Who Inspires the Muslim Haters?

By Bob Pitt, from Islamophobia Watch

Nick Cohen has a piece in today’s Observer in which he points out that, while Anders Breivik was an admirer of the English Defence League, the Norwegian killer “did not only listen to British far rightists screaming out their hatreds in the madhouses of the blogosphere, but peppered his manifesto with citations of articles in the Daily Telegraph and other respectable conservative newspapers”.

Strictly speaking, most of the references to Telegraph reports in Breivik’s 2083 manifesto are by Fjordman and other “counter-jihadist” bloggers whose articles Breivik reproduces in his document. I can identify only two reports from the Telegraph cited by Breivik himself (this and this). His thinking was in fact influenced much more by the Mail, whose articles he cites on numerous occasions throughout his manifesto (the links can be found here).

But the point Cohen is making is basically correct – the mainstream right-wing press in the UK does provide both an inspiration and a cover of legitimacy for the anti-migrant, anti-Muslim ravings of the far right, including murderous fringe elements like Breivik. He is also correct in pointing out that the liberal media contribute to this Islamophobic narrative by giving disproportionate coverage to tiny extremist groups like Muslims Against Crusades

What is missing from Cohen’s analysis, however, is an assessment of his own role in all this. Because the truth is that his journalism has itself played a not inconsiderable part in stoking the baseless but widespread fears of an Islamic takeover of the west that motivated Breivik’s killing spree.

Admittedly, this has been a relatively recent development in Cohen’s journalistic career. Up until the Iraq war, which he enthusiastically supported, Cohen hadn’t shown the slightest interest in anything remotely connected with Islam or Islamism. But the role played by the Muslim Association of Britain in organising the mass opposition movement to that war suddenly awoke Cohen to the realisation that political Islam not only poses an existential threat to western civilisation but is also assisted by those non-Muslims who refuse to accept Cohen’s paranoid delusions on that score.

So, according to Cohen, a large part of liberal opinion has capitulated to “a movement of contemporary imperialism – Islamism” which “wants an empire from the Philippines to Gibraltar – and which is tyrannical, homophobic, misogynist, racist and homicidal to boot”. And it’s not just liberals who are aiding the Islamists in their plot to take over the world. Cohen has denounced “appeasers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who sponsored Islamists working to create a sexist, racist, homophobic and totalitarian empire”. Anders Breivik would undoubtedly endorse every word of this.

Now, Cohen would argue that his denunciations are directed against Islamism rather than Islam. But the Islamists he condemns include Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whose Al Jazeera broadcasts attract an audience of tens of millions and who is widely regarded as a leading reformist influence within Islam. In Cohen’s world-view even Tariq Ramadan represents a threat – when Ramadan received a friendly reception on his visit to the US last year, Cohen wrote that it “showed that today a type of fellow-travelling with radical Islam has spread from Europe to America”. And in the UK itself, Cohen would have us believe, the leaders of such mainstream organisations and institutions as the Muslim Council of Britain and the East London Mosque are headed by those evil Islamists who are bent on world conquest.

This is where Cohen’s distinction between Islamism and Islam breaks down. For, if a major figure like Qaradawi is, as Cohen claims, a barbarian intent on killing homosexuals and genitally mutilating young girls, if a liberal Muslim intellectual like Ramadan embodies the threat from “radical Islam”, if the MCB and the East London Mosque are led by dangerous extremists whose objective is to establish an Islamic empire – then you can only conclude that the Muslim communities in which these individuals and organisations are rooted must surely be suspect too.

This is certainly the conclusion drawn by Breivik’s former friends in the English Defence League. It is the long campaign of demonisation waged against the East London Mosque by mainstream journalists like Cohen, along with his co-thinkers Andrew Gilligan and Martin Bright, that has inspired the EDL to mount an intimidatory demonstration in Tower Hamlets on 3 September. If the ELM is indeed a nest of “Islamic fundamentalists”, the EDL reasons, then the tens of thousands of local Muslims who support it must represent no less of a threat.

If a British Breivik emerges from the “counter-jihad” movement in the UK and commits similar atrocities here, it won’t just be the right-wing press that is to blame for stoking hysteria about “Islamisation” and its “appeasers”. Liberal journalists like Nick Cohen will have to take their share of the responsibility too.

159 comments on “Who Inspires the Muslim Haters?

  1. Robert on said:

    The liberal pundit Timothy Garton Ash on the dangers of Islamophobic propaganda:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/29/internet-norway-killer-censorship-folly?INTCMP=SRCH

    [quote]However, if it is ridiculous to suggest that there is no connection at all between Islamist ideology and Islamist terror, it is also ridiculous to suggest that was no connection between the alarmist view of the Islamicisation of Europe that these writers spread, and what Breivik understood himself to be doing. “No ‘ideology’ here”? You bet there was. A significant part of Breivik’s manifesto is a restatement – often by internet copy-and-paste quotation – of precisely their horror story of Europe as “Eurabia”: so weakened by the poison of multiculturalism, and other leftist diseases, that it submits without a fight to a condition of dhimmitude under Muslim supremacy. His clearly unbalanced mind (whether “insane” in legal terms is another question) then leaps to the conclusion that the lonely Justiciar Knight (himself) must deliver a heroic, brutal wake-up call to his enfeebled society – a “sharp signal”, as he told Norwegian investigators.[/quote]

  2. A good article though we can cast the net much wider to ensnare the grandaddy Islamophobe of them all, Christopher Hitchens, whose ME analysis amounted to little more than “bomb them all!”, except Israel, of course.

  3. Before posting a quote from Qaradawi, and a link, I should perhaps note that I signed the HnH petition about Islamophobia in the Daily Star and have also demonstrated against the EDL.

    ‘Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the (Jews) people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.’

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HStliOnVl6Q

  4. Qaradawi also said that the victims of the 2004 tsunami deserved to die. He said that it was a religious obligation to engage in suicide bombings in Iraq. Oh, and Osama bin Laden supported Kerry’s presidential election campaign by threatening to attack those US states that voted for Bush.

    And who could doubt these claims? After all, they come from that impeccable source, the Middle East Media Research Institute.

  5. So is it a mistranslation? I have no strong views about MEMRI so if you want to say they are selective, or have an agenda – fair enough. But does he say the words attributed to him or not?

  6. Jonny Mac on said:

    “For, if a major figure like Qaradawi is, as Cohen claims, a barbarian intent on killing homosexuals and genitally mutilating young girls…”

    I wouldn’t call him a barbarian, and i don’t suppose Cohen did, but apart from that this is pretty much on the money. See http://www.galha.org/briefing/qaradawi.html .

    The continuing defence of gay haters, anti-Semites and misogynists by the most grotesque part of the Left, represented here by the abhorrent Pitt, is morally and politically inexcusable. A fascist with a brown skin is a fascist.

  7. SteveH on said:

    The basis of the article is correct, people like Cohen have contributed to the rise of Islamophobia, which translates in the real world into an hatred of Muslims and darker skinned people in general. Cohen may like to believe that his beliefs are intellectually refined (which they are not) but the people his beliefs influence are not the discerning types.

    We, on what Jonny Mac refers to as the most grotesque part of the left, have warned continually that the casual Islamophobia, which has been an ideological companion piece to the War on Terror, will create the conditions for the far right to prosper and for Muslims and darker skinned people in general to become the enemy within. History shows us where this can lead, the gas chambers. That is why we are so adamant is our stance on anti racism.

    Not one inch of ground to the racists.

  8. Jonny Mac on said:

    #8 Qarawadi preaches vile bigotry and hate against Jewish people and gay people, has defended genital mutilation and thinks women should be treated like second class citizens.

    It is not racist to point that out and to deplore it. On the contrary, it is something all anti-racists should support as part of the wider struggle against oppression.

    To stifle criticism of grotesquely reactionary views because those views are uttered by a Muslim and are based in Islamic teaching does not serve the cause of anti-racism. Instead it fans the flames of racism. And provides indirect support for those who would attack vulnerable LGBT people, Jewish people and women and girls.

    This is an awful, awful dead-end for the Left.

  9. Anti Jamaat e Islami on said:

    In a debate against the Alliance for Workers Liberty, Bob Pitt acknowledged that the East London Mosque and the Muslim Council of Britain were controlled by the far right party, Jamaat e Islami.

    Bob Pitt basically said that Jamaat e Islami was a dreadful party with nothing to offer and that if he lived in Bangladesh he would support their rivals. However, in the British context it was a different matter. Because there was no chance of Jamaat e Islami actually forming a government in the United Kingdom, we should look to their organisational ability and their role in opposing racism and imperlialism.

    I thought that was a very honest thing to say. However, it is mistaken to support parties like Jamaat e Islami, even strategically.

    First of all, you can’t privately admit that Jamaat e Islami promotes extremist politics, while simultaneously attacking their critics as Islamophobes.

    Secondly, although these groups certainly aren’t going to form a government, as Tower Hamlets shows, they are pretty good at getting their claws into local government, where they do promote a divisive and dangerous politics. That is why, for example, Rainbow Hamlets, is now treating the East London Mosque as (to use their euphemism) “an institution in which homophobia has occured” and is auditing the organisation to pressurise it into ending its support of homophobic preachers.

    I don’t know why Bob Pitt pretends there is no problem, when there clearly is.

  10. I realize this is just my say so, but an Arabic speaker has very kindly confirmed the accuracy of the translation to my own satisfaction at least.

  11. #9 As I recall, in that AWL debate you refer to I said that I would vote for the Awami League if I lived in Bangladesh. But I also pointed out that in 1975 the Awami League responded to its loss of popular support by banning rival political parties, imposing a one-party state and abolishing elections. They instituted an executive presidency to which their leader, Mujibur Rahman, appointed himself for a five-year term without allowing the people of Bangladesh a democratic choice in the matter. And the Awami League would have got away with it if they hadn’t been overthrown by former Mukti Bahini in the military.

    Nick Cohen goes on about the dreadful role played by Jamaat-e-Islami during the independence struggle in 1971, but he has nothing to say about the dreadful role played by the Awami League in 1975. He bangs on about “totalitarian Islamism” but apparently he doesn’t have a problem with totalitarianism when it’s imposed by secular nationalists.

    In any case, I don’t think that the political challenges facing the Bangladeshi community in East London, particularly with regard to Islamophobia and the far right, can be understood through the prism of the political conflicts that took in Bangladesh in the 1970s. Indeed, one of the reasons why the East London Mosque has achieved hegemonic influence in Tower Hamlets is that they have understood that, while their opponents remain intent on obsessively re-fighting 1971 in a completely different social and political context.

  12. Bob – if, as you imply, you think the quote I cited was a wicked forgery by those evil Zionists – does that mean you agree that it is disgusting and antisemitic?

  13. Anti Jamaat e Islami on said:

    But Bob, you said you’d vote for the Awami League in Bangladesh now, because you support secularists. You were absolutely clear in your opposition to Jamaat e Islami in that country. Your objection to that party was its politics, which you accept does seek to impose an Islamic state.

    You also appear to be acknowledging, in the comment above, that Jamaat e Islami does control the East London Mosque:

    “Indeed, one of the reasons why the East London Mosque has achieved hegemonic influence in Tower Hamlets is that they have understood that, while their opponents remain intent on obsessively re-fighting 1971 in a completely different social and political context.”

    This statement ties in with what you said at the AWL debate. Basically, your argument was that Jamaat e Islami would be bad in the social and political context of Bangladesh, but that it had a positive role to play in East London. Your reasons for saying so appear to be that you think it won’t succeed in creating an Islamic state.

    You’re absolutely right. The UK is not going to become an Islamic State.

    What has been happening, though, is that a base for extremist racist homophobic and sectarian politics has been established in East London. You know full well that the East London Mosque has hosted people from Al Qaeda’s Anwar Al Awlaki through to a host of preachers who call for gays to be executed.

    Yet, for reasons that I still don’t understand, you attack anybody who points this out as an Islamophobe.

    What do you hope to gain by this? Denying what is plainly the case, defending organisations which really are extremist, gives the EDL a clear advantage.

    Please explain again why we have to turn a blind eye to the promoting of hatred by the East London Mosque.

  14. #13 I don’t have the resources to check out the full text of Qaradawi’s speech. However, if MEMRI presented Qaradawi’s views accurately, that would be a first. Well, almost.

    In 2005, presumably in an attempt to deflect criticisms from Ken Livingstone about their misrepresentation of Qaradawi, MEMRI posted a transcript of an Al Jazeera interview in which Qaradawi expounded his views on relations between Muslims and Jews at some length. It’s still online here.

