups and scholars about the implementation of Shari’ah in the Muslim world, its method, implementation and how the society would be shaped. How can this debate possibly extend to the non-muslim Western world where the majority of people are unaccepting of Islam and hostile towards its laws? What we have here is hot air, media hype, publicity stunts, and a provocation for whats to come and if not that then just wishful thinking.
British society should have nothing to fear, at least not from Islam and Muslims who have lived in Britain for decades and have contributed positively to society in many ways. The only people we all need to fear, reject and fight against are people destroying community cohesion, spreading hate, racism, fascism, drugs, anti social behaviour, binge drinking, in particular knife and gun crimes. Let’s all worry about real problems and work together to make our streets safer.