Friday, 14 August 2015

More from the archives but with telling relevance today-

The BBC and Israel

Media Bias
Conservatives have often been in conflict with the BBC editors, humorously labelling it the “Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation. The Today programme and Newsnight have come in for particular criticism. But it is the BBC’s news policy which is most seriously at fault, leading the way in ignoring anti-semitism, labelling extremists such as Al Qaradawi as moderates and ignoring the record of Sudayyis and others (with the honourable exception of Panorama in its exposure of the MCB).

Perhaps the most serious media failing concerning Palestine is the Jenin scandal. At the time, the BBC and newspapers uncritically accepted and reported Palestinian propaganda that there had been an Israeli massacre, echoing Yassir Arafat’s use of the term “Jeningrad.” 1 million Russians died in the sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad, less than 100 from both sides at Jenin. If such an inappropriate comparison had been made in any other circumstances, the originator of the phrase would have been widely condemned.
  • Evening Standard: “We are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up and genocide.”
  • Independent headline-“Amid the ruins, the grisly evidence of a war crime.” “A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed. The sweet and ghastly reek of rotting bodies is everywhere, evidence that this is a human tomb. The people say that there are hundreds of corpses, entombed beneath the dust.”
  • The Guardian-comparing Jenin to 9/11; Jenin was every bit as repellent in its particulars, no less distressing and every bit as man-made. Jenin looks like the scene of a crime….Jenin already has that aura of infamy that attaches to a crime of especial notoriety.”
  • The Times-“Kamal Anis says the Israelis levelled the place; he saw them pile bodies into a mass grave, dump earth on top, then ran over it to flatten it.”
US newspapers found no evidence for a massacre or mass graves, only fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters. Indeed, one of the Islamic Jihad fighters was quoted as saying by the Boston Globe, “This was a massacre of the Jews, not of us.” Against claims of civilian deaths of from 3,000 to 500, a UN report concluded that there were no more than 56 Palestinian deaths, all but three fighters, and the PA admitted that one of these was killed by a booby-trap after the Israelis left. Even the PA has been forced to change its tune from a massacre to a tremendous victory, since 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in taking action against a militant centre from which the PA admitted 28 suicide bombers had been despatched.  

The BBC consistently refuses to use the “T” word (although it did when one of its Saudi correspondents was shot). It has headlines such as “Hamas has been blamed for suicide bombing,” which suggests someone else may be to blame. Hamas boasts about its operations. There is also the statement that an attack is in retaliation for an Israeli security action, whereas the BBC should know very well that Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. It needs no excuse to attack. Every mention of Hamas should be followed by the phrase, “which is dedicated to Israel’s destruction” in the interest of accuracy.

The Israeli’s Security Fence and wall should be shown to be what it is, mainly fence, not mainly wall as in BBC News. The reasons for the barrier should be properly explained. In his letter to the Jerusalem Post, Gaza doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish denounced a woman attempted suicide bomber to blow up a hospital, where she said she wanted to kill as many Israeli children as possible. She admitted she had been recruited by the PA official Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The doctor expressed his revulsion that she targeted a hospital where the Israelis had treated many Palestinians, describing it as an act of evil. He said, “What are we going to say if Israel now clamps down on Palestinian patients seeking medical treatment inside Israel?” The woman’s family condemned the attack and her use as a bomber. The BBC rarely shows families who utter such condemnations, preferring to show the ones who support the cult of death. The media consistently fails to properly explore the motivation of suicide bombers-that they act out of aspiration for paradise and victory over the Jews, not desperation. Little attempt has been made to publicise the peer pressure, totalitarian politics and religious motives. Moreover, rather than adopting a positive or neutral attitude to suicide attacks which deliberately target  Israeli women and children, promoting the doctor’s views could be part of an endeavour to show revulsion at such acts. This could show the terrorists that they are losing international support and help bring these attacks to an end. The BBC reported the PA claim that Bethlehem is a prison surrounded by a wall. This is false. No wall surrounds Bethlehem. On the Israeli side there is a high wall outside the town in one place to stop Palestinian sniper fire. There have been over 20,000 terrorist attacks on Israel since the deliberate launch of the Second Intifada by Arafat, admitted now by PA spokesmen. This is equal to 200,000 attacks in this country.

