By Daoud

You’re a Muslim. Your family came over from Pakistan in the 60’s. You regard yourself as British – why wouldn’t you? You were born in Britain. You’ve lived your whole life in Britain. You are British.

But naturally you’ve still got a bond to Pakistan. You’ve still got loads of family there – in fact, you just went back recently for a cousin’s wedding. The community which you are a part of here in Britain is largely made up of other Muslims from Pakistan – after prayers end in the Mosque you’re far more likely to hear people talking in Urdu than Arabic.

You are British. But Pakistan still has a major place in your life. And anyone who tells you that’s somehow a problem should, quite frankly, jog on.

The thing is, more and more recently you’ve been seeing a lot of negativity towards Pakistan from people in the UK. People can’t seem to stop talking about it. Criticizing it. Blaming it for all of the problems in the region.

Indeed, there are actually a group of people who seem to have made it their mission in life to see Pakistan disappear as a country.

According to them, Pakistan is a fake nation, imposed out of nowhere. When the British were dividing up the territory known as India, they were put under a huge amount of pressure to create a separate state for Muslim Indians. The result was Pakistan, a nation that before 1948 had never before existed. The creation of this state, set up for religious nationalistic purposes, led to millions of people being forced to leave their homes, becoming refugees.

The detractors of Pakistan have a name for this ideology. They refer to it as ‘Jinnahism’, after the founder of Pakistan, Ali Jinnah. As far as they’re concerned, Jinnahism is responsible for most of the evil in the world. The wars in South East Asia? They wouldn’t have happened without Jinnahism. America’s interference in the region? Jinnahism is responsible. Pakistan is a fraud, a sham, an imitation nation, they cry out.

They have a lengthy list of Pakistan’s crimes to focus on. The 1971 Bangladesh Genocide, in which the Pakistani army killed between 300,000 and 3 million people. Pakistan’s ongoing occupation of Balochistan features prominently in their discourse. They talk of little but the human rights abuses going on in Pakistan, the Human Rights Watch report that estimates that between 70-90% of the women in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse. The apartheid carried out against the Ahmadi and other religious minorities through the use of horrendous ‘blasphemy laws’.

But the thing is, you suspect quite strongly that they don’t really care about the Bangladesh genocide, or the Balochistani occupation, or the dire treatment of women, or the apartheid being carried out against minority religious groups. And the reason that you suspect that they don’t really care is that Pakistan seems to be the only country on their radar. All other nations get a free pass. The treatment of women in India? Not important. The suffering of the Palestinians? Not their problem. All they focus on is the country which you still happen to have a close bond with.

It’s clear to people where your family originates from and you get abuse on a constant basis because of it. People cursed you out of moving cars. You were spat at on a bus. When you were a kid you were beaten up by a bunch of other kids in the street. ‘Why are you doing this?’ you ask.

‘For what Pakistan is doing’, one of them replies, driving a boot into your stomach.

You had hoped University might be different. But in a way, it’s far worse. You come across anti-Pakistan societies, masquerading as ‘Free Balochistan’ outfits. But they make it quite clear that even were Balochistan to become autonomous, they wouldn’t give up. They’d still be calling for Pakistan’s destruction, for it to be folded back into a greater India.

What’s worse, you get people heckling you on campus; they’ve made a snap judgement about your political views based on the way that you look.

‘Jinnahist baby-killer!’ one of them shrieks out.

‘Free Balochistan! End Pakistani Apartheid’ yells another.

You know you’ll get no sympathy from the students union. Indeed many times over the years they’ve passed resolutions against the ongoing apartheid in Pakistan. They’ve made sure that none of their custom goes to any Pakistani companies. They’ve even given tacit support to student groups who act out guerrilla theatre on campus, with different water fountains for Pakistani Muslims and Non-Muslims.

You won’t be getting much in the way of support from University staff either. Academics from universities across Britain have called for a cultural boycott of Pakistani institutions, alleging that since such institutions operate under the apartheid government of Pakistan, all members of such institutions must be suspect.

