In the comments to this post, Ismaeel-Hanif Hijazi, a representative and spokesman for the allegedly moderate Muslim Action Committee, made the following comment:

Ismaeel said…

I believe people shouldn’t be threatened or attacked if they make reasoned and informed criticisms. However when they are gratuitiously insulting and provoking, my stance is somewhat less rigid. After all isn’t a provocation a defence in English law? And we are after all discussing about freedom of expression within the context of obeying the law. In case you are in any doubt by the way i uphold obeying the law of the land in which you are a citizen with rights and duties.

(Emphasis added).

There’s no getting round it. Ismaeel thinks that criticism is sufficient provocation for violence. The fact that he tries to argue this is within the law makes absolutely no difference.

The Muslim Action Committee was formed to organise demonstrations over the Danish cartoons controversy and made much of their “peaceful” and “non-violent” stance. They plainly retain the right to be violent if they consider it appropriate. They are closely allied with the Khomeinist Islamic Human Rights Committee and have been trying to stake a claim to public recognition on the back of that crisis and that organisation.

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Is the Labour Party facing electoral meltdown as a direct result of its own policies?

I wondered in an earlier post what the motives might be for the recent change in attitude towards Muslims on the part of the government:

It must be a deliberate policy. I can see no other explanation than that their private polling has revealed a serious threat to their position with the bedrock of their support, the white working class.

Now there is a changed approach to migrant labour and E.U. expansion. From The Times:

“Two years ago the Government predicted between 5,000 and 13,000 people a year would come to work from the eight countries who were joining the European Union. According to official estimates around 600,000 have arrived.

“Quite a few Labour MPs are now picking up a lot of anguish in their constituencies over the impact of this influx of low-paid workers. John Denham has stated that in his Southampton constituency the wage rates for labourers have now halved. That directly harms a lot of natural Labour Party supporters.

David Cameron has been making reassuring noises about taxation and spending – reassuring for the enormous public sector workforce who would feel their jobs were threatened by cuts. He knows Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. But perhaps a lot of Labour voters are wondering whether they did just that by electing “New” Labour three times in succession.

Migration affects core traditional Labour voters (who are actually very conservative, socially) more than any other section of the population, in downward pressure on wages, reduced availability of housing, the social changes to the places where they live, increased crime and the sense that the place of their birth has become a foreign country wherein their children have to attend schools in which even English speakers are in a minority.

It’s also true that while the Tories have been agonising about “looking like Britain”, with more gay, more women and more ethnic minority candidates, the Labour elite don’t look anything like their own supporters. That’s why Prescott has been kept around so determinedly.

Traditional Labour voters are very hostile to the Tories, but not necessarily to the idea of voting for some other party. UKIP has lost the most boring party leader of my lifetime – in a competitive field – and now has in Nigel Farage a man who can perform better than any of the major party spokespeople, when he is on advantageous ground. It remains to be seen how he will do with issues like the Health Service.

And then, unfortunately, there is the B.N.P. – a socialist party, but of the national rather than international variety.

The evidence of changed government policies towards Islam and eastern European migration suggest the Labour Party is gravely concerned.

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Ian Dale writes:

I;m a co-signatory on a letter to the Daily Telegraph announcing the setting up f an English Constitutional Convention. As resgular readres know, I favour an English Parliament to solve the democratic deficit now being experienced by the people of England. I don’t want anything like the white elephant of the Scottish Parliament, but it’s clear that the status quo is not enough. Sometime in the next next few years this is an issue which all parties have to take seriously. At the moment the Conservative position is that English votes on English measures will solve everything. It won’t, and is merely a short term band-aid solution. Anyway, we’ll be talking about this subject on tonight’s Vox Politix, so hope you’ll be watching!…

