Riazat Butt: Famous for 30 seconds

Host of Islamophonic and journalist for Guardian UK Riazat Butt turned down the chance to be “Famous for 30 seconds” in an anti-extremism ad campaign for Pakistani youth. PREVENT, the campaign’s sponsor organization, asked her and others to represent the face of moderate Islam in Britain and set an example for youth in the Muslim world.

Riazat Butt asked:

I wonder what defines Britishness, success and integration and whether these qualities are enough [to] persuade young Pakistanis not to engage in extremist activity. The government’s £86m PREVENT programme continues, distributing funds to groups and organisations around the UK, in an attempt to build resilience against radical and extremist ideology. It is too soon to say whether this initiative, or the one in Pakistan, will work. Besides, in the case of preventing violent extremism, how do you measure success? Fewer explosions?

The main question is: what other projects could appeal to Muslim youth, prevent anti-West violence, and have measurable success? What about the popularity of hip-hop festivals in Morrocco? Or heavy metal in Baghdad? Could organizations like Hip-Hop Diplomacy do more with the funds and measure their impact in fans? What are your thoughts? Send us an email or leave a comment below to continue the conversation on Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates.

One thought on “Riazat Butt: Famous for 30 seconds

  1. Re: an anti-extremism ad campaign for Pakistani youth

    This question has two parts. One part deal with the internal issues within the Umma (Islamic community). The Quran states unequivocally that there cannot be compulsion in religion. Yet extreme Muslims practice subhuman things like executions for crimes as mundane as adultery, forced wearing of the burkha when that practice is not Islamic but copied from Byzantine Christians, wearing a beard when that is an old tribal custom rather than Islamic, etc. Oddly enuf while Muslims want to follow the Propphet’s traditions, they do not insist on working for women business-women — as did the Prophet or marry only widows, again, which the prophet did quite consistently.

    On the second external issue: Muslims are under attack in Kashmir, in Chechnya, in Palestine and some even in Turkey (as are the Kurds). Worldwide Muslims are in an existential war against the Western World Leader, the US, supported by Britain and instigated by Israel. Certainly: while violent reaction against oppression from India, US, UK, Israel, Russia and Turkey is not an answer, realistically, what can be the alternative? How does one persuade the US “not” to attack Muslims for spurious reasons? How can we educate Western people to see that 9-11 was not the work of the Taliban or even of Osama?

    These Muslim youth in the West are brainwashed by the popular media into believing that Muslims are somehow at fault for issues in Kashmir, Chechnya, Turkey, Palestine, the Horn of Africa, and so on. They are told their religion is violent when in reality it is the Bible which purports to give to alien people from Europe all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates with violent moral backing from God Himself.

    Clearly there cannot be peace until issues in Kashmir, Chechnya, Palestine, Turkey are sorted out and the US is less warlike.

    Remember: 9-11 was not the work of a ragtag terrorist organization but by some well coordinated, well-trained people in position of power to bring down efficiently three buildings within seconds (at free-fall speed) leaving behind virtually no material to be removed.

    So, Ms Butt … sure, Muslim youth need to be educated in the tents of their faith but also focus on the true Axis of Evil: US-UK-Israel (with India and Russia thrown in for good measure).