    But I’m not getting bogged down in another debate about Qaradawi. I’ve done that too many times before and it’s just pointless. If people want to believe that Qaradawi proposes to kill homosexuals, genitally mutilate children and exterminate the Jews, in my experience there’s no reasoning with them.

  15. Jonny Mac on said:

    ‘I don’t have the resources to check out the full text of Qaradawi’s speech…’

    ‘But I’m not getting bogged down in another debate about Qaradawi…’

    Yeh yeh yeh Bob. You defend hateful bigots, bizarrely pretending to do so in the name of anti-racism, attack those who attack the bigotry, and then run away.

    Everyone has the right to express an opinion, and if you want to spend your time lining up behind anti-Semites, gay haters, and misogynists, bully for you. Many have done it before you, and many will in the future. Socialists will continue to fight against this oppression.

    Just don’t take the piss by pretending that you’re left wing, or by attacking those who call you out on what you do as racists. That’s all I ask.

  16. Bob Pitt is not in much of a position of moral authority either.

    He has not lifed a heavily subsidised figer to support the Bengali comrades in their fight to bring the Islamist genociders in Bangladesh to justice.

  17. #14 I don’t think anyone’s that interested in my personal views about the politics of Bangladesh.

    However, the reason why I’d vote for the Awami League is not because they’re secularists but because they’re the least worse option. But only just. While the BNP are right-wing and corrupt, the problem with the AL is that they’ve never really rid themselves of that one-party-state mindset that they had in the 1970s. They’re the party that led the liberation war in 1971, they reason, so they’re the only party that can legitimately represent the people of Bangladesh.

    I think the AL’s contempt for democracy influences many of their supporters in East London today, who basically don’t accept the Islamic Forum of Europe’s right to compete democratically for influence within the Bangladeshi community there. So they collaborate with Islamophobic witch-hunters like Andrew Gilligan in attacking the East London Mosque. They have even refused to back the ELM against the EDL. I think their behaviour is a disgrace.

  18. #17 `Bob Pitt is not in much of a position of moral authority either.’

    This coming from people who support Zionism and its sectarian murdering, thieving state that only a few short months ago blew up 1,500 people including very many very young children.

    The biggest scandal in Cohen’s nasty article is his characterisation of Respect as an alliance of the White Far Left with Islamist terrorists. Galloway and Respect should sue. It would be a good thing to establish in court the difference between Islam and Islamism and maybe anti-Zionism and anti-semitism while we are at it. Cohen taps in directly to Breivik’s notion of a Muslim-Marxist conspiracy similar to the Nazi one of a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy of the 1920s and 30s. He’s feeding the beast.

    By the way it is beholden on socialists to defend minority communities from fascist attack whether they be Muslim or Jewish or Hindu and however reactionary some of their beliefs are. Just because Hasidic Jews hold beliefs we don’t agree with is not an excuse to abandon them to their fate at the hands of extremists. They have a democratic right to believe what they like. It is called freedom of belief or religion.

  19. Anti Jamaat e Islami on said:

    ” Just because Hasidic Jews hold beliefs we don’t agree with is not an excuse to abandon them to their fate at the hands of extremists. They have a democratic right to believe what they like. It is called freedom of belief or religion.”

    Right

    So, imagine that gays were being attacked by gangs of anti-Gay Muslims, and homophobic posters were being put up by Muslim groups. Would you support a campaign to defend gays and oppose homophobia, which was linked to the English Defence League?

    This is what happened in Tower Hamlets. Progressives, like Jack Gilbert, opposed both homophobia emanating from the East London Mosque’s speakers, and the EDL’s attempt to hijack the issue.

    If we follow Jon and Bob’s logic, surely we should be joining forces with the EDL and attacking as homophobes anybody who opposes that politics?

  20. Calum F on said:

    Bob’s ducking and evasions on this thread show he hasn’t a leg to stand on.

    “Cohen has denounced “appeasers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who sponsored Islamists working to create a sexist, racist, homophobic and totalitarian empire”. Anders Breivik would undoubtedly endorse every word of this.

    But the Islamists he condemns include Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whose Al Jazeera broadcasts attract an audience of tens of millions and who is widely regarded as a leading reformist influence within Islam.”

    It’s irrelevant how large his audience is. Qaradawi is a reactionary who advocates beating disobedient women and killing homosexuals and who considers the Holocaust justice against Jews.

    “For, if a major figure like Qaradawi is, as Cohen claims, a barbarian intent on killing homosexuals and genitally mutilating young girls, if a liberal Muslim intellectual like Ramadan embodies the threat from “radical Islam”, if the MCB and the East London Mosque are led by dangerous extremists whose objective is to establish an Islamic empire – then you can only conclude that the Muslim communities in which these individuals and organisations are rooted must surely be suspect too.”

    No you don’t have to conclude that. You only have to conclude that about the minoirty of extremist individuals responsible for what they have said, and you are flat evading addressing that. The principled and sensible left-wing position would be to unequivocally oppose hatred and violence against Muslims WITHOUT cosying up to those reactionary Muslim clerics who promote hatred of other minorities. It’s not actually all that difficult, and it would stop people like Bob from painting themselves into corners as he has done here.

    @ SteveH

    “Not one inch of ground to the racists.”

    But as much ground as they want to homophobic, misogynistic antisemitic Islamists.

  21. SteveH on said:

    Sarah AB – to answer your question in comment 10 – no. In fact your question says that in essence we should not learn the historical lessons from the holocaust. I find that quite scary.

    comment 21 Anti whatever said,

    “So, imagine that gays were being attacked by gangs of anti-Gay Muslims”

    Yes everyone imagine because this doesn’t happen. Actually much much more likely is that some knuckleheaded fascist from the EDL will go around beating up gays. I think that is a classic case of irony Sarah AB (just to give you an example as you don’t seem to know what it means).

    “Would you support a campaign to defend gays and oppose homophobia, which was linked to the English Defence League?”

    Of course not as it would be blatantly obvious that the campaign would be a great big lie. These are stuffed with people who are the most active anti homosexuals in the entire nation.

    “If we follow Jon and Bob’s logic, surely we should be joining forces with the EDL and attacking as homophobes anybody who opposes that politics?”

    No we should not for the reasons given above.

    Attacking the EDL will not lead to whites being discriminated against in Western society, attacking Islamism in the way Cohen and his cohorts do will contribute to the discrimination and marginalisation of dark skinned people. Your lumping together racists and victims of racism into one group and your ill thought out analogy’s reveal a thought process every bit as scary as Sarah B’s. I suspect you are all from the Jim Denham camp.

  22. SteveH on said:

    Calum F

    “The principled and sensible left-wing position would be to unequivocally oppose hatred and violence against Muslims WITHOUT cosying up to those reactionary Muslim clerics who promote hatred of other minorities.”

    Instead of being the wing man for every anti Muslim who appears on this site try putting the above into practice some time soon.

  23. Jonny Mac on said:

    #20 ‘By the way it is beholden on socialists to defend minority communities from fascist attack whether they be Muslim or Jewish or Hindu and however reactionary some of their beliefs are.’

    I entirely agree.

    It is not beholden on socialists to defend those ‘reactionary beliefs’, though. Nor, even worse, is it beholden on socialists to attack those who criticise those ‘reactionary beliefs’ and slander them as ‘racist’.

    On the contrary, it is possible, and right, attack ‘reactionary beliefs’, whoever spouts them, while at the same time defending the communities from whom those reactionaries come. After all, most of those communities hate extremists and bigots.

    The strategy of refusing to criticising peddlers of hate and bigotry (and attacking those who do criticise them as racists) because they are Muslim is patronising, morally wrong, risks putting vulnerable LGBT and Jewish communities even futrher at risk, and is positively harmful in terms of its effect on anti-racist work.

    I’m starting to think that the Bob Pitt and Jon H’s of this world actively want to foment racism because it is likely to lead to street clashes with the EDL,and they think that is likely to lead to some form of socialist revolution.

  24. Jon H on said:

    #21 `So, imagine that gays were being attacked by gangs of anti-Gay Muslims, and homophobic posters were being put up by Muslim groups. Would you support a campaign to defend gays and oppose homophobia, which was linked to the English Defence League?’

    Why didn’t you say you were EDL?

  25. Steve H – your comment was offensive and ironic because you invoked the lessons of the Holocaust while blanking out the genuine antisemitism on the screen in front of you. Of course I think we should learn lessons from the Holocaust – I have no problem with invoking (up to a point) parallels between Jews in the last century and Muslims today – but I suppose there is no point suggesting that the new antisemitism might also be the ‘new’ antisemitism as you don’t seem on top of the mark one variety yet.

    Bob – why should one not be against both the IFE and the EDL? Your logic reminds me of your opposite numbers on Harry’s Place who told me I shouldn’t have demonstrated against the EDL in Cambridge because some people associated with the Cambridge Mosque have unwelcome views.

    @anti – exactly – one can bew against the homophobic posters and against the EDL-contaminated march.

    One of the more annoying things about this post is the way it distracts from the real problems with Islamophobia.

  26. Jon H on said:

    #25 `It is not beholden on socialists to defend those ‘reactionary beliefs’, though. Nor, even worse, is it beholden on socialists to attack those who criticise those ‘reactionary beliefs’ and slander them as ‘racist’.’

    Who has defended reactionary beliefs? People have defended people’s rights to hold reactionary beliefs that doesn’t mean they agree with their beliefs. If a Nazi mob invaded a synagogue to prevent the genital mutilation of a small boy I would oppose that mob even though I certainly don’t agree with circumcision. The problem is that the Zionist movement has an interest in Islamaphobia and are in a cosy alliance with European fascism as a result as is everybody who supports that movement which is itself a fascistic movement.

    The AWL are the ideological shock troops of non-Jewish Zionism and imperialism. Their fate is to provide the apologia for the likes of the EDL and the IDF just as it has done for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    #25 `I’m starting to think that the Bob Pitt and Jon H’s of this world actively want to foment racism because it is likely to lead to street clashes with the EDL,and they think that is likely to lead to some form of socialist revolution.’

    I somehow doubt you’ve ever started to think. You are just another paranoid type banging on about a Muslim-Marxist conspiracy against the West.

  27. SteveH on said:

    Again the likes of Johnny Mac and Calum F raise the Muslim threat level to 5. Jonny MaC talks of LGBT communities under threat from Muslims when in fact they are actually most under threat from their fellow white citizens. You really will have to back up your scare mongering with some statistics. How many people from the LGBT community were attacked by Muslims in say the last 5 years. What is the profile of the typical perpetrator of these attacks. Calum F goes even further by suggesting that the very knuckleheads who usually attack gays are the ones to defend them. They play all sorts of mind games to raise the Muslim threat level.

    It is one thing to oppose reactionary views, the likes of Cohen and the Calums and Macs of this world go way beyond that. They are an Islamophobic block. Which out in the real world translates directly into racism against dark skinned people. The left have a duty to handle these issues withe extreme care and not the extreme prejudice exhibited by the likes of Calum F and Johnny Mac. The lessons of history cannot be conveniently ignored.

    Sarah AB – So why was my comment offensive? Your answer makes no sense. The irony logic I can now see even if I reject it totally.

  28. @Anti
    A sly attempt at #21 to try and implicate the ELM in the homophobic sticker campaign. As you well know it was an 18-year old youth responsible and no links, to the best of my knowledge, have been shown to exist between this individual and the ELM. Indeed, during the campaign, the ELM did in fact issue public statements condemning homophobia.

  29. Jonny Mac on said:

    29 and 30 – yup, you’re proving my points better than I ecer could. Thanks. Well done Jon H for bringing in Zionism and the AWL, by the way – surprised you managed to hold out so long!

    You two H boys stick to your online slanders of those who attack bigotry, misogny and anti-semitism. The rest of the Left can get on with something useful, like promoting equal rights for everyone, whether they are male or female, gay or straight, Jewish or Muslim or Christian.

    As opposed to enabling racism and division, like you.

  30. Anti Jamaat e Islami on said:

    All I can say is, read the letter from Rainbow Hamlets.

    After Rainbow Hamlets got the Gay Pride march cancelled, the ELM refused to engage with them further. They boycotted the Faith and Homophobia conference. They won’t return their calls.

    So, now they’re “working with them” to address their institutional homophobia, which has manifested itself in hosting preachers who call for gays to be executed.

  31. Calum F on said:

    ““So, imagine that gays were being attacked by gangs of anti-Gay Muslims”

    Yes everyone imagine because this doesn’t happen.”