The BBC also continues to employ the poet Tom Paulin who said that West Bank Jewish settlers should be shot. Jenny Tonge, the suicide bomber justifier, is still welcome on the BBC. Neither of them have apologised for their statements. Kilroy-Silk did apologise and has never appeared on the BBC again. When Mary Robinson’s car was shot at in Hebron, Israel was blamed. A Danish police report concluded later that Palestinians were responsible, but the BBC did nothing to try to make up for its previous incorrect and inflammatory reporting. It has issued no apology about Jenin. There is a huge disparity in the number of critical programmes made about Israel, compared with the lack of programmes made about the very poor human rights situation in many Muslim Arab countries. No action has been taken against any journalist or programme maker. These occurrences, if they took place in the context of community issues in this country, would be described as institutional racism and condemned as such.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Worcester Local Elections 2015

I'm a Worcester resident. Here are the local and GE results for the city. Having the two sets of elections on the same day allows for some interesting comparisons.

Arboretum  Con 910 (29.5%)   Lab 1,209 (39.5%)   UKIP 324 (10.5%)   Green 640 (21%)
No election 2010-near city centre seat with significant number of terraced houses.

Bedwardine  Con 2,197 (-84) 46.5% (50.5%)   Lab 1,190 (-228) 25% (31.3%)   UKIP 746 (+746) 16%  Green 254 (-244) 5% (11%)   LD 261 (+261) 5.5%   TUSC 52 (+52) 1%   BNP 23 (-300) 0.5%
Retention rate: 96.4% (Lab 84%)
Suburban seat in St. John's with an older demographic.

Cathedral  Con 1,899 (+ 360) 39% (35%)   Lab 1,760 (+ 608) 36% (26%)  UKIP 537 (+537) 12%   Green 652 (-102) 17.4%   BNP 19 (+19)   [Lib Dem -1,023; representing 23% of the vote in 2010]
Retention rate: 124% (Lab 153%)
No Lib Dem candidate (took 1000+ votes 5 years ago). A city centre very mixed seat with marina apartments, terraced housing, two small elements of social housing, a Georgian square and city centre flats and almshouses  with neatly 10% BME's. A wafer thin key marginal since 2010.

Claines  Con 2,115 (+195) 42.3% (39%)   Lab 886 (+170) 18% (14.5%)   UKIP 558 (+558) 11%    Lib Dem 1,056 (-1,009) 21% (41.4%)   Green 394 (+131) 8% (5%)
Retention rate: 110% (LD 51.5%)
A high income suburban ward which used to have 3 Lib-Dem councillors and still has a LD county councillor.

Nunnery Con 1,252 (-142) 32% (35%)   Lab 1,627 (-134) 41% (44%)   UKIP 737 (+737) 19% Green 253 (-203) 6.4% (11.5%)   BNP 40 (-328) 1% (9%)
Retention rate: 90% (Lab 92%)
High UKIP vote (first time they put up a candidate) with BNP vote collapse. Large social housing estate plus private housing.

St. Clement Con 1,338 (46.5%)   Lab 869 (30%)   UKIP 445 (15.5%)   Green 221 (7%)
Mixed property type seat in St. John's (westside).

St.John Con 1,139 (-58) 30.5% (33%)   Lab 1,683 (+ 24) 45% (45.7%)   UKIP 592 (+592) 16%   Green 266 (-142) 7% (11%)   BNP 16 (-349) 0.5% (10%)
Retention rate: 95% (Lab 101%)
Large social housing estate plus some private housing.

St.Stephen  Con 1,115 (38%)   Lab 376 (13%)   UKIP 307 (10.5%)   Green 1,023 (35%)   Indep. 54 (2%)
An eastside seat similar to St. Clement but with 1 Green councillor. The Greens have been running an effective 'pavement politics' campaign for a number of years.

