MUSLIMS IN SRI LANKA AND THE CHALLENGES OF VIOLENT EXTREMISM
REFLECTIONS ON THE FIGHT FOR RACIAL EQUALITY AND JUSTICE IN THE COVID-19 ERA.
AND THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
States and movements use information as
part of a wider strategy to fully engage in conflict… an idea that has formed part of the analysis of the way liberal democracies successfully used propaganda as a tool to achieve both military and foreign policy aims.
THE HIDDEN TRUTHS OF THE KURDISH “DEMOCRATIC EXPERIMENT” IN NORTH EASTERN SYRIA.
The deluge of quasi- unanimous Western outrage at both Trump’s “betrayal of the Kurdish allies” and at Erdogan’s offensive, and the slew of outlandish accusations against him largely masked how remarkable, and largely successful the U.S.- Turkish-Russian diplomatic ballet has been.
the bravado of his twitter warnings against Erdogan, actually quickly lifted the sanctions against Turkey before rolling out the red carpet during Erdogan’s visit to the White House
REFLECTIONS ON THE GLOBAL MILITARY FIXATION AND SAUDI-UAE IMPOSITION OF THE “DEAL” ON THE PALESTINIANS.
As a boy in an English boarding school (‘public’ though very feepaying) many years ago I had no idea that I was absorbing a very special form of education. I was being formed into the
British military mindset. Many years later it became quite clear to me that such was the acculturation we were getting, not only in history classes but in the whole culture and formation process of the school.
Not that I minded in the slightest. It was all normal and attractive to me in my teens. The school culture was both religious and military. Large portraits of Old Boys who had won military honours hung in our dining room. Saints were pictured in our chapel. Our school cadet corps was not, I don’t think, compulsory, but it did not need to be.
On the 21st of April 2019, Easter Sunday, multiple explosions rocked the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, leaving over 200 dead and hundreds wounded.
For the Muslim community in particular, the events of 21/4 mark a watershed moment for Muslim identity and representation in Sri Lanka. Almost overnight, being a Muslim has become an accusation as well as a religious affiliation.
However, this difference is somewhat ambiguous and poorly understood, and thus poses many challenges to the development of identity and representation of the Muslim community by themselves and others. The first challenge is that as a result of this historical understanding , most Muslims in Sri Lanka classif y themselves as the descendants of Arabs or ‘Moors,’35 despite its postcolonial derogatory overtones.36 Due to the fact Arab migrants were Muslims, the concepts of faith and ethnicity became fused over time, so a racial link became a religious link, thereby ascribing a racial homogeneity to a community perceived as such: the “Sri Lankan Muslim.”
DRAWING ON BEST PRACTICES FROM ACROSS EUROPE
Globally, there is an alarming proliferation and intensification of Islamophobia and it increasingly permeates a range of spheres. Islamophobia affects (but is not restricted to) policy and legal measures, media and also verbal and physical violence against Muslims, perceived Muslims, and Islamic spaces.
Islamophobic narratives frame Muslims and Islam as the “other”, they are seen to be carriers of violent threat, demographic threat, a cultural and moral threat, an economic threat, a threat to sexual freedoms and gender equality, and a threat to national peace and security.A5_TCF_INSIGHTS_i5_FINAL
THE HUMAN CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR
The conflict in Yemen started in March 2015, in the Middle East’s poorest country. After four years of ground operations and aerial bombing, what is the status of the war now? Have the aims of any of the belligerents been achieved? Given the heavy toll on civilians, has the loss of life been justified?
The overall death toll from fighting, famine, and shortages of health care caused by the war is hard to verify, even more so the proportion of civilian and child deaths. Certainly it seems the case that between 2015 and 2019, more than 15,000 people have died directly from the conflict,1 perhaps over half were civilians. According to UN agencies,. Save the Children reports that 85,000 children have died as a result of the war, mostly from malnutrition and the resultant wave of deaths from sickness. Up to another 4 million children are suffering from malnutrition according to UN reports.2 There have been more than 2 million cases of cholera3 and more than 5000 related deaths.4 Yemen today has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world.5
*The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China is home to some 12 million indigenous Turkic speaking Muslims, primarily Uyghurs but also smaller numbers of Kazakhs and others. It is now one of the most heavily policed areas in the world. Inhabitants are controlled and monitored to an extraordinary degree and detained in extraordinary numbers. These extreme policies are justified by the claim that China is fighting Islamic radicalisation and extremism.