Zionist? Moi?

Last night I discovered that three comments had been left here by a guy called Khalid (e-mail handle: “saladinsshadow”) attacking me for my behaviour vis-a-vis the MPAC UK campaigning group to which he clearly belongs. The background to this is that a few weeks ago I attended their function at Friends House, on the subject of Alan Hart’s new book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, at which Hart, their founder Asghar Bukhari, and Stephen Marks of Jews for Justice for Palestinians addressed an audience of people of many religions and some of none, and Bukhari’s speech consisted of the “same old, same old” rhetoric and was aimed solely at the Muslims in the audience. Khalid and some of his buddies on the MPAC forum are annoyed that I seem able to have civil conversations with “Zionist” and “Islamophobic” bloggers like those at Harry’s Place, Pickled Politics and Adloyada, and that I criticise MPAC UK there in similar terms to those I use here. They reach some conclusions which may well be familiar to other converts from a European background.

The links lead to a thread started by a pseudonymous coward calling himself “TheBatman” entitled “Zionist Muslim: Yusuf Smith of Indigo Jo Blogs?”:

Does anyone know of this sell out called Yusaf smith. Very cosy with Zionists, hardly ever attacks them, and constantly attacks MPAC for attacking them.

This guy cannot even be bothered to spell my name right, and on top of this he has obviously not read much that is written here. He also tells lies, because I do not “attack MPAC for attacking [Zionists]”, I attack MPAC for attacking other Muslims and for being a bunch of semi-literate clowns. For the record (you can find this out with a bit of Google searching), I have written in comments at Harry’s Place on at least one occasion that I don’t believe MPACUK to be racist. What I said was that they are known for their wild and sweeping condemnations of other Muslims and for being a sandwich or two short of a picnic (that means the same as having screws loose). I also said that their website is poorly designed; apart from anything else, it always slows down my web browser due to its over-use of animations.

A few days after the Friends’ House event, I went to their open day at “Platform One” near King’s Cross, where I met some of the guys who run MPAC UK, including Asghar Bukhari. My aim was to meet them and find out what makes them tick, with a view to getting involved if they turned out to be people I could work with. A distorted version of the conversation I had with Bukhari can be found here (you may need to get yourself a profile and log in).

He seems upset at the success of MPAC (and his own lack of success), and its focus on Zionsm, and you could tell in his eyes he hated it. He even made a mistake when talking saying “MPAC attacks jews” which Asghar promptly caught him out and challenged him on it. He back tracked but not before his hatred for MPAC was shown and his true thoughts were revealed.

I’m not sure what you mean by “my own lack of success”. What is “success” for someone who runs a website for his own writing with his own money? I did not say “MPAC attacks Jews” anyway. I said they were far more hostile to their own kind than they have been to Jews, at which point one of them interrupted me and insisted that their hostility was to Zionists, not Jews. Fair enough, but the organisations involved in Zionism are mainstream Jewish ones, and most practising religious Jews are Zionists. The likes of Neturei Karta and JJP are a minority within their community; the mainstream groups which represent the Jewish community are pro-Israeli.

For someone who clearly thought highly of himself (you could not get more in love with yourself then this guy trust me, you know the type who like to be seen as pious but able to integrate - aka a progressive moslem) he sure was thick.

Again, a bit of the speculation and slander for which MPAC UK distinguish themselves; I can testify that I got out of Platform One without them attempting to cut my heart open to find out what was inside. The fact that one does not come out “on top” in an argument does not make anyone thick. As for being a “progressive moslem”, again, one can do a bit of research to find out what I think of “progressive Muslims”.

In a public arena, sitting in front of a number of MPAC members, i walked by and heard him say, the three most dumb things a zombie would be ashamed to say “Why dont you get a scholar to tell us what MPAC wants?”, when questioned “why we needed to do that” he seemed confused and retorted “well whats your field of expertise?,”

The point being that MPAC UK and Islamic scholars don’t seem to mix. In fact, they could not really produce a harder-hitting intellectual of any greater calibre for the Friends’ meeting than Bukhari. There is, in fact, an Islamic organisation which has been doing much work on raising awareness among Muslims of the importance of al-Aqsa for years (the Friends of al-Aqsa). And their literature routinely contains slanders of scholars, anyone involved in mosques, and most recently student organisations.

Lastly he was made to look really stupid. He said “The left are trying to harm the Muslims” …..how thick is this guy or was it on purpose. Everyone knows the left is in fact very close to the muslim cause right now. so he was protecting the Zionists, but had it in for the left - the very people who hated Zionism agan very suspect.