St.Peter  Con 2,022 (+178) 60% (56%)   Lab 731 (-209) 22% (28.5%)   UKIP 368 (+368) 11%    Green 214 (-184) 8% (12%)
Retention rate: 109.5% (Lab 78%)
Modern (less than 20 years old) housing type suburban seat held by the present mayor (individually a very popular figure). 

Warndon Parish North  Con 1,596 (-26) 54% (57.5%)   Lab 689 (-216) 23.5% (32%)   UKIP 430 (+430) 14.5%   Green 221 (-171) 7.5% (14%)
Retention rate: 98% (Lab 76%) Modern private housing estate (looks very much like Warndon Parish South but with a few more starter homes & a very small amount of social housing.

Warndon Parish South  Con 1,659 (-28) 54% (57%)   Lab 776 (-45) 25% (27.7%)   UKIP 401 (+401) 13%   Green 219 (-129) 7% (12%)
Retention rate: 98% (Lab 94.5%)
Modern private housing estate with highest household income in Worcester.
* Comparisons are with 2010 [when there were no UKIP council candidates].

The UKIP (non) effect  In the County Council elections two years ago UKIP was achieving 22-25% in a number of Conservative held areas (high of 28% in Warndon Parish) and gained 25% in Bedwardine in successive local elections. It hurt Cons badly in Cathedral. There is no evidence that UKIP harmed Cons this year and some evidence that it drew support disproportionately from Labour voters (although there were no local elections in the core Lab wards of Gorse Hill, Rainbow Hill and Warndon).

This suggests that the voters for UKIP are not the same electorate each year. In the forced national choice many Conservative-inclined voters came back to Con, but next year there will not be that pressure when there are local elections alone.
UKIP votes: Arboretum-10.5%, Bedwardine-16%, Cathedral-12%, Claines-11%, Nunnery-19%, St. Clement-15.5%, St. John-16%, St. Stephen-10.5%, St. Peter-11%, WPN-14.5%, WPS-13%
Regarding the campaign as a whole it is clear that, in contrast to previous years, holding the GE and locals together benefitted the Conservative (and nationally Cons gained 550 council seats). 

City Totals (no elections in 3 Lab & 1 Con seats) Con: 17,143 (43%) Lab: 11,686 (29%) UKIP 5,445 (13.7%) LD 1,317 (3%) Green 4,357 (10.7%)

National GE Totals (city-wide) Con: 22,534 (45.3%) Lab 16,888 (34%) UKIP 6,378 (12.8%) Green 2,024 (4%) LD 1,677 (3.4%)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Another story from the archives about influential Muslim Brotherhood figure Qaradawi-the man whom Ken Livingstone invited to London (an act which along with others costs him the support of even Labour Party members). After his defeat, Labour members elected Livingstone to their National Executive.

Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi
Qaradawi’s pronouncements show clearly that he propagates the dangerous myth that Islam in under attack worldwide. In a recent sermon he said, “how great is the similarity between past and present. We Muslims are besieged by many forces that want to uproot the Muslims under various pretexts…they want to eradicate the nation of Islam.” These words follow a reference to the Beni Qarayzi tribe who allegedly violated the Medina Treaty and whose men were executed and women & children sold into slavery. Qaradawi comments that, “Some Orientalists claim that Mohammed was cruel to the Jews, but this is how determination should be. One must be firm when firmness is warranted, and gentle when gentleness is warranted.”

Qaradawi continues, “we are under a siege that resembles the Siege of the Trench…..but we will be victorious, God willing, despite the traps set by Judaism and the Crusaders and despite the deeds of those who set traps and who deceive.” Why does Qaradawi quote the example of the Qarayzi (and approvingly when other Muslims play this event down or ignore it)? He clearly links events from the past to events happening today and therefore his references to Jews are sinister.
In case anyone believes that Islamonline is not Al Qaradawi’s responsibility, it states; “Our goal is for this site to be worthy of your trust. To reach our goal a committee of the major scholars through the Islamic world headed by Dr. Yusuf Al Qaradawi was formed. Its role is to ensure that nothing on the site violates the fixed principles of the Shariah.”

