There seems to be a growing incapability of Western ‘liberals‘ (and I consider myself a Western liberal) to criticise anything to do in any way, with Islam, or any of those who preach hate in such open forums, if they happen to be Muslim. It is taboo. We register our “disgust” with those who make “offensive” cartoons of the Prophet, and attempt to defend those who burn down embassies simply because they are “offended“. It is treated akin to racism, to criticise, mock, satirise Islam, in a way that isn’t present when speaking of Christianity, for example.
We will for example see countless ‘Unite Against Fascism‘ counter-demonstrations against the Fascist EDL or BNP. We wont see the same anti-fascist sentiment from the UAF aimed at preachers of Islamic hate at the ‘Global Peace and Unity‘ Event. Excuses are made; we are told it’s our fault in the West, for the behaviour of Islamic extremists, rather than taking any sort of critical analysis of the Qur’an, Hadith, the history of Islamism, the autonomous nature of its ideology, or Scholarly works. It is a curious form of liberalism, an extreme form of cultural relativism. A form in which we see ‘Respect‘ councillor Salma Yaqoob tell us that any attack on the ‘Global Peace and Unity Event‘ must come from ultra-zionists. She doesn’t mention the countless vile hate preachers that speak at the event, nor does she speak out against the vile rhetoric employed by some at this event. Instead, she used her time to lecture us, predictably, on how terrible the West is, and how anyone who says otherwise, is Islamophobic. She goes on to say:
“The kind of politics motivating these attacks on the GPU and IslamExpo events is highly dangerous. If, inside the Muslim community, the public space to even discuss concerns and distress over foreign policy gets squeezed, a dangerous vacuum is created….
…We should also challenge and seek to eradicate hateful ideologies which seek to divide us, whether this is Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any other form of racism. ”
– I will demonstrate in this article, what those “concerns and distress” amounts to. It amounts to Salma herself, referring to 7/7 as a “reprisal attack“. It includes promoting terrorism, killing those who insult Islam, and insisting that society should not tolerate homosexuality in any way.
She unreasonably suggests that those of us criticising the GPU events, wish to silence discussion on foreign policy. Which is utterly ridiculous.
Notice also that her only inclusion of what constitutes ‘hateful ideologies‘ are based on religion. She mentions racism, but in the same context as religion. This follows the Islamophobia line, that to criticise or satirise the concept of Islam, is inherently racist. This is a supremely effective way of silencing criticism from a liberal perspective, making sure criticism of Islam in any form is regarded as the realm of the far right only. This has to change.
She does not include homophobia, hate for “the West” (which i’m now calling Kuffarophobic), or calling for the death of anyone deemed to have “insulted” Islam. Her position, is indicative of a Muslim superiority complex. Her sentiment, that we should all love each other, be one, fight those who seek to divide; is a beautiful sentiment. Yet when applied to the event that she is defending here, it is completely devoid of reality.
When you hear that an event entitled ‘Global Peace and Unity‘ will again be staged in London, and that it is usually attended by many tens of thousands of people, it inspires a sense of hope for humanity. That perhaps, people are able to put aside their religious, social, and economic differences and call for a time of unity for humanity based not on silly little prejudices, but on our common connections. Unfortunately, that is not what the annual ‘Global Peace and Unity’ event promotes, when we take a look at who is asked to attend and speak at these events. The conclusion is far more sinister.
One of the stalls selling merchandise at the 2010 event, was a group calling themselves “Wearaloud“. The stall sold tshirts (one of which the Telegraph brought, at the event) with the logo of al-Qassam Brigade, the militant wing of Hamas, responsible for countless terrorist attacks. Shirts showing militants holding rifles, and others with the flag of Hezbollah. This isn’t surprising when we see who organises the event that Yaqoob thinks is a symbol of peace and unity.
The event is organised by the ‘Islam Channel‘, for the sake of promoting dialogue within Islam.
This, from a channel in which Islamist propaganda is spewed daily, whilst also, rather curiously, playing the victim card with constant references to “Islamophobia“. Mehdi Hasan similarly uses the victim mentality, shouting “Isamophobia” at anyone slightly critical of his faith, or satirising his Prophet, whilst at the same time insisting that it’s perfectly reasonable to refer to non-believers as “animals” and that we are a “people of no intelligence“, see here for my article on the hypocrisy of Mehdi Hasan, and the right and responsibility of all to be free to question and offend ideas that demand authority over the lives of others.
