Thursday, October 01, 2009

Lib Dems and Racial Profiling

A local paper in Watford reports that a Christian man received a card from the local Lib Dems celebrating the end of Ramadan. Javid Suleman believes that the only reason he received one is because his name sounds Muslim. He says:

Somehow they categorised me as a Muslim and the question is how and why. I personally think that's ethically wrong. You have to abide by certain processes and categorising people by their ethnicity, colour or religion is the wrong thing to do. I asked my neighbours if they got it and of course, they didn't. They're not of Asian decent so they definitely didn't get this.
A Lib Dem spokesman said:
The data we use is based on the electoral roll and MOSAIC data, which is a 'best guess'. This is the type of data used by direct marketing firms. We then go through every name manually and remove the ones that we know not to be Muslim. Inevitably there are some that do go out to non-Muslims but when they contact us we then correct our data.
Are they determining which ones are not Muslim based solely on what their surname sounds like? If so, isn't this just a form of racial profiling?

Fisking Robert Spencer

I wrote on Monday how MPACUK was trying to turn the peaceful praying of a few thousand Muslims at Capitol Hill into a political event. Now it's the turn of the other side. Robert Spencer has written a piece about the event trying desperately to spin it into something it wasn't. Spencer's point is to claim that the event was a "missed opportunity" at which the organisers should have spent their time denouncing terrorism. He tries very hard to make us believe that they didn't because they don't disagree with terrorism and that, in fact, they want to impose Sharia Law on the United States. Here is a fisking of the main points from the article:

Organizer Hassen Abdellah had explained before the event that it was designed "to show we are not terrorists, but that most of us Muslims here love America and abide by its laws."
Here Spencer tries to give the impression that the event was organised primarily as a protest against Islamic terrorism. If that were the case then not denouncing terrorism is a bit odd. But it simply isn't true. Here is what Newsweek reported, more accurately:

The gathering is not supposed to be political, Abdellah said in an interview. No placards or signs allowed. No major famous imams or popular celebrities scheduled so far. No real agenda other than to pray together. "We want this to be purely about Islam," he said. "We want to change the perception of Islam to show we are not terrorists, but that most of us Muslims here love America and abide by its laws."

So far from being an event to oppose terrorism it was, from the start, supposed to be a non-political event. The aim was never to be "Muslims against terrorism" but rather to be "Muslims as people". The organisers wanted people to see that Muslims are not all about terrorism all the time and this is what they did. 3,000 Muslim people prayed peacefully on Capitol Hill and nothing more. But to some, it seems, Muslims are all about terrorism and therefore everything they do must either be supporting terrorism or opposing it. There can never be anything neutral and this is where Spencer falls over the line into anti-Islam racism/hatred.
If the Islam on Capitol Hill event was really supposed to show that Muslims were not terrorists, wouldn't it have been a good opportunity to denounce those jihad plots and the Islamic doctrines of warfare and supremacism that inspired them in the first place?
No, Robert. Clearly Spencer is starting with the assumption that all Muslims are terrorists unless they declare otherwise. From that point of view in order to show that Muslims are not terrorists they must say so. But for the rest of us who start with the assumption that Muslims are not terrorists they need do nothing to show us that they are not.
But Hassen Abdellah, asked on the morning of the prayer meeting to denounce these plots, demurred, saying that the event was not meant for denunciations.
No link to a source but here is what he told Fox News in an interview:
Muslims, individually and collectively, repudiate these acts, but I don't think tomorrow is the place for us to repudiate specific acts. Tomorrow is about our faith; it's not about politics. Because if we involve politics in the Jummah prayer, then what we'll do is only bring on other controversies. We're trying to bring people together.
Hardly refusing to address the question simply not wanting to bring politics into the event which is what they said from the start.
Yet Brooklyn imam Abdul Malik, who preached the sermon at the gathering, found ample time to denounce the immorality of American popular culture and indulge in several oblique denunciations of Christianity. He emphatically recommended Islam as the cure for America's ills - and this was a political prescription, not solely a religious one.
Again no source for this other than Spencer's claim. But here is what he did tell the crowd:
But I will say something it took me my whole adult life to come to: America is not perfect, but I want to tell the truth: It is one of the best places in the world to live.
Hardly sounds like a raving Islamist!