Fellow pupils seem less than sympathetic. ‘I love Muslims’, they’ll tell you. ‘I have nothing against Muslims. But what goes on in Pakistan makes me sick.’

‘JINNAHISM IS NOT ISLAM’, reads a typical banner carried at protests outside the Pakistani embassy. This mirrors what so-called ‘anti-Jinnahists’ tell you online. ‘I’m not Islamophobic. I have Muslim friends who are disgusted at what’s going on in Pakistan. Are they Islamophobic? Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace – since you support Pakistan, maybe you’re the Islamophobe here.’

Ah yes, the Muslim friends of the anti-Pakistani brigade. ‘Muslims for Justice in Pakistan’, and the ‘Balochistan Solidarity Campaign’. Muslim academics and celebrities write regular letters to newspapers condemning Pakistan’s actions – ‘as Muslims, we are outraged at the apartheid and occupation being perpetrated by Pakistan’.

Anti-Pakistani campaigners point to those Muslims and say to you ‘you see them – they are the real Muslims. You just came in from somewhere else and corrupted their religion. Jinnahist scum.’

And then there’s the boycott. ‘#BDS – Boycott Pakistan’. It’s touted as a peaceful way to put pressure on Pakistan to stop its occupation and apartheid. But you notice that not a single other country is targeted for the flagrant human rights abuses going on there. Not one. Just the country you have family in, which you do, even though you see yourself as British, feel a strong connection to. Just Pakistan.

You can feel a strong current of Islamophobia running through much of the rhetoric surrounding the anti-Pakistan movement. One prominent anti-Pakistan campaigner talks about the ‘Jinnahist lobby’ controlling the media and various government officials, which sounds to you a lot like the ranting of the far-right about ‘Islam taking over’. People talk openly about how the whole world would be a better place if the country where your friends and family live ceased to exist. The people living there? ‘Oh, they could just go back to where they came from, in India. Or some of them could stay there, as part of a 1 state solution in a Greater India.’

It starts to get worse. A prominent political party elects a leader who has spent a large portion of his life talking at events protesting the goings on in Pakistan (injustices in many other countries seem to have passed him by). He has sat with people who have labelled all Pakistanis as scum and falsely accused them of harvesting the organs of Ahmadi and Christian children. He has called organisations which have pledged to wipe Pakistan from the face of the earth his ‘friends’. When you point any of this out you are told that you are smearing an honourable and upright man who has fought for justice his whole life. You are accused of trying to stifle any and all criticism of Pakistan. People who call themselves ‘proud anti-racists’ abuse you in the foulest terms for your ‘Jinnahist nationalist system of oppression’.

The National Union of Students elects a leader who is a prominent anti-Pakistani campaigner. She has talked about the University of Bradford, which has a large number of Muslims, being a ‘Jinnahist Outpost’. She has said that the problem with the BDS movement is that it means that people in the West are in some ways removing the legitimacy of those using more violent means to overthrow the ‘Jinnahist state’. She has made it clear that she would have no problem at all if Pakistan ceased to exist.


My friends, it should be clear to you what I am trying to put across here. This situation exists in Britain today. Just substitute ‘Pakistan’ for ‘Israel’, ‘Jinnahism’ for Zionism, ‘Balochistan’ for ‘Palestine’.

And ‘Islam’ for ‘Judaism.’

If you are of Pakistani origin, please read this and think to yourself, ‘would I like to be treated like this?’

Because that’s how many people in the UK (including, regretfully, many from your community) treat us.


Bouattia, the Yazidis and Daesh

By Jake Wilde

When is a motion condemning Daesh not a motion condemning Daesh? When it is dismantled and rendered free of the original meaning.

Back in September 2014 the following motion was proposed at an NEC meeting of the National Union of Students:

Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity

Proposed: Daniel Cooper
Seconded: Shreya Paudel, Clifford Fleming

NUS National Executive Committee notes:

  1. The ongoing humanitarian crisis and sectarian polarisation in Iraq – which has resulted in thousands of Yazidi Kurds being massacred.