In the past, the Islam Channel has openly advertised DVDs for the sermons of al-Awlaki; a regional commander of Al Qaeda, a preacher of hate including to 9/11 hijackers, himself involved in the failed Christmas day airplane bombing, and in contact with the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. A terrorism expert referred to al-Awlaki, the hero of the ‘Islam Channel‘ as:
“one of the principal jihadi luminaries for would-be homegrown terrorists.”
In 2010, Nazreen Nawaz, a reporter for the channel, and member of Hizb ut-Tahrir; a group that wishes to impose a resurrected Islamic Caliphate upon non-Muslims across the World, by destroying Secularism, and feels the need to insult everything – including the concept of Democracy – that doesn’t conform to Islamist standards as “kufr” (an abusive term for non-muslims) said this:
“The idea that a woman cannot refuse her husband’s relations…. this is not strange to a Muslim because it is part of maintaining that strong marriage. But it shouldn’t be such a big problem where the man feels he has to force himself upon the woman.”
– So keep that in mind, when these kuffarophobic, extremist, sycophants attempt to mould the words “peace” and “unity” to their horrific cause, whilst referring to anyone who disagrees as “Islamophobic“.
One of the speakers at a past ‘Global Peace and Unity‘ event was Sheikh Shady Al-Suleiman. He is active with the “Muslim Youth” (also known as, indoctrinating impressionable minds). On his website, his group gleefully announces that they have invited al-Awlaki to speak in front of thousands of young people. The forum is full of excited extremists. According to Lakemba mosque, which put on the event, Al-Suleiman was the man in charge of booking the speakers at the time. Of all the people he could have chosen, why one of the most extreme, violent, and deadly men on the planet, linked to practically every major terrorist incident in decades? Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman is advertised here on the ‘Global Peace‘ website.
It isn’t only Al-Awlaki promoters invited to speak on ‘Global Peace & Unity‘. Here they are advertising the Pakistani Muslim fanatical politician Mohammad Ijaz ul-Haq. They describe his previous statements rather flippantly with:
“Ijaz is famous for his comments supporting nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan as well as his public denunciation of the knighthood of Salman Rushdie.”
– “Public denunciation” it was not. Public incitement to terrorism and suicide attacks, it was. On the subject of Sir Salman Rushdie receiving a Knighthood, ul-Haq (invited to the Global PEACE and UNITY event) said this:
“If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the ‘sir’ title.”
– Here, he presumes he has a right to threaten the UK, and the life of a man who simply wrote a book that he and others found “offensive“, unless the government does as he wants, and conforms to his ideals on ‘blasphemy‘; ideals that the rest of us grew out of centuries ago. Ijaz is a member of the Pakistani Government, whose delegation to the UN demanded their role extend to finding and publicly shaming:
“abuses of free expression including defamation of religions and prophets”.
– Defamation of a religion, consider an ‘abuse of free speech‘? Can we similarly search out and publicly shame those who constantly defame the “kuffar“, or “The West“? or homosexuality? Do those Islamist ideals fall under ‘abuses of free expression‘? I suspect not. We are all entitled to defame, criticise, satirise, and mock, ideas that demand authority over the lives of others. It is a right, and it is essential. It is horrendous for any liberal minded person, to defend these illiberal, totalitarian, Theocrats. It isn’t just offensive to Western values, it is offensive to liberal values. He is entitled to his views, he is entitled to say what he thinks, we cannot, and should not silence him. But the moment he starts inciting violence, he should no longer be tolerated.
This is a violent man, advocating the World conform to his standards, by threat of violence, based on an extreme interpretation of Islam, which places it above all forms of criticism or satire. A civilised, liberal society is no place for a man like that.
Muhammad Alshareef, a speaker at the 2010 ‘Global Peace & Unity‘ festival, is a big fan of attacking, and Jews, as much as possible. Here he says:
“When a Prophet came to them, if what he taught did not appeal to them they either rejected that truth or slit the throat of the Prophet and followed what was to them appealing.
[We had already taken the covenant of the Children of Israel and had sent to them messengers. Whenever there came to them a messenger with what their souls did not desire, a groups (of the Messengers) they denied and another party they killed.] – al-Maa’idah 5/70
And we must remember here that this is not the commentary of some human journalist who claims to be neutral. This is the Lord of the Universe telling us – in verses to be read till the final day – the deepest secrets that lie in the pits of Judaism.”
