British Muslims Condemn Anti-Muslim Bigotry Printed in the Daily Mail

February 22, 2014

 

Leading British Muslim and interfaith organisations today wrote to Paul Dacre, the Editor of the Daily Mail condemning an article by columnist Richard Littlejohn that deployed hateful Muslim stereotypes. The column purports to criticise an individual but instead uses slurs commonly found in racist and far-right websites to make its point.

Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, the article satirises a community event that is to be held at the theme park, organised through a private group booking. Mr Littlejohn uses hateful tropes to fill his article. Mr Littlejohn jokes that the group, which will in real life have parents and children in attendance, will travel to Legoland in a coach “…packed with explosives stops in Parliament Square. As Big Ben strikes ten, driver will blow himself up”.

As a result of Mr Littlejohn’s article, far-right groups are threatening to turn up at Legoland, thus causing distress to the children present.

The letter is signed by a cross-section of British Muslims. It is in no way a defence of the views attributed to the person Mr Littlejohn criticises, but rather a challenge to our media not to accept such hateful language in our discourse.

 

The letter reads:

Dear Mr Dacre,

We write to express our condemnation of a recent article published by Richard Littlejohn in your newspaper. Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, Mr Littlejohn deploys the most hateful stereotypes of Muslims to attack an individual.

Our condemnation is not about the attacks on Mr Haitham al-Haddad: he is perfectly capable of responding to the accusations put to him if minded to do so. Many of us may well disagree with the views attributed to him. Rather, we are speaking out at the insidious and hateful tropes Mr Littlejohn uses for his argument.

Mr Littlejohn may think he is humorous, satirical in fact. But there is nothing funny about inciting hatred. The language he deploys is exactly the same as those used by racists and the far-right. One needs only to peruse the comments below his article online to see the hatred against Muslims Mr Littlejohn has generated.

Would you allow similar hateful stereotypes to be used when writing about other faith or race communities?

Mr Littlejohn may suggest his words of hatred are directed at one figure rather than mainstream Muslims. This is a poor excuse. He accuses one figure of using hate speech by deploying hate speech himself.

As a cross section of Britain’s Muslim community, along with many of our fellow Britons, we state clearly and loudly that Mr Littlejohn’s article is the worst form of bigotry. This goes beyond causing offence. Your newspaper has published an incitement to hate Muslims.

So, we urge you, in the interests of decency and fairplay, to retract Mr Littlejohn’s article and to issue an apology not just to British Muslims, but to your readers and the great British public at large.

Yours,

 

 

Farooq Murad,

Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

 

Fiyaz Mughal,

Founder and Director, Faith Matters and Tell Mama

 

Julian Bond

Director, Christian Muslim Forum

 

Steven Derby,

Director, Interfaith Matters

 

Ali Qureshi

Secretary General, Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO)

 

Maulana Sarfraz Madni,

Chairman, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board

 

Ameena Blake,

Vice-President, Muslim Association of Britain

 

Ali Master,

Council of European Jamaats (COEJ)

 

Saleha Islam

Chief Executive, Muslim Youth Helpline

 

Sufyan G Ismail,

Trustee, Engage

 

Mazhar Khan

Executive Board Member, Muslim Council of Scotland

 

Saleem Kidwai OBE,

Secretary General, Muslim Council of Wales

 

Mohammed Aslam-Ijaz,

General Secretary, Council of Mosques, South London and Southern Counties

 

Abdul Hamid Qureshi

Chair, Lancashire Council of Mosques

 

Ufuk Secgin

Chairman, London Islamic Culture and Recreation Society (LICARS)

 

Ahmed Khelloufi

Executive Director, Muslim Welfare House (London)

 

Mohammed Kozbar

British Muslim Initiative and Finsbury Park Mosque

 

Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy

Chair, Iqra Institute, Oxford

 

Shifa Shahab

Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire

 

Muhammad Jinani

Young Muslim Organisation UK

 

Dr Mohammed Idrees

General Secretary, UK Islamic Mission

 

Ajmal Masroor

London Imam and Director of Barefoot Institute

 

Yusuf Al Khoei

Al-Khoei Foundation

 