    Homophobic attacks in Tower Hamlets by young Muslim men have been a very real fact in recent years, as this article by Delwar Hussain discusses:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/24/gay-hate-tower-hamlets

    “Attacks on gay people in Tower Hamlets may have their roots in the frustrations of an impoverished Bangladeshi community”

    This should not be exploited, but it should be addressed, like any bigotry. Your denial/minimalising of the problem stinks.

  32. Well, given the level of vitriol directed at the ELM by those who claim to be “concerned about homophobia” , I’m not suprised they may have concerns about the agendas of some involved in Rainbow Hamlets.

  33. Anti Jamaat e Islami on said:

    Rainbow Hamlets were the organisation which took on the EDL.

    The problem that the ELM has is a very deep one. They are an organisation which invites preachers who support the torture and execution of gays, because that’s also what they believe. It is pretty clear.

  34. #34
    From the latest Met police report on the subject:

    “In response to an FOI request by Andy Godfrey the Metropolitan Police have also provided detailed statistics for violent homophobic crime in London between 2006 and 2009. Though the figures for Tower Hamlets do not include religious affiliation, they show that during this three-year period 66 individuals were proceeded against, of whom 24 were of Bangladeshi heritage, i.e. members of the ethnic group to which the overwhelming majority of local Muslims belong. This was 36.3% of the total. The last census put the figure for the borough’s Bangladeshi population at 33.4%.”

    And the latest Pink Paper report,based on Met stats, indicates that Tower Hamlets doesn’t even warrant a mention as it is amongst one of the 32 London Boroughs where homophobic crime has fallen, the biggest increases being in Soho and City of Westminster:
    http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory/5407/24/05/2011/hate-crimes-in-londons-soho-on-the-rise-police-say.aspx

  35. SteveH on said:

    I think we are getting close to answering the question posed by this article.

    Who inspires the Muslim haters? – Certainly sections of the decent left. Though surely they would just be inspiring themselves?

  36. anonymous on said:

    There is already a law against incitement. If ELM preachers are preaching hatred or violence towards homosexuals the authorities should intervene.

    However if some preachers are saying that their faith teaches that homosexuality is a sin then they are entitled to say that. In a free society you cannot stop people holding socially conservative or reactionary views. Mainstream Christianity also believes homosexuality to be a sin. St Paul is quite clear on the subject.

    However homophobic some Muslims may be they should be defended against the EDL and Islamophobic bigotry.

  37. Anti Jamaat e Islami on said:

    There’s a difference between saying that homosexuality is a sin, and saying that homosexuality should be met with hatred, or that it deserves execution.

    Being religious is no excuse for hatred.

  38. *38
    “Who inspires the Muslim haters? – Certainly sections of the decent left.”

    * 20 “people who support Zionism and its sectarian murdering”

    If these are the kind of mates the Pillock from Hull has, he is welcome to them.

  39. Jon H on said:

    #40 `Being religious is no excuse for hatred.’

    Just as we oppose (though of course you don’t) the violence and hatred of the Zionists we also oppose anti-semitism. You refuse to admit this for your own political reasons. But whilst you oppose the violence and hatreds of the Islamists you not only do not oppose Islamaphobia but you feed directly into it as part of your pro-Israel agenda. They it seems can kill any number of Palestinian children and not be condemned for it.

  40. # 40 are you for real?

    Or just secret agent for Harry’s Place to make serious opponents of oppression in the Middle East, from the Occupied Territories onwards, look like a bunch of ninnies?

    I’d start from Syria but that doesn’t seem an interest here.

  41. Jon H on said:

    #44 So why you picking on TH especially?

    #43 Do I not? Please point out where I have been anti-semitic.

  42. Lets say Home Sec bans EDL march/rally because it will cause violence. Then the Home Sec has set the agenda and precedent. So what next? Ban those protesting students as they cause trouble. Ban UK Uncut protests as they cause aggro, oh and while we’re at it, ban those troublesome trade unionists rallies/marches as well as they could decend into anarchy. Where will it stop? Hard fought rights will be erroded. The only way to stop the EDL is to counter demo on a massive scale.

  43. 43 – yes, people here (some of them) *don’t* seem to oppose antisemitism seriously – here, specifically, some really pretty extreme antisemitic discourse from Qaradawi. You can’t just say ‘we oppose antisemitism’. Why do some of you find it a problem to oppose Qaradawi? This should be EASY. I’ve opposed the Islamophobic/ anti-Arab discourse of eg Douglas Murray, Melanie Phillips, Benny Morris even though, at least according to commenters on SU, I’m a Zionist.

  44. #44
    I was responding to a claim by another commentator about homophobic attacks being carried out and seemingly on the rise in TH overwhelmingly, it is suggested, by “young Muslim men” because of the malign influence of organisations like the ELM. Clearly the stats I linked to and the Met office quote prove this to be a false premise. The areas where they are on the increase are in Soho and City of Westminster, not exactly hotbeds of Islamist activity I’m sure you’ll agree.
    So,given that the attempts by “decents” to prove a causal link between local Islamic organisations and a supposed epidemic of Muslim homophobic crime in TH has been proven utterly false, where does that leave the rest of your assumptions about the Muslim community, for it is they you are implicating ?

  45. skidmarx on said:

    Sarah AB – “I *don’t* boycott settlement produce – I have bought settlement produce and demonstrated against the boycotters yesterday.”
    I don’t think it’s just according to some strange SU definition that you are a Zionist.
    You oppose some of the extremes of anti-Islamic discourse, but always seem to have more time for it than for those it demonizes:
    “I think perhaps we should remember, between Morris’ discussions of a hypothetical past and an equally hypothetical future, the all too real ethnic cleansing of Jews in, for example, Egypt.”

  46. Vanya on said:

    #47 Pepole should not be prohibited from speeding or drink driving because the next thing is that we’ll all be banned from driving altogether?

  47. oh skidmarx – right on cue! One reason I don’t boycott settlement produce is because I don’t boycott anything. I said in my post.

    “If this was really just about settlement goods, I wouldn’t have gone to London to counter-demonstrate. I’m perfectly receptive to stories such as this [that was a link to http://greensengage.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/wadi-fukin-a-valley-of-hope-and-dispair/, and I realize that some Israelis also choose to boycott such products, and that many are concerned at Israel’s moves to outlaw such boycotts. Neither in fact am I strongly opposed to such products being labelled more clearly . But although the Ahava campaign might seem limited and acceptable, the overall BDS campaign is intent on targeting every kind of contact with Israel – cultural, sporting, academic.”

    Omar – I agree that the figures about homophobic crime don’t seem to back up the idea that there is a huge intersection between Muslims and homophobic hate crime – which is just one good reason for objecting to the EDL muscling in. I would tentatively suggest that a greater proportion of Muslims hold conservative views – but non-muslims are more likely to translate such views, where held, into violence.

  48. #52
    Yes but Sarah I think one can certainly make a stronger case, as the article suggests, for the rise of groups like the EDL and Islamophobia generally and the amount of column inches and airtime afforded the likes of Cohen,Gilligan, Hitchens,etc and ,of course, the influence of sites like HP.

  49. tony collins on said:

    The areas where they are on the increase are in Soho and City of Westminster, not exactly hotbeds of Islamist activity I’m sure you’ll agree.

    A really nice halal place has just opened up in Soho. That’s all the evidence I need.

    As for “why is it hard to oppose Qaradawi”, the real question is, what happens if people do oppose him?

    The argument stops? Oh, no it doesn’t. The argument simply veers off into who else we need to oppose, and why, and how, and what tactics are gonna be demanded of us.

    There seems to be this misty-eyed idea that if we oppose the Bad Muslims, this will allow us to more effectively argue against the EDL (otherwise why spend *so* much time demanding it? what other outcome do you think it will lead to?).

    Except, we’ve all seen what happens on right-wing blogs like Harry’s Place the moment you ever give in and take part in a will-you-condemn-athon: You then have to condemn more and more, and this is exactly what would happen with the EDL.

    Qaradawi is *irrelevant* in tackling the EDL and racism. Utterly irrelevant. Except if you start demanding that I have to oppose him. Cos now, before I can oppose the EDL, I have to oppose him.

    And what will the EDL say? “thanks for opposing him”? Of course not. They’ll say “then what should we do about preachers of extremism like him?”

    You know that’s what they will say, cos it’s what you say.

    The point has been proven in this thread. The Harry’s Place lot can’t just oppose the EDL. They have to start off by setting purity tests for everyone else.

    Sure, they might post here and there, and 2-5 of them will march. But mostly, they won’t feel able to take part in action against the EDL, cos that would, they fear, imply they support extremist Muslims.

    We know this cos, as I just found out, it’s the position the local Green Party took last year: They demanded that “all intolerance” be condemned by the march organisers, and when the march organisers refused to give equal weight to the EDL and the Muslims, the Greens walked away, and refused to march.

    I’ll march against the EDL without first finding out the political leanings of all the march organisers, cos all that matters is defending my community. That should be all that matters to you.

    Qaradawi doesn’t matter. None of them matter. If you make them an issue – as you have spent this entire thread doing – then you are handing the ground to the EDL.

  50. Omar – I think you raise an interesting point about column inches. It’s much harder to say whether or not something is being scrutinised unfairly (whether it’s the ELM or Israel) than it is to say whether or not a particular piece is true or fair.

    Tony – I didn’t bring up Qaradawi – the OP did. I demonstrated with the EDL, even though I’m not keen on the UAF who co-organised the march, because, like you, I wanted to stand with my community.

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/06/21/the-edl-and-the-cambridge-mosque/

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/07/09/the-edl-march-in-cambridge/

  51. #40

    There’s a difference between saying that homosexuality is a sin, and saying that homosexuality should be met with hatred, or that it deserves execution.

    I expect that you will be campiagning against the Christian churches and synagogues then, after all this is what the Bible/Torah says:

    “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13).

  52. Some excellent points from Tony Collins.

    #56
    Yeah that’s all well and good Sarah, but the default position of the Decents is to assume that extremism is rife within the Islamic community and therefore that Islam in the 21st century has a natural inclination toward extremism and whose adherents must certainly not be trusted with holding any significant political power or, Allah forbid, allowing their political positions to be guided by their faith. And as Tony points out politically active Muslims are often placed under immense pressure to prove to all and sundry that they “reject extremism.” As I’ve said before the (desired ?) effect is to discourage political participation by Muslims, especially those who may question “certain” foreign-policy decisions.
    As for HP I’ve previously used the example of the right-wing tabloids who refer to the BNP as “scum” or “thugs” but whose content is barely discernable from BNP literature. HP may pay lip service to anti-fascism but it is precisely their Islamophobic agenda that gives succour, and perhaps inspiration, to groups like the EDL. The convergence isn’t difficult to see.

  53. skidmarx on said:

    “I demonstrated with the EDL”
    Against. And “because” is used with sloppy ambiguity.

  54. skidmarx – Sorry – aargh! Yes, against.

    Omar – I don’t fully agree with you but I can at least see where you are coming from. It would be a lot easier if some on the left could bring themselves to say that Qaradawi’s views seem unacceptable (in a context such as this one where he has been defended by the OP). I can see that a criticism of ‘Islamism’ can blur into a criticism of someone whose views have simply been guided by their faith, and I understand the point about the tabloids – yet at the same time I don’t think HP is like that – but it would be useful if you could point out specific instances when you think it is (I don’t mean right now necessarily, just as and when you note them).

  55. #60
    Well Sarah right off the top of my head the storm-in-a-teacup over the alleged “takeover” of TH Labour Party by the IFE for which much of the “evidence” was gleefully posted on HP by that known racist/fantasist Terry Fitz (to whom all references of which have now been expunged from HP’s archives) and the relentless campaign against TH’s democratically elected mayor Lutfuhr Rahman, to name but a couple.

  56. Nina H on said:

    @ Tony Collins,

    “Qaradawi is *irrelevant* in tackling the EDL and racism.”

    He’s not irrelevant in tackling antisemitism and homophobia though. Or don’t they count?

    @ Andy Newman,

    “”There’s a difference between saying that homosexuality is a sin, and saying that homosexuality should be met with hatred, or that it deserves execution.’

    I expect that you will be campiagning against the Christian churches and synagogues then…”

    Which one? Which Christian or Jewish places of worship in Britain have hosted preachers who have publicly affirmed the death penalty for homosexuals? ELM has hosted plenty. Not just one or two. Loads.

