Weird Dynamics Around Islam

There are some utterly bizarre interactions going on around Islam in the UK. There’s much guilt by association and incredibly dishonest smear campaigns, even coming from those that are often victims of dishonest smears themselves.

Nigel Farage was demonised as a racist for his UKIP Brexit campaign that saw him stood in front of a poster of economic migrants. It should have been obvious to anyone (because he explained it) that his point was that the images we were seeing throughout 2014/15 were predominantly of healthy young migrant men. Where were all the weak, old and infant refugees? Why had these men left them behind? These were legitimate questions, at the height of illegal immigration. So too was the question about the political ideology that many of the illegal immigrants were committed to. Even Angela Merkel had to face up to these realities eventually, as she shut down all the publicly expressed concern she could, and eventually had to stem the flow.

But then, when Gerard Batton announced the ‘consultation’ role of Tommy Robinson, Farage joined in the smears of Robinson and the guilt by association of UKIP. Personally, I see Robinson as a legitimate activist, but not a particularly good politician – too hot headed and not responsible enough to have him too close to the leadership of a party. But, he has definitely been smeared beyond any recognition of the person he actually is. So, it’s strange to see Farage take that particular stance himself – a convenient distancing of himself from someone he sees as lost to fair coverage and so dangerous to Farage’s personal agenda.

In another context we see long-term gay activist Peter Tatchell struggle to hold a rational position regarding Islam. He has joined with activists from Faith to Faithless (a part of Humanist UK) to encourage acceptance of homosexuality among Muslims in Britain. He too has demonised Farage and Robinson, and has played the dodgy alliance game of suggesting ‘persecuted’ minorities like gays and Muslims should unite against the right. Totally paradoxical since Islam is inherently conservative, and in many cases far right – so much so that explicitly liberal Muslims like Maajid Nawaz are demonised by organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain and 5 Pillars. Of course Tatchell’s hoped for alliance backfired when Muslim parents announced their own homophobia* is an essential part of Islam.

[*They declare they are not homophobic, and yet also insist that anyone that doesn’t like their bigotry is Islamophobic. The ironies mount up pretty fast in this sphere of human affairs.]

In a similar fashion we see Owen Jones denouncing the same homophobia among Muslim parents, yet also declaring as Islamophobes anyone else that dares to criticise Islam. Lately he has taken to building a chain of guilt from Tommy Robinson, to Douglas Murray, and on to Yasmine Mohammed, the latter being a thoroughly decent ex-Muslim that simply campaigns for the right for ex-Muslims not to be persecuted.

And it’s odd that Owen Jones cites the Muslim Council of Britain as an upstanding organisation in the same thread, when it is they, among others, that declare that Ahmadi Muslims are not to be considered Muslims, so continuing the persecution of Ahmadis that sees their mosques attacked in Pakistan, an Ahmadi killed in Glasgow by a Sunni from Bradford (for ‘insulting Islam’), and even very recently having a UK mosque provide leaflets requiring the killing of Ahmadis. What on earth is Jones doing siding with a conservative homophobic misogynistic religion? I doubt he’d have much in common with Westboro Baptists who seem to hold a similar view on homosexuality to many Muslims (a large number of UK Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal, at least … the less cautious will support the death penalty).

Elsewhere we have the Muslim prosecutor of Muslim grooming gangs on the Three Girls case also declaring other critics of Muslim grooming gangs to be Islamophobes, while his colleague and ex-police investigator Maggie Oliver, also of Three Girls fame, uncovers much police corruption around the cover up of grooming gangs and calls for ‘people power’ in response. Wasn’t Tommy Robinson and example of ‘people power’ in action?

And even though we see more and more Muslims acknowledging the problems in ‘our community’ they too still play the Islamophobia game: The Enlightenment of Saira Khan. Saira has been calling Robinson a racist for years, and yet she is just as explicit as he is, even more directly so, in her condemnation of those in her ‘community’ that transgress the bounds of decency by being a groomer or a terrorist.

