IHRC February report

February was another eventful month for the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).  Most of our time was consumed with addressing international issues that have garnered little in the way of media attention or have fallen off the mainstream radar.

February 14 marked the seventh anniversary of the Bahrain uprisings, part of the ill fated Arab Spring revolts that convulsed the region in 2010-11. Despite an international commission of inquiry and promises of reform the government of Bahrain has slid back on human rights. We used the anniversary to write to the UN Secretary General reminding him of the duty of the international community to apply pressure on the government of Bahrain to honour its commitments and uphold domestic and international human rights law.

The situation surrounding the illegally detained leader of the Nigeria’s Islamic Movement , Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, continued to exercise human rights activists in and outside the country. With Sheikh Zakzaky’s already parlous health deteriorating, IHRC highlighted the many marches taking place to demand his release.  Shaykh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah have been held by state security services since December 2015 following their arrest during a savage military assault against the movement. In the course of one of these peaceful protests, another leading member of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Qaseem Umar, was shot dead by Nigerian security forces leading IHRC to issue a condemnation.

In response to a heightened era of American exceptionalism under an overtly chauvinistic President and administration, IHRC convened a conference on 10 February, to unmask the more systemic problems that undergird US exceptionalism. This conference focussed on the Americanisation of human rights, and the praxis of human rights, arguing that they have become a tool of US-led foreign policy rather than a transformative discourse that seeks to liberate individuals, groups and indeed large sections of society who are oppressed by unjust systems.

At home, the conviction of Darren Osborne for the murder of a Muslim and the attempted murder of others last summer, was an opportunity for IHRC to highlight the growing relationship between hard-line Zionists and the far right. In the course of his trial it emerged that although Osborne had been brainwashed and radicalised into hating Muslims by far right social media spewed out by the likes of Tommy Robinson and Jayda Fransen, the origins of that hate speech can be found in the febrile atmosphere created at the time by the demonisation of Muslims by pro-Israel activists.

During the trial the court heard how the annual Palestinian al-Quds Day March was the killer’s original target but after he found surrounding roads closed he started searching for mosques in London.

The choice of the al-Quds protest was not coincidental. For weeks leading up to the march which has taken place peacefully every year for 30 years without a single arrest being made, the Zionist press and Zionist activists had engaged in a campaign to vilify the protest.

Also this month we were proud to host an author evening with Muhammad Mojlum Khan. His latest work, Great Muslims of the West, is a unique study. Through the lives of more than 50 great Western Muslims, this book reveals a remarkably rich and diverse cultural history spanning more than 1400 years. Challenging Eurocentric or essentialist views on Western history, culture and civilisation, this book argues that Islam – like Christianity – has always been a Western religion and culture. Indeed, the lives and contributions of the extraordinary and influential Western Muslims covered in this book shows that Islam is truly a global faith and culture, transcending race, colour, language and geographical boundaries.

IHRC is continuing its work with Decoloniality International Network (DIN),  hosting the one-day training course ‘Decolonising The Mind’ delivered by Sandew Hira. The course explores the concepts and tools from the theoretical framework, Decolonising The Mind. Two narratives of liberation have dominated knowledge, culture and activism for the past 150 years: Liberalism and Marxism. They are rooted in the European Enlightenment. Decolonial thinking is a collection of contributions to a third narrative of liberation with different labels (postcolonialism, orientalism, subaltern studies, Islamic liberation theology). DTM aims to develop a coherent theoretical framework as an alternative to Liberalism and Marxism.

Upcoming events:

3 March 2018: Author Evening: ‘Whites, Jews, and Us: Toward a Politics of Revolutionary Love’ with Houria Bouteldja – http://ihrc.org.uk/events/12074-author-evening-whites-jews-and-us-toward-a-politics-of-revolutionary-love-with-houria-bouteldja

29 March 2018: Author Evening: ‘Europe’s Fault Lines Racism and the Rise of the Right’ with Liz Fekete – http://www.ihrc.org.uk/events/12057-author-evening-europes-fault-lines-racism-and-the-rise-of-the-right-with-liz-fekete

Watch IHRC events live online at IHRC.TV and on Facebook Live

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Free Tariq Ramadan

Since Friday, February 2, Prof. Ramadan has been held in a solitary cell in the high security wing of Paris’s Fleury-Mérogis prison. Since last Wednesday, January 31, when Prof. Ramadan voluntarily went to the police station in Paris to answer questions about the allegations leveled against him, his family has been denied access either to visit or speak with him over the phone. It remains unclear when Prof. Ramadan’s family will be able to communicate with him and check on his condition. See more: https://www.facebook.com/FreeTariqRamadanCampaign/posts/1949252545103191


