Monday, 9 January 2017

BBC's 'Real Housewives of Isis': Sanction, Invasion, Satirisation

Sanction, Invasion, Satirisation

Suicide bombings, beheadings, rape and terrorism are jokes when it’s in Muslim countries apparently 

[This is an exclusive piece written for the Malcolm X Movement, by brother Ali Muratović]

‘The Real Wives of ISIS’ makes ‘Muslims Like Us’ seem like a pro-Islam propaganda piece. It’s that bad. When I logged onto Facebook on Wednesday a friend had posted a link to, and a succinct analysis of, a sketch from the BBC’s appropriately named ‘Revolting’ to be broadcast this coming Tuesday, 10th January at10pm:

My friend’s post read: ‘From the same company who knew they were employing kiddy fiddlers and did nothing about it. All fun and games until you’re reporting about the horrors of it and how they are brain washing British people. Wouldn't see this about the holocaust would you?! Leave it bbc.’

And that’s the point. An institution prepared to cover for paedophilia and the rape of children is not going to have any problem demonising Muslims. The video has already been seen by 15 million internet users.

It should be no surprise that the British regime propaganda network, after more than 20 years of intensive anti-Islam propaganda needed to back up the Global War on/of Terror, produces a sketch deliberately mocking, demonising and minimising the suffering of Muslims in Iraq and Syria and more specifically the British Muslim families who have had their young daughters migrate there often without their knowledge.

A now global conflict which has torn regions, countries, tribes, communities, families and even individuals apart, is certainly NOT a joke. If the British find it funny to laugh at their own largely poor/working class WWII dead in Dad’s Army and similar comedy that’s one thing. It’s not any of their business to be laughing at other people. I’m sure if we found it funny we have more than enough Iraqi, Syrian and Muslim channels to do it ourselves. Perhaps, unlike the British, we Muslims take our civilization seriously.

The’ scary’ scarf

Central to the sketch is of course the presence of the headscarf, mentioned in the Qu’ran (24:30-31 and 33:58-59) and regarded wajib (compulsory) by almost every Muslim faqih (jurist). It’s worth mentioning here that women are not required to wear it in the home though to be fair that’s not easy to communicate in sketch format.

How often are visibly Muslim women given their own space on television in the UK? Aside from the impressive Nadiya Hussain, rarely if it isn’t a report or discussion about war, terrorism or ‘extremism’ (to be fair despite the deliberate instigation of intra-Muslim conflict this is something that Muslims Like Us did pretty well on).

On one occasion when a Hijabi was promoted to a position of serious prominence, Fatima Manji, a reporter and newsreader at Channel 4, received a vicious Islamophobic attack from The Sun’s Kelvin MacKenzie who questioned whether the sister should be reporting on news stories relating to terrorism. Why exactly would the sister have been singled out by MacKenzie? It was crystal clear in the headline ‘Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?’

A lady wearing a headscarf should stay in her lane according Britain’s best-selling newspaper, which is not all that different to the ideology propagated by ISIS.

In this context of rising Islamophobia, particularly directed towards sisters who publicly carry the flag of Islam on their heads and have borne the brunt of attacks for example herehere and here, within the past year, we should be looking to promote a true and naturally positive image of Muslim sisters.

What ‘The Real Wives of ISIS’ does instead is to reinforce the sort of propaganda that leads to these attacks in the first place and places the scarf in the strict and exclusive context of death squad terrorism.

Not only this, but the depth of the propaganda here extends to lies including that; Muslim women are happy with a lack of autonomy, would joke about literally being chained to a kitchen sink, hashtagging Jihadi Jane (I guess using her real name of Colleen LaRose would be inconvenient), mocking grooming (I doubt the white English grooming victims of Rotherham, Jimmy Saville, and elsewhere in the British establishment will be taunted as complicit very soon) and that the worst thing women in ISIS held areas have to deal with are ‘matching suicide vests’.

The serious issues of disappearance of women from public life, forced marriage, elimination of bodily autonomy in general and slavery are minimised when the Arab, the South Asian and the Muslim is the victim.

