Responses to the ‘Muslims shoe-throwing story’


by guest
20th April, 2010 at 1:24 pm    

contribution by Ben White

I recently wrote of the Sunday Times story that claimed the Met had ‘allowed Islamic protesters to throw shoes’. Watch how the story travelled around.

The article was taken up and publicised by Douglas Murray, who wrote a blog post about the story on the Telegraph’s website entitled, ‘The police encourage Muslims to throw shoes at them? Just what community relations needed’.

He adds:

There will, some day, be a terrible reckoning for all of this. Perhaps it will start when thugs from another religion decide to carry out acts of violence in public and cite the Muslim precedent as their prompt. Perhaps it will happen when the police are confronted with gangs of people of no faith at all wondering why it is illegal for someone who is not a Muslim to injure police but perfectly legal if you are a Muslim who pretends to feel really strongly about something.

The Telegraph featured the story as a news item, with the headline, ‘Muslim protesters ‘will be allowed to throw their shoes”.

For Murray, this was “the most jaw-dropping story of the weekend”, and when he wasn’t offering his ruminations on whether “show-throwing” was an Arab or Muslim “tradition”, the man from the ‘Centre for Social Cohesion’ was feeling the urge to announce just how “passionately angered” he felt “by all this”.

The comments left by visitors to Murray’s post include remarks like the following:

Note: I’m not making an equivalence between Murray and the others. I’m just illustrating the reaction to the original article.

The British National Party (BNP) also seized on the story, with the title, ‘One Law for British People, Another Law for the Islamic Colonisers’.

The BNP used report as an example of what they claimed was the “Islamic colonization of Britain” which “must be halted before British people are utterly overwhelmed and reduced to servant status in their own lands”.

The story quickly spread across the Islamophobic blogosphere, including ‘Jihad Watch’, a website that has previously praised the English Defence League (EDL) as deserving of “the support of all free people”.

Watching all this, I was reminded of the paper by Peter Oborne and James Jones in 2008, ‘Muslims Under Siege’.

Oborne and Jones take sections of the UK media to task for the way in which some feel “at liberty to exaggerate and distort stories about Muslims”.

The report’s authors regretted “how easy it is to create misleading and exaggerated stories about Islam and Muslims and get them published”, and “how it is permissible to invidiously single out Muslims in newspaper headlines” in a way that would be “unthinkable” about “any other minority”.

Now that really is something that ‘community relations’ does not need.


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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: Responses to the 'Muslims shoe-throwing story' http://bit.ly/cD4yqD


  2. Rachel Woodlock

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  3. MacGuffin

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Responses to the 'Muslims shoe-throwing story' http://bit.ly/cD4yqD


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  1. Refresh — on 20th April, 2010 at 2:02 pm  

    It is a wonder its not being ‘promoted’ by HP as well.

    Perhaps it is, just not sure I want to go look.

  2. BenSix — on 20th April, 2010 at 2:39 pm  

    Happens all the time. When the Sun regurgitated one of World Net Daily‘s febrile nightmares – bombs in breasts, or something – it soon found its way to The Times Online, Fox, the Telegraph, Jihad Watch, the Herald, Adelaide Now, Frontpage Magazine, Times of India, the Deccan Chronicle, Courier Mail, Free Republic, ChristianWebsite, IndiaTVNews, news.com.au and, er, West Ham Online.

    (Yes, I was very bored when I collected that ol’ list.)

    “War on Terror” stuff appeals to their readers’ imaginations: dark, weird, malignant forces; like a mini-horror film you can sift through with yer cereal and toast.

  3. BenSix — on 20th April, 2010 at 2:41 pm  

    (I’ve been trapped by moderation. In fairness, the post contains about twenty links and the word “breasts”.)

  4. Kojak — on 20th April, 2010 at 4:01 pm  

    Ben,

    Exactly what did you expect to happen?
    The story you wrote explained how shoe thowing would not lead to arrest as a civil disturbance. This seems might odd to me as I cannot imagine the Police showing that degree of restraint towards a G20 protestors throwing their shoes about, or a group of black teenagers or white hoodies doing the same.

  5. martin — on 20th April, 2010 at 4:33 pm  

    This being the same Douglas Murray who said these Nazi-words

    “It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. .. Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition. We in Europe owe – after all – no special dues to Islam. We owe them no religious holidays, special rights or privileges. From long before we were first attacked it should have been made plain that people who come into Europe are here under our rules and not theirs. There is not an inch of ground to give on this one.”

    Think we can see where this loon is coming from

    Interestingly Spitton’s editor Houriya Ahmed collaborates with Murray at the far-right Centre for Social Cohesion.

  6. Fred — on 20th April, 2010 at 5:57 pm  

    Ben, you seem rather determined to interpret this story as an instance of anti-Muslim bias, despite the clear and uncontested facts to the contrary. You didn’t reply to my last post in the previous thread on this, so allow me to reproduce it, I would be interested in your comments.

    So, just to summarize, we have the Metropolitan Police, according to Lindsey German [in the Sunday Times article], permitting the throwing of shoes, and a court declaring that throwing shoes is not a criminal act of violence but a “ritual” form of protest.

