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Four reasons Jeremy Corbyn might be good for Muslims

Let us be a force for change in the world.”

The founder of the Stop the war coalition, supporter of the Amnesty International, admirer of Karl Marx, the “modest, unassuming man,” Jeremy Corbyn has overtaken many news headlines, created twitter storms and somehow managed to make it to my Instagram feed.

It has been a sensational period for the Labour party but how exactly will all the changes which Corbyn has promised to make affect Muslims?

Despite the strong support for Corbyn and his election there are also reasons why some may be apprehensive towards the sudden change in Labour and whether or not the promised changes will be realistic enough for a win at the general election and its successful implementation post-election, not to mention the possibility of either a let-down or strong support for the Muslim community.

  1. Jeremy Versus The Media

It has long been known that the media plays an incredibly crucial role in shaping the minds of the public as well triggering an incitement to hatred, in particular islamophobia.

For too long there has been ongoing struggle in fighting for the media regulatory body (Ofcom and the Independent Press Standards Organisation, IPSO) to bring forth change in their systems. The board members who are part of IPSO (previously known as the Press Complaints Commission) have been accused of bias and forming part of an overall establishment prioritising profit at the cost of prevailing racism and hatred.

A free and accountable press is a hopeful dream for every Muslim. Corbyn challenging and being at the forefront of such a campaign could mean there will be ease in achieving the goal of holding the media to account successfully. In 2008 Corbyn wrote that,

“the role in print media seriously needs to be changed.”[1]

The new deputy for Corbyn, Tom Watson, a supporter of the Hacked Off campaign, compares the media to a ‘mafia’ and has scorned IPSO, a body set up by publishers.

Corbyn used his victory speech to attack the newspapers, and other media corporations including the BBC and the way the reports behaved while covering him.[2]

There lie hopeful sparks that Corbyn could be the window to success, however what is the likelihood of this and considering that there has been no mention about challenging the media as part of Labours policy? How confident can we be in relying on his support towards those—including Muslims—communities that are often attacked and repeatedly smeared by certain media corporations?

As much as politicians such as Tom Watson have criticised the media, ran campaigns against it, what can be said about the Mirror newspaper, a supporter of the labour party?

  1. Foreign Policy

As opposed to the current policies and views in place on behalf of David Cameron and the conservatives, Corbyn said that he will block the attempts by David Cameron to launch air strikes into Syria. Corbyn has called for “radically different international policy”.

One which does not involve shedding the blood of innocent civilians in a purported attempt to destroy terrorists.

Corbyn voted against bombing Syria when the enemy was the Assad government and he still opposed it when the target was ISIL, commenting that it is only innocent Syrians who will suffer from sending air strikes. A rare glimmer of common sense in and otherwise trigger-happy, militarised establishment.

Peace and the end to conflict in the Middle East is the desire of most human beings outside of the minority who profit from war. For many years we have seen images and videos of injustice, bloodshed, and violence stream through social media whilst watching with painful eyes. The end to this conflict will mean a safe, secure Middle East with an end to the refugee crisis.

Despite the anti-war and Palestinian cause being close to Corbyn’s heart, it does not mean he will not face difficult opposition not only within his own party but externally, which may present a significant challenge.

  1. Going GREEN

Jeremy Corbyn has set out his environmental policy, strongly emphasising green energy which forms as part of his ideas for the UK in 2020. His ‘Protecting our planet manifesto’ outlines his plan on putting people and the planet first, tackling air pollution, protecting our eco system and more.[3]

Despite the many great goals that a large number of voters and politicians would agree on, the target for carbon free electricity by 2030 seems overly ambitious.

The environmental campaign altogether seems to have received a greater level of attention and excitement. However labelling environmental issues as an only left-wing concern when it is not could backfire. Given the nature of British politics the excitement and enthusiasm towards the environmental campaign may cause an opposite reaction on the right.

“Already part of ministers’ present onslaught on wind and solar energy springs from settling scores with their erstwhile LibDem coalition partners. Left-wing Labour’s radical new policies are likely to polarise things even further. And the Conservatives look like being in power for a long time to come…”[4]

  1. Working with Women

“Women deserve fair pay, fair chances and unflinching support in the face of violence and abuse.”[5]

Living in a modern ‘democratic’ country with unequal pay, high rates of sexual harassment, domestic violence cases and a low number of female senior roles has brought forth a number of supportive proposals in the new labour manifesto.

Corbyn is aiming to set out a number of goals as part of the ‘Working with Women’ document and campaign, some of which are as follows:

  • Challenging everyday sexism
  • Free childcare
  • Commit to 50% women shadow cabinet and 50% of Labour MP’s being women

In my opinion, the above are positive and much needed proposals, however one which caught my attention was concerning Tax credits and carer’s cost. Many women within the Muslim community are highly skilled, intelligent and in possession of years of valuable work experience, however due to their circumstances they do the lion’s share of all care work. They are often sandwiched between caring for elder relatives and children with no remuneration. Providing tax and pension rights to women along with free childcare will allow for further ease for women to return to employment.

Such ambitious changes cannot be changed and implemented overnight, it could take years before the stereotyping of women and biased culture can be demolished. Nonetheless having had the above issues highlighted is a positive step forward.

Power to the People

No matter what your views may be regarding the new Labour leadership, there is one point which sticks out: his success was not seen coming.

