is Britain Mr Taheri, even Benador’s spin will
By Shaikh Riyad Nadwi,
28 July 2005
The Times published an article by one Mr
Amir Taheri calling on Muslims to stop using 'their
bodies as advertising space for al-Qaeda'. According
to him, 'Growing a beard has nothing to do with Islam'
and 'Muslim women should cast aside the so-called
hijab, which has nothing to do with Islam'.
Now if you are wondering, as I imagine many would
be, who this Mr Taheri is and whence his authority
to issue such a fatwa, the answer can be readily found.
I believe it is necessary to look at some of his earlier
pronouncements and the people who have created the
mirage of authority around him.
Although he now pretends to know what the 'true Islam'
is, in the aftermath of 9/11 he attacked Western politicians
for their attempts to distance Islam from terrorism
by publishing an article in the Wall Street Journal
entitled 'Islam Can't Escape Blame' (27.10.01). He
wishes, as do all of his Neocon associates, to convince
the world that Islam is the problem. In addition,
two years ago in 2003 he published an article in National
Review entitled 'Perles of Wisdom' (7.5.03) suggesting
that 'The Prince of Darkness' Richard Perle
is in fact a fountain of wisdom.
The question is: what did he or his publicist Eleana
Benador hope to achieve by publishing yesterday’s
article in The Times? Surely, they are not
so naïve as to think that Muslims will come upon
Taheri's fatwas and suddenly decide to shave
their beards and remove their hijab. Muslims
take their fatwa from recognised religious scholars
not shoddy Neocons. The aim of the article can only
be a psychological one aimed not at Muslims but at
the general British public. It is, as far as I can
see, designed to capitalise on the current tragedies
to create a sense of fear and exacerbate tension among
the Muslim and other communities in this country.
The hope is that whenever a British person sees a
Muslim woman in hijab or a man with a beard,
he should not perceive it as a reflection of love
for their Prophet and dedication to God but he or
she should see it as a terrorist threat and a sign
of impending danger.
If anyone thinks that I am reading too much into this
article then I suggest we ponder on the recent history
of Benador Associates, who are credited with creating
the image and popularity of Mr Amir Taheri. There
are a number of pro-Israel organisations in the USA
dedicated to promoting war against Muslim countries
and they do not flinch from using unscrupulous tactics
(e.g. the notorious WMD fallacy). The Committee for
the Liberation of Iraq, the Project for the New American
Century, the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy, the Centre for Strategic
and International Studies (CSIS), the Middle East
Forum, The Hudson Institute and the Hoover Institute
are all famous for the stance they took in the run
up to the war on Iraq. Each of these organisations
shares a number of 'overlapping memberships and interests…
One thing that many had in common was their joint
use of Benador Associates' (Rampton and Stauber 2003,
p. 56) run by Eleana Benador who lists among her clients
Khidhir Hamza, the Iraqi nuclear scientist who had
claimed in his book that Iraq had a nuclear bomb.
She also famously promoted the American born Israeli
citizen Barry Rubin, who is the sole proprietor of
the Israeli journal, Middle East Review of International
Affairs, from where 11 of the 16 pages of the
famous 10 Downing Street 'dodgy dossier' were derived.
This was a document that was purportedly based on
high-level British intelligence data and later turned
out to be lifted almost verbatim from an article in
The question that everyone needs to ask is: how long
can we continue to allow these pro-Israel activists
to dominate policy and strategic thinking in the West?
Be it the killing of an innocent Brazilian man in
a shoot-to-kill policy or the launch of pre-emptive
wars on the backs of dubious fears, for as long as
we continue to adopt policies and methods that are
rooted in the idea that 'other' races do not deserve
a right to recognition or compassion, we will persist
in hurtling down the road to a 'clash of civilisations'.
We must understand that to attack the sentiments of
faith among Muslims is no different to attacking the
sentiments of ethnicity among the Jews. We are identified
by our faith, as they are by their race. Anti-Semitic
and anti-Islamic behavior are equal in the effect
they have on hearts and minds.
Demanding the shaving of beards and the removal of
hijab is tantamount to the requiring of the
Jews to disown elements of their much loved Jewish
traditions. Joe Hagan of the New York Observer
once interviewed Eleana Benador and wrote that 'her
job was not only to work the phones for her clients,
but sometimes to help polish their message' (7.4.03).
Must we not speculate therefore as to the amount of
polishing she may have provided to Mr Taheri's latest
'fatwas' in The Times?