Monday, October 16, 2006

Eureka !

I couldn't understand it. Jack Straw's remarks about the veil. Why did he make them ?

Alright, they were pretty unexceptional - couched as a polite request. But he must have known that it doesn't take much to offend the ummah - or their self-appointed spokespersons, anyway. And he'd spent the previous few years bowing and scraping in best dhimmi fashion - preferring to look the other way when Muslims avoided Holocaust Memorial Day, for example.

Some said he was trying to look tougher than John Reid or jockeying for the Deputy Leadership. Didn't feel right. Was he genuinely worried for social cohesion ? Could he possibly be sincere ? I asked the sainted Mick Hartley and he thought this was probable.

The other Ministers waded in. Phil Woolas - like Jack Straw, representing a community with a strong BNP vote. Then Gordon Brown. Harriet Harman (and Trevor Phillips, who I've noted before seems to have opened his eyes a little). Ruth Kelly. The mighty Prescott. Those Labour MPs who demur, like John Denham, are not in the inner circle. Of the Cabinet, only Peter Hain has to my knowledge expressed misgivings.

Still didn't make sense. Why now ? Traditionally the Government's response to radical Islam has been :

3,000 dead in New York - extra police patrols to protect mosques. Fund reports on Islamophobia. Orgy of breast-beating and apology. Throw taxpayer money at Muslim pressure groups and "community projects".

56 dead in London - extra police patrols to protect mosques. Blanket condemnation of Islamophobia. More money thrown.

London bombers turn out to be British-born. Set up working parties on exclusion and Islamophobia. More funding. Working parties blame terrorism on British foreign policy, racism and Islamophobia.

Cartoon brouhaha. Congratulate the British press on its wise restraint.

Demonstrators call for the murder of those who insult Islam. Police arrest angry passers-by while ignoring the placards.



The past is not necessarily a guide to the future. The trees do not grow up to the sky. Yet there's nothing in the Government's past record to lead one to expect such a volte-face. What happened ?

You've just got to conclude that Mohammed Abdul Bari's September 10th Sunday Telegraph interview was the camel that broke the Straw's back.

" ... some police officers and sections of the media are demonising Muslims, treating them as if they're all terrorists — and that encourages other people to do the same. If that demonisation continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists — 700,000 of them in London"

This interview, so noted by rightish bloggers, somehow failed to be reported by the BBC or Guardian. The MCB have complained that Bari was misquoted, to which the journalist replied "I have consulted my notes, and stand by the story as written."

To this Muslim blogger, Bari's remarks were "an error on a grand scale". It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder, eh ? But I'd have to agree. It was the latest in a series of incidents in which a few individual Muslims seem to have set out to prove that Islamophobic stereotyping is actually a pretty good predictor of reality.


The BNP leader Nick Griffin was charged with using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred after a 2004 speech in which he claimed that there would be bomb attacks by "asylum seekers or second generation Pakistanis living in Bradford". A year later there were bomb attacks by second generation Pakistanis from Leeds and Dewsbury, and the arrest of refugees after a failed bombing attempt.

In 2004, Home Office Minister Paul Goggins illustrated the kind of evil that a Religious Hatred law could prevent :

you might get a poster "showing women wearing burkas, saying that such women are not to be trusted, er, could be suicide bombers, er, who knows what they are hiding under their coats, a poster of that kind ..."
Then the Times reported :

A MALE suspect in a major anti-terrorist investigation in Britain escaped capture by allegedly disguising himself as a Muslim woman dressed in a burka, The Times can reveal.

Now Mr Bari has, with one interview, made it nigh-on impossible to prosecute anyone who suggests or implies that any Muslim is a potential terrorist. After all, hasn't the MCB secretary said so himself ? Nobody can demonise the Muslim community more impressively than that, can they ?

So I imagine the Government are doubly cheesed off.

Firstly, the responses to their various consultation exercises post 7/7 have been, let's say, not exactly encouraging. Their attempts to 'engage' have been met with a chorus of complaint and accusation coupled with requests for more funding - a tactic which up to now has been pretty successful. But it seems there's a limit even for this government.

The Government withdrew its support from Britain’s largest Muslim organisation yesterday after accusing it of failing to lead the fight against religious extremism.

Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary, attacked the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) for boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day, criticising police anti-terrorist operations and “sitting on the sidelines” in the campaign against extremists.


Secondly, I've got no idea what the polls are saying, but I can't believe that the (pre-veil) events of the last year - the foreign prisoner scandal, the huge influx of economic migrants, the cartoon row - have had no impact on public opinion. At the end of the month the BNP leader's retrial begins (the jury failed to reach a verdict last time out). It certainly won't hurt the Government to be seen to be "tough on extremism" at such a time.

You never know - they may even be worried about the votes of the despised white working class.




UPDATE - I'd better point out that no matter what noises Straw and Kelly make, there's not a cat in hell's chance that they'll actually do anything about the long-term demographic challenge.

7 comments:

john prescott's tiny pianist said...

"I couldn't understand it. Jack Straw's remarks about the veil. Why did he make them ?"
Oh, come on Laban, have you forgotten Jo Moore's good day to bury bad news so soon? Whilst this has been in the headlines how much else has passed by without undue comment?

Voyager said...

Try this instead..........Mrs Azmi is the daughter of the Head of The Islamic Institute for education in Dewsbury............

