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  • Technorati: graph / links

    These fights do no one any good


    by Sunny on 12th September, 2009 at 5:44 AM    

    So the Stop Islamisation of Europe and EDL people didn’t really show up in the numbers they promised in Harrow yesterday. But this isn’t a victory for anyone. Does anyone really think the video clips of huge numbers of Muslim youths throwing things at the police does their cause any good?

    Let’s rewind a bit here. The recent events require a few points to be made.

    1. For many BNP & EDL types, the enemy are Muslims, not Asians or even all ethnic minorities. Muslims are easier to bait, easier to target and easier to demonise. I’ve said this repeatedly in the past: any examination of BNP / EDL activities that ignores their shift in focus to Muslims, is highly naive.

    2. The SIOE and EDL people haven’t sprang up as a direct result of terrorism, otherwise they’d have started in July 2005. They’ve become more prominent recently because the rhetoric around Muslims taking over, the “demographic problem of Muslims”, the growing number of mosques etc has become fever-pitch, especially in the mainstream media. The kind of people who now daily scream about how many kids have Muslim names or how their babies are swelling in numbers are to blame for this hysteria.

    3. These large confrontations make it even more difficult to challenge Islamists and racists on either side for obvious reasons. Muslims will become less tolerant of internal and external criticism given they feel under attack; while the xenophobes who peddle the scary demographics will point to the TV reports and say: ‘see, told you the Muslims were taking over, we can’t even stop them from building mosques now!

    4. This is why I’ve increasingly shifted my focus on attacking these mainstream xenophobes, because they play very nicely into the polarising atmosphere that religious extremists want.

    5. Unlike Lenin I’m not euphoric over what happened yesterday in Harrow. I said earlier that sooner or later these brawls will get out of hand and a rogue gang of youths will beat up someone so badly the entire anti-racist movement will be smeared by association. This thing is getting out of control, and the UAF and associated anti-fascists need to think harder about how to control the crowds.


         
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    1. Netting the Fringe « Shiraz Socialist

      [...] rise to the provocation, since street punch ups are, in fact, what the EDL are looking for.  This debate on confrontation v ignore it and hope it will go away will no doubt [...]



    1. Andy — on 12th September, 2009 at 6:32 AM  

      I think the EDL etc are just as racist as the BNP and, although they have ostensibly shifted their focus towards Muslims, they are no more than a proxy for Asian people generally. As you say, in the current climate Muslims are easy to demonise and this means they can be racist without actually being racist if you get my drift.

      Absolutely bang on re the msm normalising racist and anti Muslim attitudes.

    2. Andrew — on 12th September, 2009 at 6:36 AM  

      I hope this isn’t a sign of more trouble to come, but Casuals United - the football hooligans who set up the EDL - now say on their website (I’m not linking to it, it can be found easily!):

      “Casuals United are here now, simply to promote cooperation between the football Tribes of the UK, and to arrange numbers for marches/demos organised by other groups such as the Defence Leagues, while remaining seperate from them.”

      In other words, they’re setting themselves up as a ‘rent-a-mob’ for other right-wing groups.

    3. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

      1. They’re aren’t really many of these EDL types, although as I’ve said before this has the potential to grow - the football hooligans of the 70s did not just go away after all, that kind of mob violence is a part of British culture which goes back to the Gordon riots and beyond.
      2. Although I understand the PoV of linking them to the BNP, I’ve also said before I think this is mistaken - I can see the propaganda value, and there are doubtless racists among them, but my reading is different: I don’t think this is explicitly racist, what it is is “culturalist”. Some people feel threatened by an alien culture, which they link with its visible attributes, be they mosques, the veil, the other ways some Muslims differentiate themselves from the prevailing culture.
      3. That last sentence of course is a hostage, because then I’m open to the oft-repeated PP reductionism of “what culture?”, as if England is the only nation in the world not to have one. This multi-culti dialectic is of course partly to blame for these tensions.
      4. Although protesters were very much in a minority it is quite right for other posters to wonder how this would be perceived - the fight is not on the streets but for public opinion. I may be wrong, but I suspect (and this kind of judgement is what I make a good living out of) that “cultural anxiety” sits behind much of the antipathy to Labour and support for the Tories: take that away (which one cannot) and their support would drain like the proverbial swamp.
      5. One solution might be for a new constitutional settlement, which defined our society once and for all (and not just many wishy washy phrases), probably along the lines of the France or US, de-establishing religion from the public realm and placing in law equality, etc. It would naturally dispense with religious courts, public-funded schools etc. It would mean a sacrifice for the “British”, because this would also have to apply to the CofE, but I’m afraid anything less would be too little, too late.
      6. It’s not going to happen - our leaders are mice.

    4. Adnan — on 12th September, 2009 at 9:41 AM  

      “Some people feel threatened by an alien culture, which they link with its visible attributes, be they mosques, the veil, the other ways some Muslims differentiate themselves from the prevailing culture.”

      It’s one thing feeling like that living in certain areas, quite another to shit stir (probably more akin to incitement) that there’s going to be an Islamic takeover of Europe.

      “and this kind of judgement is what I make a good living out of” - are you a journalist or writer of some sort ?

      5. I think the “cultural anxiety” folks would want it “rolled back” as far as the CofE a la “good old days”.

    5. Reza — on 12th September, 2009 at 9:43 AM  

      Agreed, this wasn’t a victory for SIOE, and it certainly wasn’t a victory for the Muslim counter-protesters.

      But it should be noted that, however unpleasant individual members of SIOE might be, the organization itself is officially peaceful and non-racist.

      The scenes we saw, Muslims shouting “allah-o-akhbar” and throwing rocks at the police, will vindicate the suspicions held my millions of Sun, Mail and Telegraph readers that Muslims are a belligerent, intolerant and violent group of extremists seeking to destroy this country’s freedoms, culture and traditions.

      More and more of these people will begin supporting much more unpleasant and openly racist outfits like the BNP, believing that this is the only way of voicing their concerns over what they see as a steady ‘Islamification’ of British society, a ‘phenomenon’ which is highlighted almost daily in the right-wing press.

      So in that respect, all minorities are losers too.

      The winner here, as usual, is the BNP. Watch their support grow.

      And as usual, victory was handed to them by violent cretins among the Muslim community, who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

      Shame on them.

    6. Kulvinder — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:01 AM  

      As i said in the other thread more protests will come, the EDL achieved everything they wanted. Whilst it may be difficult for them to present rational arguments to the public at large; they can easily show how the ‘muslim mobs’ are the unthinking morons they claim.

    7. Drake Van Patten — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

      Agreed, their ranks will swell even further when the police use slightly stronger tactics, this will goad the mobs and media will skew its coverage to the side of the police. These young lads are soon going to get mad that nothing is getting sorted in their favour
      They need a leader to emerge and quick before, like has been said, they will become BNP fodder

    8. dave bones — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

      Totally. This can only make “Silent white majority” types boil further. It is always strange how old lefties look at their numbers and rue their lack of virility and then get excited about Muslim youth and try to make them out to be allies on the same cause. I am sure exactly this happened in Iran in 79.

    9. Chris Baldwin — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

      The BNP’s racism is the same as ever, but Muslims are an easier target, especially since they can come out with the “it’s not racism because they’re a religion” bullshit. We give a lot of attention to Islamists, who, granted, are a nasty lot, but the fact remains that the most prominent type of extremism in Britain is fascism.

    10. fugstar — on 12th September, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

      I don’t think it REALLY benefits the category you call islamist. In practical reality it tests the extent of mosque community’s mojo and shows up the practical uselessness of globally fixated and deluded political groups.

      What with local government strangulation by ‘ridiculous health and safety requirements’ and low level issues this edf stuff is another layer of experience, albeit more dramatic and visible.

      Politicians like john denham seem to be making some sense. I hope they let him out of the stable on this one with some new ideas like ‘bilateral radicalisation’. Its been a glorious ramadan period, except for some very nasty incidents.

      We’ve seen how useless searchlight have been. they are less able to understand religious people than government.

    11. Dan — on 12th September, 2009 at 11:07 AM  

      Last night looks like another screw up for the UAF and muslims in this country.

      20 racist protestors got this much footage for the media of ‘muslim mobs’ and ‘muslim intolerance’? By just going to a planned protest? I’m stunned that the UAF is actually managing to make islamaphobia in this country worse by its efforts to stop it.

      They really need to reassess their tactics, because the EDL etc are winning this one by a mile at the moment, and they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed in the first place.

      Epic fail.

    12. Naadir Jeewa — on 12th September, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

      Boyo @3

      Whilst I agree with the need for some sort of renewal of the social contract between state and society, I wonder if we’re faced with multiple cleavages:

      1. A cultural divide between cosmopolitan urban culture, boosted by globalisation, and economically declining peripheries that feel excluded.

      2. Divides in those peripheries because of shrinking economies and growing insularity.

    13. Shatterface — on 12th September, 2009 at 12:01 PM  

      ‘Agreed, their ranks will swell even further when the police use slightly stronger tactics, this will goad the mobs and media will skew its coverage to the side of the police. ‘

      Well, the police aren’t in the wrong here. They’re standing between two groups of bigots: a small number of BNP types and an easy to bait group of Muslims.

    14. Kieran — on 12th September, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

      Hooligans at the protests with racist chanting.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3VOh6Z-wTg

      The chavlim can’t make his mind up whether Kuffar are worse than pigs or cattle. I don’t mind, they’re both really tasty. Near the end a lady says, “What about peace brother?” and the speaker replies “there will be peace when they remove (their selves?) from our lands!!” In this case, I am not sure whether our lands refers to the area around the Mosque or Afghanistan and Iraq. Oddly enough, this is a sentiment that I suspect the many members of the EDL also harbour towards Muslims in this country living in “Christian lands”. Although this language is dehumanising for non-Muslims at least we are not being referred to as worse than planes: Islamists hate them as much as the greenies. Sunny, do you have criticism of the references to non-Muslims as kuffar and worse than cattle or does this guy get the “only quoting from religious book” exemption that Mehdi Hasan received? For anyone who has had experience living in white areas and multiracial areas in U.K, some Muslims kick around the kuffar term with as much abandon as the paki term is thrown by some white kids. I know some of those same white kids would go on to get their kicks by going down to France in the World Cup of 98 solely for hooliganism. The problem is the equivalent for latter group is travelling to countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, either to fight against British soldiers, learning how to blow up stuff or feeding the soul like Moazzem Begg and Binyam Mohammed did which, to make clear, in no way involved any of the first two activities.

    15. qidniz — on 12th September, 2009 at 12:40 PM  

      the speaker replies “there will be peace when they remove (their selves?) from our lands!!” In this case, I am not sure whether our lands refers to the area around the Mosque or Afghanistan and Iraq.

      North Pakistan, it seems.

    16. Bobby — on 12th September, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

      It’s one thing feeling like that living in certain areas, quite another to shit stir (probably more akin to incitement) that there’s going to be an Islamic takeover of Europe.

      Muslim extremists do most of that shit-stirring themselves.

      For years there have been open, inciteful, hate-mongering demonstrations by extremist Muslims on the streets of the towns and cities of the UK fomenting hatred and division. There have been conferences organised by Hizb ut Tahrir in which thousands of people attended. There are stalls set up on high streets promoting ‘dawah’ in order for ‘infidels’ and ‘kaffirs’ to convert to the ‘one true faith’. Much of this is spoken in pretty in-your-face and arrogant rhetoric.

      Add to this the obscenity of hateful rhetoric that is preached at some Islamic centres, seminars and mosques, add to that the reality of suicide-bombing murders carried out by British Muslims both in the UK and abroad, add to that the foiled plots almost too numerous to mention where but for the grace of God have these murderous extremists been prevented from slaughtering hundreds if not thousands of innocent people, the liquid bomb plot being just the most recent. Add to that the obscene logic that fires many loud-mouthed Muslim ’spokesmen’ that runs along the lines of ‘they had it coming’, add to that the fact that Muslim communities are failing to integrate into wider society on a number of levels compared to other ethnic minorities, add to that the increase in visible signs of separatism like the burqa, men wearing shalwaar kameez, add all of these things together and you get an idea of how things add up incrementally n terms of perception and reality.

      The shit stirring and incitement has been occuring from elements on the Muslim side too. This is a simple point to make, but it is true. Unless this is acknowledged, how are they going to be challenged?

    17. Bobby — on 12th September, 2009 at 12:46 PM  

      Agreed, this wasn’t a victory for SIOE

      I think it was. The men who were running at and attacking the police basically made it a victory for the SIOE and the EDL. They know its simple now, they just have to hype up a demonstration on the internet, get police protection whilst there, and provoke a reaction. They win. They polarise and help their own cause. Its really simple for them now.

    18. Bobby — on 12th September, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

      And yes, further to that, it is ultimately a victory for the BNP as others have said.

      Regarding the knuckle-draggers wanting to bring the football hooligans as ‘muscle’ for the demonstrations. Its difficult to gauge how serious to take this. It is both pathetic and disconcerting to see how this band of brainless thugs has managed to get so much attention, and part of the blame for that lies at the feet of the actions of the UAF and Muslims who responded and continue to respond to them with violence. If 20 people can get so much attention, you can be sure that it will only encourage the knuckle-draggers to ramp it up in the sure knowledge that the cameras are waiting for them.

      To knowingly go out into the world to incite and bait to provoke racist violence is pure evil.

    19. 5cc — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

      Not really sure about the domestic coverage, but this was a ‘Muslim Youths clash with police in London’ story as far away as CNN in Morocco. Not at all sure who won here.

    20. leftie — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

      The response of many of those Muslim youths was a shameful own goal, as the attention should have been on the disgraceful rise of the EDL/BNP. These Nazi types have been given room to grow simply because they attack Muslims. Anyone notice how silent there are at Harry’s Place on this, and recall that when the EDL went on their first drunken ‘march’ in an attempt to protest outside the East London Mosque, posters at HP were broadly supportive, many wishing they’d been on the street with them.

      The last thing we need in Britain is a resurgent far right given, armed and directed by a small, morally bankrupt cabal of hawks who claim to represent the true left.

    21. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:31 PM  

      Nadir @ 12. Fair point - in many senses i was harking back to Tom Paine. Who knows what future shapes will be? However, the nation state has proven thus far the most successful form of governance (which is another reason why supra-national bodies from the EU to a Caliphate are non-runners really - the only exception is the US which went from separate states to nation state, but that seems unlikely in Europe). London could be another Venice, but I doubt it tbh…

    22. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

      “a small, morally bankrupt cabal” - that would be you, wouldn’t it “leftie”?

      I presume you would be of the left that presumes cultural difference excuses inequality? That fetishises oppositionalism to the extent that anti-semitism (sorry, zionism) is now the norm? That sneers at working class “chavs” while lionising the “resistance” in Iraq and Afganistan who routinely slaughter their own people? That has nothing whatsoever to do with socialism, equality or democracy, but feels pretty good about itself so long as it doesn’t think too deeply about any actual principals? That is so, so clever that all this is excusable for the “greater struggle” against what exactly?

    23. marvin — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:50 PM  

      I said earlier that sooner or later these brawls will get out of hand and a rogue gang of youths will beat up someone so badly the entire anti-racist movement will be smeared by association

      Indeed. But for the vast majority of people it will not be this so called ‘anti-racist’ movement that will be smeared by association, it will be Muslims in general. And when one of these local rude boys manage to seriously maim or kill; all hell will break loose on our streets, and all those chumps who’ve hyped up the deluded rhetoric will hold some small reponsibilty for this. That means people commenting here.

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6831609.ece

      Seven people were arrested for possession of offensive weapons including a hammer, chisel and a bottle of bleach

      I’m saying nothing about the bleach after last time… It wan’t stated the whom exactly were arrested but I think we can all work out that it. They are going to ‘overeact’ as Sunny puts it by doing somebody over good and proper. Will it take a death before people grow up?

      This guy has it right

      Ajmal Masroor, a spokesman at the mosque, said: “People came here in the name of defending a mosque that does not need to be defended. We want the others to have their protest and we can ignore them.”

    24. Philip Hunt — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

      Does anyone really think the video clips of huge numbers of Muslim youths throwing things at the police does their cause any good?

      Indeed not, and anyone on either side who went to this event looking for some aggro is a contemptible scumbag.

      For many BNP & EDL types, the enemy are Muslims, not Asians or even all ethnic minorities. Muslims are easier to bait, easier to target and easier to demonise.

      This is probably true of most EDL members. It’s probably also true of most people who vote BNP. IMO it isn’t true of most people who are members of the BNP, who as far as I can tell genuinely believe that all non-white people don’t belong in Britain.

      The SIOE and EDL people haven’t sprang up as a direct result of terrorism, otherwise they’d have started in July 2005. They’ve become more prominent recently because the rhetoric around Muslims taking over, the “demographic problem of Muslims”, the growing number of mosques etc has become fever-pitch, especially in the mainstream media.

      You’re probably mostly right here; having said that, mainstream sentiment against Muslims is a lot more pronounced today than it was before the terrorist attacks in 2001 and 2005.

    25. leftie — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

      You presume a lot, Boyo - and all of it wrong! But Let me presume, from your reaction, that you are one of those who support the far right when they’re attacking Muslims - shame on you! Hmm, if it walks like a Nazi, and quacks like a Nazi…

      Strange as it may seem to the likes of Boyo, you can oppose the demonisation and victimisation of Muslims without ever giving the slightest support to the murderous insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, that it doesn’t preclude absolute opposition to anti-Semitism. Your assumptions say more about your own warped, polarised views. Please don’t tarnish the left wing by ever associating with it.

    26. marvin — on 12th September, 2009 at 1:57 PM  

      Sorry for the mistakes, comment edit facility kept jumping all over the place on that larger comment…

    27. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

      That’s right - smear away. What do you stand for then? I won’t wait for an answer ;-)

    28. Jai — on 12th September, 2009 at 2:15 PM  

      The really ironic thing is that the imam of the mosque concerned, Ajmal Masroor (who may be familiar to many from his numerous appearences on “The Big Question”), has little in common with the Anjem Choudary/HuT/Abu Hamza types in terms of his interpretation of Islam and his attitude towards non-Muslims.

      If the EDL and SIOE protestors were aiming to camp outside a mosque (or any other location) where “hate is being preached” (as claimed by the organisor from SIOE interviewed on one of the satellite news channels yesterday), they didn’t exactly pick the right target. Not even close.

      *********************************************

      Stop Islamisation of Europe

      Given current rising concerns about the resurrection & growth of racist fascism, perhaps someone should create a group called “Stop the Nazification of Europe”…..

    29. Sunny — on 12th September, 2009 at 2:32 PM  

      boyo: Some people feel threatened by an alien culture, which they link with its visible attributes, be they mosques, the veil, the other ways some Muslims differentiate themselves from the prevailing culture.

      YEah but that’s not any more justification. One can then easily say they’re anti-racist yet justify their racism through cultural arguments.

      I’m not denying however that there’s a problem of people feeling cut off from each other. That is exacerbated with ppl of different religions and races, but justifying it doesn’t help, because sooner or later it turns on others who are also ‘different’.

