OBSESSION WITH THE GLOBAL JIHAD 21 December 2006

Dear Sir,

For those who have not yet viewed it, the new documentary 'Obsession' (available from obsessionthemovie.com) is a must see. It offers a compelling portrait of the global jihad now being waged against the West by the forces of radical Islam. Across the Muslim world, and more worryingly in Britain and America, the Islamists are spreading their violent interpretation of the faith, according to which it is a religious duty to Islamise and subjugate the 'kuffar' (the unbelievers) and replace secular democracies with theocratic dictatorships.

One Islamist group after another proclaims their belief in a 'theory of global persecution,' according to which America, Britain and Israel are leading a global war to destroy Islam. The causal links between this demented ideology and Islamic terrorism are clear to see. At the heart of the Islamist worldview is a visceral loathing of Jews. One horrific scene from a recent TV series shown on al Manar television purports to show a Jew kidnapping and then killing an innocent Christian child, before using the child's blood to make matzahs. This is a televised version of the blood libel, a form of medieval bigotry for the masses in the 21st century. A former member of the Hitler Youth points out the clear similarities between the Nazis' propaganda methods and those used by today's Islamists.

The images used by Islamists to portray Israel and the Jews could have been taken from Der Sturmer, and when one views the screaming demagogues and frenzied crowds in Iran and Lebanon or the children in Gaza brainwashed to hate Jews the parallels with Nazism are hard to miss. But most frightening of all is that in the face of this violent onslaught, a culture of denial is entrenched in the West. Many commentators like to tell is that these fanatics seek only a redress of foreign policy grievances, primarily in Iraq and Palestine But as Sir Martin Gilbert points out in the documentary, this merely repeats the tragic mistakes of the 1930s when policy makers pretended that a revision of the Versailles treaty would satisfy Hitler's appetites and lead to an era of peace. These jihadis do not seek the resolution of limited grievances but the dissolution of Western civilisation as we know it.

'Obsession' is not easy to watch and some scenes are truly shocking. But it should be seen by all those who wish to understand the scale of the Islamist threat we now face.

MPAC AND MUSLIM EXTREMISM 27 November 2006

Dear Sir,

The revelation that Asghar Bukhari, a founder member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, gave funds to David Irving in 2000 should come as little surprise. MPAC styles itself as a moderate Muslim civil rights group but hides behind a set of repellent views that can only radicalize fellow Muslims. Ignoring the multi religious make up of Israel, they condemn Zionism on their website as ‘a racist political ideology that…endorses ethnic cleaning and an ethnically pure state.’ Elsewhere on their site, MPAC abusively refer to Zionism as ‘Zio-Nazism’. They repeat the canard that Jews are responsible for ‘the false smear of anti-Semitism’ whenever Israel is attacked in the mainstream press. The reality is of course the opposite.

The real smear is against Jews who are being falsely accused of charging others with anti semitism any time Israel is criticized in the press. This smear is calculated to silence Jews who object, not to the balanced criticism of Israel, which is legitimate, but to its vilification and denigration, which is not. MPAC’s response to the Irving revelation is revealing. It is, they say, ‘another Islamophobic attack aimed at undermining and harming the brave individuals who support the Palestinian cause…’

Exposing Bukhari’s heartfelt support for the world’s most prominent Holocaust denier has now become a racist and anti Islamic act! All this proves is that ‘Islamophobia’ is a politicized fiction, a tool used by extremists to denigrate their opponents and stifle debate, rather than a means of (rightly) condemning hostility to all Muslims. Islamophobia is not therefore the new anti Semitism. The ‘Irving episode’ reflects a deeper truth about Islamic extremism, namely that it amounts to more than a handful of fringe fanatics who seek to bring their cult of death to our streets. If complaining about Bukhari is racist, then he too will be seen as a victim of non Muslim (presumably Jewish) discrimination. It is impossible to know how far this sinister victim mentality has taken root within Britain’s Muslim community but it should concern us all.

LIVINGSTONE & STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE 06 November 2006

Dear Sir,

After the Mayor’s latest outrageous comments, your leader accuses him of chasing ‘image over substance’. Permit me to describe this as a classic understatement. His initial crass remarks about Mohammed Mostafa fit very neatly into an established pattern of behaviour that has seen him become London’s leading apologist for terror. In the 1980s he invited Sinn Fein to come to London at the height of the IRA bombing campaign. Last year he warmly embraced Sheikh Qaradawi, the man who ‘glorifies’ suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq and whose own hateful invective is worthy of the Mayor. Then last year, he blamed the 7th July attacks on 80 years of Western intervention in the Middle East. Livingstone has clearly bought into the ‘Nazi-Soviet pact’ style marriage of convenience between the left and the forces of radical Islam.