Iraq and Syria as Untermensch non-countries

Another case of outright racism, Islamophobia and double-standards is inherent in the context of Iraq and Syria as the setting. You won’t see the British mocking the 7/7 transport bombings or the beheading of Lee Rigby in their green and pleasant land. Where Iraq and Syria is involved, well of course, after decades of sanctions, demonisation, bombings and invasions, it’s fair game.

There are things that COULD be satirised about ISIS, if that’s your thing. I don’t think most people would have an issue with Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and his death squad operatives being mocked for the tyrants they are. Nor the criminal actions of Bush, Blair, Cameron, Clinton and Kerry that enabled the rise of ISIS in the first place ie. British/American/NATO sanctions, invasions and regime change operations in Iraq and Syria. Not to mention the deliberate pouring of billions of pounds worth of weapons and arms into both countries to stimulate war, division, sectarianism and general destruction and ruin. That SHOULD be mocked and called-out at every opportunity.

The Real Sisters of the Ummah

Let alone might we see the BBC provide empowering examples of pro-women pro-liberation Islam of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which they dutifully helped destroy (shown in this excellent and moving documentary film), or the leadership of women in Iran personified by Vice-President Masoumeh Ebtekar, or the innumerable women of leadership and knowledge in Indonesia and Malaysia. Still yet the history of Zainab al Ghazali (1917-2005), member of the Egyptian Feminist’s Union and founder of Jama'at al-Sayyidat al-Muslimat (Muslim Women's Association) who lectured to thousands during the months of Ramadhan. Some of her writing is documented in Ayyām min ḥayātī (‘Days from my life) about her time in prison.

Instead we can be sure in the coming months and years that ‘The Real Wives of ISIS’ is just one more piece in the puzzle that depicts the hijab for the MacKenzie’s of this world as ISIS-like. That it makes us worried for our mothers, wives and sisters who will be viewed as terrorists like the actresses in the sketch.

Do the BBC expect the dark jokes about a deadly group ruining and taking the lives of human beings of every colour and creed in their thousands, with weapons from the West, to be found amusing by the families who have lost their dear loved ones?

And finally, a prediction: The British dedication to their ‘rich history of satire’ is unlikely to be in operation when the chickens come home for a long overdue roosting.

Ali Muratović

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Black Panther Research Project launched!

Facebook event page

The Malcolm X Movement, in partnership with Brixton Library and the Black Panther Alumni ( ) and supported by Black HistoryStudies proudly present:

A free and exclusive opportunity to learn from veteran leading Black Panthers themselves (speaking via live video link) in a 5-part series of events! Participating in this full course will give you an in-depth understanding as to the many different aspects of the Black Panthers, a process of learning led by the actual local and national leaders of the Black Panther Party.

Please contact (places are limited, first come first serve)

1. Fri Jan 13, 615pm - Roots of the Black Panthers - Billy Jennings

2. Fri Jan 27, 615pm - Black Panthers & Serve the People programs - Billy X Jennings

3. Fri Feb 10, 615pm - Black Panthers & Culture - Emory Douglas

4. Fri Feb 24, 615pm - Black Panthers & Global Solidarity - Aaron Dixon

5. Fri March 10, 615pm - Women' Liberation & Black Panthers - Charlotte O'Neal

Venue: Brixton Library, Windrush Square, Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1JQ

Free warm food and drink will be provided
£5 entry fee per research session

Twitter: @mxmovement | Facebook: /malcolmxmovement | | Instagram: malcolm_x_movement

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Leading Black radical advocate Prof Gus John gives a MXM talk on Brexit

Leading Black radical advocate Prof Gus John gives a MXM talk on Brexit 

The Malcolm X Movement are delighted to announce that we will be having a public event whereby this country's leading Black radical advocate against racism in general and in the police and education system - Prof Gus John - will be delivering an important talk on Brexit. Brexit is the concentration of all our growing colonial oppressions in this historical moment and needs serious analysis and grassroots organising to oppose it. Prof Gus John gives a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, analysis and experience that can well equip us for these challenges.