    30. JuliaM — on 12th September, 2009 at 2:34 PM  

      5cc:“…this was a ‘Muslim Youths clash with police in London’ story as far away as CNN in Morocco. “

      That tells you who won here. The SIOE and EDL played the radicals and hotheads like pianos.

    31. leftie — on 12th September, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

      Sunny: One can then easily say they’re anti-racist yet justify their racism through cultural arguments.

      Yes, that’s precisely the problem. And they don’t see it as racism or even bigotry. So they trot out variations of “I’m not racist, I just want Britain to be the way it was” or “I’m not anti-Semitic/anti-Muslim, I’m just anti-Zionist/anti-Islamist”, then fuel their bigotry and that of others through their cultural and political prejudices.

      The EDL were stopped in their tracks in East London, why hasn’t his been the case in Birmingham and West London?

    32. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

      Sunny, I’m not justifying, I’m explaining. You’re right, some, like the BNP, can justify their racism like this, just as some can cloak their anti-semitism as anti-zionism. However this does not mean that all anti-zionists are anti-semites.

      You are also right that this is bad because going after one group can be the slippery slope. However, this is why I sought to draw a line with my strictly secular, liberal (in its traditional sense) solution. The alternative is more of the same - denying it or simply seeking to match it, blow for blow, will not help.

    33. Anon — on 12th September, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

      “Does anyone really think the video clips of huge numbers of Muslim youths throwing things at the police does their cause any good?”

      It would help Sunny make an accurate assessment of the events of yesterday evening if he had actually bothered to go to Harrow and observe what happened, rather than commenting on it from his armchair on the basis of distorted media reports.

      Lenin’s account very much reflects what I felt about the anti-EDL demonstration. It was inspiring that hundreds of local youth turned out to prevent a gang of far-right racists invading their community. Isn’t that what happened at Cable Street?

      Yesterday’s events represented a real setback for the EDL. They were massively outnumbered, chased away from the mosque by the youth, denied the opportunity to hold their racist demonstration and reduced to cowering behind police lines.

      I was present at the main clash outside the mosque between a small section of the youth and the police. It lasted a few minutes. Some missiles were thrown, mainly sticks, and one firework. Stewards remonstrated with the youth and told them they would give the press the opportunity to misrepresent the community “and say we’re bad people”.

      That is of course what happened. And that particular group of youth behaved foolishly.

      But any progressive commentator would emphasise that the demonstration was not in fact characterised by major clashes between the demonstrators and the police. If it had been, wouldn’t large numbers of people have been arrested for assault or violent affray? Instead, there were a mere ten arrests, and these were mainly for carrying offensive weapons - not for actually using them.

      The real story is that Muslim youth mobilised en masse and chased the EDL out of Harrow.

      But, as I say, Sunny wasn’t there, so how could he know?

    34. leftie — on 12th September, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

      Anon: It would help Sunny make an accurate assessment of the events of yesterday evening if he had actually bothered to go to Harrow and observe what happened, rather than commenting on it from his armchair on the basis of distorted media reports.

      You miss the point, which is how it plays out in the media when, as you say, a “particular group of youth behaved foolishly.”

      Like it or not, what Sunny and I and all the others who weren’t there see is not the routing of the hateful EDP, but the unrepresentative actions of a few youths, which undermined the good things you saw there, and played into the hands of the far right.

      And, as Sunny points out, it only takes one serious incident with one of these youths, and we’ll have the EDP paraded as decent victims at the hands of nasty Islamists. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

      In fact, it hasn’t all played out badly, as the EDP is being more widely denounced as rebranded BNP.

    35. Halima — on 12th September, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

      “The real story is that Muslim youth mobilised en masse and chased the EDL out of Harrow.”

      Thank you for this assessment and that’s indeed how i read it - and yes, the media will present it negatively, but we should be conveying what happened and well - and i’d rather buy it from those that were there.

      My Dad and many like him have come under casual attacks from white youths during this Ramadan coming out from mosques - he can’t fight back and the only language the youths understand is other youths defending territory. We routinely worry each year when he goes to the local mosque in our high street because we know there are some white youths looking for trouble. This is bad enough, but the EDL were organising a demonstration involving large group of hate mongers and how this isn’t somehow seen as dangerous is beyond me.

      Well done for going there. If a large group of BNP or EDL came to protest outside my house about my right to be a Muslim and what have you - I wouldn’t be under any doubt that this was a peaceful visit.

      The NF never left the street in the 1980s or late 1970s because the poice did their bit, or that South Asians stood by and didn’t react. No, they left after confrontations involving the anti-racist left and Asians, hand-in-hand, pushing them off the streets.

    36. Dr Anonymous — on 12th September, 2009 at 5:11 PM  

      Sunny, I agree with your analysis. However, the ensuing conversation makes something clear - it’s not enough to simply point out that the EDL/SIOE type groups are succeeding in succesfully baiting people who are threatened by them. If UAF is unintentionally creating the circumstances for this kind of media coverage (which is arguable - i would think those kids would have shown up anyway) - then that needs to be communciated to UAF and people who oppose fascism and racism for a variety of reasons need to work together to avoid this kind of thing. Simply criticising from the outside is probably not going to go anywhere, especially without positive, creative suggestions for how to stop the far right in an effective way.

    37. Anon — on 12th September, 2009 at 5:20 PM  

      “You miss the point, which is how it plays out in the media when, as you say, a ‘particular group of youth behaved foolishly’.”

      No, the point I’m making is that progressive political commentators should make the effort to find out what really happened, rather than issuing their opinions based on distorted media coverage. Indeed, one of the roles of progressive political commentators is precisely to challenge media misrepresentation and say what really happened.

      Unfortunately, Sunny isn’t necessarily interested in that. He’s already adopted the opinion that mass mobilisations against the EDL are a mistake, so he just regurgitates media nonsense about “huge numbers of Muslim youths throwing things at the police”, because it helps justify his opinion, without bothering to question whether that assertion is in fact true.

      His post on the last EDL protest in Birmingham was even worse. He wrote that a video of the events showed that “the UAF / Salma Yaqoob crowd has lost control over the ‘counter-protest’ people”, when in fact UAF had announced well in advance of the EDL protest that they were not going to organise a counter-demonstration on that occasion.

      This is the sort of thing that brings the blogosphere into disrepute. You have egocentric individuals holding forth at length about their personal opinions without bothering to uncover basic facts about the subject they’re writing about.

    38. Reza — on 12th September, 2009 at 6:05 PM  

      “Simply criticising from the outside is probably not going to go anywhere, especially without positive, creative suggestions for how to stop the far right in an effective way.”

      And that effective way would be to win the argument; something that the left, with their fascist tactics seem uninterested in even attempting.

      Just convince the millions of Sun, Mail and Telegraph readers that multiculturalism is wonderful. Convince them that the unprecedented demographic growth of Islam in the UK is beneficial to them. Convince them that Islam is indeed a peaceful and tolerant ideology which they have no reason to fear. Convince them that uncontrolled mass immigration is not detrimental to social cohesion. That would at least demonstrate integrity.

      But the left just shuts down debate. Bans freedom of thought and speech. Shouts down protest with meaningless shrieks of “racist!” or “islamophobe”. And uses violent intimidation to suppress any view which differs from its own.

      But as we can see, such tactics only generate a more polarized and extreme society.

      The left are blind, self deluding bigots, no better than the SIOE or the BNP.

    39. attila — on 12th September, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

      The EDL mob wanted a peaceful debate did they? By threatning access to a mosque on September 11th?

      The point to get across to Islamophobic bigots is that religious bigotry is no more acceptable than racism. You only have to look at Northern Ireland to see what demonising a religious minority can lead to.

      The only hope is that the authorities get it into their head that they can’t afford another 7/7 and therefore they must bring the hammer down on the EDL thugs before their antics trigger a sectarian race war in this country.

      In the meantime you guys should realise that Muslims are going to fight back come what may. The risk of someone being beaten up very badly or worse is not going to go away until the fash are suppressed.

      I am all in favour of sensible immigration controls. But demonising Islam the religion is playing into the hands of both the radical Islamists and the fash. They both want British Muslims to be radicalised. Hate speech can kill. Free speech does not include incitement. That’s basic principle of English common law and has been since the case of Higgins in 1801.

    40. SteveR — on 12th September, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

      What a pathetic article.

      Fascists are marching into Muslim neighbourhoods, smashing windows and threatening people, demanding the elimination of Muslims or the de Islamification of Europe or whatever and you think Muslims should sit in their homes, hiding behind their sofa’s so as not to offend the sensibilities of middle England.

      Give me a break and get out of your ivory tower.

    41. marvin — on 12th September, 2009 at 6:33 PM  

      religious bigotry is no more acceptable than racism

      Piss off. Religion is generally a f****d up set of beliefs. You have not concept of freedom of speech. And no sense of logic or rationality.

      It’s a human right to critcise, mock or be offensive about beliefs. You are not above derision because you believe in a religion.

    42. halima — on 12th September, 2009 at 7:02 PM  

      Thank you, Steve R. That’s exactly how i feel. Get out of your ivory towers.

    43. JuliaM — on 12th September, 2009 at 7:12 PM  

      “The risk of someone being beaten up very badly or worse is not going to go away until the fash are suppressed.”

      ‘Someone’, eh..?

      Will they confine themselves to their opponents, or will any random passerby do at a pinch, as in the last little outing?

    44. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

      “The only hope is that the authorities get it into their head that they can’t afford another 7/7 and therefore they must bring the hammer down on the EDL thugs before their antics trigger a sectarian race war in this country.”

      What, so 7/7 was some kind of “justified response” was it? To what exactly? Only this week Muslim youths have been imprisoned for far worse race hate crimes than this handful of silly thugs attempted, yet most of this conversation seems to exist in a world in which Muslim aggression does not exit, and the murder of 52 people or more is what “we” can expect if there are further peaceful demonstrations against Islam.

      I thought the demo was unnecessary and foolish, but do tire of the relentless howling seemingly oblivious to the frequently violent provocations that emanate from the Muslim community.

    45. damon — on 12th September, 2009 at 8:18 PM  

      It was Kieran’s youtube link @ post 14 that I found most alarming.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3VOh6Z-wTg

      But maybe that’s only twenty or thirty kids playing up to the occasion. They do seem to be ready to meet out heavy violence though.
      Does an EDL bloke deserve to be badly beaten up for daring come out to Harrow and say ”you’re extremists and we don’t like the way things have been going in our country” etc? (Citing for example, the change that has occured in Whitechapel in East London in recent years?)
      Of course he’d be a complete prat to say such things … but freedom of speech etc.

      The jury does seem to be out on that question.

      Forgive me if I’m remembeing this wrong, but didn’t some people on Pickled Politics say that the Salman Rushdie protests were some watershed in the life of Muslims in this country? And that even if it was messy and ugly (and often embarassing) it did push foreward progress for British Muslims?
      Like it was a show of strength and a signal that things had to change? That people had to watch what they said and did?

      Jai @ 28. Yes I recognised the Imam Ajmal Masroor off the TV. He seems like a thoroughly decent guy.
      But you wouldn’t expect these EDL types to know the difference between him and Anjem Choudary.
      I wonder if those hothead muslim youths would either.

    46. Boyo — on 12th September, 2009 at 8:33 PM  

      “And that even if it was messy and ugly (and often embarassing) it did push foreward progress for British Muslims?
      Like it was a show of strength and a signal that things had to change? That people had to watch what they said and did?”

      …. oh dear Damon, do you have trouble fitting in?

    47. johng — on 12th September, 2009 at 8:55 PM  

      People have the right to go to Mosque, Synagogue, Temple or Church without living under the threat of drunken football hooligans attacking them just for who they are. Doing this has nothing at all to do with “freedom of speech”. If people can’t see the difference between the two that is their problem. The EDF are communalist thugs attempting to demonise all Muslims not simply a set of beliefs, and that is crystal clear from the targets they choose. It is vital that they do not succede in creating a climate of fear amongst minorities and the best way to prevent that is that whenever they show their heads the largest possible number of people mobilise to defend communities under these kinds of attack. “Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew: There are many more of us then you”.

    48. Bert Preast — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:10 PM  

      Hate to say I told you so. But almost 3 years back, I did:

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/800

      Too late now. Good luck dudes.

    49. Larkspur — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:33 PM  

      Lenin may start thinking more clearly once the hormonal surge dies down and he starts to consider the situation more rationally. At the moment parts of the anti fascist left are just caught up in the same sort of thuggish brutishness as the fascists themselves. All that learning and intellectualism and basically they can’t grasp that who they are is not what they say they believe and how elaborately they say it, it is what they actually *do*. Your means *are* your ends. And when they start to fantasise about running street battles and smashing their victims into stains on the pavement, what they are is just as fascist as the thugs. Fundamentally fascism is about the powerful using brute force to subdue the powerless - it’s about dehumanising other people so they can be crushed. Whoever does it, it’s repulsive.

    50. damon — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

      Boyo. Something like that perhaps.

    51. johng — on 12th September, 2009 at 10:46 PM  

      “At the moment parts of the anti fascist left are just caught up in the same sort of thuggish brutishness as the fascists themselves”

      Despite the hype there were no reports of injuries yesterday. Thats worth bearing in mind. And no. Fighting fascists is not the same as being one. That seems to me elementry. There is far too much of this fear of being beastly to the fascists, far too much “understanding” of the desire to march on places of religious worship and cow and degrade people in their own communities. Something would be very wrong indeed if people just stood back and thought, well, these things happen, best not make a fuss. Very thankfully we’re not in that situation yet. Groups like the EDL and the BNP actively want to turn Britain into a place where ethnic minorities “know their place”. Its unacceptable. And its unacceptable if anyone thinks they can march into areas under police protection spewing racist and communal hatred and threatening people where they live. Yesterday it was stopped. Hence the exhileration. If it isn’t stopped Britain is not going to be the kind of place most of us want to live in.

    52. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 12:13 AM  

      Well put SteveR and Halima.

      Southall was the last major turning point; and it may well be Harrow will be a wake-up call. This was the far-right trying to replicate the success of their provocation in Bradford in 2001, which prompted Blunkett to think the unthinkable.

      Fortunately John Denham has seen over the hill.

      Lenin probably captured it far better than Sunny does here. If you want to see documentation of how we ended up here then you need to turn to Islamophobiawatch.

    53. soru — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:00 AM  

      ‘Fighting fascists is not the same as being one.’

      Way too many people getting caught up in the equivalent of Google versus Microsoft, and forgetting the word ‘capitalism’ exists. For all they compete with each other, both are corporations that share a thousand things about the way they work that could be different, making them just parts of the same system.

      It’s not a case of there being two sides, and and you either support one or waffle in the middle worrying about how much time to spend criticising which.

      There is _one system_ that contains both fighting groups. It’s a system of street violence, intimidation, threat, group identity, tribalism that historically goes by the name fascism, or neofascim.

      And anyone who goes gets involved in that and feels ‘exhilarated’ is, by definition, part of that system.

      But, perhaps, someone out there is persuaded by an argument along the lines “Marx was always a West Ham fan, and the papers didn’t report the fact we should have had a penalty, therefor ‘Millwall are scum’ is a left wing position”…

    54. grapesoda — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:20 AM  

      boyo your continuous islamaphobic rants like a broken record are tiring us all on this forum!

    55. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 4:31 AM  

      That is simply nonsense. It is unacceptable for people to march into areas spewing communal and racist hatred under police protection and marching on communities. The exhileration was simply that they were stopped. And I do not want to live in a society where it is considered acceptable to march on mosques, or synagogues, temples or churches and where people are not allowed to defend themselves against such intimidation. There is too much talk about what Muslim “youths” should or should not do (oddly we are told they were all men, they were not) and not enough talk about what the responsibilities of the broader anti-racist and labour movement is in the situation. It is the aim of the fascists to ghettoise Muslim youth and treat them as seperate from the rest of the population. The way to prevent that is not by blaming the victim but to turn out in large enough numbers that it is not worthwhile for the police to allow the fascists to march. This also of course will make it much harder for those extremist elements which do exist to exploit the situation. To simply sit back and equate these young people with the fascists is the worse of all possible worlds and will win no arguments with anyone who matters.

    56. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 5:58 AM  

      “What, so 7/7 was some kind of “justified response” was it? To what exactly? Only this week Muslim youths have been imprisoned for far worse race hate crimes than this handful of silly thugs attempted, yet most of this conversation seems to exist in a world in which Muslim aggression does not exit, and the murder of 52 people or more is what “we” can expect if there are further peaceful demonstrations against Islam.”

      Boyo, you seem intelligent. Muslims and Jewish people are a group. They don’t commit agression as a group. Extremists do.

      And you raise an important point:

      “Only this week Muslim youths have been imprisoned for far worse race hate crimes than this handful of silly thugs attempted”

      Yes, the police have failed to act in the last 30 years ( coz that’s how long I have been around to notice) to convict race hate crimes committed by white racists on black, and people whose physical wasn’t always taken for granted in British streets one time. Both in the streets and inside prisons. That would be something to make a song and dance about - but it seems we’re only concerned with distracting attention from the fact that a group of racists went to march outside a place of prayer. I suspect deep down the EDL hate Jewish people more than the Muslims. At the moment it suits them better to vilify Muslims because quite frankly it’s easy to - extremists from either side are raising the temperature - and the mainstream is busy looking at what ‘Muslim’ youths should be doing or not doing.

      Sounds remarkably like the Brixton riots in the 1980s - instead of people asking questions about the police and the causes of those riots, the nation’s critical eye fell on those black youths causing trouble. How easy it is to see the error of our ways after 10 years of hindsight as we did when the riots were written up in the annals of British policy circiles, but why can’t we see this is happening now? Or is it that we can’t see beyond the obvious because the victims are Muslims - and somewhere deep down we don’t really like people who believe in Islam? What causes this bindness to see these are hate mongering people who are preying on worshippers at a deeply spiritual time in the Islamic calender? That these hate mongers understand that there is little sympathy for Muslims at the moment because of the acts of terrorisms committed in the US , here and elsewhere? That the liberal establishment will sit by and debate the finer points on the net and in newspapers but not be brave enough to openly condemn this demonstration? That , actually, if the EDL did this to a synogugue, they would be condemned, but timing wise, perhaps if they did this in the 1930s, it would’ve been OK because the maintsream would’ve been sitting by idly as they are now.

      If the EDL is concerned about increases in extremism in certain sections of the Muslim population (which I don’t believe it is, it’s more concerned about kicking all foreignors out, starting with the Muslims coz it’s easy), they should go and protest outside Parliament. Parliament in the UK is accountable for change in all sections of the British population.

    57. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:08 AM  

      John G and Refresh

      Agree on all your points. It’s like we are sleepwalking at the moment.

      It’s not a stand-off between the EDL and the Muslims, it is a stand-off against the EDL and anti-racists.

      When did this all get complicated?

      Frankly I am sorry I wasn’t there to join and every other publicly organised demo where he EDL turns up to intimidate and fear minorities.

      Well pointed out there were women involved, too.

