Thursday, 7 August 2014

We must not be reluctant to condemn ISIS

Yazidi refugees sheltering in the Iraqi Mountains

 Hello everybody. This is my first blog post in months-I've had persistent computer issues so I haven't been able to post, but I'm back now!

I want to share an opinion on the ongoing situation in Iraq. As I write, innocent civilians are being killed at the hands of the terror group known as ISIS.

Last week, I attended a Pro-Palestine protest in Manchester. Me and a few hundred other protesters stood next to a statue of Queen Elizabeth in the City Centre, waving flags and chanting "Free Palestine!". At the time it seemed like a righteous cause. Fellow Muslims were being killed in the Palestinian Territories and we were, for a while, the custodians of justice, speaking up for those who have no voice.

Fast forward a week later, and ISIS is doing the same thing, if not worse, to Iraqi's. Iraqi people have suffered greatly over the years-500,000 were killed in the aftermath of the Iraq war- so you would assume that there would be anti-ISIS rallies all over Manchester and indeed the world, in response to the brutal killing of thousands of men, women, and children, Muslim, Christian, and Yazidi, as well as Kurds.

But, as I write this, I have yet to see a single anti-ISIS rally. I have yet to see a single Muslim or non-Muslim politician here speak out strongly against the brutal ISIS assault. Instead, everybody seems to be readily criticising Israel whilst forgetting that crimes of a much greater gravity are being commited in Iraq.

This is unnaceptable and completely wrong. Surely, simply because it is fellow Muslims killing other Muslims rather than "The Jews" killing Muslims, the suffering endured by the Iraqi's should not be trivialised in comparison to the mass outcry over the deaths of Palestinians?

Considering this, it is understandable that our opponents have accused us of Anti-Semitism. In sheer numbers, ISIS is already reported to have killed tens of thousands of people in the last few weeks, commited genocide against Shia Muslims and Christians, and today besieged Yazidi villages, raped Yazidi women, and summarily executed men. In the last month, the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip has led to the deaths of slightly under 2000 Palestinians. Whilst every single death in Palestine is completely deplorable, surely those who condemn the Israeli action (As I do) must condemn in equally strong terms the brutal massacres of innocent children in Iraq at the hands of ISIS?

The Left in particular seems to be guilty of hypocricy in this way, although it is not exclusive: Politicians such as Saeeda Warsi, resigning because she reportedly saw the conflict in Gaza as "Morally reprehensible", having kept silent over the conflict in Syria, are part of the problem rather than solution. The fact, however, remains that the majority of those criticising Israel but refusing to speak out against Syrian and ISIS war crimes are those on the Left.

Surely, to retain any credibility, Muslim politicians and politicians on the Left must condemn the killing of Iraqi civilians just as strongly as Palestinians?

I completely understand why the Gaza conflict arouses passions as no other conflict does: as a Muslim the conflict is close to my heart too, but surely, the same holds true for Iraqi Muslims?

Slightly over 25 years ago, Saddam Hussein's Al-Anfal campaign concluded, having massacred nearly 200,000 Kurdish and Yazidi men, women, and children. Politicians of the Left were weak and unwilling to condemn the brutal genocide at that time, whilst those of the Right simply used the situation to play politics.  Let's not repeat the same mistake with ISIS.