Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sixth Annual Islamophobia Conference Schedule: The State of the Islamophobia Studies Field

The End of the Arab Spring, the Rise of ISIS and the Future of Political Islam by The End of the Arab Spring, the Rise of ISIS and the Future of Political Islam by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl

Why was the Arab Spring aborted? Because a democratic Middle East would have been a poor habitat for the survival of the parasitical military regimes and putrid oil sheikhdoms, which relentlessly eradicate any healthy space for the development of civic institutions that can cultivate and nurture the growth of civic values. Those regimes cannot afford to rule over citizens. They can only rule over slaves. [...]
Islam, its doctrines, symbolisms and linguistic constructs, are persistently utilized by the Gulf States to legitimate and maintain themselves in power. The exploitation of religion as a means to keeping a conservative and exploitative elite in power is a staple of everyday life in the Gulf countries. Every one of those countries carefully nurtures and maintains a class of clergymen with religious institutions that function as a conservative legitimating force safeguarding the status quo, which includes the exploitative use of foreign workers, and a hyper-form of Gulf nationalistic elitism. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The State Department, U.A.E. & CVE...

Among America’s illustrious allies in its global counterterrorism effort is the United Arab Emirates, which with the United Kingdom co-chairs the CVE working group at the Global Counterterrorism Forum, launched in New York in 2011. Abu Dhabi also plays host to Hedayah, the International Center for Excellence in Countering Violent Extremism, which is listed as one of DHS’s crucial CVE partners.
Never mind that the Emirates’ version of CVE appears to include such dubious actions as deporting resident Shiites en masse and hiring Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater (rebranded as Academi), to form secret mercenary armies. It’s no doubt fitting that the UAE, an eager client of the U.S. defense industry, has been propelled to the vanguard of counter-jihad.
A State Department fact sheet boasting $188 million worth of “ongoing and planned CVE efforts” emphasizes support for Hedayah as well as other initiatives such as those that “seek to create safe spaces for dialogue between women community leaders and law enforcement” and that “amplify … the voices of victims/survivors of terrorism.” Drone-strike survivors need not apply.
This brings us to the question: how does one counter violent extremism when so much of what one does qualifies as extreme violence? Furthermore, don’t one’s own violent acts — drone assassinations, bombing civilians, torturing people and supporting oppressive governments — help breed the very violence that must then be countered? Owning up to this arrangement would, of course, mean ceasing to have our cake and eat it too.
In an op-ed for Al Jazeera America on the February summit in Washington, Amnesty International USA director Steven W. Hawkins warned that abusive regimes could take advantage of CVE-mania and use international funding to violate human rights if the U.S. failed to insist on appropriate safeguards.

Epigraph to The Radical King

As I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart....many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the sources of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., remarks delivered at Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967

epigraph to The Radical King: Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited and introduced by Dr. Cornel West. 

Dave Zirin in The Nation: Cornel West Is Not Mike Tyson

In response to Michael Eric Dyson's "The Ghost of Cornel West" (April 19, 2015).

via Zaid Khan