Archive for the ‘British media’ category

No Truth Please, We’re British

March 27, 2017

No Truth Please, We’re British, Front Page MagazineBruce Bawer, March 27, 2017

Hundal called on Londoners to learn from the spirit of the Battle of Britain: “Keep Calm and Carry on.” But there’s a big difference between now and then. During World War II, Brits named their enemy. Everyone openly recognized Nazism as a monstrous ideology. And the media didn’t respond to German bombings in the East End by slandering Churchill as a “Naziphobe.” 

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After last Wednesday’s deadly attack outside London’s Houses of Parliament, the left-wing British media expressed outrage – not at the appalling way in which Islam and Islamic terrorism have transformed life and sown death throughout the Western world, but at the purported moral depravity of those who dare to connect the dots. 

In the Guardian, Jon Henley and Amber Jamiesen sneered at Marine Le Pen for “linking the London attack to migrant policy, despite the attacker being British.” (My emphasis.) They smeared as “xenophobic” Nigel Farage’s argument “that the London attacks proved Donald Trump’s hardline immigration and anti-Muslim policies were correct.” The Independent‘s Maya Oppenheimer censured Farage’s comments, too, countering his critique of multiculturalism by saying he’d “failed to mention the fact many of the victims of the attack were in fact foreigners themselves.” (My emphasis again.) Needless to say, the issue wasn’t Britishness vs. foreignness; it was Islam. But to say so was verboten. As Theresa May said (in what already seems destined to become an immortal statement), “Islamist terror” has nothing do with Islam.

Islam is a religion of hate. But when that hate manifests itself in jihadist terror, the proper leftist move is to turn away from the reality of that hate – which last Wednesday sent several innocent people to a hospital or a morgue – to the purported “hate” of decent, law-abiding individuals who have had quite enough of murderous jihadist hate. Instead of acknowledging that a large minority (if not an outright majority) of British Muslims support sharia law in the U.K. (and that more than a few privately applaud terrorism), you’re supposed to invoke the fantasy of a Britain in which all citizens, infidel and Muslim, share the same values and live together in harmony – except, of course, for the horrid Islamophobes, who, simply by mentioning the Islamic roots of Islamic terror, are exploiting terrorism, dishonoring its victims, and subverting social harmony.

And so we had the Guardian editorial on the terrorist attack, which cast the reality-deniers as good guys who believe in “standing together” and the truth-tellers as voices of “cynicism.” While praising MPs for their readiness “to emphasise the need for solidarity,” the editorial deplored Farage and UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who “renewed their baseless and disgraceful campaign to drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain.” The paper’s Nesrine Malik agreed. When she first heard of the attack, she wrote, a “familiar knot” appeared in her stomach. Why? Because of the horror of mass slaughter? Because, yet again, innocent people had lost their lives to jihad? No. Because she realized that she’d once again have to brace herself “for a predictable battle to separate fact from hysteria, plead for a sense of proportionality and entreat the hurt and the angry not to generalise.” For Malik, as for her paper’s editors, the real bad guys aren’t the terrorists: they’re people like Tommy Robinson (who “was at the scene stirring hate while the shock was fresh”) and Nigel Farage (who was “spewing predictable bile”).

The “right wing,” charged Malik, had plainly been “waiting in the wings, almost grateful that the imaginary fears it had been trying to provoke had become real ones.” (My emphasis yet again.) Now try to make sense of that: Robinson and Farage are selling “imaginary fears,” but on Wednesday those “imaginary fears” became “real ones.” Never mind that the “fears,” far from being products of anyone’s imagination, are based on a very real experience of terrorist acts in which thousands of very real people have died. “There was no respect for the dead, dying and grieving, there was just an opportunity,” wrote Malik. On the contrary: it’s Malik and her ilk who show less for the dead victims of Islamic terrorism than for the reputation of Islam. For Malik, Robinson and Farage are part of a “hate industry” that, she maintained, has grown with each of “the three Islamic terror attacks in London since 2005.” You’d think the fact that London had been subject to three Islamic terror attacks since 2005 would make it clear what the real “hate industry” is.

The same kind of thinking was on display at the Independent, where an outraged Holly Baxter denounced Robinson for saying that Muslims “are waging war on us,” that they’ve been doing so “for 1,400 years,” and that “Muslims make up only 4 per cent of the UK population, look at the continued chaos and destruction they cause, what do you think it will be like with 20 per cent?” For Baxter, Robinson’s statement was a disgusting display of hate, and proved that “London needs a Muslim mayor now more than ever” – for at a time when ISIS is pushing the idea of a war between Islam and the West, “[t]he existence of a Muslim mayor of London symbolically destroys that narrative from the outset.” No, the existence of a Muslim mayor of London – one who has defended terrorists, shared platforms with radical imams, blamed terrorism on the West, and sought to punish anti-Islam speech – shows just how successful Islam has been in that war.