    There is a difference between clerics of any religion who emphasise and reaffirm the most reactionary aspects of their religious texts (yes, inlcuding Koran and Torah and Bible), and those who don’t. You are being disingenuous in pretending that such distinctions don’t exist within the religions, or that ELM has not long been a platform for the more reactionary end of the psectrum. It’s like pretending there’s no significant difference between Westboro Baptist Church and a liberal unitarian church, or between a ultra-Orthodox and reform synagogue – in order to justify one’s close association with the more reactionary end of these.

  57. skidmarx on said:

    @60 Examples of the Zionist/Islamaphobic agenda can be seen in the current posts about Abdel Bari Atwan and the Church of Scotland.

  58. #62

    that is nonsense Nina, east london mosque is a private religious institution, that lets rooms to organisations, and sometimes those organisations have people of questionable views.

    You say

    Which Christian or Jewish places of worship in Britain have hosted preachers who have publicly affirmed the death penalty for homosexuals?

    Well for example the Anglican Bishop of Uyo, Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama, has said:.

    “Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, Satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man.”

    Rick Warren, who is a strange figure aguably on the centre-left in American politics on issues of wealth inequality, has very deeply conservative views on gender and sexuality issues, and visited Nigeria during the period where the recent anti-gay laws were promoted. he soke to 12000 baptists in Birmingham NEC in 2005

    I am not seking to start a witch-hunt against these christainas, I am just noting your own bias that you think Muslims are uniquely conservative over LGBT issues.

  59. Alex Ross on said:

    Andy,

    Firstly, Uyo is in the Niger Delta and not in the UK.

    Secondly, the fact that you can only bring yourself to characterise the view that Gay people should be killed as “questionable” really speaks volumes about your indifference to LGBT rights.

  60. skidmarx – I have just responded to your comment on the first thread. I don’t see a problem with the second post.

    Omar – I wasn’t involved with HP then, though I read it, and the only thing which sticks in my mind was just how extremely bizarre the racist emails were – but I didn’t (and haven’t since) followed that case really.

    I thought the criticisms I read of ‘Britain’s Islamic Republic’ were poorly thought through – but at the same time I had a few criticisms of it myself and thought it could have done more to avoid being perceived as Islamophobic.

  61. #66
    The racist e-mails had nothing to do with the IFE/Labour post of Fitz’s, but were certainly representative of a pattern. As I recall there was an attempt at an EDL march through TH last year(in addition to a racist attack against an Asian stallholder) on the back of an HP post about The Troxy or some such venue hosting another alleged “extremist.” Of course the original Fitz post is no longer available,ahem!:

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=6118#comments

    So you see how HP encourages the likes of the EDL?

  62. Rachel on said:

    Good work, Sarah. If you ever make it to TH you would get a warm reception from secular Bengalis who do exist, though they are dismissed by most of the left.

    Andy Newman, since you’re wading back into TH politics, could you please recall your admission some months ago that you recognise that there is a distinction between the leaders of one mosque, big and powerful though it may be, and Muslims in general. Muslims come in many different varieties and have different views and politics, just like every other group.

    The director of the ELM is currently working with SPUC to promote a campaign against sex ed in local schools. This looks to some like a grassroots parents campaign but, just as powerful churchs promote such campaigns in the US, it has a certain amount of institutional strength behind it. I’m trying to work out some way of countering this campaign, because frankly I don’t want our schools producing morons like they do in parts of the US (I feel able to use such language because some of those morons are my cousins). I think I have every right to worry about this, and I don’t think opposing such campaigns is anti Muslim or anti Catholic – just as SPUC represents only some Catholics, the ELM campaign represents only some Muslims (and another thing – many of the worshippers at the ELM go there to WORSHIP – they don’t necessarily want to be represented politically by their mosque, or seen by you as having a fixed politics/identity as Muslims). Other mosques might be attended by people with more or less progressive views on sexuality – I don’t know and I don’t really care because they are not trying to take an active role in my childrens education.

    Of course I do recognise that British state education is not itself secular, and also that its the existence of faith schools that creates one of the biggest problems with schools, their extreme segration. I don’t think the problem is

    Sex ed is only one example – the ELM tries to take an active role in many aspects of community life – sometimes positively, sometimes in my view extremely negatively (anti-semitism is also extremely commonplace in TH schools and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Certainly the ELM has some responsibility for this).

    Opposing reactionary politics that may emanate from the mosque can and must be done in a way that does not strengthen the EDL or the right generally. If more people from the left were brave enough to do this instead of sucking up to some of the most reactionary elements within the community then this would help.

  63. Rachel on said:

    whoops I accidently posted without finishing this comment. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is the same as others above are making (several on this thread – hurray!) that opposing the religious right doesn’t necessarily make you anti-Muslim or anti-Catholic or even anti-religious. Yawn!

  64. Nina H on said:

    The fact that you couldn’t provide any instances of churches or synagogues in the UK rather proves my point – which was not, by the way, that I “think Muslims are uniquely conservative over LGBT issues.”

    1. I don’t remotely think muslims are ‘uniquely conservative over LGBT issues’, and I resent that strawman. I have already explicitly stated that homophobes can find supporting texts in Judaism and Christianity too. Please do not misrepresent me.

    2. ELM, unlike any UK churches or synagogues you could name (because you couldn’t could you?) has hosted a large number of homophobes who go beyond being ‘conservative’ to the degree of advocating killign gay people. As another poster has noted, you characterise that in a very euphemistic way as holding ‘questionable views’. Would you say the BNP merely ‘hold questionable views’ about Muslims? Do you use that euphemism about bigots of all persuasions, including those who advocate killing those they hate, or is the soft soap treatment reserved for (some) homophobes?

    “east london mosque is a private religious institution, that lets rooms to organisations,”

    Row back a bit. What point are you making when you use the word ‘private’? It has no bearing whatsoever on whether ELM hosts homophobes or not, or whether that is a bad thing or not. And in any case, ELM receives large amounts of public funding for its social cohesion work. Its policy of letting rooms to bigots thus deserves scrutiny, but it would do so even if that were not the case.

    On top of which, you have ducked the point that allying with such a place is like allying with a reactionary church or synagogue. There is no justification for doing so, unless you consider the targets of religious reactionaries to be of lesser worth than those reactionaries themselves. Its perfectly possible to be supportive of religious minorities against bigotry without deliberately striking up allegiances with the more intolerant members of such faiths. e.g. one could be supportive of Roman Catholics against sectarianism without pitching your tent next to Opus Dei.

    There ought to be nothing remarkable or objectionable about those points.

    I get the sense that you feel that conceding a milimetre in criticism of the ELM would simply and solely be a victory for anti-Muslim bigots. I understand why. But at the same time, by whitewashing as merely ‘questionable’ some forms of bigotry you rather devalue the whole issue of bigotry against minorities. that is, unless you genuinely feel that gay people inherently deserve rather less in the way of support against those who demonise them, than do Muslims. I hope not, but that is the impression some on here give with their, shall we say, ‘questionable’ weighting of words and arguments.

  65. #69

    Nina

    I take exactly the same attitude to the Christian churches as I do to Islam, which is why I was adamantly opposed to the protests last year against the visit to the Uk by His Holiness Benedict XVI.

    generally I do err towards understatement, I am after all English. Hence I am likely to say that views I find offensive are “questionable”.

    I wouldn’t for exmaple point out that liberals like Sunny Hundal, Laurie Penny or Johann Pinocchio Hari are anti-Catholic bigots for their nasty and prejudiced campaign against the Pope last year, I would say that it was questionable or ill-judged.

    the point about ELM itself is that it is a complex which includes rooms that are let out to organisations that are not necessarily endorsed by ELM itself.

    Now if individuals have actually called for violence against gays, or anyone else, then that is a criminal matter that shoudl be reported to the police. However as you know, outside of your own fantasies, no mainstream Muslim figures make any such incitement.

    However it simply isn’t true that any mainstream Muslims in the UK call for violence against gays. That is a lie from you. It is a lie you feel comfortable with because you own assumptions are also questionable to say the least.

    In fact there is just as much disquiet about same sex relationships among orthodox Jews, many Catholics or evangelical Christans as there is among Muslims.

    Now, the difiicult aspect of a multi-cultural society is that while people obvioulsy have a right to express their sexuality and find happiness as they wish, other people have a right not to approve, and to proselytise the reasons of their disapproval. Generally faith groups have a right to beleive what they want to believe.

  66. Nina H on said:

    “However it simply isn’t true that any mainstream Muslims in the UK call for violence against gays. That is a lie from you. It is a lie you feel comfortable with because you own assumptions are also questionable to say the least.”

    This is getting daft. That is simply another gross misrepresentation of what I have said. I have referred to extreme bigots, not to mainstream Muslims.

    It is obviously a waste of time trying to discuss with you. Goodnight.

  67. Rachel and Nina – I agree with your perspective – and I think (hope I’ve got this right) that Rachel, on another thread, was using the positive experience of a gay friend in TH to argue that there are most certainly problems on the other, anti-muslim bigot, side of the argument too. I can understand the urge to overcompensate (avoid giving *anything* away to the EDL) and I actually think it’s often a more sympathetic impulse than the opposite one I encounter on HP sometimes – it’s driven by understandable sensitivity to real anti-muslim bigotry which might make people see bigotry where I see fair criticism (obviously there’s a complex middle ground/room for debate!) and also by a benign anti-racist impulse too. But although it feels like a way of standing up to the EDL I think it fuels their cause – as well as leading to other forms of discrimination, such as homophobia being overlooked – I’ve found people refusing to engage with homophobia as a problem on this blog before – as opposed to Omar who adduces evidence to suggest the intersection with Muslims is exaggerated, which is obviously a completely fair point. And in the OP there’s a clear example of this impulse leading to a complete disdain for another form of racism.

  68. The myth about the ELM’s responsibility for promoting homophobia in the East End goes like this:

    1. There has been a massive rise in homophobic hate crimes in Tower Hamlets in recent years.

    2. Homophobic hate crimes in the borough have been mainly, or at least disproportionately, carried out by Muslims.

    3. The ELM is to blame for this because it is guilty of “allowing its premises to be used to promote gayhate campaigns”.

    But none of these claims holds up to scrutiny. If anyone’s interested, I’ve demolished them here and here.

  69. Jonny Mac on said:

    71 – “generally I do err towards understatement, I am after all English. Hence I am likely to say that views I find offensive are “questionable”.”

    No, views uttered by Islamists are ‘questionable’, Andy. Vicious anti-semitism and homophobia are ‘questionable’. Views uttered by someone who has a different view about Israel than you, on the other hand, are met by you on this blog with the vilest and most violent abuse.

    “the point about ELM itself is that it is a complex which includes rooms that are let out to organisations that are not necessarily endorsed by ELM itself.”

    You would come down like a ton of bricks on a synagogue who rented a room out to the EDL. You’d love it, be all over it for weeks. But again, as it’s a mosque that is hosting peddlers of bigotry and filth, well, it’s not their fault, they only rent out the rooms, nothing to do with them guv.

    ‘…mainstream Muslim figures….’

    Well, it all depends on how you define mainstream, isn’t it. The EDL aren’t mainstream, but you rightly don’t hold back from criticising them. And you’d never describes their views as ‘questionable’, ‘ill-judged’, and all the other weasel little terms you reserve for those who preach hatred against gays, women and Jewish people.

    You’re a hypocrite.

  70. #78

    ‘You’re a hypocrite.’

    And you’re a right wing, warmongering apologist for imperialism, an Islamophobic scumbag.

    Every syllable of every word you write drips with poison and racism, which you do under the guise of gay rights, women’s rights and the right of Israel to kill children with impunity because it’s Jewish state.

    Fuck off back under the rock you crawled out off and do us all a favour.

  71. Alex Ross on said:

    I can see why you use an anonymous handle “anon” as I’d be extremely embarrassed to be associated with such incomprehensible, cliché-ridden, hysterical, nonsense.

  72. Jackson on said:

    Though anon’s comment might be a tad overwrought, he or she does have a point nonetheless.

    Jonny Mac does enjoy his Islamophobic witterings on this site. In fact he makes it obvious that Muslims to him are people of a lower civilisation.

    Not a good basis for enlightened discussion, I’d say.

    As for cliche, there’s nothing more cliched than using gay rights, women’s right and Israel’s right to exist as a stick to beat ‘the other’ with.

  73. johng on said:

    whats odd about the above is why people calling themselves socialists respond to a discussion about Islamophobia by trying to change the subject to a debate about how much of a bigot a Muslim preacher is…how does this happen? Every time? Is it not an indication that those who do this don’t really want to talk about Islamophobia? And is it an indication of much more then that?