Betraying his own stated commitment to anti sexism, anti racism and gay equality, he has embraced some militant Muslims because of their shared detestation of America, Zionism and Israel. To add to this litany of abuse and hypocrisy, he had now trivialized the experience of Jews living in Nazi Germany. In his latest rather fatuous intervention, he has stated that the treatment of Muslims in Britain ‘echoes very much the demonology of Nazi Germany when Hitler said it was the Jews' fault and the problems were brought upon themselves.’ Really? The last time I checked no one had stripped Muslims of their citizenship, barred them from the civil service, burned down their mosques or threatened to expel them from Britain. The issues of violent Islamic extremism and segregation are not illusions constructed for the purpose of persecuting a minority but real problems that require sustained debate.

The questions your leader asks of the Mayor are therefore somewhat redundant. They presuppose we are dealing with a serious politician rather than a control freak with a lopsided agenda who revels in the offence he gives to others. Other than George Galloway, I doubt there is any more objectionable figure in British politics.

SHOULD WE DEFEND THE MUSLIM VEIL? 16 October 2006

Dear Sir,

In discussing Jack Straw’s recent comments on the Muslim veil, Rabbi Chapper asks “If you’re going to single out for condemnation, or even ban, one style of dress where do you draw the line? Could the kipah or sheitel be next…?” Well, I fear he has rather missed the point here. Firstly, Jack Straw was not calling for any ban on Islamic dress. It would surely be draconian for the state to impose a dress code on society and dictate what people could and could not wear. Secondly, there is a world of difference between religious garments that cover the head and those that cover the face. A great deal of communication clearly does rely on the ability to see people’s faces, allowing us to detect their emotions and judge their reliability and truthfulness.

Observing faces, in all their variety, enhances our social intercourse. The veil is clearly a barrier to this form of interaction and any sensible debate must take account of this. At the heart of the argument, however, is an ongoing struggle against multiculturalism, now being attacked by both the left and right. For years the multiculturalist lobby in Britain has sought to deny a ‘core’ British heritage or any set of dominant religious and historic values. Instead they have promoted moral and cultural relativism and an assault on the very notion of British national identity. As Dr John Sentamu puts it: ‘Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains.’ The end result has not been the utopia of racial harmony and equality but cultural ghettos, segregated communities and racial tension.

Clearly any behaviour that encourages disconnection from the wider society should not be encouraged. At the same time, all sections of the community should share in the glories of our national heritage while celebrating their own diverse forms of cultural expression. Let the debate rage on.

POPE BENEDICT AND THE ISLAMIC BACKLASH 26 September 2006

Dear Sir,

The global outpouring of Muslim rage following the Pope’s speech is another attempt to shut down the organs of free speech. It is in danger of becoming the paradigm response to any (alleged) insult to Islam. This is all the sadder given the actual message of the Papal speech, which was that it was unacceptable to spread one’s faith through coercion or violence.

It was in this context that the Pope quoted Emperor Manuel II, who had condemned Muhammed’s command to ‘spread by the sword the faith he preached.’ Islam does indeed have a history of using force to spread and defend the faith and the instant frenzy of anti Christian violence is evidence for that very point. Sadly, many non Muslims have made the mistake of criticizing the Pope’s comments, rather than condemning the illegitimate responses of the extremists. More attention was given to the Vatican’s retractions than to extremists like Anjem Chaudry who justified ‘capital punishment’ for this Papal sin.

We have been here before of course. A year ago there was a prolonged and outrageous display of global violence following the publication of the Danish cartoons. Instead of condemning sword bearing, embassy burning fanatics, Jack Straw and others condemned ‘irresponsible’ Danish newspaper editors. In 2002, Muslim mobs went on a murderous rampage in Nigeria, following newspaper comments that Mohammed would have approved of the Miss World pageant which was being held in that country. Afterwards, some appalling commentators condemned the organizers of Miss World in more forthright terms than they condemned the violent jihadists.

But all this does is excuse barbaric behaviour while nurturing the extremists’ own victim mentality. Since 9/11, this is exactly what has happened with many commentators ‘explaining’ Islamic fanaticism as the understandable response of a minority aggrieved at ‘unjust’ foreign policy. Now the aggressors are seen to misbehave only because they are provoked by something they feel is unjust. This tragic inversion of truth and morality is taking hold among the Western establishment who, mired in political correctness and post colonial guilt, find it difficult to criticize radical Islam without severe self abasement.

Given that militant Islam poses a threat to the values we hold dear, and to the values held by the majority of decent, law abiding Muslims, the need for truth has never been greater.