Critics of Islam, complained Baxter, are “racists” who should “at least have the common decency to admit it’s all a far-right careerist exercise rather than anything to do with ‘protecting the innocent.’” Sunny Hundal made the same argument in another piece for the Independent: “No wonder the far-right was so quick to capitalise on the Westminster terror attack – it relies on atrocities for support.” That “far-right,” he seethed, was like a pack of “jackals circling their prey.” Get that? In this picture, the jackal isn’t the terrorist – it’s the critics of his guiding ideology. Maintaining that Islam’s critics “hate the very idea of cosmopolitan communities” (no, they hate barbarism), Hundal called on Londoners to learn from the spirit of the Battle of Britain: “Keep Calm and Carry on.” But there’s a big difference between now and then. During World War II, Brits named their enemy. Everyone openly recognized Nazism as a monstrous ideology. And the media didn’t respond to German bombings in the East End by slandering Churchill as a “Naziphobe.”

Lessons From the Parliament Attack

March 26, 2017

Lessons From the Parliament Attack, Power Line, John Hinderaker, March 25, 2017

There is diversity in Islam, including millions of Muslims who adhere only to its spiritual elements or see themselves as more culturally than doctrinally Islamic. But when we speak of Islam, as opposed to Muslims, we are not speaking about a mere religious belief system. We are talking about a competing civilization — that is very much how Islam self-identifies. It has its own history, principles, values, mores, and legal system. Islam, thus understood, is not non-Western. It is anti-Western.

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England has been shaken by the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament that was carried out last Wednesday by Khalid Masood, whose real name was Adrian Elms or Adrian Ajao. As more information has come out about the terrorist, a number of observations can be made.

1) Masood/Elms/Ajao was an unusual terrorist in some ways, and typical in others. Like nearly all Islamic terrorists, he had a middle-class upbringing and at one point lived in a million dollar house in East Sussex. Drugs apparently precipitated his descent, and he had a criminal history that landed him in prison. Masood was not religious until his incarceration–his parents are Christians–but, like many others, he converted to Islam while in prison. After his release, he persuaded one of his daughters to adopt Islam, change her name and wear a hijab. At 52, he was quite a bit older than most terrorists.

2) Masood used the current weapons of choice, an automobile and two knives. Westminster Bridge is generally crowded with pedestrians, and he simply drove his car into a crowd of them, killing five and injuring as many as 50, some critically. This type of attack is very hard to stop–for practical purposes, impossible.

Following the attack, giant yellow bollards were placed in the area around Buckingham Palace to prevent attackers from driving vehicles into the crowds that always congregate there:

I don’t blame the Brits for doing this; the area around the White House is blocked off in a similar way, if I am not mistaken. But obviously, protecting a few high-profile areas does nothing to stop an Islamic terrorist (or anyone else) from driving a vehicle into a crowd anywhere, in any city.

When mass murders occur, liberals tend to focus on the weapons used by the murderer. Terrorist attacks carried out with cars and knives illustrate the futility of this approach. The only solution–if there is one–is to identify and stop the terrorist before he acts. Also, to take any feasible steps that will reduce the number of potential terrorists in the population.

3) Like many other terrorists, Masood was known to the British authorities. But they didn’t consider him a serious threat:

At some point he was investigated by MI5 over links to violent extremism but was considered too minor to monitor, and did not feature on a 3,000-strong list of suspects feared to be capable of mounting an attack.

Not surprisingly, it is very difficult to predict which radical Muslims will actually launch attacks.

4) Masood reportedly spent several years in Saudi Arabia, where he was immersed in Wahabbism. That is a pretty good predictor of radical belief and behavior.

5) One of those murdered by Masood was a policeman named Keith Palmer, whom Masood stabbed to death after crashing through a gate to the Parliament building. Palmer likely would have been even more of a hero if he hadn’t been unarmed. Disarming one’s own police force is insane.

6) Here in the U.S., there has been much talk of “vetting.” While checking out visitors and, especially, immigrants to the U.S. is certainly appropriate, to the limited extent it is possible, vetting is wholly inadequate as a security measure. Many terrorists are second generation immigrants, and others, like Masood, are Islamic converts.

7) The problem is Islam. Not all or even most Muslims, of course, but rather Islam as a political ideology. Andy McCarthy makes the point well at National Review. You should read the whole thing, which is a good primer on the subject. Here are some excerpts:

There is diversity in Islam, including millions of Muslims who adhere only to its spiritual elements or see themselves as more culturally than doctrinally Islamic. But when we speak of Islam, as opposed to Muslims, we are not speaking about a mere religious belief system. We are talking about a competing civilization — that is very much how Islam self-identifies. It has its own history, principles, values, mores, and legal system. Islam, thus understood, is not non-Western. It is anti-Western.

Like the conversion of Masood, the conversion of Birmingham has been a function of this defining Islamic attribute. Individual Muslims may assimilate, but Islam doesn’t do assimilation. Islam does not melt into your melting pot. Islam, as Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna proclaimed, is content with nothing less than political, cultural, and civilizational dominance.

As Soeren Kern relates in a comprehensive Gatestone Institute report on Islam in Britain, the metamorphosis of Birmingham, along with several other U.K. population centers, signifies this resistance. When the Islamic presence in a Western community reaches a critical mass, Islam’s hostility to Western mores and demands for sharia governance result in non-Muslim flight. Marriages between Muslims resident in the Western community and Muslims overseas tend to result in childbirth rates and household growth that dwarfs that of the indigenous population. Arranged, intra-familial, and polygamous marriages, endorsed by Islamic mores, drastically alter the fabric of communities in short order. Birmingham, in particular, has been ground zero of “Operation Trojan Horse,” a sharia-supremacist scheme to Islamize the public schools.
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[T]he remorseless fact is that before ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Khomeini revolution and Hezbollah and the Blind Sheikh and the Brotherhood and Khalid Masood, there was the single thing that unites them all. There was Islam.

Western political and opinion elites remain willfully blind to this. They cannot help but project onto Islamic beliefs and practices their own progressive pieties — which take seriously neither religion nor the notion that there is any civilization but their own.

America is committed to the assumption that Islam, in all of its varieties and manifestations, is merely a religion. This entitles Islam not only to the full protection of the First Amendment, but also to the presumption that it is a benign if obsolete force, like other religions. Which explains why journalists puzzle over what could possibly have motivated the terrorist who shouts “Allahu akbar” to kill infidels.

The Muslim Council of Britain’s Little Problem

February 10, 2017

The Muslim Council of Britain’s Little Problem, Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, February 10, 2017

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) presented themselves in the manner of debt collectors: standing beside a big bruiser stressing how sorry they were to have to demand this payment, but that they were only just holding back their big, angry friend.

Unfortunately for them, during the last Labour government in Britain the MCB’s behaviour and beliefs were exposed by the more progressive Muslim voices who were by then coming along, and also by a wider society which had become wise to the tricks of these self-appointed “community leaders.”

The Daily Mail issued an apology, allowing supporters of the radical National Union of Students president to pretend that she was the victim of a smear campaign by self-confessedly inaccurate media reports rather than a nasty anti-Semite whose back was being covered by a full-time pedant with dodgy facts.

Miqdaad Versi is happy to apply rigorous standards to others, but holds exceedingly lax standards himself so long as he can carry on his own campaigning work against the UK government’s counter-terrorism and counter-extremism programmes.

Sadly for Versi, the British public’s security concerns are not caused by very slightly inaccurate media reports but rather by the deadly accurate bomb blasts and shooting attacks around the world which nobody needs to make up and nobody can fully cover over.

When considering the roles that various people worldwide play in advancing various causes, a lot of attention is paid to the people who blow themselves up. A fair amount of time is spent on the victims of such people. But relatively little time is spent focusing on the people whose role is clearly to tire everyone to death.

In this regard, it is worth introducing to a wider audience the existence of a man called Miqdaad Versi. This man works for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an organisation which enjoyed a certain amount of access to the British government after the Satanic Verses affair, 9/11, 7/7 and other atrocities. During those years, they presented themselves in the manner of debt collectors: standing beside a big bruiser stressing how sorry they were to have to demand this payment, but that they were only just holding back their big, angry friend.

Unfortunately for them, during the last Labour government in Britain, the MCB’s behaviour and beliefs were exposed by the more progressive Muslim voices who were by then coming along, and also by a wider society which had become wise to the tricks of these self-appointed “community leaders.” The Labour government took a strong exception to the MCB’s then-Deputy Secretary General, Daud Abdullah, signing the ‘Istanbul Declaration’. As Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said at the time, it “supports violence against foreign forces — which could include British naval personnel… and advocating attacks on Jewish communities all around the world.”

In the years since then, the MCB has had a problem. Its self-appointed task is to act as an interlocutor with the government, but the government will not speak to them, a state of affairs which leaves the leadership of the MCB with a lot of time on their hands. Happily, the group’s Assistant Secretary General, Miqdaad Versi, has found a way to fill that time. Last year he hit the headlines in Britain for an especially observant piece of mid-morning television watching. While filling up his day, Mr Versi noticed that a piece of paper, on which the lead character in a children’s cartoon, called “Fireman Sam,” at one point slipped, appeared to resemble a page of Arabic writing.

By watching the clip over and over again, Mr Versi discovered that the page of writing resembled a passage from chapter 67 of the Quran. As a result, the makers of “Fireman Sam” were forced to issue a statement assuring the world that a full-scale investigation was underway into how this happened, and that, in addition:

“We are taking immediate action to remove this episode from circulation and we are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again.”

Then last month — thanks to the BBC — we got an update on Miqdaad Versi’s activities. In January, the Victoria Derbyshire show ran a special feature on Mr Versi. The article — “The man correcting stories about Muslims” — portrayed Versi as an intrepid crusader for truth. In particular, it focussed on his work of systematically and continually complaining to the UK’s new press regulator, Ipso, whenever he thinks that a story in the British media contains inaccurate reporting on Islam or Muslims.

The BBC report described, for instance, how Versi had managed to get a major correction from the Sunday Times. In a front-page piece on a recent report into the state of integration in Britain by Dame Louise Casey, the Sunday Times had run the headline “Enclaves of Islam see UK as 75% Muslim.” The contents of the report were wholly accurate — the headline writer at the Sunday Times had merely wrongly extrapolated one point in the story and wrongly recounted the fact that pupils at one school featured in Casey’s report had said they thought the UK was between 50 and 90 percent “Asian.” The Sunday Times subsequently ran a correction. On another occasion, Versi had managed to get a correction from the Daily Mail which he presented as “huge.” The correction was that in a story about the President of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, the paper had reported that Bouattia had said that young Muslims were going to join ISIS “because of government cuts to education” and had referred to a Birmingham university as a “Zionist outpost” because “it had a large Jewish society.”

Versi’s complaint about this piece centred on claiming that Bouattia had not said that cuts were the “only” reason people were joining ISIS, and that her suggestion that a British university was a “Zionist outpost” was not “because” of its large Jewish society. Both claims were highly disputable. Versi also complained that a use of the word “groups” should have been the singular, “group.” On the basis of this, the Daily Mail issued an apology, allowing supporters of the radical National Union of Students’ (NUS) President to pretend that she was the victim of a smear campaign by self-confessedly inaccurate media reports rather than a nasty anti-Semite whose back was being covered by a full-time pedant with dodgy facts.

2289Miqdaad Versi. (Image source: ITV video screenshot)

One interesting aspect of Mr Versi’s work, and the hagiographic write-up he received from the BBC, is that Versi is not immune from a bit of inaccuracy himself. He often seems, in fact, given to a considerable level of inaccuracy himself.

On the day that the BBC were giving Versi his rave review, he was on social media sharing an untrue story claiming that the government’s Prevent counter-radicalisation strategy was forcing King’s College London to monitor all student emails. The story was wholly bogus (KCL’s policy of reserving the right to monitor all emails on their system came a year before such a policy became a legal duty). But the fact that Versi was sharing this story was typical of the double-ledger he runs when it comes to facts. He is happy to apply rigorous standards to others, but holds exceedingly lax standards himself, so long as he can carry on his own campaigning work against the UK government’s counter-terrorism and counter-extremism programmes — or continue to exercise his own low standards in trying to cover for people who are designated as “extremists” by the UK government . Or indeed, in belonging to an organisation correctly identified as an “enabler” of prejudice against the minority Ahmadiyya community.

None of this came up in the BBC’s report, nor would any observer have particularly expected it to. The story of this double book-keeper would certainly make a more interesting story. But it would be less exciting than the story of the lone, caped crusader whose meaningless pedantry appears to be exercised in the hope of boring everyone else into submission. Sadly for Miqdaad Versi, the British public’s security concerns are not caused by very slightly inaccurate media reports but rather by the deadly accurate bomb blasts and shooting attacks around the world — attacks which nobody needs to make up and nobody can fully cover over.