Nick Griffin & Question Time

October 23, 2009

I was unfortunately very disappointed with last nights Question Time and especially the way David Dimbleby chaired the discussion. Everyone knows that the BNP is a racist and vile party. Nick Griffin’s views are equally well known especially those relating to race, immigration and Islam i.e BNP topics. Yet more than three quarters of the show was devoted to these issues with quotes of what Griffin has stated in the past being thrown at him from all sides. Griffin despite being hated by almost all in the audience must have been delighted to have had the chance to say that immigration had been and was still out of control and that Islam was incompatible with western democracy. His message wasn’t to the studio audience but to those living in run down council estates and other deprived areas where such messages are so well received. He had several more open goals and had he not been so nervous and overwhelmed he could have made more of this opportunity to put forward his ideology and get his message across.

The panel discussions should have focused more on current concerns of the population on matters such as the economy, housing, education etc which would have exposed the shallowness of the BNP ideology. The BNP does well when it is criticizing others, highlighting or exposing populist concerns and being entirely negative and blaming a particular group for all society’s ills. Yet it doesn’t do well or win when it has to put forward policies to tackle these concerns or explain them in any detail.

Griffin would have looked even more out of his depth on discussions on education or crime or managing the economy out of the recession. In the end the BBC got its ratings and we didn’t learn anymore than we already knew about the BNP and Nick Griffin, who could have made much more of the oppurtunity afforded to him by the BBC to get his message out but failed to do so.

Advertisements

Two Million Extremists

February 18, 2009

The Guardian has details of the code from a new anti terror strategy being proposed in Government referred to as Contest 2. According to the draft anyone holding the following views would be regarded as an extremist:

• They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.

• They promote Sharia law.

• They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.

• They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.

• They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If this is adopted and becomes policy, the Government will have 2 million Muslim extremists on its hands in this country and perhaps many non Muslims as well.

Most of the above are thought crimes and some are directly contrary to the fundamental beliefs of Islam that Muslims hold. For example, Islam says that homosexuality is a sin – and every Muslim is aware of this. But the vast majority of Muslims living in this country do not discriminate against homosexuals or treat them any differently to anyone else. If they do then legislation is in place to prosecute them.

Most Muslims happily accept that they are living in a liberal democracy and a secular society where there is no state religion which everyone has to adhere to. Most simply do not care what a person does behind closed doors in the privacy of his home and how he chooses to live his life. Muslims view homosexuality being a sin in the the same way they view other sins such as people living together as an unmarried couple or having a child out of wedlock or drinking alcohol or eating pork. Why not add these to the list of extremists beliefs as well?

If promoting Sharia is an act of an extremist then the Government should go in the dock first. It has facilitated the introduction of Sharia based financial products now readily available from mainstream banks, permitted halal meat in schools, hospitals and elsewhere, given permission for Mosques and madressas to be built, funded Muslim only organisations, allowed and funded Muslim schools etc etc etc. All Muslims are promoting Sharia Law when they worship, follow moral guidance, marry in accordance with Islamic rules, fast in Ramadan, give charity and go on pilgrimage. This list is endless and shows how little thought has been given to the definition of Sharia Law.

The failure to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan would also lead to extremism. A million people marched against the war in Iraq and there were many who saw that as a war of aggression and occupation where people had a right to self defence and refused to condemn people who they thought were fighting in self defence who subsequently killed coalition soldiers. I suspect many non Muslims would get in trouble under this category too but is non condemnation sufficient justification to make someone an extremist? And how do you police this – would there be a register which people signed to condemn the killings of our soldiers and if you didn’t you’d be an extremist? What should be an offence is any celebration of the killing of any British soldier killed anywhere in combat regardless of whether a person agrees with the political decision to go to war or engage in combat.

The craziest one of all is this definition: ‘They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.’

Jihad is a fundamental belief in Islam. A Muslim state is given permission by Islam to defend itself against an aggressor or be aggressive where it fears an imminent attack. This is similar to the Just War Theory developed in Christianity. To say that anyone who believes this is an extremist is to hold an extremist view! It would be better to say that anyone who plans and engages in violent acts of terror and kills innocent people is an extremist regardless of whether he believes that he is engaged in Jihad.