Facebook event page

6pm Thurs 17th November
Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
Kings Cross, N1 9DY
Suggested entry - £5

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Launching new historic DVD and book on Libyan Popular Anti-Imperialist Resistance

Launching new historic DVD and book on Libyan Popular Anti-Imperialist Resistance

The Malcolm X Movement proudly hosts the premier of a hard-hitting, informative and inspiring look at African and Libyan popular anti-imperialist resistance entitled Nato War on Libya (53mins). We are also hosting at the same event a book launch of a collection of writings about the martyrdom of Muammar Gaddafi entitled On the Martyrdom of Muammar Gaddafi: 21st Century Fascism and Resistance. One of our MXM coordinators - Sukant Chandan is the editor of the book and the filmmaker of the doc.

The event takes place this Sat 29th Oct at 6pm at Marx Memorial Library,  EC1R 0DU (£5 suggested entry). The Libyan community are kindly and generously providing free Libyan snacks and refreshments at this event.

Please find the Facebook event page HERE.

In solidarity
MXM Coordinators Team

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

200 Black Power Youth in Ldn Celebrate Tupac 20 Years On

London’s Black Youth Unite With Tupac Shakur’s Black Panther Family!

Nearly 200 overwhelmingly African and Asian working class youth, including two parties of people flying in especially for the event from mainland Europe, packed into the room in East London at RichMix for the Tupac 20 Years On event organised by the Malcolm X Movement, I am Hip-Hop and Intifada Street. The idea was initiated by Malcolm X Movement with I am Hip-Hop and Intifada Street becoming enthusiastic partners.

The event was historic. 20 years on from the martyrdom of Tupac Amaru Shakur the only commemoration event in the world saw political and cultural activists and artists gather together at an event that showcased people's love and creativity inspired by Tupac’s work and legacy.

The atmosphere was very positive, politically and powerfully Black Power radical and socialist and a strong sense of unity around our martyrs of the Black Panthers including Tupac. Tupac was the chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panthers in his late teens and spent the first moments of his existence in his mother’s womb while she - Afeni Shakur - was falsely imprisoned on charges related to her leadership of the New York Black Panthers, charges that collapsed. One of the other defendants (there were 21 in total, hence their name ‘New York 21’) was New York’s youngest Panther - Jamal Joseph - who later in life became one of Tupac’s two Godfathers and a close comrade and brother to Afeni Shakur.

We were honored to have have Jamal Joseph participate at our event via live internet video link. The event would not could not have been complete without a keynote address and QnA with Jamal Joseph himself. To have a veteran Black Panther and Black Liberation Army combatant, former political prisoner, now university professor and Oscar nominated elder comrade reasoning with us and teaching us was just very special. Jamal Joseph was joined on the panel by Ayishat Akanbi and Apex Zero.

Ayishat is a brilliant young fashion designer and also has a very grounded but firm sense of justice and Black Liberation to impart. Apex Zero’s rhymes and political insight is powerful and confident. The panellists and the QnA made for a very informative and inspiring learning process as we heard first hand the stories of the Panthers and Tupac from Jamal Joseph and the reflections and discussions from Ayishat and Apex and many brothers and sisters attending.

With an art exhibition by Intifada Street adorning the side of the stage, DJ Doni Brasco pumping the Tupac beats from the DJ table, the performances were enjoyable, fun and often showing great social and political insight and with, with Malcolm X Movement coordinator Margaret Atugonza making her debut not only as a young emerging political leader but also as a brilliant soul and jazz singer with her moving rendition of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. The open mic / Cypher session saw many young African and Asian young people share their skills and beautiful confidence with everyone in the room, and the room showed their appreciation!

The event was hosted brilliantly by I am Hip-Hop’s magazine editor Maya Rattrey, and all the Malcolm X Movement coordinators - Ahmed Kaballo who hosted the panel discussion with great panache, Dr Moustafa Traore, Margaret Atugonza, Sukant Chandan and Richard Sudan - and excellent performances from Big Cakes, Amy True, Ibrahim Sincere and JusWrite.

