Archive for December, 2007

Who’s saying Muslims are stealing our culture and traditions?

December 21, 2007

‘Muslims are stealing our culture and traditions’

Polly-Toynbee.jpgIt’s not every day that Islamophobia Watch has cause to quote Polly Toynbee favourably, but her piece in today’s Guardian features an effective polemic against right-wing myths about the Muslim attack on “our” Christian culture:”In a daft parliamentary debate this month on something called Christianophobia, Mark Pritchard MP accused the politically correct of banning religion from Christmas cards and advent calendars: ‘Many shoppers find it increasingly difficult to purchase greetings cards that refer to Jesus.’ … Evangelicals started a new myth this year that postage stamps with the Madonna and child are only sold under the counter: you have to ask for them, for fear of offending Muslims and Jews. Stuff and nonsense, retorted the Post Office. But you can bet this one will run and run – along with last year’s myth that 70% of offices banned Christmas decorations for multicultural reasons….

“All this would just be seasonal silliness if it were not cover for a more sinister drumbeat. The right has taken to flying the ‘Christian’ flag in ways that suggest none too subtly that foreigners – Muslims – are stealing our culture and traditions. ‘They’ are stopping ‘us’ celebrating Christmas and teaching Christian stories to our children. When Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, appeared on GMTV this week, although as usual he denied any atheist plot against Christmas, the theme in about 3,000 emails afterwards was: ‘We are not Muslims, our culture must not be silenced to avoid offending them.’

“The BNP has been quick to cash in. In the Christianophobia debate in parliament, the reported case of a BNP Christmas card was raised, ‘which portrays the holy family on the cover and inside are the words “Heritage, Tradition and Culture”.’ Pritchard warned television firms: ‘The fear of violence from a particular faith group should not be grounds for hand-selecting or targeting other faith groups who may choose to protest peacefully.’ Fear of Muslim violence is killing off peaceful Christianity, he implies.”

Who excactly has said that Muslims are stealing our culture and traditions?

Polly Toynbee and Islamophobia Watch have twisted rather silly paranoia over anti-Christian political correctness at Christmas into some massive right-wing attack on Muslims.

Yes lots of Christian right-wingers are getting their nickers in a twist about Christmas cards with Jesus on apparently being banned but they have hardly said that Muslims are stealing our culture and traditions.

And it’s a bit rich of Islamophobia Watch to lecture Christian right-wingers (annoying and stupid as they are) about stoking up fears of Muslims trying to destroy their faith when Islamophobia Watch and it’s friends are stoking up fears amongst Muslims of a plot to destroy their faith and persecute them.

Pot kettle we say!

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More Scots prejudiced against Muslims?

December 13, 2007

Whilst Islamophobia Watch are labasting reports of racism and bigotory amongst Muslim extremists as “racist and Islamophobic” and “made by anti-Muslim BNP lovers” they are quite happy to publish unquestioned reports that say other races are racist and bigoted towards Muslims.

 

Huge rise in Scots with racist prejudices

“Scots are becoming increasingly prejudiced against Muslims, according to a wide-ranging survey carried out after the terror attacks of July 2005 but before the strike on Glasgow Airport this summer.

“Half of those questioned in the government study said Scotland would lose its identity if more Muslims come to the country – up on the 38% who said the same in 2003 when a similar survey was taken.

“The number of Scots who would be unhappy if a relative formed a close relationship with a Muslim was also up over the three years, from 20% to 24%, but while almost one-third of Scots believe there is sometimes a good reason to be prejudiced – an attitude which is on the rise – the number of people who are prejudiced against gays and lesbians is decreasing.”

The Herald

News that more people are becoming prejudiced against Muslims and Islam is good news for Islamophobia Watch and their friends.

It means they can boost fear and paranoia amongst ordinary Muslims of racist white working class people for their own ends.

It also means they can harp on more about how there is an “anti-Muslim” agenda hell bent on persecuting Muslims and destroying their faith.

Islamophobia Watch excited over extremism fabrication

December 13, 2007

Indeed the evidence may be fabricated but this just gives more ammo to Islamophobia Watch’s “there is no extremists in mosques anywhere and it’s just made up by the right-wing racist Islamophobes” agenda.

Evidence of extremism in mosques ‘fabricated’

Euston%20Mosque.jpgA rightwing thinktank which claimed to have uncovered extremist literature on sale at dozens of British mosques was last night accused of basing a report on fabricated evidence.

The report by Policy Exchange alleged that books condoning violent jihad and encouraging hatred of Christians, Jews and gays were being sold in a quarter of the 100 mosques visited. But BBC2’s Newsnight said examination of receipts provided by the researchers to verify their purchases showed some had been written by the same person – even though they purported to come from different mosques. Several receipts also misspelled the names or addresses of the mosques where the books were supposedly sold.

The report, the Hijacking of British Islam, was based on the work of four teams of two researchers each who visited 100 mosques. They claimed to have found the controversial material in bookshops attached to 25 mosques, including one at Regent’s Park, London, and others in Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Oxford and High Wycombe.

Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Policy Exchange produced a report that was given a lot of publicity, and Newsnight deserve credit for exposing the incredibly shoddy and dubious methodology that Policy Exchange have resorted to. It would seem that Policy Exchange had already decided what they wanted to say about mosques and just went out to find or should I say invent the evidence to justify their prejudices.”

Guardian, 13 December 2007

Watch video of yesterday’s Newsnight programme here

For Osama Saeed’s comments, see Rolled Up Trousers, 12 December 2007

The Newsnight investigation concentrated on mosques in and around London but, as Osama points out, questions about the credibility of the Hijacking of British Islam report were raised at the time by the Edinburgh Central Mosque – where nobody had come across the literature that Policy Exchange claimed to have discovered on their premises.

Whether such reports into extremism in mosques are always accurate, reliable and honest is certainly questionable.

However without stating the obvious the Islamophobes would prefer it that such reports into extremism in mosques were banned for “racism” accurate and honest or not.