– The “deepest secrets that lie in the pits of Judaism“. The Islamic superiority complex; one that feels it can insult whomever it wishes, whilst condemning to death anyone who “insults” Islam.
Alshareef’s Islamic superiority complex continues:
“The Qur’ân tells us of snakes in the grass that bit the Jews. Allâh tells us this so that we may take warning of what led them to evoke Allâh’s anger and not be bitten by the same snake………. A Muslim may never marry a Jewish or Christian man that remains in his beliefs.”
– The Jews are presented as wicked, in need of saving, by a vicious God that Jews don’t believe in, in the first place.
That Muslims are not supposed to keep their faith private, but instead, must get in the face of innocent Jewish people, minding their own business, to parrot the line that they’re wicked and in need of saving. This has nothing to do with Israel. We are lead to believe that Islamists simply dislike the violent nature of Israel. It just isn’t true. One look at the Constitutions of Hamas and Fatah, will show you that Islamists dislike Jews, because they are not Muslim. Hamas are currently teaching Hebrew to children in Gaza, not to advance a peaceful resolution through dialogue, but to “understand the language of the enemy”. Here, watch this rather harrowing clip. Those who preach anti-Jewish hatred, are given a platform in what Yaqoob describes as “uniting all in favour of peace and unity“.
Notice as well, a Muslim may never marry a Jewish or Christian “man“. It doesn’t matter who the woman falls in love with, according to alshareef. She’s a woman. And therefore must do as the patriarchal Islamists demand. Horrendous. Illiberal.
It’s not just Jews that Alshareef hates, and tells others to hate. It’s also gay people. Homosexuality is only stigmatised, because of the bile that people like alshareef spew. The bullying continues, because of religious hatred. There is no logical reason to stigmatise homosexuality. Nothing. It is just religion.
Religious people, who insist we are intolerant of their beliefs, then spew hate like this:
“Whenever there is a gay rally – isn’t it interesting that they call them gay, they’re happy people, right? – there are a type of people who go to these rallies and stand up for the truth. They have signs that tell them to stop what they’re doing or they will go to hellfire. Do you think they are Muslims? No, they are not Muslims, they are Christians. They are Christians who stand up for this. … I pray to Allah that you will join the ranks and start to stand up and speak against things like this.”
– “Stand up for the truth“. Muslims are most definitely a group of people that do not quite understand the word “truth“.
He doesn’t quantify what he means by “truth“, but he argues that the Christian aggression against homosexuality, is correct, and so we must look at the “truth” of the Christian arguments. It usually falls into three rather ridiculous arguments. Firstly “It’s unnatural“. In fact, there is not one reputable scientific source that will in any way, suggest that sexuality is merely a choice. There is not one reputable scientific source that will say: “You know, turns out Leviticus and homophobic Muslim were right. TRUTH!”. None. This includes:The American Psychiatric Association, The World Health Organisation, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists, Council on Child and Adolescent Health, The British Psychological Society,The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy…. all of these intensely reputable sources, with a wealth of research and evidence, will all tell you that sexuality, is part of a natural spectrum. There is no debate here. We could also point to homosexuality spotted in over 1000 species. Do you know what isn’t natural? Do you know what isn’t noticed in over 1000 species? A Prophet claiming ‘divine‘ revelation from a God that spends an eerily convenient amount of time proscribing a large array of women the Prophet is allowed to marry or have sex with, whilst murdering his way across the World. I could go on, but I cover the silly religious arguments against same-sex marriage here. We must be intolerant of religious intolerance. It is based on nothing but ‘belief‘ in absurdities, obscure teachings, and 7th century ‘morality‘. And yet, this man is given a platform to announce his hate to even more people, at an event manipulatively entitled “Global Peace and Unity”. It should come with the subtitle: “Unless you’re gay. Or Jewish. Or a dirty Kuffar“.
Here’s another horrid little Islamic Preacher invited to the 2010 ‘Peace and Unity‘ event. Yasir Qadhi. A man who has spoken and written on “Islamophobia“, also seems to enjoy propagating his disturbingly vicious views on Homosexuality. He speaks of living in the ’80s, when names were given to “these people“, when the “average” person viewed gay people with disdain. With apparent nostalgia, and admiration for that period of time, that led to such vitriol, and uninformed hatred, Yasir Qadhi suggests we have now “regressed” out of that ’80s mindset, because it is unacceptable to present weak and dangerous arguments that promote the further stigmatising of homosexuality. Here, is presents a hugely illiberal and curiously uninformed idea, as acceptable.