    58. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:09 AM  

      editors the edit option has disappeared again, so can’t go and check on the typos..

    59. Boyo — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:40 AM  

      Halima, you seem intelligent too, and plainly your experience of racism has shaped your POV .

      Funnily enough I was going to post on Islam and the Jews, but didn’t as it seemed redundant, but I’ll paraphrase it now - the Jews have suffered racism for many years in this country, yet never to my knowledge did extremists within their community commit acts of violence in the name of Judaism against the UK (in the UK). Muslim extremists on the other hand have frequently tried or done so. Although Hindus have undoubtedly suffered racism they have not done so, and you don’t get extremists protesting outside temples, although attacks on Jews are on the up (although whether that is due to the “far right” is another matter).

      People in the UK fear Islam for a number of inter-connected reasons, and you’re right (and as I said previously) racists will get on this bandwagon, but dismissing it all as somebody elses fault and nothing to do with the Muslim community and how it engages within Britain will only sustain the problem, although now I suppose you will say all Muslims are different… You only have to look at the polls, or the way the chief Iman of Birmingham mosque frequently questions 7/7 and feeds paranoia to see that the problem is not always everyone elses.

      This determinism is one of the most destructive characteristics of Islam IMO, which appears from the mindset that because it is God’s pure religion then any bad things that happen to its adherents must be the fault of “the other”. And, just as you don’t have to be Christian to think with that mindset if you are raised in that culture, presumably the same applies to many Muslims. It’s a great shame.

      The fact that hostility against Islam has been so muted (a handful of thugs for heaven’s sake – probably less than the guys at the military march in Luton, which was, erm, pretty provocative?) given the determination of a sizeable minority in the Muslim community to challenge British society on many levels, I think speaks volumes about the relative tolerance and decency of the British people, something they rarely seem to receive much thanks for.

      Grapesoda - who are you?

    60. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

      “Halima, you seem intelligent too, and plainly your experience of racism has shaped your POV .”

      No Boyo, I’ve never been beaten up by racist thugs yet so I don’t have that experience to recall when I’ve talked about the failed convictions, but on this issue I am guided by evidence and research on racism in the UK.

      But the point you miss is this: Muslim extremists are not upset about racism so your question as to why Jewish people don’t get up and blow public buildings because of the racism they face doesn’t apply. Certain parts of the Jewish population in the world have blown up public buildings for political goals in the last century in Israel but it wasn’t to protest against racism. Terrorism rarely is about racism.

      No, the people defending the Harrow mosque were concerned about racism and that’s why they were there last Friday. The extremists are busy plotting bigger and worse things than putting a fight up to the EDL and the BNP.

      Their fight is different. It’s an illegal and criminal one in the UK.

      Most Muslims, like Jewish people and Hindus are fighting the anti-racism battle. Why do you conflate the acts of Islamic extremists with the hard-one fight against racism that Muslims have been a part of in this country? Why do you isolate Muslims from other minorities in the same way that the EDL is doing? You seem to be asserting that because Muslims suffer racism they blew up the Twin Towers. As far as I can tell the people blowing up the World Towers were not facing racism on the streets of the UK, but like most extremists were guided by something else altogether. I wouldn’t want to guess, I’d rely on experts on terrorist psychology to tell me.

      Britain is tolerent, but toleration implies a gift to me. I don’t expect gifts and whims, I expect equality in my own country.

      You think hostility to Islam has been limited? I wouldn’t want to make assumptions about your point of view.

    61. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:06 AM  

      “Britain is tolerent, but toleration implies a gift to me. I don’t expect gifts and whims, I expect equality in my own country.”

      Police protection for racist thugs shouting at me and telling me to leave the country, and also allowing potential violent skirmishes to occur, is not a fine outcome for equality. Far from it.

    62. Boyo — on 13th September, 2009 at 9:57 AM  

      I’m sure you haven’t deliberately misunderstood me, but you have… decoupling the behaviour of some elements of the Muslim community with reaction against that community is both valid, and a waste of time. It is fair to say these are the acts of a minority, but ignoring the context won’t make that context go away.

      Although it’s cheeky to quote oneself

      “Britain is tolerent, but toleration implies a gift to me. I don’t expect gifts and whims, I expect equality in my own country.”

      again ignores the reality. Your very definition as being within a different community - as separate from what exactly? - presupposes the pre-existence of a relatively homogenous British culture, which is so regularly denied at PP. Of course you have a a right to be treated as equal in your own country, but that also means playing an equal part of that country, and that culture. This I’m sure you do, but others within your self-defined community do not, and that does have consequence.

    63. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:47 AM  

      Boyo

      “This I’m sure you do, but others within your self-defined community do not, and that does have consequence.”

      So what’s my self-defined community? Exactly? My argument is to stop putting people in those boxes which you keep doing? Putting Muslims with the extremist box. You’re style of debate is such that i do find it confusing. I am afraid I don’t understand what your arguments are except to lump extremists with Muslims which you still haven’t denied?

      “Of course you have a a right to be treated as equal in your own country, but that also means playing an equal part of that country, and that culture.”

      You have a very cheeky and patronising tone, Boyo, I am sure you didn’t mean it.

    64. halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:53 AM  

      If you want to make an argument about rights and entitlements, use yourself as an example, otherwise when you talk about my rights it implies you have a right to make a jugdement about my right to equality. You don’t. We’re nomally still equal i think. That was my point about toleration. The power to tolerate is something reserved for unequal subjects. Like granting a guest the right to your house. Sure. the guest won’t abuse the hospitality, but remember being a citizen isn’t the same as being a guest.

      I am not ignoring reality. In Britain we’re all equal in the eyes of the law.

    65. Dr Anonymous — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:49 AM  

      Just convince the millions of Sun, Mail and Telegraph readers that multiculturalism is wonderful. Convince them that the unprecedented demographic growth of Islam in the UK is beneficial to them. Convince them that Islam is indeed a peaceful and tolerant ideology which they have no reason to fear. Convince them that uncontrolled mass immigration is not detrimental to social cohesion. That would at least demonstrate integrity.

      You have a very narrow definition of who is part of ‘the left’ ;) also, the idea that unite against fascism is ‘no better’ than the BNP is patently absurd - it’s the difference between disagreeing with someone’s tactics and disagreeing with their core beliefs.

      anyway, we could link class politics to multiculturalism and turn it into a majority movement rather than New Labour’s/the Sun’s/the Daily Mail’s version ;) the fact remains that white people are less likely to be in bottom of deprivation figures than minority ethnic folks if you look within the ethnicity categories and at the same time there are large numbers of them there who are being preyed upon to avoid a class analysis. that’s why you get these stupid articles that claim that white working class people are being discriminated against on the basis of their RACE rather than their CLASS. and include gender and sexuality and whatnot in it too.

      So one creative way to address these issues is to call out the absurdity of the debate itself - which is not abuot ‘muslims’ and ‘racists’ but about fanatics on multiple sides and nonfanatics on every side. then work towards addressing real bread and butter issues as well as inequalities and discrimination (the two are fundamentally linked).

      but none of this can happen unless people who don’t like fascism or racism or sexism or homophobia or any of these things actually join in without abandoning a core belief that moderate tactics and dialogue are necessary for resolving these issues in the short term while they’re reframed in the long term - and make an effort to do that reframing.

      one way or the other, we’re all going to be involved, so we might as well be involved calmly and actively.

    66. Dr Anonymous — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:57 AM  

      Your very definition as being within a different community – as separate from what exactly? – presupposes the pre-existence of a relatively homogenous British culture, which is so regularly denied at PP.

      Logic fail. if i lived in Brighton, i could be part of a self-defined geographical community. that in no way implies that the rest of britain is homogenous. same applies to identities.

      Of course you have a a right to be treated as equal in your own country, but that also means playing an equal part of that country, and that culture. This I’m sure you do, but others within your self-defined community do not, and that does have consequence.

      similarly, if i lived in brighton and there were brighton separatists active and protesting on the streets, my postcode would not make me responsible for their action. if anything i might be doing more to try and stop them than other people, but it would simply not be recorded.

      dialogue can’t take place if you put people into boxes, say they can only be in one box, and then tell them they must assimilate with everyone else. there are lgbt muslims, there are atheist people who are from muslim families, there are women muslims, there are disabled muslims, there are working class muslims, there are asian muslims, there are white muslims, there are black muslims. try to have a more expanded appreciation of the multiple categories one might be in at the same time - one can be a muslim without being required to account for crimes or failings of other muslims in the same sense that one can be british or christian or white or a football fan without having to account for the failings of the edl or sioe or bnp or casuals united ;)

    67. Draman — on 13th September, 2009 at 1:08 PM  

      looks like the MCB has come out with a middle-of-the-road call for calm

      http://www.mcb.org.uk/media/presstext.php?ann_id=365

      But the MCB’s own Inayat Bunglawala seems to voice doubts

      http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1252188008124&pagename=Zone-English-Euro_Muslims%2FEMELayout

    68. falcao — on 13th September, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

      post 62

      I think you will find ethnic minorities and muslims which you seem to despise so much also much pay taxes and contribute to society.

      And what exactly is british culture? no one handed me a A4 folder listing what is and isn’t British culture is it binge drinking? gangs? knife attacks? playing cricket???

    69. Sunny — on 13th September, 2009 at 1:35 PM  

      These are some of the comments from the Facebook group… by Muslims.

      Ali Jaffer wrote
      at 12:50 yesterday
      yhh thats basically it, i told a few to stop and they just stared at me like i was the one in the wrong-chased some media who they thought were BNP then started to fight themselves :S
      given us all bad names
      Report

      Anika Zahir wrote
      at 12:38 yesterday
      Tell \me about it my sis was working with press tv and they were abusinh the cameraman coz he was white. These young kids are out of control but its their unsavory voices which will be used to represent islam. We stpped the EDL with our sheer numbers which should have been enough what was the point in being so aggressive esp with those supporting you. They couldnt find the EDL so they were gonna argue with anyone even themselves
      Report

      Hassan Ghani wrote
      at 07:26 yesterday
      I’ve never been so ashamed of my community in my life. This is exactly what the far right wanted, and the Muslim community played right into it.

      This was a total disaster, with stupid young boys clashing not with the EDL but with the police and random bystanders who happened to fit the phsyical stereotype of what a member of a right wing group should look like. There were a total of 16 people in the EDL demonstration, who left after they served their purpose in provoking an ignorant response from the Muslims and anti-fascist lot present. Long after they left, young boys were throwing stones, planks, glass bottles and live fireworks at the police in unprovoked attacks. They also attacked bystanders who they assumed were ‘BNP’, including a BBC security guard who was protecting the BBC satellite van. They then, in the end, turned on the photographers and media, including me.

      Massive propaganda victory for the far right.

    70. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 1:43 PM  

      A retired school teacher spoke at the rally. He began by announcing he was a teacher. Some good natured boos from some of the young men and women present. “EVEN worse I was a HEAD teacher” laughter the audience was won over. He made the good point that people who think British culture is about being white or christian or whatnot are people who don’t know anything about or have any culture themselves. That he didn’t care what colour someones skin was, what faith they had when he talked to them. It went down a storm. He then informed the crowd of all the teachers who had passed motions in support of the people of Harrow to acclamation. He then stated that “when you get back to school organise meetings with all the other kids, black, muslim, white, christian, Hindu and sikh”. He also said that they should all talk to their teachers about what had happened and involve them too. All this went down surprisingly well given the extremely tense situation and the natural impatience of young people with speechifying in such a situation. I think many people here are operating according to some pre-determined script with a whole set of stereotypes making all sorts of assumptions about these young people which are frankly pretty disgraceful. Its also extremely dangerous. Halima’s point about sleepwalking is a good one. It is vital that those who consider themselves anti-racists get out there and see for themselves rather then garner all their impressions from reading the media. I also saw a smattering of young white school kids from the area as well as larger numbers of non-Muslim black kids. There was a UNITE banner from busworkers and one UNISON banner. But we need more of this. And a few concerned liberals would’nt go amiss either. The strangest part of the day for me was when the UAF started chanting “Black and White unite and fight togeather we are dynamite”. Its an ancient slogan but it suddenly became apparent that many of these kids had never heard it before. Not a few quite liked it. One local said that many had simply come as Muslims to defend the Mosque. They left feeling not only like Muslims but like active citizens. And many had not had that feeling in a long time. At the rally afterwards the local guy says (as with my experiance of the old slogan) that he had never heard talk of multi-culturalism and all the communities of Harrow sound so real.

    71. Sunny — on 13th September, 2009 at 1:44 PM  

      From here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=154602671322

      You can’t just pretend the media has no impact. You can’t just say that just because a few idiots created trouble then it’s ok - it reflects on everyone.

      And besides, my point was that the situation could easily get out of control next time..

    72. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

      But I think its a mistake to call people “idiots”. I think the correct response is to ensure that when this happens again we are all there. All of us. White Black Muslim Christian Sikh Hindu Jew and none of the above. The world isn’t just what happens in the media. Its what happens in Harrow, what people now think of themselves (overwhelmingly proud) and attitudes to wider ideas about solidarity and citizenship and participation. And the broader and bigger the better. Thats how you start to win these arguments in the media. Not the other way about.

    73. Boyo — on 13th September, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

      Halima - “Boyo, you seem intelligent.” I take my lead re patronising from you ;-)

      I think if you re-read what i said i went to great pains to distinguish between the Muslim community and the extremists within it, however I agree that there is an element of one accompanying the other - that’s logical. I think you misunderstand the nature of my comments - they are not meant to be judgmental but observational. I repeatedly agree with you, but my point is… validity does not matter in the current situation. Of course most Muslims are not trouble-makers, but that actually means little in the context of the issue under question.

      Dr anonymous, I note your website deals with things south asian. Are there no cultures, communities,or identities in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan? Are there only “postcodes”? Well what’s the bother then?

    74. Boyo — on 13th September, 2009 at 2:37 PM  

      Is there such a thing as “reverse Orientalism” I wonder ;)

    75. Halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:03 PM  

      “Halima – “Boyo, you seem intelligent.” I take my lead re patronising from you ”

      Boyo, it’s one thing to patronise my intelligence, or yours, i don’t particularly object to being un-intelligent, i sometimes take it as a compliment. But you’re being patronising in the context of someone’s right to belong and be regarded as an equal. Slightly different matter.

    76. Halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

      I have a distinct impression that you’d deny that anything like Orientalism exists. :)

    77. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:28 PM  

      One might ask how much the kinds of arguments advanced by boyo provides a cover for the likes of the EDL to pose as respectable. This of course would be regarded as outrageous. But no, best not.

    78. Anon — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

      “You can’t just pretend the media has no impact. You can’t just say that just because a few idiots created trouble then it’s ok – it reflects on everyone.”

      Obviously it would have been better if the groups of youth who threw things at the police had exercised more restraint. They gave the media the opportunity to misrepresent the anti-EDL demonstration.

      But most of the media would have misrepresented it anyway. If you allow your actions to be determined by what will receive favourable coverage in the Daily Mail, then you’ll end up engaging in no militant struggles at all - no demonstrations, no strikes, no nothing.

      And I still think it was brilliant that the youth chased the EDL away. They got a big round of applause when they returned to the main demonstration outside the mosque. I think that’s the last SIOE/EDL protest we’re going to see in Harrow.

      As Salma Yaqoob stated in connection with the clashes between Muslim youth and the EDL in Birmingham: “the ‘just stay away’ message we are hearing won’t wash with today’s Muslim youngsters who won’t put their heads down and carry on walking when they are subjected to racist taunts – they will react and fight back”.

      And good for them, I say.

      Physical confrontation with the far right is always going to be opposed by some.

      Before Cable Street, the Board of Deputies appealed to the Jewish community to stay away. Even the Communist Party instructed its members to attend a rally in support of the Spanish Republic in Trafalgar Square instead of confronting the fascists, before changing their mind under pressure from local activists.

      And after direct action had forced Mosley to call off the march, the Labour Party leadership condemned the anti-fascists and said they were just as responsible for the violence as the BUF were.

      So there’s nothing new or unexpected about the negative response by some politicians and community leaders to the Harrow events.

    79. Kieran — on 13th September, 2009 at 3:53 PM  

      When Islamists protested with for more provocative placards and chants than the EDL outside the Danish Embassy in Sloane Square (including “we will take your wives as booty”, threats to behead and “death to (insert obvious selection of countries)”, we didn’t see Sloane rangers go out Paki-bashing or theatre luvvies coming out of the Royal Court shouting “Alaaan Ayck-born….Alaaan-Ayck-born!!!”. It is ironic that in a week when Islamists are convicted of plotting mass murder we see the same black flag of the caliphate, observed in the background of their videos, paraded in a protest supposed to counter extremism of the EDL. Did anyone dare take it down at the protest? Islamic extremism acceptable at this protest, while white extremism is evil and unacceptable. I applaud the lady in #14 for challenging the hate language but he did command the assent of young Muslim males around him, a disturbing sign of extremism.

      Has there ever been a Chinese riot in England? This is a severe racial inequality which we need to take positive action against. There should be a freeze on Blacks and (South) Asians getting angry and provoked until British Born Chinese have had a riot. JohnG comments against communalism are hilarious because the far-left sticks like a limpet to those ethnic groups it thinks it can get some communal action off. If SWP losers come a calling to your community take it to be a canary in the coal mine and remember the famous Tory catchphrase:

      Labour calls him Black, we call him British; the SWP see him as a member of pliable communal group, a tool for their extreme politics, and the meat with which to replenish the fetid carcus of their bankrupt and decaying ideology.

    80. Dr Anonymous — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

      Dr anonymous, I note your website deals with things south asian. Are there no cultures, communities,or identities in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan? Are there only “postcodes”? Well what’s the bother then?

      1. it’s a group blog.
      2. the point was that people can have multiple identities, and for someone else to come and say that X and only X identity is their identity and on top of that to say that that person is then responsible for every other person that has X identity - well that’s not very fair. of course people have identities in south asia - as with most other places. but they have more than one - even if they’re not always articulated. it is - as a friend once said to me when I did that to her - flattening all the complications of a human being. and since you brought up south asia, it also happens to be a colonial relic that people should probably try to avoid nowadays.

      anyway, the postcode example was to point out via analogy that you wouldn’t apply the same logic to a geographic community, so why apply it here to a faith community?

    81. camilla — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:04 PM  

      ” the entire anti-racists movement will be smeared by association”

      wake up, guys - it already had happened! who are you trying to convince that it isn’t so…

      try to ask non-muslims on some opther sites - what do they think of it? you will learn that everyone sees that muslims just use anti-racist label to attack people…

    82. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:05 PM  

      Kieran,

      ‘Has there ever been a Chinese riot in England?’

      It truly is a wonder, if you knew your history.

    83. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

      JohnG, excellent contributions.

      #77 ‘But no, best not.’

      No best not.

      Sunny, the media is the media. It wags the dog, spreading ignorance as and when needed.