  74. Jonny Mac on said:

    82 – ‘by trying to change the subject to a debate about how much of a bigot a Muslim preacher is…’

    Pitt’s article, to which this is the comment thread, defends Qarawadi, and attacks those, like Cohen, who criticise him. Qarawadi preaches filth and bigotry.

  75. john g – if the OP had used (say) some of the kind of points Omar does – I probably wouldn’t have intervened even if I had some differences with it. If someone said, for example, in a restrained way, that they found ‘Britain’s Islamic State’ (if that’s the right name of the Dispatches programme) Islamophobic, I wouldn’t (mostly) agree – but I’d understand why they said that, and would think that was the basis for a civil discussion.

    #81 – I think women’s rights and gay rights (I’m not sure about Israel – that seems a bit different) *are* sometimes used as sticks to beat others with, sometimes cynically, sometimes maybe unconsciously – but that doesn’t mean everyone raising such concerns is doing that (yet again – complicated – one could have the right impulses but not have the right information). The particular ‘ism’ which started off this conversation was antisemitism and I hope you don’t think one is using that as a stick to beat Muslims with if one objects to the quote I linked to.

  76. history tells us things on said:

    ‘whats odd about the above is why people calling themselves socialists respond to a discussion about Islamophobia by trying to change the subject to a debate about how much of a bigot a Muslim preacher is…how does this happen? Every time? Is it not an indication that those who do this don’t really want to talk about Islamophobia? And is it an indication of much more then that?’

    Comment by johng — 2 August, 2011 @ 2:53 pm’

    Because this blog never ever ever highlights the role and actions of such people in the Uk, and they should! then you have the witch hunting where posters of failed and appalling socialists grpups, (I mean the WRP, we should take this man seriously!)scan other othen remarkably measured posts to find evidence of racism, etc.

    Really, if this is the Left in the U.K, an obsession with identity politics while the Uk crashes and burns you can keep it…

  77. #83
    Just for the record,Sarah, all of the links and quotes posted were from info on Bob Pitts’ Islamaphobiawatch site. The man does his homework…

  78. johng on said:

    history tells us things-you confirm my original comment.

    Sarah AB the original discussion was not about anti-semitism. It was about whether or not sections of the liberal intelligentsia had partaken in the kind of atmosphere which legitimated some of the crackpot ideas of Islamophobia. I would have actually focused on the attempt to portray Islam as a conspiracy for world domination and Islamists as a major threat to ‘western civilization’ and ‘western values’.

    Insofar as Liberal commentators partook in such crackpot ideas, I think there is a case to answer. Its also true that the attempt to combine discussion of multi-culturalism with ‘terrorism’ was another (actually utterly bizarre) tendency. I think in these cases Muslims became a handy excuse to discuss all sorts of dissatisfactions and fantasies about contemporary society. Its why I think the comparisons with anti-semitism are not entirely off the mark.

    On Qaradawi, I know too little to really engage, but my understanding is that the quote about Jews was from 1964 and that an attempt had been made to portray someone who was now a fairly moderate if conservative and reactionary cleric as a security threat and Al Qaida supporter. And its been suggested that this was part of an argument to portray the whole of Islam as inherently dangerous and extremist.

    This looks like an interesting document on the ‘cold war’ waged against british muslims: http://www.spinwatch.org/images/The_Cold_War%20on_British_Muslims_July_2011.pdf

    Darkness at Noon: if there are more or less reasonable commentators on HP, I’m afraid there are also extremely unreasonable ones. There have also been guest posts which were quite frighteningly racist (I will never forget an attempt to relate the supposed political failings of Arabs to the structure of their language). There are also real, if somewhat comical, political lunatics like Michael Ezra, a hedgefund manager who seems obsessed with rehabilitating the US effort to liberate South East Asia, as well as resurrecting the liberal values of 1950s America.

    The evolution of Harry’s Place from a site which effecively sought to defend Bush and Blair’s wars in the name of liberal left principles, to a largely right wing site concerned with monitering the Muslim population of the UK (togeather with occassional stories about the barbarism of the awful parts of the world they hail from) is to me a nice metaphore for the broader ideological degeneration of Blairism (you do sometimes get the impression that this is a site nostalgic for the days of Alasdair Campbell).

  79. johng on said:

    Reading through the Cold War on Britain’s Muslims, I’d say there is a very serious case to answer here. And that HP has only just (very belatedly) begun to address it.

  80. johng on said:

    Oh a, in some ways less serious, but interesting little obsession: The tendency to adopt tea partyish equations of the left and the far right. I think its called the left is right argument. I think in its own way this style of argumentation has been part of, if not contributing towards, a debased and irrational style of politics.

  81. Jonny Mac on said:

    There’s an important issue here.

    Normally the Left would freely, and rightly, criticise someone who preached hate for oppressed groups.

    That doesn’t apply, so far as parts of the left are concerned, in the case of Muslim preachers, because that criticism is said to feed and encourage Islamaphobia.

    But whose interests does it serve to seek to stifle criticism of people who preach hatred and bigotry?

    The preachers’, obviously.

    The Right, because it supports the meme that the Left hates free speech, that different standards are applied to Muslims compared with others, etc. And because it creates an atmosphere of intimidation for eg LGBT people which is welcome to them. Ditto anti-semitism.

    The far, would be revolutionary Left, because it stokes support for the likes of the EDL, which in turn offers them an opportunity for growth.

    But does it support the interests of the wider Muslim community? Clearly not. The great majority of Muslim people naturally view the antics of Islamist extremists with contempt, like the rest of us. They don’t want to be bracketed with these people.

    The approach of the johngs etc is strategically ridiculous, politically nonsensical, and morally abhorrent. It is a dead end for the Left.

  82. Jonny Mac on said:

    john g – “On Qaradawi, I know too little to really engage…”

    Cf the odious Pitt’s squalid attempts to duck the argument I highlighted above.

    Bizarre. Here is a man who stands for everything the Left despises, literally, and the so-called Left desperately make excuses for him. It’s a looking glass world.

  83. johng – I think (personally) you have a point about the Arabic language post. I think HP’s focus would be odd IF other bloggers acknowledged some of the problems it covers.

    Omar – I acknowledge that Islamophobia Watch includes plenty of useful material, often simple factual reports about arson attacks etc. I had already read the stats elsewhere though in fact – now there *may* be some more drilling down to be done, but my instinct isn’t to rack my brains to try to find ways of blaming Muslims more than the stats suggest – I’ve recently been grumbled at (by a commenter) on HP for suggesting that if you look more closely at the apparent intersection between antisemitic attacks and Muslims you can explain quite a bit of it away. This sort of sums up my approach to such issues.

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/04/06/more-on-the-homophobic-posters/

  84. johnny mac you succede (magnificantly) in ducking the argument. The discussion is about an ideological world view in which Muslims are part of a conspiracy to destroy the ‘west’. Conservative think tanks construct arguments suggesting that this is a re-run of the cold war and not simply a question about security from ‘extremists’ and in that context attempt to paint mainstream conservative clerics as extremists who ought to be removed from the country, and Muslims who may listen to their sermons as the enemy within. Its not about defending the conservative cleric. Its about restoring a measure of sanity and proportion to a discussion which has ended up fueling the main extremists Europe will always be threatened by: the fascist far right. The ironically post-modern argument that we’ve gone beyond such simplistic politics notwithstanding. We have not. If you devote all your time to discussing the problems of immigrants, their reactionary beliefs, the threats they pose etc, etc you will end up in the company of very nasty people indeed. As even the most cursory glance at the HP threads demonstrates. And that, essentially, is the problem being discussed here. If you want to see the toxic effects of this kind of thing even on people with a long history on the left you just have to look at someone like Jim Denham.

  85. Can I suggest that Johnny mac and Sarah AB read the link I posted? It does contain very useful material.

  86. Jonny Mac on said:

    johng

    I will read that link.

    I’m fascinated by the expression ‘mainstream conservative clerics’. You and others use it in a sense which makes me think that you’re saying that what Qarawadi et al are saying when they say that gays should be stoned to death etc is ‘mainstream’ British Muslim opinion and therefore less offensive, less dangerous and less concerning than it would otherwise be.

    If that’s right, I think you’re doing a grave disservice to the Muslim community of this country, as well as treating those people who are the targets of such hatred with extraordinary off-handedness.

    What, so far as you are concerned, is the precise relevance to this discussion of your belief that ‘games’ of Spot The Fag and so on are simply reprsentative of the beliefs and attitudes of mainstream conservative clerics?

  87. No Jonny Mac. That is not what anyone is saying. And it is clearly just mischievous to try and suggest they are.

  88. #94

    Jonny Mac it really is hard to take you seriously when you claim concern for the Muslim community as a motivating factor in your campaign to ‘out’ reactionary clerics, who btw are a marginal entity with marginal influence in the scheme of things when it comes to fomenting hate and polarisation.

    It is clear that when it comes to fomenting such hate and polarisation the policies of our own government, its support for military internventions that have cost the lives of untold hundreds of thousands of Muslims, the disruption to their societies, lives and so on, are the real issue.

    But this you ignore, instead focusing on one of the symptoms of these huge crimes, which hide behind the facade of legitimacy, in this instance the radicalisation they produce among some of their many victims.

    Your fixation with gay rights might be admirable if it hadn’t so transparently blinded you to the reality that wholesale slaughter, occupation and demonisation has a habit of accentuating the irrational and regressive in human nature and not the opposite.

  89. Jonny Mac on said:

    95 – so what do you mean by your use of the phrase johng? Why say peddlers of hate are ‘mainstream’? I’m genuinely interested.

  90. Qaradawi is not only a mainstream figure, but he is far from being a “peddler of hate”

    The narrative that casts Qaeadawi as an extremist figure is manifestly designed to pidgeon hole MOST Muslims as extremists.

    As i have pointed out elsewhere, Qaradawi is in some ways a comprable figure to the Southern Baptsist Rick Warren, who gave a blessing at the inauguration of President Obama, and who shares a similar mix of progressive and conservative social views.

    Qaradawi has for example criticised the Egyptian Salafi movement and said that Islamic scholars shoudl not be bound by interpretatins from previous eras.

    Qaradawi played an important role in the recent revolution in Egypt, calling for a “civil, democratc and pluralistic” state, and has warned against excessive influence from the Muslim Brotherhood.

    As Bob Pitt has written before, in his book “Al-Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World” Hugh Miles has emphasised the enormous influence that Qaradawi exercises among his co-religionists:

    “It is hard for a secular Westerner to grasp how or why someone could hold as much sway as Sheikh al-Qaradawi. In Islam, great respect is invested in the most senior clerics [more accurately, scholars], and their fatwas, or religious pronouncements, carry immense weight. Through the Internet and his Al-Jazeera TV slot the Sheikh’s verdicts influence hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world.”

    What advice does Qaradawi give to the hundreds of millions who follow his pronouncements? Here is Hugh Miles again:

    “He condemned the London bombings, just as he quickly condemned the September 11 attacks. He has consistently said that Muslims need to think for themselves, which means they need be free of government control. This is not a message that goes down well with Arab governments. Al-Qaradawi has written at least 50 books attempting to reconcile Islam with democracy and human rights and he is one of the most important proponents of women’s rights in contemporary Islam. All this is utterly at odds with the teachings of fundamentalist imams, who see democracy and women’s rights as alien concepts imported from the infidel West.”

    What the likes of Jonny mac do, is either simply lie – which Peter Tatchell’s Outrage! organisation did when they attributed views to Qaradawi that were actually written by someone else entirely.

    Or quote from views that Qaradawi obscurely expressed fifty years ago.

    Or decontextualise widespread cultural attitudes from North Africa, such as FGM, and present Qaradawi as advocate of things where he in fact only holds the mainstream consensus of the society he lives in.

  91. Brokenwindow on said:

    The problem is the racist,homophobic and
    anti-semite preachers also inspire the muslim haters as much as the right-wing
    usual suspects. Both have a fascist mindset.

    Why sections of the Left still pretend that
    this hatred on one side is fascism but on the other merely traditional,conservative
    preachers preaching privately goes to the heart of the matter.

    What else inspires the muslim-haters is the success of normal muslim lads,growing up in
    Yorkshire who in a very short space of time
    transform into bombers who injure 700 people
    and kill 52. Or plan to bomb a night club full of ‘sluts’ or assassinate an elected MP by stabbing him or blow up transatlantc jets full of holiday-makers or drive a car into the side of a Glasgow airport…

    Until the Left treat Islam in a grown-up way,
    rather than patronising it as its backward Islamic cousin,the Left will keep treatying Islam exceptionally rather than as a set of ideas practised by adults.

