The recent outpouring of vitriol aimed at the English Defence League (EDL) got me thinking – why is it so easy for us to condemn thuggish racists on one side of the political spectrum, but on the other, we’re timid as can be about it?
Perhaps people are too busy “checking their privilege” and as a result find that they have no say in the matter. It wouldn’t strike me as strange. Just as I, as a Muslim, feel perfectly comfortable slamming Islamism and its adherents, White Britons only feel comfortable slamming White Britons.
The media, our politicians, our universities and indeed our police have for over a decade reminded us that to critique Islam, to stare down Islamism, to parody or satirise the Koran or the Prophet Muhammed are all taboo and sometimes even actionable offences. Students have been reprimanded, tweeters have been legally harassed, journalists have been targeted and politicians have caved.
I hope you’ll bear with me for a moment, while I take you on a journey of why I feel so angry that most of the 33,000 people who signed Eddie Izzard’s Hope not Hate letter in the Daily Mirror this weekend fail to support efforts to tackle the real violent extremists in this country: Islamists.
Recently, a video emerged (right) that shows Woolwich terrorist Michael Adebalajo speaking at a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) demo in Harrow, London, in 2009. It was the eighth anniversary of 9/11, and the hard-Leftist organisation UAF decided to pull together a demo to counter a march held by EDL-types outside the mosque.
This is what we hear from Adebalajo, who remember, used British foreign policy as a rationale for his slaughter of a British soldier on London streets. This excuse has been accepted, parrotted and propogated by the likes of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who we’ll come back to in a second.
Adebalajo said, in his speech, “We are not scared of Kufar … my brothers remain in your ranks and do not be scared of these filthy Kufar. They are pigs … Allah says they are worse than cattle.”
It did to me, too. Which is when I remembered hearing another darling of the Left issue a similar statement. Political Editor of the Huffington Post and Guardian and New Statesman contributor Mehdi Hasan was caught on video stating, “The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists… the Quran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.”
Hasan, who has set about detoxifying his personal brand with crocodile tear articles about homosexuality and anti-Semitism has written extensively in favour of Adebalajo’s explanation that foreign policy was a factor in the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby. Not once to my knowledge has he mentioned the connection to the UAF march, or the Adebalajo’s kuffar equals cattle speech. I wonder why.
And this brings us onto UAF itself. Surely, you might think, a so-called progressive organisation with signatories ranging from Tony Benn to David Cameron, and which holds the support of many celebrities, would have offered some explanation as to why their march was attended by someone who would go on to be a terrorist, and why he was allowed to address the crowd with a racist speech calling non-Muslims “cattle”?
Alas no explanation is forthcoming. The focus remains on the EDL marches this weekend – not on UAF’s problems, and not even on how to stare down Islamism. But the rationale behind this mindset is revealed when you note who UAF’s Vice Chair is.
Azad Ali, a former advisor to ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone is a Vice Chair of Unite Against Fascism. At the weekend, supporters of UAF were involved in violence the likes of which they are not strangers to. Similar situations occured twice in 2009 and twice in 2010, when EDL or BNP thugs clashed with UAF thugs.
Should we be surprised?
Well, if we were to take the organisation at face value then yes, absolutely. Anti-fascist groups used to campaign for peace, equality and all those other lovely utopian things. Now they support Islamists, who are fascists themselves, and even have them speaking at their marches.
Azad Ali even worked for the Islamic Forum of Europe, which has supported Islamists. Ali is also on the record as having stated, “Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that.”
You can read more about Ali here, and his comments supporting the late Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and how he despises the modern perils of Western society such as music, television and “free mixing with women”.
It’s unclear to me if Eddie Izzard, whose letter to the Daily Mirror initially got me wondering about all this, is aware of the company he is keeping in this broad ‘anti-fascist’ tent. But as a prospective Mayoral candidate for London, I assume he’s treading the same path that colleague Ken Livingstone did. A path that seeks to divide, and a strategy that is happy to subsume and give cover for the nasty, authoritarian and inherently fascist Leftist types themselves.
The letter might be described as “well-intentioned” due to its targeting of the EDL, of which I am of course no fan, but it is shamefully naive at best, and at worst, a diversionary tactic which gives cover to the types of people who have created an industry out of the term “Islamophobia”.
One organisation which has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in government funding, TELL MAMA, prides itself on its work in tackling Islamophobia. Sadly, it was revealed this weekend that not only have its recent claims been drastically exaggerated and methodologically shambolic, but it can also be revealed exclusively here that its legal representation is the same as that of George Galloway and Daud Abdullah. Not a good look for a government-funded organsation. The lawyer in question is called Farooq Bajwa, and I have seen legal letters sent to various individuals about what his firm calls “libellous tweets”.
But more for another time I think.
After all, you can see from all of this that something untoward is going on with UAF, which in my opinion seems like it has more in common with the EDL than it disagrees with them on.
Nevertheless, the prevailing notion that springs to my mind from all this is: Why can’t the anti-fascist Left, and indeed Muslim community groups too, create or find organisations to tackle hatred and racism that aren’t hypocritical, do not hold less than reputable affiliations or aren’t just downright dodgy?
P.S. Please make it your business to ensure 33,000+ know about these facts. Send this article to your friends, post it on your Twitter/Facebook and in all relevant forums and groups you know. In doing so, we not only help tackle Islamism, but we actually help free normal Muslims from the cycle of negativity that many of these individuals tie them into!