    And people are going to claim that the [Sunday Times] article is misleading? Come on, the article is accurate and states exactly what has happened: the authorities have quietly declared that something which previously would be prosecuted as threatening behavior is permitted for those who can claim it is part of their “ritual”.

  7. Don — on 20th April, 2010 at 6:18 pm  

    Fred,

    Three questions spring to mind.

    Have the Met confirmed the claim? If so, what exactly were the terms of the permission and who authorised it?

    Does this alleged privilege apply only to muslims?

    Does it apply to throwing shoes at people?

    (OK, three and a supplementary)

    I’ve read several reports, but I can’t see a definitive answer to these questions.

  8. Grifone — on 20th April, 2010 at 6:47 pm  

    “Interestingly Spitton’s editor Houriya Ahmed collaborates with Murray at the far-right Centre for Social Cohesion.”

    And there are no Muslim contributors to the Pickled Politics blog, as far as I can tell. And all of their articles concerning Muslims are about currying support for Islamists, terrorist groups and clerical fascists. Go figure.

  9. martin — on 20th April, 2010 at 6:59 pm  

    Grifone

    And there are no Muslim contributors to the Pickled Politics blog, as far as I can tell. And all of their articles concerning Muslims are about currying support for Islamists, terrorist groups and clerical fascists. Go figure.

    So a blog that employs Muslims while whipping up anti-Muslim hysteria is better than one that has no Muslim contributors but defends Muslims against anti-Muslim hate.

    Go figure

  10. Ben — on 20th April, 2010 at 10:26 pm  

    @Fred

    It’s pretty clear.

    The Sunday Times article talks about a ‘concession’ being granted by the police specifically to ‘Muslims’ and ‘Islamic protesters’ – without evidence to back up that very particular claim.

    It talks about ‘Muslim demonstrators’ throwing shoes at Downing Street in a Gaza protest, when in fact, the protest was organised by a variety of groups, with diverse participation.

    Again, see:

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/04/16/did-sunday-times-mislead-over-muslim-shoe-throwing-case/

    http://gazademosupport.org.uk/articles/campaign-letter-to-the-sunday-times/

  11. Jai — on 20th April, 2010 at 11:09 pm  

    And all of their articles concerning Muslims are about currying support for Islamists, terrorist groups and clerical fascists. Go figure.

    Including the multiple PP articles discussing Nusrat & Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and various other modern-day and historical Sufis, along with various articles about Indian history ?

    Not quite.

  12. damon — on 20th April, 2010 at 11:40 pm  

    I think the police are just being pragmatic when it comes to a bit of shoe throwing at something like a Gaza protest.

    And Douglas Murray is a prat not to recognise that it’s not a big deal to chuck a few old shoes about.

    Ones brought to the demo in a plastic bag in the first place, just to be chucked at some dramatic moment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQAhwNIu-Gc

  13. student — on 21st April, 2010 at 3:36 pm  

    23 April at the Frontline Club (london) there will be a screening (UK premiere) of a documentary called American Jihadist, which examines why someone would take to violence in the name of religion.

    Check it out!
    http://frontlineclub.com/events/2010/04/uk-premiere-screening-american-jihadist.html

  14. Fred — on 21st April, 2010 at 5:54 pm  

    @Ben

    The Sunday Times article talks about a ‘concession’ being granted by the police specifically to ‘Muslims’ and ‘Islamic protesters’ – without evidence to back up that very particular claim.

    It talks about ‘Muslim demonstrators’ throwing shoes at Downing Street in a Gaza protest, when in fact, the protest was organised by a variety of groups, with diverse participation.

    That’s blatantly disingenuous. The evidence to back it up is, if you read the ST report carefully, the declaration of the court that show-throwing as a “RITUAL forms of protest” will not be prosecuted. Are you honestly suggesting that the SWP or the British Left throws shoes as part of its “ritual”? Clearly the court is referring to people of a certain, um, religion (or “ritual”).

  15. Don — on 21st April, 2010 at 6:23 pm  

    a certain, um, religion

    Fred, there is no need to be shy. If you have a reasonable point to make there is no need to avoid the word islam. Plain speaking is no offence and the question is a valid one. Has a court actually concluded that physical assault of a particular type is permitted to muslims and no-one else? Never mind what an ST journalist has said, what are the concrete facts?

    If it is the case then that is wrong and I would oppose it. But I still haven’t seen concrete evidence that it is the case.

    Shoe-throwing seems to me more likely to be a response to the notorious shoe-dodging of GWB, which caused much hilarity, and less about privileging islam. If the latter is true your indignation is justified. If not, not.

    Either way, personally I think it is childish. And, as I previously mentioned, if you are going to throw shoes, throw decent matched pairs (preferably tied at the lace) which can be later distributed to the shoeless. And walk home barefoot so we know you meant it and weren’t just being a jerk.

  16. Fred — on 21st April, 2010 at 7:47 pm  

    Never mind what an ST journalist has said, what are the concrete facts?

    Unless you are disputing it, the concrete face is that a court has declared that shoe-throwing is a “ritual form of protest” that will not be prosecuted. Are you disputing that? There is no need to be shy, Don.

  17. Gina — on 26th April, 2010 at 11:16 pm  

    Nasty, all lies.

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