Galloway’s Rebuke to Dispatches Programme

Scottish Daily Record

Oh no, not another camera up the jumper film by Dispatches, the tiresome and fevered Channel 4 documentary strand.

At the risk of adding to its viewership by giving it publicity, I’m featured – or rather, smeared – in it tonight. The programme is a pop by Dispatches at Muslims – like the previous tales they have put out about the supposed enemy within plotting to turn Britain into some rainy and windswept Islamic republic.

Stop chuckling. According to Jim Fitzpatrick, a New Labour minister and, coincidentally, my opponent for the seat in Poplar and Limehouse in the forthcoming election, the Islamic Forum of Europe has infiltrated his party and become a secret party within the party.

A sort of Militant Tendency with the Koran and keffiyehs who believe in jihad and sharia law. Fitzpatrick has a substantial bee in his bonnet about this and a track record, to boot. Last year, he had a much-publicised row with the East London mosque when he walked out of a wedding there after he and his wife took objection to being segregated by sex. As if he didn’t know that was custom. Now it seems he wants to alienate the few remaining Muslims who might vote for him in a constituency where they are 40 per cent of the electorate.

A speech I gave in the mosque after my last election victory was secretly taped and has been obtained by Dispatches almost five years on. The IFE were, in fact, one of several groups who helped in my successful antiwar campaign and I credited them for their help – as I did to all of the other groups, from Greens, Liberals, Tories to Trotskyists, who helped my defeat of a pro -war MP.

I don’t know who is or isn’t a member of the IFE, and I have only the haziest knowledge of what they stand for, but the organisation has never approached me for help or attempted to influence me. Again, my lawyers are watching.

157 comments on “Galloway’s Rebuke to Dispatches Programme

  1. Boredofitnow on said:

    The tape of Galloway’s Victory speech at the LMC where he thanks the IFE is not secret, it has been on the web for years, for example here:
    http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/september03_index.php?l=52

    We don’t know exactly what will be in the Dispatches programme but the reactions on this website are pretty easy to predict – they will focus on the rightwing credentials of the filmmakers and try to dismiss it all as an attack on Muslims.

    For me, question is why these days its only (or mostly) the right who claim the space for secular politics – the left now seems silent on issue of authoritarian religious movements- they tolerate, defend or in the case of Respect, even promote such movements in the name of anti-racism. Hopefully the dark days of the leftwing alliance with clerical fascists will soon come to an end and and socialists can reclaim secularism from the right.

  2. “I don’t know who is or isn’t a member of the IFE, and I have only the haziest knowledge of what they stand for, but the organisation has never approached me for help or attempted to influence me. Again, my lawyers are watching.

    Yes you do George. It’s another name for an Al Ikhwan group. The same organisation that funded one of your trips to The Levant. You know, the group of professionals whose meeting house you gave a speech in.

  3. SteveH on said:

    I think the point is that these programmes create the enemy within myth, and the enemy ends up being all Muslims. It adds to the toxic climate of prejudice, it is not surprising to see the usual suspects on the ‘left’ excited by the prospects of more Muslim bashing.

    Shameful, really shameful.

  4. Boredofitnow on said:

    I’m not excited. I am worried, I do think it will lead to more problems for Muslims. But my point is, why have left people (e.g. Respect) been cheerleaders for rightwing Islamic groups for so long. They have colluded in, promoted the idea that these groups speak for all Muslims. This has sown the seeds for an attack on particular Islamic groups being taken for an attack on all Muslims. Respect is complicit in the toxic climate of prejudice. As I say, I’m worried. But I think this might be a time to reject communal politics and create the possibility for a genuine anti-racist left.

  5. SteveH on said:

    “This has sown the seeds for an attack on particular Islamic groups being taken for an attack on all Muslims.”

    Total bollocks and you know it. You are worse than the racists, you blame racism on the anti racists and the victims of racism. What has sown the seeds of Islamophobia is the war on terror and the ideological justification for it. This has fed the default prejudice of the hard right and idiotic sections of the ‘left’. And yes that means you Boredofiotnow.

  6. #1. The hardcore secularist left hasn’t gone away. We’re still here. But if the real political choice is between an alliance with the devout against the warmongers, or an alliance with the warmongers against the devout, then we choose the first option.

  7. #5

    As I say, I’m worried. But I think this might be a time to reject communal politics and create the possibility for a genuine anti-racist left.

    wikipedia definition of “concern trolling

    A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user’s sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[12]

  8. Boredofitnow on said:

    Andy in #5 – it’s true I am hiding behind a pseudonym. I’m not in your group, I’m not in David T’s camp either. I’m in the secular left. Francis #7, I don’t think that’s the only choice. We can stand with progressive, secular people of any faith or none. It means there may be fewer of us sometimes and we may not gain election victories.

  9. The hardcore secular elft stands with the oppressed masses against religious dictators and religous would-be dictators, or all stripes.

    In this case we clearly have a case to answer – which is not done by denial.

    In the East End it would be interesting to know not only Respect’s stand on the IFE (not answered by blanket denial) but also on Bangladesh’s turn back to its secular consitution. No-one ignores Respect’s links with the Islamists of the East London Mosque, who include supporters of the Jamaat, an organisational which is featuring prominently in on-going War Crimes Trials in Bangladesh.

    Having been attacked for supporting the Bangleshi secularists on the most recent Islamophobia Watch post for this,

    http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/bangladesh-set-to-become-again-a-secular-state/

    I would be interested to know Respect’s views on Bangladeshi secularism and its own links with the Jammat.

  10. There’s a false dichotomy here propagated by some whose real concern is to make concessions to or foster Islamophobia.

    I am a secularist. That does not mean that I dislike those with religion or refuse to make alliances with them.

    If a person is lying in the street getting their head kicked in, one does not stop to ask them questions about their beliefs on a range of matters before coming to their unconditional assistance.

  11. No.12 – There is a dichotomy, but not a false one. To quote Delwar Hussain from 2006:

    “While the Bangladesh Nationalist Party – and George Galloway in London – seek to ride the Jamaat-e-Islami tiger for political gain, the prospects of this strategy for resolving the enduring questions of social justice, equality and diversity are dim. Jamaat and other fundamentalist groups are sowing the seeds of future conflict, as well as obscuring more hopeful and humane pathways to equity and harmony for Bengalis, in both Britain and Bangladesh.”

    Read the full article here:

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/bangladeshi_3715.jsp

  12. David T on said:

    “If a person is lying in the street getting their head kicked in, one does not stop to ask them questions about their beliefs on a range of matters before coming to their unconditional assistance.”

    What if the people you are helping – thinking that they’re the ‘victims’ – turn out to be the ones who are kicking people in the head, though?

    Here is a bio on the man who founded the IFE. You tell me why progressives ought to be helping him?

    http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=296

    What you actually mean is that Galloway and the Livingstonian/Socialist Action wing of the Labour Party have allied with Jamaat-e-Islami. Therefore, in order to defend that alliance, it is necessary to attack anybody who points out the nature of Jamaat-e-Islami’s politics as a Islamophobe.

    I know this is true, because – following this comment – nobody will mention either the politics of IFE, but instead will engage in incoherent ranting about racism and Zionism.

  13. SteveH on said:

    Dave T,

    How disinterested you are in racism, is it because Muslims are facing the brunt of it?

    FYI There is nothing incoherent about the level of prejudice faced by Muslims in the West today, it is a real concrete actuality. Just the way you like it I suspect.

  14. David T on said:

    It is indeed a huge problem.

    However, political parties which work for the establishment of theocracy, and which themselves attack Muslims from a different religious or political tradition are no part of the solution at all.

  15. David T on said:

    Look, I don’t know what it will take to get you to take the politics of this particular political group seriously.

    Nothing, I suspect.

