Analysis, Side Feature

Views on the News – 18 Nov 2016


  • Steve Bannon thinks anti-Muslim Extremists  are Experts on Islam
  • Bangladesh likely to Drop Islam Officially as National Religion
  • Pakistan has Ordered More than 100 Turkish Teachers at a Chain of International Schools to Leave

Steve Bannon thinks Anti-Muslim Extremists are Experts on Islam

Steve Bannon, whom President-elect Donald Trump chose this week as his chief strategist and senior counselor, has a history of claiming that certain anti-Muslim extremists are in fact experts on Islam. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News ― a site that regularly airs white nationalist viewpoints ― used to host a Sirius XM radio show called “Breitbart News Daily.” According to a September report from Mother Jones and the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, Bannon conducted dozens of interviews with anti-Muslim extremists on the show in the past year. These guests offered paranoid accusations and false conspiracy theories about Muslims, all of which went unchallenged by Bannon. During these interviews, Bannon often praised his guests as esteemed experts on a religion they hate.  Pamela Geller appeared on Bannon’s show seven times, according to the Mother Jones/Nation Institute report. Bannon called Geller “one of the top world experts in radical Islam and Shariah law and Islamic supremacism,” “the top leading expert in this field” and “one of the great American patriots.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, calls Geller “probably the best known – and the most unhinged – anti-Muslim ideologue in the United States. She is the movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead and a woman who is relentlessly shrill and coarse in her denunciations of Islam.” Geller, a co-founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which the SPLC defines as a hate group, came to prominence with her opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” – actually a proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, near the site of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Geller said the center would be a “victory mosque” for Muslims on “conquered land” to celebrate the attacks. “In the war between the civilized man and the savage, you side with the civilized man,” she told The New York Times in 2010. “If you don’t lay down and die for Islamic supremacism, then you’re a racist anti-Muslim Islamophobic bigot.” Geller once called Islam “the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”  She once said Arabic “is the language of Islam and it is a spearhead of an ideological project that is deeply opposed to the United States of America.” It was “cultural jihad” when a Muslim woman sued Disney to be able to wear her hijab at work, according to Geller. [Source: Huffington Post]

It is evident, that Trump intends to fulfill his agenda of fighting Islam at home and abroad. Bannon’s appointment is similar in many ways to Danial Pipe’s appointment under the Bush administration. Bush launched a crusade, and it is likely that Trump will tread similar path.

Bangladesh likely to Drop Islam Officially as National Religion

Bangladesh government officials are considering dropping Islam as the country’s national religion after a senior politician claimed Bangladeshi people have embraced a force of secularism. Ruling Awami League party leading member Dr Abdur Razzak proposed the religion be withdrawn from the country’s constitution during a discussion at the National Press Club in the capital Dhaka. He said that Bangladesh was a country of communal harmony. Here we live with people from all religions and Islam should not be accommodated as the state religion in the Bangladeshi constitution. “I have said it abroad and now I am saying it again that Islam will be dropped from Bangladesh’s constitution when the time comes. “The force of secularism is within the people of Bangladesh. There is no such thing as a ‘minority’ in our country.” Dr Razzak added that he believed Islam had been maintained as the state religion for “strategic reasons”, but declined to elaborate on this during the discussion. Islam is the largest religion in Bangladesh, with a practicing Muslim population of approximately 150 million – making it the fourth largest Muslim population in the world after India, Pakistan and Indonesia. According to a national survey from 2003, religion was the primary way Bangladeshi citizens identified themselves, and atheism was found to be rare. During a recent speech, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted the importance of “taking care” of those who follow minority religions. [Source: Daily Times]

Removing Islam from the state’s constitution will not halt the Islamic resurgence in the country, and likely to become a nail in the coffin of Bangladesh’s secularism.


Pakistan has Ordered More than 100 Turkish Teachers at a Chain of International Schools to Leave

The teachers work at 28 PakTurk schools which Turkey says are linked to US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen. The schools deny this. Turkey accuses Mr Gulen of being behind July’s failed coup, a claim he rejects. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visiting Pakistan, welcomed the move. In a statement, PakTurk International Schools and Colleges said the teachers and their families, who totaled about 450 people, had been asked to leave because of “non-approval of their requests for extension of visa”. Pakistan’s interior ministry has so far not commented. The expulsions are not expected to stop the functioning of the schools as most staff members are Pakistani. A petition by the school management challenging the decision is to be heard by the Islamabad High Court on Thursday, Pakistani media report. Mr Erdogan described the decision by Pakistan as “very pleasing”. “They moved rapidly in the direction of ending the [Gulen movement’s] presence in Pakistan and toward thwarting their attempts at unrest,” he said at Ankara airport as he left for Pakistan. “As you know, Pakistan has asked persons linked to the organisation to leave the country by November 20. This is very pleasing for us.” According to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised the issue of the schools during a visit to Pakistan in August and was told the matter would be investigated. [Source: BBC]

Erdogan has expanded his personal crusade against Gullen abroad. If only Erdogan could show a similar resolve in liberating Syria from the despot Assad think what could be achieved.