When The Sun scraps its intellectually-stimulating page 3 for a seven-page feature on the “Islamic State” you know it means business!
On Wednesday, The Sun urged “Britons of all faiths to unite to defeat IS fanatics” with a front page image of a ‘Muslim woman’ in a Union Jack hijab. How this image was inclusive to “Britons of all faiths” beats me – it was clearly targeted at Muslims. The predictable propaganda spouted by The Sun was to rally the nation behind another disastrous military escapade in the Muslim world.
There were two serious concerns regarding The Sun‘s front page: firstly, it used Tuesday’s terror raids in London as a premise to launch an anti-ISIS campaign, which in effect discriminates the arrests. Secondly, the seven-page feature is part of a propaganda campaign which will result in Britain getting further involved in the US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq.
What frustrated me even more were the ‘prominent’ Muslim apologists who appeared in The Sun‘s exclusive anti-ISIS feature, in order to provide some level of credibility – as if the British Muslim community aren’t aware of the organisations and figures that parrot whatever the establishment wants them to. Such a shady politically motivated campaign isn’t worthy of an intellectual response; rather it deserves the primitive treatment that The Sun applies to the Muslim community.
So allow me to talk you through The Sun‘s abysmal attempt in unifying Britain against extremism, which probably worsened the existing distrust and fear the wider non-Muslim community already has towards Muslims.
Front page: Most likely a white Briton who’s sprayed excessive amount of artificial tan, or a Muslim woman seeking a modelling career wearing a Union Jack hijab – whatever the case, it reminded me of a prison mug-shot.
Headline: “UNITED AGAINST I.S.” which should have been followed by WHO ARE YA! WHO ARE YA! WHO ARE YA! That would have been more befitting to The Sun‘s target audience.
A short intro placed prominently in bold on the right-hand corner of the front page referring to the London terror suspects as an “IS terror cell” – a clear contempt of criminal proceedings before the suspects have even been charged with any offence.
Page 2: Headline reads – “MI5 NAB SURGEON” who “planned UK atrocity”. Referring to the suspects as “killers” before anyone’s been killed or any evidence proving intent has been presented. Page 2 also included a column by the government-friendly Sara Khan of women’s rights group Inspire. Her column was an apologetic rant filled with liberal rhetoric: “IS says jihadi brides will be treated as equals. But the reality is they’ve given up the freedoms and women’s rights that Britain offers.” Those much desired “women’s rights” and “freedoms” obviously include the demonisation of women who wear the niqab, criminalises mothers for raising their children with an Islamic education, stops female students who want to sit separately to men at university ISOC events, asks mothers to spy on their children, and the freedom for women to be pornified for the gratification of men, which facilitates the most heinous sex crimes in society – you go Sara, #makeastand girl!
Page 3: The Sun’s intellectual hallmark was replaced by a big Union Jack poster stating “UNITED AGAINST I.S.” Surprisingly, the flag cutout didn’t include a picture of Nick Griffin, Tommy Robinson, Nigel Farage, Lord Kitchener, or Richard the Lionheart as an additional appeal factor.
Page 4 and 5: “HEAR US NOW” was comedy at its best. It was a roundup of prominent British figures and representatives, and their views on ISIS. They included: Prime Minister David Cameron, Ed Miliband, home secretary Theresa May, Muslim MP Sadiq Khan (all of whom voted in support of UK air strikes in Iraq), chairman of the League of British Muslims Bashir Chauhrya, and the controversial and highly unpopular “cleric” Dr Taj Hargey.
Page 6 and 7: The Sun’s ‘chief feature writer’, Oliver Harvey, concluded with a very descriptive piece on the ISIS “death cult”.
There was no mentioning of Britain’s catastrophic foreign policy, which played a pivotal role in the destruction and destabilisation of Iraq in 2003 that subsequently gave birth to ISIS. There was no mentioning of MI5 chiefs who advised against military intervention in Iraq because it would have a blowback at home. There was no mentioning of the failures of the British government in saving the lives of its citizens by negotiating like France, Germany, Italy and Turkey. There was no mentioning of the fact that the British government is arming the Kurdish PKK Peshmerga, a listed terrorist organisation by Nato and EU. There was no mentioning of Alan Henning’s brother-in-law, Colin Livesy who was angry at the British government for not doing enough for Alan’s release, or Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, the humanitarian aid campaigner who said the government “handed Alan’s death sentence” by joining the US-led air strikes against ISIS.
As Muslims, we need to question why we are expected to condemn ISIS purely on the basis of being adherents of Islam. Is it a test to see how loyal we are to Britain over Islam? Like most Muslims, I am appalled by the criminality of ISIS, but when I’m pressured to publicise my disgust, I perceive this to be an act of conformity which legitimises the idea of guilt by association of faith.