      It would be instructive to see how the NF marches and Southall was being covered at the time. And it would also be useful to understand there were many many mini-Southalls up and down the country and each local community in solidarity with numerous others from a broad front of groups, political and non-political that took the fascists off the streets. That is the context.

    84. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

      Somewhere else, a contributor ‘fears’ the ramifications if there is a serious injury or a death as a consequence of these confrontations - but managed to totally ignore the fact that only the other week an OAP was killed whilst with his granddaughter.

      No ramifications there I see - only greater fear amongst the minorities.

    85. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:44 PM  

      Kieran

      ‘Episode 4: Steam and starch

      The British army billeted around the country used them and John Lennon’s mum is reputed to have used one at the top of Penny Lane. For the first half of the 20th century ordinary people all over Britain were most likely to meet a Chinese person across the counter, not of a takeaway but of a Chinese laundry.

      By the early 1900s there were hundreds of Chinese laundries around Britain providing both home and business to Chinese men and their families. In this programme Harry Dewar and Olga Adderton describe their family laundries in York and Birkenhead.

      But, as Professor Gregor Benton recounts, Chinese laundries were the first targets whenever there was any anti-Chinese feeling. During the Cardiff riots of 1911, every one of the city’s 30 Chinese laundries was attacked.’

      From an excellent BBC4 series by Anna Wong.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/chinese_in_britain4.shtml

      If you’re interested look up documents on how the Chinese kept the Royal Navy sailing during WWII; and what happened to them at the end of the war.

    86. camilla — on 13th September, 2009 at 6:58 PM  

      “Fascists are marching into Muslim neighbourhoods, smashing windows and threatening people, demanding the elimination of Muslims or the de Islamification of Europe or whatever and you think Muslims should sit in their homes, hiding behind their sofa’s so as not to offend the sensibilities of middle England.”

      excuse me… Muslim neighbourhoods? do they really belong to muslims and no one there is allowed to do a thing without consulting muslims?

      Steve R, what do you really protect? you are disgusting liar by the way - I saw the march on TV it was peaceful, but muslims weren’t

      let’s transform your explanation of events

      “muslim facists are screaming “Europe is the cancer, islam is the answer” “May Ben Laden bomb you” in the middle of London and you think that non-muslims should sit in their homes, do nothing, say nothing as not to offend the sensibility of muslims”

      well, obviously you think that non-muslims should do that…

      they don’t really care about middle england sensibility? ok. no problem. but why should I, anybody - any non-muslim - care about the reputation that they want to have? they don’t really want to be percieved as extremists - but why anyone should care about their wishes?

      halima … lies won’t help you also

    87. camilla — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:03 PM  

      why fight with police by the way?

      actually I really like this blog …

      muslims are gathering here to convince each other that the majority of them do not support extremism… why each other? because none else believes it anymore…

      good point about Chinese riots? Indian Riots? why it is always muslims who are “offended, discriminated and provoked”…

      how many articles here will it take for you to understand that the problem is in you…

    88. camilla - halima — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:09 PM  

      halima, you should also get out of your ivory tower and face the fact that if you agree that muslim aggresion was caused by something, you should also admit that others agression can be also caused by the muslims…

      but it’s the hardest part for you… its always everyone else fault but not muslims

    89. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

      Reading comments by the likes of Camilla I’m very much reminded of reading the hysterical hatred on south asian forums coming from Hindu communal fascists. This I think is one way to understand the backdrop to the appearence of the EDL. In terms of the presence of Islamic extremists I’m sure they would put in an appearence. All the more reason for liberals and the left not to leave people facing these threats by themselves. I’m also very much reminded, and others have already commented on this, on the kind of response which was widespread in the aftermath of Lewisham etc. Of course local black kids don’t much like or trust the police. Its a bit wierd to imagine that Muslim kids would be any different in this respect to others. Not wanting to really inflame some of our more conservative readers but there is almost something orientalist about this assumption. In terms of my experiance of being there I can only say that people are vastly overstating the importance of either the fundementalists and indeed any violence that did occur (just to state again: not a single injury reported). I’d add and re-emphasis that if people don’t want the EDP agenda to succede (as opposed to some of the commentators here who clearly share it) then its vitally important that people are not left to face these threats alone. Its true that the Mosque was calling for calm and its also true that a number of young people ignored these repeated calls. This had, as far as I could see, nothing at all to do with the handful of fundementalists hanging about, and everything to do with these kids not wanting the fascists to be allowed to march on the mosque and into their area. And I think this was a jolly good thing to.

    90. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 7:51 PM  

      Sorry I should clarify my remarks about Hindu communal fascists. I’m suggesting that the EDL very much resemble them, and that the wider current of islamophobic hatred repersented by those like Camilla is akin to that kind of communal fascism (which is not of course identical to racism but very quickly becomes hooked up to it). I am not suggesting that the EDL has connections with the RSS, BJP or Shiv Sena. Just that they look remarkably similar (in particular the latter).

    91. Sunny — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

      It would be instructive to see how the NF marches and Southall was being covered at the time.

      It ain’t the 1970s Refresh. I’m happy with people defending their local communities. Not with people standing around lobbying rocks at the police for no good reason.

    92. dave bones — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:19 PM  

      What is that Lenin blog? Those people are idiots. If you dont agree with them you are a racist.

    93. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:29 PM  

      Sunny you are right its not the 70s. But then the media has hardly moved on when it comes to informing their readership, has it?

      Anyone lobbing rocks at the police should have been dragged off to their mum and dad. That is the ultimate deterent for hotheads.

    94. qidniz — on 13th September, 2009 at 8:59 PM  

      Kieran,

      ‘Has there ever been a Chinese riot in England?’

      It truly is a wonder, if you knew your history.

      @85

      The Chinese did not riot in Cardiff in 1911. During a seaman’s dispute, there was an attempt to break a strike by importing Chinese laborers from Liverpool. This sparked an anti-Chinese riot. Kieran’s question still stands.

    95. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

      I should say that I saw no rocks being lobbed (and most of this occured in a pretty small area). There was one incident where people thought they saw a fascist and people charged up the car park and someone let off a firework. There was also a bit of pushing and shoving and on a few occassions a few scuffles with the police. This occured for all the usual reasons these things occur on anti-fascist demos. Because the fascists were behind the police and at that stage it was unclear whether the police were going to be marching them through the demo. In all honesty it has to be said that much of this is probably what made both the EDL and one suspects, the police, give up on the idea of busing the Fascists through. There was absolutely nothing ultra-violent about this demonstration when compared to any other situation where there are plans to bus fascists through an area where they want to target the inhabitants. In fact a good deal less (again, for the nth time, there were NO injuries reported. At all). What there was was confidence that the community had a right not to allow this to happen. Its also important to emphasis that the atmosphere between police and demonstraters was quite friendly before the fascists were spotted up the road behind them. At one point a prison van drove through and a lot of the kids thought this was the fascists and surrounded the van banging on the windows. After a while they moved off. The police just found this amusing, but it was pretty clear at this stage that there was no chance of the EDF coming through. At this stage the police moved through telling these kids to move off. After a while they did. As is usual in these situations a lot of the kids occupied the streets in order to make sure the fascists could not be marched through. The police half-heartedly tried to move them on and then gave up. And then the mosque came out and told them to move off or come to mosque and pray. People listened politely and ignored it. One guy, a muslim student from UCL told me his texter had been filled with calls to come, calls not to come, and eventually he decided to. He was glad he did. And I’m glad the kids stayed in the road. If the fascists had come through there is no doubt they would have injured people and people would have injured them back. More importantly it would have set the stage for repeated attempts by the EDF to do this, and with football season approaching…pragmatically I think its important to understand that the kind of thugs who get attracted to the EDF get bored and humiliated if they spend all their time failing even to hold a march. John Denham has stated that people need to be aware that they don’t need to do it themselves, that the government and the police will protect them. Well, we’re waiting. And would he be talking like this at all if people had not mobilised and stopped them? I doubt it. Obviously for the fascists to try this in London is a bit of a suicide mission. We have to worry about Manchester and Leeds. Its very important that there are as broad mobilisations as possible in these cases.

    96. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 9:21 PM  

      On the question of rioting. There was no riot in Harrow. There was an anti-fascist protest. Just like there was in Cable Street and like there was in Lewisham. In the first case it was the Jewish community who came out on the street to defend their area. In the second case it was the Afro-Carribean community who did the same. In both cases there was widespread solidarity from the left, from the Labour and trade union movement and anti-fascists more broadly. There were also those who said that this kind of thing just gave everyone a bad name and that they should stay at home, both within and outside the community. Taking part in protest is part of taking part in politics which is part of being a citizen in this country. That the burden of marginalisation was so great on Chinese workers that this never happened (despite real racism and abuse) would not be something to be celebrated. I’d like to know more about this history though. Its part of how we all came to be who we are.

    97. Refresh — on 13th September, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

      qidniz, I was very clear in what I wrote. Might be worth a re-read.

      I would see your point if you were to say that despite the attacks on the chinese community, they kept their head down; and these muslims should learn to do the same.

      I would see it, but disagree.

    98. qidniz — on 13th September, 2009 at 9:50 PM  

      qidniz, I was very clear in what I wrote.

      Clearly, you completely misunderstood Kieran’s question.

    99. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:04 PM  

      Well I’ll answer it. Sadly I think the burden of repression was probably too great at the time and the labour movement in relationship to this question was too backward. Thats probably why. Anyone would think that protesting against fascists trying to march on places of worship was a negative thing. Long tradition in Britain of people doing this sort of thing.

    100. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:07 PM  

      “and remember the famous Tory catchphrase:

      Labour calls him Black, we call him British; the SWP see him as a member of pliable communal group, a tool for their extreme politics, and the meat with which to replenish the fetid carcus of their bankrupt and decaying ideology”

      Successful catchphrase that one is it? Bit of a mouthful really. Thatcher, Thatcher milk snatcher wasn’t successful either but it least it had a bit of a ring to it.

    101. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:12 PM  

      johng,

      You have written an enormous amount on this subject, and as you seem to be more of a centrist than an extremist, I’d just like you to tell me one thing.

      What do you make of this Anjem Choudhary guy? If I have understood him correctly, he doesn’t want anything to do with UAF or the like. He would prefer the Muslims to stand alone.

    102. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

      Blacks and Asians should hold off on having riots until the Chinese have one….And then Tory central office will be right behind them? With some of those catchy catchphrases?

      That would be a bit Young Frankensteinish no?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo1AWW4LV_A

      (I apologise to all my fellow anti-Americans but I could only find this little skit about MacCain which spliced the relevent footage in).

    103. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

      Sorry what does Anjem Choudary have to do with anything (the people of Harrow, Harrow Mosque, any of the people commenting here)? Anjem Choudary represents a tiny group of extremists who the EDF are using as an excuse to attack ordinary British people where they live, work and worship. They do this not because they are rather concerned with Anjem Choudary but because they are sickening bigots who in their spare time beat each other up for fun, if they can’t find anyone else. It really does begger belief when you have a bunch of self-confessed football hooligans being treated as if they represent anyone but themselves. I have no objection if they just return to beating each other up, so long as they do it where other peoples lives are not intefered with. I mean it takes all sorts.

    104. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:24 PM  

      I’d also like to add that it seems tiny groups of ’sincere’ Muslims at Luton - what was it? about enough to share a Colonel Saunders Happy Meal - or - a maximum of the away support for Elgin Cities Casuals, at Harrow can dominate blogs and discussion by virtue of, well, what, exactly?

      A plague on this extremist takeover of the media.

      These are minor incidents, and should be seen as such. It is ridiculous that they are given the prominence they are.

    105. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

      johng @ 103,

      All I did was ask you a question. I take it from your reply that you have a similar opinion to him as I do. I am not bringing him up independently, it is referenced in the other OP. Here it is:

      http://www.islam4uk.com/current-affairs/uk-news/46-uk/350-anjem-choudary-addresses-the-english-defence-league

      I find him rather annoying, but I haven’t a religious sensibility to my name. But it is perfectly clear to even me what he is trying to do, and it isn’t good from a secular - oh here we go again - point of view.

      Is EDF new for EDL? I lose track of groupiscules….

    106. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:19 PM  

      I don’t know why I wrote EDF. Perhaps I can think of an acronym to fit…No Anjem Choudary isn’t good for secularism.

    107. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:36 PM  

      johng,

      I don’t know why I wrote EDF

      You are probably just tired. You seem to me to have been arguing your case for at least 24 hours :-)

      BTW, this is one answer to your dilemma:

      English Defence Fuckwits.

    108. Boyo — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:47 PM  

      as usual smears replace argument, as at 77. Insults are easier than engagement. Let’s face it, most of you stand for little more than yesterday’s Guardian editorial.

    109. johng — on 13th September, 2009 at 11:58 PM  

      Douglas you may, inadvertantly, have started something. When next you switch on the news and see hundreds of unaccompanied young adults running down the road shouting “There’s one of those English Defence Fuckwits” I hope you feel suitably ashamed. The irresponibility of…(cont p358). Well it beats the Conservative catchphrase above.

    110. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:10 AM  

      johng,

      There’s one of those English Defence Fuckwits

      Err, probably not in the way you think. I refer you to what should now commonly be known as the other thread, where I have an obvious solution to the problem:

      Roger @ 18,

      That seems to be the name of the game.

      But you can’t really expect wains with mobile phones to be disciplined, can you? In fact, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that we oughtn’t to want or expect it?

      What a load of rubbish. There parents should have been there with them and kept them under control.

      However, I would be delighted if sensible folk and not kids that are out of control did say that.

      So there you go.

    111. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:30 AM  

      Johng @ 109,

      My kids used to come home from school and with delight in their faces sing - I stole this version:

      Here’s Maggie Thatcher,
      (open hand to reveal stick figure drawn on palm)
      Throw her up and catch her,
      (make corresponding movements)
      Squish her, squash her, scratch her,
      (as if crushing something particularly nasty between your palms)
      Here’s Maggie Thatcher.
      (open other hand to show scribbled mess on palm)

      I’m fairly sure the penultimate line was “crush her and she’d deid”

      What a joy it was to see such happy children!

    112. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

      Actually I had read that. Hence my pulling your leg.

    113. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:38 AM  

      johng,

      Cheers. Off to bed with a hot cup of cocoa, or summat!

    114. cjcjc — on 14th September, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

      @8 “It is always strange how old lefties look at their numbers and rue their lack of virility and then get excited about Muslim youth and try to make them out to be allies on the same cause.”

      Yes; johng and “Lenin” amongst them.

      Wasn’t this what Respect (RIP) was all about?

    115. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 9:56 AM  

      “The EDL mob wanted a peaceful debate did they? By threatning access to a mosque on September 11th?The EDL mob wanted a peaceful debate did they? By threatning access to a mosque on September 11th?”

      Where on earth did you get that spurious nugget of mis-information? SOIE (no, not the EDL or the BNP) organized the demo to protest against what they perceive as the ‘islamification’ and the demographic growth of Islam in the UK.

      There was never ANY suggestion from anyone that they were planning violence or that they wanted to ‘invade’ the mosque. It has never been part of SOIE, nor even the EDL’s MO to do that.

      Yes, holding the demo of September 11, outside a mosque is confrontational. Indeed, I would agree that it was offensive. But all demo’s are offensive and confrontational to some section of society. And ironically, the anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-British demonstrations so favoured by Muslims and their far-left allies are often highly offensive to the majority in this country.

      But hey, that’s democracy. That’s freedom of speech and thought. And no-one has the right to prevent that through violent intimidation.

      And constant lies about the nature of the demo: from accusations that it was co-coordinated by the BNP, or that the EDL planned to invade the mosque or that SOIE are ‘racists’ only undermines any legitimate opposition.

      I’m an immigrant. I fear the rise of the far right in this country. Yet also I recognize that the left-wing fascists and islamist thugs we see at these demos, together with the denial, misinformation and downright lies from the left actually provoke many otherwise reasonable people to cross over to the ‘dark side’.

    116. persephone — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:59 AM  

      ^^ Its when they are caught on camera doing the sieg heil salute used in Nazi rallies (as in the march last week) that gives more than a suggestion of their motivation and does not entirely sit well with the proposition of their being ‘reasonable people’.

    117. Jai — on 14th September, 2009 at 11:09 AM  

      SOIE (no, not the EDL or the BNP) organized the demo to protest against what they perceive as the ‘islamification’ and the demographic growth of Islam in the UK.

      What version of Islam ? Which interpretation ? Which sect ?

      The Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, or Hanbali schools of Islamic law ?

      The Ash’ari, Maturidi, Murji’ah, Mu’tazili, Athari or Zahiri schools of belief ?

      The Barelwi, Deobandi, Muslim Brotherhood, Jammat-e-Islami, Jamaat-e-Muslimeen, Wahhabi or Salafi movements ?

      The ‘Twelver’, Zaidi or Ismaili branches of Shia Islam ? The Usuli, Alevi, Akhbari, Alawite, or Shayki groups within the ‘Twelvers’ ? The Nizari, Mustaali, Taiyabi, or Hafizi groups within the Ismailis ? The Dawoodi Bohras, Sulaimani Bohras, Alavi Bohras, Hebtiah Bohras, the Abta-i-Malak (subdived further into the Abta-i-Malak Badra and Abta-i-Malak Vakil groups), or the Druze ? The Ibadi Kharijite sect ?

      The Qadiri Sufi order ? The Bektashi Sufi order ? The Chishti Sufi order ? The Naqshbandi Sufi order ? The Oveyssi Sufi order ? The Suhrawardiyya Sufi order ?

      The Ahmadiyyas ? The Mahdaviyas ?

      Which contemporary Muslim figures ? Those involved in or supporting Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Al-Muhajiroun, and/or HuT — or also (for example) the Imam Ajmal Masroor from that mosque in Harrow or even Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and his impending concerts tour ? Bearing in mind the fact that (for example) the Fateh Ali Khan family and their various historical role models not only have a level of prestige, respect and influence amongst Asians worldwide (both Muslims and non-Muslims) that people like Anjem Choudary can only dream of, but also that their interpretation of Islam & spirituality coupled with their attitude towards non-Muslims has been forcefully & diametrically opposed to the bigotted, bureaucratic, fanatical version which the extremists believe in ?

      ***************************************************

      If the SOIE’s answer the above is: “They’re all equally problematic and we’re opposed to all of them”;

      or “we’re not aware of any differences between them”;

      or even “as far as we’re concerned, the similarities outweigh the differences and we’re therefore still opposed to all of them”…..

      …..then it betrays a level of gross cultural, theological and historical ignorance at best and (despite claims to the contrary) outright racism against Muslims en masse at worst.

    118. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:13 PM  

      Jai, you don’t need to educate me about the various schools of Islam. I know far more about this subject, and have far more first-hand experience of it than you could possibly imagine. I recognize that a major difficulty is that Islam is not a hierarchical ideology. There is no equivalent of the Pope or Arch Bishop. Therefore, as we can see, what Islam ‘is’ depends upon what the individual Muslim believes it to be. One Imam or scholar says one thing, and another says the opposite. In Britain, Islam isn’t one religious ideology, it is thousands. And therefore, I agree that it is wrong to describe Muslims as one homogenous group.

