We have seen this similar pattern unfold numerous times before, whether it was the Satanic Verses ‘affair’ where the odious Ayatollah Khomeini issued a hit (or a ‘fatwa’) on Salman Rushdie’s head for the ‘crime’ of the use of holy writ for literary purposes; whether it was Denmark enduring an international boycott and a campaign of defamation, because the Prime Minister refused to to censor a small right wing magazine for publishing cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad; And when a Jihadist hit squad assassinated cartoonists for the ‘crime’ of again publishing cartoons mocking Muhammad.

First, the ‘offensive’ material is created. Second, creator of such material receives threats, even acts of violence, from those claiming to represent the party of God. Third, an orgy of equivocation and victim blaming. And fourth, political exploitation by wannabe ‘spokespeople’ of the Ummah to bolster their geo-political ambitions. Ayatollah Khomeini issued his gross fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989 after a near decade long brutal war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that bankrupted and weakened the legitimacy of his regime, and sought to compete with Wahabbist Saudi Arabia for who will be the torch bearer for Islamic fundamentalism. During the Danish Cartoons ‘controversy’ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah both jostled for this role to spread their anti-Western propaganda within the context of the post-Iraq war world.

In regards to the hideous murder of Samuel Paty, President Erdogan and Imran Khan are hoping to be the next self-appointed ventriloquiser of ‘Muslim grievances’. Never mind the clearly ridiculous falsehoods and crass equivalences between France in 2020 and 1930s Germany (which was swiftly rebuked by the countries Muslim Council), and leading an attempted international boycott of French goods to intimidate French democracy, what is most vomitous about the pose of Erdogan, Khan and other so called ‘Muslim leaders’ have taken is the fact that China has been systematically oppressing the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang for the past few years through concentration camps, slave labour, state surveillance and cultural humiliation.

Barely a word of criticism was uttered. There was no collective boycott of China by the OIC. Indeed economic interests usurped religious solidarity for Erdogan and co as far as the Uyghurs are concerned. Yet this galère all of a sudden find the courage of their convictions to pretend to defend the dignity of Islam over cartoons by Charlie Hebdo and some striking, if ham-fisted comments by Emmanuel Macron on the ‘evil’ of radical Islam. I don’t know about you, but I think the oppression of the Uyghurs, including the demolition of thousands of mosques is a far greater offence to Islam than a bunch of caricatures satirising the Prophet Muhammad and a teacher showing them to children.

Overall, Erdogan is not that different to the wannabe ‘spokespeople’ before him who have exploited the ‘clash of civilisations’ narrative between the West and Islamdom to frame their chauvinism as a civil rights struggle. Of course, with Turkey and France on opposite sides in the Libya ‘quagmire’, the spat over Charlie Hebdo was always about optics and geopolitical mud slinging, which Erdogan was never going pass over, as opposed to a pious act of solidarity. If it was then the usually ‘outspoken’ Erdogan wouldn’t have been so uncharacteristically demure over the oppression of his co-religionists in Xinjiang by his business partners in the Chinese Communist Party.

Nigerian British. Secular Humanist. Unaffiliated Radical. Internationalist. Red Devil. 'I drink your milkshake!'