More of Qaradawi’s pronouncements-
Fatwa June 2002 on organ donation; “It is not permissible to donate it to an apostate as he is no more than a traitor to his religion and his people and thus deserves killing.”
Female circumcision-“While it is not obligatory, whoever finds it serving the interests of his daughters should do it and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world.”
Homosexuality-from The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam Qaradawi’s magisterial work; “Muslim jurists hold different opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same punishment as for fornication, or should both the passive and active participants be put to death?....While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic Society and keep it clean from perverted elements.”

Conservatives will have differing views about Civil Partnerships and associated issues. But these controversies take place within a pluralistic system of democracy based on human rights, not a theocracy. Qaradawi’s language is of extermination. To accept him as a “moderate” is a dangerous self-delusion. In this country we allow unprecedented freedom of religious conscience and political expression. We do not entrench one view for all time. Our constitution is a typically British compromise. Qaradawi is light years away from this and his ruling is clear. “The Islamic Nation was created by God to be the head, to be followed by others. Secular ideas, Zionism, the West, America, want to turn it into a tail and vassal.” On Al Jazeera Qaradawi has stated that jihad can be defensive but also offensive-to spread the word of Islam and remove the obstacles to this (this is pure Sayyid Qutb, unsurprising since Qaradawi is the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual/political mentor.) Because the world is steeped in Jahaliya (ignorance of the divine message) only jihad can open up the way to preaching, otherwise the Jahaliya (secular, Western, Zionist) system is so strong it drowns out everything else.

Qaradawi’s view of Jihad and the Crusades is illustrative. In the West the Crusades are seen as an embarrassment, for which the Pope has apologised. Richard the Lionheart is still held up as an example of courage, but not of Christianity, and the chivalric elements of the relationship between him and Saladin are used as an example to be emulated today. But Qaradawi et al still revere Saladin as if the Crusades were yesterday (and Saladin’s treachery against his sovereign Nur ad Din and his massacre of the Black Guard are never mentioned). Indeed the tolerant side of Saladin was criticised at the time and Baibars and Al Khalil who were determined to uproot all Christian presence in “Muslim lands” more admired. Saladin, Baibars and Mehmet Fatih require no apology and are all part of the seamless robe of Islamic history, as relevant today as then. (See Landmarks of Jihad a book available in many Muslim bookshops and on the web which includes Uhud, Yarmouk, Qadasiya, Manzikert and Constantinople-most of them battles from the Arab/Turkish conquests).

Qaradawi completely denies the UN’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist, describing it as, “a society of invaders and plunderers of our land who came to occupy Palestine and settle it.” Note that Qaradawi is not referring here to the West Bank, but to all of “Palestine”-all of the state of Israel. He repeats the calumny that the Jews plunder and damage Muslim sites (on the contrary; Arab countries and the Palestinians have destroyed/vandalised many Jewish sites including Joseph’s tomb, vandalised the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and all of East Jerusalem’s synagogues after 1948,). Actually, Israel allows free access to Islamic sites and the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount is under Muslim authority (whereas Jews were denied freedom to worship at the Western Wall or at Abraham’s Tomb in Hebron when Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank. Joseph’s Tomb at Nablus was destroyed by a Palestinian mob while PA police looked on. Pamphlets circulate in this country alleging that the Israelis are undermining Al Aqsa, repeating the mufti’s propaganda which led to the 1929 massacres.

Another example of Qaradawi’s treatment of yesterday (3,000 years ago) as today is seen in his “Sharia and Life” show on Al Jazeera (May 15th 2004) in which he accused America of spreading violence through the world in films, tv series and cowboy films. He quotes the Torah as saying that when Jews enter a country and offer peace, if the inhabitants agree they become slaves, whereas if they refuse they are destroyed. This is clearly a reference to Joshua’s herem and relates it to 1948.