      However, that doesn’t mean we can simply dismiss, out of hand, any concerns the non-Muslim majority may have about the staggering demographic growth of Muslims within Britain over the last couple of decades.

      Most of the problems, (and yes, there are serious problems) within the Muslim community are not because of Islam. They are due to cultural factors. Muslims are disproportionately represented in forced marriage, ‘honour’ killings, internationally arranged ‘fetching’ marriages, voluntary social exclusion, crime, prison and unemployment. And yes, none of this has anything to do with Islam. But Muslims themselves, instead of admitting these cultural deficiencies exist within their communities, and trying to address them, choose instead to hide behind victimhood, ‘islamophobia’ and even conspiracy theories and foreign policies. “It’s because I’m a Muslim”.

      So whilst I don’t support the SIOE, I can understand how simplistic people could conclude that the problem is ‘Islam’. After all, they’re coming to the same conclusion, albeit via a different path, as many Muslims themselves.

      The problems need to be addressed. There needs to be a debate. And that debate needs to be won. But winning the debate will mean admitting that everything to do with immigration, multiculturalism and the Muslim community isn’t just ‘peachy’.

      Sadly, this level of rational self-reflection seems to be an anathema for many Muslims and the left. Denial is preferable. Blame is preferable. Suppressing the debate by any means is preferable.

      And the resulting vacuum creates an opportunity for over-simplistic organizations like SIOE and the far more unpleasant racists of the BNP to fill that space.

      The unrestrained multiculturalsts and the far-left are giving bigots a monopoly on one or two inconvenient truths. And those truths give them an undeserved credibility to peddle many more hateful half-truths.

      Take a look at the readers comments under any ‘Muslim’ stories in the press. From the Guardian to the Telegraph, the Mirror to the Mail, look at how many many, many more comments are sympathetic to the anti-Islamic view regardless of whether the report is sympathetic to Muslims.

      The far right are winning the debate. Thanks to the stupid and fascistic actions of the far left to supress it.

    119. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:21 PM  

      Sorry what staggering demographic growth of Islam? Please supply figures of the staggering growth in Muslim migration over the last period. The organisation you are talking about is headed by a Danish guy who suggests that we need “soldiers” to fight the war against Islam and that football hooligans are a good resource. He is a Nazi and what he spouts is the contemporary replacement of anti-semitism. Simple as. You are either a useful idiot or one yourself.

    120. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 12:34 PM  

      @johnj

      From The Times

      January 30, 2009

      “Muslim population ‘rising 10 times faster than rest of society’

      The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years, according to official research collated for The Times.”

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5621482.ece

    121. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

      I can’t use the link for some reason (I don’t think its your link my computer seems to be funny with the Times website). Is it discussing the propensity of Muslims to “breed” faster (a number of ugly articles like this on the net) or referring to the fact that, on average, communities where this is immigration, tend to rise in numbers faster. We are not talking here about anything visible. 500,000 is not even noticable. The idea that this justifies attacking innocent people with bottles, or setting up think tanks to recruit “soldiers” to “fight a war” against “Muslims”.

      There is a word for it: Its Nazism.

    122. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:26 PM  

      johnj

      Why not try this link for Islam Online instead of relying on “ugly articles” from broadsheets:-

      http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1252188008124&pagename=Zone-English-Euro_Muslims%2FEMELayout

      In particular look at the “Fact Box”:-

      “- Islam is the second religion in the UK with about 2.5 million Muslims
      - The Muslim population of the UK has grown 30-fold since the beginning of the 1980s
      - The name Mohammed is the second most common name in England and Wales and by far the most popular in both London and the West Midland.”

      So, however it is happening, the fact is that there is an unprecedented and staggering demographic growth of Muslims in Britain.

      I find it undestandable that some people might find this unsettling. And the only way to address their fears is to allow them to voice those concerns and to seek to reassure them with facts and rational debate.

      Simply screaming “racist!” at them and denying that their fears have any legitimacy, engaging in violent intimidation, lies, censorship and denial will only bolster and ‘legitimise’ support for the far-right.

      When will the far-left learn?

    123. Refresh — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:35 PM  

      JohnG, its unfortunate that you cannot access that link. The second paragraph is quite instructive - its along the lines of if you aggregate all the different spellings for Mohammed then its nearly the most popular name in the country:

      ‘Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam during the period of 2004-2008, when the data was gathered. They said that it also suggested a growing willingness among believers to describe themselves as Muslims because the western reaction to war and terrorism had strengthened their sense of identity.’

      Reza was either being disingenuous or failed to comprehend the sleight of hand. I suspect he is just being ‘useful’.

    124. Paul — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

      Sunny’s starting point is that there ought not to be polarisation. If you start from that position, then you soon end up with the standard rhetoric that was evident at Harrow, and will be again at the next similar incident. It’s “only a tiny minority of extremists”, it’s “trouble-makers from outside”, it shows “the extremists need each other”, that “the local community has no part in this”, and so on.

      And of course there is the temptation to make the facts fit the anti-polarisation ideology - which is why comments on this issue get deleted. I don’t know of any other issue which makes bloggers hit ‘delete comment’ so quickly.

      So, assuming you don’t delete this comment, why don’t you start by explaining why polarisation is so abhorrent? And what you want instead of polarisation?

    125. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 1:51 PM  

      @ Refresh

      “Reza was either being disingenuous or failed to comprehend the sleight of hand.”

      I don’t understand your point.

      I stated the fact that there has been a “staggering demographic growth of Muslims within Britain over the last couple of decades.”

      I provided one link to timesonline and another to islamonline, to support my assertion. The latter, ‘islamofriendly’ link even states in clear prose:-

      “The Muslim population of the UK has grown 30-fold since the beginning of the 1980s
      - The name Mohammed is the second most common name in England and Wales and by far the most popular in both London and the West Midland.”

      How is that NOT a “staggering demographic growth”?

      I’m confused. How does that make me disingenuous or niaive to a “sleight of hand”?

      Do tell.

    126. Refresh — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

      Explain how populations rise, in the general understanding of populations?

      Do they not grow through births, reduce through deaths, immigration and emigration respectively?

      This is the first time I’ve seen talk of population growth through conversion.

      In any case you seem to support the Ian Paisley school of politics - that the catholics are determined to outbreed us.

    127. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

      Refresh

      I’ll put it simply. Millions of Sun, Mail and Telegraph readers are concerned by the “staggering” demographic growth of Islam in the UK. Stories about this “staggering” demographic growth abound in the press. Political parties have grown up specifically in response to people’s fears of this “staggering” demographic growth, and in countries such as the Netherlands, those parties have gained significant electoral support.

      SIOE, the EDL and the BNP are all making capital from people’s fears.

      Those fears cannot be tempered with semantics. The ‘fearful’ couldn’t give a sh*t what mechanism is behind the “staggering” demographic growth.

      All they see is that the growth is very real and er, “staggering”.

      So either you are saying the growth isn’t really “staggering” or you are saying people have no right to be fearful. If you are saying the former then you are in denial. If you are saying the latter then you have to back up your assertion with fact, current events, historical precedent and the truth apparent before your eyes.

      Denial is not an option. Dismissing people’s fears is not an option. Name-calling, censorship and stifling debate, is not an option.

      These will only feed the fears which drive people into the arms of nasty racist outfits like the BNP.

    128. Refresh — on 14th September, 2009 at 2:32 PM  

      Lets cut to the chase.

      What is your answer to your own definition of the problem?

    129. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:05 PM  

      “What is your answer to your own definition of the problem?”

      Understanding. Freedom of expression. Honesty. Discussion. Debate. Winning an argument.

      Unfortunately, as you probably suspect, such a level of honesty might mean that we may have to accept that tolerance has limits. That immigration may have to be reduced drastically to give time for integration. That some cultural practices, for example, internationally arranged ‘fetching’ marriages (very common among certain Muslim communities) are preventing integration.

      That everything about uncontrolled mass immigration and multiculturalism isn’t wonderful. And that there may be some problems within the Muslim community which cannot be blamed on ‘racism’ or ‘islamophobia’.

      These views are representative of millions of British people.

      Unfortunately, I suspect that the far-left know that they can’t win the argument. Their all-or-nothing ideology is as intellectually flawed as the BNP’s.

      That’s why, like all fascists, they prefer to shout down debate, deny inconvenient facts, censor truth and resort to violent intimidation.

      I don’t accept that the only choice we have is between unquestioning, unconstrained multiculturalism or far-right racism.

      There is a middle way. And that can only be reached by listening to and understanding all sections of our population. Including the millions of Sun, Mail and Telegraph readers. Because not doing so is pushing many otherwise decent, tolerant and desperate people into the arms of the BNP.

    130. Boyo — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:27 PM  

      “Sadly, this level of rational self-reflection seems to be an anathema for many Muslims and the left. Denial is preferable. Blame is preferable. Suppressing the debate by any means is preferable.”

      Hear hear.

    131. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:52 PM  

      Well I’m an unrestrained multi-culturalist and proud of it. And I don’t believe that the problem here is about the “lack of intergration of Muslims”. Its about people who think brown people are garbage who breed too quickly and should be exterminated. And I don’t think those views are ever justifiable. So lets have a “debate”.

    132. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 3:55 PM  

      And it is not “staggering”. On another blog these figures were produced:

      In the 2001 census Eighty-seven per cent of the population of England and 96 per cent of the population of Wales gave their ethnic origin as White British.

      London has the highest proportion of people from minority ethnic groups apart from more who identified themselves as of Pakistani origin, of whom there is a higher proportion in Yorkshire and the Humber (2.9 per cent) and the West Midlands (2.9 per cent).

      In England, 3.1 per cent of the population state their religion as Muslim (0.7 per cent in Wales), making this the most common religion after Christianity.

      http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cen…s/ ethnicity.asp

      According to the CIA world factbook:

      https://www.cia.gov/library/publi…ok/geos/ uk.html

      Ethnic groups:
      white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census)

      Religions:
      Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census).

      Slightly different definitions, but hardly “rapid demographic growth”, infact the percentage of declared Muslims has fallen by 0.4%.

    133. Boyo — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:07 PM  

      johng, you are a parody

    134. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:09 PM  

      Come on boyo lets have an honest debate.

    135. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:19 PM  

      @johng

      “Well I’m an unrestrained multi-culturalist and proud of it.”

      Clearly you are. And good for you. But please appreciate that millions of people in this country don’t share your views. And condemning them as ‘racists’ or ‘Nazis’, saying that they don’t have a right of freedom of speech because they disagree with you is pushing them towards the BNP.

      “And I don’t believe that the problem here is about the “lack of intergration of Muslims””

      I’m sure you believe that minority groups can never be faulted. That is after all typical left-wing racism. Unfortunately, many people within the Muslim community disagree with you. They see that problems exist. They acknowledge that some among their communities should be doing much more to integrate.

      “Its about people who think brown people are garbage who breed too quickly and should be exterminated. And I don’t think those views are ever justifiable.”

      Not even the BNP would call those views “justifiable”. But there we go. Typical left-wing fascism. Anyone who disagrees with you must be a genocidal ‘Nazi’.

      And YOU say that some people should be denied a platform!

      I say bring it on. Let’s hear what the SIOE, the EDL and the BNP have to say. I’ve debated with BNP supporters and I know I’ve left them feeling very unsettled. I manage that by first understanding where they were coming from, accepting that some of their concerns were legitimate and addressing the arguments rationally, not by simply screaming “Nazi scum!” at them.

      The Netherlands was once the most tolerant country on earth. Today, the second biggest party is openly anti-Islam and anti-immigration. In a few years it is very conceivable that Geert Wilders, the leader of that party, will be the Prime Minister. The same pattern can be seen in Denmark and Belguim.

      THAT’S what happens when you don’t allow debate!

    136. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

      johng,

      Could you point me to where there is said to be a drop of 0.4% in declared Muslims.

    137. cjcjc — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:26 PM  

      johng is a “Respect”/SWP activist I believe - is that right?

    138. Refresh — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:28 PM  

      cjcjc - what is the relevance of that?

    139. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:28 PM  

      Reza @ 120,

      Could you point me to where the claim that the Muslim Population is rising 10 times faster than the rest of society in the source material please, not some journalistic interpretation of it?

    140. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:29 PM  

      If there is going to be a debate about this we’d better be clear about which ‘facts’ are reliable, and which aren’t.

      That would be the first step, wouldn’t it?

    141. cjcjc — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

      @138 Refresh - oh, just that someone happy to ally with clerical fascists might want to tread a little more carefully in this area, I would have thought.

      But then people like that tend to be fairly shameless.

      As @8 said “It is always strange how old lefties look at their numbers and rue their lack of virility and then get excited about Muslim youth and try to make them out to be allies on the same cause.”

      Though I believe johng is more like an overgrown student than an old lefty, the same applies.

    142. marvin — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

      cjcjc, appears to be him, John Game. Regular commenter and co-SWP/RESPECTer with Richard Seymour aka ‘lenin’.

      johng, are you still All Hezbollah Now?

      I think we can safely discount anything anybody says who supports a vicious antisemitic terrorist group. How long did Seymour keep up the Hezbollah yellow machine gun flag on his site? Must be about 6 months at least?

    143. cjcjc — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:47 PM  

      I’m sure we can all take lessons in progressive politics from someone who calls himself (without any apparent irony) “Lenin”.

      Must have seemed cool in the sixth-form I assume.

    144. Paul — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:47 PM  

      “The Netherlands was once the most tolerant country on earth. Today, the second biggest party is openly anti-Islam and anti-immigration. In a few years it is very conceivable that Geert Wilders, the leader of that party, will be the Prime Minister. … THAT’S what happens when you don’t allow debate!”

      It is not lack of debate which caused this, not the way you mean, Reza. Wilders’ views are debated ad nauseam everywhere in the Netherlands. However, there is no debate on issues which threaten the ideology of cohesion and integration (which you also promote). So you get the curious result, that people are complaining about Islam all the time, yet few will admit there is any anti-Islam sentiment in the country. I see that evasive response at work here as well, and I see it very often in the UK media.

    145. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

      @douglas clark

      @douglas clark

      “Could you point me to where the claim that the Muslim Population is rising 10 times faster than the rest of society in the source material please, not some journalistic interpretation of it?”

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5621482.ece

      That’s the link.

      And here’s another link from Islamonline which says the same sort of thing (look at the “Fact Box”):-

      http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1252188008124&pagename=Zone-English-Euro_Muslims%2FEMELayout

      And a link from the Telgraph:-

      “Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/5994047/Muslim-Europe-the-demographic-time-bomb-transforming-our-continent.html

      I’m not going to waste time quibbling over semantics and interpretation. A percentage here or there. Clearly, the mass media, Muslim organizations and many ordinary people in this country and throughout Europe believe that they are witnessing a rapid demographic growth of Muslims in their countries.

      If you’re saying they’re imagining it then you’d better have some very strong evidence.

      I’ve lived in London for 20 years. I came here from a Muslim background and an Islamic country. I can see with my own eyes that many areas have been demographically transformed.

      So let’s not be silly, let’s just admit the irrefutable facts: that the Muslim population in Britain has grown very quickly over a very short period of time.

      And then perhaps we can have a rational debate over whether or not this is a good, bad or neutral thing for everyone concerned.

      Quibbling over semantics and trying to muddy the water is a leftist tactic I’m familiar with. Diverting the argument isn’t the same as addressing it.

    146. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:54 PM  

      Just as an indication of how complicated all of this might be, from Reza’s link, the number of Muslims increased by half a million whilst Christians declined by two million.

      At one, frankly ridiculous extreme, half a million Christians converted to Islam, which leaves one and a half million that did something else.

      As I have said before on here, I think religious identity is a very wobbly thing to be measuring. Church attendance would be a better measure of the strength of Christianity in this nation rather than self identification. The same would also apply to Mosque attendance.

      How many of these people are merely cultural Christians or Muslims? Given the apostasy rules for Muslims, how accurate a measure is it? It is bad enough that Christianity holds onto members who haven’t seen the inside of their Churches, although as numbers give status, I suppose it isn’t altogether surprising.

      How many of the lost two million that Christianity had have fallen into the ‘not bothered’ category? I’d expect most of them, but that is just a guess….

      And you really can’t have this discussion based on guesses.

    147. cjcjc — on 14th September, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

      The Netherlands was once the most tolerant country on earth.

      Yes.
      Unfortunately Theo van Gogh’s murder, and the rise in anti-gay attacks in Amsterdam by Muslim gangs seem to be threatening that reputation.

      Is that what you meant?

    148. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

      “John Game. Regular commenter and co-SWP/RESPECTer with Richard Seymour aka ‘lenin’.”

      Ahh, I remember the SWP from my student days. They would hang around campus selling newspapers to each other and agreeing with each other. I remember trying to engage in debate with them. Even as a young, naïve, leftie I could see them for the fascists they were. They would shout down anyone who disagreed with them. Chanting was a favorite tactic then as it is now.

      And I see that Lenin’s Tomb is keeping that tradition.

      What a joke. I followed the link from here and posted a perfectly calm and reasonable argument that the UAF types at Harrow had helped the far-right.

      It was promptly removed and I was accused of being a troll.

      Fascists are fascists, whether they lurk on the left, right or within a religious ideology.

      They’re not interested in debate. Because deep down, they know that their views are rooted in hatred and prejudice. Not rationality or understanding. And they don’t want their hatred challenged with rational debate.

      A pox on all the fascists’ houses.

    149. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 5:17 PM  

      I think that the leftist-riddled establishment in the Netherlands have backed the Dutch people into a corner. Just as they’re doing in Britain.

      For decades, people have been prevented from opposing any excess of multiculturalism. Indeed, it was, and still is illegal to critisize an ethnic group, religion or culture. Except of course the ‘indigenous’ ones.

      Eventually, people who are denied any opportunity to voice their opposition move to the far right.

      It’s desperation, not wickedness. And the left are to blame.

      The Netherlands are the ‘canary in the coalmine’ of Europe. We ignore this at our peril.

    150. Boyo — on 14th September, 2009 at 5:26 PM  

      er… john… johng….?

    151. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

      Reza @ 145,

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5621482.ece

      That’s the link.

      No, it’s not. It is not the source of the data.

      That article references the Quarterly Labour Force Survey which is conducted by the Office for National Statistics on their behalf. I assumed that you’d actually read the original document.

      You may wish to read this:

      http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?id=2243

      There is a wealth of material there.

    152. Jai — on 14th September, 2009 at 5:47 PM  

      I came here from a Muslim background and an Islamic country.

      Which Islamic country specifically, “Reza” ?

      Let’s hear what the SIOE, the EDL and the BNP have to say.

      This website has already been given access to several dozen answers from the BNP’s senior leadership in response to lists of policy-related questions supplied to them, a selection from a total of 85.

      If you’re unfamiliar with the details of the BNP’s official responses, provided by a member of their “inner circle” who was formally authorised to speak for and represent the BNP in this matter, I suggest you take some time out to read through the relevant material before you go any further. Make sure you subsequently read the associated comments threads detailing the multiple logical, factual and statistical errors in the BNP’s answers too.

