Tag Archives: Muslims

The persecution of Muslims by the British Media is real, and endorsed by millions

Unitas Communications has today published the report that it has submitted to the Leveson inquiry entitled: “Race and Reform
: Islam and Muslims in the British Media.” Overall, the report finds that:

a persistence of anti­‐Muslim trends in British Media reporting on issues relating to Islam and Muslims has directly contributed to inaccurate stereotypes and misconceptions about British Muslims in wider British society, and thus to an increasingly hostile climate that has enabled a escalation of anti-Muslim hate crimes over the last decade.

The report has some interesting survey findings detailing the sheer scale of negative reporting towards Muslims, Islam and the repeated assertion that British Muslims are ‘extremists’ and a ‘threat’ to the UK. The report also details the impact that such reporting has had, making non-Muslim British citizens increasingly believe the narrative being spun by an influential media – and the report does comment on the ability for tabloid newspapers to set the agenda and tone of news coverage in Britain. The figures are stark:

In 2010, 75 per cent of non‐Muslims now believe Islam is negative for Britain and that Muslims do not engage positively in society. 63 per cent do not disagree that “Muslims are terrorists”, and 94 per cent agree that “Islam oppresses women.”

The report makes several recommendations – some of which address the issues that this blog and others have repeatedly highlighted. For example, their first recommendation:

A key problem that has been identified with the PCC is that the code of conduct applies only to individuals who have been reported about inaccurately, with a resulting inability to launch third party complaints. Therefore the code of conduct must be amended to address discrimination against groups through false and inaccurate reporting, rather than just individuals.

This is something that is badly needed, and something that seems so obvious. It is has been frustrating over the years to blog about purposefully inaccurate reporting targeted at groups, knowing that the PCC (powerless as it is / was to provide effective sanctions) couldn’t even pass comment on one of the most popular and insidious hobbies of the press.

There seems to me to be an concerted effort in Western societies to solidify the misguided belief that the systematic targeting of a race or group of people stopped when Hitler shot himself in a bunker in Berlin. Our obsession with Nazism stems from the belief that this was something extraordinary, unique and never to be seen again. World War II has taken on some kind of mythic status in which the good civilisation – and more worryingly, America, a nation that had all but wiped out the indigenous population of the land they claimed as their own and whilst fighting the horrors of Nazi Germany still retained its right to segregate its black population – won and evil was defeated, for the final time (after all, the war was labelled as a sequel).

Although nations swore never to stand idly by whilst millions were persecuted by the apparatus of the state or its population, it remains a fact that genocide didn’t stop with the death of Hitler. We have seen plenty of genocide since then – in Europe as well as beyond – but we now refer to it dishonestly as ‘ethnic cleansing’ so as to avoid the legal obligation (drawn up after WWII to prevent such horrors ever happening again) to do anything about it.

My point is that we need to move on from this belief that we’re all decent folk because our ancestors played a part in defeating Hitler, this doesn’t make us his antithesis, and it doesn’t prevent our institutions from targeting groups through the systematic use of propaganda. It seems to me that we use WWII as some kind of persecution benchmark, which means that unless British Muslims are being rounded up and sent by train to deathcamps then they’re not really being persecuted. It leads to a society in which Right-Wing newspapers can publish an wilfully inaccurate article aimed to demonise Muslims as an homogenous group, whilst offering a free DVD about Britain’s glorious role in defeating Hitler who demonised Jews as an homogenous group.

We need to start making more of these worrying incongruities, because they really matter.

The report makes interesting reading and it reminds me of this strange Internet phenomenon where apparently any argument is automatically lost if any parallel is drawn between the point under discussion and Nazi Germany. This is, again, trying to isolate Nazi Germany as exceptional, something that captures our imaginations so vividly because it seems to us a kind of fantasy world in which a civilised country abandons any kind of moral code and commits state-led genocide. I just think this kind of attitude – even if it is intended to be flippant and aimed at people whose first response to any argument is to mention Hitler and consider the discussion over – is dangerous because it makes us complacent. It makes it sound as if we are absolutely certain that we would never commit those acts and therefore any comparison of events in our society to events in Nazi Germany is inherently laughable and should immediately result in that person being labelled as so wrong they are do not even require refuting.