Moulana Shahid Raza,

Founding Trustee, British Muslim Forum

 

Sir Iqbal Sacranie

Balham Mosque & Tooting Islamic Centre

 

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari

Author and Commentator

 

Talha Ahmad

Head of Media, Dawatul Islam UK & Eire

 

Yousuf Bhailok

Trustee /Chair. ‘Al Jamiah Al Islamiyah Darul Uloom Lancashire

 

Rashid Brora

General Secretary, Southampton Medina Mosque Trust Ltd

 

Unaiza Malik

Muslim Women’s Association

 

Muhammad Habibur-Rahman

Chairman, East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre

 

Dilowar Khan

President, Islamic Forum of Europe

 

 

The Muslim Council of Britain: http://www.mcb.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2463:pr-template&catid=40:press-release

It’s time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities are putting hundreds of children at risk

November 14, 2013

 

The man wept as he told how his beautiful, dark-eyed child died in a hospital cot with medical tubes snaking from his frail body as nurses fought unsuccessfully to save him. Sick with pneumonia, the two-year-old gave up the battle for life.

A heartbroken Mr Rehman told the inquest that he and his wife were unsure whether to have any more children. The coroner expressed deep sympathy before saying that Hamza’s death should serve as a warning to others. ‘This highlights a cultural and religious issue relating to first-cousin marriages and the potential risk to children that some medical experts say can result from such unions.’

This week, leading geneticist Professor Steve Jones, of University College London, warned that ‘inbreeding’ in Islamic communities was threatening the health of generations of children. This is not the first time the distressing issue has been raised. Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for nearby Keighley, has said that cousin marriages are medieval, harm children and are arranged in order to keep wealth and property within families.

One in ten children from these cousin marriages either dies in infancy or develops a serious life-threatening disability. While British Pakistanis account for three per cent of the births in this country, they are responsible for 33 per cent of the 15,000 to 20,000 children born each year with genetic defects. The vast majority of problems are caused by recessive gene disorders, according to London’s Genetic Interest Group, which advises affected families.

As one British-Pakistani put it bluntly on a similar website: ‘A main reason why this corrupt practice is still followed in Britain is because the family wants to keep their property, land, jewelry and money in the family – with many parents believing it is an ‘act of God’ or the ‘will of Allah’ that their children are born disabled.

 

The Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394119/Its-time-confront-taboo-First-cousin-marriages-Muslim-communities-putting-hundreds-children-risk.html#ixzz2kePe8xKf

Bookshop Owner from Birmingham Jailed for Promoting Extremism

12./13./14.12.2011

 

Last week, Ahmed Faraz, an Islamic bookshop owner an alleged Muslim radical from Birmingham, was sentenced to three years in prison for running a business publishing extremist texts and DVDs and distributing material that ‘encouraged terrorism’ (Daily Mail). Among the radical material distributed by Faraz was an Al Qaeda training manual and bomb-making instructions. As the Telegraph reports, it is thought that the material produced and distributed by Faraz found its way to the hands of almost every major terrorist in Britain, including the 7/7 bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan.

 

During trial, Faraz, an Islamic studies graduate, had claimed that the material was for academic research. However, the jurors at Kingston Crown Court found him guilty and convicted him of 11 of 15 counts against him. Judge Justice Calvert-Smith said publishing the books in the way there were was highly irresponsible, as they were published ‘to appeal to young people who had recently converted to Islam or became more religiously inclined as they got older’. Furthermore, he added the books ‘glorified terrorism. They implied approving of such attacks as 9/11 or 7/7’ (BBC).

Muslim Medical Students Boycott Lectures on Evolution

28.11.2011
An increasing number of Muslim biology and medical students as well as trainee doctors at the University College London (UCL) are boycotting lectures on evolution, claiming they clash with ideas established in the Quran. As the Daily Mail reports, similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind, and all known species. Yet, Professors at UCL are increasingly concerned about the students’ boycott of lectures, as Darwinist theory forms an important part of the syllabus.