Even where Qaradawi has truly been selectively or misquoted a further examination shows how there is no ancient or modern world to him. Reported as saying that Islam would conquer Rome and Europe, he did stress that it could be by preaching, that Islam needed an army of teachers and preachers. Europe, “will see that it suffers from materialistic culture and will see a way out, it will seek a lifeboat.” Europeans will convert to Islam and then will spread it more widely than “we ancient Muslims.” So far so good; Christians and other faiths bemoan the spiritual vacuum in modern society. Missionaries from Africa and South America come to preach and seek conversions in Europe, from the Hari Krishna sect to Louis Palau. But Qaradawi sees this all of a piece with the “military preaching” of the extension of the Islamic Empire which knocked “several times on the door of Athens” (not forgetting Vienna). We can actually describe much, but not all, of this conflict in terms of power politics; the Ottoman/Valois alliance of mutual benefit against the Hapsburgs to allow defence against Safavid Persia does not have to be seen in mainly religious terms. But Qaradawi does not do this.

Qaradawi sees all this history as that of justified jihad. He would not allow an uninterrupted preaching movement by Christians, Krishnaites, Buddhists etc in the Muslim World. This would be described as imperialism and a conspiracy against Islam-which must be the head, never the tail. What he expects from Muslims and non-Muslims is not equal. He is a Muslim supremacist. The fact is that there are virtually no Jews left in Muslim countries. All non-Muslim religions are banned in Saudi Arabia, and Shia Muslims condemned as heretics and persecuted. From making up 25% of the Arab countries’ population, Christians are now 8%. Since the Palestinian Authority took over the Christian populations of Nazareth and Bethlehem have plummeted. Ironically, considering the dispute over Jerusalem’s boundaries, Arafat gave Bethlehem & its council a Muslim majority by changing its boundaries to include a nearby refugee camp. The Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs report “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society” shows widespread discrimination and treatment of Christian as second-class citizens. Anti-racist policies in the UK must address this lack of equivalence. All oppression, racism, discrimination and injustice must be tackled, no matter which religious tradition commits them.

In July 2005 the FCO gave its view on whether Qaradawi should be excluded from the UK by the Home Office, having previously shared a platform with Ken Livingstone and being defended by him against Peter Tatchell’s dossier. The DG Political commented that, “Having individuals like Qaradawi on our side should be our aim. Excluding them won’t help.” Reviewing Qaradawi’s full record and views, it is unclear how an Islamist supremacist can ever be “on our side”-on the side of a tolerant, pluralistic British society. Disturbingly, this memo was written by Mokbul Ali, a friend of the MCB’s Iqbal Sacranie.

The memo’s main reason for not excluding Qaradawi was that his views on suicide bombing in Israel and “resistance” in Iraq are shared by the majority of Muslims in the Middle East and the UK. Qaradawi did condemn the London bombings, but praises suicide bombs in Israel against civilians because Israeli children will grow up to be soldiers. He signed the Amman declaration in defence of mainstream Islam, but clearly Qaradawi regards his views in toto as representing mainstream Islam.
Other reasons include: Qaradawi’s popularity, and that it would give support to Al Qaeda’s propaganda of a Western vendetta against Muslims and would undermine “Qaradawi’s anti-terrorism message” (which clearly is selective and does not include Jews and Coalition forces). However controversial the Coalition role in Iraq is, it is craven to accept a figure who is encouraging people to murder our soldiers and contractors. Indeed, the FCO advice legitimises against Jews, Israel, and our forces.