    But, hypothetically, what would you actually need to hear before you started to see the activities of a Jamaat-e-Islami front group, which promotes and hosts events at which other minority groups are attacked and vilified, and which puts its energies into marginalising non-Islamist bengalis, as a problem?

    Is there anything which would cause you to reassess your views on this?

  16. Paul#

    David T has been raising the same point here fr litteraly years, we have answered it time and time again.
    I simply have neither the time nor inclinatin to go through the same boring exercise yet again.

  17. “What you actually mean is that Galloway and the Livingstonian/Socialist Action wing of the Labour Party have allied with Jamaat-e-Islami.”

    Hysterical conspiracy theories from David T.

    What has actually occurred is that some parts of the left have chosen to come to the assistance of the WHOLE of the Muslim community. Not just the sections of the community we have agreements with, but all of it. This is what solidarity is about. As I secularist, I could choose to only work with those Muslims that themselves are secular too. But this would be a pretty silly form of solidarity, for I would be rejecting coming to the aid of a chunk of the Muslim community because I had made the matter of secularism critical to whether I supported them or not. Likewise, I could choose to only work with those Muslims who like me, work for revolutionary socialism. But this would be silly.

    David T’s intention as we all know is for the left in Britain to adopt a position whereby it imposes as many conditions as possible for engagement with the Muslim community. I do not refuse to work with Christians because in the name of God abortion clinics are bombed in the United States. I work with Jews in the fight against racism regardless of personal opinions on Middle Eastern politics. My doing so is not unprincipled. It is not a betrayal to work with a Zionist in the fight against racism. It is not a betrayal to work with others with whom we disagree on other questions in the fight for the rights of Muslim communities in Britain today.

  18. And an additional point to the above: all of that does not mean that I subscribe to the David T/ Jim Fitzpatrick line that everyone in the IFE is chomping at the bit to impose shariah and usher in the caliphate. This is lazy stereotyping of the political ambitions of the majority of Muslims active in politics today.

  19. “I mean, this is what happened to the SWP in RESPECT – IFE simply carved the SWP out, so that their own cadre could get elected.”

    David T is concern trolling again. As an SWP member I support Muslims in TH and have absolutely no time for the likes of Zionist David T. Don’t try to twist what happened in Respect to suit your racist agenda. It’s absolutely disgusting Islamophobia.

  20. titchmitch on said:

    united front, opposing imperialism, for progressive politics and realistic tactics – things so in absence in so called left in this back water called the UK-what part do you not get david t? ok perhaps that is a htreat to you-we know why

    i am campaigning for Respect because of their politics and their ability to appeal to the masses and fight for progressive changes at this depressing time-simple-hopefully effective

    i ignore red baiting and smearing-the masses ignore these lies and distortions of real class politics

    you are joining the pro-imperialist forces who see what Galloway represents in east London and fears it- i will calmly pass you by

    and get on with real politics and campaigning

  21. David T on said:

    “Don’t try to twist what happened in Respect to suit your racist agenda”

    Well, Ray – what DID happen in RESPECT? You tell me.

    One day, Abjol Miah and John Rees were mates. The next minute the SWP had split, and were blaming “Asian businessmen”.

    My explanation is the true one – that a small clique connected to Jamaat-e-Islami carved the SWP out.

    The SWP’s explanation, by contrast, is the racist one.

  22. The ignorance of Gilligan in reporting this is in his story, in the Sunday Telegraph, is demonstrated by his comments like “Schools in Tower Hamlets are told by the council should close for the Muslim festival of Eid, even where most of their pupils are not Muslim.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/7333420/Islamic-radicals-infiltrate-the-Labour-Party.html

    In fact, this rule, which is common across an area of London a lot wider than TH , is simply because if they didn’t close, a lot of kids of Muslim background (socialists should use such formulations rather than ‘Muslim’, we don’t define whites as ‘Christians’, although probably the majority would say they are) would not turn up to school on Eid (in the same way that Xmas day school would be extremely poorly attended).

    It’s done to not lose many a day’s schooling, not force non Muslims on their knees to Mecca.

    If Despatches are going to do their usual hatchet job, they could make it just a bit less poor by using someone familiar with those of Muslim backgrounds and east London – I just know Gilligan will live somewhere white and posh.

    And if an Islamic group is working in the LP then that’s nothing new and follows caucuses that have worked in Labour and whose motivations has been – Catholic, other Christian, Zionist, trade union, Trot and many more – as well as no end of groups on single issues – e.g. Kashmir is Indian, Kashmir is Pakistani or Kashmir should be independent!

    It’s also a shame that Galloway finishes his ok piece with the phrase – “Again, my lawyers are watching.” Yeah, Galloway gets smeared but everyone knows the defamation laws are there overwhelmingly to protect the rich and also often to prevent legitimate debate and reporting.

  23. Post No.21 – rather proves what Red Action were saying a decade ago.

    Their argument was we had never really had Communist parties in the West – parties like the Communist Party of Italy/France etc were simply foreign nationalist parties – they supported the Soviet Union, usually no matter what. The modern, Trotskyist version of this is for those on the left to support a particular ethnic minority – no matter what. As The Friendly Lefty writes “What has actually occurred is that some parts of the left have chosen to come to the assistance of the WHOLE of the Muslim community”

    It is hard to think of a strategy better suited to encourage the growth of the BNP (after all if there is such a thing as the WHOLE Muslim community, by definition there is such a thing as the white community) and of course it also ensures that those who style themselves as leaders or representatives of the Muslim community are guaranteed power and influence, entrenching groups like the IFE.

    Unless we break this chain, things will get worse before they get better.

  24. John Meredith on said:

    “I know this is true, because – following this comment – nobody will mention either the politics of IFE, but instead will engage in incoherent ranting about racism and Zionism.”

    Comment by David T — 1 March, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    “As an SWP member I support Muslims in TH and have absolutely no time for the likes of Zionist David T. Don’t try to twist what happened in Respect to suit your racist agenda. It’s absolutely disgusting Islamophobia.”

    Comment by Ray — 1 March, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  25. my question is who were the Tories who helped Galloway get elected??!!!! I don’t remember seeing any of them during the campaign lol

  26. David
    I am deleting you comenst becase they are repetitive.

    You have made your point, t=I have alowed the argument t stand.

    You keep coming back and repeating it hoping to start the whle merry dance around you agenda again.

    Why dont you just post it on your own blog, and feel vindicated by the feeding frenzy you can unleash there.

  27. pauline ross on said:

    “31.my question is who were the Tories who helped Galloway get elected??!!!! I don’t remember seeing any of them during the campaign lol”

    Well they were members of the SWP at the time ROTFL.

  28. No david
    I am deleting you because we have had this converstaion so many times that it is utterely boring, and I won’t indulge you any further.

    You can delude yourself with self-aggrandising conspiracy theories if you wish.

  29. David T on said:

    It is Andy’s site, and he can allow or delete whatever he wants.

    It goes without saying that the IFE lot will scramble any friendly Trots, the second that they challenge them, and the moment that they have outlived their usefulness.

    For example, if the IFE managed to cut a deal with the Tories (as they’re presently trying to do) or manage to take over Labour (as they’re poised to do), then what will Andy say then?

    Will he still feel bound to defend them, and cover for their politics?

    We will have to wait and see!

  30. rikki on said:

    ach weell george is just a self publicist with an ego as big as his well filled bank balance won through the the bourgeois courts.

    ffs from his daily record rant.

    to the english comrades this paper is anti socialism pro big business and pro nu liebour

    sue me george sue your nothing but a blaw hard

  31. campaign against rubbish journalism on said:

    #27 Gilligan lives in the leafier part of Greenwich

  32. John Meredith on said:

    “Well, he has. And they’re having a right old unchallenged laugh at Bengali men “in a dress”, “in drag” and “in pyjamas”. ”

    Well commenters misbehave, but in this case you are being naughty. They are not mocking ‘Bengali men’ but a particular and particularly nasty Bengali man who well deserves the mockery.