Many new contacts and alliances were made from the event, and it was a modest but inspiring and successful contribution to building an African and Asian and Black Power oriented socialist movement.


Raw live stream footage here, here and here.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Rest in Power Toussaint L’Ouverture: Saluting Haiti’s triumph against colonialism

C.L.R. James: “Toussaint did not make the revolution, the revolution made Toussaint.”

By Malcolm X Movement coordinator Richard Sudan. This article first appeared on

April 7th marks the passing of one of the greatest, most revered and most important figures of African and world history, Toussaint L’Ouverture one of the liberators of Haiti.

By 1801 Haiti, an island made up of half a million slaves, two-thirds of whom had been born in Africa, declared independence from European colonialists.

By April 7th 1803, Toussaint L’Ouverture died in a prison cell in the French Alps of cold and hunger, but not before his work had ensured the Haitian revolution would continue after he was gone, and that slavery would never again return to the Island.

From late 1803, after many years of fighting colonial powers the Africans in Haiti led by Jean-Jacque Dessalines freed the island from the clutches of the Europeans.

To this day, Haiti remains the only successful African revolt against slavery in the occupied European controlled colonies, and in doing so also became the first Black republic with its own constitution, adopting ideals espoused by the French revolution with a greater sincerity and vigor than even the French bourgeoisie themselves.

Today, the island remains one of the poorest countries in the world, as is the price often paid when daring to resist colonialism and occupation. Just look at Cuba today, for example.

The Haitian revolution, which is not over, represents a tradition which is both important in historical terms and also in the modern context.  The so-called free world, or the same system which was built by free labor and human capital extracted from slavery, still operates today on the same terms, exploiting countries to seize resources, ultimately to control capital.

When there is not a direct war for resources, today, more and more, we see ‘proxy wars’ played out in other people’s countries, with super powers jostling for position albeit with different agendas.

At one point in the 1790s Haiti was also a place which was being fought over by different colonial powers in the Caribbean, themselves at war with each other in Europe. A large chunk of the World’s sugar cane came from Haiti, and so even in a time of war, when hundreds of thousands of Haitians were fighting tens of thousands of European occupiers, Haiti was still among the most lucrative islands in the Caribbean to control.

And therein lies one of the keys to Toussaint’s genius; born a slave, but later able to free himself in his 40s, Toussaint was able to enjoy some of the benefits of the emerging privileged class in Haiti. Toussaint was educated, was an astute political analyst, and also a second to none military commander.  It would be fair to say, that under Toussaint’s leadership, Africans in Haiti were able to organize and keep at bay several colonial powers at once for more than a decade.  At different points Toussaint both sided with the French to fight other European powers in Haiti-and towards the end fought the French, as Napoleon attempted to force the island back into slavery following partial reforms achieved towards emancipation and freedom.

While there is a long tradition of resistance in the Caribbean of fighting colonialists tooth and nail, both from the slave ships and in the islands themselves, Haiti remains the only successful rebellion, able to rid its shores of those who had enslaved its population. The rebellion did not start in Haiti, but began the moment the first Africans were enslaved by the European merchants and capitalists in West Africa.

Toussaint and the other leading figures of African resistance in Haiti, or San Domingue as it was then known, did not spring up out of obscurity.  The conditions which produced both the necessity for revolution, and the individuals and visionaries capable of leading it, were built up over several hundreds of years.

The brutal conditions suffered by slaves, which are unimaginable, built up over time a deep resentment.  Writers like C.L.R. James, for example, describe in their works in detail, the sophisticated violence, humiliation, and dehumanization that Africans endured at the hands of Europeans in Haiti. The sick pseudo-science which dominated the day, a bit like the perverse modern form of ‘humanitarian intervention’, suggested that Africans were not human, and that therefore to control them as animals required a level of brutality which would both subdue them both physically and psychologically.