It seems that government policy is to make Qaradawi “the first port of call when encouraging statements against terrorism and the killing of Muslim civilians in Iraq, as requested recently by the Iraq Policy unit.”  The government believes it has a relationship with Qaradawi as it had with Abu Qutada and others buiding an alleged covenant of security in the disastrous run up to the London bombs. But Qaradawi’s record of anti-semitic Muslim supremacism shows clearly that there is nothing to engage with and the FCO is under a dangerous self-delusion.  The Metropolitan Special Branch Muslim Contact Unit has commented that, “Sheikh Al Qaradawi has a positive Muslim community impact in the fight against Al Qaeda propaganda in the UK and the wider Muslim world.” The memo concludes, “By taking such action (excluding him) the UK could turn mainstream Muslim opinion further against the UK and could encourage some to move to violence against British targets.” The FCO advice is given out of fear-that excluding a preacher of hate will lead to “retaliation” (by definition justified) by Muslims. It is actually an insult to Muslims, as well as being cowardice. Is this appeasement really what our country has come to? 

Revealingly, the memo refers to the Livingstone visit and dossier as compiled by the Board of Deputies and based on info from MEMRI-founded by an ex Colonel in Israeli Military Intelligence and that “MEMRI is regularly criticised for selective translation of Arabic reports.” Actually, many people complained, with detailed evidence, about Qaradawi’s extremism. Why does the FCO single out a Jewish lobby group? This theme continues; “his exclusion could also fuel media reports of conspiracy theories-especially about the involvement of Jewish lobby groups and their influence on British Government policy.” The government thus refuses to challenge these conspiracy theories and gives them credence by not doing so. The material MEMRI translates is in the public domain and can be checked for accuracy. It does feature both “extremists” and “moderates”-including the views of “liberal” Muslims. This “regular criticism” is by the likes of Livingstone, Galloway, MPAC, MAB and MCB and others in the Red-Green opportunist alliance. Much of the material about Qaradawi comes from the Islamonline website which he oversees. Among the reports MEMRI carried is the petition signed by 2,500 Muslim figures describing Qaradawi as one of the “Sheikhs of Death” responsible for creating the climate in which Muslims are fooled into becoming suicide bombers. These Muslims really are moderates, not pseudo ones. The FCO and government spurn these moderate voices and align themselves with one of the Sheikhs of Death.

The FCO notes that, “he has himself faced criticism for calling for greater liberty for women in Islamic societies.” On Islamonline is a fatwa by Qaradawi himself which stresses that a married woman (meaning virtually all women) should not work outside the home unless forced to by economic necessity (although there is another fatwa allowing female nurses and doctors to only treat women where possible. He also defends wife-beating “lightly” as long as it is not on the face. Any extremist member of the 57 varieties of Trotskyite will be ferociously criticised as a “splitter” or “traitor” by other groups. This happens in extremist religion too. Just because Islamists even more extreme than him criticise Qaradawi does not mean he is moderate.

Qaradawi’s real views on Jihad can be found in his book Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase (1990)-the title of which reads like that of a Marxist revolutionary tract. In this he supported the Khartoum Government (the National Islamic Front, based on the Muslim Brotherhood) against the “Christian racist rebellion which seeks to remove Sudan from the Muslim Nation”, stood with Eritrea against Christian/Marxist Ethiopia which allegedly wanted to keep the Eritrean Muslims as feudal serfs, supported the Muslim Moro separatists against the Christian government which he claimed wanted to annihilate them, was against Israeli plans to bring in Russian Jews to the occupied territories to realise the old dream of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates and then to the Hijaz, Medina and Mecca as a later ambition. This is vile stuff. All of these sentiments are helping to create the conspiracy theories which the memo shows the FCO is unwilling to challenge.

More support for conspiracy theories and anti-semitic myths can be seen on Islamonline. “More challenges to 9/11 circulating myths,” 24.11.05, despite its title actually promotes claims that electronic demolition made the Twin Towers fall. A 19.07.05 story claims that Netenyahu was warned in advance of the London bombs (like the 4,000 Jews who supposedly did not turn up to work before 9/11) and the 23/12/05 lead story “The Neocons and Holocaust II” claimed that a group of Jewish intellectuals has always been in control of the Whitehouse, that the Jews are trying to build a Greater Israel and that America’s Iraq policy is designed for Israel’s benefit.

