The story so far
This post is not disappearing and has not been taken down, as the main premise still remains. However, in the light of further information from Iceland Review itself, there are elements which do alter it, particularly now the editorial policy on comments and how they work has been explained.
Below therefore is the rewritten post in the light of these developments.
IR is a fine journal which, in the words of its publisher, Benedikt Jóhannesson, covers:
Iceland’s nature, culture, society, politics and business as well as photographs …
As a writer heavily involved in British and global political commentary, I’ve always seen IR as a blessed relief, a welcome break from the issues bedevilling the world at this time.
For example, my first published post was about Iceland, it’s gone on from there and you’ll note that my attitude to IR is friendly and supportive. I count Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir as a friend and we have corresponded now and then.
I’m perfectly happy to keep my politics away from iceland Review as long as they stick to their editorial policy on outside political ideologies.
IR has certainly written about politics before – Icelandic politics – and it’s been interesting seeing who is in favour, who is not, who is resigning or being ejected, plus the articles on Icesave were also interesting.
All is well, yes?
Well actually no.
Unfortunately, there is a more recent columnist named Júlíana Björnsdóttir who, though she writes excellent articles about the country, the life, the weather, the cost of living and so on – hence she was my favourite columnist for a time – saw fit, twice, to make political statements which had nothing to do with Iceland. In fact she chose two topics and one side of those topics which are hot potatoes in the world today.
As I pointed out to her the first time, by making such statements at a site readers have always seen as non-political, she risks alienating the half of the readers who disagree with her.
For that statement, I was blocked. I stated that it was her who had blocked me, as it is on any political blog but it was apparently another who remains nameless.
Now we come to today’s issue
Iceland is not excluded. Anti-Islam proponents will use these series of attacks as an excuse to spread their hatred. How fiercely will Iceland as a nation fight the voice of hatred?
Hatred only breeds more hatred.
If she had stopped at condemning the killings in Paris, it would have been fine but she did not stop there, she then directly defamed those who oppose Islamic violence, calling us haters. Hence this post. if she’s going to do that, then she is going to be answered.
Her article is called “A Bad Start” and yet there was no mention at all of the Boko Haram atrocity in Baga this month in which an estimated 2000 people were slaughtered.
Her selective vision is amazing – ignoring atrocities all over the world in order to try to defend Islam in Paris and in the Charlie Hebdo killings, she is presenting a skewed view of what is going on and who is to blame.
For example, this is the finance trail of Boko Haram:
Kidnappings, robbery and extortion
Boko Haram gets funding from bank robberies and kidnapping ransoms. As an example, in the spring of 2013 gunmen from Boko Haram kidnapped a family of seven French tourists on vacation in Cameroon. Two months later, the kidnappers released the hostages along with 16 others in exchange for a ransom of $3.15 million.
Any funding they may have received in the past from al-Qaeda affiliates is insignificant compared to the estimated $1 million ransom for each wealthy Nigerian or foreigner kidnapped. Cash is moved around by couriers, making it impossible to track, and communication is conducted face-to-face. Their mode of operation, which is thought to include paying local youths to track army movements, is such that little funding is required to carry out attacks. Equipment captured from fleeing soldiers keeps the group constantly well-supplied. The group also extorts local governments. A spokesman of Boko Haram claimed that Kano state governor Ibrahim Shekarau and Bauchi state governor Isa Yuguda had paid them monthly.
Donations from Islamist sympathizers
After Boko Haram was founded, it received most of its funds from local donors who supported its goal of imposing Islamic law while ridding Nigeria of Western influences. In more recent times, Boko Haram has broadened its funding by drawing on foreign donors, and other ventures such as fake charity organizations. In February 2012, recently arrested officials revealed that while the organization initially relied on donations from members, its links with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb opened it up to funding from groups in Saudi Arabia and the UK.
Boko Haram cloaks its sources of finance through the use of a highly decentralized distribution network. The group employs an Islamic model of money transfer called hawala, which is based on an honor system and a global network of agents that makes the financing difficult to track. In the past, Nigerian officials have been criticized for being unable to trace much of the funding that Boko Haram has received.