WHY ISRAEL IS IN LEBANON 31 July 2006

Dear Sir,

Over the last fortnight, millions of column inches have been dedicated to a simple premise: that in Israel’s battle against Hezbollah/Iran, military options are futile and a political settlement alone is viable. Of course, it is much easier to discount military options when you are living in London or Paris, rather than a bunker in Haifa. The problem, though, is not reaching a political solution but enforcing one. What, after all, is UN Resolution 1559, which calls for Hezbollah to be disarmed, if not the basis for a political settlement? Unfortunately, the Lebanese government has abdicated responsibility for its southern border to Hezbollah while UNIFIL has failed to stop incursions and rocket attacks. It is unclear how the newly proposed international force will disarm Hezbollah as demanded by Resolution 1559. Any negotiated peace would have to involve Iran and Syria but clearly neither of these sponsors of terror has any long term interest in regional stability. Under these circumstances, military options are far from ‘futile.’

SACRANIE AND THE MCB 15 June 2006

Dear Sir,

I wonder if the tone of the Muslim Council of Britain will change following the resignation of Sir Iqbal Sacranie. Under his chairmanship, this supposedly moderate organization has propagated a blinkered view of the West pursuing a vicious anti Islamic crusade for political ends. Instead of building bridges between Jews and Muslims, they have sought to politicize Muslim issues and cause bitter inter religious strife. They have repeatedly boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day on the spurious grounds that it lacks inclusiveness and fails to encompass suffering in ‘Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir.’

Apart from failing to see that these latter cases did not involve genocide, the MCB has done little to promote the political context of these conflicts, regarding the killing of Muslims, whether civilians or terrorists, as a crime against humanity. The genocide of non Muslims seems to matter a lot less. Let us also not forget the absurd contention that the BBC pursues a ‘pro Israeli’ agenda, hardly the first conspiracy theory to link Zionism with the establishment! Now if we appreciate that the MCB is rooted in the extremist politics of Pakistan, their hostility is hardly a cause for surprise. What is more worrying is that the Blair government should give time and credence to such an organization, drowning out more genuinely Muslim voices in the process.

KEN LIVINGSTONE'S ATTITUDE TO JEWS 11 May 2006

Dear Sir,

​Norman Lewis's recent apology for the Mayor's behaviour is hard to take seriously. Instead of setting himself up as a legitimate champion of human rights, Livingstone has selected Israel as his special target for denunciation, using deliberately provocative language to make his point. He has described Sharon as a 'war criminal' who should be in 'prison' rather than in office, while being somewhat reticent about the leaders of genuine rogue nations. He has accused the Israelis of 'ethnic cleansing' in 1948 but glossed over the anti Zionism of her neighbours who sought to render the country 'Judenrein'.

This grossly inappropriate use of language represents an attempt at vilification rather than criticism. Contrast this unrestrained tone with his craven appeasement of the Chinese regime, where he recently made light of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. To make matters worse, Livingstone has cited the usual canard that Israel regards all its critics as automatically anti semitic. The reality is rather different. The claim that a critic of Israel is accused of being anti semitic is used to silence Jews who object to the vilification of the Jewish state. Criticism of Israeli policy is of course necessary and fair as long as it remains balanced and proportionate.

Furthermore, in stark contrast to some of last week's correspondents, the majority of Israelis accept that Israel should offer a territorial compromise with the Palestinians if the political circumstances are right. No doubt, the Mayor, with his legion of supporters, finds this very hard to stomach.

THE MOHAMMED CARTOON CONTROVERSY 13 February 2006

Dear Sir,

The recent outrage over the Danish cartoons is of course both selective and disproportionate. Moderate Muslims don’t condemn the ritual vilification of Jews in the Middle East while the West's perceived ‘slights' against Islam are judged more harshly than the genocide of Muslim dictators. The cartoonist’s basic point, that the religion of Muhammad is being usurped by violent jihadis, has only been reinforced by recent events. But just as the spectacle of sword wielding fanatics is horrifying, so too is the craven response of our Western leaders. The decision of Jack Straw and others to condemn the newspaper editors in more forthright terms than embassy burning fanatics is a pitiful and sickening form of appeasement. By calling on newspaper editors to show restraint, Western leaders have adopted the Muslim extremists’ own victim mentality. Now the aggressors have become innocent victims who misbehave because the real victims provoke them. The only response therefore is to explain violence and fanaticism as the understandable twin responses of a beleaguered minority desperately fighting for its rights. This is a dreadful perversion of truth, justice and common sense. Few Western leaders are prepared to defend the right of a progressive, secular society to satirize Islam and question its theological fundamentalism, which can only be a recipe for disaster.