One of the Biffer trolls who takes advantage of my anti-censorship policy to use the Another Angry Voice Facebook page as platform to spread anti-immigrant anti-Muslim propaganda pointed me in the direction of an interesting and widely shared Facebook political statement from the Muslim Mixed Martial Artist Tam Khan.
At the time of writing the statement has liked by over 90,000 people on Facebook and shared by 80,000.
While ostensibly a sensible statement about how Muslims have an obligation to accept the cultural practices of their host country, to be good Muslims and to report anyone they suspect of plotting extremist activity to the authorities, it's also riddled with some extremely disturbing right-wing rhetoric.
There's nothing much wrong with statements like this part, in fact it's admirable that the guy wants people to be better Muslims and better Brits too.
"Stop becoming militants and extremists. Pray, do good, give charity, be good to your family and elders, contribute to your community, help the place prosper. Integrate, speak the language of the country, educate yourselves."The problem is that in his statement noble sentiments like the one above are interspersed with intolerant, right-wing, authoritarian and downright fascist sentiments.
The most glaring of these disturbing right-wing sentiments is this:
"I think it's time the British or west deport not only those who speak bad or against the country but the entire family also."This is a declaration of support for a policy of collectively punishing the families of people who do nothing more than criticise some element of British life/culture/politics/foreign policy through mandatory deportation! There's no other way of reading it.
The idea that people should be deported for exercising their right to free speech is fascistic enough, but the deportation of innocent members of their family is staggeringly harsh. Imagine getting deported because your grandfather/brother-in-law/nephew dared to criticise the British government or British foreign policy. This is exactly what the guy is calling for.
If you tend to agree with the policy of collectively punishing innocent family members for the things other people in their family did, no matter how serious/trivial the crime/non-crime, then it's time to admit to yourself that you're an extreme-right fanatic who supports political policies that would be considered war crimes if enacted at a time of war.
Not only is the call for innocent family members to be collectively punished for the non-crimes of their kin a staggeringly un-British un-Western attitude, it's also a crime in Islam too, which makes it a very odd thing for a British Muslim to be calling for.
If Tam Khan's idea for dealing with people who speak out of line conflicts with the legal system in the UK, the Geneva Convention and his own Muslim faith that he claims to be so proud of, surely it's time for him to reconsider the thought processes that led him to propose such a policy?
Another concerning thing about the post is the effort it makes to demonise people on welfare, as if claiming benefits is some kind of moral sin. There are numerous reasons people claim benefits: Disability, sickness, childbirth, to top up the poverty wages their employer pays them, or in a tiny minority of cases because people are lazy and don't want to work.
Exhorting Muslims to get off benefits and get a job feeds into the extreme-right narrative that the UK has been infested with a swarm of benefits cheating immigrants. Their claims don't stack up at all because the evidence shows that on average immigrants are far less likely to claim benefits than British born people.
Muslims spreading extreme-right tropes about lazy Muslims coming to the UK to "milk the benefits system" are actively feeding into the hateful anti-Muslim, anti-migrant scapegoating campaigns of the extreme-right.
Another problem is the staggeringly contradictory nature of the post. I mean how is it possible to not spot the contrast between "We are lucky to be ... able to have free speech" and "if you don't like it, leave".Praising free speech and then calling for the forced deportation entire families because one of their members spoke out of line is so contradictory it would take complete immunity to cognitive dissonance for anyone to actually like such a statement.
How is it possible to laud free speech in one breath and then call for it to be abolished and replaced with a draconian collective punishment system in the next?
In my view the problem isn't Tam Khan chatting shit. We can't expect everyone to carefully think through what they're saying before they post it on Facebook to make sure they're not promoting fascist ideas like the collective punishment of innocent people, the scapegoating of immigrants and the propaganda war against people who need the social security system.
Given the numerous grammatical errors in the post it's difficult to imagine that it's a deliberate cynical effort to appeal to the extreme-right demographic just in time to publicise his more famous brothers' talk of involvement in the MMA scene, but appealing to the extreme-right it certainly is.
The problem isn't so much Khan's warped opinions, but that tens of thousands of people have actually liked his lazy rehashing of blatant extreme-right tropes so much that they actually chose to share it on their Facebook walls. In fact the comments thread beneath the post is full of absolute adoration with people describing it as a "fantastic point of view", "one of the most educated and fair viewed piece of writing", "possibly the most amazing post iv [sic] ever read" and even "the best post ever writen [sic] on Facebook".
Either people are too stupid to have understood the horrific implications of stuff like the collective punishment of entire of families because one member committed the "crime" of speaking out of line, or they openly support fascism.
It's fair to assume that a lot of people just don't have the thinking skills to discern the significance of the bit calling for the collective punishment of innocent people because a lot of people actually lauded Tam Khan's statement by saying stuff like "we need to join together against all extremists" as if the collective punishment of innocent people for the non-crimes of their family members isn't an extreme position to take in pretty much any context you look at it.
Whatever case it's deeply concerning that so many people are happy to share a deeply confused statement that includes a call for extreme-right un-British lunacy like collective punishment of innocent people and a load of right-wing anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-welfare tropes too.
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