Archive for February, 2009

Terrorism, news and double standards

February 23, 2009

When terrorism isn’t newsworthy 

At the Scottish Islamic Foundation website Osama Saeed lambasts the media’s almost total failure to report the conviction of Neil MacGregor, the self-proclaimed “proud racist and National Front member” who threatened to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week until every mosque in Scotland was shut down:

“Imagine if a Scottish Muslim had pled guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Cathedral and behead one Christian a week until all British troops were pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There would be outrage, right? It would be splashed over the front page of every newspaper in the land. It would be the top of all news bulletins. There would be volumes written on what motivated him, his family background and his beliefs. There would be a rich stream of analysis from a variety of positions. Government would be asked what it was doing to avoid such a thing from happening.

“So when news came into the Scottish-Islamic Foundation office this week of one Neil MacGregor pleading guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week until all Scottish mosques were shut down, we thought it couldn’t possibly be true. There had been no build up to such a trial, no coverage during it and none on the verdict. We Googled it, and nothing came up. Not a sausage, nada, zilch.

“Immediately, we fired out a press release. If this hadn’t been brought to the attention of our media, surely they’d cover it once they heard of it? Seems not. Well, apart from Scotland Today (brief mention 10 minutes in).

“So I phoned up the newsdesks of some of our major newspapers and asked how this could have happened. Some said they’d get back to me, but haven’t. Others put their hands up and said it was a big mistake. Helpfully, it was pointed out that some news outlets rely entirely on output from the Glasgow Courts Press Agency, and it seems that they might not have put anything out on this. It’s something we’ll be following up. At the Atif Siddique trial in 2007, there were even unidentified figures there on hand to brief the press on a plot to behead the Canadian prime minister which wasn’t even brought up during the trial, but led the news the next day as a result.

“There is a chance for redemption. MacGregor will be sentenced on March 6. This should provide a sufficient hook for media outlets to give coverage.”

But these double standards are par for the course, quite frankly. The media initially ignored the Robert Cottage case. And coverage of the Brian Donegan trial was non-existent. Violent extremism is deemed worthy of serious attention only when the violent extremists aren’t white.

“Imagine if a Scottish Muslim had pled guilty to threatening to blow up Glasgow Cathedral and behead one Christian a week until all British troops were pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The Islamophobiawatchers would say it’s not terrorism but angry oppressed Muslims demonstrating their anger about British/Western foriegn policy.

And anyone who disagrees is an Islamophobia racist Muslim hater.

Double standards can be found amongst the Islamophobiawatchers too…

When white racist extremists violently attack or attempt to violently attack it is (quite rightly of course) violent racism.

When Muslim extremists violently attack non-Muslims it’s “freedom fighting” against occupation, foriegn policy and social injustice.

White violent racist Nazis are motivated by pure hatred and evil towards ethnic minorities.

Violent Muslim extremists are motivated by anger about foriegn policy and Western occupation.

Swings and roundabouts!

 

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Islamophobia Watch takes “consistant” line on anti-gay preachers ban

February 19, 2009

Anti-gay preachers banned from Britain

The Home Secretary has banned two extremist anti-gay preachers from entering Britain, a move that follows a decision to refuse entry to Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Muslim MP.

Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, who belong to the US Westboro Baptist Church, were planning to come to the UK to protest outside a performance of a youth play called The Laramie Project, which recounts the death of gay university student Matthew Shepard who was killed in Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998. It was due to be performed at Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke, Hampshire, tomorrow.

It emerged that the pair were due to enter the UK to launch their demonstration when they made an announcement on their website. “God hates the Queen Mary’s College, and the fag-infested UK, England, and all having to do with spreading sodomite lies via The Laramie Project, this tacky bit of cheap fag propaganda masquerading as legitimate theater,” it said.

Times Online, 19 February 2009

Now, it will be interesting to see if this provokes the same outraged denunciations of the suppression of free speech as the Wilders ban did, won’t it? Don’t hold your breath.

This member of the Islamophobia Watch collective takes a consistent line on such issues. Freedom of expression doesn’t cover the right to incite hatred against minority communities, and people who want to enter the UK to do this should be excluded. As in the Wilders case, Jacqui Smith has made the right decision here.

Ohhh so glad they approve!

No let the Westboro Baptist nutters in so we can make fun of them.

They are so insane that it’s hard to take them seriously.

The mother of the Phelps family smiles all the time so that when she talks it looks like she’s joking.

“Freedom of expression doesn’t cover the right to incite hatred against minority communities, and people who want to enter the UK to do this should be excluded.”

But it does cover the right to incite hatred against majority communities?

 

Anti-terror code would alienate most Muslims

February 17, 2009

Anti-terror code ‘would alienate most Muslims’

The government is considering plans that would lead to thousands more British Muslims being branded as extremists, the Guardian has learned. The proposals are in a counterterrorism strategy which ministers and security officials are drawing up that is due to be unveiled next month.

