An excellent elaboration by Sharif Abu Laith of why Jacinda Ardern cannot play both sides of the streets. It’s critical thinking 101, not nitpicking.
So it seems my last status criticising NZ PM Jacinda Ardern caused a bit of a stir.
Let’s clarify some points.
Q. Has she made some good gestures towards Muslims since the attack?
Yes she has
Q. Is she equivalent to Donald trump in perpetuating islamophobia/anti Islamic and Muslim attitude?
No she isn’t
Q. So why pick on her after all the nice things she said about Muslims and her clear condemnation of the Christchurch mosque attack?
Well we have to have a deeper sensation of the political reality and the history of this problem. If we think this problem will be solved by kind and even some sincere gestures by politicians I think we have fundamentally failed to understand the underlying root issues that has created such an anti Islamic environment.
Q. So what has caused the rise in anti Islamic feeling.
There’s a number of factors one of the most prominent of which has been the war on terror narrative. This narrative created the perception that if western countries don’t invade and occupy Muslim lands, support brutal secular dictators in these countries then the western world would face terrorist attacks on their streets. As we know decisions to invade Iraq and even Afghanistan were not taken to protect western nations from some “radical terrorists” rather they were made for geopolitical interests of western powers. However in order to create the moral justification for the war they had to demonise Islam and Muslims and create the perception that western nations are under existential threat from Muslims and their civilisation is morally superior.
This inevitably radicalised the majority non Muslim population against the minority Muslim population living in western societies. Together with other factors such as failing western economies and ideas around race and nationalism contributed further to seeing minorities like the Muslims as a problem community.
Q. So did PM Ardern contribute with her policies and actions as leader of the NZ Labour Party and PM of NZ to this growing anti Islamic sentiment.
Firstly she played into protectionist and populist sentiments that immigration was out of control. That this was causing problems within the economy due to the burdensome numbers coming in to NZ. As I said this was playing into the anti immigration sentiments being pushed by parties like NZ First Party (New Zealand first… sounds familiar with another group in Britain).
Secondly she joined to form a coalition government with New Zealand First party. This party is headed by a person with strong anti Muslim and racist sentiments. His name is Winston Peters.
Not only aligning herself with NZ First she then brought Winston Peters into government and made him deputy PM.
Here’s what Ardern’s deputy PM has said about Muslims and immigration…
Ex 1. “Peters said the “Islamic community” needed to “clean house” by “turning these monsters in”.
“It starts with their own families. For New Zealand, we must avoid the same politically correct trap that has allowed such communities apart to form. That is, it is we who must change, they say, as a society to accommodate the cultural practices and traditions of others.”
Ex 2. Furthermore he said in 2016, Peters had called for interviewing potential immigrants from countries that “treat their women like cattle” in order to “check their attitude” before allowing them into the country. Most believe he was referring to Muslim’s.
Ex 3. In a speech in 2005 about the London bombings, he said New Zealand had never been a nation of Islamic immigrants and suggested moderate Muslims were operating “hand in glove” with extremists. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0507/S00649.htm
Ex 4. “He also stated, “In many parts of the world the Christian faith is under direct threat from radical Islam – and that threat is taking an extreme form.”
Ex 5. And on immigration in 2004, he stated: “We are being dragged into the status of an Asian colony and it is time that New Zealanders were placed first in their own country.”
Q. But she can’t be held responsible for what other politicians state?
Err yes she can if she decides knowing full well what his views are and that of his party to bring them into government and appoint him as deputy PM. Imagine if another left leaning party decided to appoint an openly anti Semitic politician into government and as a deputy leader of the country. There would be a huge outcry. Imagine then that the hate being perpetuated by those she has mainstreamed then resulted in an attack on innocent civilians, how would people react? Inevitably they’d question why is it she appointed such people in the first place.
Q. But wasn’t she calling for the troops to return from Iraq?
Initially she made these claims but then made a big u-turn on this policy and extended the time for NZ troops in Iraq citing as part of her reasoning the threat of Isis!
Point is she perpetuated the very same WOT narrative that has been so prominent in creating the problem in the first place. Again I’m not equating her to the likes of trump or previously Blair (although she was his political advisor in 2005) but she easily slips into the same narrative to justify her politically inspired decision, the fall out from this is again reinforcing the idea Muslims are a potential threat.
Q. But it’s not the time to discuss this we should present a united front with a politician that is showing sympathies for Muslims.
This is exactly the time. With growing criticism of the languages used by mainstream politicians and media then more than ever we need to take this opportunity to hold those in power to account. If we don’t and we become pacified by kind gesture we literally won’t address the elephants in the room. Ie the language, policies and alignment with anti Muslim individuals. All of this contributes to the radicalisation of non Muslims against the wider Muslim population. If we don’t speak about this after 50 Muslims have been massacred then when exactly do we want to address this?