Moazzam Begg was a detainee in Guantanamo Bay. He spoke to Socialist Worker about the aftermath of the Paris attacks
The self-censorship we have to put on ourselves says we shouldn’t comment on what caused Isis to become so deadly.
It means we feel we can’t talk about the reality—if you are bombing a country you can expect something to happen. This is what the security services have said all along. The likelihood of terrorist reprisals goes up because you are in a bombing campaign.
If you say these things, people think you are making a justification. You’re not because you know people who have been butchered by Isis. But because they are from the Muslim world, nobody really cares.
What would happen if the three million Muslims in Britain sat down together and had a big condemning session?
It wouldn’t prevent Isis attacks. Isis doesn’t care what Muslims in Europe think, it is responding to what it sees as an assault on itself. I think it’s important that everyone expresses sympathy with the victims in Paris. We should stand with them and their families, but not with the governments because they are exploiting the situation.
The prime minister’s “full spectrum response” has an impact on the ordinary person, so you see Islamophobic attacks.
The attacks are fuelled by politicians and many sections of the media.
They allow the creation of the state of fear in which Muslims are living.
There has been a response from a significant section of society who recognise that the backlash will be targeted against Muslims.
That’s something we should embrace. We also need to be prepared for the rise of the far right.
When a group of people feels frightened and isolated we need to form a cordon
around them and stand shoulder to shoulder with them.
Fourteen years ago George Bush and Tony Blair launched a war against terrorism to eradicate Al Qaida.
Al Qaida now has more franchises than a lot of fast food chains.
If the response to the atrocities in Paris is more invasions it may create the conditions for more terrorism.”
Moazzam Begg is director of Cage and was a detainee in Guantanamo Bay