Archive for February, 2008

Criticism of Islam is “prejudice” against black immigrants say Media Workers Against The War

February 21, 2008

At a glance: Sharia law in Britain

The remarks by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, have seen the media and politicians unleash a vicious wave of Islamophobia, from the ravings of the tabloid press, to the disgraceful Independent on Sunday splash about domestic violence and the shocking claims about “inbreeding” by Phil Woolas MP, who has responded to the current hysteria by leaping head-first into the racist gutter.What are the basic facts behind the Muslim-baiting?

1. Most British Muslims do not demand Sharia law.

  • Muslim Council of Britain: “We do not wish to see a parallel system or a separate system of judiciary for Muslims.”
  • Shaista Gohir, government adviser: “The majority of Muslims do not want it. Many Muslim commentators and the media are wrongly assuming that all Muslims want Sharia law in the UK.”

2. What British Muslims want is for the UK, US and Israel to end their bloody occupations of Muslim countries.

3. They want an end to the racism against British Muslims, who are overwhelmingly dark-skinned.

4. A 2004 ICM poll found 61% of British Muslims might support Sharia courts being introduced in Britain, but only to resolve civil cases within the Muslim community, and only so long as the penalties did not contravene British law.

5. Archbishop Rowan Williams argued for “a delegation of certain legal functions to the religious courts of a community”, not for an extensive parallel legal system. The aspects of Sharia being considered by Williams are restricted to matters of family and finance law, i.e. civil matters. No one is suggesting introducing an Islamic penal code.

6. Religious courts already operate in this country for Orthodox Jews. Why shouldn’t Muslims enjoy the same right?

7. Sharia courts also operate in the UK, although without official recognition and concentrating only on mundane issues such as inheritance and divorce. Many British Muslims are already married under Sharia law, eat meat slaughtered by it, and bank according to it.

8. The UK is already amending its finance laws to allow Sharia-compliant products such as halal mortgages and Islamic bonds, in part to attract billions of petro-dollars from the cash-rich Gulf.

9. Ontario, Canada, for 15 years had a system of “faith based arbitration” whereby family issues such as inheritance and property division could be adjudicated by religious authorities. In 2005 Ontario’s attorney general reviewed how the system worked for Muslims and “did not find any evidence to suggest that women are being systematically discriminated against as a result of arbitration of family law issues”.

10. Criticism of Islam segues effortlessly with prejudice against black immigrants. “Niggers out” no longer wins many votes, but Muslim-bashing presses the same political buttons. For our rulers, Islam is a doubly-convenient scapegoat for resistance to the West’s “war on terror”. Any discussion of Islam today is therefore a discussion about war and about racism. By ignoring this basic fact the media join hands with the racists and the warmongers.

“Criticism of Islam segues effortlessly with prejudice against black immigrants.”

In other words all criticism of Islam is “prejudice” against black immigrants. If you criticise Islam you are prejudiced against black immigrants.

What about individual views held by followers of Islam? Is criticising, for example Sir Iqbal Saccraine’s views on homosexuality “prejudice” against black immigrants?

“Any discussion of Islam today is therefore a discussion about war and about racism. By ignoring this basic fact the media join hands with the racists and the warmongers.”

So there should be no discussion of Islam that is not about war and racism? Anything other than that is to “join hands with the racists and the warmongers”?

The media should never criticise Islam and should only regard it as a victim of war and racism?

This boils down to MWAW’s and the Islamophobiawatchers view that because Islam is often criticised by racists and warmongers any criticism of Islam is to be on the side of racists and warmongers.

There can be no difference between reactionary racist criticism of say the BNP and respectful and well put criticism by secularists.

It’s all racist to them.


Hilarious reactions to hilarious reaction to Dr Rowan Williams’ shariah law words

February 14, 2008

Whilst much of the right-wing media reaction to the Arch Bishop’s views have been suitably (yet unpredictably) over the top and hysterical much of the reaction from the socialist defenders of Islam has been equally over the top and quite ridiculous to.

Here’s a typical example from the Socialist Worker who seems to think that defending Muslims from racism means the unquestionable defending of their religion as righteous and beyond reproach:

“The subtext to much of this argument is that Christianity is more “enlightened” than Islam.”