      First series of questions and answers: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4889

      Second series of questions and answers: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5057

    153. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

      Ah the decents are in the house.

    154. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 6:13 PM  

      johng,

      You may have missed my question @ 136? It would be helpful to any debate if we were clear on sources for data, etc. Yes?

    155. johng — on 14th September, 2009 at 8:40 PM  

      Sorry Douglas I cut and pasted from someones comment as I indicated. I can’t tell where he got that from. I believe that someone is working on a rebuttal of these crazy claims right now so I’ll let you know. As a stopgap here is a discussion of claims like the ones made above by the BBC:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8189231.stm

      In the meantime the EDL don’t seem to have been boosted by what happened in Harrow. From their comments boxes:

      “we had an almost non-existant turn out on sunday from the EDL, many of us were left with our dicks swinging in the breeze. Thanks to everybody who couldn’t be bothered to get out their pits and shout for the cause. i’m begining to think this is just an armchair warrior organisation. If you can’t be bothered to turn out to help us, go and join Granny Murrys kniting forum. With so few of us on sunday it was dangerous. Once again, Thanks.”

    156. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 9:29 PM  

      @ Jai

      “Which Islamic country specifically, “Reza” ?”

      Well which one do YOU think it could be with a name like Reza? I’ll give you a clue: axis-of-evil-shia-theocracy betwixt Iraq an Afghanistan.

      “This website has already been given access to several dozen answers from the BNP’s senior leadership…”

      No criticism of this blog from me Jai. Whether or not I agree with them all, I’ve read a fair few rational comments here, especially Sunny’s.

      It’s the “raaaacissst!!!” shrieking UAF and SWP/Respect numptys I’ve got a problem with.

      @ Douglas and johng

      Bless! You’re beavering away to prove that uncontrolled and unprecedented mass-immigration, staggering demographic change and the transformation of whole neighborhoods hasn’t really occurred in the last 30 years. Let me guess, it’s a lie peddled by ‘dark forces’…

      How deliciously SWP/Respect of you.

      And how frustrating it must be for you that people who are much less clever than you are taken in by this. Gullible people actually BELIEVING their own eyes when they wander around Lewisham and see a demographic which is very, very different to the one they remembered 10 years ago.

      Those zionist mindbenders eh? Is there ANYTHING they can’t do?

    157. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:17 PM  

      Reza,

      —————————————————-

      Time Out:

      I have never and frankly, could never, be a member of either the SWP or Respect. Although, at this stage of the discussion - you wanted one remember - my politics have nothing much to do with it at all.

      —————————————————-

      So far, neither you nor johnb have backed up what you have had to say.

      Surely you do understand the need to be able to access primary sources in order to proceed with a discussion like this one?

      Would you take an unsubstantiated comment from me as gospel if it happened to support your point of view? If I said “Reza is right in everything he/she says” would that, of itself, constitute anything more than cheerleading?

      I’m afraid it wouldn’t.

      Try finding your primary source and get back to us.

      And you shouldn’t try to generalise from a specific. Lewisham may have changed dramatically but that doesn’t prove a damn thing nationally. Except, of course, for that tiny bit of England that will forever be Lewisham.

      And I have no idea what you are talking about when you rabbit on about Zionist mindbenders. They must be one hell of a good.

    158. Boyo — on 14th September, 2009 at 10:44 PM  

      Johng… Johng… where are thee?

      Come on Johng, Reza has plenty of debatable points… what’s the problem? A real live Muslim who doesn’t fit your racist stereotype too much for you…?

      Have a lie down, dear…

    159. Shamit — on 14th September, 2009 at 11:46 PM  

      In my book Respect and BNP are pretty much the same - two sides of a coin and I have said that many times in the past.

      Both are illogical, detrimental to this country in more ways than one and both are run by hypocritical nutters with avid followers with absolutely no brains.

      I am contemplating a list of questions for those idiots in Respect and to be honest I don`t expect much coherent responses from them either.

    160. Reza — on 14th September, 2009 at 11:59 PM  

      @douglas

      “Time Out:

      I have never and frankly, could never, be a member of either the SWP or Respect.”

      My unreserved apologies and I’m reassured to learn that. However, I do get very irritated by diversionary arguments. I spent several weeks in Iran earlier this summer. There, I listened to some cretin argue that because he could ‘prove’ that it wasn’t possible for six million Jews to have died in the holocaust, then the holocaust can’t have happened. The very same ‘intellectual’ process is favoured by the far left, which is why I assumed you might have been an SWPer.

      Because it seems that we’re seeing those tactics employed here.

      As I said to the cretin in Iran, no one can give those numbers with absolute precision, but ultimately it’s irrelevant that the numbers add up exactly, they’re f*cking big and THAT’S all that really matters in this context.

      Just take a look at johng’s BBC link. A link, by the way, to an article debunking an outrageous piece of unattributed, sensationalist scaremongering on youtube. If you knew me, you’d know that I loathe any lies and fabrications, even if they might support a point I’m making.

      But anyway, that BBC article:-

      “The video also states that the Muslim population of the UK has grown 30-fold in the past 30 years. They get the figure by estimating that the British Muslim population has risen from 82,000 to 2.5 million.
      The firm data is in the 2001 census, which counted close to 1.6 million Muslims in England and Wales. That number will have risen since 2001 so 2.5 million is not impossible. The 2011 census will be looked to for clarification.
      However, according to Dr Andrew Hinde, a demographer at Southampton University, the 82,000 figure is a gross under-estimate. “If you take the 1981 census there was no question asked on religious belief,” he says, “but if you take those born in Pakistan and Bangladesh as a minimum estimate of the number of Muslims in 1981, it’s about 300,000.”

      So okay, it might have grown by only 8 or 9 fold and not 30 fold (as is incidentally also claimed by Islamonline, a Muslim website).

      But that’s STILL a very big enough number.

    161. camilla - johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:14 AM  

      I wonder do you have - you and people like - anything to say bu labelling me “islamophobe”? I guess not…

      I am really tired of your stupidity… by the way readings comments of many euraphobic people, seeing their approval of muslim violence, I am highly reminded of such occasions like Cornulla riots and so on?

      I remember the general reaction here “aussies are racists bla bla bla” and favorite word “islamophobes” of course

      so why do you cheer muslims violence and excpect non-muslims to sit in their homes, hiding behind the sofas - while muslims bravely attack their women - why should they sit at homes so as not to offend hmmm rapists’ sensibility?

      double standards, as usual…

      actually most people here are real “non-muslim” phobic, I see the evidence of it almost in every comment…

      acts commited by muslims are always approved and justified, the very same acts, made by non-muslims - are criticised

    162. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:24 AM  

      Reza its worth noting that despite your complaints about the BBC report and your deeply wierd attempt to compare someone defending multi-culturalism with a holocaust revisionist (talk about sweeping statements) the BBC report has forced you to revise your figure of demographic growth by two thirds. Which rather begs the question of where you got your initial figures from in the first place. Of course you would have to revise them down further as those are only those one could be fairly certain were Muslims. If you happened to be from anywhere in the Middle East you were not counted. Which raises the question, originally asked by Douglas, of what figures are reliable. But then if you actually imagined he was in the SWP (I should stress that he’d be welcome but I doubt he’d fancy it) this suggests that your judgement is a little off anyway. Oh and to the commentator who made big play about “real live muslims” given that we do live in a multi-cultural society its not that hard to meet quite a lot of them. You should get out more. And Camilla if you want to prove your anti-racist credentials banging on dementedly about Muslim rapists probably isn’t the best way foward.

    163. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

      Johng

      I have never given any ‘figures’. My only ‘figures’ have been “staggering growth”. I gave links to the Times, the Telegraph and Islamonline which supported my assertion.

      As does your BBC link.

    164. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:48 AM  

      Reza, I have to ask. When you arrived here 20 years ago, did you increase the muslim population by 1?

      If so, when did you cancel yourself out?

    165. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:56 AM  

      I am not normally the impatient kind, but I’ll assume you cancelled out a few years later.

      Were you a problem to all those ‘potential supporters’ of EDL, BNP, SIOE before that point?

      So if all those people you clearly sneer at were to do the same, will that resolve your staggering demographics?

      Personally I think you are insulting huge swathes of the British public by presuming them to be potential, albeit unwitting, supporters of fascist movements.

    166. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 7:30 AM  

      Thank you Refresh for your impatience - insinuating once again that any Muslim who disagrees with you - like Sid, remember him? - is not a “real” Muslim.

      How depressing. No wonder it’s all fucked up.

    167. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

      Reza @ 160,

      Thanks.

      Well, I’d agree that around 1,600,000 individuals declared themselves a Muslim in the 2001 census. Do you accept my caveat about that figure? To the effect that what with apostasy and suchlike it must be incredibly difficult for anyone from that background to move themselves to the ‘not bothered’ column? There may be another reason, but I’ll come to that another time.

      Here is a very rough guide to commitment:

      http://www.christiantoday.co.uk/article/new.study.finds.mosque.goers.to.double.church.attendance/3858.htm

      The key figures, from 2005 right enough, say that there an almost equal numeric balance between folk that attend Mosques and those who attend Churches on a weekly basis. Around 930,000 and 916,000 repectively. Which makes circa 58% regular Mosque attendance for Muslims when compared to the 2001 census figures and circa 2.23% regular Church attendance by Christians. A more optomistic statistic from a Christian point of view can be found here:

      http://www.vexen.co.uk/UK/religion.html

      Which suggests that 3.018 million Christians attend church regularily. This would boost the percentage Church Attendance for self identifying Christians to circa 7.35%

      There are marginal issues with these figures - the census was UK wide, church / mosque attendance, is as far as I can tell limited to England and Wales. It is however, a staggering difference in relative commitment.

      I feel fairly secure in generalising some of this. Given that 66% of the UK population has no connection whatsoever with either a Church or a Religion any debate around this subject is fraught with problems.

      This is not, and argueably, never has been, a Christian country. (The Paxman arguement at 11 in the second document I referenced).

      It also brings up the question of whether the BNP has it’s finger on the pulse when it says that this is a Christian Country. It certainly isn’t, and not because of Muslim growth. It is because the indigenous population (och, to hell with it, read white) population has given up on it.

      If it’s not too rude to ask, and I’d quite understand if you thought it was, can I assume you were born a muslim and are now not?

    168. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

      You’re at it too Douglas, if in a less sinister manner.

      That’s the trouble with multi-culturalism - it’s essentially colonial and racist, straight-jacketing “minorities” in to their culture so they only “exist” within it. It is actually the best friend of the fascist (which is why, pace SWP, it so often is) and why so many of you join forces with totalitarian mysoginists, anti-semites and homophobes on these pages.

      It’s all part and parcel of the non-left left which is essentially a creation of the bourgeois to hijack socialism, which threatened its class interest.

      You can’t (or won’t) see it of course.

    169. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

      Boyo @ 168,

      Eh!

      Point me to where I have sided with mysoginists, anti-semites or homophobes in anything I’ve ever written on here. That sir, is unsupportable rubbish.

      If you’ve got a problem with multiculturalism, spit it out, but don’t try to smear me.

      Exactly which little groupiscule do you represent anyway? It’s hard to tell.

      It’s all part and parcel of the non-left left which is essentially a creation of the bourgeois to hijack socialism, which threatened its class interest.

      Something to the far left, or what?

    170. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

      Boyo,

      Just so’s you know why I am pissed off with you, this is what you said, my highlighting:

      It is actually the best friend of the fascist (which is why, pace SWP, it so often is) and why so many of you join forces with totalitarian mysoginists, anti-semites and homophobes on these pages.

      I do not recognise myself in that description at all.

      I actually think that to some extent, multiculturalism can be seen as being a convenient internalised form of colonialism, a divide and conquer if you will.

      I was coming to that….

      But I still think it is important to establish some base line facts before we move to airy fairy theory.

    171. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 10:20 AM  

      Boyo, just follow the argument. Nothing about real anything. If he is offering succour to the far right, as you do, then how does it matter whether he is a muslim or not.

      Read again what he is saying - one day he was problem, the next not.

      One day he was being counted in one column, the next not.

      Do you see the simplicity of it all?

      And no doubt he would be offering quotes to the Daily Mail, in a run up to any election, as to how muslim swimming sessions is an affront to our democratic way of life - as Sid got into the habit of doing.

    172. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 10:43 AM  

      No, I didn’t think you would recognise that Douglas, as I said.

      Yes I do see the simplicty Refresh. Worrying, is it?

    173. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 10:57 AM  

      ‘Yes I do see the simplicty Refresh. Worrying, is it?’

      Not in your case no.

    174. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 11:03 AM  

      Boyo,

      No, I didn’t. Which makes your self fullfilling prophecy self fulfilled.

      And that makes you clever? I think not.

      And how secretive you are too!

      Out with it man, what are your politics, what is your religion? What do you really think? For you are certainly no dispassionate observer.

      You do seem to have a tendancy to dissemble your way through every thread you enter right enough.

    175. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

      It seems to me that Boyo is one of those people who’ve spent the last five years trying to prove that all those people who opposed the war in Iraq were stooges of something called “Islamofascism”, and that any talk of Islamophobia was the creation of an unholy alliance between liberals, communists and bin laden. Muslims were all potantial fifth columnists and those who opposed the war all did so because they were “extremists”. This then produces a neatly inverted world where left becomes right and multi-culturalism a vehicle for a new kind of fascism.

      Suddenly confronted with the fact that this wierd witches brew might have unpleasent consequences (ie actual fascists) there is a great desire not to recognise reality. Over on Harry’s Place a regular commentator suggests that he is greatly upset by the EDL because they are like stereotype created by the “SWP” (the cancer at the heart of the new fascism: I have to keep reminding myself that these people are not as important as they think they are otherwise it might go to my head). He goes on to speculate whether the EDL might actually have been “created” by the SWP, or whether they are in some kind of alliance.

      I think there are a number of reasons why there is a reluctance to recognise what the EDL are. Some are perfectly understandable. Its unpleasent to even think about for one, and the consequences are grave. Some are less commendable. In particular actual Islamophobia which makes it inconcievable that Muslims could ever be the victim of anything but Islam. Some reasons are straightfowardly racist. These people are immigrants from third world countries who should fit in or get out. And then some of them are straightfowardly bonkers as with the account above.

      Its really not the fault of the left that invading Iraq was a mistake. Nor is it the fault of them thar muzzies. Really not.

    176. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

      Douglas

      Quibbling over figures is disingenuous. I thought I’d made it perfectly clear, that statistics are never an exact science. However, it is possible to be look at a big numbers and conclude that they are, well, big. Similarly, a rapid rate of growth is just that: a rapid rate of growth.

      It seems that apart from you and johng, everyone accepts that the Muslim population in Britain has grown very rapidly over the last 30 years. The Government accepts it, the BBC and liberal-left media accept it, the right wing media accepts it. And crucially, Muslim organisations themselves accept it. Indeed, the Islamist groups gloat triumphantly about it.

      So what’s your point?

      Look, if the Sikh, Hindu, Mormon or Norwegian population had grown (predominantly via immigration and birth rates) at such a rapid rate and to such an extent, I have no doubt that some communities might be feeling a little unsettled. Sadly, some aspects of Islam and Muslim culture multiply that feeling.

      I do accept fears that the criticism of Muslim culture and the ideology of Islam is a being used as a cover for people’s general reservations about the scale and extent of immigration generally.

      But some Muslim communities do make this so easy. They are to easy to hold up as symbols of all that is wrong with uncontrolled immigration, unrestrained multiculturalism, the ideology of moral equivalence and the perceived appeasement of minority cultures.

      No one can deny that the Muslim community suffers from the lowest levels of education, the highest unemployment, as well as disproportionate levels of criminality and prison population.

      And as I said before, some Muslim groups appear to avoid integration through very high levels of internationally arranged ‘fetching’ marriages, voluntary social exclusion and the wearing of provocative garb, such as the niqab.

      If you cannot see how so many Sun, Mail and Telegraph readers can be unsettled by this, if you simply dismiss their concerns as ‘racism’ then I fear that such a vacuum of understanding will continue to be filled by deeply unpleasant outfits like the BNP.

      Despite the best efforts of the liberal establishment, the multiculturalists and far-left fascists like the SWP, the cat is out of the bag. Criticising Islam is now socially acceptable in polite company. There urgently needs to be a debate, which listens to the wishes and aspirations of ALL British people, about the type of society they want to live in. The left and the multiculturalists have had it one way for far too long.

      And Douglas, you wrote:-

      “I actually think that to some extent, multiculturalism can be seen as being a convenient internalised form of colonialism, a divide and conquer if you will.”

      Wise words. I’m sure that like Communism, multiculturalism was a nice idea and implemented with the best intentions, but like all manufactured, Utopian ideologies it has resulted in a corrupt, divisive and thoroughly nasty reality.

      It really is time to move on and find a new way to create a cohesive nation out of our rapidly fragmenting society.

      Or else we can look forward to increased polarization, intolerance and eventually, racists in our government.

    177. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 11:50 AM  

      But Reza you are the one playing statistics. Then to claim it as disingenuous is patently ridiculous.

      Could it be that the readers of the Sun etc; have been unsettled by the drip drip of negative stories about muslims? And on cue the BNP take electoral advantage?

      And now the EDL, SIOE and whole host of others become a vanguard for the far-right in the run up to the election which is only months away?

      Today’s good news is that Alan Johnson will not share a platform with fascists, something he’s avoided for 59 years. Why would you?

    178. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 11:58 AM  

      No matter how much often you point out the emperor is unclothed Reza, I’m afraid you will find they insist it is your vision at fault, on PP at least.

      For what it’s worth Johng I actively opposed the Iraq adventure, although I did invade Sierra Leone and Kosovo, which I presume you will find equally offensive neocon enterprises?

      I look forwward to reading your informed opinion.

    179. bananabrain — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:02 PM  

      @jai #117:

      oh, my goodness. that is such a useful post i have saved a copy and will use it to beat both islamists and islamophobes about the face and neck.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    180. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:07 PM  

      “Today’s good news is that Alan Johnson will not share a platform with fascists, something he’s avoided for 59 years. Why would you?”

      Because we’ve had left-wing fascists such as Respect and the SWP on platforms for years. Because Marxists and communists are regularly on platforms in our media.

      Freedom of speech is not a one-way street. When only one extreme is heard, the balance moves only in one direction and huge swathes of the population are side-lined. That’s what’s happened in our society. That’s why the BNP are on the rise.

      An example, of what happens when views are censored.

      I watched a debate at a University, which was held to discuss a proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. One of the speakers tried to oppose this. He was shouted down and intimidated by a mob UAF and SWP-type fascists baying “racist!” and “there’s no such thing as and illegal human!” and “open borders now!”

      And predictably “No platform for racists! No platform for racists!”

      That, for trying to argue that ILLEGAL immigrants shouldn’t receive British passports.

      Freedom of speech is a precious thing. Removing even a tiny part of it leads to abuse. And therein lies the road to real fascism.