  33. David Ellis on said:

    #37 `For example, if the IFE managed to cut a deal with the Tories (as they’re presently trying to do) or manage to take over Labour (as they’re poised to do), then what will Andy say then?’

    You’d better start supporting Respect then because as Galloway says he has never been approached by the IFE for help nor have they attempted to influence him. Respect is not a Muslim party let alone a fundamentalist muslim party, it is a party that opposes Islamaphobia, opposes attacks on the Muslim communities, opposes imperialist wars of conquest and control, opposes the thievery of Zionist colonialism and opposes public and welfare spending cuts aimed at the poorest in society.

    You are like the negative opposite of one of those 9-11 truthers David T. Cuckoo.

  34. Unity - you know it makes sense on said:

    Riki at 40 said;
    “sue me george sue your nothing but a blaw hard”

    Eamonn at 45 said;

    “So come ahead Galloway- get your fcukin lawyers on me ya dick.”

    You know, every now and then when you’re down about the state of the left, you come on here and read some truly outstanding contributions from the giants of the socialist movement and it reminds you just how just what a magnificently inspiring place the world is.

  35. Marko on said:

    George Galloway is a modern day hero, a true champion of the oppressed. A man who has actually puts it on the line for the things he believes in. The man is a doer, he is proactive, he sets things up, he gets off his arse and takes his anger to directly to those in power.

    We need more doer’s in our movement Reg!

  36. steelcityred on said:

    Sorry to said this but George Galloway (and Respect)his and are base on ID politics ,that is why there will not grow into a wide political body.
    To many socialists ,socialism is secular

  37. Omar on said:

    “The one in the dress on the left is a very angry man.” Flaming Fairy 1 March 2010, 1:03 pm

    “…whenever you see a female in a hijab, she is sulky and miserable.I don’t think I have ever seen one smiling (except in photographs.)” Sue R 1 March 2010, 1:37 pm

    “I agree with Flaming Fairy – if “Da Bruvvas” want to do drag (even in their nighties), they might think about plucking their eyebrows.” Abu Faris 1 March 2010, 2:38 pm

    #46
    Sorry John, explain to me how the above comments ( from the related thread at HP kindly supplied by Mike @44) are
    pertinent to the “nastiness” of a particular person’s views? Or are your mates mocking one of “them” in the same way members of the EDL/BNP might?

  38. gloom n doom on said:

    And where I come from its the Masons or the Knights and how may Labour MP’s declare their membership of any of these groups, what baffles me is where are the Hindu in relation to parliamentary pressure groups or smaller left wing parties. Nowhere thyats not fair.

  39. #36 This comment contains a link to an American “white nationalist” website and therefore proves that – for all their concern trolling about the BNP – the Harry’s Place crowd certainly consider white neo-Nazis the “lesser evil” over scary brown people.

  40. Mike on said:

    #46

    “They are not mocking ‘Bengali men’ but a particular and particularly nasty Bengali man who well deserves the mockery.”

    You don’t even know who that Bengali man is, do you? Name him if you do.

    I don’t think the comments about women never looking happy in a hijab are also about that one man are they? Of course not, and nor are the other comments. Those comments are what you hear on EDL marches and read on BNP websites.

    Every time there’s a post about “extremist” muslims on Harry’s Place the comments boxes are infested by the same people who hang around there day in, day out. You’d think David T would be the teeniest bit concerned that his comments box attracts these people who now seem to be in a majority there. I know I would if I purported to run a site which was concerned about extremist muslims and keen to distinguish them from the majority. But they’re allowed to stand unchallenged by other posters like you, who can’t even see the problem.

    Can you imagine anyone making those sorts of comments about Jews on this site and getting away with it? You and David T know they would be deleted or jumped upon in seconds. Come back when you’ve cleaned your own cesspit you hypocrites.

  41. Dirty Red Bandana on said:

    Respect is an anti-capitalist party (take a look at its manifesto and policies) that came out of the biggest anti war movement in British history. The alliance with South Asian people is no accident. It is the product of the fact that Muslims and Asians are targeted by the push for renewed imperial power after 11 September 2001. They experience not only the assault on people they identify with in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, but they suffer the racist claptrap about Muslims and Asians that passes for an excuse for destroying their liberty in the UK.

    When you combine that with the fact that Asians are one of the poorest sections of the working class in Britain (racist fears about Asian businessmen remind me of the old racist cobblers about Asian shopkeepers in the 1970s), it creates a militancy to the left of Labour.

    The problem is that whenever Asians become political, the political establishment will attack them with racist innuendo the moment they cannot control and use them as voting fodder. As with imperialism, we have the appalling spectacle of so-called leftwingers justifying the racism and dressing it up in progressive clothes. So we get crap about ‘communalism, ‘id politics’, and paranoia about ‘secularism’. Why not call it the liberal justification of Islamophobia? Just like its corollary, it has the same evidential and reasoned basis – one liner sound bites.

  42. #51

    And if you want to see how corrosive this Islamophobia is, look at this:

    “…whenever you see a female in a hijab, she is sulky and miserable.I don’t think I have ever seen one smiling (except in photographs.)” Sue R 1 March 2010, 1:37 pm

    Written by a former member of the International Marxist Group, and a woman who still considers herself a “revolutionary” socialist.

    Sue R has become a notorious racist, yet still frequenting left blogs, and advocating the wonders of “secularism”.

  43. steelcityred on said:

    #56
    So if Respect is criticize then that person is a racist?
    And as for”Asians become political, the political establishment will attack them with racist innuendo ” i think you need to grow up

  44. steelcityred on said:

    So Andy would you like to live in a secular society or a religious society?

  45. steelcityred on said:

    Oh Andy that is just out of order ,throwing your dumber out and useing real racist to get you point across ,that is so sad

  46. I did wonder how Galloway over came the polls and won that election. It always seemed fishy. Now we know why – according to Galloway himself ther IFE played the “decisive” role.

    It was also odd to see reports of so many Muslims and former Respect people suddenly rejoining Labour, given that not that much had changed.

    The Dispatches doc is simply jaw dropping. The Daily Mail could not make this up. I am left gobsmacked.

  47. Last year, he had a much-publicised row with the East London mosque when he walked out of a wedding there after he and his wife took objection to being segregated by sex.

    Actually we now have the background to that story. It makes a lot more sense after seeing Dispatches.

  48. Dirty Red Bandana on said:

    Steelcityred. Do you know what secular fundamentalism is? You sound like Dawkins, the high priest of secularism and that is not a compliment.

    If the person criticizing uses words like ‘communalism’ and ‘id politics’ without any attempt to justify or explain, it is not racist, just point scoring ignorance. It does however play into a more racist agenda coming from other quarters, the dove tail of liberal justification of racism and sectarianism.

    As for growing up, I am the one that can read and write. Look in the mirror before being so macho.

  49. I fear this thread has reached the end of its useful life. The trolls have arrived.

    Translation: I have seen the documentary and can think of know possible counter argument. Close the thread!

  50. I think they’re just bored because nobody has rushed on to defend Galloway and condemn the programme.

  51. Theo Saurus on said:

    I’ve watched it and the IFE appear to be a pressure group with a religious bent, so a non story really.

  52. I thought the programme was interesting.

    But a socialist would have made it so much better.

    First, there was far too much reliance on dodgy ‘experts’ spreading their own brand of poison.

    I’m sure the irony of talking about seeking to control political parties was completely lost on 3rd division Labour spin doctor, and backstabbing anti-Trot organiser, Paul Richards, looking very much more portentous, portly and in laughably pretentious plush surroundings since last I saw him. I recall him trying to precisely that – control a political party for him and his allies.

    And ‘Daily Hate Mail’ favourite ‘Centre for Social Cohesion’ my foot. ‘Conservatives for Social Coercion’ more like.