Below is an important open letter by Houria Bouteldja, spokesperson for the Party of the Indigenous People of the Republic. In this letter, she calls on feminists and others to condemn the discriminatory manner in which the court has dealt with Tariq Ramadan: “The silence of feminists on this difference in treatment has already had a negative impact on their own cause. Not only does this indifference reinforce patriarchy, it also deepens the already-existing rift between white women and women from post-colonial migrant backgrounds. In truth, closing ranks is what these women need to do in their struggle for freedom.”

Here is the full article:

“Yes to tough, exemplary action against rape
No to the racist treatment of Tariq Ramadan

As a woman, I demand that rape is severely punished, no matter who the perpetrator of the crime is, regardless of whether he is white or black.

As an indigenous woman, I demand the same punishment for perpetrators of rape, whether they are white or black.

Indeed, the French justice system is one that tends to patriarchy, and, yes, it tends to be complaisant towards sex crimes, especially when committed by influential men. Women’s voices are constantly demeaned and dismissed, except when the perpetrator is said to be black, Arab, Muslim or from the suburbs.

Here, justice tends to become racist. The tables turn: Men, who are usually protected at the expense of women, lose this immunity. They could even be condemned in advance. This is true whether it is a petty crime, or a serious offense. It may be the reason why men from migrant backgrounds are overrepresented in prison.

Is it possible to believe that we are championing women’s causes by charging one category of men while ensuring the impunity of another? Is it possible to believe that we are serving women’s causes when the perpetrators of such crimes exploit their positions of power, and enjoy their freedom and presumption of innocence with the support of their peers? And yet Tariq Ramadan, who has already been condemned by the media, has to bear a temporary detention, that the likes of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Patrick Balkany, Georges Tron, Gérard Darmanin, Denis Baupin, Thierry Marchal-Beck, Jean-Claude Brisseau, Gilbert Cuzou, and many others, have evaded or are evading?

Of course, no two cases are similar, but the difference in media, political and judicial treatment of those men, as opposed to the treatment inflicted on Tariq Ramadan, speaks for itself. This is particularly true in the case of Gilbert Cuzou [a politician in the Ile-de-France region, which includes the city of Paris]: Even though he was charged with five accounts of rape, he was released on bail while he awaits his trial. Meanwhile, Tariq Ramadan has been left to rot in Fleury-Merogis prison since February 2.

The humilitation and discriminatory treatment of indigenous people has disastrous consequences on our lives as women. It has a tragic impact on the lives of our children and our communities who pay a collective price.

As for the impunity of white men in particular, it has catastrophic consequences on the lives of women in general.

The silence of feminists on this difference in treatment has already had a negative impact on their own cause. Not only does this indifference reinforce patriarchy, it also deepens the already-existing rift between white women and women from post-colonial migrant backgrounds. In truth, closing ranks is what these women need to do in their struggle for freedom.

Hence, the only dignified course of action available to us women is to demand, regardless of the outcome of the proceedings concerning Tariq Ramadan, and without any prejudgment of his culpability or innocence, that he is treated without humiliation–in other words, with dignity, just like the others were treated… Or else, to demand that the others are treated in the same way. This is imperative and non-negotiable.

Houria Bouteldja”


Ethno-Racial Data Collection: Yes, but with whom? How? And what for?

We believe that collection of ethno-racial data, which has been claimed for years by individuals and collectives who have been combating Institutional Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, besides being recommended by various international organizations, could be an unprecedented step in the combat against racism and inequality among ethno-racial groups in Portuguese society.

Until very recently, different Portuguese governments had shrouded themselves in the convenient, however fallacious argument of unconstitutionality. The resistance, as the growing collective articulation and mobilization, has created the possibility of ending the year of 2017 with the public commitment of the Portuguese government to move forward in this direction. However, as some options are made publicly known, our concern about the operationalization of this decision increases. Knowing that this process must respect the principles of ethno-racial representativeness and participation from the outset, we reject the idea that it begins in a crooked way, at the serious risk of no longer straightening up. We reiterate that not doing so is not only a glaring political incoherence, but also weakens the transformative potential of this data collection.