I think there are a great deal of parallels that can be drawn between the Nazi persecution of Jews and the British press’ treatment of Muslims. When anyone is taught about propaganda they are, again, taken back to WWII with an analysis of Nazi propaganda, as if propaganda began and ended in Nazi Germany. In truth, you could easily study the increasingly negative and hysterical propaganda aimed at British Muslims and gain just as clear an understanding of the evils of propaganda in a civilised state as you would by looking at Nazi propaganda.

Just because the end result is unlikely to be the same, doesn’t mean we don’t need to start asking serious questions about the kind of press that the citizens of the UK fund with their buying choices. Not to mention a regulatory system that doesn’t even concern itself with the possibility that newspapers could target groups with dishonest reporting in order to demonise them.

Consequences

I haven’t got time to go into all of the Muslim related stories on the Mail website today, but I have singled out this ‘story’ for particular attention: ‘Censored! Bikini advert blacked out with spray paint by ‘Muslim extremists who object to women in swimsuits‘ [istyosty.com link]. Now, given the racial tension in the UK caused by ignorance, recession and incessant media stories like this, if we had a responsible and regulated press in the UK this ‘story’ would never have been published.

It is based on a photo of one advertising boarding in Birmingham being partly sprayed with black paint. Now, this boarding happens to be in an area the Mail describes as having ‘a large Muslim population’ and the poster is situated across the road from a ‘”Muslim Students House Masjeed”, an education centre’. The Mail’s opening claims is that ‘the model on this poster, in Birmingham, has been defaced in an act of vandalism blamed on militant Muslims who were offended by her flesh’.

The Mail’s reasoning for this is that:

Similar acts of vandalism have been carried out in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Police there also believe extremists are responsible.

No further details are given in this article to the Tower Hamlets incidents – but the Mail does have an entire article dedicated to the ‘Tower Hamlet Taliban’ elsewhere on the website – but the opening is worded to imply that this incident in Birmingham is also being linked by the police to Muslim extremists. But this does not seem to be the case when you assess the ‘evidence’ upon which the Mail is basing its claims:

The fact that almost all of the model’s flesh has been covered has led local residents to speculate that the vandalism was not random, but a religiously-motivated targeted attack.

Delivery driver Robert Tonkins, 45, said: “You see a lot of women wearing the hijab around here, and what’s been done to that poster looks very similar to it.

‘I don’t think it’s just kids messing around – they’ve spray-painted specific areas and covered up anything that might be offensive to very religious people.

‘It’s a bit worrying, I don’t think it’s up to other people to decide what can and can’t be displayed on our streets, especially because we’re a Christian country.’

And that’s it. That is the end of the article. No further evidence, no contact with the police or the council or anyone in the area, just the suspicions of one man. This isn’t journalism – it is barely even gossip – but it is of course serving an important purpose: the continued demonisation of Muslims for things we don’t even know that ‘they’ (I dislike having to refer to ‘them’ as a group as if ‘they’ are somehow all the same and very different to me or you) are responsible for.

As much as the Daily Mail may claim to dislike the EDL this is the sort of article that unleashes a torrent of racist abuse on EDL Facebook pages. What’s more worrying is that people who aren’t inherently racist see this kind of story most days in mainstream, supposedly respectable newspapers and they start to have doubts about the way in which religious relations are conducted in this country. These people then say things like this:

I’m not racist, but I do think that we have gone to far in pandering to Muslims. I mean, they do seem to get away with an awful lot, don’t they?