Sir – The current “post-devolution settlement” is iniquitous to England.Scotland and Wales have their own Parliament and Assembly, and yet are still over-represented in the House of Commons; the West Lothian Question has yet to be answered – why should Scottish and Welsh MPs preside over English matters when MPs representing English constituencies have no reciprocal right? And the long-discredited Barnett formula, the system by which regional funding is allocated, remains grossly unfair to the taxpayers of England.It has been nearly 10 years since the people of Scotland and Wales were consulted in a referendum prior to devolution. No such courtesy has been extended to the people of England, and our politicians seem reluctant even to allow open debate on the subject.Dividing England into “regions”, while leaving Scotland and Wales as “nations”, is rightly unpopular and undemocratic. Stopping Scottish and Welsh MPs voting on English issues will cause as many problems as it solves. The question of the establishment of an English parliament must be considered and the option placed in front of the electorate. At a meeting in the House of Commons today, the English Constitutional Convention will be formally established, with the aim of promoting debate and raising public awareness of England’s democratic deficit. As patrons to the convention, we urge the Government, Opposition and all the people of the United Kingdom actively to participate in that debate. England will be heard. The time for silence is over.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley; Lord Stoddart of Swindon; John Horam MP; Professor Hugo De Burgh; Professor Jeremy Dibble; Prof Roger Scruton; Dr. Gerald Morgan Trinity Dublin; Jervis Kay QC; Garry Bushell Journalist; Iain Dale Conservative commentator; Neil Addison Barrister; Mike Knowles, Chairman, Campaign for an English Parliament; Robin Tilbrook, Chairman, English Democrats; Christine Constable, Chairman, English Lobby; Bishop Michael Reid; Rev Richard Martin; Richard Long, Solicitor; Andy Smith, Past President, Chartered Institute of Journalists; Simon Lee, Lecturer, Hull University; Prof Charles Greenawalt

This initiative is overdue and deserves support.

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Channel Four last night broadcast a debate about Muslims and Free Speech. At the end, after a stream of Muslim speakers attacked free speech, a vote was held: Is free speech under attack from Muslims?

And yes, the irony was that obvious.

The vote was “no”, narrowly. Why? Partly because the question voted on was badly worded. All Muslims? Some Muslims? Only Muslims?

I think people were generally voting on whether or not they thought the attacks they had just been witnessing from some Muslims against free speech were justified.

I assume (from watching who applauded when during the debate) that the large Muslim component of the audience – it looked like some 30% to judge from headscarves and obviously religious dress – generally voted in favour of the suppression of free speech.

Others feel it’s nice to be nice and were voting in disapproval of contentious speech of all kinds. Most people feel we can live without the noisy, obscene and marginalised fringes of society. (We can’t, incidentally).

“How would you feel if I insulted your mother?” asked Tony Soprano at one stage during the debate. OK, maybe it wasn’t Soprano. Maybe it was someone from Hizb ut Tahrir. It’s significant how this language of offence and revenge has spread from the New Jersey Mafia, professional gangsters everywhere, and the villages of Albania, Sicily, Corsica and the Hindu Kush into mainstream society so that a young man can stand at a podium explaining the ancient basis of the vendetta – that all insults must be avenged – with aggressive language and posture, while a nice middle class liberal presenter nods approvingly from his podium.

Unfortunately, Jon Snow is not the only person in our society to have become so degraded.

UPDATE:

Excellent reviews of this debate at The Select Society and Oliver Kamm’s site.

Ismaeel, in the comments, points out a different view, from someone who was in the audience, the Gay Jihadi.

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Continuing his crusade against scientific materialism and rational thought, the Pope warned scientists yesterday that they risked sharing the fate of the mythical Icarus:

“Letting yourself be seduced by discovery without paying attention to the criteria of a deeper vision could lead to the drama the myth speaks of,” he told the Pontifical Lateranense University at the inauguration of a new academic year.

What on earth does this mean?

Take Richard Dawkins, a man who surely fits the bill for Pope Benedict. What is or will be his fate? In what practical way will he share the fate of Icarus?

The Pope’s words were meaningless drivel, I’m afraid.

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An American soldier has gone missing in Iraq.

Perhaps he’ll be dressed badly, given so much food he puts on weight, and will have to endure seeing one of his abductors standing near his Bible, in a way he finds disrespectful.

Or maybe he’ll be tortured with electric drills, dragged behind a truck then decapitated.

I don’t support Guantanamo Bay. It should be closed and the American government should respect and observe the Geneva conventions. But for the first time, this is not in order to ensure that captured US troops will be treated equally fairly. They won’t be. Not under any circumstances, not in Iraq, nor in Afghanistan.

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A campaign by extremist Catholics to out gay clergy has been likened to a Catholic Taliban:

Catholic Truth believe outing gay clergy would be a “great work of charity”. The group has an office in Edinburgh’s Princes Street and claims to have over 1000 people on its mailing list .

McKeever told the Sunday Herald at the time of the anti-gay launch: “The key objective behind naming homosexual priests and bishops is to raise awareness of the problem within the church .”

