The so-called “Red-Green Alliance” – a political coalition that fuses left-wing political groups and Islamist organizations – has always been a challenge to conventional political analysis. You might think these groups would be at each other’s throats, but they’ve long joined forces to battle what they see as their common enemies: Western imperialism and capitalism.
This unlikely coalition first flexed its muscles in the UK during the massive 2003 marches against the Iraq War. That was when the far-left Socialist Workers Party and Stop the War Coalition teamed up with a group representing the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, making headlines and turning heads.
Fast-forward to today and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has taken up the Red-Green Alliance mantle with gusto. Tied to the Iranian regime, this UK-based NGO has a history of organizing International Quds (Jerusalem) Day events, an event initiated by the Iranian revolutionary regime. The IHRC’s chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, is linked to the vehemently anti-Israel website inminds.com, while his wife, Arzu Merali, co-founder and researcher at the IHRC, is knee-deep in post-colonial and decolonial activism.
On March 13, the IHRC launched a book by Sandew Hira, “Decolonizing The Mind – a guide to decolonial theory and practice.” Twelve years in the making, the IHRC says the book aims to change how we think and learn about colonialism, tearing down the walls of eurocentric education.
(The concept of “decolonizing the mind” was first introduced by Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in his eponymous book. Thiong’o emphasizes the importance of reclaiming African languages and culture, highlighting what he sees as the insidious nature of cultural oppression that lingers long after the physical chains have been broken.)
Arzu Merali is not one to shy away from controversy. She’s involved in initiatives such as “Why is my curriculum White?” and the “decolonization” of the English syllabus at the University of Cambridge, attacking the foundations of traditional education. Merali also collaborates closely with Hira, co-director of the Decolonial International Network, to critique Eurocentric values in movements like Extinction Rebellion and call for nothing less than a radical transformation of the system.
Merali’s ties to the Malcolm X Movement (MXM) further solidify her commitment to decolonial anti-imperialist resistance in Britain. In 2014, Merali spoke at an event co-sponsored by the IHRC and the MXM, lauding the Islamic revolution in Iran and Hezbollah as shining examples of successful revolutions. NATO and the West were singled out as the enemies.
In 2015, Merali spoke at the Malcolm X Film Festival, endorsed by groups such as the PFLP and featuring incendiary speakers like Leila Khaled, a plane hijacker, and representatives of ZANU-PF, the Communist Workers Peasants Party of Pakistan, and convicted IRA terrorism offender Gerry MacLochlainn. The MXM played a pivotal role in organizing Black Lives Matter-associated demonstrations in London in June 2020, using social media to promote and even celebrate incidents of violence during the events.
The March 13 book launch was part of the IHRC’s “Decolonial Dialogues,” featuring conversations between Hira and Ramon Grosfoguel, another far-left academic. Dialogues feature topics such as “the demise of Israel” and “the prospect for civil war in the United States.” It looks like the Red/Green Alliance is here to stay, at least for now.