Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, June 09, 2004
SORRY TO TELL YOU THIS, but you're definitely Islamophobic, at least according to the definition of the UK Islamic Human Rights Commission, whose jihadess Arzu Merali is interviewed on this morning's Religion Report (transcript promised).

The Commission is, apparently, an offshoot of the Muslim Council of Britain, the equivalent of Australia's Federation of Islamic Councils. Like its antipodean counterpart, the MCB endorses political Islam, plays footsie with the Islamists and claims brotherhood with terror groups like Hamas, and regards anti-semitism as normal.

Therefore it brands as Islamophobic

* anyone who opposes Islamism publicly, and
* anyone who supports the continued existence of Israel.

Unlike our Auntie, Britain's Channel 4 has given the MCB some exposure.
So, for example, some British Muslim leaders attended a conference in Iran last year about the Intifada - also there were representatives from groups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The programme asks if there is a conflict between meeting Tony Blair and Hamas. The leaders involved say their actions and motivations are misinterpreted by critics.

The Council was, of course, enraged.

It would be even less amused by this extended account of the MCB's ideological and political roots.

It is in the interests of Australian as well as British Muslims that the unrepresentaive character of those who speak for them is exposed. A public duty for a real public broadcaster.

Later: According to the transcript, UK Government Minister David Blunkett was gonged for Islamophobia on the basis of saying ‘I don’t preach that people should have to accept our culture, but that they understand how best to accommodate theirs to living in this country as equal citizens’.

Former Tory leader, William Hague was also awarded an IHRC gong:
Stephen Crittenden: Was it fair to nominate William Hauge as one of the most Islamophobic British politicians of the year, basically for saying that he was a friend and supporter of Israel. Does that make you Islamophobic?

Arzu Merali: I think with the hyperbole that’s been surrounding the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the last years, we’ve found an increase of Islamophobia within that discourse. I think William Hauge in The Spectator sort of gave way to a sort of very old-fashioned, if you like, set of stereotypes with regard to Arab Muslims wanting to push the Jews into the sea and so on and so forth, these were very old stereotypes which really do little to carry any weight analysing the situation, and for that reason he was nominated. It was in itself a piece that was reeking of these old, as I mentioned, stereotypes for want of a better word.

Did you see the post-modernist flavour creeping into Ms Merali's discourse?

The IHRC promises some Australian awards next week. If I offered you 20:1 against John Howard, I don't suppose you'd accept, would you?