It stands to reason then, scientifically and rationally if nothing else, that it would ultimately take a force at least of equal measure from Africans in Haiti to free themselves from the clutches of slavery forever.  And the first stages of emancipation in Haiti were indeed bloody, with Europeans being massacred indiscriminately as payback for years of suffering.

The resistance in a sense traced its roots back to Africa, and even by around 1750, there were literally thousands of Africans who had run away from the sugar plantations and were hiding in the hills and harder to access parts of the island. The Voodoo culture, songs of freedom, and determination to once again be free, had existed among the people for as long as they had been enslaved there.

By the time the French, who controlled Haiti, were preparing to do the unimaginable and behead their own King, and indeed anyone deemed disloyal to the class revolution in France, the conditions in Haiti had reached a point whereby the masses were fully ready to grasp the ideals of liberty and equality-more so than any European who had articulated them.

The call of the masses, including the emerging mixed race population of Haiti, to be given the rights of citizenship had achieved some success.  Ironically, France caving in to some reforms, if for no other reason than to ensure Haiti did not fall into the hands of other colonial powers, meant that leading up to the complete expulsion of the remaining Europeans in 1804, Africans in Haiti had in a sense become the true French Republicans on the island fighting for France. When Napoleon set his sights on reversing this, the fear among Africans was that Haiti would revert back to slavery which became a catalyst for fighting the remaining French too.

The final defeat of the French in 1804, after Napoleon had sent thousands to reclaim the island, secured Haiti’s place in history as the first and last fully successful slave revolt.  Haiti’s constitution and independence and even leadership, like any other, were not without its problems and contradictions.

But Toussaint, and the victory for Haiti, is an example of what is possible for the human spirit to achieve even in the face of insurmountable odds.  It shows what Africans were truly capable of in the face of all of the racist pseudo-science of the day.

The revolution in Haiti has been largely ignored or forgotten by mainstream history - perhaps because as an example of resistance, it reflects what is possible in the face of the powers which rule the world today - this is dangerous for any ruling orthodoxy.  When slavery is taught in schools, Haiti is rarely mentioned.

Neither for example is the island of St Thomas, which, according to many historians was liberated under the leadership of three women in 1793, and held for a year, before the Dutch eventually with the help of the other colonial powers restored the island to slavery.

Indeed colonization, occupation, oppression and political subjugation still continues today, and still continues largely for profit.

Toussaint stands as a towering figure of resistance to this, but so too do the women and men who raised him, who taught him his history, so that, even in later life when the African uprising in Haiti began, he would not seek to protect his own privilege and status, but rather, would leave it all in a second to go and fight, lead, and ultimately die for his people.

The revolution in Haiti, stands as a beacon of human triumph but also played a huge role in the eventual abolition of slavery.  The revolution was influenced by events in Paris, but Paris and the world were also shaped by events on the tiny island.

There are countless examples of resistance to colonialism throughout the world, but today on April 7th we must remember Toussaint, and also all those who fought and died in the fight for freedom and justice.

Toussaint and the revolution emerged as the inevitable consequence of slavery and repression, but also of the unique circumstances which developed in Haiti.  Such circumstances were developed over time by Africans in Haiti, who like the oppressed people all over the world, refused to resign and give themselves up to their fate.

As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass once noted “There is no progress without struggle” and perhaps this is true of Haiti.

But revolution and progress is bigger than one person, and as C.L.R. James once wrote “Toussaint did not make the revolution, the revolution made Toussaint.”

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Black Communities in France against Police Brutality, the Adam Traore Case

The Adama Traore Case: Ten years after the Zyed and Bouna Case​

By Dr Moustafa Traore, coordinator at the Malcolm X Movement

Very few people outside the Hexagon really do realise how unequal the so called country of Liberty, equality, and fraternity is. France

July 19th 2016, unfortunately for Adama Traore and for his beloved ones, the 24 years old black man of west African cultural background and his family will have sadly come to the conclusion that little - or nothing- has changed since the death of Zyed and Bouna in 2005.

