To open a discussion in the world about something which deeply concerns everyone, and of which it was previously ignorant, to prove to it that it is mistaken on some vital point of temporal or spiritual interest, is as important a service as a human being can render to his fellow-creatures. That the messengers of these ideas should be martyred, that their reward should be to be dealt with as the vilest of criminals is a deplorable error and misfortune.
It will be said that we do not now put to death the introducers of new opinions: we are not like our fathers who slew the prophets. It is true we no longer put heretics to death: and the amount of penal infliction which modern feeling would probably tolerate, even against the most obnoxious opinions, is not sufficient to extirpate them. But let us not flatter ourselves that we are yet free from the stain even of legal persecution.’
What do you think about Morrissey’s row with the NME over his comments on immigration?
And replied thus:
Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a toss what Morrissey says about race. No one really cares what he says about immigration because he has no influence on the political debate. Let him say what he wants to say because he has every right to say it. We live in a democracy.
The BBC has entered into the zone from which it has so long recoiled…that of discussing ‘Islam’ as a religion, what it proclaims and the values it demands of its followers. However they seem to be playing it ’safe’ by choosing Nihal, an Asian, to present the show demonstrating their nervousness about the subject…a white Christian obviously not having the ‘cultural capital’ or the right ’privilege’ to allow him to talk about such a subject…in the BBC’s mind.
Two American ‘counter Jihadists’ , Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, were planning to come to the UK to lay some wreaths for Drummer Lee Rigby at an EDL organised event. This has been vociferously opposed by various groups and the BBC produced this programme asking if they should be banned from the UK.
Events have somewhat overtaken this post as Spencer and Geller have now both been banned from coming to the UK but that is a side issue here.
Spencer claims that he is drawing attention to the texts and teachings in Islam used by the Jihadis to justify their violence and says his work says nothing about all Muslims, just Jihadis, and he wants the Koran reformed….as do many Muslims.
To answer the question the BBC has to examine what ‘counter Jihadists’ say about Islam and then get a response from some ‘authority’ on Islam to try and counter their narrative by giving their own explanation and interpretation of the Koran for the listener.
Interestingly Nihal admits later that he has been repeatedly asked by Muslims to bring on an Imam to his show to talk about the claims that people such as Spencer make about the Koran.
This is exactly what this site has been asking the BBC to do…just as it has done for all other religions…..challenging and explaining their beliefs, values and the historical basis for their scriptures.
Nihal has a pretty good interview in many respects…skewering both the ‘Hope Not Hate’ spokesman and the Imam that came on to counter Spencer…..but you get the impression that Nihal was scrabbling around desperately for something to pin on Spencer who gave perfectly sound and reasonable answers and explanations.
Nihal in the end resorted to asking why, when we have so many people in this country already saying what Spencer says, do we need more people coming here to add to those voices? A pretty weak question if ever there was one.
Here is another such question that is hugely ironic when you consider what the BBC has done to Christianity….
Nihal states if you write a book called ‘Did Muhammed Exist?’, as Spencer has, you are provoking the wrath of many people who believe Muhammed to be dearer to them than their own family members….and asks…‘Is Spencer here to create racial hatred and communal disharmony or to put across a valid point?’
Why would pointing out the ‘medieval’ parts of the Koran or asking if Muhammed existed lead to racial hatred and communal disharmony?
Nihal brings on Nick Lowles from Hope Not Hate and asks him: ‘Can you quote something Robert Spencer has said that is islamophobic?’ [The interview is paraphrased for brevity]
NL: ‘No….but he wrote a book ‘Did Muhammed Exist? And he’s a leading member of the Counter-Jihad movement.’
N: ‘Are you not counter Jihad?’
NL: ‘I am…I’m against all extremism but I think you’ll find that Spencer is not just against Jihadists but against all Muslims.’
N: ‘But can you quote something he’s said that is islamophobic?’
NL: ‘His organisation has produced adverts that call Muslims savages.’
N: ‘The advert says support Israel and defeat Jihad…the savage is the Jihadi surely?’
NL: ‘You have to look at the wider context…another poster from Spencer in 2010 said Islam equals 1400 years of aggression and murder.’
N: [Hasn’t heard of that poster]…’You can’t give me a single quote that says he’s islamophobic.’
[irony….Lowles wants to ban Spencer for his writing….claiming Spencer is an extremist because he wants to ban or change the Koran…difference of course that the koran advoctaes killing….Spencer does not.]
Nick Lowles goes onto attack Pamela Geller for a post she wrote examining why Breivik wanted to attack the Labour Party in Norway and her statement that Muslims have ‘Holocaust envy.’
Spencer than comes on.
He says that the advert Lowles mentioned was referring to the ‘savages’ who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam….and those like the Palestinian Authority who handed out candy to celebrate the slaughter of the Jewish Fogel family, and that Geller is misquoted.
Nihal says that Muslims are under ever increasing attack in the UK…day on day they are suffering attacks in fact. And asks ‘What help is it for you to come here to the UK…are you bringing peace, unity and harmony by demonising British Muslims?’
Sp: ‘No one is demonising British Muslims.’
N: ‘Well… they are.’
Spencer goes on to say that the quote attributed to him by Lowles about 1400 years of Muslim aggression and murder was never said by him and he has never put out an advert saying that.
Nihal asks why would a non-Muslim write a book asking ‘Did Muhammed Exist’ if it wasn’t purely to provoke Muslims.
Surely the BBC would never consider doing anything so provocative?
This programme for instance: ‘Did Jesus die on the cross?’
Nothing ‘provocative’ about that? Nothing wrong with questioning ‘the most famous event in history…the Crucifixion.’