    181. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:08 PM  

      johng,

      I have no idea what Boyos’ politics are. All he does is criticise, in a non specific, but highly judgemental sort of way what anyone else has to say.

      And he appears to have decided that you and I are his béte noirs du jour.

      However, he also appears to be a man in a vacuum, without anything intelligent to say on his own behalf. We would have to play at being cryptographers to get even close to what he really thinks. I can’t be arsed, he’s just a pain.

    182. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:29 PM  

      I’m not surprised you find it hard to understand my position Douglas: I’m an endangered species called “Socialist”.

    183. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:31 PM  

      ‘Freedom of speech is a precious thing.’

      and incitement is a symptom of fascism.

    184. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:39 PM  

      Reza @ 176,

      Ré this:

      Quibbling over figures is disingenuous.

      I’d refer you to what Refresh said at 177,

      But Reza you are the one playing statistics. Then to claim it as disingenuous is patently ridiculous.

      And you are jumping around with timescales like there is no tomorrow. Now you want to talk about the last thirty years. Earlier we’d been talking about the last eight years.

      However.

      If you want to find a way to move on and find a new way to create a cohesive nation out of our rapidly fragmenting society which includes everyone, please do so.

    185. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

      Boyo,

      I too am part of a rapidly diminishing band. I want evidence before policy and certainly before ideology.

    186. Jai — on 15th September, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

      If you want to find a new way to move on and find a new way to create a cohesive nation out of our rapidly fragmenting society which includes everyone, please do do.

      As he is apparently someone who originally hails from the land of great historical individuals such as Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Saadi and Hafez, all of whom had a very different concept of Islam, spirituality and humanity as a whole compared to the current mullah-dominated theocracy in Iran, I would hope that Reza would believe it would be a more constructive course of action to promote and support their humanitarian message…..both to counter the activities of various problematic Muslims in Britain and also to counter the efforts of various far-right groups to stigmatise Muslims en masse.

      Also, unless Reza is physically able to “pass for white” and intends to change his name to something more European in origin, it would be worthwhile if he bears in mind that as far as groups like the SIOE, EDL and BNP are concerned, his own continuing presence in the UK is as much of a “problematic demographic” as the “staggering statistics about British Muslims” he’s been quoting, regardless of his attempts to disassociate himself from them and his suggestion that one should engage in a dialogue with the far-right.

      It’s not just “multiculturalism” which is a problem in their view, it’s the very fact that Britain is a multiracial society — and that means that you too are a target, Mr Reza, whether you declare yourself to be an “ex-Muslim” or not.

    187. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:01 PM  

      Douglas, you asked:

      “If it’s not too rude to ask, and I’d quite understand if you thought it was, can I assume you were born a muslim and are now not?”

      It’s not a rude question, but it does signify a lack of understanding of Islam and sharia law.

      I was born a Muslim in Iran. My Iranian birth certificate states that I am a Muslim. When I visit Iran, I am a Muslim. (Iranian law doesn’t allow for dual-nationality, therefore I can only travel there as an Iranian.)

      As a Muslim, I am subject to Islamic law. For example, if I drink alcohol I am breaking the law and could be beaten. (Christians and Jews are allowed to drink alcohol in private).

      And as a Muslim, saying I’m not a Muslim is illegal. It’s apostasy. Technically, it is a death sentence. In Iran, they no longer kill converts, as long as the convert doesn’t try to recruit his spouse, relatives or children to another religion or to none. However, no one in their right mind would every say that they are no longer a Muslim in ANY Muslim majority country. You can be jailed.

      Indeed I would be very fearful to say such a thing in Britain. Many, many Muslims here believe that apostasy, at least technically, should be punishable by death.

      Even the ‘moderate’ darlings of the left, the likes of Tariq Ramadan are not willing to unequivocally renounce the punishment of converts. They weasel around the issue, saying that Muslims should obey British law or speaking of ‘a moratorium’ in Muslim majority countries pending a Caliphate. They won’t renounce it.

      And not renouncing it is dangerous: if you are an apostate, under sharia law, you are ‘mortat’. That means that a Muslim can kill you and still enter paradise.

      People like you and johng cannot imagine what it can be like to be a Muslim in Britain. Your default, unquestioning ‘multi-culti’ tolerance and your diversity ‘celebrationism’ willfully and ignorantly ignores the ugly side of Islam and Muslim culture. Indeed many white liberals, as well as the buffoons of the far-left, close their eyes to the child abuse, coerced and forced marriages, rape, slavery, prejudice, misogyny, Jew-hatred and intimidation which exists in many ‘ethnic’ cultures. Not only Islam. All in the interests of ‘community harmony’.

      And the irony is that it’s so truly and utterly racist.

    188. Jai — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

      Bananabrain,

      @jai #117:

      oh, my goodness. that is such a useful post i have saved a copy and will use it to beat both islamists and islamophobes about the face and neck.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

      No problem, glad it’s helpful. You may also find it useful to read my various comments (and the associated URL links I supplied) on the “Popular names non-story” thread too — post #19 onwards. (http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5818#comment-177704 ).

    189. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:12 PM  

      “wearing of provocative garb, such as the niqab”

      Oh I see. Its “provocative” to wear niqab. Why? (NB this is a very different thing from those concerned about gender inequality, as the use of this kind of language to provide excuses for those who would physically attack people, or demanding that there be less of those people around, hardly implies any genuine concern for those wearing them: similarly with ridiculous arguments suggesting that these women are undermining “indiginous” women and their rights. How?).

      And then there is all this wierd stuff about “left wing fascists” and the kind of victimology one currently mainly finds on the loonier fringes of American Republican politics. Have you actually seen the footage of the EDL in Birmingham? Thats what fascism looks like. Not a meeting in Cambridge where some people objected to a representative from a far right think tank speaking.

      In general boyo I don’t think invading other countries is the way foward for human rights in the contemporary world. Sure this poses tough questions. But on balence it seems to me that the rather strange belief that the correct response of liberals to human rights abuse is to send in the military is one of the worst ideas to have emerged in the late 20th century. Of course such a belief is not permitted and must be denounced as “left wing fascism”.

    190. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:18 PM  

      johng - I can understand your objections to British fascists, but I believe you are rather keener on foreign ones.

      Are you still “all Hezbollah now”?

      How can anyone take the opinion of an SWP/Respect (or have you split up form them now?) activist seriously on this subject.

    191. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

      My understanding of the single headline in socialist worker which used that slogan, was that it was published a few days after Olmert suggested that most of the civilians killed (including at the height of the bombing an ambulence with a hole straight through the roof) were Hezbollah. In that context I have no problem with the slogan “we are all Hezbollah now”. Nor did most people in Lebanon, including long term opponents of Hezbollah. It was one of the slogans used when people from Beirut, again many of them not aligned to Hezbollah, marched south with refugees to make it impossible for the Israeli airforce to continue the bombing (bombing which included the use of cluster bombs, hundreds of thousands of which still litter the landscape where people have to live). Of course pointing these things out is also “left wing fascism”. It strikes me that on this blog most people are adults and can understand that people have serious political differences but still mantain a dialogue. Are you on the right site? Might you not be happier at Harry’s Place working yourself up into mutually enjoyable hysteria about left fascism? We’re actually trying to have a debate about what to do about actual fascists, as opposed to these ludicrous attempts to paint left and liberal opponents of the war or defenders of Palestinian rights as quislings of fascism.

    192. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:37 PM  

      “Oh I see. Its “provocative” to wear niqab. Why?”

      You’ll have to ask the millions of British people who find it “provocative”.

      They’re no doubt all knuckle dragging racists and certainly not as clever and enlightened as you are. They should be “educated”. Isn’t “educated” what left-wing fascists say?

      The reality johng is that everywhere, tolerance has cultural limits.

      I regularly travel and work in the Middle East. Sometimes my European wife comes with me. In Iran a woman must wear the hejab by law. That’s what, in my opinion, the majority of Iranians want. And as such it is their right to live in an Islamic theocracy and to have the values and laws they want.

      In Turkey and Egypt, there is no such law. Yet on many occasions my wife wears long sleeves, trousers and even a hejab. Culturally, she would be far more comfortable wearing shorts and a vest-top in hot weather. And she hates covering her hair. However, she is sensitive enough to realize that the majority of people in the country she is in would find skimpy dress unsettling.

      But hell, why shouldn’t she wear what she wants and simply accuse anyone who is uncomfortable with it of being a bigot. “How dare they have that culture!”

      Perhaps, johng, she should try to “educate” them.

      Recognizing and respecting cultural norms is an important part of ‘tolerance’.

      Covering one’s face isn’t a cultural norm in Europe. That’s why many people are unsettled by it.

      And just as it would be wrong to force people in Muslim-majority countries to accept culturally offensive garb, so it is wrong to do so here.

    193. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

      Reza @ 187,

      Must be incredibly difficult for you.

      Your default, unquestioning ‘multi-culti’ tolerance and your diversity ‘celebrationism’ willfully and ignorantly ignores the ugly side of Islam and Muslim culture. Indeed many white liberals, as well as the buffoons of the far-left, close their eyes to the child abuse, coerced and forced marriages, rape, slavery, prejudice, misogyny, Jew-hatred and intimidation which exists in many ‘ethnic’ cultures. Not only Islam. All in the interests of ‘community harmony’.

      And the irony is that it’s so truly and utterly racist.

      Which is why we must push for a larger ‘middle ground’ in the UK, not a smaller one.

      If you hang around here a while you’ll find that I am damn near intolerant of so-called cultural or religious excuses for the barbarities you list, no matter which community it comes from. I am no cultural relativist.

      I am one of these annoying people that thinks that the UN Declaration of Human Rights is something we should all try to live up to.

    194. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:41 PM  

      Hezbollah are actual fascists.

    195. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

      I am always suspicious of anyone who uses the BNP-term ‘multi-culti’. And you are no exception.

    196. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:11 PM  

      Douglas

      Thank you for your understanding. You wrote:

      “Which is why we must push for a larger ‘middle ground’ in the UK, not a smaller one.”

      But we have a “middle ground” in the UK. It’s called British culture. And I do not accept that this culture doesn’t exist or that it is worthless, as the multiculturalists and far-left do. We do have a cultural identity and cultural norms. And I left the country of my birth to join that society and to live with those norms.

      You must see that multiculturalism is creating an increasingly illiberal environment as tolerant British culture and values are undermined through P.C. moral equivalence, massive uncontrolled immigration and the appeasement of intolerable foreign cultures, values and belief systems.

      In Britain today, we have legalized polygamy, sharia courts, and schools who have ‘winter break’ instead of Christmas in the interests of ‘community harmony’. Homophobia is on the rise. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. Society is becoming increasingly ghettoized and polarized.

      And finally.

      Some of the posters here just can’t seem to see where I’m coming from. I loathe the BNP. They are MY enemy. And of course I accept that many members of the EDL and SIOE or simply racists pretending to be defending British culture.

      But silencing their views, as has been the case for decades, simply creates a situation where only one extremist view is heard. Multiculturalists and the far-left ARE an extremist voice. Their views are not representative of the British majority. For democracy to work, all views, as long as they have a reasonable degree of public support (and obviously, are not inciting violence), must also be heard.

      And like it or not, over a million people voted for the BNP. But that’s democracy for you.

      Silencing one side of the argument creates a vacuum. And as we can see here and in many parts of Europe, that vacuum is not filled by the “middle ground”.

      It is filled by the far-right.

    197. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:32 PM  

      So Multi-culturalism is not only opposed to British culture (I’m proud of British multiculture which just is British culture) but is “extremist”. I’d put it to you that these are ideological views which belong to the far right.

    198. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

      And why are you attempting to suggest that people here support the practices you rightly attack? Have you any (I mean ANY) evidence for this?

    199. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:44 PM  

      johng

      “I’d put it to you that these are ideological views which belong to the far right.”

      If you’d just try to pay attention and understand the mood in this country, you’d realizes that the majority of British people have had it with multiculturalism.

      Even Trevor Phillips of the Equality and Human Rights Commission now routinely ‘bad-mouths’ this failed, Utopian concept.

      Reasonable people must find a new way forward. And the leftist establishment has to allow democracy to work.

      Because if we don’t, if we tell people who don’t want multiculturalism that they MUST accept it, if we call them “racist!” for disagreeing with us, then many of them will simply support the far-right.

      The pattern is clear to see in Europe. The BNP are on the rise here.

      And stupidity is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting a different result.

    200. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:44 PM  

      Reza,

      I really don’t think that there ever was such a thing as a single British culture, even in the days when almost the entire nation was white. There were divisions and factionalism and splits, even then. Some people still remember the ‘Battle of Cable Street’ when the threatened minority was Jewish rather than Asian. We forget how many upper class folk would have been quite happy to see ‘an accomodation’ with Hitler. (Sorry, been reading William Boyds’ Any Human Heart again) We forget how relatively recent it is that we, as a nation, gave up the death penalty. Or just, exactly, when homosexuality was made legal. There were forces at work on both sides of these arguements. And I have close personal friends that do still shout shit like “If you hate the f*****g English clap your hands”. And the rear guard action of landladies inalienable right to post in their windows ‘No dogs, no Irish’.

      Perhaps recognising the diversity of white British culture would be a first step for all of us. There are certain things that we should all buy into, like due process, democratic elections and the like, but we are hardly unique in that. I probably have more in common with Johnb than either he or I would like to admit, but at least I can wear as a badge of pride the fact that the BNP have told me to pack my bags and go. On this very site.

      Do they bother to teach ‘Civics’ at school anymore?

    201. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

      I’m sorry but I do not regard calls to deport or discriminate against my fellow citizens as legitimate. And I do not accept that most people want this (and I don’t see Trever Phillips as representing anything much but his own ambition). The idea that when the far right are on the move the best thing (and the most democratic thing) is to make concessions to them misses the point of what democracy is. It is not simply a passive registration of opinion. On that basis fascism in the 1930s was correct. There are things we have to fight for.

    202. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

      …might be worth some history lessons as well. London used to be the capital not just of Britain, but of Empire. The ethnic composition of the country today reflects that. One of the most fascinating little nuggets I came across in the last few years of discussion about “sharia law” is that the codified form often demanded by the Islamist groups that have their roots in the sub-continent was actually drawn up by Scottish lawyers in Edinbourgh in the 1820s. It then formed the basis for colonial administration and parts of it remain in personal law legislation in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. And of course the distinction between personal law and other laws has its roots in the activities of these children of the scottish enlightenment. So are history is much more interconnected for good or for ill then most people could even imagine. That alongside a class in civics would be very useful in schools. It would no doubt infuriate the those who want everything in neat little boxes though.

    203. persephone — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:16 PM  

      “ Many, many Muslims” and “You’ll have to ask the millions of British people who find it provocative. “

      When you say things which infer a certain magnitude it makes me question whether it is of the volume you infer. I am saying that because of the other ‘mass’ figures you gave which turned out to be lower & not from source.

      I understand that using hyperbole is a tactic used to raise a certain perception but on this post commenters, quite rightly, wanted to get to the truth of the matter as to magnitude (verifiable statistics) but this did not happen.

      “ our default, unquestioning ‘multi-culti’ tolerance and your diversity ‘celebrationism’ willfully and ignorantly ignores the ugly side of Islam and Muslim culture. Indeed many white liberals, as well as the buffoons of the far-left, close their eyes to the child abuse, coerced and forced marriages, rape, slavery, prejudice, misogyny, Jew-hatred and intimidation which exists in many ‘ethnic’ cultures.”

      You give a picture of there being nothing of value or anything positive in such cultures. Why?

      “Silencing one side of the argument creates a vacuum”

      Agree but on PP you will see we have criticised & questioned certain ‘cultural’ practices and from my experiences outside of PP do not see the default, unquestionning posture being as rife as you infer.

      But I strongly feel that any vacuum should be filled with truth and balanced assessment. Until that happens I feel that I am presented with Daily Mailesque capital letter hyperbole headlines. And the latter creates yet another vacuum.

    204. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

      Reza,
      Oh and I do spend quite a lot of time trying to convince people. Its what those of us actively engaged with our society do. You of course do the same. You are attempting to present a monolithic picture of British people all furiously obsessed with the evils of multi-culturalism. And anyone who does not share these views you brand as “fascist”. Personally I wouldn’t want to live in a society where those were the norms of debate.

    205. Jai — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

      In Iran a woman must wear the hejab by law. That’s what, in my opinion, the majority of Iranians want.

      Not if those massive protests in Iran earlier this year were anything to go by, especially if one believes the assertions about vote-rigging and Ahmedinejad stealing the election.

      And like it or not, over a million people voted for the BNP.

      Actually it was under a million, specifically 943,598 votes, ie. 6.4% of the total — meaning that 93.6% did not vote for the BNP.

      Best to get the precise statistics right if one is going to quote them to support one’s arguments.

      http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/factcheck+how+many+bnp+votes/3203777

      We do have a cultural identity and cultural norms. And I left the country of my birth to join that society and to live with those norms.

      One which is actually very heavily influenced by American cultural norms these days, especially im major cities like London.

      Incidentally, according to the BNP’s 2005 manifesto, they are are explicitly “hostile to American cultural imperialism”, although I don’t see them or any of their fellow ideologues holding protests outside retailers selling American entertainment products, or cinemas showing American films, or various American fast-food restaurants, or the London offices of CNN and Fox News, or satellite television channels transmitting American programmes, films and music.

      All of which have been far, far more influential in changing British culture during the past few decades than “multiculturalism” involving Britain’s resident non-white population.

      If one is opposed to multiculturalism per se, then presumably one is forcibly opposed to the biggest multicultural influence of all as far as the UK is concerned, namely the influence originating in the United States.

      And that’s before we address the numerous white people in Britain whose roots lie in other countries in the West, or the various influences on aspects of British culture from those countries as a result of relatively cheap foreign travel.

      But I think we all know that, despite claims to the contrary, this is actually more about race than culture.

    206. Boyo — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

      “I really don’t think that there ever was such a thing as a single British culture, even in the days when almost the entire nation was white.”

      Told you we’d get here around 200 posts ago ;-)

    207. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:20 PM  

      Douglas

      Of course British culture has never been static. It has always and will always evolve.

      My problem is when cultural change is forced on the majority against its wishes.

      Survey after survey tells us that the majority of British people want immigration to be reduced drastically or stopped completely. The majority of British people no longer support multiculturalism. The majority of British people don’t want sharia courts, or legalized polygamy (with full access to welfare benefits) for Muslim people.

      Culture must evolve naturally. That takes time. Forcing people to ‘tolerate’ what they find ‘intolerable’ with evermore-draconian anti-racism legislation, and stubbornly and arrogantly ignoring their wishes will ultimately push them to the extremist parties.

      johng

      “And I do not accept that most people want this…”

      You’re misreading the mood out there. It really is turning ugly. Why don’t you look up any story on immigration or Islam then spend a few minutes looking at the readers comments in any of the national newspapers.

      The far right-are now in parliament in the Netherlands and in Government in Denmark. The BNP are on the up. Watch them grow.

      And ask yourself, will shouting “raaaacist!” at them with your unholy alliance of far-left fasists and Islamists be enough to stop that rise?