People believed he was incapable of becoming elected, because the platform for elected politicians did not cater for an anti-war, anti-austerity, peace-making vegetarian. It is enough to say that glass ceilings were shattered but not because of Corbyn himself. Rather, commendation belongs to the previously dispossessed and disempowered people who came out to get their voices heard. It is their support which caused the ceiling to crack.

We are used to putting others on pedestals but refuse to believe in ourselves, our power and our influence. One thing all sectors can agree on is that UK politics has been shaken.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://jeremycorbyn.org.uk/articles/media-dirty-tricks/

[2] http://uk.businessinsider.com/jeremy-corbyn-right-to-hate-the-media-video-him-being-assaulted-by-reporters-2015-9

[3] http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/winning_with_a_greener_future

[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11865571/Jeremy-Corbyns-green-agenda-could-very-well-backfire.html

[5] http://news.sky.com/story/1526520/corbyn-half-my-cabinet-would-be-women

About Manija Omar

Manija is a member of the management committee at the islamic integration community centre and a part time education coordinator. She is the trustee of the british afghan women society and co-founder of REACH, an organisation dedicated to supporting victims of forced marriages. She runs events and campaigns as an activist within her locality and in her spare time she volunteers at Feltham Foodbank & enjoys writing on current affairs.

13 comments

  1. Before any Muslim rushes off to support Jeremy Corbyn they should take a long hard look at the deputy leader Tom Watson. There’s surprisingly little written or said about him (both by Muslims and non-Muslims) in comparison to Jeremy Corbyn but he is second in command in the Labour Party so he isn’t someone you can ignore or downplay the significance of. He:

    1. Voted for the Iraq War.

    2. Voted consistently against an investigation into the Iraq war.

    3. Is a committed Zionist and the Vice President of Trade Union Friends of Israel.

    4. Is an Anglican.

    5. Defends the FPTP election system to the hilt.

    This doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence to most Muslims, does it?

    Is Tom Watson a counterbalance to Jeremy Corbyn? Is he the man that the opponents of Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election strategically backed because if they cannot install the leader they want then they will install the deputy leader they want instead? Is he even the real leader of Labour?

    I have met Tom Watson a couple of times and he is light years away from being a progressive or a radical. He is undeniably the figurehead of the more ‘conservative’ and Neocon faction of Labour. The dark shadow behind the back of Jeremy Corbyn. Ask yourself the question: could you work with Tom Watson in politics?

  2. “Women deserve fair pay, fair chances and unflinching support in the face of violence and abuse.”
    A suggestion that women should be encouraged to work and shouldn’t get beaten by their husbands? How did that get on islam 12c? Has the editor been spending too much time on Ashley Madison? Better get ‘independent’ think tank the Claystone Institute, which of course has absolutely no connection to Islam12c and isn’t also run by ‘dr’ Haithem Hesmad on the case to prove husbands beating wives has no connection with domestic violence.

  3. The author of this article happens to be one of the pretentious university graduates in business / sociology / politics / law from MEND who live in ivory towers of working with the government and big charities so are far removed from the lives and the interests of the Muslim common folk. MEND is a pro-establishment organisation (how else can their members work so closely with the government and big charities?) that upholds British values as defined in the Prevent Strategy. I can’t see any officers from MEND wanting to get in the same room as Moazzam Begg!

    Has it ever crossed the mind of the author that Jeremy Corbyn could die, be assassinated, or ousted as leader of Labour before the 2020 general election? Remember John Smith. Even if he makes it to the general election there is no guarantee that he will win it. If Labour loses badly then he will be jettisoned off into a black hole and replaced by a Blairite.

    Ten years ago countless thousands of Muslims were at the feet of George Galloway. Now they have walked away from him as if he were a bad smell. Now countless thousands of Muslims are at the feet of Jeremy Corbyn but could he suffer the same fate in ten years time, or less?

    • You clearly have absolutely no clue about mend and its relationship with Moazzam and CAGE. You seem to be yourself far removed from the ‘Muslim common folk’ they both serve and interact with on a daily basis.

      • I’m not sure how friendly Sufyan Ismail and Moazzam Begg are with each other but they come across to me as strange bedfellows.

    • Whatever happened to positive thinking and having some hope?

      Try giving some credit where it’s due.

  4. im sorry but this is a deception that next prime minister of labour was the only labour who voted in favor of sodomites and even today is he main supporter of it from labur party

    we need to stop lying to ourselves that any of these will help muslims

    • Do the benefits of Corbyn being elected prime minister outweigh the harms?

      • What is the likelihood of Corbyn becoming prime minister?

        • It’s unlikely that he will be leader in 2020. All it will take are poor results in the forthcoming council and London Assembly elections and it will be civil war in the Labour Party resulting in Corbyn being ousted by the ‘realist’ faction.

    • “admirer of Karl Marx” That’s more than enough to sound many alarm bells.

      There’s nothing actually wrong with having Old Labour economic policies or opposing Tory austerity in the eyes of the public but the slighest whiff of Marx means that you are treading on thin ice. Even the Green Party with its many crazy and controversial policies thoroughly rejects Marxism and regards Marx as a discredited individual. The vast majority of the white British working class (the people that Corbyn needs to retain the support of now rather than persuade to vote Labour) regard Marx as worse than Hitler. As for Muslims, is Marxism even compatible with Islam or the principles of the Qu’ran?

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