Possible Legal Changes: “Insulting Speech/ Behaviour” No Longer A Criminal Offence

14.10.2011

Ministers in the UK are currently considering legal changes, according to which insulting speech or actions would no longer be a criminal offence. The move to consider changes to the law on “threatening, abusive or insulting” words in public, under section five of the Public Order Act 1986, was brought forward by civil liberty groups that consider restrictions on “insulting” speech to be unfair. The Daily Mail reports that religious groups “have also criticized the law because the police have used it to arrest harmless Christian protesters. The law that criminalizes insulting speech and actions was used last year to prosecute Emdadur Choudhury, a Muslim extremist and member of Muslims Against Crusades who burned two poppies during the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday last November, and five Muslims who shouted insults at a homecoming parade. Under the regulations of the proposal, these actions would not lead to criminal prosecutions.

Dawkins Attacks Muslim Schools

08.10.2011

Richard Dawkins, author of books on evolution and religion (“The God Delusion”) and noted atheist, has criticized Muslim faith schools for teaching their students “alien rubbish”, as they continue to ignore scientific evidence in favour of creationism. Drawing on material from the Times Educational Supplement, the Daily Mail and the BBC quote Dawkins as saying that he has concerns with all faith schools, but Muslim ones worried him the most, as their teaching is more likely to be influence by a religious agenda. According to the BBC, the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslims4UK have already responded to Dawkins’s allegations and stressed that it was important for faith schools to come to terms with evolution and modern-day findings and teach science to children.

Suicide Bombing Comedy to Mark Anniversary of 9/11

29.08.2011

Channel 4 has sparked outrage by planning on screening “Four Lions”, a controversial comedy film by comedian Chris Morris about Muslim suicide bombers, as part of a season of programmes to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Four Lions is about a group of home-grown British terrorists who are planning an attack during the London Marathon, but end up making a mess of their plans. As the Daily Mail reports, Channel 4 will show the comedy alongside factual documentaries related to 9/11 and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Even though Four Lions is not about 9/11, Channel 4 was showing it at this time ‘because it looked at the wider ‘geopolitical’ discussion on terrorism’ (Daily Mail).

 

Muslim Teenagers Convicted After Painting Burkas over Women in Advertising Posters

01.08.2011

Last week, two Muslim teenagers who were arrested for painting burqas over scantily-dressed women in Lynx advertising posters at a bus stop in London in February, were convicted at Thames Magistrates’ Court in East London. The teenagers admitted to drawing burqas over a number of advertising posters, as the way in which the posters showed women was against their religion. As it was considered to be a “sin” for women to be uncovered, the two vandals were “trying to do good”, the Daily Mail reports. The two young men were each told to pay £283 and released on a 12-month conditional discharge.

Sharia Law Zones in the UK

28./ 29.07.2011

Last week, various posters appeared in London and other British cities, declaring some areas “Sharia Law Zones”. Distributed by members of the Muslims against Crusades group, the posters inform “You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced”. Alongside this slogan, pictograms warn there should be no alcohol, no drugs or smoking, no porn or prostitution, no music concerts and no gambling in these zones. As the Daily Mail reports, hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who runs the militant Islam4UK group, has already claimed responsibility for the campaign. As reported earlier, the posters are part of the plan to establish an Islamic Emirate in the long term. According to the Daily Mail, Scotland Yard is working on removing the posters and identifying those responsible for putting them up.

 

Plans by Islamic Extremists to Establish Independent States Within the UK

06.07.2011

Islamic extremists affiliated to the Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) group, which was set up in 2010, called on British Muslims to establish three independent states with sharia law within the UK. They named Bradford, Dewsbury and Tower Hamlets as “testbeds for blanket sharia law”, which would operate entirely outside British law, the Daily Mail reports. The Daily Mail also reports that the call is “likely to cause anger among moderate Muslims and community leaders in the areas concerned”. MAC’s call is part of their response to the government’s recent publication of the revised Prevent strategy to fight Islamic extremism. According to the Daily Mail, in addition to the introduction of sharia law, the MAC also called for an end to CCTV cameras in and around mosques, demanded “the release of all Muslim prisoners, a ban on Muslims joining the police or armed forces and a rejection of British democracy”.