    208. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

      johng,

      And the influx of Polish plumbers can be traced back to a baby boom in Poland due to Martial Law between 1981 and 1983. At least according to Wikipedia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_British

      S’amazing what you can find out on the internet.

    209. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:23 PM  

      And anyone who does not share these views you brand as “fascist”. Personally I wouldn’t want to live in a society where those were the norms of debate.

      These two sentences written by an SWP/Respect activist…ROFLAO as they say.

    210. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:37 PM  

      Well it has to be said cjcjc, you’re hardly a very good argument for pluralistic values or rational debate yourself are you? Perhaps you should try and sharpen up your act. I see Reza has descended into more unwarrented accusations, but I’d just say that there are views which are racist and that does’nt change just because Reza thinks his “ugly mood” sweeping the country vindicates his arguments. The fact that he see’s the EDL as representing the nation seems not only frankly insulting (if that was the case I’d emmigrate, but actually I think its the EDL who should emmigrate. I mean if you can’t abide by the rules of the multi-cultural society you live in you don’t belong here geddit NB this is irony), but carries with it all these sinister hints that those of us who do not fit into the daily mail fantasy of Britishness should start packing our bags. In general the appropriate response to arguments like this can’t really be laid out on a respectable liberal blog like this one. And that too is part of democracy.

    211. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:38 PM  

      Grow up cjcjc.

      Jai, your points about american culture are very apt and you make them well.

      Reza’s appalling stereotyping is still irritating me. How the hell can anyone with a brain put everything that is politically unsound place it all in one paragraph at the door of one community?

      I think I know, but lets work it through.

    212. Jai — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

      You give a picture of there being nothing of value or anything positive in such cultures. Why?

      That’s an excellent point by Persephone. Due to Reza’s understandably negative experiences in modern-day Iran it’s also clear that he has some “issues” with Islam as a religion and Muslims as a group.

      **************************************************

      Reza, do you believe that the writings and philosophies of Rumi, Saadi, Hafez and Omar Khayyam would be destructive influences on British society ?

      How about Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s impending series of major concerts in the UK ? Do you feel that his (and, especially, his late uncle Nusrat’s) music and message — considerably influenced by historical predecessors such as Bulleh Shah — are dangerous “multicultural” influences which should be discouraged at the very least and ideally actively opposed ?

      What about the examples and message of other historical figures such as Baba Farid, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Nizamuddin Auliya, and the music based on their teachings ?

      Or the writings of people like Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Zauq, Bahadur Shah Zafar ?

      The individuals above are all Muslims, of course — I can name numerous others from various other backgrounds (including non-Muslim South Asians), but for the purposes of this discussion let’s focus on Muslims, since they’re currently the primary target of the SIOE, EDL and BNP’s hostility — a stance you appear to support and regard as justifiable.

      So, again, should the presence, message and influence of works related to all of the above individuals be minimised, discouraged or (if already present) eradicated from British society ?

      Or, as common sense dictates, should people focus on the specific groups which are problematic, out of the long list I supplied in #117 ?

    213. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:41 PM  

      Perhaps you should try and sharpen up your act

      Sorry, I’ve just fallen back onto the floor again.

      Sharpen up my act?
      Maybe so.

      But remind me how that SWP/Respect thing worked out for you, oh wise political strategist!
      We have much to learn from you I know.

    214. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

      Oh and by the way: most liberals and leftists in the countries which saw the rise of the far right in the countries you mention (and this includes the media) have drawn the conclusion that they were far too soft about what these people were and their potential. They have’nt drawn the conclusion that if only they’d supported their arguments they would not have gained power. Oddly enough.

    215. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:44 PM  

      Refresh - I’m not taking any lessons on anti-fascism from johng - sorry about that - and neither should you be.
      He and his SWP mates are no friends of liberal principles.

    216. Reza — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:46 PM  

      The mood out there:-

      The Public like some BNP policies but not the BNP

      http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/196

    217. Faisal (The Spittoon) — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:59 PM  

      “And no doubt he would be offering quotes to the Daily Mail, in a run up to any election, as to how muslim swimming sessions is an affront to our democratic way of life – as Sid got into the habit of doing.”

      Refresh, I rarely respond on these threads anymore, but
      I make an exception this case since you’ve taken the trouble to single me out.

      I notice that you have taken pains to be selective to the point of fabrication in bringing this matter up again. You’ve intentionally missed out the fact that the incident was a muslim-male-ONLY swimming session.

      I presume you think that confessional, gender based segregation is not an affront to our democratic way of life.

      So can you tell us why you would probably consider a white-male only swimming session to be an affront to our democratic way of life, but not a muslim-male-only swimming session?

    218. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 3:59 PM  

      Reza,

      But, that is the dynamic I was trying to address. There have been huge cultural shifts in this country which have always been resisted. So, there are, at least, two sides to almost any given arguement.

      And there have always been folk on all sides of them.

      The conservatives who think any change whatsoever will bring their society crashing down around them, e.g. legalising homosexuality. What actually has been the impact? Damn all that I can see. But there are still large numbers of prejudiced white Brits. Must we bend a knee to their prejudices? I’d say no.

      On the question of immigration, it is pretty obvious to me that centre parties are already listening to ‘the people’ and I’d expect most manifestos for the next GE to reflect that. The problem with that of course, is that immigration from the EU cannot be restricted without us leaving it, so expect fudge and mudge.

      I expect that that is the BNP and UKIPs strongest card.

      I know Asians who think it is time we put up the shutters on immigration, particularily against Eastern Europeans. You’d probably have a better handle on whether that is a general attitude or simply apocryphal, I don’t know.

      Sorry, this is a bit of a ramble, but there is a progressive as well as a conservative strand in British society and the democratic process will determine where the balance point is. But I do see the BNP as a new form of protest vote rather than a major player. This recent Populus Poll for the Times puts the BNP on 3% nationally.

      http://populus.co.uk/the-times-the-times-poll-july-2009-190709.html

      Which means that 97 out of a 100 voters aren’t buying it.

      Both the Greens and UKIP have 5%.

      My lot have a national 3% which is actually quite good. (SNP, not BNP).

    219. persephone — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:06 PM  

      Link @ 216

      If I saw the term British families I would take it that it refered to British of all races & would agree.

      If the same term was attributed to the BNP I would interpret that as meaning indigenous (or a la Griffin “look white”) because of their policies and stance. It would affect my response.

      That does not mean I agree with BNP policies.

    220. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:10 PM  

      cjcjc

      Why don’t you focus on the task in hand? That is tackling the BNP, and its vanguard EDL, SIOE or whatever other acronym that is going to surface.

    221. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:15 PM  

      Sid, I too stopped commenting for quite a while.

      No didn’t single you out, I think Boyo did that.

      You are welcome to offer quotes to the Daily Mail, and Andrew Gilligan.

      It was unforgiveable what you did, and you kept it quiet. It was the run up to the mayoral election, and it was a ruse (amongst many others) to remove Livingstone. And you might recall it proved to be false.

      Did it not occur to you planting stories like that would play into the hands of the BNP?

    222. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

      I would rather do so without the company of those who ally with equally unattractive religious nutters who themselves pose a threat to liberal values.

    223. Faisal (The Spittoon) — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:19 PM  

      It was unforgiveable what you did, and you kept it quiet. It was the run up to mayoral election, and it was a ruse (amongst many others) to remove Livingstone. And you might recall it proved to be false.

      What the hell are you talking about and why exactly are you making this up? I think you have me mistaken for someone else. Have things got so bad in your life that you have to resort to fabrication and character assassination to make your point?

    224. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

      cjcjc

      But you are prepared for the far-right to peddle their lies and obfuscations and remain a principled observer?

    225. douglas clark — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

      persephone @ 203,

      Well said.

    226. Rumbold — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

      Refresh and Faisal:

      One is reminded of this post’s title.

    227. Faisal (The Spittoon) — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

      Rumbold, like I said, I don’t post here anymore. And I find it quite extraordinary that Refresh should see to make up nonsense about me in addition to uphold some rather dodgy racist and communalist tendencies, as is his wont.

      I didn’t start this silly fight and I would prefer it if my name is not brought up and associated with lies and fabrication. Thanks

    228. Refresh — on 15th September, 2009 at 4:33 PM  

      Rumbold, you are right. Its a distraction.

      Sid, lets not continue that one. Lessons learnt and all that…

    229. johng — on 15th September, 2009 at 5:20 PM  

      cjcj or whatever you are calling yourself. I was referring to your own (ie personal) inability to construct arguments, make points, or generally say anything of interest to anyone. Not to the correctness or otherwise of your political strategy (how could anyone do that? you have’nt said anything about the matter under discussion).

    230. cjcjc — on 15th September, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

      Oh, I don’t have much to add to Sunny’s excellent original post.

      I just wanted to make sure that people knew exactly what kind of “anti-fascist” you are.

      A rather selective kind.

    231. Reza — on 16th September, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

      Jai

      “Reza, do you believe that the writings and philosophies of Rumi, Saadi, Hafez and Omar Khayyam would be destructive influences on British society?”

      No Jai I don’t. And despite feeling that like all religions, Islam has ugly aspects which we should be able to criticize freely, I don’t even believe that Islam is necessarily a destructive influence on British society.

      I love Muslim culture. I love Iranian culture. I am immersed in it whenever I visit Iran (which I do regularly). I’ve travelled extensively or worked in many Muslim majority countries; Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, and the UAE. Fascinating, interesting places with wonderful people.

      But Jai, it doesn’t matter what the culture is. Multiculturalism is the problem and it is all a question of numbers.

      Consider. If the Mongolian population in Britain grew to 2.5 million in thirty years through immigration and high birth rates then of course many ‘indigenous’ people would become unsettled by that. Non-Mongolians would see their neighbourhoods becoming increasingly ‘Mongolian’ in nature. The large Mongolian ‘community’ would, quite reasonably, begin demanding that their adopted nation makes more and more concessions to accommodate their unique cultural needs. Perhaps some of the Mongolians will be so rooted in their ancestral culture that a large percentage of them would arrange for their sons or daughters to go to Mongolia and marry a Mongolian to bring back to Britain with them.

      We’d have areas with large Mongolian populations and non-Mongolians would leave, turning those areas into effective ghetto’s.

      Some Mongolians may begin demanding changes in the law, for example traditional Mongolian courts to arbitrate on family issues. Perhaps they would lobby for schools, the police or the health service to provide special attire, which addresses Mongolian sensitivities.

      Perhaps some Mongolians will demand that the state recognizes, accommodates and provides welfare benefits for polygamous marriages as they are part of Mongolian culture.

      And maybe, we’ll have a situation that anyone who describes Chengis Khan as a mass murdering barbarian or criticizing Mongolian culture or history in any way will be silenced under race laws. ‘Mongolphobia’ will enter the English language.

      And the inevitable backlash will be more and more ‘Mongolphobia’. More division, more polarization and more opportunities for the far-right to exploit people’s fears, prejudices and opposition to Mongol influence and their perception of increasing ‘Mongolification’ of British society.

      Think about it.

    232. Jai — on 16th September, 2009 at 3:38 PM  

      Reza,

      Given the fact that the United States has a Muslim population of numerically larger size compared to Britain, the analogy and the hypothetical sequence of events doesn’t necessarily hold true. Presumably you’re also aware of the large (and very well-integrated) Iranian population in Los Angeles and the Arab population in Detroit, for example. And the average income level and overall standard of affluence of American Muslims is higher than the American average.

      “A question of numbers” ? Maybe. But it’s still worth bearing in mind that Muslims still only account for 3% of the total population of people in England and Wales. Scare stories about birth rates should be taken with a huge pinch of salt, because a) birth rates for immigrant populations tend to align with that of the majority population, and b) socioeconomic level is a major factor in determining birth rates, irrespective of the ethnicity or religion of the people concerned.

      As I’ve said previously on PP, it’s often predominantly about class, not race or religion.

      No Jai I don’t. And despite feeling that like all religions, Islam has ugly aspects which we should be able to criticize freely, I don’t even believe that Islam is necessarily a destructive influence on British society.

      I love Muslim culture. I love Iranian culture. I am immersed in it whenever I visit Iran (which I do regularly). I’ve travelled extensively or worked in many Muslim majority countries; Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, and the UAE. Fascinating, interesting places with wonderful people.

      So the basic point is that it’s not actually “multiculturalism” which is the problem, but which elements of the “foreign” culture one is adding to the mix. If the “addition” is positive and enriches the majority culture, then I don’t see any justifiable reasons to object.

      Incidentally remember what I said yesterday about how the greatest “non-British” cultural influence by far is actually American, as far as the UK is concerned; this country is already multicultural in nature irrespective of the presence or influence of Muslims or non-white people in general.

      There is another point I need to make in relation to your remarks (on another thread) about the apparently inevitable conflict between different populations, but I’ll post that on the thread concerned.

      However, to reiterate something I recently said: It’s very important that you remember that when many people object to “multiculturalism”, what they really mean is that they object to the presence of non-white people. Which means that you personally are included as a target of their bigotry and a part of a “problematic demographic” too.

    233. Jai — on 16th September, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

      (I’m posting the message again with the formatting corrected).

      Reza,

      Given the fact that the United States has a Muslim population of numerically larger size compared to Britain, the analogy and the hypothetical sequence of events doesn’t necessarily hold true. Presumably you’re also aware of the large (and very well-integrated) Iranian population in Los Angeles and the Arab population in Detroit, for example. And the average income level and overall standard of affluence of American Muslims is higher than the American average.

      “A question of numbers” ? Maybe. But it’s still worth bearing in mind that Muslims still only account for 3% of the total population of people in England and Wales. Scare stories about birth rates should be taken with a huge pinch of salt, because a) birth rates for immigrant populations tend to align with that of the majority population, and b) socioeconomic level is a major factor in determining birth rates, irrespective of the ethnicity or religion of the people concerned.

      As I’ve said previously on PP, it’s often predominantly about class, not race or religion.

      No Jai I don’t. And despite feeling that like all religions, Islam has ugly aspects which we should be able to criticize freely, I don’t even believe that Islam is necessarily a destructive influence on British society.

      I love Muslim culture. I love Iranian culture. I am immersed in it whenever I visit Iran (which I do regularly). I’ve travelled extensively or worked in many Muslim majority countries; Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, and the UAE. Fascinating, interesting places with wonderful people.

      So the basic point is that it’s not actually “multiculturalism” which is the problem, but which elements of the “foreign” culture one is adding to the mix. If the “addition” is positive and enriches the majority culture, then I don’t see any justifiable reasons to object.

      Incidentally remember what I said yesterday about how the greatest “non-British” cultural influence by far is actually American, as far as the UK is concerned; this country is already multicultural in nature irrespective of the presence or influence of Muslims or non-white people in general.

      There is another point I need to make in relation to your remarks (on another thread) about the apparently inevitable conflict between different populations, but I’ll post that on the thread concerned.

      However, to reiterate something I recently said: It’s very important that you remember that when many people object to “multiculturalism”, what they really mean is that they object to the presence of non-white people. Which means that you personally are included as a target of their bigotry and a part of a “problematic demographic” too.

    234. Reza — on 16th September, 2009 at 4:02 PM  

      Jai

      “Given the fact that the United States has a Muslim population of numerically larger size compared to Britain, the analogy and the hypothetical sequence of events doesn’t necessarily hold true. Presumably you’re also aware of the large (and very well-integrated) Iranian population in Los Angeles and the Arab population in Detroit, for example. And the average income level and overall standard of affluence of American Muslims is higher than the American average.”

      You make my point for me. The word is ‘intergrated’. I have many relatives in LA. Iranians in the US are, by and large, true Americans.

      Would you describe the very high numbers of people here, who return to their ancestoral homeland to take part in an arranged marriage to a foreigner and then bringing that foreigner to Britain as being “very well integrated”?

      What about the cultural, religious and ethnic ghettos we have in Britain? Is this helping integration.

      Multiculturalism in Britain is stymying integration.

    235. Jai — on 16th September, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

      The answers depend on the specific individuals and, most of all, on their income level and socioeconomic bracket.

      The example of Iranians in the US, and the connection to their level of affluence, is very relevant indeed. As is the issue of exactly which immigrant populations are less integrated in the US, and the average income level involved. All of which reinforce the point that “being Muslim” isn’t necessarily an intrinsic problem — it depends on the specific interpretation of Islam one believes in and (if the interpretation is a barrier to effectively functioning in a majority non-Muslim society) the extent to which one practices its tenets. The same as any cultural and/or religious background and influences originating in a different country to the one a person happens to live in. Although I certainly think that the US does a better job of promoting a shared national & cultural identity and thereby integrating immigrants compared to the UK.

      But, again, it’s predominantly about class before it’s about religion or race.

    236. Jai — on 16th September, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

      Multiculturalism in Britain is stymying integration.

      No, it isn’t. Bear in mind that there are other non-white, non-Muslim populations in Britain which don’t necessarily have major problems with integration, especially in the case of people at higher socioeconomic levels.

      And if you think that all the problems would be solved if only everyone became identical in attitudes, tastes, customs and behaviour to whatever you believe is the average white British person, then that’s a very naive and simplistic view to have. Integration is a two-way street…..and as I keep saying, in many cases people’s objections are frequently about race rather than culture, regardless of what they may claim.

    237. Reza — on 16th September, 2009 at 5:20 PM  

      Jai

      “But, again, it’s predominantly about class before it’s about religion or race.”

      So tell me, why are some religious, cultural or religious groups better at integrating than others? Why do South Asian Sikhs and Hindus do so much better in education and employment than South Asian Muslims?

      Why do we have so many second and even third generation South Asian Muslims who are very poorly integrated into society, ghettoized, and languish at the bottom of every social indicator, be it education, employment, economic success, welfare dependancy, criminality and prison population? Surely it must be cultural.

      (If you won’t accept those statistics, I’ll dig up a very reliable link for you).

    238. Jai — on 16th September, 2009 at 8:27 PM  

      Reza,

      You’ll get your answer if you compare the specific backgrounds (local & subcontinental) and environments of South Asian Muslims in Britain with South Asian Muslims in the US. The latter, as you know, are certainly not “very poorly integrated into American society”.

      There are some specific dynamics at play in each situation — just like, for example, there are some specific dynamics involved in the situation of many British Sikhs (generally well-integrated, law-abiding, aspirational, increasingly affluent) compared to the situation of many Canadian Sikhs (disproportionately high involvement in gang activities and organised crime).

      On a more general note, you should also read the following post by me on the other thread where I replied to you:

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5896#comment-178467

    239. Roger — on 17th September, 2009 at 5:12 PM  

      Musn’t object to alien colonisation, very bad taste

    240. Keith Butler — on 31st October, 2009 at 1:19 AM  

      i have lived in Birmingham for fifty five years, done twenty five years working with and for Muslims in the private hire trade, working the rougher areas of the city and sometimes as the only white red haired blue eyed christian, i have never had any problems, however since the war the youth are becoming more radical and it seems to be spreading. wheather this can be reversed is a matter for more intelligent people than me.



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