  92. The thing that is most annoying about Johnny Mac and his ilk is the way they absolutely refuse to engage in discussion or respond to a single point, but just continue with their interrogation. Hateful bigotry.

  93. Broken window, why should you be in a position to lecture anyone else about their behaviour? Your an ignorent bigoted fool.

  94. #100

    So Broken Window, what you are doing is providing a list of extremists actions.

    and then saying that the left’s defence of the Muslim community from bigots is somehow to blame for the Muslim-haters drawing the connection between the extremists and mainstream Muslim community.

    None of that makes sense, does it?

  95. There seems to be a belief, propagated by SteveH and others (see comments #7 and #30), that Muslims are “darker skinned” and are not “white citizens” and are not gay. That’s tosh, complete and utter, that ignores the reality of lived experience for many people.

    It’s also racist, Islamophobic cant in saying what Muslims are. To be Muslim is to be Muslim: it says nothing about your racial identity or sexuality.

    There are “white” (whatever that means) Muslims; there are gay Muslims. Think of of a human attribute and I bet I can find you a Muslim who fits the bill.

    To infer anything else from someone being defined as a Muslim is to use the BNP trope where “Muslim” becomes the non-racist term of abuse for people not like you.

    Neil

  96. To be clear, by “non-racist term of abuse” I meant the way a noun, Muslim, is used in “[not-so] polite society” to imply often racist connotations and was used, by the BNP, to try and evade the terms of the, inadequate, Race Relations Act.

  97. Sarah AB on said:

    Andy – it may be that some of Qaradawi’s views seem fine, or even welcome. But that clip I linked to doesn’t seem terribly old – neither does it seem remotely ‘obscurely expressed’.

    John – I had a quick look but it’s very long – there would seem to be things I’d agree with, things I wouldn’t – the criticisms of Douglas Murray, his statements, his links seem fair enough.

  98. Sarah AB on said:

    Just linking my last two observations together – in an email recently I said I thought Douglas Murray’s worst comments should be – quoting myself from memory – ‘brought up again and again, just like those of Islamists are’ – so I see no reason to feel awkward about banging on about Qaradawi.

  99. johng on said:

    well it all depends doesn’t it. if for example, it turns out to be true that the statements attributed to him were from 1964, if it turns out to be the case that most of what is said about him is made up and out of context, and if this is being used as part of a wider campaign (led by those like Douglas Murry who for some strange reason is regularly bought on as some kind of ‘expert’ on the BBC, when they’re not referring to Anjem Choudhury as a ‘prominant Muslim’) attempting to argue that Muslim’s per se are a threat to ‘the western way of life’, well, its a bit of a problem isn’t it? If a bigot or a group of bigots is obsessed with a particular group of people and go out of their way to construct connections between all those who oppose their bigotry and various stereotypes they have: At a certain point its really not sensible to respond as if this is a normal conversation. Or simply regurgitate what they say imagining that one can seperate off the good bits and the bad bits.

  100. #90 I didn’t duck the argument on Qaradawi. I’ve had that argument so many times before and on past experience it’s pointless trying to persuade ignorant bigots to change their opinions on that subject. If anyone wants my views on Qaradawi a quick google will provide all they need.

    I did post a link above (#15) to an interview with Qaradawi on Al Jazeera in which he outlines his views on Muslim-Jewish relations. It doesn’t contain anything that he hasn’t said many times elsewhere but usefully collects his views on that issue in one place. As there’s no sign that any of his critics have bothered to read the interview, let me summarise its main points.

    1. Qaradawi stresses that Muslims and Jews have a lot in common in terms of their beliefs. Muslims regard Jews as People of the Book. They have great respect for the Torah and for the Jewish prophets. Muslims and Jews share a number of religious practices.

    2. Where there are differences between Islam and Judaism, that is no basis for Muslim hostility towards Jews. If human beings have different ways of worshipping God, then that must be because God created human beings in the way that he did. God didn’t intend human beings to have identical religious beliefs.

    (Qaradawi is a big supporter of religious pluralism. It is one of the causes of his conflict with Salafi trends who believe that their own particular interpretation of Islam is the only legitimate way of worshipping God and all other forms of religious belief amount to blasphemy and idolatry. One Salafi critique of Qaradawi complains: “He also affirmed in many places that Islaam – as he claims – reveres the revealed religions…. And he stated that the adherents of other religions are like the Muslims, due to them is what is due to the Muslims…. And he claims that Jihaad is for the purpose of defending all of the religions not just for Islaam alone.”)

    3. Qaradawi points out that the Prophet had great respect for Jews. A hadith that Qaradawi quotes relates that the Prophet once stood up out of respect for a passing funeral procession and was told “This is the funeral of a Jew. That coffin belongs to a Jew, not a Muslim.” To which the Prophet replied: “Is this not a soul? Is the Jew not a human soul?”

    (Qaradawi repeated that hadith in his sermon at the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park during his visit to London in 2004. This was at a time when a number of prominent organisations and individuals in the Jewish community – the BoD, the CST, Louise Ellman and the leader of the opposition Michael Howard – were conducting a hysterical campaign against him. In the face of that, Qaradawi responded by urging Muslims to respect Jews.)

    4. Qaradawi argues that a well-known verse in the Qur’an that says it’s the Jews and pagans who are the most extreme in their hostility towards Muslims was a historically specific reference to an early 7th-century conflict between the Prophet and his followers and a particular Jewish tribe who had betrayed them. The verse does not provide a basis for arguing that Jews will always be hostile to Muslims and does not determine Muslim-Jewish relations in the present day, as some Muslims assert.

    (This too has been a cause of friction between Qaradawi and Salafi literalists. The Salafi critique of Qaradawi quoted above complains: “He also said concerning the saying of Allaah the Most High, ‘You will indeed find the most severe in their enmity towards those who believe [i.e. towards Muslims] to be the Jews and the Pagans’, that this is in relation to the circumstances during the era of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and is not in relation to the current times.”)

    5. Qaradawi argues that Muslims were traditionally welcomed in Muslim countries and treated well: “Jews lived among Muslims for centuries, even when Europe persecuted them and expelled them… They found a safe haven in Muslim territory and Muslim homelands.”

    6. The conflict between Muslims and Jews dates from the formation of the state of Israel, based on the expulsion and subsequent oppression of the Palestinian people. “The Zionist movement is the one that initiated this hostility with the Arabs and the Muslims.”

    7. However, Qaradawi points out: “There is a difference between Judaism as a religion and Zionism as a political movement with aspirations and goals.” The state of Israel “conquered the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the occupation continues to exist to this day and still carries out acts of murder and destruction, uproots trees, burns fields, and destroys mosques… This is the reason for the battle between us. As for the Jews as Jews, there is no war between us.”

    8. Qaradawi refuses to engage in interfaith dialogue with rabbis who defend Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. However: “I welcome Jews who dissociate themselves from what Israel is doing, and I welcome being with them.”

    (When Qaradawi visited London in 2004 he struck up a warm relationship with the leaders of Neturei Karta. He invited them to visit him in Qatar, which they subsequently did. Qaradawi organised a press conference with his Jewish visitors and had his photograph taken with them. He appealed to the Arab media to publicise the fact that there were Jewish religious leaders who opposed Zionist oppression of the Palestinians. This was later used against him by his political opponents, who circulated leaflets on the West Bank featuring photographs of Qaradawi with the Neturei Karta leaders and denouncing him as an ally of the Jews.)

  101. Sarah AB on said:

    Judging by the clip I linked to his issues with Jews predate the formation of Israel.

    Is he against the occupation or the existence of Israel? Neturei Karta are a strongly anti-zionist group – not just anti-occupation.

  102. #113

    Being opposed to the existence of Israel, qua Jewish state, does not equate in any way with hostility to Jews or to anti-Semitism.

    You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Middle East who has anything more than a pragmatic acceptance of Israel.

  103. Jon H on said:

    #114 `Being opposed to the existence of Israel, qua Jewish state, does not equate in any way with hostility to Jews or to anti-Semitism.’

    Otherwise a lot of Jews would be anti-semites. The non-Jewish fascist right support Zionism because they are anti-semitic. They see it as the soft option for ridding Europe and the USA of their Jewish populations (many in the Tea Party want a Chrisitan America where belief in Jesus is compulsory) and of course it suits their cause to have those who oppose Islamaphobia branded as anti-semites. It is a marriage of convenience between two nasty ideologies.

  104. Alex Ross on said:

    114# It depends though. If you take a broad “post-nationalist” position and think that all states should be “states-for-all-their-citizens” (for example, not “Estonian”, “Kyrgyz”, “Anglo-Saxon” or “Germanic”) then fair enough. I’d be sympathetic to that view.

    If it is soley the Jewish identity of the Israeli state that winds people up, then I do think that it does relect a degree of anti-semitism.

  105. #113 Qaradawi takes the view that the existence of Israel is based on occupation.

    He supports the Hamas line that the Palestinians should refuse to formally recognise Israel, because that would be to accept the legitimacy of a state originating in occupation and ethnic cleansing. However, an extended truce that in practice accepts Israel’s right to exist for the foreseeable future is permissible.

    “Our brothers in Hamas cannot recognize anything that they are not convinced of or do not consider legal. They said: We are ready to establish a long truce for 20, 40, or 50 years, but recognition is something else.”

  106. #117

    Well I think Estonia is highly problematic in its racialised and discriminatory citizenship laws.

    I don’t know of anyone who has ever expressed the view that the probems is that Israel’s citizenship is related to Jewishness qua Jewishness, the problem is the citizenship nlaws are discriminatory.

    The old canard that is used by Zionists comparing Israel with Chinese rule of Tibet, fails on the basis that Tibetans actualy have greater rights under the law than Han Chinese. Hardly simiar to the position of Arabs in Israel, let alone the occupied territories.

  107. #117
    I would say that if the land known as Israel was empty or had an indigenous population that would naturally decline over time (through underdevelopment or mixing with settlers) upon being settled by European Jews then there would be no problem with it being a Jewish state.
    The reality is that there was/is another indigenous population with a history and roots as deep as the original Israelites. The hostility to the concept of a Jewish state amongst pro-Palestinians,I would suggest, comes not from any anti-Semitism but a strong sense of empathy for the large, indigenous Palestinian majority population that were brutally ethnically-cleansed from the land of their birth with the blessings of the worlds major imperialist powers.

  108. johng on said:

    Sarah AB, I think a number of strange things happen in these discussions. How have we now got onto a discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict? It reminds me of how suddenly Venezuela was all over HP when there was no real discernible reason why it should be. For me the latter is all to do with the way some liberals hooked up with right wing Republicans on the one hand, and on the other hand, the way in which the departure of a larger cache of liberals as HP moved rightwards, left most of the weight with the usual pro-Israel right (as opposed for example to people with a variety of views on stuff who happened to support Israel). This I suspect was a function of the decline of larger involvement in arguments about Blair’s wars which in 2003 and its immediate aftermath for a brief period transformed the blogsphere into a genuine free for all where real debate happened. Today on HP it would be quite futile to try and have a serious discussion about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Or actually anything at all. Which I think is the nub of the problem.

  109. Andy and John – ok – my real conern in the Hitler quote. As I said up thread – I asked a (virtual) friend to translate and he said it was a good translation – he’s a ‘tough on Islamism, tough on Islamophobia’ type, and I’d have accepted his opinion if it went the other way too, and reported it, of course. He did offer to provide a transliteration etc but I can’t quite bring myself to take him up on it – SURELY if there is something wrong with this clip/translation someone else would have called out MEMRI on it before now?

    Andy – if you think the MEMRI clip is a fraud – and I think it dates from 2009 by the way – will you at least say you think anyone who said that is an antisemite who should be avoided unless he explicitly apologises for saying something so disgusting?

  110. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    “Well I think Estonia is highly problematic in its racialised and discriminatory citizenship laws.”

    Aren’t Estonia’s citizenship laws discriminatory on linguistic rather than ethnic grounds?

  111. SteveH on said:

    I think these subjects get round to Israel Palestine because the decents decide to slam Islam(ism) (whatever) from a moral values point of view and counter pose the bourgeois system in a positive light. The indecent (and it is surely better to be indecent) left hit back with examples of immoral bourgeois system values. That is my lazy summary of the reason.

    I am often tempted to parrot the ideas of Amadeo Bordiga when this sort of argument arises.