And, in fairness, if you only had the world delivered to you through the Daily Mail or any of its tabloid chums then you cannot be overly criticised for having this kind of view. If Muslims were banning extractor fans, defacing advertising boardings, banning Christmas, banning Easter, demanding Muslim-only hole in the ground toilets from local councils, demanding Sharia Law and all the while the government was rolling out the red carpet with housing, benefits and widescreen TVs, then we’d all have reasons to question the fairness of the system.

But of course the above stories are all an invention of our unregulated media. The above is a powerful media narrative that today’s story feeds into. It is a campaign of disinformation that not only feeds the EDL, but also creates division in more mainstream individuals by convincing them that a real unfairness does exist. Therefore the Mail can denigrate the EDL for being racist, whilst at the same time offering such stories as a massive BUT for all readers to realise that there is a real problem.

In many ways this is a clever way of the Mail removing racism (I know Islam is a religion, but racism is behind much of the sentiment aimed as you will see shortly) from the debate. Essentially what the Mail is doing is saying:

We do not support the EDL or the BNP because we are not racist, we do not have any issues with Muslims on racial or religious grounds. However, we do believe that there is a real issue in which extremist Muslims have began to politically and culturally dominate parts of the UK.

It’s all about maintaining the veneer of respectability for the ‘debate’ which they supposedly want to have. It’s exactly the same as the media narrative on immigration: ‘we’re not racist, we hate the EDL and the BNP, we just want a proper debate on the real issues surrounding immigration’.

But the Mail (or any other tabloid) cannot maintain the pretence of not being a deeply racist newspaper when they frame the ‘debate’ (note: there is no real debate) with a series of offensive lies about Muslims – or immigrants. Newspapers may have pretty low journalistic standards these days, but they would not go to print with this story if the perpetrators were suspected of being extremist Christians (who can be just as puritanical as anybody). They’d probably want insignificant stuff like ‘evidence’ before they went ahead and covered that – if, of course, they covered it at all.

The appetite for Muslim-bashing articles is obviously healthy otherwise the newspaper business would not keep printing them. What the Mail should be constantly reminded of is that whilst making their core readership a little bit more racist might only lead to a few more UKIP / Tory votes and more ignorant gossiping over garden fences across Middle England; at the same time they are feeding a completely different readership in the EDL. As you can see, the consequences of feeding this group is going to be a whole lot more serious:

Double Standards

Ordinarily – when a man has a history of convictions for public order offences (6 between 2002 and 2010) and is finally sentenced for a miserly 70 days after stealing a library book and setting fire to it in the street  before bragging about the incident on Facebook – the Daily Mail would be outraged at such leniency. However, this man happens to be Andrew Ryan and the book he set fire to happened to be the Koran, so the Daily Mail has changed it’s tune. Instead of calling for the return of capital punishment (step forward Mr P Hitchens) they are outraged that he didn’t get treated in the same way as the Muslims responsible for burning poppies a while back. The headline chosen makes the Mail’s stance pretty clear: ‘‘What about burning poppies?': Court outburst of man jailed for setting Koran alight‘ [istyosty link]. The opening paragraph is not subtle:

A man has been jailed for 70 days today after he burnt a copy of the Koran just over a month after a Muslim got away with a paltry £50 fine for a similar offence.

Well, the two punishments reflect the different natures of the offences committed, the only similarity is that something was set fire to. The Muslim the Mail is referring to is Emdadur Choudhury who was part of the Muslims Against Crusades group who set fire to three oversized poppies on 11 November in Kensington. He was fined £50 for offences under the Public Order Act, his actions were not considered a hate crime because they targeted a profession, not a religion. As the BBC reported, it wasn’t as if the judge was pleased with Choudhury’s behaviour or at all condoning of it:

District Judge Howard Riddle said: “The two-minute chanting, when others were observing a silence, followed by a burning of the symbol of remembrance was a calculated and deliberate insult to the dead and those who mourn or remember them.”…

Their actions went “far beyond the boundaries of legitimate protest and freedom of expression,” prosecutor Simon Ray said.