According to a draft of the strategy, Contest 2 as it is known in Whitehall, people would be considered as extremists if:

  • They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.
  • They promote Sharia law.
  • They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.
  • They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.
  • They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Inayat Bunglawala, a former spokesman for the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said such plans would affect many British Muslims. Bunglawala, who now runs Engage, which tries to get Muslims to participate in politics and civic society, said: “That would alienate the majority of the British Muslim public. It would be counterproductive and class most Muslims as extremists.”

Promoting Sharia law, saying homosexuality is a sin, advocating an Islamic state and beliving in jihad.

These are all things Muslims should be free to do of course.

But those who disagree with the belief that homosexuality is a sin or that Shariah law is a good idea should be free to express their views.

Sadly the Islamophobiawatchers believe that’s “Islamophobia”.

 

Salma Yaqoob not sure about Wilders ban

February 15, 2009

Ms Yaqoob was on BBC Question Time on Thursday and she aired her views on the Geert Wilders ban.

Being a poster girl for the Islamophobiawatchers they no doubt expected her to one hundred per cent support the ban and label anyone who disagrees as a racist BNP lover.

But she doesn’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4roIdZF0Ws

There have been various conflicting views coming from Muslim spokespeople and groups on the banning of Wilders.

Some of them on hundred per cent in favour but some of them also against.

Even firebrand extremist Ajem Choudary has said he is against the ban because he believes Wilders views should be debated.

So far it seems the majority of people in favour of the ban are white people. Even the right-wing Kelvin McKenzie is for it!

Islamophobia Watch comment in Wilders controversy

February 14, 2009

A comment on the Wilders controversy

During a discussion of the Geert Wilders/Fitna controversy on Newsnight yesterday, Kirsty Wark demanded to know whether a similar fuss would be made if the film had been “anti-Christian”.

This question, which carried unfortunate echoes of the right-wing myth that Muslim sensibilities are treated with a respect not accorded to the “indigenous” Christian population, summarised the confused thinking of those who have opposed Jacqui Smith’s admirable decision to exclude the Dutch far-right racist from the UK.

First of all, if an Islamist extremist were to visit the UK to promote a film whose aim was to incite hatred against Christians among Muslim communities, the Home Office would undoubtedly impose a ban on that individual just as readily as they did on Wilders. And rightly so. Freedom of movement does not include the right to enter this country in order to poison relations between our diverse communities.

Kirsty Wark’s argument also missed the obvious point that Christianity is the religion of the majority white population in the UK, whereas Islam is the faith of a predominantly non-white minority community. Attacks on Christianity may be offensive to believers, but they do not serve as a cover for the incitement of racial hatred. In the hands of far-right provocateurs like Wilders, attacks on Islam are used for precisely that purpose.

A more appropriate question to ask is how we would respond if a far-right politician made a film misrepresenting Judaism as a violent, barbaric religion in the same way that Fitna misrepresents Islam.

The film would perhaps feature footage of the Israeli army’s devastation of Gaza, with the bodies of dead children lying among the rubble that used to their homes, followed by clips of Zionist extremists applauding the killing of Palestinian civilians and conservative rabbis opposing women’s rights and gay sex. Over these pictures are projected verses from the Old Testament that celebrate the Lord raining down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah and killing all their inhabitants, or that call for adulterers and homosexuals to be put to death. The film goes on to claim that Jews are taking over Europe and concludes with an appeal to defend western civilisation against the insidious expansion of Jewish influence.

Does anyone seriously think that those who currently defend Wilders on the basis of “freedom of expression” would support the right to promote a vile, antisemitic film like that? Would such a film conceivably be allowed a showing at the House of Lords? The reality is, if this film were to be shown anywhere in the UK, those responsible would undoubtedly be prosecuted under the racial hatred laws.

With the exception of the fascist movement and a few right-wing cranks like the Libertarian Alliance, nobody these days would argue that freedom of expression should include the right to incite hatred against the Jewish community. Antisemites are not treated as the standard bearers of free speech, but as hate-filled bigots whose racist propaganda has no place in a civilised society. It is time that the same treatment was applied equally consistently to Islamophobes like Geert Wilders.

In other words it’s ok to attack Christinaity because it’s the faith of the minority white population, but it’s not ok to attack Islam because it’s the faith of a minority.

This more or less reflects the view amongst the Islamophobiawatchers that criticising the beliefs of a majority religion like Christianity is ok because the believers of that religion can look after themselves.

But criticising the beliefs of a minority religion like Islam is not ok because the believers of that religion are oppressed and criticising their beliefs is heaping further oppresion on them.

We wonder then if someone re made Jerry Springer The Opera and put an Islamic God in a nappy Islamophobia Watch would say it’s an insightment to racial hatred?

The question about if free speech defenders would allow a similar anti-Jewish/anti-semitic film is a spuyrious one.

At least we would argue that if someone did make such a film the anti-semitisim it puts forward must be challenged not simply banned.