  112. skidmarx on said:

    Well when Sarah AB said she replied to my comment on Abdel Bari Atwan, she in fact still missed the point that he was scarcely talking about whether there was ever any justification for jihad, the entire point of his article was that in the case of Libya it is not.
    And then I see the following which sums up that you can flush the toilet regularly, but HP comment boxes are constantly topped up with effluent {I apologise in advance to Andy Newman and invite him to delete if he in the slightest desireth]:

    Django
    2 August 2011, 5:12 pm
    Hilarious. The Subhuman Comrade Skiddy tries to defend this fat streak of theocratic shit and is undone by one quote from Sarah AB. His response? Why to fuck off of course.
    What makes John Game and skidmarx so useful is that they tick every box when it comes to the far left supporting genocidal Islamist trash. They simply can’t hide their hard-ons when a genuine Jew killer makes an appearance.

    This is the sort of scum the postings at HP encourage.

    If you’re going to drag the subject onto Qaradawi, who is actually reviled because he avers that there are justifications sometimes for suicide bombings in Israel (though not elsewhere, of course that is explained on HP by hatred of Jews, nothing to do with the disproportionate nature of the conflict), then let’s see you answer a few tricky questions about the conflict:

    1. Was there a Nakba, and was it acceptable to set up a state which gives rights to one group at the expense of those forced out?
    2. Why should the Israelis who have held an alien population in illegal occupation be the recipient of billions of dollars of arms, while arming those who resist them is considered an outrage?
    3. If boycotts are always wrong, would you have been happy to buy the products of apartheid South Africa.

    Though I don’t expect much enlightenment when you demonstrate in favour of a company based on illegal settlement, and wilfully misunderstand the suggestion that this might be an indication that you fit the dictionary definition of a Zionist to a tee.[I was flicking through a copy of Nick Cohen’s “What’s Left” last weekend, which I recall you suggesting was an inspiration, when I got to the place where he says he was warned that he would face a wave of anti-semitic abuse, and uses the fact that people call him a Zionist as supposed proof. It’s a poor comeback to people pointing out support for a racist state].

    At least you didn’t go back whingeing to your friends on HP about how those awful SU types wouldn’t even condemn the next Hitler, which is what I expected to happen.

    Oh, and making out that the Church of Scotland are Nazis because they say the Holocaust was a terrible thing, but combine that with support for the Palestinians is just pathetic, but I can’t be bothered to argue the toss and that one.
    You might want to reflect on how Abu Faris’ deliberately mangling of everything I said on HP’s Egypt thread contrasts with the reaction to your mistake about the EDL. I’m reminded by the time I said of a post on HP that exposed an extreme racist, Mark Dankof, on Press TV’s website, “score one for your team”, was immediately interrogated as to what the phrase “your team” could possibly refer to, and then must ordered to attend another condemnathon.
    Reasons why HP is offensive. Grains of sand on the beach.

  113. skidmarx – I actually brought up Qaradawi primarily because of some completely disgusting remarks which have nothing much to do with I/P.

    Yes, I think there was a Nakba. I think all solutions are unfair to some, but I support a two state solution, such as that outlined by Ray Hanania here.

    http://www.spittoon.org/archives/3848

    I don’t know how to respond to your question about arms – except that Hamas, although democratically elected at the time, no longer has a democratic mandate and seems uninterested in peace. When Israel left Gaza it didn’t seem to help much, but I find this kind of piece instinctively appealing.

    http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2010/12/does-israel-need-the-west-bank.html

    Although I mentioned that I don’t boycott anything, that was a statement of fact rather than principle – I don’t object to boycotts per se. If SA was an issue right now I’d want to think more about each aspect of a possible boycott campaign.

    I do appreciate the fact you didn’t use my slip about the EDL as an excuse to snark – but I don’t think I saw the comments on HP you mention.

  114. johng on said:

    “except that Hamas, although democratically elected at the time, no longer has a democratic mandate”

    That would be a little contentious sarah. I have memories of some of the more moderate types (long since departed) going somewhat quiet when it was suggested a) that Israel ought to have recognised the democratically elected Hamas government that b) it was wrong of the EU and the US to back the decision of the Israeli government (actually not an inevitabe decision) to effectively blockade the elected government and c) the best result of this is simply that Hamas will be negotiated with eventually the worst that the negotiations will have to be with even more hostile forces. They saw these decisions as mistakes, I tended to see them as a decision taken in the light of the possibility of militarily defeating the Palestinians rather then negotiating a two state solution, a decision made easier by the then US administrations bullish attitude post-9/11.

    Given that one fruit of the Arab Spring (as well as a large popular anti-neoliberal movement inside Israel!) has been the coming togeather of Fatah and Hamas it seems to me that there is something a bit grotesque about continuing with a rhetoric which is either deeply right wing or on the other hand, somewhat mad and counterproductive. That is if one really is on the liberal left.

    In the meantime here is a wonderful piece that reminds me of the other strange thing about HP. Its a liberal blog which seems to champion talk radio style discourse…this wonderful piece on how the right see themselves as the main victims of Breitvik is followed by some lovely irony free HP style responses below it:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/07/rightbloggers_f_6.php?page=2

  115. johng on said:

    “except that Hamas, although democratically elected at the time, no longer has a democratic mandate”

    That would be a little contentious sarah. I have memories of some of the more moderate types (long since departed) going somewhat quiet when it was suggested a) that Israel ought to have recognised the democratically elected Hamas government that b) it was wrong of the EU and the US to back the decision of the Israeli government (actually not an inevitabe decision) to effectively blockade the elected government and c) the best result of this is simply that Hamas will be negotiated with eventually the worst that the negotiations will have to be with even more hostile forces. They saw these decisions as mistakes, I tended to see them as a decision taken in the light of the possibility of militarily defeating the Palestinians rather then negotiating a two state solution, a decision made easier by the then US administrations bullish attitude post-9/11.

    Given that one fruit of the Arab Spring (as well as a large popular anti-neoliberal movement inside Israel!) has been the coming togeather of Fatah and Hamas it seems to me that there is something a bit grotesque about continuing with a rhetoric which is either deeply right wing or on the other hand, somewhat mad and counterproductive. That is if one really is on the liberal left.

    Aware of course that these are all contentious arguments but you surely don’t expect to be taken seriously when you suggest that Israel refusing to negotiate a withdrawel from the occupied territories and instead freezing negotiations with the west bank, withdrawing a handful of settlements in Gaza, and then blockading it whilst expanding settlements in the west bank, was in some sense a generous gesture repudiated by ungrateful Palestinians? This is what I find so tough about these discussions. Is it the case that Liberal Zionists feel the need to impress their harder right wing audience by pretending to be as oblivious to reality as them? Or is it simply that political partisanship makes people genuinely uninterested in any facts which don’t fit their narrative?

    In the meantime here is a wonderful piece that reminds me of the other strange thing about HP. Its a liberal blog which seems to champion talk radio style discourse…this wonderful piece on how the right see themselves as the main victims of Breitvik is followed by some lovely irony free HP style responses below it:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/07/rightbloggers_f_6.php?page=2

  116. John – I feel no special compulsion to defend everything Israel has ever done – I don’t know the answers to all the questions your comment raises. I understand why Israel imposes a blockade – but imposing the blockade increases hardship – and hostility to Israel. When Israel relaxed the blockade a while back – I wondered why it couldn’t have done so before – and yet as I only have a comparatively casual outsider’s knowledge of what’s going on, and do feel (of course) sympathy for those living in Sderot etc – I don’t feel inclined to go out of my way to criticise Israel, particularly as so many do so already, and as my own country is and has been involved in wars which are a response to less immediate threats than those Israel faces.

    Er, any thoughts about that Hitler quote yet?

  117. Kevin Ovenden on said:

    #130 I find this admirable, John. You take a lot of time and care to engage with this stuff. And you make a number of astute points, despite the woodenheadedness of most of those you make them to.

    I’d just make one point about “liberal zionists”. Something profound is happening among those who hold to liberal values and a commitment to zionism but who see them refuted/negated by the descendants of Jabotinsky, who now dominate Israeli politics. It was touched on in an important article in the NYRB by Peter Beinart last year. Various other developments in the liberal publishing world in the US have confirmed this trend since. Unlike the HP foundation myth, this considerable layer of writers and thinkers did not venerate George W Bush’s war. Their liberalism trumped histrionic pleas from Tel Aviv.

    They are now deeply uncertain about the trajectory of the state/political project with which they have been aligned.

    It used to be said that you could find much more trenchant and fundamental critiques of Israeli policy within Israel itself rather than in north America and Europe. I’m beginning to think that within liberal Jewish zionist circles the same holds for north America as against the Britain. The HP phenomenon is in contrast really an interesting pathology. In the US, there is actually something much more interesting taking place as liberal/labour zionism confronts a repugnant reality. You see it in Britain a little – Gerald Kaufman demonstrates it magnificently.

    I think it boils down to this: liberalists (my neologism for liberal leftists who don’t do justice to liberal values) in Britain have the luxury of not ever having had to confront the Republican right or Tea Party and can thus indulge in the conceit of tilting at the left as the harbingers of totalitarianism or whatever. So we have the phenomenon of the anti-left liberal warriors for civilisation. In the US, a bigger social right just sucks them up.

    So we have this odd phenomenon of an online community a part of which considers itself on the liberal left taking up all the neuroses of the right. For sure, there are others who are not so conflicted. And they are the ones who are in the saddle and who gather the wider material and moral support.

  118. Yes, but it would take a bit long to expand on them, and I can’t really be bothered on a thread that seems to be coming to a natural end. Perhaps you should be happy with the answers on Qaradawi and the general process of asking for more and more specific condemnathons.

    less immediate threats than those Israel faces.
    And are those more immediate than those to the Palestinians because they’ve already had their country stolen?

  119. “yes, but it would take a bit long to expand on them”

    Unbelievable.

    [But thanks for the ‘Fugue for a Darkening Island’ tip BTW]

  120. I think it’s really OTT to compare Israel to Nazi Germany. However I will say that when I read Benny Morris suggesting that genocide (of native Americans) might be excused, I thought his words (with the obvious adjustments) could be spoken in some sf alternate universe where the Nazis triumphed. I feel uncomfortable saying that, and I am NOT, in saying so, making a parallel between Israel and Nazi Germany.

    I am not so devoted to Israel that I have all details of the country’s history at my fingertips. But I would say that many horrible things happened in the run up to 1948, and afterwards, and that not all of these were the work of Jews/Israelis. I recognize the natural justice behind a wish to see all Palestinians/descendents allowed to return to their original homes – but I still, taking the wider historical and political perspective into account, support a two state solution – I know that seems very weird in the context of this site – but it is the position supported by, eg, Labour Friends of Palestine. I’m sympathetic to Palestinians who want to declare their own state unilaterally, although in fact a (Palestinian Muslim) contact of mine thinks that’s a bad move, and of course I’m also sympathetic to Israelis’ concerns about that. Again, I’d really recommend the Ray Hanania piece.

    http://www.spittoon.org/archives/3848

  121. And on the subject of double standards and racism – it’s worth looking at how Palestinians fare in Lebanon or Syria.

  122. #136

    Sarah, you’re nothing but an apologist for apartheid and colonialism, made worse by your repeated attempts to mitigate it behind the cloak of rationality. You are a contributor to the filth that is HP, an avowed pro Israel and therefore pro apartheid website.

    You claim the mantle of the enlightenment, the same event in history which undertook the same ‘rational’ arguments in support of western colonialism four hundred years ago.

    Rather than deal with the concrete example of injustice and ethnic cleansing I provided, you attempt to wash it away with a mealy-mouthed statement that ‘many horrible things happened in the run up to 1948, and afterwards,’

    If you are not familiar with the history if Israel then I suggest you get yourself familiar as with every word you write in defence of its ethnic cleansing and apartheid you spit on the lives of the millions who’ve suffered as a result.

  123. johng on said:

    Sarah AB: It is no surprise whatsoever to Palestinians or their supporters that Palestinians are treated badly in Lebanon and Syria. But the reason why they are treated badly is because they are stateless. And the reason they are stateless is because of Israel. Which is why when you raise these questions, you just get a hollow laugh.

  124. “But the reason why they are treated badly is because they are stateless. And the reason they are stateless is because of Israel.”

    Which is all absolutely true, but we can’t just brush aside the hypocrisy of the rulers in those countries who cry crocodile tears for Palestinians. Part of the argument about what happens in the region has always been about the need to overthrow the corrupt and self-serving regimes in Syria, Jordan and elsewhere created in the post-Ottoman carve-up before we can actually look towards any sort of lasting solution.

