Some of the visitors to this blog will think I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head about non-BBC matters, but in the name of human rights I beg permission to deviate, alongside my usual hesitation and repetition.
There have been a few dodgy pieces in The Times of late, but recent events have created a mishmash of confused thinking - almost epitomised by Piers Morgan as per my previous post. Such a shame ITV took the video down.
Piers was trying to argue that Islam is a faith, therefore ‘good’, but Islamism, extremism, violence and terrorism are obviously ‘bad’ and entirely different.
A bully like Piers Morgan will typically clutch at any straw to maintain the popularity, if not the adulation, that sustains him.
On that occasion Piers Morgan was torn between associating himself with the views of a figure (Tommy Robinson) whom the mob has deemed to be ‘from the extreme right’ on the one hand, and on the other he was probably afraid of coming across as yet another of those ‘useful idiots’ on the left who pipe up all over the place as apologists for Islam.
The mainstream media have brought the debate down to a matter of semantics. They spend hours dancing on the head of a pin over what is and isn’t “terrorism” and explaining that criticising Islam amounts to calling all Muslims terrorists.
Tactically, they leave themselves with little choice other than to construct a giant haystack from a pile of straw men.
Tommy Robinson has learned a lot since he started his crusade. Are we allowed to call it that?
If we mean it in the sense of: ‘a vigorous campaign for political, social, or religious change’, then it should be okay.
He has developed. Nowadays he is more articulate and his arguments are more mature and substantive than they were before. They have to be because he has a multi-pronged enemy to defeat.
One is the huge number of people who are completely flummoxed by the crime of criticising any belief system that is labelled ‘religion’. Religion has to be respected. To tag a bit of religious piety onto a Marxist, a Nazi, a bigot and a racist is to make their toxic political opinions untouchable.
Tommy Robinson now knows the political implications of Islam far better than the bulk of his critics in the media who think of themselves as his superior. Most of them haven’t studied it in any meaningful way but they just know, Islam must be righteous, because ‘faith’. Terrorism is a distorted version. It must be, because ‘religion’.
He also has The State to fight. The state is trying to contain something that looks increasingly uncontainable. When it goes off, it will surely go off with a bang.
Putting Tommy Robinson behind bars, let alone leaving him there at the mercy of bloodthirsty Muslim criminals, is no way for any state to behave, least of all the state that’s supposed to represent the most tolerant country in the world. Silencing Tommy Robinson is not going to contain the problem. Wildfires have a habit of flaring up in unexpected places..
First, I want to commend this article by Melanie Phillips in The Times (£). Never mind terrorism or Brexit for a minute. Melanie has articulated a very urgent threat to the social cohesion that the State is so cack-handedly trying to maintain.
Left-wing agitators are planning a “day of rage” tomorrow in protest at the government’s austerity policies, which they say caused the tragedy. The protest is being led by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary, whose Facebook page declares: “We must escalate our actions to take down this rotten government, which has lost all authority to govern.”
“What’s happening is an attempt to stir insurrection on the streets against the democratically elected Westminster government. Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a million people to take to the streets on Saturday to force Theresa May from power.
At a Liverpool conference on March 10, 2012, McDonnell said there were three ways to change society. The first was through the ballot box; the second via industrial action. “The third is basically insurrection, but we now call it direct action . . . we have an elected dictatorship, so I think we have a democratic right to use whatever means to bring this government down. The real fight now is in our communities, it’s on the picket lines, it’s in the streets.”
Give John McDonnell a long nightie and a little crotchet cap and he’d have a free pass to do as he sees fit. Not that he doesn’t have one already. (The free pass rather than the outfit)
Many naive Labour voters believe Jeremy Corbyn is a “nice man”. The reality is frighteningly different. A fearsome tragedy is being cynically politicised. Even before all the dead of Grenfell tower have been retrieved and buried, Labour is unleashing mob rule in their name. Compassion is being hijacked and weaponised in what is nothing short of a planned uprising against democracy itself.
Now, let’s look at Hugo Rifkind whose article happens to appear on the opposite page. He’s doing his Piers Morgan thing for Times readers who don’t watch ITV.
“Not all preachers of hate wear a skullcap and robes. Some wear jeans.”
That sounds about right. However, I can’t be sure, but I think Hugo is saying that the right is just as capable of radicalising its followers as the skullcap and robes brigade. Then I think he’s saying that to flatter the weirdos with the term ‘terrorist’ is to absolve them from personal responsibility.
Surely, as soon as one commits an act of terrorism one automatically becomes a weirdo. Therefore all terrorists are weirdos, but not all weirdos are terrorists.
Was the Finsbury Park Mosque incident an act of terrorism?
“the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” is one definition of the term.
The Welsh weirdo who ran down Muslim worshippers had a kind of political aim; allegedly, to “kill all Muslims”. Was that a political act? If it was designed to put fear into all Muslims as well as bumping a few off, it certainly was. Also, the victims were most likely civilians, so on the whole this incident probably did qualify as terrorism.
But what if it was a revenge thing, or a copy-cat thing or an act of pure weirdoism? The political connection would be tenuous then, would it not? And anyway, would the term used to define it really matter?
“If you do not like the notion that even mainstream Muslim narratives have a nebulous culpability for Islamist attacks — and I do not — then it seems contradictory to decide that western media narratives are culpable for attacks by people who consider themselves on the other side.”
Yup. The MCB won’t accept that Islam bears responsibility for terrorism unless we Islamophobes also accept that Douglas Murray is responsible for the Finsbury Park Mosque van-ramming.
If the MCB thinks it can deflect the notion that Islam bears responsibility for terrorism by arguing that Douglas Murray must accept responsibility for Finsbury Park, that is wrong. There are many flaws in this imaginary comparison. Apart from the huge difference in scale and ‘pattern’, and the differing elements of direct incitement to violence - (some in the case of hate preachers and none from Douglas Murray) the most fundamental difference is that Islam is the catalyst and “the other side” is the response. The equivalence theory is not going to work. There is no equivalence and no contradictory principle there.
My take on it is this. It doesn’t actually matter to me whether a murder qualifies as terrorism or just weirdoism, and equally I don’t care whether or not mainstream Muslim narratives have a nebulous or direct culpability for violent acts. The nature of the beast makes the question almost irrelevant.
I see the mainstream Muslim narrative itself as divisive, antisemitic, and wrong-headed. The fact that it’s a religion shouldn’t make it untouchable. Whether it leads to violence or just simmers away in the background fomenting division, it’s not good for Britain. I don’t like violence or racism from anyone and I don’t want to hear excuses for any of it. Fearing Islam is not a matter of racism.
Journalists can dance on heads of pins as much as they like, but in my opinion they’re wasting everyone’s time.
Now back to the BBC. On the Daily Politics Tom Wilson from the Henry Jackson Society was invited to into the studio to defend Douglas Murray’s eminently sensible suggestion that “we need less Islam” , a remark he made during a discussion about the Prevent strategy.
Yesterday’s guest on the programme, Miqdaad Versi, wanted the BBC to no-platform Douglas Murray for making that particular remark, which Jo Coburn called ‘inflammatory.’
She turned to her other guest, Lord (Digby) Jones to ask what he thought about it. “Well, we must be clear about the distinction between ordinary Islam and extremism” he opined.
So there you have it. There’s benign Islam, and there’s fundamental Islam. One is good, because ‘faith’. The other is not so good because ‘terror’.
It is a BBC-related matter after all, and I am worried about it and so should you be.