On Tuesday 19th of July, 2016, in the city of Beaumont-sur-Oise, in the Paris region, some police officers were looking for a man involved in a robbery and extortion affair. The suspect who happens to be Adama’s brother is not to be seen in the neighbourhood. The police officers however meet with Adama who refuses to comply to the police’s stop and search procedure. He flees the scene and will soon be caught up before fleeing again. It is at his parents’ apartment that Adama is finally found. He accepts to surrender and is flattened on the floor by three police officers who use their body weight against him on the floor. Adama is handcuffed and taken into police custody; and this is the last time he will ever be seen alive. A police officer in a clean t-shirt is seen later with the same t-shirt on, but this time stained with blood. Strangely enough, the latter is not bleeding. Many things are not clear.

When the Adama’s mother first comes to the police station, she is told that her son is in custody. She is not allowed to see him. A couple of hours later, she is informed that her son has succumbed to a heart attack. She still has got no clue of where the body of her son is. She is told that he is not at the police station, nor is the corpse of Adama Traore to be found in any of the closest hospitals.

It would take nearly twenty-four hours before the police finally  show the body to the family. The explanation given to the many lesions, bruises, and bumps that can be observed on the victim’s face and body is that they resulted from a deadly infection. If the first autopsy already shows that the 24-year-old man probably died from asphyxia, the attorney of Pontoise, the police and the French mass media evoke some sort of severe heart infection or heart attack as Traore's cause of death. It is the family’s new barrister, Yassine Bouzrou, who will -after properly reading the different declarations and official reports-unveil the irregularities, as well as the concealed truths and facts. They contradict the public declaration of the media, and also that of both the Pontoise attorney and the police. Indeed, many things are not clear in the Adama Case, indeed.  The absence of declaration or official report from any emergency rescue team is also another source of concern. Besides that, some documents even prove that an attempt was made by the police to file a complaint against Adama Traore for rebellion after he had already passed away.

According to the collective and organisation “Notre Police Assassine” -which fights and denounces police brutality more than 100 people lost their lives after confronting the French police between 2005 and 2015. In other words, approximately 10 people die every year unjustly in the hands of the French police. Research carried out in 2009 by the CNRS also revealed that young people of North African and Black African cultural background (Black Caribbean included) were 6-8 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the French police.  In no cases, have the French police ever been sentenced for their committed errors.

The United States have, these last few years, been a good example of what a discriminatory system is. American history including the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s have helped coin the image the world has of North America as being a country where racial inequalities exist and which affect society as a whole. But, the case of France is even worse and untold.

People of Black African and North African Cultural background are too often used as scapegoats either to explain France economic difficulties or simply to hide the inefficiency of the successive French governments.

The numerous debates around French National identity that have been going on for a decade now and the different laws passed on Secularism, are obvious illustrations of a policy put into place in order to maintain the Whiteness and Christian legacy of France’s cultural landscape. Fighting against the cultural expression of Islam and other non-European cultural features is clearly assumed by French politicians and media.

Because of their discriminatory and racist practices, the French government and media have also, on several occasions, in the last five years, been pointed out and identified by European and international organisations fighting against racism and discrimination.

In the Adama Traore Case, every single day has its share of new revelations undermining the version of the authorities.This very case tells us a great deal about French institutions.

And, as history teaches us that ethnocides are always accompanied by attempts to get rid of part of the population carrying the non-accepted cultural particularities, I now ask myself about the objective of all these police officers when assassinating young French Arab and Black people, and disguising their murders.

It is important to remember that numbers are "power”; and, too many North Africans and Black Africans with obvious cultural particularities is undoubtedly what most lovers of the French republic fear, and would like to get rid of, at any price. In other words: “Is the assassination of Adama Traore by the police part of a larger cleansing programme, for the French republic at the expense of Ethnic minorities?” The question has merit and is justifiably asked, and Ethnic Minorities in France must be vigilant. Yes, indeed, our lives DO matter!