    Of course now the Arab Spring is actually here many HP commenters are umming, aahing and wringing their hands that these uprisings are dangerous because Islamists are really behind them. Seemingly Israel was better off with a bastard like Mubarak in charge of Egypt rather than the dangerous involvement of popular fores in the shaping of their country – and that says everything about any genuine commitment to universal rights they claim to have have. Israel is all that matters for them.

  125. Jonny Mac on said:

    #137 – ha! A classic John Wight rant. I knew that the values of the Enlightenment (and a belief in universal human rights, come to that, which are tainted by their genesis in the Enlightenment – see Andy ‘well, it all depends on what you mean by human rights’ Newman, who certainly won’t be making a shibboleth of gay rights any time soon) were anathema to the Islamist-facilitating left, but I didn’t know rationality was too! Makes sense though.

    Shame on you with your cloak of rationality, Sarah!

  126. #135

    but I still, taking the wider historical and political perspective into account, support a two state solution – I know that seems very weird in the context of this site

    Really? Why is that weird here?

    My position has always been informed by what palestinians themselves say and want, and when I visited the West Bank three points were forcibly impressed upon me by palesitinaisan there from both Fatah and PFLP.

    i) Sophistry about one state or two state solutions is a luxury they have no time for – they just want a solution that works to provide economic and social sustainability.

    ii) Fatah was committed to Oslo, and were betrayed by Israel, who have no intention of allowing a two state solution to develop

    iii) Both a two state and one state solution are equally utopian without a political sea-change from Israel. The settlements, the walls and the Israeli only road system cut East-West against the natural north-south axis of the West bank’s economy, and Palestine is only sustainable if it includes east Jerusalem.

    Given that it is Israel that is the obstacle to a two state solution, and that Israel is committed to a policy of perpetual war and occupation, then it is perverse to blame the relatively marginal palestinian forces who oppose a two state solution (the clue here is in watching what hamas do and not what they say – they are completely prepared to accept an indefinate accomodation with israel. The Arab political culture of rhetoric must not be mistaken for their actual views)

  127. #140

    Well, Jonny Mac again regales us with his manichean worldview in which every Muslim is a homophobe and in which sexuality is used as a weapon to demonise cultures, religions and entire nation state.

    So the bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan and various other western interventions, of course all prefixed with the word ‘humanitarian’ are justified by their claim to be in the service of democracy.

    The one universal human right that supersedes all is the right to life. The vile politics which you espouse justify extinguishing this right for all who you deem occupy a lesser civilisation and culture.

    Jonny Mac you give gay people and the struggle for gay rights a bad name. Perhaps on occasion you might, just might, consider that to be gay does not automatically require you to be an out and out bigot.

  128. For the accusation that Qaradawi “approved” of Hitler, we are reliant on one short video clip provided by MEMRI. Anyone who regards that as convincing evidence has lost all sense of critical judgement.

    Qaradawi’s position is that nothing in this world happens without God willing it. From his standpoint the Nakba would be seen as punishment for the corruption of the Arabs and their leaders. That doesn’t commit him to “approving” of the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

    The view that Hitler was God’s punishment on the Jewish people for their sins is of course a position held by some Orthodox Jews.

  129. And I would of course denounce orthodox Jews for holding that position. This would not commit me to suggesting that they should not be permitted to enter the country, are the equivilant of neo-nazies or that anyone who regards them as their spiritual teacher is a menace to national security. Just to clear that one up.

  130. Jonny Mac on said:

    142 – ohh ffs. My whole point throughout has been that the great majority of Muslim people in this country are NOT homophobes, anti-Semitic, etc etc, and can only suffer from the grotesque defence by the soi-disant Left of the few Jew-hating, ‘Spot The Fag’-ing extremists in their community – a squalid and cynical defence which, I have argued, does more to create Islamaphobia and hatred than any progressive criticism of the nasty nutters on the fringes could do.

    Applying different standards to people because they have brown skin or practise a particular religion only leads to trouble – history should have made that perfectly clear by now, especially to someone who constantly makes inaccurate references to the genuine evil that was apartheid.

    Still, you’ve repeatedly shown that you don’t care about what people actually SAY on these threads, so tinkerty tonk for now.

  131. #141 Spot on Andy re the 2 state/ 1 state argument.

    It’s about the wider context. After all, one of the first Palestinian groups to adopt 2 states was also one of the most militant- the DFLP.

    I was going to make a similar point on the Israeli CP thread.

  132. Andy – I don’t know who is to blame for the failure of the peace process as there are arguments on both sides going back decades. One side says the settlements are a problem – but Israel’s supporters say the PA dithered for months when there was a settlement freeze. I would imagine that extreme forces within the Palestinian (and broader ME camp) make it difficult for the Palestinians to negotiate anything much away. When I first read reports of the leaked Palestinian papers my immediate thought was that they showed that Israel hadn’t tried hard enough – maybe that view isn’t fair on Israel, I don’t know, but it seems to me a response that at least falls within reasonable parameters – by contrast with the narrative whereby the Palestinians were dreadful traitors to their own people by making concessions. Anyway, although I think you’re being a bit unfair on Israel, what you say seems quite sane after some of the other comments I’ve read on SU.

    Bob – I just don’t see why you have to find feeble excuses for this man – how does defending him help you combat Islamophobia?

  133. Rachel on said:

    Hardly anything has been said (I think – I haven’t’ read all the comments) about the really interesting part of this thread- the discussion of Bob Pitt’s opinion on Jamaat e Islami and the fact that its bad in Bangladesh but strategically correct to support here, because its organisational ability make it a strong force for fighting racism and imperialism (this is more what another commentator said, but Bob Pitt didn’t seem to contradict it). I really find this most extraordinary and would like to know what the other SU usuals think of this. Do you feel comfortable with this assessment? Do you also think that’s the correct position, to support a reactionary South Asian political movement in its local form because here in Britain Muslims are oppressed?
    Really, I want to know. Anti-imperialism of the variety I encounter here is way outside of my political experience and I find it endlessly strange but really this is eye-opening.
    When I and others (Nick Cohen in that article too of course) made the point that RESPECT was an alliance between parts of the left and the religious right this always provokes ridicule here – and accusations that people like me believe all sorts of idiotic things such as that the ELM is aiming to impose Sharia law on Britain, and therefore I’m Islamophobic. For me it was more and more self-evident that its constituents were on the religious right(Bengali Respect supporters were far more socially conservative than the average TH Bengali) but this was always met here with either the denial or sometimes surprising ignorance or lack of interest in the colonial and post-colonial history of a major immigrant group (one ex-RESPECT member referred to the events of 1971 as ‘some unpleasantness in the past).
    But now I’m getting a different picture, which is that you may know the actual score but still think it’s right to support those with links to mass murder and extreme oppression of leftists, Bengalis from minority religious groups, women and indigenous people, not in Bangladesh, but in London.
    By the way I don’t look at it like Bob Pitt, that opposing the Jamaat means I uncritically support the Awami League – I don’t. That’s why I’m not an anti-imperialist in the sense that you lot are. I am very interested in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (if you don’t know what that is look it up – you will discover that the Palestinians aren’t the only people facing the loss of their land and brutal suppression by a racist state –) and I am well aware that the current Awami government has only continued the policies of previous governments, even though their rhetoric may be less openly genocidal than the Jamaat and BNP.
    So, a serious question is – don’t you see links between immigrant groups here and the home country? One of the more audacious lies put around by the ELM and repeated here is that it doesn’t concern itself with B’desh politics, unlike those old fogies on the secular left. It’s true, it’s ‘moved beyond’ 1971 in its day to day existence, but has never faced any accountability. I think as the war crimes trials get under way in B’desh I’d expect we will see the ELM leadership more actively involved in attempts to rebrand Jamaat and the BNP people as human rights victims (which of course they sometimes are). There are already links between local groups and new organisations using the language of human rights to try to whitewash their past.

    But it is most certainly is hooked into international networks – not of nationalism but of the international Islamic political movements (not talking conspiracies here – that is not my interest )- it is obviously part of the rise of a politics which rejects nationalism in favour of the Ummah. Maybe the Gilligans and Nick Cohens and Martin Brights research this – I don’t read them so don’t know. But it’s nothing new for immigrant groups to influence the politics ‘back home’. Nobody talks about the rise of Hindu nationalism much but it would almost certainly not have gained the power that it has without the money sent by those in the diaspora, mostly in the US and UK (some of the organisations promoting Hindutva were funded by the good old GLC).
    So you well-meaning community activists, Omar, Johng, Tony Collins, etc etc, does any of this concern you? Do you share Bob Pitt’s assessment of the situation? Does the JI opposition to US/Israel mean that there’s nothing in their history or politics that you won’t excuse? Will you be even more active in supporting Jamaati linked groups over the next few years as the situation in Bangladesh heats up (Bob Pitt already takes an active interest in B’deshi politics)? Or will you continue to deny any links? Or just ignore the contradictions of your position?

  134. johng on said:

    Jonny this is a really tiring argument: especially the ‘different standards’ bit. In the first place much of the argument is about not applying different standards to people on the basis of who they are. But in the second place I do apply different standards to people on the basis of who they are. I just consider that good manners and being civil.

  135. Jonny Mac on said:

    150 “In the first place much of the argument is about not applying different standards to people on the basis of who they are.”

    Yes it is. It’s PRECISELY what it’s about. If a Tory party meeting, or an EDL meeting, played a game of ‘Spot The Fag’, there would be massive outrage – quite rightly – on this site. When a mosque hosts a Muslim person who does the same, there are comforting murmurings about ‘mainstream conservative clerics’ (nothing of interest to see here, move on) with perhaps a nod to ‘questionable views’ being expressed. Why? Because the people involved are Muslim.

  136. This machine kills fascists on said:

    A brown fascist is still a fascist. Stop appeasing them.

    Some of you on here are a total fucking shambles.

  137. #152

    JOnny Mac.

    No mainstream Muslim scholar or organisation has ever run a meeting around “spot a fag”.

    This is a confection of your own.

  138. Jonny Mac on said:

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/03/05/the-video-someone-doesnt-want-you-to-see/

    Hosted, disgracefully, at east London mosque.

    If you tell me this charming chap isn’t considered ‘mainstream’ I’m quite prepared to believe you. I’d be surprised if he were, it’s irrelevant to the point I’m making, and your use of the term is a deliberate defensive distraction. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not saying that ‘mainstream’ Muslims are anti-gay etc. But there are clearly nutters on the fringes, like this bloke, who are, and who peddle filth,and they, are the organisations that host them, like ELM, deserve censure, not your ‘questionable attitudes’ weird kid gloves treatment.

  139. Andy – no problem with your point about responsibility – though I still think there are other ways of looking at this.

    johng – I don’t see what Marko AH’s article has to do with Harry’s Place. I think the HJS seems fine generally, but my personal views on Douglas Murray (though possibly he is mellowing, if so great) are made clear in #107.

    Jonny – I think he pretty clearly *isn’t* mainstream

    http://www.spittoon.org/archives/2138

    and he shouldn’t have been hosted by the ELM.

  140. Because the HJS (a right wing pro-war ‘society’) seems to have had a bit of an impact at HP. Its also true that the bigotry at HP got a bit much for him and he wrote a piece on it prompting some to describe him as a ‘traitor’ and a ‘lunatic’ (which was fun for some of us). I’m aware of your views about Murray (although quite what is meant by ‘mellowing’ is beyond me), but they are not shared by the HJS, which according to this article has just merged with the deeply unpleasent organisation he’s associated with. I do sometimes wonder about the HJS and its relationship to HP actually.

  141. #152 &155
    Jonny Mac, you seem to enjoy arguing in circles and ignoring evidence provided. As has been made clear further upthread:
    i) ELM is a large facility with private rooms available for booking by various groups. The event in question occured four years ago and ELM, having been made aware of it’s content, have issued a public statement condemning such which someone linked to further upthread, if I’m not mistaken.
    ii) The thrust of your arguments here always seem to suggest that Islam (and by extension Muslims generally) is/are somehow more prone than other religions toward homophobia,misogyny,etc when , based on such things as homophobic crime in TH,for instance ,no such inference can be made.

  142. john – I meant nothing actually (by ‘mellowing’)- I was just being charitable/hopeful.

    I read that piece about HP – I can’t remember all the details but it has done nothing to affect my (good) opinion of Marko AH generally – it was mostly about the comments I think.

    WRT Omar’s point (and frustration) it’s worth noting that if Bob Pitt had written a more nuanced piece (and I don’t mean he would have had to criticise Islamism) then I think we could all have got behind it – there is plenty of Islamophobia around – discourse, violence, etc.