In this regard, it is important to underline the unilateral decision of the government to advance the proposal for Census 2021, consulting the National Statistics Institute (INE), without prior consultation with the racialized communities. It should also be pointed out that the Census Working Group 2021 – Ethnic and Racial Issues, under the coordination of the Office of the High Commissioner for Migration (ACM) and the Secretariat of State for Citizenship and Equality, established its first meeting for the 5th of February. Exactly that day marks three years since the brutal aggressions, with racist motivations, practiced by police agents of the Alfragide Squad, against residents of Cova da Moura, knowing that until today there is no verdict on the case. For our communities, the importance of this date does not allow it to be rewritten as a moment of dialogue and concertation.

The composition of this working group did not include Afro-descendant or Roma. This way of doing politics is symptomatic of an understanding of democracy that places racialized communities in the position of “beneficiaries” rather than agents of change. Certainly, we attribute to the State the responsibility and the duty to carry out the collection of data and to formulate public policies, but we do not give up the right to be involved and represented in this process in equal circumstances in the decision making.

If this involvement were to take place other strategic issues, so far absent from the agenda of the working group, would be on the table: How to broadly involve racialized individuals and the general population so that this collection is for them recognized and appropriate? How to guarantee the good use of this information by the media? How is the data from Census 2021 linked to other sectoral surveys, like in the field of justice and education? How do you articulate this process with the proposal to launch the International Decade of Afro-Descendants made last October by the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, knowing that so far nothing was to be seen in practical terms? But above all, what structural policies to combat racism and ethno-racial inequalities are expected to be implemented in a coordinated way with the collection of this data? It is unreasonable to wait for the results of data collection to finally start thinking about a policy agenda; rather, it is this agenda that should drive the data collection process.

But the point where this process is most problematic is exactly the inscription in the umbrella of migration policy. On the one hand, ethno-racial inequalities touch upon several areas of political action – education, justice, housing, etc. – cross-referencing to the forum of citizenship and equality, beyond the restricted competence of migration policy. On the other hand, it is only those who have been very distant from the debate that is taking place in Portugal that have not yet internalized the fundamental character of the unequivocal distinction between migration policies and policies to combat racism and ethno-racial inequalities. Last September, Deputy Minister Eduardo Cabrita said: “Afro-descendants and Roma have been in Portugal for centuries … They are as Portuguese as I am.”

We cannot continue to be relegated outside the body of the nation. This is also the message of the Campaign for Another Law of Nationality, where we have been fighting for all those born in Portugal to have the right to Portuguese nationality. We are not appendices of Portuguese society, so, likewise, policies aimed at guaranteeing our full access to citizenship and equality cannot be. Data collection can be a tool at the service of ethno-racial equality, but only if it is a result of the active participation of those who have no voice or statistical footprint.

Collective and individual signatories:

Afrolis – Associação Cultural

Associação Cavaleiros de São Brás

Consciência Negra

Fundo de Apoio Social de Cabo-Verdianos em Portugal (FASCP)

KUTUCA – Associação Juvenil do Bairro das Faceiras


Núcleo de Estudantes Africanos – Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (NEA-ISCSP)

Plataforma Gueto

SOS Racismo

Teatro Griot

We Love Carapinha

Alciony Silva

Alessandra Brito

Alexandra Santos

Ana Fernandes

Ana Rita Alves

Anabela Rodrigues

Apolo de Carvalho

Ariana Furtado

António Tonga

Beatriz Carvalho

Carla Fernandes

Carla Lima

Carla Moura

Carlos Dias

Carlos Graça

Cristina Roldão

Daniel Martinho

David Lima

Diógenes Parzianello

Eduardo Jaló

Ianick Insaly

Iolanda Évora

Joacine Katar Moreira

Joana Mouta

José de Pina

José Semedo

José Semedo Fernandes

Lúcia Lopes

Maíra Zenun

Mamadou Ba

Maria da Graça

Marlene Nobre

Marta Araújo

Matamba Joaquim

Mojana Vargas

Myriam Taylor

Nádia Lima

Nuno Dias

Otávio Raposo

Paulo Taylor

Raquel Lima

Silvia Maeso

Sofia Peysonneau Nunes

Susana Djiba

Telma Gonçalves

Vítor Sanches



Survey Decolonial Academic Network

The Decolonial International Network (DIN) is considering setting up a service for academics working in/at universities around the world. The service is called Decolonial Academic Network and consists of the following parts:

  • An academic peer reviewed biannual journal where academics can publish the results of their research.
  • An accessible database on current, past and future research (PhD dissertations, collaborative research projects).
  • Publication of books via Amrit Publishers.
  • The organization of conferences for academics working in universities.
  • A vacancy alert for positions at universities (Lecturers, PhD researchers, Post-doctoral researchers, Professors).
  • Facilitating joint research projects.
  • Linking academics to decolonial activism.