Choudhury, of Hunton Street, was found guilty under Section 5 of the Public Order Act of burning the poppies in a way that was likely to cause “harassment, harm or distress” to those who witnessed it.

Andrew Ryan on the other hand responded to the incident with a hate crime because based on the actions of a group barely able to fill a minibus he stole a Koran from a library and set fire to it in the street whilst ‘shout[ing] abuse about the Muslim faith’. He is also an individual with a history of public order offences ‘including racial chanting at a football match and assault with intent to resist arrest’. His actions were very different to those of Choudhury – which, no matter how offensive they might have been, were aimed at soldiers, a group not denominated by race or religion. If Choudary had been chanting ‘Die Christians die, all Christians will burn in hell’ then he could have been prosecuted for a hate crime. But he didn’t. If he had a history of public order offences the judge might have taken stiffer action. But he didn’t. The only person demonising an entire religious group was Ryan and this – along with his track record – was reflected in the sentencing.

As for the Daily Mail trying to feed the narrative that we have double standards in this country – one rule for ‘them’ (increasingly Muslims) and another for ‘us’ (increasingly just means white people) – it is laughable when the two cases are actually compared. Just because both incidents featured the incendiary burning of an item does not make them equal. I won’t bother screen-grabbing the best-rated comments, but suffice to say they are full of people moaning about how the Muslims get away with everything whilst our poor downtrodden homegrown thugs get locked-up for 70 days.

It’s depressing, dishonest and divisive – just a typical Daily Mail article. Here is a chance to examine why it is that certain sections of British society cannot distinguish between the actions of individuals and the sentiments of religious groups. But instead the Mail just adds more fuel to the fire with this pathetically absurd accusation that Muslims are not treated equally in the eyes of the law. Andrew Ryan will not be the last person convicted of a hate crime against all Muslims precisely because of this kind of coverage.

Multiculturalism and the Monkeysphere

The Monkeysphere is the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it’s physically impossible for this to be a number much larger than 150…

we all have limits to our sphere of monkey concern. It’s the way our brains are built. We each have a certain circle of people who we think of as people, usually our own friends and family and neighbors, and then maybe some classmates or coworkers…

Those who exist outside that core group of a few dozen people are not people to us. They’re sort of one-dimensional bit characters.
David Wong, What is the Monkeysphere?

Whenever I hear people argue that multiculturalism is dead I always think of Dunbar’s number and the Monkeysphere. Robin Dunbar – an anthropologist – researched monkey brains and found that the number of social group members a primate can track appears to be limited by the volume of the neocortex region of their brain. He then studied a human brain and estimated (based on the volume of the neocortex) that human beings also suffer from a similar limit (albeit slightly larger than a monkey) and theorized that the average human being can maintain a stable social relationship with a maximum of around 150 people.

As the above quotation suggests, anyone outside of this sphere of understanding essentially becomes a caricature, a one dimensional stereotype that is simply not a real human being to us. It is for this reason that we can be extremely upset when a loved one has a bad day at work, but can remain surprisingly unperturbed when a busload of schoolkids plunges over a cliff in Chile. We simply do not have the mental capacity to visualise them as human beings. Some people argue that this limited number serves an evolutionary purpose, for why should we concern ourselves with the lives of those that we cannot possibly influence? 24 hour rolling global news can be a terribly depressing affair, given that all of the events take place outside our monkeysphere and we have virtually no chance of having a positive impact or influence on any of the awful events we witness. We’re selfish creatures able to enjoy buying clothes that we know are made by kids in sweatshops because our brains don’t force us to see them as being like the children that reside in our monkeysphere – they exist only fleetingly in an uncaring periphery.