Drug trafficking, smuggling and poaching
Boko Haram has occasionally been connected in media reports with cocaine trafficking; according to some there appears to be a lack of evidence regarding this means of funding. James Cockayne, formerly Co-Director of the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation and Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute, wrote in 2012,
“Given their appreciation of the contested nature of much African governance, it comes as something of a surprise that Carrier and Klantschnig [Review of Africa and the War on Drugs, 2012] fiercely downplay the impact that cocaine trafficking is having on West African governance. On the basis of just three case studies (Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho and Nigeria) the authors conclude that ‘state complicity’ in the African drug trade is ‘rare’, and the dominant paradigm is ‘repression’. As a result, they radically understate the close involvement of political and military actors in drug trafficking – particularly in West African cocaine trafficking – and overlook the growing power of drug money in African electoral politics, local and traditional governance, and security.”
According to Loretta Napoleoni, an expert on terrorist finance, Boko Haram funds itself by trafficking drugs from drug cartels in Latin America. “Nobody wants to admit that cocaine reaches Europe via West Africa,” says Napoleoni, “This kind of business is a type of business where Islamic terrorist organizations are very much involved.”
Boko Haram also engages in other forms of smuggling. According to a report from the Animal Protection Institute, the group has joined other criminal groups in Africa in the billion-dollar rhino and elephant poaching industry.
Ties to other designated terrorist groups
Evidence going back to 2002 or earlier ties Boko Haram to al-Qaida and its regional affiliates. According to E.J Hogendoorn, author of a report on Boko Haram for the International Crisis Group, Osama bin Laden himself sent $3 million in seed money to Nigeria to fund the spreading of his ideologies, and some of this money was used to help start the Boko Haram group. This information came from a Nigerian researcher’s interview with a member of Boko Haram “who was very knowledgeable about the origins of the group.” It also appears that bin Laden provided strategic direction to the Nigerians. In 2011, Coorespondance between bin Laden and Boko Haram was found in bin Laden’s compound after the raid that killed him.
Gary Brecher, in his study on Algeria, writes about the very collusion of the people themselves. Though he writes here of Algeria, the same is true of Nigeria and the western countries where they have exported this violence:
But even if there are some secret motives, you can’t say the Algerian massacres are just the result of a few “bad apples” or part of some conspiracy theory. There are too many people doing the killings for that. Let’s face up to a couple of depressing facts here:
First: Islam DOES glorify violence. When groups like the GIA say they’re doing Allah’s will by killing people who ain’t following the right path, they’ve got the Qu’ran on their side.
The Qu’ran is absolutely in favor of violence against everybody who’s not already a Muslim. Anybody who tells you different is a liar. Speaking as a recovered Pentecostal, I’d say all religions are crap-but Islam is way, way the sickest and most violent of all.
Second: the GIA is not just a few loonies. It’d be nice to believe that, but it’s just not true. The GIA has at least 15,000 soldiers. You can’t feed and supply that many men without cooperation from the civilian population.
The news people like to tell you the GIA terrorizes the poor villagers, but that’s bull. The GIA is recruited from those very villagers, supported by them, fed and sheltered and hidden by them. If the GIA is sick, it’s because a whole lot of Algerians like it that way.
What is apparent is that yes, as Juliana states, there are peaceful nominal Muslims who wish to escape all the violence which goes with Islam but there are also so many who are not. Three further examples of this are:
1. 911, when ordinary “peaceful” Muslims around the world cheered the massacre of the people at the WTC;
2. Charlie Hebdo when the same happened and supposedly peaceful Muslims were quoted as saying the dead had it coming;
3. Even today where dozens of churches have been torched in response to the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo.
This was not done by “an isolated few”. I do not appreciate being called a “hater” for calling out Muslims on this matter – the only hater in the matter is both those Muslims responsible for the carnage plus those condoning them, e.g. Ms Björnsdóttir.