On 30th May, the influential yet controversial Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) wrote to Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis demanding an independent inquiry into “Islamophobia” within the party.
Detailing nine so-called examples of the ‘hate crime’, secretary general Harun Khan urged Lewis to conduct a full audit of Tory members to ensure “racists and bigots have no place in the party”. Here we pick apart the letter and explain why, far from being reasons to spend millions on a formal enquiry, these incidents are largely tenuous or downright disingenuous when used as evidence of deep-seated “Islamophobia” in Britain’s ruling party.
- 5 April: Mike Payne, who shared an article which called Muslims ‘parasites’ who ‘live off the state and breed like rabbits’
On first glance the term ‘parasites’ can appear harsh, and it would be undeniably wrong to label all Muslims as such. However, when we look at the latest available statistical data from the government as well as analyse the definition of the word ‘parasite’ it appears to have more than a sliver of truth behind it. The definition of a parasite is an organism which lives on or in another organism, the host, causing it some harm.
Although there are no known stats around welfare dependency by religion, we would suggest it is reasonable to suggest a higher than average proportion of British Muslims depend on the state given that only 19 per cent of Muslims aged between 16 and 74 are currently in full-time employment. This is far lower than the overall UK average which stands at 35 per cent.We also know, according to the 2011 census, that 27 per cent of Muslim households in England and Wales live in social housing compared to 18% of households overall. On top of that, the average Muslim household has a birth-rate 0.5 per cent higher than households overall, each reproducing 2.3 children compared to 1.8.
So are many Muslims living off the state? An educated assumption, given the available evidence of how few are in employment, would suggest so. And are they reproducing far quicker than other religious groups? Yes, as confirmed by official figures.
2. 17 April: Alexander van Terheyden, who called Islam a ‘violent political ideology’ comparable to fascism and communism
Islam as a religion was born into a violent context, being written in the 7th century in the Arabian Peninsula during a time of war. The Prophet Mohammed, who we will come onto later, and his early followers had to fight constantly for survival in a brutal desert environment where various tribes were competing for resources. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that given the persecuted, dog-eat-dog world in which these holy texts were influenced, significant parts of the Qur’an and other Islamic texts are brutal.
In total there are well over 100 verses that appear to condone violence in one way or another in the Qur’an alone, some of the verses being explicitly violent – and that’s without even getting on to other Islamic scriptures like Sira and the Hadiths. “Kill [nonbelievers] wherever you find them,” says a line in the 2nd sura, or chapter. “Strike off their heads and strike from them every fingertip,” instructs another, also referring to what Muslims should do when they encounter someone of another faith.
Throughout its 1,400-year history there are hundreds of examples where Islam has been used for political means and so referring to the faith as a ‘violent political ideology’ is factual, though of course many don’t interpret it in that way and live happy and peaceful lives.
3. 20 April: Darren Harrison, who was alleged to have links to Generation Identity, an anti-Islam organisation with strong links to far-right groups across Europe
What happened to freedom of association in the UK? As long as a group doesn’t promote acts of violence, and Generation Identityare quick to claim they are “explicitly non-violent”, then why should an individual not be entitled to support or be a member of an “anti-Islam” organisation especially given the facts laid out in the point above? Whatever you want to call it, Islam is a belief system, a religion, a political ideology – and people should be free to oppose it non-violently if they so wish. Muslims are people and, as such, some follow Islamic scripture by the letter (and those are the folk we have every right to be worried about) whereas many do not and have become more secularised through Western democracy. It is a subtle yet important distinction to make and one which the mainstream media and those with agendas like the MCB are far too quick to gloss over and actively manipulate.
4. 24 April: Phillipa Auton, who retweeted a tweet from Tommy Robinson and tweeted ‘Revoke Muslim immigration, repatriate and secure European borders…’ as a means of keeping Europe safe
This is nothing more than a common sense, majority viewpoint. A major Chatham House study revealed in February 2017 that a majority of Europeans want a ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries. An average of 55 per cent of people across the 10 European countries surveyed wanted to stop all future immigration from mainly Muslim countries, with 47 per cent in the UK supporting this viewpoint. Auton should be congratulated for standing up for such a large cohort of the people she represents, a rarity in UK politics today, rather than being used as a convenient scapegoat for this “Islamophobic” narrative.