    But despite the above some useful info emerged in the programme.

    I am someone who had some sympathy with Respect when it was launched (although thought it was a big step down from the Socialist Alliance). I did some work for them and actually broke from what was my previous view and which was expressed by e.g. the AWL through to a Workers Power – it is a popular front and unsupportable.

    I think now again more like the latter, but still also think Galloway deserves support, since despite his massive flaws, he is still some sort of socialist (i.e. he sees capital v labour as the fundamental divide; even if he is on the wrong side of that divide personally and not infrequently).He also managed to form something to the Left of Labour.

    Other Respect candidates may also be like him and should be supported but some, like Yaqoob, show no sign of socialism at all and should not be helped.

    I didn’t know about Abjol Miah; I do now. His primary view of the world, as evidenced by the Islamist radio programme in which he participated, is not socialist. Indeed through his membership of the IFE, he is an enemy of all workers, Muslim or otherwise.

    I’d compare the IFE very badly with groups like Militant. The IFE members featured were often notably thick; you’re really are not going to get very far if you do not realise that, for example, the referendum in Tower Hamlets is to replace the council Leader with an elected mayor; not to replace the current Mayor (who is usually some old duffer) who just undertakes a ceremonial role.

    But I feel ashamed for even mentioning the IFE in the same text as Militant, and indeed would say the former are a lot, lot worse even compared to obnoxious bodies, like the former Poale Zion (now the Jewish Labour Movement, and actually an affiliate of the Labour Party) who, whilst unremitting in their support for Zionism never, as far as I know, have ever tried to support the introduction of Jewish religious law on Jews in the way that IFE seek such a similar reactionary outcome on Muslims.

    Bengali culture is long, vibrant and multicultural. It draws heavily from various religions (and none) and thrives in that nation, divided between India and Bangladesh. People in Bangladesh often give short shrift to those who seek to Islamise the place and it is often remembered that the political groups that do so now also supported the major suppression of the Bengali language and culture, and the mass murder of people, by Pakistan (and their Islamic collaborators) before the independence of Bangla Desh.

    And today their political and religious equivalent, seeking to close down music, stop mixing of the sexes and other wholly backward social outlooks – and against the vast bulk of Bengali tradition, appear to be in both the Labour Party and in Respect.

    IFE are scum, and any socialist who supports them, or their members, crosses class lines.

  53. Doctor's Plot on said:

    “….are a lot, lot worse even compared to obnoxious bodies, like the former Poale Zion (now the Jewish Labour Movement, and actually an affiliate of the Labour Party) who, whilst unremitting in their support for Zionism never, as far as I know, have ever tried to support the introduction of Jewish religious law on Jews in the way that IFE seek such a similar reactionary outcome on Muslims.”

    That you could even make the comparison is ridiculous. The JLM is a secular labour movement with no association to ritual Judaism. It is even nominally anti-religious.

  54. Manzil on said:

    Wait. Secularism – not having religion foisted onto me by laws that force me to respect a certain (or any) faith, or which force me to engage in religious affairs, or concede primacy to them, in order to engage in politics and culture. This is the enemy? Not enforced respect for beliefs which are not my own simply because they are ‘sacred’ to people with whom I disagree?

    How does this equate with the EDL?

    Anyone?

  55. Er, that’s exactly the point I’m making.

    IFE has a view (sometimes a good view) on foreign policy and on matters like sexual relations – all seen through the lens of what its says in Islam.

    JLM has a view on foreign policy – esp that Israel should be supported – but doesn’t see it through the lens of Judaism. It’s a secular body and so, as you say, has no interest in, for example, Jewish religious law on sexual relations.

    So that’s why IFE and JLM (and Militant) can be compared, as they work(ed) and caucus(ed) in political party(-ies) and it’s why the IFE is very much the worst.

  56. Southpawpunch – for someone with such impeccable revolutionary credentials you seem rather too happy to accept Andrew ‘friend of the spooks’ Gilligan’s attack in Abjol Miah – but since you reference your reasons with reference to Salma who you believe deserves no support, I suspect that you’d already made you mind up.

    Thankfully, you kind of support we can do without.

  57. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Presumably the south american branch of the Southpawpunch international revolutionaries frequently denounce catholic organisations and have a mass following as a result, and the Birmingham branch will be out on the knocker for the Labour candidate in Hall Green, denouncing the class traitor Salma Yaqoob?

  58. @TLC,

    Do you deny that Miah does take part in an Islamic radio show and argues for the Islamic (as opposed to the socialist or even Respect) cause there?

    Or did Gilligan use Hollywood to fake it all, using computer generated imagery maybe?

    That aside, I presume you are not contesting that Miah is a member of IFE?

    On the main page of the IFE website is a link to an article about apostates. The main thrust of the article appears to be that perhaps Islam is more liberal to private apostates than some may think (“The private realm of apostasy had thus always reflected more complex dimensions that make ultimate human judgement impossible. The mysteries of the heart and mind are as beyond theology as they are barely fathomable to neuroscience.”)

    But the article is clear on public apostasy – “Islamic law, (shari’a), likewise stipulated killing in cases of established public apostasy.”

    Can someone, like Miah, be a socialist and support such an organisation propagating such? Of course not.

    And you don’t even need to be a revolutionary to work that out.

    When you’re in a hole, stop…

    @Prinkipo

    Depends what you mean by a ‘Catholic organisation’. A group of workers (or Celtic fans) who happen to Catholic (and that either observant or not) – or a Catholic Church organisation?

    It’s the latter – and it matters not whether its Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, etc – that is fundamentally wrong in that it an arm of (e.g. of the Roman Catholic Church) or is there to propagate a religion, e.g. IFE or the RSS (who are a Hindu religious body) and not the former, e.g. JLM.

    It’s just a slur to say I would vote Labour. Nowhere would I do that. Yaqoob is not a socialist and can not be supported. Workers should vote for a Left alternative (e.g. TUSC) or spoil their ballot paper with a revolutionary slogan.

  59. “Workers should vote for a Left alternative (e.g. TUSC) or spoil their ballot paper with a revolutionary slogan.”

    Southpawpunch

    you are priceless, does you mummy know you are up so late?

  60. Mummy’s always up.

    She smiles at me all the time although the skeleton has need some rewiring in recent times. I’m also worried some passing traffic from the dual-carriageway may chance upon me having a ‘chat’ with her some dark night.

  61. campaign against rubbish journalism on said:

    What an incredibly poor and uninteresting programme telling us just about nothing about anything. But very strong on atmosphere, wasn’t it, with all those undercover cameras and gravely expressed insights.

    Did you notice how they interviewed all sorts of “expert” witnesses, all of whom had a particular ideological angle and weren’t experts at all? One woman interviewed was from the Centre for Social Cohesion but Gilligan forgot to mention this is a notorious right wing ‘stink tank’ run by the egregious Douglas Murray. Another bloke was from something called Centri which does not even boast a website. Other contributors included people who used to get council funds but don’t any more, giving them an interest in dissing the council. And so it went on.

    We learnt absolutely nothing about Abjol Miah who they seem to have forgotten to interview or anyone else “named and shamed” in this completely incoherent damp squib of a programme. It even failed to get the hits in against the Labour Party. Councillor Lutfur Rahman looked pretty hopeless in the hot seat but Gilligan singularly failed to nail him.

    Only morons like Ed D could have been impressed by this shabby journalism. In my view the programme will have absolutely no effect including its avowed object to set Muslim against Muslim in Tower Hamlets. Channel Four have been conned again which is why it’s going down the toilet. On the basis of this showing, we won’t be missing anything.

  62. campaign against rubbish journalism on said:

    Oh, by the way, perhaps southpawpunch missed it but at one point in the programme, in which Gilligan repeatedly described Abjol Miah as an IFE member/activist, etc, they briefly mentioned he denies he is an IFE member (and therefore activist, etc). No wonder they did not ask him for an interview. It would have completely spoiled the demonisation effect.

  63. Rubbish jouinalism indeed. Abjol Miah is not a member of the IFE. It’s interesting that idiots like southpawpunch on watching this programme issue stentorian calls for people to deny that he is.

    This is how these programmes work – playing on existing prejudices.

    It was, however, a pretty weak effort. That makes it all the more stupid of Fitzpatrick to have encouraged it.I wonder who’s advising him.

  64. @ Southpawpunch: What’s the, erm, line for naughty people like me who just can’t help but have a soft spot for His Gorgeousness?

    Is it that up against a wall business again?

  65. @campaign for rubbish commentating & @nas

    Yeah??

    Do you think us stupid.

    From Abjol Miah’s Facebook notes (to the Labour candidate)- “And does she agree with the majority of Tower Hamlets Labour councillors that the Islamic Forum of Europe is a respectable and respected community …

    From Tower Hamlets Respect –

    “IFE shadwell unit recently organised an area badminton… Councillor Abjol Miah (Respect prospective MP candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow) was an honoured guest…”

    http://towerhamletsrespect.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/ife-shadwells-hold-community-badminton-tournament/

    Maybe he is (the film claimed that a ‘sister’ was told to keep her membership secret).

    Maybe he isn’t. In the way that Ernie Roberts, Labour MP for Hackney North (before Dianne Abbott-Portillo) wasn’t a member of the CPGB despite being big in the British-North Korea Friendship Society; Soviet this; Soviet that.

    i.e. If he wasn’t a secret member, he still acted exactly as though he was.

    A bit like appearing on that radio show.

    @Maria

    The correct term is ‘deluded’.

    Unless you really are youngish, dark skinned and rather attractive (which of course is very highly unlikely for near all Lefts, especially the latter), then you might dream about that soft spot on the beach (or even up against a wall or on a four-poster bed) and you and His Gorgeousness.

    But a dream is all it will be.

    I would vote for Galloway and any other socialist Respect candidates (save if up against TUSC).

  66. #94, you are right, it does appear that the IFE Shadwell Unit organised a badminton match. This must be part of their plans for jihad. It’s remarkable Gilligan didn’t seize on this recreational sporting activity to prove conclusively that the IFE and all who associate with them are planning to violently overthrow the state. Matchpoint!

  67. Only morons like Ed D could have been impressed by this shabby journalism.

    I appreciate you’re trolling and probably on my side, but it wasn’t the journalism I was impressed with. I was worried about the utterly staggering situation going on in Tower Hamlets where a Muslim extremist group is the “decisive” force in electing an MP, according to Galloway himself, is now highjacking the Labour party and generally subverting the whole democratic process around there to create their own little sectarian power base and influence government nationally. It’s mind blowing.

    “In my view the programme will have absolutely no effect including its avowed object to set Muslim against Muslim in Tower Hamlets.”

    I don’t know what you mean by “no effect”. I agree that the rest of the media won’t run with this – if you read it in a newspaper it sounds like a Daily Mail conspiracy theory, so the liberal press will largely ignore this. As we saw after 9/11, it’s a drip drip process to get people to understand these issues. That’s the problem. It’s astonishing that it’s taken so long for the news of this to get out.

    You really couldn’t make this stuff up. How many of you would have backed Respect in 2005 if you’d known the forces really at play, and what it would do to the area? It’s set back Muslims years.

  68. johng on said:

    EdD did you read about Tony Blair threatening to resign because of the disasterous results of his decision to invade Iraq? Perhaps its time to stop cooking up wild conspiracies and blaming Muslims for your own lack of political judgement. How long are you going to keep this up?

  69. Denny on said:

    Much of the negative criticism of the programme could be applied to the Israel lobby documentary but I bet many posters here bought into that one hook, line and sinker.

    People believe what thy want to believe..

  70. steelcityred on said:

    #81 Sometimes in Andy world it come across like that (by the way Andy, we know you one of the good guys just chill out and take a bit of honest and thougth out critcism of Respect)

  71. campaign against rubbish journalism on said:

    Here’s another funny thing. Gilligan paraded a number of disgruntled people who had lost funding from the council and a bloke who was complaining that Ife members had taken exception to the Baishaki Mela ten years ago.

    Gilligan did not mention that Abjol Miah has spoken at every Baishaki Mela since he was elected as a councillor. So much for his membership of the Ife (if they are so opposed to the Mela) and his fundamentalism.

    One of the most prominent supporters of the mayoral campaign is Sirajul Hoque who has run the Baishaki Mela for the last ten years. So how does that make the democratic demand for a referendum on a directly elected mayor a conspiracy to impose a caliphate on the unsuspecting people of Tower Hamlets (not to mention all those very important bankers in Canary Wharf)?

    This programme, for anyone who knows anything about Tower Hamlets politics, was so rubbish we should all be demanding our licence money back, except it is Channel Four. By the way, isn’t Oona King head of “diversity” at Channel Four? I think we should be told.

  72. howard on said:

    How is in the street,who is telling our children that this and is the way that capital judges.

  73. Many of IFE’s enemies are reactionary, from the Islamophobic media to the corrupt former leadership of Tower Hamlets Labour group and certain Bangladeshi nationalist secularists.

    However, and this cannot be emphasised strongly enough, IFE
    is absolutely NOT a progressive organisation. It is full of macho young men spouting fundamentalist rubbish about the subordinate role of women and the need for a Caliphate. They are led by a dodgy group of power-hungry Jamaat politicians.

    Tower Hamlets has a vibrant multicultural heritage and a proud record of progressive politics. That is why the left should contest the IFE’s crude but effective attempt to gain control of the levers of power in Tower Hamlets through an entryist strategy.

  74. Paul on said:

    “Much of the negative criticism of the programme could be applied to the Israel lobby documentary”

    I am sure it could and this should tell us about the nature of the programme – a pathetic inflammatory piece of so called journalism. For what it’s worth I don’t think the left have any belief in some super powerful Israeli lobby. You don’t need conspiracy theories to understand why the ruling class in the West are such staunch supporters of Israel.

  75. #102

    Steelcityred

    “there are times when anarchist and socialist can agree”

    don’t sell yourselves short, you are also in the good company of the Daily Mai and the BNP

  76. I deleted two comments from Bill Crr that linked t the neo-Nazi site, American Renaissance.

    Bill you will be banned if you do that again.

  77. The usual response I see Andy – ignore the issues you cannot address, imply or allege anyone who takes a different line is racist, then hope the issue goes away and you can carry on before.

    This issue may not – you may well find this is close enough to the election that it cannot be wished away.

  78. Marko on said:

    What issue is that Paul Stott, Beware children the evil Muslims are taking control in secret. Do me a favour.

  79. Bill Corr = troll.

    As a socialist, I don’t want to see reactionaries gain control of Tower Hamlets, whatever their ethnicity. There are good progressive people in TH, many of them Bangladeshi, and they should be running the borough, not the IFE with its socially reactionary, anti-women agenda.

  80. ahmed on said:

    109

    “This issue may not – you may well find this is close enough to the election that it cannot be wished away.”

    Would that be coincidence? Like the falsification of documents ‘showing’ Galloway was in receipt of oil money, that the Torygraph journalist just happened to find. Or, come to that, the ‘documentary evidence’ that was hyped, but never shown, alleging to prove financial misdeeds, by Livingstone’s GLA, during the election? We still await publication of that report. At a guess, I would safely say the ‘contents’ of that will be leaked just before the 2012 mayoral elections, but won’t actually see the light of day. Probably filed in the same drawer as the Zinoviev letter. Anyone for a ‘secret’ deal between Brown and the Chinese government if Labour’s support edges above Tories before polling day.

    I can’t decide whether you are extremely naive, or just plain reactionary, or both.

  81. Ahmed – that’s easy. He’s just reactionary. The pseudo-leftist crap he sometimes comes out with is another dead giveaway of the ‘concern trolling’ phenomenon. Like lipstick on a pitbull, to coin a phrase.

  82. 113 and 114 demonstrate the never never land that the last century left has entered into.

    Ken Livingstone is seen as progressive and radical (I wonder if Jean Charles de Menezes family share your view) and groups like Jamaat e Islami and the Islamic Forum of Europe are embraced, as part of a strategy the friendly lefty describes in this thread as “supporting the WHOLE Muslim community”.

    Strange days indeed!

  83. Er, no they won’t, Bill Corr.

    I glanced at it and it seemed to be a load of derivative Islamophobic anti-immigration bollocks to me, harping on about people with “village mentalities” – clunky phrase – who weren’t members of their country’s “cultural elite” and why family reunification should be “limited”. Ugly stuff. Give it a miss, everybody.

    @ Southpawpunch: No, no, noooooo. I didn’t mean “fancy” for “soft spot”. I meant soft spot ie can’t help liking George Galloway especially when he signs off with a jaunty, “again, my lawyers are watching”.

  84. Party hack on said:

    Jo at 105 writes:

    “Many of IFE’s enemies are reactionary, from the Islamophobic media to the corrupt former leadership of Tower Hamlets Labour group and certain Bangladeshi nationalist secularists.
    However, and this cannot be emphasised strongly enough, IFE
    is absolutely NOT a progressive organisation. It is full of macho young men spouting fundamentalist rubbish about the subordinate role of women and the need for a Caliphate. They are led by a dodgy group of power-hungry Jamaat politicians”.

    At least one of the Bangladeshi community activists on the programme is a longstanding Bangladeshi Communist Party member – there are quite a lot of them and their supporters in East London. They have an excellent record in anti-racist and anti-war campaigning, they are mostly secularists (which means that Andy might have them down as EDL supporters)and their concerns should not be dismissed lightly.

  85. “are mostly secularists (which means that Andy might have them down as EDL supporters)”

    *sigh*

    political context is everything.

    In Britain, in 2010, militant secularism is tainted by cultural intolerance, and in particular is used as a political stick to marginalise Muslims and African Christians and sometimes Catholics. Note that the banner headline from the nationl secular Society at the moment is a campaign to prevent the Pope from viciting the UK!

    Now, campaigning to prevent religious faith groups from imposing their views on other people is one thing; campaiging against faith communities being able to live by their own moral and ethical code is another; yet too often “secularism” is a code word for intollerance, and barely concealed hostility to Catholics and Muslims.

    In a country where religion snactifes inequality and injustice, then there is a historical justfication for secularism, and perhaps these Bengali secularists come from that tradition.

    In modern Britain faith communites DO NOT prop up the status quo; and while some of their vews may be less libera on social issues than the mainstream consensus, on other issues, such as eschewing materialism, stressing community as more important than greed, etc, etc, their values may be superior to the hollowed out selfish celebrity-obsessed tabloid culture of the mainstream.

  86. Charles Dexter Ward on said:

    Hallelujah! Preach it bro! Death to the hollowed out selfish celebrity-obsessed tabloid culture of the infidels!

  87. bob hope on said:

    #122

    ..so they want to chop off your hans,burn homos but are more communal and family-loving and hate profit .While we love celebrities,loads a money and The Sun.

    What a load of cliched racist,class sterotypical crap this is.

  88. sandy on said:

    “In modern Britain faith communites DO NOT prop up the status quo;”
    Andy

    Rubbish- of course the so called “faith communities” do prop up the status quo by dividing the working class

    sandy

  89. sylvia ebberly on said:

    Islamophobia has simple materialistic basis at this time
    something this blog has shown the left-in this imperialist backwater-are not immune to
    its role and dynamic need to be understood
    http://www.socialistaction.net/The-demonisation-of-Muslims.html
    this will divide the real progressives who see the totality and those pro-imperialist forces (both by choice or by accident) who do not see the global picture and the era we are in and how oil, the global deterioration of the US, economic crisis, the ideological crisis at the heart of any pro-capitalist project, racism, wars and occupations, are all linked and expressed through the growth of anti-Muslim bigotry

  90. “while some of their vews may be less liberal on social issues than the mainstream consensus, on other issues, such as eschewing materialism, stressing community as more important than greed, etc, etc, their values may be superior to the hollowed out selfish celebrity-obsessed tabloid culture of the mainstream.”

    So no one in the Islamic Forum of Europe is interested in getting control of Tower Hamlets £1 billion budget then?

    Andy is right though when he talks of faith groups not propping up the status quo. In the case of some currents, such as the IFE, the status quo is probably preferable.

  91. Marko on said:

    “Rubbish- of course the so called “faith communities” do prop up the status quo by dividing the working class”

    So you want to ban Football then? And it is not unkown for the non faith communities, such as scientists to prop up the status quo.

    I agree with Sylvia, this anti Muslim hysteria best illustrated by comment #124 is an accessory of modern day imperialism and the war on terror.

  92. Andy – there is a huge difference between attacking the Pope – the head of an institution which, wherever it holds sway, will try to restrict the rights of everyone to contraception, divorce and abortion, and attacking Catholics per se. Likewise, there is a huge difference between seeking to limit the influence of Islamic institutions in our political life, and seeking to demonise Muslims. As far as the socialist movement is concerned, the distinction was worked out back in the 19th century by the old SPD, which declared that religion should be a Privatsache. That is the basic principle of secularism. Some present-day socialists, in pursuit of short-term opportunities, may choose to abandon that time-honoured principle. But nothing worth having wilol come of it.

  93. but questions of morality, familly law. etc, etc are not simply private matters.

    The Gesamtspartei in the hasburg Empire had a much better understanding on this that the SPD.

    You are uncriticaly acceting the enlightenment model of the centrist state with an atomised citizenship, instead of comtemplating the relationshipo being mediated by corporations, for example, faith groups , national minorities, or trade unions.

    the biggest failing of marxism is not haveing a developed thery of multi-culturalism, although the work of Otto bauer is a towering achievment in suggesting how a multi-stranded state could be envisaged.

  94. I wouldn’t have thought “corporations” were incompatible with a secular state, so long as people have the space to exist outside them as well as within them. They become a problem when they seek to universalise their values and impose them on everyone, using the secular, temporal, forces of coercion to do so. “Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden”, as a certain well-known socialist once observed.

  95. Party hack on said:

    Andy at 122:

    “In a country where religion sanctifies inequality and injustice, then there is a historical justfication for secularism, and perhaps these Bengali secularists come from that tradition”.

    It is much more than a question of an “historical justification” for secularism, in specific national conditions. Many of us on the left regard secularism as an important democratic principle which, among other things, protects the rights of non-believers and believers (not least of “minority” faiths) alike. Of course the call to secularism can be used by reactionaries to attack Muslims and minority ethnic communities, and even the Pope, just as appeals to – for example – the right of nations to self-determination can be used to whip up racism and xenophobia. These are the kind of battles between progressive reactionary ideas and interpretations which have to be fought in every “context” (which, Andy tells us, is everything). But “context” does not mean abandoning principles, it means defending, defining (sometimes redefining) and fighting for them so they can be understood and applied in the best way.
    Rushing to identify “secularism” – without differentiation because “context” has already awarded the ideological victory to reactionary “secularists” – with the EDL and Islamophobia is crude, one-sided, opportunist and downright offensive to many “secularists” on the left who defend religious rights and oppose racism of every kind.

  96. Francis:”Some present-day socialists, in pursuit of short-term opportunities, may choose to abandon that time-honoured principle. But nothing worth having wilol come of it.”

    WE need to make a distinction between (our) proposals for public policy – which should include secular schooling, a disestablished church, etc _ and our conduct in public life which should include energetic attempts to engage with faith communities and their institutions. This means finding common grounds for action including political action. The above formulation sounds suspiciously like code for a criticism of tactical alliances with religious groups (like muslims) in the anti war movement.

  97. #133

    This is too complex an issue to resolve in the comments sections of a blog.

    In the modern context, those who activley campiagn for secualrism in the UK are usually using it as a stalking horse for disadvantaging Muslims and Catholics.

    That in itself suggests that the “principle” needs modifying, to be much more critical of the “enlightenment” assumptions that lead to the atomist/centrist mode of the state.

    An initial sketch of my views are spelt out here: http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1874

  98. Nick Wright: “The above formulation sounds suspiciously like code for a criticism of tactical alliances with religious groups (like muslims) in the anti war movement.” Well, Nick, you really should be less suspicious. It means nothing of the sort. It has nothing to do with movements, it is about equal legal rights and responsibilities for everyone – believers, dissenters, apostates and unbelievers – with no privileges, and no discrimination. Quite simple, really.

  99. Alex Ross on said:

    “Note that the banner headline from the nationl secular Society at the moment is a campaign to prevent the Pope from viciting the UK!”

    Wrong. The banner states “say no to an official state visit”. The pope is welcome to come to the UK as a private individual. I’d even show him around Madame Tussauds myself.
    However, a state visit would cost an estimated 20M of public money. This is ludicrous, given that Benedict’s stated intention is to meddle in our legislative process (specifically over equalities) having never been democratically elected here or anywhere else.

  100. Marko on said:

    Party Hack said,

    “the right of nations to self-determination can be used to whip up racism and xenophobia.”

    Isn’t this typical of the “secularists” and imperialist apologists, it never occurs to them that preventing self determination can equally whip up racism and xenophobia! This explains the rise of anti Muslim hysteria.

    # Comment 131 – great point about Marxism’s failure in not having developed a theory of multi-culturalism, some on the left have developed a sort of secular fascism, where it is demanded that everyone must act according to some utopian ideal.

  101. Not suspicious Francis. Vigilant.

    My experience in working with intensely religious people (in Peckham where both muslims and fundamentalist christians are active) was that an open advocacy of secularism was well received provided one had already established a relationship.

    For example, in the early stages of the war on Afghanistan (the original attack) a very productive engagement with the local mosque led to a frank and friendly exchange on the pace of religion with there being an acceptance that a secular society is the best protection for religious minorities. (of course, in this context religion also stands for skin colour etc.) Meanwhile, some idiot sectarians were insisting that muslims repudiate their faith as a condition for joining the anti war movement.

    Similarly, profoundly religious christians were those most offended by the hypocrisy involved in middle class parents ‘choosing’ church schools in the locality.

    Sincere secularists and sincere believers share an common interest.

  102. Marko on said:

    “a secular society is the best protection for religious minorities”

    I am not sure history proves your point. But don’t let facts stop you.

  103. “a secular society is the best protection for religious minorities”

    So, is Islamophobia less rampant in France, where there is a formal seperation of church and state, than it is in England, where the Anglican church is established, and there are state faith schools?

    Switzerland is a secular state, and has recently shown its liberal credentials by legalising assisted suicide, and errr. … … by banning mosque minarets.

  104. Daniel on said:

    This is the way I see it. We are at war, at war with the warmongering imperialists who run our societies and the hard right numbskulls who feed off the poison of society.

    I take the holocaust as my reference point. The debates surrounding Muslims today have striking parallels with the debates surrounding Jews in 1930’s Germany. And some on the left played the game back then, I remember reading in the Guardian how some individuals on the left pointed out that Jews made up a very high proportion of Lawyers in Germany and that this indicated some sort of state within a state. What do I say to that – FUCK facts, stick them up your backside. There are moments in history when you have to engage in a fight and take sides, when you are in an ideological war, this is such a time in my opinion and sophisticated debates among the left on the secular society are inappropriate and downright criminal.

  105. Daniel on said:

    ED D said:”Using WW2 to close down the issue, huh? I can’t think we’ve I’ve seen that tactic before.”

    That is exactly what I was trying to do, I said is explicitly! Close down the issue and take up the fight against the demonisation of Muslims.

  106. Andy (144)
    Living in France half the time and Britain the rest I would not care to make a distinction between the two countries on the issue of islamaphobia save to make the point that it manifests itself in different ways.

    Perhaps we should qualify the statement to say a ’democratic secular state’ or a ‘socialist secular state’. Nothing in the formal structures and constitutions of bourgeois states acts as a guarantee for any right or liberty.

    The DDR, of course, is a good model, with an absolutely secular state with an fiercely policed anti-fascist and anti-racist political culture but with a political space for believers in the alliance between the Christian Democratic Party and the other parties in the Peoples Chamber and a practical expression of this pluralism at every level of the administration of civil society.

  107. Marko on said:

    “Perhaps we should qualify the statement to say a ’democratic secular state’ or a ‘socialist secular state’. ”

    Or maybe you could keep the sweeping superficial statements to yourself?

  108. Are the relatively secular states of present-day Western Europe beyond reproach on matters of religious freedom and freedom of conscience? Clearly not. But can anyone point to a state founded on a fusion of religious and temporal power with a better all-round record on freedom of conscience?

  109. Doctor's Plot on said:

    I saw this program and was disturbed by the views promoted in the East London mosque on women and homosexuals and by these supposed IFE members. Clearly, these affiliated groups are nefarious and dangerous. Their views are as repellent as those of the BNP or any fascist organisation. The program is not a put up job but surely raises many questions that needs answering rather than being waived away as ‘Islamophobia’.

  110. Another Dave on said:

    I just watched the program and must say that I didn’t think it particularly well argued. Having said that, I don’t see these IFE people as allies of mine. They have an agenda that despises 90% of what I stand for as a socialist, and I’m afraid that our 10% commonality just isn’t enough.

    And I think that’s a view that would be shared by most socialists, whatever Andy might think. His disparaging comments about secularism, equating it to neo-fascism of the EDL variety, put him out of the mainstream, which is a tragedy.

    For someone who likes to swipe at so-called ultra-leftists for a supposed lack of realism, I wonder if Andy recognises how his own defense of such reactionaries in the name of supposed anti-imperialism is equally derided by working people.

    It is ironic that someone who touts the building of broad coalitions such as RESPECT can at the same time defend narrow-minded religious reaction of the sort that socialists have been challenging for decades, and which has minute support – if that – among the working class. (This really is sect thinking.) Secularism, with all its faults, offers a far sounder basis for building socialism, and it is a shame that Andy is trashing the brand just so that he can justify the errors that RESPECT (and the Labour Party) are perpetuating in Tower Hamlets.

  111. “in the name of supposed anti-imperialism is equally derided by working people. ”

    ???

    Given that i also champion the religious freedoms of UKIP voting evangelicals, and fusty Anglicans, I don’t think you have understood my argument.

  112. I found it interesting that Andy makes these comments about ‘concern trolling. Scrolling down from the top of the page I was really struck by the tone and structure of Boredofitnow’s comments. Very crisply and professionally put together, they oozed disingenuous vibes. And then I came to Andy’s post, which seems pretty much bang to rights.

    Andy, I hope you are looking at IP addresses ;-)

  113. Rachel on said:

    Ok, I posted as Boredofitnow. Guilty of hiding my real name, yes, but not of whatever else it is you’re implying. I am not that experienced in the world of blogs to even know what you are suggesting. Am I a troll because I disagree with Andy N and the politics of Respect? So do many of the people here. In what way do my posts ooze disingenuous vibes? Who is it you think I am?

    I stand by what I wrote. In #5 “(Respect) have colluded in, promoted the idea that these groups speak for all Muslims. This has sown the seeds for an attack on particular Islamic groups being taken for an attack on all Muslims” (in later post I correct to ‘helped sown the seeds…’)Obviously I am talking not about physical attacks on Muslims , what’s under discussion is the dispatches programme on Tower Hamlets. That programme was an attack on some of the leadership of the ‘community’, it was not an attack on Muslims.