Given the high rate of depression in developed nations it appears that stepping outside of our limited social sphere is not good for us and that in many ways, ignorance is bliss. This brings me back to this idea – so loved by politicians, the media and nationalist groups – that a national culture really exists and that we must somehow all engage with defending it. David Cameron’s recent declaration that ‘Multiculturalism has failed’ just doesn’t stand up to the merest whiff of scrutiny. Culture isn’t a racial thing, it isn’t something that divides people of different skin colours, it is something that divides all of us. Just as I have absolutely nothing in common with a stereotypical EDL member and would never envisage socialising with one, David Cameron would never dream of socialising – or even having anything in common with – 95% of the UK. Likewise, I can never imagine socialising with the elite into which Cameron and most of the elected cabinet of our government were born: culturally we are divided by an impassable chasm.

For David Cameron to imply that Britain has some kind of culture that immigrants should be assimilated into is quite ridiculous, because the people of Britain are not an homogeneous blob. We all live in our own little Monkeyspheres which are full of people just like us. We don’t really know anyone outside of this sphere and what’s more we don’t have the capacity to really know anyone outside of this sphere (nor necessarily the desire). David Cameron and his elitist monkey-chums don’t know anybody who doesn’t have inherited wealth, he’s not necessarily taking any pleasure in the cuts that his government is pushing through, he just simply doesn’t understand the concerns of those who live outside of his monkeysphere. He doesn’t know anyone who has ever had to rely on the government for support, or anyone to whom money is an issue. He can only appreciate the needs of those inside his tiny sphere, hence why he cannot see any problem with combining savage cuts to the not-human-in-his-eyes masses with tax breaks for his friends in the banks. He’s just looking after his own interests in the same way that the person shopping in a high-street fashion store does when they buy stuff they know has been made using slave-labour.

We’re never all going to get along; it’s physically and mentally impossible. The sooner we realise this, the quicker we can stop thinking about the world in such simple terms. Being British by birth can only mean that I share the same place of birth with other British people. It does not mean I share a common bond or culture. Chances are I will never even get close to interacting with a fraction of 1% of my fellow birth-buddies. I have good relationships with the people I work closely with, I have a professional passing recognition of others outside of that small group. I have a couple of friends from university that I keep in contact with, and a few close friends from various jobs I’ve had down the years. I commute to work in my car, I get home, get inside and spend most evenings with my wife. I speak to my neighbours occasionally, not because I consider myself anti-social, but because they’re just not part of my monkeysphere – just as I am not part of theirs.

I enjoy my life but I live in the knowledge that I will spend the vast majority of my adult life in work, not socialising. Our ability to form and maintain close social bonds is limited by how much time we have to participate in such behaviour (Dunbar even argues that language was developed as an easy way of performing social grooming). And for those of you thinking that social networking sites are going to change all of this, think again:

Dr Marlow found that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with Dr Dunbar’s hypothesis, and that women tend to have somewhat more than men. But the range is large, and some people have networks numbering more than 500, so the hypothesis cannot yet be regarded as proven.

What also struck Dr Marlow, however, was that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. The more “active” or intimate the interaction, the smaller and more stable the group.

Thus an average man—one with 120 friends—generally responds to the postings of only seven of those friends by leaving comments on the posting individual’s photos, status messages or “wall”. An average woman is slightly more sociable, responding to ten. When it comes to two-way communication such as e-mails or chats, the average man interacts with only four people and the average woman with six. Among those Facebook users with 500 friends, these numbers are somewhat higher, but not hugely so. Men leave comments for 17 friends, women for 26. Men communicate with ten, women with 16.

What mainly goes up, therefore, is not the core network but the number of casual contacts that people track more passively. This corroborates Dr Marsden’s ideas about core networks, since even those Facebook users with the most friends communicate only with a relatively small number of them.

The truth is we all exist in tiny bubbles which will always encourage us to act in the best interest of those within our particular bubble. We can certainly acknowledge that we live in a world much bigger than this bubble by creating basic expectations to nullify as much as possible our selfish instincts – this is why we have laws, the Human Rights Act, equality and diversity policies in work and so forth. It is to try to ensure that when we step outside our monkeyspheres we are able to treat those strange beings around us as humans, even if we cannot truly visualise them as such.