I spoke to several Muslims at the event; all said they'd like to see Islamic law, Sharia, come to the United States - a sentiment rife with political implications that remain a matter of indifference on the part of officials sworn to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Once more just the word of Robert Spencer to go on and I'm sure it is easy to find people in a crowd of 3,000 who would like to see at least elements of Sharia adopted in the US. Did any of these people suggest that Sharia should be imposed? If I went into a crowd of Christians I bet I could find several who would say that abortion should be banned and homosexuals locked up. In fact, some Christian protesters at the event were shouting:
Abortion is Murder!! Homosexuality is Sin!! Islam is a Lie!!
So even if true it indicates very little. Ask any religious Jews whether they want to see the Messiah arrive and Jewish Law return and they will say "yes". Isn't it easy to say that Jews want to see Jewish law come to the United States?
Islam on Capitol Hill was supposed to show that Muslims are not terrorists. Yet not a word was said at the event about the Muslims arrested for terrorist activity that same week, or any assurances given that the assembled Muslims were working to root out this problem from the Islamic community.
Again, Spencer starts with the assumption that all Muslims are terrorists or supporters unless they say otherwise. In reality, Muslims are not terrorists and therefore need not say or do anything to prove that. The event was never supposed to be political, it was designed to show Muslims as people and for some that is impossible. Muslims are all about terrorism for Spencer - they either denounce it or they support it.
What's more, the Islamic terrorists' stated goal is the imposition of Sharia, with its denial of free speech and legal equality, and that seemed to be just fine with most of those [my italics] who prayed Jummah prayer on Capitol Hill on Friday.
Where did this come from? Even if we accept Spencer's account that the "several Muslims" he spoke to were foaming-at-the-mouth Islamists he hardly spoke to most of the people there.

In conclusion, Spencer bemoans the lack of any specific denunciation because for him Muslims are all about terrorism. They must denounce it every time they gather or else they support it.

It was hardly a comforting message to give to free Americans.

On the contrary - it is very comforting to free Americans to know that Muslims are people; it just doesn't fit with Spencer's world view.

Some News

The Sun is reporting that 5 convicted terrorists have been sent back to prison for breaching their parole conditions within the last few months. We mentioned one of these this time last week. They also report that convicted terrorists will be made to sign a "Terrorists' Offenders Register" and could face prison for five years if they fail to inform authorities when they move house or leave the country. This, like the sex offenders' register, is, I think, wrong. We must surely consider anyone who has served their sentence to now be innocent of all crimes they committed before. (full story here, The Sun)

Expect this to be blown out of proportion by those with an agenda. A house in Swansea has been used for Muslim prayers for 20 years although it only had planning permission to be used for teaching not prayer. They are now expected to get permission to use it for prayer too despite a petition against it. 132 people opposed the plan claiming it would cause traffic and disturbance. Those with an agenda may well claim this as a sign of the powers-that-be bending over backwards to accommodate Islamic extremists (though without providing proof that these people are extremists) while the rest of us should perhaps politely point out that this is not the only such case of planning permission being given to people who have used a property for many years without it and that the claims of increased traffic seem ludicrous when there will not be any actual change in the use of the building. (full store here, the BBC)

Ed Balls apparently wants to ban teachers from being members of the BNP. Though the BNP are racist and vile they are a legal political party in the UK. If the Government bans teachers who are BNP members that is a gross breach of civil liberties and, while we face tough times, we must never surrender those. If it is legal to be a member of the BNP then one must be able to be a member without the State punishing one for it. (full story here, The Independent)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Step Behind