    All ‘community leaders’ try to claim they speak for the whole ‘community’ so any criticism of them is taking as a racist attack on the whole community. But JI and the IFE are not synonymous with and do not speak for all ‘Muslims’ any more than the Board of Deputies of British Jews truly speaks for all Jews. The left should be aware of this dynamic, not collude with some of the most reactionary elements of the ‘community’ in silencing others who do not agree.

    Respect has helped promote the idea of ‘Muslims’ as an undifferentiated group and this has set back left politics in Tower Hamlets mightily. This is why I am writing here, not say, on the labour party supporters blog. I live and work in Tower Hamlets and have done for 19 years. I would like to see an anti-racist, socialist movement. Respect is not it.

    Do you think that the fact that Respect has colluded with the authoritarian Islamist ‘leadership’ in Tower Hamlets means that Respect supporters oppose racism more than I do?

  114. Charles Dexter Ward on said:

    Anne Frank was celebrity-obsessed (Hollywood posters all over her bedroom wall) – the Nazis eschewed materialism and stressed community.

  115. rachel trickett on said:

    #155 What an idiotic statement. Neither Respect nor George Galloway have ever suggested the IFE speaks for all Muslims in Tower Hamlets. The IFE does not say this either. Talk about making up straw men, there is a job open for you at Dispatches, Rachel.

  116. I have seen the programme now, watched it wth my nine year old, who without any framing from me piped up 15 minutes in “This programme is realy racist”, and then of Andrew Gilligan “That man is realy racist, he is saying Muslims are all bad”.

    The programe was carefully put together so as to blur the disinction between the IFE and Muslims, so that hidden filming saying that “brothers” were getting into influential positions were implied to refer to IFE members, when they could have been referring to any Muslim. Ominous music was played behind peopple speaking, etc.

    What the programme basicaly uncovered is this:

    There are Muslims in Tower Hamlets
    Muslims often have brown skin
    Muslims believe in Islam
    Islamic belief has social aspects
    Muslims at the East London Mosque are encouraded to study Islam
    Some Muslims have interpretations of Quranic teaching that deviate from the liberal consensus of Guardian readers
    Some Muslims are engaged in a lobbying group that seeks to promote Islam
    Some Muslims are engaged in democratic politics, and have achieved positions of influence

    The framing narrative is interesting, because despite Andrew Gilligan milking for all it was worth the most tenuous connections with East London mosque and some speakers who were alleged to be sympathetic to terrorism, the programme established that IFE is not in any way linked to terrorism.

    So the problem of IFE from Gilligan’s point of view is that they promote Islam through democratic channels.

    So if we all agree that Jihadi terrorism is a social problem that needs to be addressed, it is not enough for Gilligan and his supperters that Muslims are not themselves terrorists, it is not enough that they don’t support or advocate terrorism: to be condemned it is enough merely that they share some common social and religious overlap with jihadi terrorists. In other words any Muslim who believes in Islam and seeks to promote it – by any means including the legitimate democratic process – is a threat.

    Imagine that this programme had been made in the same way about Jews, there would have been an outcry.

  117. ECOLEFTY on said:

    I agree #159

    Gilligan has an odious agenda common amoungst Daily Mail journalists. I’m sure one could construct a similar narrative around some sections of any other major religion!
    On the “secular” issue, in principle I feel the state should always be religion neutral rather than secularist.

  118. The other issue is, what is the message being sent by Gilligan to that small minority who are sympathetic to Jihadi terrorism?

    The choice is stark, in Gilligan’s eyes. All attempts to promote Islam by legal democratic means need to be opposed according to Gilligan; so according to his view either Muslims should abandon their beliefs, or take up ilegal methods.

    So Gilligan’s agenda for reasons best known to himslef is to strengthen the hand of jihad terrorists. Why would he do that?

  119. The politics of Tower Hamlets is very complicated and so much prejudice and racism. The Labour party in Tower Hamlets has 4 factions all fighting each other. Sadly one faction is very covertly racist and employs various tactics to fight other factions.

    Gilligan’s hatched job “documentary” (or it should be really be called a political broadcast for Fitzpatrick who desperate to win by playing the race card under the guise of exposiing “radicals and fundamentalist”!) was made to appease the “white” voters in Tower Hamlets so that Fitzpatrick doesn’t end up with the same fate as Oona King.

    The “documentary” itself used the usual mind games of hidden cameras and sinister background music in its desperation having cut and paste conversations (which probably had lots of leading questions) between various people in order to make their sinister outlook convincing. The thoroughly deceptive nature of this program proves the program politically motivated and aimed at brain washing the masses with prejudices based on deceptive “journalism”.

    Please do read this to know the backgrounds of some of the people on the documentary to get a clear picture:
    http://iengage.org.uk/component/content/article/1-news/780-review-of-gilligans-islamic-republic-c4-documentary-about-the-ife

  120. pauline ross on said:

    “Imagine that this programme had been made in the same way about Jews, there would have been an outcry.” classic whataboutery. Andy takes the price for being the first on this thread to try to blame us jews for something.

    The problem is not that the IFE promotes Islam, it’s that they promote Islamism, ie political Islam. Were the IFE benign god-botherers, then the corruption, the lies, the intimidation, the sexism and the homophobia could be largely ignored. When faced with a political programme to implement Islam, it is worth the left actually recognising what they face.

    Idiots and Crooks like German/Rees and Galloway may have thought they were being clever in using the IFE to build respect in elections, but the SWP already found out the downside of this when they tried to get Respect to act as the socialist organisation it claimed to be; they were quickly ousted. Galloways chickens have yet to come home to roost- there’ll either be a big fallout or he’ll switch to outright IFE style fascism.

  121. Daniel on said:

    The problem is that this program is being shown in an atmosphere of general hostility towards Muslims, it forms part of that hostility. It seperates out Muslims and says be afraid of these people. And it uses a few fringe extremists to make its point. It also takes at face value the words people speak and the actions they take, so emotional outbursts become some sort of religious doctrine. Both dispatches programmes used this tactic.
    If you stuck a camera in your average pub or even workplace you would hear views that would make these miniscule ‘Political Islamists’ look like enlightened scholars.

    To move forward in a progressive manner you have to take people as they are and not how you want them to be, you have to attempt to engage with people and understand where their views come from, instead of building up bogeymen to be afraid of. This is where the link with Jews comes in because these kind of arguments were being used against them in the run up to the holocaust and some of the arguments were being used by so called progressives, we should see that warning from history and be mindful of it. People in the 1930′s could have no idea where this would lead, we do not have the same excuse.

  122. Marko on said:

    Comment 163 :”Galloways chickens have yet to come home to roost- there’ll either be a big fallout or he’ll switch to outright IFE style fascism”

    This is exactly why you cannot reason with the Islamophobes, they are out of their tiny minds. They probably watch all those anti Galloway you tube videos and think this is the truth! Total feckin cretins, the lot of em.

  123. #163

    “The problem is not that the IFE promotes Islam, it’s that they promote Islamism, ie political Islam. ”

    ahhh

    But whereas it might be true that Zionism is a political doctrine only incidentlly associated with the Jewish religios faith; the desire to create a society that is in accordance with Islamic doctrine is a fairly mainstream and understandable view for Muslims.

    So what you are saying is that any Muslim who wishes to prmote an Islamic view of sciety thrugh the democratic process is a “political islamist” and an “extremist”

    The only Muslims that would be accptable to you are people who do not believe in Islam.

  124. I have seen the programme now, watched it wth my nine year old, who without any framing from me piped up 15 minutes in “This programme is realy racist”, and then of Andrew Gilligan “That man is realy racist, he is saying Muslims are all bad”.

    I’d get that kid into some remedial television watching course if I were you.