What is dangerous with this assumption that somehow other cultural groups cannot also abide by these basic tenets of civilisation and that they must therefore abandon anything that might signify that they are outwardly different to the majority is that it feeds our natural instinct to dehumanise any outgroup. How can we possibly say because a group of around 20 Muslims protested against British soldiers serving in Iraq and 4 individuals bombed London in suicide attacks that somehow multiculturalism has failed? The 2001 census recorded 1,591,000 Muslims living in the UK – making 24 a minute percentage,  whilst a survey conducted in 2009 of attitudes of British Muslims suggested that they ‘were found to identify more strongly with the UK than the rest of the population, and have a much higher regard for the country’s institutions’.

Yet because of our monkey brains we have the EDL demanding that all ‘Muzzies’ or ‘Muzz rats’ be thrown out or worse because of the actions of an utterly insignificant few. We never demand the slaughter of all men whenever a male paedophile is convicted. It is no less insane to treat all Muslims in they way that some people are now.

Repeated experiments across cultures show that when human beings are put into groups – even in the most arbitrary way, such as at the toss of a coin – they will always display ingroup bias and a desire to maintain distinctiveness from other groups. Media narratives about Muslims or any other group that exists outside of our Monkeysphere play into this irrational desire to negatively perceive those outside of our immediate groups – whilst maintaining a positive bias to those in our own groups. Arguing that somehow all his could be resolved if massive cultural groups – which are in themselves split into near infinite amounts of vastly different spheres – were somehow assimilated into what is seen as the dominant cultural norm is ludicrous.

All we can do as individuals is realise that we don’t normally process people outside of our tiny social groups as being real human beings. This is why a loving, doting son is able to mug someone else’s mother and we need laws with significant punishments to suppress such actions. We are hard-wired to stereotype outgroups, homogenising millions of people into one simple schema. But we have conscious thought, we can take a step back and challenge our default cognitive processes so that we can force ourselves to realise that Muslims are individual human beings and they cannot possibly be judged by the actions of an insignificant minority who happen to share the same religious belief.

Multiculturalism hasn’t failed, it’s not even a real concept when we consider how our brains function and that we only really share a common goal with the select few inside our Monkeysphere.

Labels

The anti-Muslim stories continue: ‘Fury after two Muslim councillors refuse to take part in standing ovation for Marine who won George Cross’. Can I just make it absolutely clear that the decision of these two councillors was taken out of principle – in their words:

Cllr Yaqoob, Respect Party leader and head of Birmingham’s Stop the War Coalition, said: ‘It was more about the politicians feeling good about themselves for sending our young men to fight for reasons that have proved to be false.

‘I have every sympathy for our soldiers on a human level, they are only doing their jobs.

‘But this ovation was just a big public show, it was false patriotism.

‘Wrapping coffins in the flag and awarding medals does not make it right.’

Cllr Ishtiaq added: ‘At the end of the day, if these so-called politicians want to give a standing ovation, why don’t they go and fight themselves?

‘What we did was out of principle.’ [emphasis is mine]

Their decision to not take part in the standing ovation had nothing whatsoever to do with their religion, yet the article repeatedly labels them ‘Muslim councillors’ as if they had taken the action as a result of being Muslim. It is another disgraceful slur on a minority group. British values – real British values, not the intolerant, ignorant hatred of British nationalists – are based on the freedom to make individual choices, to be free to make peaceful political gestures. Ironically the soldiers are supposed to be dying to defend such freedoms, yet here are two councillors being accused of treason for simply taking the decision to not stand during an ovation which they perceived as being a not very tasteful political act. As the soldier himself acknowledges:

everyone is entitled to their opinion whatever it may be

In the same way, everyone should be free to be judged by their actions, not by their religious label. By all means discuss whether the councillors were right or wrong to not stand because that is a perfectly legitimate debate. However, religion has nothing to do with it and this is just another story designed purely to appeal to the BNP / EDL. And just in time for Luton, to.