Papers like the Guardian seem to alternate between articles that report on problems around Islam, only to follow up with an opinion piece by yet someone else that declares it’s Islamophobic to report on the problems around Islam. No surprise that Miqdaad Versi of the MCB has created a busy schedule for himself demanding, with some success, that news papers change the headlines of many of their stories so that thy are less ‘Islamophobic’.

It’s not as if the news about the news is consistent in this regard either. Owen Jones, again, expressed his Twitter indignation by declaring that stories about the young ‘angelic’ Christchurch terrorist wouldn’t happen if it were a Muslim terrorist – except that’s precisely what the news papers did regarding Jihadi John – so much so the Mail front pages for the two terrorists were practically identical.

Within Islam it doesn’t become any simpler – quite the opposite. Liberal-Moderate, Moderate-Conservative, Conservative-Fundamentalist, Fundamentalist-Extremists … overlapping circles of influence where the extreme ends totally denounce each other as non-Muslims, yet each circle makes excuses for and defends their near political neighbours. You have to wonder where all the 2 billion Muslims are, when so many Muslims declare fellow Muslims to be non-Muslims for their inadequate understanding of Islam. Meanwhile, we are told, “We are all Muslims”, under the unity of the Ummah … a monolith of Muslim creation. We are also told that Islam is a diverse religion, yet, oddly, all accept Allah, Mohammed and Quran – where all but liberal reformers insist the Quran is the inerrant perfect word of  Allah, that is both easy to understand and yet needs scholarship to avoid all the nasty bits – nasty bits that are not there, apparently, despite what you actually read in the Quran.

“Nothing to do with Islam” we hear. Well, if that’s so, how is it Islamophobic for non-Muslims to point to the Islamic texts that ISIS cite? How is it that many of those that joined ISIS became more religious, more Islamic, according to those that knew them, before tipping over the edge into radicalism and extremism?

The complexities of all this, the smears, the alliances, the shear irrationality of it all, need a damned good Venn diagram of overlapping appreciation. But I fear it would be so complex it wouldn’t make it any clearer.

We need more rational debate, and more honesty, less conflating Islam with race – what nonsense that is. We have a long way to go.

Separated at High School – the curious case of Tommy Jones and Owen Robinson

Poor Tommy and Owen are from not too dissimilar backgrounds – at least that’s what Owen says. Tommy’s mother worked in a bakery, and apparently left Tommy with no particular political education or affiliation. Owen’s parents were a shop steward and a lecturer, so basically aspiring middle class with plenty of political awareness. Dead similar.

Tommy went to a local school in Luton, while Owen attended a sixth form college, equal opportunities being what they are. So, let’s hear no more about Owen’s privileged background.

But their paths changed after leaving high school.

Owen received a top education in one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Tommy left school and had various jobs.

Nevertheless, they retain an uncannily similar campaigning style. [Credit to someone else for spotting the similarity – but I’m blocked by Owen and can’t find them now]

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The following is from Owen, here

Every single day, the British media, and the media elsewhere, whips up racism and bigotry against Muslims, against migrants, against refugees, and against other minorities, those people being a particular favourite target right now. Now there are some consequences. It fuels, it drives, it legitimises street level abuse, harassment, bullying, in the playground, the workplace. It fuels overtly racist attacks. It drives violence, and it drives the rise of the far right. After Christchurch, the massacre of dozens of Muslims, there can be no more tolerance, and no more silence within the media industry, about the role of the media, effectively acting like hate preachers, with megaphones that reach tens of millions of people, every single day. Now there are some that get very angry in the media when it’s called out, how dare you call out the media, as though they’re being victimised and attacked and insulted, rather than using their platform to speak out and challenge the racism and the bigotry which has consequences for people. Now the media is an industry which is overwhelmingly dominated by those from those from those privileged backgrounds who do not suffer the consequences of the bigotry and racism that the media fans. But it has to now be called out. And, to fail to use one’s platform, if you have a platform, to speak out against racism and bigotry by the most powerful institutions, or some of them, in the country, is to be complicit. So, enough of people responding in this defensive way, or being silent, or themselves peddling racism and bigotry. Call it out.

