British Muslims, Cultural Freedom, Political Dissent, and the Counter-Extremism Industry: Some brief reflections on “Bradford in Our Own Words: Resisting Counter-Extremism Apparatus”

On a sweltering Sunday afternoon (30 June 2019), a hundred or so people, mostly young, were packed in together at the Speakers Corner Collective [1] on Ivygate in the centre of Bradford. They came to discuss the withdrawal from the Bradford Literature Festival 2019 by a number of writers, artists and speakers.[2] This withdrawal was sparked by the news that a pre-festival project promoting the literacy and education of British Pakistani women had been funded by a Home Office counter-extremism fund, established in 2016, called Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT).

White Women, Muslims and the Nation

On March 15, 2019, a white supremacist walked into two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and shot and killed 50 Muslims. All over the world, vigils to mourn the dead were quickly organized to bring together communities in shock. In New York City, two NYU students, Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf, were present at a local vigil for the Muslim victims, as was Chelsea Clinton.

Remembering is a Political Act

On January 29, it will be two years since Alexandre Bissonnette shot and killed six Muslims and injured many others at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in Sainte Foy, just outside of Quebec City. The incident remains shocking for its explicit Islamophobic violence. Bissonnette went to the mosque to kill Muslims because they were Muslims. Court documents reveal some of his political views; he supported Trump’s “Muslim ban.” He was against the immigration of racialized minorities, including Muslims, because he was worried that white people, like him and his family, would lose their status and privilege as the majority.

The Black Prince and Coloniality

The Black Prince is a film about Maharaja Duleep Singh and the British Empire, set in the late 1800s. It is based on real life events. Duleep Singh, the heir to Ranjit Singh’s Sikh kingdom in Punjab (which covered parts of both present day Pakistan and India), was taken from his mother, Maharani Jind Kaur, by the British when he a child and sent to England in 1848.

Omar Khadr: A Muslim Between Canada and the West

Omar Khadr has had a lot written about him in the past decade, but particularly so in the weeks since he received a $10.5 million settlement from the Canadian government, as well as an apology. This settlement came out of a lawsuit that Khadr had launched against the Canadian government, based on a Supreme Court ruling that Khadr’s Charter rights as a citizen had been violated.

Empire and War

The Water Diviner is a sentimental film about war, loss, family and country. It addresses Australia’s elevation of military loss at the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915 (known as Çanakkale Savaşı in Turkey) into a ‘sacred’ national myth about sacrifice and heroism.

Snowden and Citizenfour

Snowden always said that he didn’t want what he was saying to be about him. In revealing the information on the existence of mass surveillance programs conducted by the US, he said he wanted to ignite a public debate about what the American government was doing in the name of democracy and the security of the American people.