Curriculum provision is good in the madrasah and unsatisfactory overall in the afternoon school. The Institute largely achieves its aim to provide a curriculum which includes both `the study of Qur'an and hadeeth' (the beliefs and practice of Islam as exemplified in the life of the Prophet Muhammad) and `classical Islamic texts', together with `secular subjects'. Pupils' education is organised into two parts. A range of Islamic studies, the madrasah curriculum taught in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, includes logic, history, theology, Islamic law and ethics. Qur'an recitation, memorisation and commentary, Arabic grammar and vocabulary and hadeeth (traditions of the Prophet Mohammad) memorisation and commentary are also studied. In the afternoons, from Monday to Friday, the school curriculum consists of English, mathematics, science, information communication technology (ICT), physical education (PE) and citizenship. Pupils are taught Urdu as this is the principal language of instruction in the madrasah curriculum. Pupils can take General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations in all of these subjects except citizenship, which is only taught in Key Stage 3. However, not all pupils are entered for all GCSE subjects offered by the Institute.

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/manreports/2523.htm#P83_1814

The Institute of Islamic Education (Jaamia Talimul Islam) is a well-established darul uloom (Islamic seminary) situated close to the centre of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. The purpose-built Institute is in the grounds of, and closely connected to the Markazi mosque. It provides full-time education for boys between the ages of 12 and 16 years in Islamic studies. These are taught in the mornings and known as the `madrasah', and some National Curriculum subjects are taught in the afternoon, called the `school'. The aim of the Institute is to train Imams and, or ustaads (Islamic studies teachers) and scholars in order to benefit the communities to which they return. Most students stay on after the age of 16 years to complete the alim (Islamic Studies) course and the hifz course (memorisation of the Qur'an), graduating after seven to nine years. Some graduates return to teach at the Institute, while others work in the community as Imams. Many students also work in the wider public service. Well known and respected amongst many Muslims, the Institute was founded in 1982 `...to provide a healthy Islamic environment where the study of Qur'aan and hadeeth (sayings of the Prophet Mohammad) can be taught alongside secular studies...'. Furthermore qualities of `...piety, compassion and responsibility...' are strongly promoted in pupils.


Anger over terror plot allegation
MUSLIMS have reacted angrily to national newspaper reports linking Dewsbury to the latest alleged terror plot.
An article in the Sunday Telegraph said several of those arrested in connection with an apparent plot to blow up planes en route from Britain to America had studied an Islamic movement called Tablighi Jamaat – the British headquarters of which are in Savile Town.

The group is run from the 3,000-capacity Markazi Mosque, in South Street, which is also the organisation’s European base.

But Shabbir Daji, a secretary and trustee of the Tablighi Jamaat movement and spokesman for the mosque, said the organisation had no links with Islamic extremism. He said: “We are an organisation that offers information to Muslims on how to reform themselves.

“We are not a political organisation and we do not let any brothers speak about politics in the mosque. We do not create those sorts of people. We condemn them totally. If we think anyone has an agenda outside our own, we immediately throw them out. We have nothing to hide. We feel very bad and very angry we are being linked to what is going on. People are putting out information that is untrue.”

The article also mentioned how July 7 suicide bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan, who lived in Thornhill Lees for the six months prior to the attack since moving from Leeds, is thought to have worshipped at the mosque.

Khan was said to have been the ringleader of the London attacks and killed six people when he detonated a bomb on the underground near Edgware Road.

Dewsbury South councillor Imtiaz Ameen (Con) said he found it frustrating Dewsbury, Savile Town and mosques such as the Markazi Mosque were repeatedly linked with terrorism.

He said: “It’s an easy target because it is the centre of this movement. But as far as it propagates any violence it is absurd. It shows a lack of understanding of what actually goes on there.

“I’ve lived in Savile Town all my life and most of my friends go there, many of them professional people.

“If somebody says these chaps used to go to a mosque, well they went to Asda, Sainsbury’s and the hospital too. Does that mean supermarkets and hospitals are breeding grounds for terrorists? It’s a false analogy. It shows a lack of understanding of the issue.

“Every Muslim goes to a mosque but just because it’s a Muslim who ends up doing something crazy, and he’s been to a particular mosque it becomes a breeding ground for terrorism.

“These things don’t happen in a mosque, these people are recruited often in colleges, universities and on the internet, it’s not done openly in a mosque and in other areas.

“We had mosques 30 years ago.
29 August 2006


Is this the same group using Saudi money to build a £100 million mosque for 70.000 in London near the Olympic stadium ?

Anonymous said...

"I couldn't understand it. Jack Straw's remarks about the veil. Why did he make them ?"

It's the threat from the BNP, not sufficient for the election of a BNP candidate, but making it difficult for Labour to be certain of the size of their own vote.

See
http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/byelections/index.htm

where the BNP stand, they are consistently getting a vote big enough to cloud future predictions.

Anonymous said...

The whole veil debate seems too PC but it shows what even a bit of backbone can acheive, now other institutions are finding they dont have to craven appeasers either. Its a start.

James said...

I think it's a temporary blip...Loads of sound and fury...

Welcome to Air Strip One.

The lionisation of the MCB and the MAB are now set for the memory hole.

Anonymous said...

The "sudden" conversion of a number of prominent Labour MPs - including the PM - against multiculturalism is neither sudden or accidental. It all quite calculated and deliberate.

What has happened is that Labour have woken up to the fact that they can - for the time being - afford to lose the muslim vote, but they can not afford, yer, to lose the vote of the white working class.

Margaret Hodge highlighted this in the run up to the local elections when she said that white voters were deserting the Labour party for the BNP.

Labour have realised that they have pushed their agenda along too fast and are now applying the brakes - but it is only ever going to be a temporary slow down. Not a halt and certainly not a reversal.

Guessedworker said...

The outside curve - bigger and slower to travel its course, therefore, than all the rest - is the growing sense of Englishness. Foreign repatriation awaits in the skirts of English patriation. We'll save our children's birthright if we are true to ourselves, and this is the future - not some racially Marxist hell presided over by a gated elite. Change is there for us if we want it, and we do.