And the following wouldn’t be out of place in a video from Tommy …

Every single day, the British media, and the media elsewhere, whips up hatred and bigotry against those that criticise Islam, those people being a particular favourite target right now. Now there are some consequences. It fuels, it drives, it legitimises street level abuse, harassment, bullying, in the playground, the workplace, of Islamic supremacism. It fuels overtly Islamic attacks. It excuses Islamic violence, and it drives the rise of the far right Islam. After Manchester, the massacre of dozens of victims, or Rotherham and the 1400+ child victims, there can be no more tolerance, and no more silence within the media industry, about the role of the media, acting like cowards, more afraid of being called racist hate preachers themselves, with megaphones that could expose the Islamism to millions of people, every single day. Now there are some that get very angry in the media when it’s called out, how dare you call out the media, as though they’re being victimised and attacked and insulted, rather than using their platform to speak out and challenge the grooming gangs and the consequences for children. Now the media is an industry which is overwhelmingly dominated by those from those from those privileged backgrounds, like Owen Jones, who do not suffer the consequences of the Islamic terrorism and grooming gangs, that the media fans, by screaming ‘Islamophobia’. But it has to now be called out. And, to fail to use one’s platform, if you have a platform, to speak out against grooming gangs, which Andrew Norfolk eventually did. The most powerful institutions, or some of them, like the police, politicians, and media, that say “Nothing to do with Islam” is to be complicit. So, enough of people responding in this defensive way, or being silent, or themselves peddling excuses for Islamic homophobic bigotry. Call it out.

The thing is, there WAS silence in the media, on Muslim grooming gangs, from Owen, from Corbyn, who managed to ‘persuade’ Sarah Champion to leave the opposition front bench for daring to raise it.

For over a decade and attempt to raise the issue found the media hunting down those that complained as racists – teachers that saw the grooming happening outside the school gates were demonised and hounded out of office if they raised it.

Maggie Oliver, of the eventually infamous case of Three Girls in Rochdale, which came only after she had been thwarted in her attempts to investigate the problem in Manchester, has been campaigning for more awareness, and for investigations into the neglectful and complicit senior police and social services that shut down anyone trying to expose the problem.

Even Times writer, Andrew Norfolk, admitted he sat on a story of grooming gangs for a couple of years, for fear of being called racist. A self-censoring press! You’d actually think Norfolk would have been sacked for NOT getting the story out sooner. Instead he was honoured as the brave soul that eventually did publish. Let that sink in. The problem is so bad, you’re more of a hero for publishing what should be a straight forward crime story, than a demon for covering it up for a couple of years while who knows how many girls continued to be abused by those eventually prosecuted.

And don’t get me started on the mind boggling utter nonsense of Islamic terrorism being “Nothing to do with Islam”, which we have heard countless times from politicians, when Islamic terrorists tell you explicitly they are doing it FOR Islam, and cite Quran and Hadith in detail as justification.

Hot head Tommy has his issues. He says things that are too close to the edge of anti-Muslim bigotry, but if confronted he’ll generally walk it back. On many occasions he’s been very explicit about how he has no problem with most Muslims – he even talks of a local Muslim who he finds to a better example of a decent person than anyone else he knows. His issue is always with Islamism, Islamic extremism, Muslim grooming gangs, and the attacks on free speech that are targeted at speech against Islam specifically. You may not like the way he goes about things – fine. You may reject him for his criminal record – fine – except let’s not see double standards where other ex-cons are deemed to have been redeemed. But if you dismiss what he has to say in totality for who he is, rather than what he has to see, then, guess what, you’re a bigot.

Owen has no excuses, other than he’s been indoctrinated into a political class that hunts down victims that they can make their next project … until the victims no longer want to be saved. You won’t see much concern for the working class if they happen not to like one particular religion or Labour’s failure to make any criticism of it – though not being keen on other religions isn’t a problem. Where have Corbyn and Owen been on LBGT issues while the Parkfield has been going on?

If you want to see the utter hypocrisy of Owen, look no further than this race baiting tweet of his (don’t forget, Islamophobia=racism). [H/T Damo – @Concretemilk for these images]

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