 

Islamophobiawatching those who oppose Wilders ban

February 12, 2009

Times opposes Wilders ban

“Mr Wilders is an elected politician in a member state of the European Union. Freedom of speech, association and travel is part of the political culture of Europe.

“For all the obvious hollowness of Mr Wilders’ credentials as a defender of free speech, the cause is a good one. It is a common notion that the right to free speech must be held in balance with the requirement to avoid needless offence. That is a mistake. The right to oppose, mock, deride and even insult people’s beliefs is essential to a society where bad ideas are superseded by better ones. There is no right to have one’s emotional sensibilities protected, for it is no business of government to legislate for people’s feelings.

“Mr Wilders’ views are obnoxious, and (not but) his freedom to express them must be defended. It is regrettable that Mr Wilders faces not just ostracism but prosecution in the Netherlands because of his comments about Islam….

“Demagogic speech is a test of the liberal political rights on which the culture of a liberal democracy rests. Let Mr Wilders exploit them. His political posturing is so self-evidently preposterous that, if he is permitted to speak freely, he will be arraigned before the best court in the land – the court of public opinion.”

Editorial in the Times, 12 February 2009

See also “Anti-Islamist politician Geert Wilders vows to defy ban by entering Britain“, where Wilders is quoted as saying: “I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs.” It’s not often that Islamophobia Watch finds itself in agreement with Geert Wilders, but this is a proposal we fully endorse.

Islamophobia Watch is now highlighting anyone who disagrees with banning Wilders and suggesting their is some kind of Islamophobia and racism towards Muslim behind their opposition.

“See also “Anti-Islamist politician Geert Wilders vows to defy ban by entering Britain“, where Wilders is quoted as saying: “I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs.” It’s not often that Islamophobia Watch finds itself in agreement with Geert Wilders, but this is a proposal we fully endorse.”

There you have it! Islamophobia Watch believe Wilders should be put in handcuff for his views.

They do not explain what purpose such actions would serve.

Other than to make Wilders a martyr to the fasicst right-wing that Islamophobia Watch fear so much.

Putting him in handcuffs and throwing him in the nick would do nothing. It would not change his views or alter the views of those who believe Islam is an “evil” religion.

Geert Wilders banned from UK….Islamophobiawatchers very happy

February 11, 2009

Geert Wilders banned from entering UK – right wing not happy

A far-right Dutch MP whose film linking Islamic texts with the terror attacks on New York sparked protests around the Muslim world was last night banned from entering Britain.

Geert Wilders, who leads the small Dutch Freedom Party, was due to show his controversial 17-minute film at an event in the House of Lords tomorrow, but was informed yesterday by British officials that he would not be allowed to enter the country. The decision sparked an immediate diplomatic row after the Dutch Government pressed Britain to reverse the ban.

The film Fitna, which criticises the Koran as a “fascist book”, sparked violent protests around the Muslim world last year. The film, which has been posted on the internet, juxtaposes images of the Koran with footage of the 9/11 twin tower attacks and other terrorist atrocities. Mr Wilders had been invited to show the film at an event in Westminster hosted by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the former Conservative, who is now a UK Independence Party member of the House of Lords.

Independent, 11 February 2009

Over at the Spectator, under the headline “Britain capitulates to terror”, Melanie Phillips denounces this as “another fateful and defining issue for Britain’s governing class as it continues to sleepwalk into cultural suicide”. On his Telegraph blog, Daniel Hannan demands: “Can this really be true? An elected representative, the leader of a legitimate political party, banned from entering the United Kingdom? On what possible grounds?”

The fascists of the BNP join in the condemnation of the ban on “the courageous Dutch MP Geert Wilders”. And Wilders has his supporters at the Nazi Stormfront forum. Sample comments: “This man is a true hero”; “This is outright tyranny”; “Since when did ‘public order’ equate with or to protecting precious muslim feelings?”; “Geert is an absolute hero to many westerners who feel helpless at the snuffing out of their very civilisation”; “What on earth is happening to our once great land, where muslim evil dictators now rule?” etc, etc.

Wilders views on Islam are indeed intolerant and xenophobic but banning him from entering countries won’t change his views.

Those views need to be debated not banned.

Natrually Islamophobia Watch point out the BNP are condeming the ban.

Just to remind us all that if we disagree with banning Wilders from the UK that means we are on the side of the BNP and Nazi fasicsts.

Of course we don’t agree with banning Islamic extremists who preach anti-Jewish views (because we believe they also must be challenged via debate) but we cannot help notice that whenever they get banned by Western governments the Islamophobiawatchers cry “ISLAMOPHOBIA!”

And why excactly is the British government banning Wilders?

Could it be because they (like the Islamophobiawatchers)  believe there is a load of anti-Muslim racist sentiment brewing amongst the white working class and that it would only take someone like Geert Wilders to turn up to make it come bursting to the surface?

Hmmm.