Josie Pagani has got it on dealing with Islam

Josie Pagani has four things we can do post Paris.

A couple of them are useful, others are wishful thinking, but at least she has shown an ability to step outside of liberal hand-wringing over upset feelings of “moderate” muslims.

While it is morally clear that we must stop ISIS, it is not obvious how. Here’s where we can start:

1. Step up air strikes against ISIS strongholds and increase no-fly zones so that moderate groups can better fight back themselves.

France has already stepped up its air campaign and bombed the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria. It’s not clear that boots on the ground would be lawful. However if more attacks are planned, international law says a country can act in self-defence where an ‘instant’ and ‘overwhelming’ risk exists which gives a country no ‘moment of deliberation.’

What’s certain, is that air strikes will continue.

To anticipate those who say that would be a repeat of Iraq: all the outcomes are bad, but some are worse than others. Boots on the ground in Iraq was a disaster, so was the half-way house in Libya. The failure to intervene in Syria has been possibly the worst outcome of all. We must stop fighting the last war: The 2003 misjudgment over Iraq does not mean any intervention today against ISIS will also be a disaster.

Daesh needs to understand that if they come above ground they will be bombed and if they live in caves they will be bombed there too.   

2. Follow the money.

ISIS is well-funded. Money trails must now be ruthlessly followed.

The governments of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have funded anti-Shia political and military movements in the Middle East without any real resistance from the international community.

Even when beheadings and slavery produced a queasy pause or reduction in official funding, wealthy individuals within those countries continued to fund ISIS while their governments turned a blind eye.

If the technology exists to track everyone’s emails and cellphone calls then it must also exist to track the bank accounts through which the funds are flowing.

Following the money isn’t easy, because ISIS areas are like states run by gangs. Oil money is smuggled in oil trucks and suitcases – you can get up to $1-2 million in a suitcase. Eight million people pay taxes, or fines for not going to prayers on Friday – mostly in cash. ISIS doesn’t depend on moving money across international borders, but gets revenue from local criminal and gangster activities. Ransoms from kidnappings and plundering antiquities excavated from ancient palaces and archaeological sites all help to generate about $6 million a day – again, most of it in cash. Oil sales provide around $2.5 million a day,

In May 2014, the Brookings Institution published a briefing urging that the filtering of aid to Syria be tightened as the lines between humanitarian campaigns and jihad funding were becoming increasingly blurred. Kuwait is the single largest donor of “uncommitted” aid to Syria.

Choking them of money is important. We need to put increased pressure on Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar who are mostly funding them.

3. Win the argument.

Obliterating ISIS in Syria and Iraq won’t stop the violence for ever. We also have to win the arguments in the suburbs of Paris and Belgium, and we do that by strongly advocating for the women being enslaved by ISIS, the gays being thrown off buildings by ISIS, and the followers of other faiths being beheaded by ISIS.

We must have uncomfortable conversations about virulent, violent forms of Islam, not leave the job to the far right. Marine le Pen will fan the hatred of immigrants and increase violence in the poorest suburbs of Paris if we are silent.

We have to be prepared to stand beside Muslims who are trying desperately to modernise, reform and de-literalise their faith.

And we have to stand up loudly for our own traditions of free speech and critical thought. We don’t need greater limitations on speech in the name of reducing offence. We need to talk loudly so that a teenager in the Paris banlieue or in Brussels, who might otherwise be radicalised, hears from us the arguments against violent Islam and associated bigotry. A pre-radicalised Muslim teen needs to hear more from us about the evil of reactionary ISIS ideas than he hears us critique American foreign policy.

This is important. We need to speak loudly not cower in fear like some bloggers. It isn’t hate speech to tell the truth about Islam and the extremists operating under the banner of that ‘religion’. Josie is a bit hopeful though. Finding a Muslim who is trying to “modernise, reform and de-literalise their faith” would seem to be a forlorn task.

But we do have to stand up for our own culture, not subserviently kneel before perceived outrage or insult. You can’t limit free speech so people aren’t offended…if you do that then speech isn’t free anymore.

4. Don’t target refugees

Josie betrays her hard left upbringing with her suggestions we don’t target refugees. I’m not suggesting we target them but I am suggesting some risk mitigation strategies…like not accepting any Muslim refugees, and only accepting Christian refugees from Syria…and other Middle East nations.

All in all it is refreshing to see a left-wing person with a brain actually providing sensible ideas. It’s just a shame that Labour has driven people like her away.


– Pundit

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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