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I emailed Ismaeel (see earlier posts) privately, but he posted the mail on his blog. Here it is, with his comments:

PETER RISDON CALLS FOR CIVILITY
Peter Risdon has emailed me the following. The interesting thing about this email from the self-styled champion of unfettered free speech is his constant calls for civility. I have placed the appropriate sections in bold italics below. Maybe this dialogue thing is working…..
Ismaeel,
I had the courtesy to post on both blogs and found your failure to reciprocate irritating, so I deleted your comment. In hindsight I should have left it there, so I’ll post an entry pointing to your site.
But I do find some of your language aggressive (“we won’t take this lying down…”) and patronising (“you should learn…”). Dialogue is a good thing. Constructive criticism is also a good thing – there are worse alternatives as the recent increase of physical attacks on Muslims, a woman having the veil torn from her face, four Muslims attacked last night in a mosque, show.
I would be greatly encouraged if you would accept the hand I have always extended to you, from the invitation for you to provide a speaker for the march rally in Trafalgar Square, through my request that the cartoons not be displayed, to this present response to an aggressive ad hominem attack by you on your blog with an invitation to dialogue.
Every time you have reacted out of hostility and paranoia – as over the debate in Oxford – you have been wrong. That will remain the case. My attitude is completely genuine. I am an atheist, I dislike extreme religion but not the people who practise it. Hate the sin, love the sinner, as the Catholics say.
Regards,
Peter.

Actually Peter the attitude of loving the sinner and hating the sin is one shared by a true Islamic perspective and was the first lesson given to me by my Shaykh. I’m glad you are appreciating the importance of civility in dialogue.

The hand is still there, open. I hope that, at some point, in the future, Ismaeel will grasp it.

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Azarmehr reports:

A vicious assault on political prisoners in Gowhardasht took place yesterday. The attack was carried out by ordinary criminals who are kept alongside political prisoners in Gowhardasht. They used knives and cut glass to injure the political prisoners.

Behrouz Javid Tehrani, one of the victims of this attack has had 17 stitches and many of his teeth broken. Despite his injuries he is still kept in the cell, where he fears further attacks.

In a separate incident, two students in Shiraz, Hamid Kargar and Bahador Dareh-Shoori were abducted by plain clothes agents. The two were recently expelled from university for their political activities. Their families are unaware of where they have been taken to.

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There’s a lot of comment on anti-jihadi sites and blogs right now about unrest in French suburbs. Incidents like the torching of a bus are described as an intifada. So far, most of the MSM put more weight on social conditions – poverty, unemployment – that were said to have been behind the riots last year.

The problem is that the attitudes of radical Islam have permeated the identities of Western Muslim underclasses in just the same way as, and alongside, those of Gangsta rap. Thus, the clothing of these people reflect US urban chic, they drink and take drugs, pimp and deal, steal and threaten – all completely un-Islamic – at the same time as professing to be proud of their Islamic identity and basing that identity more on bin Laden than on Omar Khayyam or Andalucian astronomers.

There used to be a similar pattern with Rastafarianism. A real Rasta, and a real devout Muslim, is as puritan and boring as a devout Christian or a Mormon door-knocker. Yet in the 1980s a lot of street criminals grew the locks, listened to reggae and thought of themselves as Rasta.

In some ways, describing the French unrest as an intifada is just buying the learnt rhetoric of a part of society that has long known the benefit of regurgitating any philosophy that might boost their sense of self-righteousness. The language of liberal criminology and sociology – that they are victims of poverty and it is all society’s fault – is also regurgitated. The “policeman’s hat” syndrome is another example, learned from miscarriages of justice: “I might have been caught red-handed in a bank with a striped T shirt, eye mask and bag marked ‘swag’, raping a pensioner, but the policeman who arrested me wasn’t wearing a hat and I happen to know that’s illegal, so while this vicious, corrupt police force continues to victimise me I remain a victim, the [insert town here] one”.

Buying into this, in turn, reinforces the sense of self-justification in the rioters. We’re not just vandals and thugs, we’re an intifada, like the Palestinians, victims of injustice, noble, resisting tyranny.

Yet in a way, they are victims. It is harder for them to get work in France than it need be because of racism and economic and social policy that discourages the hiring of unskilled or young workers. A great deal of the problems of the underclass come from a lack of opportunity and an excess of help, the sort of help that makes the giver look and feel better while actually assisting the recipient not one jot.

The French social model, excessive regulation and excessive employee featherbedding, together with excessive welfarism, wastes people as well as money. And then they riot.

This problem isn’t helped by radical Islam, but it isn’t the consequence of it either.

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