As I mentioned I'm reading a series of articles by Adrian Morgan about the rise of the EDL and co. In it he offers a transcript of an interview with John Denham (taken from the BBC Today programme from September 12th). According to the transcript, Denham said:

What we're seeing at the moment is small, but I think we do need to take it seriously enough to say that there are obviously people who would be provocative, hope that there's not just a reaction but there's an over-reaction and then people blame the people who over-react and the situation gets out of control.
While he may be talking about the protests of the EDL and others, his statement makes far more sense when read about Al Muhajiroun's protest in Luton back in March. That was the latest in a series of a protests designed to provoke an over-reaction and this time it worked.

The Government clearly understands the game being played here, but they're one step behind meaning that though they know that the danger lies with blaming those who over-react and not those who are doing the provoking, that is precisely what they have done. Had they acted earlier and stronger against Al Muhajiroun we would not be seeing the rise of the EDL now.

Proving My Point on Prevent

Earlier in the week I argued that the Prevent strategy should be scrapped. The main reason was that the State should not be in the businesses of funding one idea over another or trying to encourage its citizens to adopt one set of beliefs over any other. However, I also made the more practical point that Prevent can never do what it hopes to do.

Prevent hopes to give funding to groups that oppose Islamism in the hope that these groups will discourage the growth of Islamic extremism in the UK. It seems to me that this can never work because any organisation receiving money from the British State will be ignored and shunned by anyone who harbours ill-feeling towards the British State.

Engage (the Islamist group) has a piece today that underlines this point. Talking about the Quilliam Foundation (an Islamic group set up to fight against Islamic extremism) they say:

As ENGAGE readers will be well aware, Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation have been funded by the Home Office and the Foreign Office to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds to help promote the idea that violent extremism is the result of 'Islamist ideology' and of course has nothing whatsoever to do with our own violent warmongering policies abroad. The Quilliam Foundation are openly regarded with utter contempt and derision by UK Muslims...
Is there any point funding a group to tackle extremism in the Muslim communities when the very act of funding them undermines their ability to do the tackling?

Honour Attack in Burnely?

According to The Asian News:

Mohammed Islam, 48, struck Shadiya Islam repeatedly, threatened to pour acid in her face and told her he would kill her after the police arrived.
According to the prosecution this was the result of his daughter's declaration that she intended to move in with her boyfriend. If that is true (and since the defence was so weak it probably is) then this was the first step on the route to a possible "honour killing".

As a side note, this is quite worrying:

Jawad Babar, defending, said [Mohammed] Islam was quite liberal and had not imposed any major sanctions on his children. They had gone to school, he allowed them to work and they were free to chose their partners.

Allowing your kids to go to school and choose who to marry is not exactly the preserve of liberals. Makes one wonder what he would consider normal.

Some Thoughts

For those interested in the EDL and co I've just come across a series of articles written by Adrian Morgan on an American site called Family Security Matters. Not read them yet but worth noting for future reading.

On another note two websites have gone down. Islamist site Engage has apparently exceeded its Bandwidth while the BNP site is simply not loading. Apparently this is not the first time the BNP site has gone down, see here about it in May this year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MCB - Scrap Prevent and Change Foreign Policy

A favourite line of Islamists is that all Islamist terrorism is the result of foreign policy and that to end terrorism we must change our foreign policy to fit in with their demands. In short they advocate that we surrender to the demands of the bombers (or at least some of the demands).

The MCB has put on its website its response to the inquiry about Prevent. They essentially call for it to be scrapped and say that it could never work anyway because foreign policy must change. The key bits are paragraphs 7 and 8:

7. Significant amounts of public funds have been invested in the Prevent programme. The monitoring and intelligence gathering agenda of Prevent are matters that best reside within the National Security Strategy. It was an error to have contaminated the way a department like Communities and Local Government is publicly perceived by placing national security concerns in its orbit. Community development and cohesion policies ought to apply to all communities fairly and equitably, based on need.