DIN will invest in the service infrastructure and will facilitate a steering committee of academics who develop a policy for the network.

Currently the steering committee consists of the following people:

Sandew Hira, coordinator of DIN

Silvia Rodríguez Maeso, Centre for Social Research, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Adrian Groglopo, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

DIN would charge a membership fee for the service.

We want to have an idea whether a service like this would be useful for decolonial academics working in universities by conducting a survey. Click here to conduct the survey.




Houria Bouteldja and the white left

Houria Bouteldja, leader of the Parti des Indigénes de la République (PIR), has been consistently attacked by the French press. DIN makes an evaluation with her on these attacks.

DIN: It is not the first time that you are the target of slanderous attacks coming from the right and from the left, but the current attacks are particularly violent. Could you come back on the reason of the attacks you have to face currently?

HB: The previous attacks, that we can analyze retrospectively as a test, happened last June. Its main actors were Danièle Obono, Jean Birnbaum from Le Monde, the French secular and islamophobic sphere and myself. Its culmination was a press box of supports, signed by intellectuals and published in Le Monde. This press box was a catalyst for further attacks. The watchdogs pounced on it like a pack. Some of the people who signed, were traumatized by these media attacks. Right now, we came across a similar campaign but of higher intensity: it lasted 3 weeks without interruption, a real woman hunt, and it all started with the word “comrade” on which I should briefly come back since it contains all the resorts of this case.

First, the word “comrade” makes me respectable and does not marginalize me like what is done with the PIR. If I am recognized now, by the main left-wing force (France Insoumise), it is not only a success of political antiracism but also of its most demonized figure. Hence it goes against this demonization since its purpose is to isolate me. Indeed, since Macron’s election for the French presidency, it is the national-republican camp, that goes from Valls to Fillon, that has lost. Macron sticks to an ultra-liberal line but not on the same ideological resorts as neoconservatism. For its enemies, he is almost our ally – which is, of course, a gross error. However, they are right to see Danièle Obono as a real expression of the progress of political antiracism, because even if she is required to take distance with us, she comes from the struggles against state racism and imperialism. And what makes them crazy is both the fact that Macron did not use identity issues and the fact that new figures, who are not entangled in Mélenchon’s national republicanism, are entering the French parliament.

The current offensive against me has worked since Danièle Obono has clearly differentiate herself from the PIR. We are witnessing a white fall back: the France Insoumise, who tried an opportunistic appeal during the presidential elections, comes back to its gravity center: national republicanism.

DIN: How do you explain what appears as an inability to read your texts, whether it is from activists, journalists or academics? It seems that your texts are rarely read – even if it is on this base that you are often attacked.

HB: I would answer both yes and no. Some politicized colonial subjects and a whole part of the radical Left are reading my texts. Let’s look at this in a methodical way, starting by explaining that the decolonial thought is revolutionary and the PIR has played an important role in developing it in the framework of the worldwide colonial counter-revolution and in the specific context of French republicanism. This political thought shakes the traditional categories of the left. We are questioning the dogmas of the progressive thought without breaking with a strategic aim, which is to build an alliance with the left. In other terms, we did not just produce a political thought but we transformed it into practice. Indeed, we achieve, with all our brothers and sisters from the sphere of political antiracism, with, against and separately from the left. The secret of this dishonest reading of our texts lies here:

  • The left has gone from failures to failures since the 1980s.
  • The only big success from these ten years is Mélenchonnism who has to sacrifice the French banlieues and put forward a false universalism in order to rally its social basis on a republican and social project. Regarding the most radical wing of the left, they are stuck in a very traditional view of the class struggle. The deep logic of these two tendencies (Mélenchonnism and the radical left) is to unify their basis, their big fear is the risk of division in a context in which the Lefts are particularly weakened and in which fascism becomes more and more a possible perspective.

In this context, political antiracism, both participates to the rebuilding of the Left and puts it in crisis. It is through the risk of division and the panic it creates that one should understand the hysteria around the texts of the PIR, and particularly mine.