Are even the hysterical right-wing tabloids suggesting Christinaity is more “enlightened” than Islam?

Except that while the Catholic church was burning people at the stake for the outrageous suggestion that the earth might rotate round the sun, Islamic Europe in Spain and Sicily helped establish science and medicine.

Er hold on. Whilst the Socialist Worker is (quite rightly one might say) saying it’s wrong to say that Christianity is morally superior to Islam here it is more or less suggesting Islam is morally superior to Christanity.

Whilst those ‘orrible Christians were burning people at the stake people who follow Islam were establishing things such as science and medicine.

How does that make sense?

The SW complains of an Independent story about Muslim female victims of honour crimes. Once again suggesting it’s “racist” to be concerned about human rights abuses amongst minority religions.

“The Independent’s story focused solely on Muslim cases of domestic violence. Nowhere did it mention that two women are killed each week in Britain by a current or former partner – and the vast majority of these are non-Muslims.”

Whilst the SW is accusing the Independent of whipping up scare stories about honour killings amongst the Muslim community it’s suitably whipping up scare mongering of Britain’s male population as murdering wife beaters.

Just goes to show the irony of it all.

The Socialist Worker has delivered a warped and suitably dumb response to the equally warped and suitably dump response from the tabloid media to what Rowan Williams had to say about shariah law.

Whilst quite rightly criticising the privalages and abuses of the Catholic church they defend shariah law as something righteous and just.

Whilst denouncing those who see Western culture and Christianity as morally superior to Islam and Muslim culture as racist and Islamophobic they hold up Islam as morally superior to Chrisianity.

It seems the SW believe defending minority religions and cultures from attack means portraying them to be better than majority religions.

In our atheist opinion no religion is better or worse than another. They are all a load of fucking shit! But we defend people’s rights to believe what ever twaddle they want to believe.

“Islamophobic” Tatchell defends Qaradawi from UK ban

February 11, 2008


Be merciful to Qaradawi

Sheikh Qaradawi shows no clemency to Muslims who deviate from his dogma, but we should not stoop to his inhumanity


By Peter Tatchell

The Guardian – Comment Is Free – 7 February 2008l

The government’s decision to ban Muslim extremist cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi from entering Britain is illiberal, unwarranted and unmerciful.

Don’t get me wrong. There no shred of doubt in my mind that Qaradawi is anti-Semitic, homophobic and sexist, and that he justifies terrorist attacks on innocent civilians.

He is the spiritual head of the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, and his politics are well to the right of the odious British National Party (BNP).

But Qaradawi is coming to Britain to receive medical treatment, not to promote his prejudiced preaching. In these circumstances, banning him is unjustified and heartless. 

We should show Qaradawi the mercy that he seeks to deny to fellow Muslims who transgress his dogmatic, illiberal interpretation of Islam.

The government is wrong to stoop to Qaradawi’s level of inhumanity. We should let him come to Britain for medical treatment, and thereby show him and the world that our (albeit imperfect) liberal, humanitarian values are better than his bigotry and his glorification of religious-inspired violence.

Qaradawi is, of course, a complete hypocrite. He wants medical treatment in a country whose liberal values he despises. He doesn’t believe in universal human rights. He thinks our laws on the rights of women and gay people are an abomination. Despite this, he is quite happy to use the medical services of non-believers to save his own life. Two-faced or what?

Let’s hope his surgeon is a gay Israeli Jew – and that he performs a successful operation, so that Qaradawi is forced to acknowledge that he owes his life to a Jewish sodomite.  

Qaradawi is also a hypocrite because he is seeking medical treatment, when there are certain circumstances in which he would apparently deny treatment to people who do not share his hardline Islamism. He believes that such people should be allowed to die. Qaradawi is on record as saying that Muslims should not donate organs to people who adopt other faiths or become atheists. An apostate should not be given an organ donation because he has transgressed Islam and “deserves killing,” Qaradawi wrote in a fatwa issued on the website, Islamonline, of which he is the chief scholar, on 24 June 2002.