8. While the focus should be on a criminal and policing strategic response, the MCB appreciates the need to explore the underlying causes. However, there seems to have been an expectation that community bodies, by showing ‘leadership’, can wave a magic wand and ask young people to remain oblivious to international political developments at the root of the frustration – not least the injustice in Palestine that has lasted well-nigh sixty years.
If there's one thing we mustn't do to stop terrorism it is to give in to the demands of the terrorists. And groups that shout from the sidelines that we should surrender should be compared to the bloke who watches his mate punch you in the face then suggests that you should pay up to stop it happening again.

Islamists Push "Jewish Control"

As we reported a few days ago the Jewish Board of Deputies (a communal organisation) wrote a submission to the Commons' Communities and Local Government Committee for their inquiry into the 'Prevent' strategy. (see here, and here for my thoughts on Prevent). In the submission they suggested that it was probably best not to give money to Islamist organisations as part of a plan to stop the spread of Islamism. Among the groups mentioned was the Muslim Council of Britain and this has annoyed other Islamists. Their response - push the angle that Jews are too powerful.

At Engage (the Islamist organisation run by MCB spokesman Inayat Bunglawala) the story ran under the headline:

UK Jewish body sets conditions for government engaging with MCB
Is it reading too much to consider the title to be deliberately misleading with the aim of giving the impression that the "Jewish body" is somehow forcing a change rather than simply advising one?

And then we have MPACUK with their headline:
Islamophobia within the Jewish community questioned as JBoD attacks MCB
It doesn't say who's doing the questioning so we can assume that it is MPACUK itself. Moreover, note that the headline talks of the "Jewish community" then the article starts of talking about the "Jewish Zionist community" before accusing the Jewish community as a whole of having a problem with Islamophobia.

In the last paragraph of the article they also push the "Jewish control" line:
It is the height of arrogance for a Jewish group to tell our community what political views we can and cannot hold, it is also a sign of its immense political power that it can dictate to the Government who they should talk to, but most telling it shows that rampant Islamophobia within the community has reached its most powerful groups and governs its policies towards our community.
In the minds of Islamists, it seems, being Jewish and mentioning your concern about the funding of Islamists by an anti-Islamist programme and this amounts to dictating to the Government in a demonstration of your control.

Monday, September 28, 2009

MPACUK Attempts to Hijack Peaceful Prayer

3,000 Muslims gathered on Friday in America to pray at Capitol Hill. The organisers say this on their website:

The objective of this gathering is to invite the Muslim Communities and friends of Islam to express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam. We intend to manifest Islam's majestic spiritual principals as revealed by Allah to our beloved prophet Muhammad (PEACE BE UPON HIM) of Arabia. Likewise; we intend to inspire a new generation of Muslim to work for the greater good of all people. We shall serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin.
Moreover, Fox News reports:
The rally is intended to be all about prayer, and no political speeches or signs will be allowed, said the event's organizer, Hassen Abdellah, president of the Dar-ul-Islam mosque in Elizabeth, N.J.
Another organiser said:
This is not a protest, it is a day of prayer, of devotion, hoping that we can work ... for the betterment of the world community.
And finally the crowd were informed at the beginning of the event:
We’re here to pray, and not to protest.
Yet, despite all this, MPACUK is trying to hijack the simple and peaceful act of praying for their own ends. They say:
This prayer is a political act


We must use politics in all spheres of life to communicate the truth to the world - through mass political acts such as this, to voting, to lobbying the media in order to give a balanced representation of Islam and Muslims.
Not content with stirring up trouble themselves they now seek to spin the acts of other Muslims to their own ends. They might like to read what one of the organisers told the crowd, though:
America is not perfect. But I will say something it took me my whole adult life to come to: America is not perfect, but I want to tell the truth: It is one of the best places in the world to live.