Qaradawi’s opinion of Jews ought to be well known since it is outlined on his website and has received comment on many blogs. In “Jews as depicted in the Quran,” Qaradawi refers a questioner approvingly to a fatwa issued by Sheikh Attiyah Sakr, former head of Al Azar’s fatwa committee about the Jews “bad qualities and the heinous acts they used to commit.” The one positive comment (in fact there are many positive comments in the Quran) is that the Jews received a scripture from God who favoured them above all peoples-setting them up in the article as people who rejected this. Twenty negatives follow: fabricating God’s word, loving to tell lies, disobeying God’s commands, disputing and quarrelling, hiding the truth and misleading, rebelling against the Prophet, hypocritical, preferring their own interests to the truth, wishing evil on others, gleeful as others suffer, arrogant, taking usury, distorting God’s truth, killing innocent people, merciless and heartless, never keeping promises, competing to sin, cowardice, miserly, distortion (again). The questioner then politely thanks the sheikh for this erudite answer.

It seems inconceivable that government departments are unaware of Qaradawi’s true record, but self-delusion runs deep. The FCO is desperate to find an influential Muslim moderate scholar. It parallels the approach to Nazi Germany where the FO saw some Nazis (including, incredibly, Goering) as moderates who could be influenced towards sensible policies by appeasement of what was seen as Germany’s legitimate grievances while ignoring the agenda behind them. We (or at least the FCO) never learn.

 From some years ago but unfortunately always topical-

The Myth of Unique Muslim Victimhood
All the great religions of the world have been deeply emeshed in the political and economic system of their day. In this sense, it is not possible to say that any one of them is a “religion of peace.” Modern values of democracy, tolerance, pluralism and human rights will always be at variance with believers who can pick a verse from a work of any scripture to justify their interpretation and actions. A sense of community solidarity is not unhealthy. The Muslim Ummah can be compared (with care) to the Christian community of believers, the ecclesia (translated as church, but better as a community of believers). A sense of responsibility for Muslims worldwide is very strong and is seen in concrete political action, not merely prayer and charity. What motivated the London suicide bombers (and the Tel Aviv bombers before them)? The evidence regarding Jermaine Lindsey and Siddique Khan is that they had a deep sense of Muslim victimhood.

In his 'martyrdom video' statement edited by Al Qaeda and broadcast by Al Jazeera, Siddique Khan stated, “Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.” Siddique Khan had reached a position, despite being a teaching assistant, of complete disconnection from anyone who he judged not to be a good Muslim so that he was prepared to go out and blow himself up among ordinary people, fellow British citizens who had never done him any harm. Clearly he had cut himself off from them. One can surmise that the radical preachers’ message that proper Muslims should shun anything against (their interpretation of) the Sharia got through to him. We do know that both these men had been watching videos of Muslims as the victims of atrocities and oppression around the world. Jermaine Lindsey is reported as being in tears. These men cared about their Muslim brothers and sisters worldwide, but only for them. They were in the grip of a powerful delusion; that only Muslims are victims and Muslims can only be victims.

Most people are moved by suffering round the world without bothering about the religious or ethnic background of the victim. The days of British people only supporting kith and kin are long gone. Those who identify only with one set of victims are being sectarian. This should be as unacceptable in modern Britain as racial discrimination is. The London bombers were part of the culture inhabited by Sheikh Taher at the Leeds Grand Mosque and Qaradawi; a worldwide community which is always beleaguered and under attack, but should be in a position of world leadership because it represents the best people believing in a perfected religion. This sectarian message was also absorbed by the Tel Aviv suicide bombers. Asif Hanif said on tape, “Muslims are being killed every day, day in day out.” But in the real world, no one community has a monopoly on being victim or oppressor.

There are many examples from around the world where Muslims are killing Muslims; Pakistan has had thousands of dead from drive-by shootings and attacks on mosques both in the Sunni-Shia conflict and that between the native Sindhis and post-partition immigrants. The Arab world has seen the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Kuwait, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis from Saudi Arabia (and the building of a security fence) and the indiscriminate manner in which Syria crushed the Hama revolt. Morocco has illegally sent thousands of settlers into the Western Sahara. There has been conflict between Egypt and Libya and hundreds of thousands of African Muslims massacred by the Muslim government of the Sudan. Very little comment or condemnation is made in the Muslim World, especially in the Middle East of these Muslim on Muslim actions.  

There is too little public acknowledgement of Western help for Muslims, especially American arms shipments to the Bosnian Government, its arming of the KLA, and the NATO bombing of the (Christian) Serbs-or of the Western Aid Agencies who help everyone regardless of religion or ethnic origin. Asghar Bukhari and co. should be continually challenged regarding this. There are countries such as China, Belarus and the Central Asian nations where believers of any kind are targeted. Again, it suits Hizb Ut Tahrir to claim that it is uniquely suppressed in the latter. We should stress the common experience of all believers subject to persecution.

Unfortunately it is simply not possible to ignore the widespread mistreatment and active persecution of non-Muslims in Muslim countries. The clearest example is the Sudan, where an attempt to Islamicise the Christian and Animist South led to a civil war in which two million people died. Ironically, given the criticism of Coalition bombing in Afghanistan and Iraq, no mention is made of the Khartoum Government’s deliberately indiscriminate bombing of Juba and other Southern towns. In Indonesia 10,000 Christians have been killed and 100,000 driven from their homes while the security forces stood by. The situation in Indonesia does hold grounds for hope, however, since there have been mass demonstrations by Muslims against this violence, with offers to defend Christian places of worship, and new security force commanders have taken their duties seriously. As usual, the BBC reported this as communal violence (with no cause-Muslims and Christians just seem to do this) and in the wake of the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls-almost unreported in this country. A recent bombing of a largely Christian market because it sold pork was put down to “religious tensions” by ITV. These “tensions” are actually caused by the Islamist terrorist group Laskhar Jihad, Jimaa Islamia & other jihadist groups. In Indonesia Christians are still victimised by anti-conversion laws (as indeed they are in non-Muslim India where Gujerat was the scene of an RSS/BJP inspired massacre; remembering that there was a massacre of Sikhs too in the aftermath of Mrs Ghandi’s assassination). It is also revealing that one of the reasons Osama Bin Laden gave for the Bali bombing was Australia’s support for Catholic East Timor, taking it out of Muslim Indonesia’s control. The Palestinian Authority’s blind eye to Muslim mistreatment of Arab Christians has led many to flee to Israel and other countries.

The attempt by Northern Nigerian states to impose Sharia on non-Muslims led to bloodshed [and now an independent Christian/Animist South Sudan-itself wracked by civil war]. In Egypt the government undoubtedly treats the Copts as second-class citizens. There are even allegations of kidnap and forced conversions. In Pakistan the blasphemy law is used against non-Muslims, often to pay off a grudge. In Saudi Arabia all religions except Islam are prohibited. Religious books are banned, crucifixes destroyed, and believers humiliated.  The religious police arrest and have maltreated foreign preachers, tearing up and burning Bibles, Hindu scriptures, indeed destroying any signs of non-Muslim religion. Another undoubted negative feature in the Muslim World is the widespread belief that apostasy deserves death. This does not only happen abroad. There are serious allegations of violence and intimidation against Christian converts from Islam in this country, especially Bradford. 

The myth of unique Muslim victimhood is powerful and harmful since not only the suicide bombers, but many representative bodies and ordinary Muslims believe it. Tackling it will be controversial, but playing down crimes committed by people who happen to be Muslims, or deliberately in the name of Islam, is counter-productive in the end. Media coverage must be unafraid to cover these issues. We should work to make the idea that no-one has a monopoly on victimhood or oppression one that is widely accepted. This should become an anti-racist orthodoxy supported by public consensus.