He is a typical religious extremist, fighting tooth and nail against any evidence that contradicts his position. It isn’t that he’s banned from speaking out, he can be as hate filled as he wishes. It is simply that Western, liberal society does not accept his arguments are legitimate any more. They are baseless. They are vicious, and they have been crushed by reason along with a huge amount of verified research pointing the fact that sexuality, is just as natural as eye colour or skin colour, and that to stigmatise based on something so natural, is just not right. This is what Qadhi doesn’t like. He wants to be free to be a homophobe, without being called a homophobe. His freedom to abuse people, he feels is under threat. Good.
He then, rather amusingly, states that its unfair to call anti-homosexual remarks “hatred” or “homophobia“…. he follows this by telling us a story about his mythical fairy sky man lifting up a city of gays into the air, turning it upside down, and smashing it into the ground, to punish them for being gay; that the Dead Sea is full of “evil waters” because of gay people, hinting to us, that gay people should be punished for being gay…. but then insisting that its not hateful for saying so. Given that it is a fact that homosexuality has a genetic element, it would seem that his God created gay people, only to kill them all for being gay. What a nasty little game.
He then argues that our Western values ‘change day to day‘. This is of course what all Islamists like to suggest, when arguing a case for religious “objective morality“. What they mean is, Western values are based on reason, and evidence, which progresses over time. We change based on the information we have available to us, and according to humanist principles. Some times we get it wrong. But we learn and we move on.
Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps we should base our entire system of morals on the life of a Prophet who married a 6 year old girl, sold women captives into slavery, and waged war on anyone who disagreed, along with his band of thugs. Maybe we should find it acceptable to demand death for apostasy. Maybe, instead of employing actual thought, we should look at the suspicious ‘revelations‘ given to one man, whenever he or his friends had an idea and take it as the quite obvious word of God. For example, It seems from the Qur’an that Allah didn’t actually wish women to be veiled originally. But Muhammad’s friend Umar ‘wishes’ it, and suddenly Muhammad gets a conveniently timed call from Allah, and women are to be veiled from then on, for the most mundane reason:
And as regards the (verse of) the veiling of the women, I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men because good and bad ones talk to them.” So the verse of the veiling of the women was revealed. (Qur’an 24:31)
How dare we suggest that it is not reasoning to include the ‘wishes’ of a friend of a suspiciously ambiguous historical figure, or the remarks of a suspiciously ambiguous 7th Century Middle Eastern book into consideration when framing out system of values. How silly of us. Maybe we should all kill people for land that we claim divine right over. Maybe we should suspend all of our faculties of reason, and critical abilities, and just unquestioningly accept the authority of one religion. Maybe that’s the way forward. And in the meantime, we’ll slay all gay people, demand death for anyone who wrote a book we didn’t like, and belittle Jews. Global Peace and Unity!
This isn’t an event that cares too much for peace and unity. It certainly doesn’t conform to Salma Yaqoob’s grotesque manipulations residing in the shadows of all the straw men she employs. It is an Islamic exercise and showcase in superiority, another chance to call “Islamophobia” against any criticism, whilst affording the opportunity for bigots, racists, extremists, violent people who wish to silence all criticism of their faith through threats, stall owners profiting from selling terrorist merchandise, and regressive ignorant homophobes to shout down any hint of Western ideals and liberal values. It is the show case of the Kuffarophobes. It is dangerous, it is divisive, and it offers a huge platform for fascists and thugs. Do not be deceived into believing it is a liberal event, calling for peace, unity, and an end to divisions. It isn’t. Quite the opposite.
Those, like myself, who consider ourselves truly liberal, must be prepared to speak out against illiberal, and vastly destabilising and divisive rhetoric and actions, regardless of where they come from. We must accept that within a secular, and liberal framework, far-right Muslims have just as much right to express their views as the rest of us. But to be tolerant of diversity, is to be suspicious of, and speak out against those preaching intolerance, and hate as unfalsifiable dogma, rather than points that can be argued rationally against and confined to the history bin of bad ideas. Islam is an idea. Like Conservatism. Like Democracy. Like Liberalism. Like Christianity. As such, it is open to all the satire, criticism, and mocking that comes with every idea; especially those that seek authority over others. We must not consider those ideas freee from criticism, ridicule, satire, or any form of questioning simply because the illiberal nature of the view is cloaked in “faith“.