NUS NEC believes

  1. That the people of Iraq have suffered for years under the sectarian and brutally repressive dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the US/UK invasion and occupation, the current sectarian regime linked to both the US and Iran, and now the barbaric repression of the “Islamic State” organisation.
  2. That rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as weapons against women in IS-occupied areas, while minorities are being ethnically cleansed.

NUS NEC resolves

  1. To work with the International Students’ Campaign to support Iraqi, Syrian and other international students in the UK affected by this situation.
  2. To campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular support the hard-pressed student, workers’ and women’s organisations against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.
  3. To support Iraqis trying to bridge the Sunni-Shia divide to fight for equality and democracy, including defence of the rights of the Christian and Yazidi-Kurd minorities.
  4. To condemn the IS and support the Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.
  5. Encourage students to boycott anyone found to be funding the IS or supplying them with goods, training, travel or soldiers.
  6. To make contact with Iraqi and Kurdish organisations, in Iraq and in the UK, in order to build solidarity and to support refugees.
  7. To issue a statement on the above basis.


Malia Bouattia, then Black Students’ officer, led the opposition to this motion, saying:

“We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamophobia.

“This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.”

The NEC agreed to defer the motion to the next meeting in December 2014. They were forced to issue a statement because of the negative publicity generated by the decision not to pass the motion.


Here’s the motion Malia Bouattia brought back:

Motion 5: Kurdish Solidarity

Proposed by: Malia Bouattia

Seconded by: Zekarias Negussue, Toni Pearce, Abdi-Aziz Suleiman, Zarah Sultana, Piers Telemacque, Vonnie Sandlan, Gordon Maloney, Kirsty Haigh, Sai Englert, Colum McGuire, Megan Dunn, Raechel Mattey

NEC Believes:

  1. The Kurdish people have been fighting for freedom and democracy throughout the course of history and are amongst the largest stateless groups in the world.
  2. They have experienced mass genocides committed by surrounding states, followed by mass displacement and millions of refugees.
  3. There is a new democratic structure in the 3 cantons of Rojava which has been set up by the people of the region and enacts women’s rights as well as other forms of social justice for all those oppressed.
  4. Kurdish women have played a key role by co-leading the resistance in the region, with non patriarchal and anti-sexist methods which has also been the case throughout history.
  5. The Kurdish people in Kobane are restricted in healthcare, food and clothing.
  6. The Kurdish struggle aims to protect co-existence between the different ethnic and religious groups.

NEC Further Believes:

  1. That all peoples have the right to self-determination.
  2. Rojava is entitled to its independent political establishment which is inclusive of all the communities within the region.
  3. That the Kurdish struggle should be recognised and supported by the international community.
  4. That the Kurdish people should lead in defining their freedom and making demands of solidarity.
  5. That kidnapping sexual abuse and trafficking of Kurdish women and children are crimes against humanity.
  6. That ISIS should be condemned for its atrocities, against the Kurdish people and all others who have been affected.
  7. That aid should not be prevented from reaching the Kurdish people.
  8. Provisions should be put in place to cater for the people in the Kurdish region, namely Rojava, Shingal, Mosul and Sinjar.

NEC Resolves:

  1. That Kurdish emancipation will neither be obtained through groups like ISIS nor imperialist endeavours.
  2. To meet with and support the UK Kurdish groups and community’s solidarity efforts and the international Kurdish diaspora’s.
  3. To call on the international community to recognise the Kurdish resistance.
  4. To support the international movement to find and bring back all the Kurdish people who have been captured by ISIS.
  5. To raise awareness about the situation and support Kurdish societies within Students’ Unions to show solidarity.
  6. To pressure the UK government to meet the needs of the Kurdish community in the UK and within the region.
  7. For relevant officers to campaign to support the Kurdish struggle.
  8. To condemn the atrocities committed by ISIS and any other complicit forces.
  9. To call on the UK government to meet the needs of refugees from the region.
  10. To support women’s organizations which help young girls and women who have been abducted and trafficked.


It is not difficult to spot the glaring difference. It is hard to imagine how it is possible to ignore the religious aspect of Daesh’s murderous campaign against the Yazidis but Bouattia decided to do so. Rather than condemn Daesh as, for example, nothing to do with Islam, she chose to ignore the religious basis entirely.

That is the reason why the movement to disaffiliate from the NUS is picking up pace.

That is the reason why, at last night’s debate in Cambridge University Student Union on disaffiliation from the NUS, Oriyan Prizant (@oprizant) condemned Bouattia for indicating that “Yazidis are not human enough to merit human rights.”

It is a strong accusation. And it is fully justifiable.

Discussing identity politics : How lived experiences disrupt debate

By Freddy Bin Yusuf

In Hippias Major, one of the dialogues of Plato, Socrates and Hippias set out to find out what is the definition of beauty. Hippias offers definitions, and Socrates counters with four arguments, concluding beauty is difficult to define, something no doubt he knew before posing the question to Hippias. This is one of the great dialogues of Plato about Socrates, and these dialogues shape much of how the West define concepts, and form arguments.

Socrates was an ugly man, his statues affirming this, and with that in mind I’ll attempt to link it to this. The adherents of identity politics have laid a new card on the table, one which they use to silence debate and twist questions into attacks. This is the concept of “lived experience”

The term lived experience is used to describe the first-hand accounts and impressions of living as a member of a minority or oppressed group. 

Essentially this original definition was that you cannot discount an experience and you should listen, as in the example in the link, a male in tech cannot comment on what is is like for a female tech, only listen to her lived experience. This, on face value, is simply common sense, get as many different viewpoints as you can.

However, it has been twisted further. I spotted this in a tweet on Twitter and have seen similar across social media:

“white people can’t decide what’s racist, straight people can’t decide what’s homophobic, cis people can’t decide what’s transphobic”

This is essentially used to close down debate as its used as a counterpoint to questions and criticism. It is often demanded that you cannot engage in an argument on certain issues unless you are part of the minority that is being oppressed.  This concept is used to reinforce claims and statements that are not derived not from data, or from evidence, but from feelings of the individual who is able to provide evidence of lived experience.

Lived experiences derive from postmodern critical theory, which politicises social problems by situating them in historical and cultural contexts, but takes it one step further in ignoring historical reality in favour of a self-affirmative reality.

This defies belief, and ignores history. The banning of slavery could not be debated by non-slaves? The argument for the vote for women could not be debated by men? What happens if the viewpoint is from an intersection of identities that form a sum of one person? No one can debate at all? This has even been applied to jokes and comments on various identities, with attempts to control the speech of everyone, not just those party to the conversation.

The ground rules for debate cannot be set by one side alone, they cannot decide what can be debated, what can be questioned or what can be disproved. It is fair to reject the basic foundations of debate within a closed community, but this is not the case as they are insisting that their concepts are now the universal societal rules which must not be broken, and they seek to enforce their domination of all culture by any means necessary.

Socrates: because they do not seem so to people; but that is not what I asked, what seems to most people to be beautiful, but what is so.” We shall, then, I fancy, say, as we suggested, “We say that that part of the pleasant which comes by sight and hearing is beautiful.” Do you think the statement is of any use, Hippias, or shall we say something else?

Socjus: As an ugly man you are not allowed to comment on beauty. Blocked. 

Take the time to insult Erdogan

By Jake Wilde

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, does not like to be insulted. In that sense he is no different from the rest of us. Where he differs from most of us is that he arrests people who do so.

He doesn’t care if you’re at home, whether your insult was intentional or if you had no idea it was even an insult.

He certainly doesn’t care if you are a journalist, an academic, or a Tolkien-loving family doctor 

But matters have taken a more worrying turn. He now doesn’t care whether you’re Turkish or not.

Twitter is the bane of Erdogan’s life. He banned it in Turkey in March 2014 and again in July 2015. He is responsible for 60% of all of Twitter’s removal requests.


Take the time to insult Erdogan. While you’re still allowed to.