DIN: What is the purpose of the antisemitism accusations you have to face?

HB: To put a line between the bad guys and the good ones. In this situation, the Jewish question is widely instrumentalized to the profit of the good white conscience. I think that people do not give a damn about Jews and the irony of all this is that we are the only ones to really care, I mean consequently. This is why we want to put the history of the Jewish genocide back in the long history of colonial (and capitalists) crimes. We are among the few who give a political sense to the famous words “never again” who cannot be understood without an understanding of whiteness and white power.

DIN: The left seems particularly sluggish on the attacks you have to face. How do you explain that, despite the progress of the anti-racist struggle these last years – and the role played by the PIR in events like the demonstration for Palestine (2014), several conferences against islamophobia, the two Marches for dignity, etc. – your support are extremely rare in organizations that reclaim themselves from the fight against racism?

HB: Because there is an intellectual terrorism in the left. As soon as I am constructed as an anti-Semitic demon, every single person who comes close to me is, mechanically, marred. The French left has, for a long time, abandon historical materialism and has become religious and moral. The French left works through principles. Its priority is that it is more concerned with respectability than with the building of a balance of power with French colonial subjects.

I would be way more supported if I would bow down before progressive ideas. I would if those ideas were politically efficient, but they are not if one wants to analyze the contradictions racism introduce in social relationships. The assertiveness from the PIR towards all its detractors, white and non-white (and they are a lot of non-white detractors of the PIR) is not a caprice but a must in order to link the new French colonial subjects to mainstream politics.

DIN: The ideas you develop and defend are discussed in the whole world; your book (Whites, Jews and Us) was translated into English but also in Spanish and Italian; you were invited in important universities in the US, Spain, Germany or Australia. Nevertheless, in France research (from activist or academics) seems pretty much hermetic towards your writings. What is, in your opinion, the reason for this paradox?

HB: We should not idealize other countries because their “Houria Bouteldja” are also demonized. If I am welcomed in US, Spanish or Australian universities because I criticize France, what about their own decolonial activists? I am not sure that black leaders in the US or Latin-American leaders in Spain are appreciated in their countries.

If I am welcome in those universities, it is also because they like seeing France felling from its pedestal. There is also a certain curiosity for complex and dialectical ideas. Thus, I am seen as a voice that should be respected. Cornel West’s foreword to the English translation of my book is very significant from this point of view.

Massive attacks against Houria Bouteldja and the PIR

Individualized attacks against PIR representative Houria Bouteldja have been systematic and have grown to an unprecedented level of violence. Despite all evidence to the contrary, this campaign hinges on a deceitful triptych: that of the antisemitism, homophobia and ‘reverse racism’ of which Houria Bouteldja is supposedly guilty. However, nothing in her speeches or written works supports these serious accusations.

These very virulent attacks come from diverse media-political areas which benefit from near monopoly of the public forum in France. Insults and slander are relayed complacently by media platforms to which Houria Bouteldja is never invited, whether it be to their columns or to their sets. This is a matter of pure defamation, intended to demonize and muffle her political discourse.

This rampage is dangerous, as it offers up an easy target to all the French racist spheres that have specifically rallied in an uninterrupted islamophobic offensive for several years.

Faced with French politicians’ failure to act, and against these threats, it is of the utmost importance to offer this decolonial activist, and political antiracism, international support and attentive protection. Supporting and defending the values of freedom of speech, which are objectively being called into question in France by an increasingly oppressive State, is an emergency and a priority, as, behind Houria Bouteldja, the whole of the decolonial movement is being targeted, and with it, all the hope it inspires.

UK Labour Shadow Education Secretary has wrong end of stick in anti-Semitism claims