Advocating a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries is not a crime. Actively pursuing it and engaging in acts of terror to achieve this would be. Advocating a Caliphate state in the UK is an oxymoron.  When the population of Muslims in a country is 7% advocating a Caliphate is a call that isn’t even worth responding to, let alone giving it such significance that it makes someone an extremist.

As mentioned here and here, the Government seems to have no idea what it is doing in its strategy in dealing with radicalisation and extremism in this country. The Contest 2 seems consistent with its previous actions.


Daft on Terror

February 11, 2009

The UK Government has decided that it will respond to potential terrorists with an ad on Pakistan TV with the following key aims:

‘to ensure Pakistanis realise the west is not “anti-Islamic”, that British society is not “anti-Islam”, to demonstrate the extent to which Muslims are integrated into British society and to stimulate and facilitate “constructive debate” on the compatibility of liberal and Muslim values.

It is recruiting prominent British Muslims to say that there is no contradiction in being a Muslim and British. Al Qaeda and his allies will be quaking in their boots as the Government spends £400,000 broadcasting these adverts.

These daft schemes come about when the Government listens to people with self interest in becoming ‘leaders’ in the Muslim communities in the UK. Do Pakistanis not know that there are millions of Muslims living in the UK and in the West who have all rights to practice their religion and that British society is not anti-Islam – do we need to spend £400,000 for that message?

A would be terrorist is not going to do a u-turn after he has watched these adverts. It is an ideology that terrorists follow which allows the killing of citizens of any country they believe is not governed by Islamic Law according to them regardless of how many Muslims reside there. They are not concerned with a country being anti-Islam – their goal is to govern every country based on their interpretation of Islam.

All the Government needs to do is look at why the terrorists have carried out bombings in Pakistan to realise this instead of playing silly beggars with gimmicks on issues such as terrorism. Why are Pakistani nationals carrying out bombings in Pakistan, a country founded on Islam and killing innocent Muslims? If the Government works this out, it won’t end up wasting resources on daft schemes designed to massage egos instead of dealing with terrorists.


Wilders Shouldn’t be Prosecuted

January 21, 2009

I am somewhat surprised to learn that Geert Wilders will be prosecuted for insulting Muslims by comparing Islam with Nazism after a ruling by the Amsterdam Appeals Court.

While Mr Wilders views are repugnant and designed deliberately to offend Muslims and incite religious hatred, I don’t agree that bringing a prosecution is in the public interest. It seems that Dutch authorities will seek to prosecute under similar provisions contained in the UK Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 which at the time seemed to be designed to appease certain groups supporting the Government than being a serious attempt to deal with religious hatred.

Any Court action against Mr Wilders will give him a platform to seek more publicity, and if he is found guilty and sentenced he will claim to be a martyr for the causes of freedoms of speech and expression. And quite frankly I can’t see how anything that Mr Wilders says about Islam makes any difference to the beliefs Muslims hold. I doubt if he has the ability to divert a single Muslim away from Islam or prevent anyone interested in the religion to stay away from it – but if he wants to spend the rest of his life trying to do that, then let him carry on.

He shouldn’t be prosecuted for freedoms of expression and speech reasons as well. While inciting violence should be prosecuted, inciting religious hatred should not for the obvious reason that the threshold for prosecuting anyone under this category is too low. For example, Mr X belonging to religion Y could be prosecuted if for example he denied a fundamental belief of religion A, and Mr B, a believer and follower of religion A took offence to that comment and claimed that Mr X was inciting hatred.

The flip side to this argument is that a judge and jury are able to distinguish between hatred and criticism but surely if that is the case, are we not entering into a legal minefield where many subjective matters such as the intention of the inciter would have to be accurately determined? And if every inciter was to say that his intention wasn’t to incite hatred, are we not left with a strict liability offence which undoubtedly encroaches on freedoms of speech and expression?