5. 25 April: Peter Lucey who liked a page by right-wing extremist Tommy Robinson and Geert Wilders, the anti-Muslim Dutch politician, and made a number of posts about Islam and the English Defence League
Geert Wilders is an explicitly anti-Islam politician, not an “anti-Muslim” one – and for the same reasons we outlined above, MCB blur this distinction because they know very well that to be the latter would make you a bigot but not the former. Wilders is the leader of the second largest party in the Dutch parliament so to use this as an example of the Conservative Party needing to conduct an independent enquiry is nothing short of ludicrous. As for Robinson, who admittedly has fallen foul of the law several times for football violence, mortgage fraud and now contempt of court, to call him an “extremist” is again sensationalism at its most cynical. The reality is that his social media platforms are watched or listened to (or at least were, before his imprisonment) several million times each week. Are these people all extremists too? For all his faults, Robinson resonates with many working-class people and MCB would be better advised researching why this is the case than casting out spurious labels which mean very little.
6. 27 April: Nick Sundin, who tweeted the ‘Prophet Mohammed was a ‘f****** paedophile’
We don’t agree with Nick’s choice of French, but is it fair to call Prophet Mohammed a paedophile? It’s an interesting debate. The founder of Islam is widely accepted to have become engaged to his wife Aisha when she was six or seven, before the marriage was consummated a couple of years later upon her reaching puberty. Some argue that practices like this were common at this point in history however when you consider that he had sexual relations with her aged nine and that Muslims consider Mohammed’s life to be exemplary and one to which all Muslim men should aspire, this is where it becomes very troublesome indeed. In this day and age, and by most countries in the developed world, these actions would be considered grossly offensive and unquestionably against the law. To call him a paedophile is, again, a particular point of view and going by the available evidence seems like a fair conclusion to arrive at. Either way, it’s certainly not worthy of using as a stick to beat the Tory party with.
7. 1 May: Karen Sunderland, who called Islam ‘the new Nazism’
What did the Nazis strive for? Supremacy over those that were different, in particular the Jewish people who were subjected to heinous crimes still too unimaginable to this day. Islam, similarly, has a history of conquest and supremacy over non-Muslims. And as lines betweenantisemitism and anti-Zionism become increasingly blurred and spurred on by the escalation in the Israel-Palestine conflict, a number of studies have suggested that anti-Semitic ideas are far more prevalent among Muslim youth in various western European countries than with their Christian counterparts. In 2011, Mark Elchardus, a Belgian sociologist, published a report on Dutch-language elementary schools in Brussels. He found that about 50 per cent of Muslim students in second and third grade could be considered anti-Semites, versus 10 per cent of others.
To equate Islam with Nazism might seem like an oversimplification and a false supposition given that many followers of Islam are inherently peaceful. But on the flip side, to dismiss such a correlation as simply unfounded hate is to do nothing to further honest and frank debate which Britain as an advanced Western society should be more than capable of doing.
8. 1 May: David Boston posted a picture of bacon hanging on a door handle as a way to ‘protect your house from terrorism’
This was a dumb thing to do and, quite apart from anything else, a shocking waste of good food. But in the same way Muslims are right to remind people that bacon isn’t what kryptonite is to Superman, neither is this some kind of crime-of-the-century either. It’s just an unfunny picture of bacon hanging from a door handle, that’s it.
9. 23 May: Stephen Goldsack had formerly been the “Scottish security adviser” for the BNP in 2001, which led to the Muslim Council of Scotland accusing the Conservative Party of a “deep problem” of racism and Islamophobia
We’re no fans of the British National Party and many of the things they stand for are abhorrent. But we will defend to the death their right to have those opinions because that’s exactly what they are: opinions. And opinions, viewpoints and arguments can only be defeated if you debate them openly, instead of forcing them underground where they eventually come back far more powerfully. And besides, the fact somebody worked for the BNP 17 years ago is absolutely no reason to accuse a different political party of “racism” and “Islamophobia” now. People change, opinions change, and this is yet another bottom-of-the-barrel, weak attempt to push their chosen narrative.
When Khan concludes his letter by saying he wants Tories to “adopt a programme of training and education on Islamophobia” he is essentially saying we need to be taught not to criticise Islam – an idea. The day we are banned from dissenting ideas is the day we become a full-on totalitarian state and as Majid Nawaz very correctly said this week, “Islamophobia” is nothing more than a fabricated term designed to railroad blasphemy laws through the backdoor.
We must resist these contemptuous attempts to rein in individual liberties and continue criticising what is, to many, a backward, abhorrent ideology which belongs in the last millennium.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain