Friday, September 19 2014

Jewish Chronicle editor displays ignorance of Muslims



 Stephen Pollard (pictured), editor of the Jewish Chronicle, authors a guest column in The Times today revisiting the controversy over the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

He writes:

Just as the anti-Muslim EDL and SIOE are racists who would expunge all who do not fit their supposedly native White Anglo-Saxon Protestant definition of English society, so Islamist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir would forcibly convert the rest of us to their version of Islam.

‘The Government pretends to make a distinction between Islamism, the political ideology that would forcibly convert unbelievers, and mainstream Islam, which is no more of a threat to Western society than the Quakers. But in reality it lumps almost all Muslims together, and in so doing does the dirty work for racist groups such as the EDL and SIOE.

‘Typical of this has been Ed Balls’s response to David Cameron’s charges about two schools run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation (ISF), which has links with Hizb ut-Tahrir. Mr Cameron got a detail of the tax-funding wrong, and Mr Balls has been playing puerile politics since, entirely missing the bigger, more worrying picture. '

‘Mr Balls would rather score a cheap political point than deal with the real issue of state support for those who promote such views.

‘Even if Mr Balls is not worried, the public are; and they see the Islamist threat for what it is. But by defending Mrs [Farah] Ahmed and her ilk, Mr Balls and his Government promote the idea that all Muslims are fanatics. And in doing so they hand a propaganda vehicle to extremists such as the EDL and SIOE.’

As we mentioned in an earlier article, the point Balls was contesting wasn’t only on the funding facts that Cameron got wrong, but also the point, laboured by the Conservatives, of whether the schools were indeed promoting or teaching extremism.

Balls cited Ofsted reports which concluded that the schools were not engaged in doing so, whatever the views on western education of the headteacher.

Pollard is right to conclude that the EDL and SIOE have been granted a propaganda vehicle on the back of all the publicity this episode has garnered. But the propaganda is not the conflation of all Muslims with fanaticism, as Pollard contends, but the promulgation of the sort of misinformation that feeds the EDL and SIOE’s bigotry and their presumption that Muslims are treated differently under the law.

Further, Pollard’s suggestion that HT would ‘forcibly convert the rest of us to their version of Islam’ is just the sort of unfounded and incendiary remark that foments the EDL and SIOE’s anti-Muslim prejudice.

What the EDL and SIOE will have gained from all of this is an emboldened determination to vilify HT, and by extension British Muslims, despite the proclamations of Ed Balls and Jack Straw that the schools in question have been cleared of any inappropriate activity by Ofsted and that no legal justification exists for proscribing the group, however deluded its ideas.









Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 11:56

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