Such extreme, inhuman views are not untypical of Qaradawi. He also advocates:

Killing Muslims who have turned away from Islam (apostates)
The execution of gay people in Islamic societies
Suicide bombing of innocent Israeli civilians
Female genital mutilation (female “circumcision”)
Compelling women to wear the hijab, even if they don’t want to
Violence against disobedient wives in certain circumstances
Blaming rape victims who dress immodestly
Flogging women who have sex outside of marriage

References to his expression of these far right views can be found in a dossier compiled by the multi-ethnic, multi-faith London Community Coalition.

Further evidence is contained in this dossier produced by OutRage! and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.

Both these documents refute the apologia and distortions of the truth by those who defend and support Qaradawi.

This evidence of Qaradawi’s authoritarian political and religious views comes from his own books, like The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, and from quotes in his name on the website that he heads, Islamonline. All are in English, in his own words, so there can be no dispute about their accuracy.
Despite his fundamentalist, anti-humanitarian views, Qaradawi is defended by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the Socialist Workers Party, Respect, the Muslim Association of Britain and, of course, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

Because I have criticised Qaradawi, some of these people denounce me: “Tatchell is a racist…Tatchell is an Islamophobe,” they say. These insults are, of course, without any factual basis. I never condemned Qaradawi because of his race and I have never condemned Islam or Muslims in general – only extremists like Qaradawi.

These apologists are talking nonsense when they claim that Qaradawi is a moderate. Sure, compared to the Taliban and al-Qaida he is less extreme, but compared to most Muslims in Britain he is a fundamentalist and a preacher of intolerance.

It is an insult to British Muslims to suggest that Qaradawi represents their views. Such drivel from sections of the far left and their Islamist allies plays straight into the hands of the BNP. It gives Nick Griffin the ammo he needs to fuel his scare-mongering and anti-Muslim diatribes. It gives him an excuse to tar all Muslims with the extremist tag.

Inayat Bunglawala, the MCB’s Assistant Secretary-General, has fallen into a similar trap. His reaction to Qaradawi’s exclusion from the country, as expressed
on The Guardian’s Comment is Free website, has conveniently ignored Qaradawi’s anti-humanitarian agenda. Such spin only serves to bring the MCB into disrepute.

If you doubt me when I say that Qaradawi is a right-wing extremist, remember this. In October 2004, a petition signed by 2,500 of the world’s leading Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries was delivered to the United Nations. It condemned Islamic theologians who promote fundamentalism, intolerance and violence, including Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Listing him as one of the “sheikh’s of death,” the petition signatories accused him of “providing a religious cover for terrorism.”

I never supported Qaradawi being banned from coming to Britain when Ken Livingstone hosted him at City Hall in 2004. But I did object to him being feted and given a platform in the name of the people of London.

The only circumstances where it is legitimate to exclude people from the country is where they explicitly incite violence. Qaradawi comes close to doing this but not quite. The best way to respond to his reactionary, oppressive views is by protesting against them and by exposing and challenging them in rational debate.


Tatchell was condemed by the Islamophobiawatchers as an “Islamophobe racist BNP sympathiser” for objecting to London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s meeting with Qaradawi. He has been constantly smeared as anti-Muslim racist for speeking out on Qaradawi’s questionable views on homosexuality.

He has been accused of wanting to kick Muslims out of Britain.

And “anti-Muslim racist BNP sympathising Islamophobic” Peter Tatchell is defending Qaradawi’s rights to freedom of speech despite being disagreeing with what he has to say and arguing AGAINST this Muslim cleric being banned from Britain.

Yes what an Islamophobic racist BNP sympathiser Tatchell is!


Islamophobia Watch getting excited over people getting excited over what Dr Rowan Williams said about Muslims having shariah law in the UK

February 8, 2008

Islamophobia Watch are getting all excited about the tabloid press’ hardly surprising reaction to Arch Bishop Dr Rowan Williams’ comments that Muslims in Britain should be able to have shariah law to handle civil matters:

Islamophobiawatchwatch thinks it better to make decisions on matters such as divorce based on what is best for everyone involved rather than based on what some religious book says.

Guess that makes us “racist” and “Islamophobic” though eh?

As for the press. It’s tabloid press twisting what someone said shocker part III.

It’s a no brainer!

As for Dr Williams. We found it more worrying when he said that Disney is the sorce of all evil and is poisoning the minds of children.