IHRC has written to the shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticising her involvement in attempts by the Daily Mail to paint as anti-semitic the launch of a book by the Palestinian-American academic Dr Hatem Bazian.
In an article dated 17 November on the alleged rise of anti-Semitism on university campuses the Mail quoted Rayner, the Labour MP for Ashton Under Lyne, as saying she would speak to party leader Jeremy Corbyn about his attendance at the launch last December of a book whose author the Mail described as ‘extremely anti-Semitic’. The event was hosted by IHRC.
Dr Bazianís book Palestine…it is something colonial frames the creation of the Zionist state as the last settler colonial project to be commissioned in the late 19th early 20th centuries. In locating Palestine’s modern history around settler colonial discourses Dr. Bazian’s book provides a context to understand and relate to the Middle East conflict, highlighting how Zionist settler colonialism shares many features with other colonialism such as the normative deployment of violence, religious justification, garrison state sponsor, transformation of the land and geography, and the constitution of a new colonial epistemology as well as the expulsion of an indigenous population and negation of its very existence.
IHRC refutes any suggestion that we are anti-Semitic or provide a platform to those who are. IHRC has never, and will never, platform any speaker who espouses racist views, including anti-Semitic views.
We view Angela Rayner’s intervention as an attempt to muzzle any criticism of Israel under the pretext of anti-Semitism.
“To describe Professor Bazian’s work or this event as anti-Semitic is deeply worrying. Either you have not read the work or you view all criticism of Israel to be illegitimate and should be silenced. In either scenario, your intervention is extremely damaging for free speech and political debate in the UK,” states the letter. “We find it deeply troubling that a democratically elected official like yourself should seek to demonise pro-BDS political opinions that are critical of Israel by labelling it anti-Semitic.”
Dr. Hatem Bazian is a lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Editor-in-Chief of the Islamophobia Studies Journal and Director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Bazian is also a co-founder of Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim Liberal Arts College in America, the National Chair of American Muslims for Palestine, Board Member of Islamic Scholarship Fund, and Board Member of the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
The letter also clarifies that Mr Corbyn never attended the event. He was passing by, on his own personal business, and members of the audience asked him for photographs, to which he kindly agreed.

Notes to editors:

The full text of the letter can be read here

For more information please call +44 7958 522196 or email nadia@ihrc.org.

Islamophobia conferences in Europe

In December across Europe events are being organized on islamophobia.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom two events have been organized.


On Friday 8 Dec 2017 from 6:00pm to 9:45pm SACC will host an event in Edinburgh. A recent survey by Samena Dean found that more than half of Muslim school students interviewed in Edinburgh had experienced Islamophobia. Anti-Muslim racism is commonplace and growing. It is reflected in hate crime, unlawful discrimination, discriminatory and hostile social attitudes and institutional racism. Schools, colleges and universities are not immune to this trend.

Islamophobia has assisted and driven the growth of other forms of xenophobia that are now being felt across the UK by EU citizens threatened by Brexit. It has paved Donald Trump’s path to the White House. Across Europe it is fuelling the growth of far-right parties that, once empowered, threaten Jews, LGBT people and disabled people.

Our educational institutions are uniquely well-placed to shape social attitudes and community relations in tomorrow’s Scotland. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. If you care about education, whether as an educator, a student or a member of the wider community, please come along to the conference. It’s a chance to learn about the experiences of others and discuss the way forward.

There are two parallel workshops from 6-7 pm.

A: “Can we talk about Islamophobia” – workshop mainly for young Muslims, but open to everyone

  1. “Radicalising anti-racism” – round-table discussion on how to move towards radically anti-racist education

There is a break for food from 7.00-7.20pm followed by two plenary session:

7.20-8.30pm: Plenary I. “What is Islamophobia?”

8.40-9.45pm: Plenary II. “Decolonising Education”

Speakers include: Arzu Merali (co-founder and head of research, IHRC, and leading member of DIN), Tasneem Ali (MWAE), Richard Haley (SACC), Sofiah MacLeod (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign) and Yahya Barry. Chaired by Zahid Ali.

The event is at Augustine United Church, 41-43 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH6 4BY. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

Facebook: http://www.sacc.org.uk/events/2017/islamophobia-conference-2017 / https://www.facebook.com/saccRights/


On December 10 IHRC, member of DIN, will host an event to discuss the rise of islamophobia.

Last year’s Islamophobia conference discussed the creation of a police state in the UK. While the policies aimed at surveilling, criminalising and extraditing Muslims, refugees and migrants have continued unabated, we have seen alongside this the alarming growth of nativism in the UK and around the world.

Nativism is the political policy of promoting the interests of “native” inhabitants against those of “immigrants”. It is racism masquerading as patriotism.

This racism reared its ugly head during the Brexit debates. Anti-immigrant sentiments were fanned to ensure a victory for the leave camp. Since then, incidents of racism and Islamophobia have been on the rise. Following the vote, people were attacked on the streets and told they now had to leave the UK since the leave vote was successful. The ‘leave’ result has further legitimised the environment of hate we already exist in.