This is a load of nonsense; in fact, it’s inconsistent with their own advice to Muslims to join political parties, particularly the Tories. The fact is that a substantial element in Left opinion in this country is hostile to Muslim interests. It opposes, among other things, faith schools and halaal slaughter. It also supports Zionism and the use of force to “liberate” Muslim countries. It reminds me of a cartoon titled “The Codependocrats”, which appeared in Ms Magazine next to Barbara Ehrenreich’s explanation of why she didn’t vote for Clinton in 1996, showing women (read feminists), gays and other traditional Democrat voters explaining how Clinton let them down and saying “how could we vote for anyone else?”. And this is exactly the position of Muslims with regard to the Left here - not all of them are hostile to us, but a major and influential element in the Left are. The point being that we can’t always rely on them.

If anyone has any information or even dirt on this guy, what his background is etc, would be well worth finding out. Never seen a guy so mixed up about who the hell he is, and so in bed with the enemy its horrible to see . Half uncle tom, half traitor. Cant work out if he sells Muslims out because he is a mixed up pompous freak, or a seedy plant.

Later on, this is what the same moron says to someone who asks him to check his facts before posting accusations about Muslims on a public forum:

This type of case is a not a legal matter - in time of war, a possible threat to security, the army does not go to the judge and say “this so called muslims seems too cosy with the enemy, please punish him” ..duh?

first they watch him!, this is a matter where the safety of the ummah is concerned. Thus as a soldier in the defence of the ummah you would then follow up your leads to verify and keep check on any suspect.

do you know anything about islam, and which pacified scholar do you follow exactly, cause who ever he was, you either wernt paying attention or he was rubbish.

You seem to so out of your mind in defending him, so ready to misuse Islamic quotes, that im starting to wonder about you!

I find it highly disturbing in fact that you do not find it strange a Zionist website is in fact “wishing his blog good luck?”/////your islam seems to go no deeper thn your throat my friend.

And further down the thread, he inaccurately calls me a “self proclaimed sufi”. I have never claimed I am a Sufi. I said I had a connection with a sufi shaikh, which is not the same thing by any stretch. In another forum posting, he writes:

I urge members of this forum to get the word out and tell other groups to be very weary of this chap. A true enemy of Islam and and in my mind once again more evidence that he is a spy for the other side. …

He claims he is a convert (is that flock of pigs flying?), does anyone know which Muslim taught him, what group does hebelong too? Lets really get a dossier on this chap like the Jewish Board of Deputies does on Muslims.

Of course, it’s not uncommon to find Muslim converts, particularly white converts, accused of being spies. It happened to me in the first few weeks of being Muslim (the culprit was an imam who thought I knew too much for someone who had been Muslim that short a time), and I’ve heard of other incidents as well. Recently, this outrageous remark was made on the AltMuslim website by a Canadian named Asif Khan:

What scares me is the so-called “Muslim converts” the gov’t is going around planting all over Islamic Centers across the land. These spies show up as “spiritually bankrupt” hommies, thirsting for Islam. And soon, they are amidst us on a day-to-day basis.

Later on in the thread, Khan claims this a way to “allow potential recruits the opportunity to be in austere environments and at the same time enjoy a certain freedom of indulgence within the confines of their homes here in North America where wine women and song are readily available on demand”.

The fact remains that I am not a Zionist, and that anyone who knows me online or in “real life” knows this. Anyone can browse the various sections of this site, notably the Palestine section, and read what I have written about the Zionist lobby in the west. As we have seen before, doing basic research seems not to be their strong point. My complaint about MPAC is that, despite the few good ideas they have come up with, it is formed of people who are loose with their tongue and who scorn scholars and Islamic knowledge. I believe that they let the community down, Bukhari’s speech being a classic example as it was totally out of step with those of the other two speakers. He was simply no match for either of them; had they been in a debate rather than on the same side, they would have made mincemeat of him. And as for their recent media appearances, rest assured that they will not last forever.

May I repeat what I said in my last post about the Friends’ House meeting: a “Public Affairs Committee” has to take care of its own public affairs, and MPAC UK’s forums do not say much good about the intellectual state of the organsation. They are full of slander, and juvenile bickering is common. The recent accusations against me come from nothing other than su’ al-dhann, an assumption of evil wherever it seems merely possible. The reality is that I’m not as liked on some of these blogs as this man with his evil assumptions assumes. One commenter on Picked Politics called me a “pig in the swill” for being more concerned about MPACUK’s ranting against other Muslims than about their so-called anti-Semitism, and there is at least one Islamophobe who posts elsewhere complaining that I do not allow him to spout his anti-Islamic clichés here, despite his being able to post them anywhere else, whether on a free Blogger or WordPress.com site or on webspace he pays for. The Muslim community badly needs effective representation and efforts to fight defamation against the community in the press; when the organisation doing it becomes the story, as MPACUK has done on a number of occasions, it usually reflects on something it is doing wrong. The people who elect MPACUK’s next leader later this year should take this into consideration, and elect someone capable and level-headed if their organisation is to be taken seriously.

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