The Crucifixion and resurrection….the cornerstone of the Christian faith…to doubt it is to undermine the whole basis of Christianity, the primary part, the heart of Christianity.
Here the BBC is ‘challenging the truth of biblical stories…that Jesus didn’t die is an explosive idea for Christians.’
Still…it’d be rude to ask if Muhammed really existed wouldn’t it? You know…just to see if there was any evidence….where’s the harm?
Nihal then brings on an Imam…Yusuf Dohadwala [?] who says that quotes from the Koran are easily taken out of context.
Nihal here states that he has had many requests from Muslims to bring on an Imam to counter the arguments of the counter jihadists.
He asks the Imam ‘As an Imam who has studied the Koran and knows it inside out and back to front, please explain the context for these quotes…..the EDL and their like will make up their own minds what the Koran says if no one interprets it for them.’
Yusuf replies that ‘There are 3 million Muslims in the UK, they follow the Koran…am I ordered by the Koran, which I follow fully, from the time of 1400 years ago during the time of Jihad and fighting to kill Jews and Christians? No I am not.’
He continues: ‘If it says that Jews and Christians are inferior it is all about context….if it says they are unclean it means spiritually unclean.’
Nihal asks where in the Koran does it say everybody is equal?
Yusuf quotes a verse that he claims says this which shows how Muslims value all human lives:
“If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”
But in fact what the verse says in the Koran is this:
5:32 On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person – unless it be in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew all mankind: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humanity.
Following that verse is this which clearly indicates Allah is unconcerned by killing or torture:
5:33 The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Most merciful indeed.
Nihal doesn’t accept the Imam’s answer and asks again where the Koran says everyone is equal.
The Imam hilariously says he wasn’t asked on to talk about that and he isn’t able to quote anything off the top of his head.
Nihal exclaims: ‘But You’re an Imam!’
Yusuf says yes but this is more Robert Spencer’s field…knowing what the Koran says!
The Imam adds that wife beating is not sanctioned in the Koran….Spencer reads out the relevant passage from the Koran:
4.34 Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.
I think it is more than apparent that Spencer’s opponents were both struggling to come up with any real counter to his comments….and to deny the truth about what he says the Koran really says and means.
Lowles lied about the content of one advert and then went on to lie about another claiming Spencer said something which he hadn’t in fact said.
The Imam deliberately misquoted the verse from the Koran which had nothing to do with ‘Muslims’ but was in fact ‘reporting’ an historical event concerning the Jews….this verse is regularly so misquoted by Muslims and apologists for Islam using it as the basis for their usual claim that Islam is the ‘religion of peace’.
This shows the limitations of BBC presenters….Nihal didn’t pick up that misquote…but it is widely quoted and well known…..perhaps he should have been ready with the real quote?
Nihal was game to tackle both sides of the argument but he lacked the ammunition to do battle properly…especially when some speakers were less than honest.
Nick Lowles from Hope Not Hate also had a try at painting Pamela Geller as some sort of Nazi extremist and tried to connect her to Breivik.
In 2011 Geller published an article examining the reasons for Breivik’s crimes…this naturally, as it suits their agenda (as we’ve seen they are not beyond making things up), was reinterpreted by the likes of Hope Not Hate as support for Breivik.
Geller examined the state of politics in Norway, in particular the anti-Semitism of the governing Labour Party and what the young people were doing on the island.
It is apparent that Norway does not like Israel…and supports Hamas and the Palestinians and is prepared to excuse Palestinian terrorism as it’s ‘in a good cause’.
The events on the island were described as a ‘summer camp’ but were in fact a highly political event designed to indoctrinate the young Labour members…..and not only about Labour politics but about the rights and wrongs of the Palestine/Israel conflict.
This post was used as ‘evidence’ that Geller is an extremist herself and an apologist for Breivik.
Here is an example of what may be a bit of black propaganda from her opponents….Geller included a photograph from the camp on her post….this is what her opponents claim is a screen shot of that photo…note the caption:
Under the picture, Geller writes: “Note the faces which are more MIddle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.”
This is the picture and caption that they posted on their own article…note the difference in the way the caption is placed.
That article was dated Aug 1.….but I can find no cache of what they claim is Geller’s original caption…..which should have been posted on July 31.
The caption on Geller’s post reads:
‘The camp was run by the Youth Movement of the Labour Party and used to indoctrinate teens and young adults.’
The caption claimed to be hers on the screen shot does not make sense…it is claimed to say:
‘Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.’
Look at the photo…where are these Middle Eastern students or the mixed race ones? There is one patently Asian man and one equally obviously African girl…the rest are nearly all white and blond….and no obvious ‘mixed race’ at all.
Is it possible that those attacking Geller are not above changing the caption…..how do we get two different versions of the same screen shot with the caption placed differently?
Nick Lowles also claimed that her statement that Muslims suffer from ‘Holocaust envy’ is utterly wrong…is it? Don’t Muslims frequently claim they are the ‘new Jews of Europe’?
‘Britain’s first Muslim minister has attacked the growing culture of hostility against Muslims in the United Kingdom, saying that many feel targeted like “the Jews of Europe”.
Shahid Malik, who was appointed as a minister in the Department for International Development (Dfid) by Gordon Brown last summer, said it has become legitimate to target Muslims in the media and society at large in a way that would be unacceptable for any other minority
“I don’t mean to equate that with the Holocaust but in the way that it was legitimate almost – and still is in some parts – to target Jews, many Muslims would say that we feel the exact same way.’
There they are quoting the Norwegian, no surprise there maybe, 1st Secretary of the Norwegian embassy in Saudi Arabia:
‘Trine Lilleng is the first secretary of the Norwegian Embassy in Saudi Arabia. Few know her but for the fact that she recently made this claim: “The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany.”‘