The election of Trump in America has allowed nativism to enter mainstream politics. He branded Mexicans as lazy and as rapists, Muslims as terrorists and imposed a ‘Muslim Ban’. His anti-immigration stance and his plan for a wall on the Mexican border has resonated with people who feel they have been marginalised and silenced by immigrants, foreigners, the ‘other’ who are destroying their way of life. Trump’s rise to power mirrors a rise in hate crimes against minorities. Black communities continue to struggle against systemic violence, as well as racism from their fellow citizens, while Trump publicly undermines any criticism voiced by black communities. Trump’s presidency has emboldened Nazis to openly march on the streets again, galvanised the so-called alt-right and fractured community relations across America.

Across Europe we see a similar trend; the rise of the far-right has been fuelled by nativist sentiments. Ideas of foreigners taking over, of destroying indigenous cultures and imposing their own alien way of life have been the main talking points for the likes of the Afd in Germany, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Recent elections in Germany, Austria, France and the Czech Republic saw major electoral gains for far-right parties / candidates. Europe’s shift to the right signals a new era of nativist policies, and foreshadows a future of uncertainty and instability for minority communities.

Location: P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton St, Kings Cross, London NW1 1JD (nearest stations: Kings Cross St. Pancras / Euston / Euston Square).

Date and time: December 10, from 10.30am – 4.30pm


  • Dr Luis Manuel Hernandez Aguilar
  • Arzu Merali
  • Amrit Wilson
  • Hatem Bazian
  • Phil Miller
  • Martjin de Koning

Website: http://www.ihrc.org.uk/events/11979-islamophobia-conference-2017-the-rise-of-nativism

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Islamic-Human-Rights-Commission-109724959498/


In Madrid, Spain, Kale Amenge, member of DIN, and uMMA in collaboration with Bruselles Pantheres will host an event to confront the growing racism in the Spanish context and to build a Roma-Muslim alliance to fight together both islamophobia and anti-gipsyism as forms of structural racism in the Spanish state. The event will be held at La Enredadera de Tetuán, C/ Anastasio Herrero 10, Madrid on December 10 2017 (start 17.00 hr).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1858522374459001/


In France a coalition of organizations are organizing an event on December 10th in Saint-Denis. The coalition consists of the following organizations: AFD International, Association Commission “Islam & laïcité”, CCIF, CFPE, CCI, Femmes plurielles, Fondation Frantz Fanon, Identité plurielle, IJAN, NPA, PIR (member of DIN), PSM, UJFP.

This years conference is entitled “Macron or the permanent state of emergency”.

There are three plenary sessions :

1st plenary session: 9.30 a.m. to 12: Are antiterrorist law efficient in the fight against terrorism?

2d plenary session: 1.30 p.m. to 3 p.m.: The identity attack against public liberties: attacks from everywhere.

3d plenary session: 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.: Silencing political antiracist activists: the other face of the identity attack.

The are followed by two workshops from 4.45 p.m. to 5.30p.m.

  1. The struggle against discriminations on the workplace and the consequences of the labor law.
  2. Stigmatisation of territories: from Saint-Denis to Molenbeek

A fourth plenary session from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. concludes with a discussion on the perspectives for the future.

The location is : Bourse du Travail, 9 rue Genin, Saint-Denis (France).

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Conf%C3%A9rence-Internationale-contre-lIslamophobie-137999883520915/

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/243921642807102/


A three day conference in Sweden will present a decolonial analysis of islamophobia.

The conference aims:

  • To create a space for dissemination of decolonial knowledge ;
  • To raise the question of islamophobia and discuss it on local, national and international levels ;
  • To create awareness of Morayma, member of DIN, and facilitate networking between organizations and activists.

Program :

  • Friday Dec 15th (evening) – Workshop, 2 hours
  • Saturday Dec 16th – Conference, 6 hours
  • Sunday Dec 17th – Workshop/lecture, 2-4 hours

Speakers are : Ramon Grosfoguel, Hatem Bazian and Sandew Hira.

The conference will be held in Götenborg, Sweden.

Registration : www.morayma.se


The Balfour Declaration: 1917-2017 100 years of colonialism/100 years of resistance

Aya Ramadan & Selim Nadi

On November 2d 1917, Arthur Balfour (1848–1930)—former Prime Minister of Britain and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—wrote a Letter to Lionel Walter Rotschild in order to explain his sympathy with the Jewish Zionist project: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

This promise toward the Zionist movement became way more concrete with another project: the San Remo Conference (in 1920) that made Palestine part of the British Empire. Nevertheless, the Balfour-Declaration of 1917 not only was a sort of “first step” toward the creation of the Zionist State in 1948. It was also part of a wider treason of European’s power towards Arab nationalists. Indeed, one year earlier, in 1916, the Sykes-Picot Agreement between the UK and France defined several “sphere of influences” in order to control a whole part of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat during World War I. Hence, Balfour’s sympathy toward the establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine paved the way for the Zionist colonial project. And indeed, one year later, there was a parade in Jerusalem by some Zionist groups in order to celebrate the first anniversary of this declaration.

No wonder that 100 years later Zionists still want to use this anniversary in order to legitimize the colonial system that Israel is. This is why, in several countries, anticolonial activists are organizing events in order to remember this declaration in another way: through the racist and colonial project it represents and how it fits perfectly with European colonialism. Hence, some anticolonial voices have responded to the call of Palestinians in order to denounce the celebration of the Balfour-Declaration by the Zionists and their accomplices. This is why we call all the Friends of Palestine to meet in the Parisian region on November 5 in order to commemorate rather than to celebrate the centenary of this declaration. Indeed, on November 5, at the Bourse du travail from Saint-Denis, the voices of the resistance toward colonialism will be heard through 4 speakers:

  • Ilan Pappe: Professor at the University of Exeter and author of, among other books, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006).
  • Joseph Massad: Palestinian Professor of History at Columbia University and author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question (2006).
  • Rabab Abdulhadi: Palestinian Professor of Sociology at the University of San Francisco and head of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative.
  • Alain Gresh: French journalist and specialist of the Middle-East and the author of Israel, Palestine: Truths of a Conflict (2007).

This event is a very important one since France is probably one of the most loyal accomplice of Zionist colonialism. During the 75th commemoration of the raid of the Vel d’Hiv in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron invited Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahou and declared that Antizionism is the “reinvented form of Antisemitism”. This fallacious attempt to delegitimize any antizionist effort is not very new. The consequences of this logic, that has shaped the French policy toward Israel for several years, had an devastating impact on the anticolonial movement with the criminalization of the BDS Movement. This political context poses with increasing urgency the necessity of continuing to resist despite the attempt to silence anticolonial voices in France.

The meeting of November 5th is organized by decolonial organizations and Immigrant organizations — like the Parti des Indigènes de la République, the Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France, the Fédération des Tunisiens pour une citoyenneté des deux rives – and some organizations from the French radical Left, like NPA, Ensemble, Attac. Hence, this common work has permitted us to organize, on a national scale, against the racist and colonial celebrations of the Balfour-Declarations that want to erase any anticolonial voice from the French political Landscape. But the organization of such an event in France is just a part of a more global organization of antizionist forces who are trying to show their support to the Palestinian people. The anticolonial bloc that has resulted from this anti-Balfour project will continue to support Palestine after November 5th. This meeting is part of a broader attempt to organize against colonialism and racism on an international level with every single force that shares our aim to raise our voices against the racist and colonial system that underlies the Zionist project since more than 100 years.


IHRC has complied the following sources on the Balfour Declaration.


  1. The Balfour Declaration: Palestine’s British and Zionist Colonial Legacy – Hatem Bazian
  2. The Balfour Declaration Destroyed Palestine, Not the Palestinian People – Ramzy Baroud
  3. Israel simply has no right to exist – Faisal Bodi
  4. Balfour at 100: A legacy of racism and propaganda –  Dan Freeman-Malloy
  5. Remembering Balfour: empire, race and propaganda – Dan Freeman-Malloy


  1. Independent Jewish Voices: 100 Years After Balfour FULL FILM (24 min)
  2. David Cronin discusses his book Balfour’s Shadow at IHRC (1 uur en 20 min)


Towards a New Liberation Theology – Reflections on Palestine  – eds Arzu Merali and Javad Sharbaf


Furthermore, there are two new books that are interesting for decolonial thinking.

ON THE SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM: http://shop.ihrc.org/on-the-sociology-of-islam-ali-shariati-3

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, EUROCENTRISM AND OTHERISATION OF MUSLIMS: http://shop.ihrc.org/american-exceptionalism-eurocentrism-and-otherisation-of-muslims-saied-reza-ameli

Decolonial International Network