Shameful ‘journalism’

Saw this headline on the Mail website today and immediately thought it sounded dodgy: ‘Bah humbug! Father Christmas banned at children’s centre… to respect faith of one Muslim family‘. Bad journalism is like a virus that is easily carried around the globe via the Internet. Searching for more information on the story led to me having to trawl through hundreds of blog posts, news sites, forums all of which were littered with the most hateful and violent denunciations of all Muslims because of this one story.

Going back to the source of the story takes us right back to the 14th December when the Mankato Free Press run this story: ‘Santa gets the heave-ho-ho-ho‘. The article makes a number of assumptions and is fuelled by the suspicious of the ‘banned’ Santa:

Dennis Jackson said it was over-reaching cultural sensitivity that led to being told his annual Santa appearances must cease at St. Peter Head Start classes for young children.

Jackson said he was told “it was against some people’s wishes” for him to make the half-hour appearances for two classes catering to about three dozen children.

He said St. Peter Head Start personnel gave him no reason for the action. He’s made Santa appearances there the past four years to dispense candy bought at his own expense.

“It kind of burnt me up,” he said, speculating that program officials turned him away in deference to requests from immigrant families that don’t celebrate Christmas.

So, right away we are told that the Santa (Dennis Jackson) was given no reason for the action and that it is Jackson’s ‘speculation’ that he was turned away at the request of immigrants. This does not seem to fit in at all with the Daily Mail’s confident assertion that the ‘ban’ was caused by one Muslim family. The spokeswomen for the organisation does not necessarily help matters with her comments – but then, who knows if she has been quoted in full or in context:

“We have Somali families in the program,” she said. “We’re respecting the wishes of families in the program.”

She didn’t say how many objections were made, but said that program parents are surveyed annually to gauge their feelings toward holiday observances in classes.

She indicated that more than one objection would be sufficient to waive an observance.

“The simple truth is that southern Minnesota has become a much more culturally diverse society than it was a few decades ago,” she said.

“Part of our challenge in Head Start is providing an environment where young children from many different cultures can all feel comfortable.”

Again, no confirmation of how many objections were raised or who had raised them. If this journalist had any decency they would not have run the story as essentially conjecture, knowing the result would be mass intolerance from people seeking a justification for their own racial and religious hatred of Muslim immigrants. Who knows, the lack of invitation (which is not exactly a ban, is it?) may have been caused by one Muslim family, but equally it could have been for other reasons. This is why journalists spend time being trained, so that they can look into things to establish the facts prior to publication. Journalism is not accepting the comments of one aggrieved individual and sending them around the globe as pure speculation.

None of this really matters though. The sad thing is that people all over the world cannot separate the individual from the group label. Why would the complaints of one Muslim family (if this is the case) automatically lead to anyone wanting every single Muslim person out of the country? People act as individuals, irrespective of what labels we might want to apply to them. Everyone on earth can be labelled – whether it be through nationality, race, religion, gender and so forth – and we all deserve to be respected as individuals because we very often don’t choose the labels that are applied to us. As individuals we want to be judged for our own deeds and actions, not the actions of any other individual who can be put under the same label as us.

Racism, intolerance and bigotry is born out of ignorance. This kind of journalism is precisely the ignorance that helps to perpetuate and feed such behaviours. The outrage has been stirred, sent around the world and absorbed before any journalists has even attempted to establish the true facts.

That isn’t just bad journalism, it is dangerous journalism.

As for the Mail’s utterly unfounded assertions that:

Father Christmas was banned from visiting children at a Head Start Program… because Santa, and all he stands for, offended one Muslim family.

They are an absolute disgrace. Remember articles like this the next time the Mail pretends it does not support the EDL.

Daily Mail prints latest article in support of the EDL

Another Daily Mail story of those sensitive Muslims getting offended by a tradition upheld by the ‘indigenous’ population of the country they happen to be living in. This time a 63-year-old Austrian has been fined £700 for ‘yodelling while mowing his lawn because it offended his Muslim neighbours next door‘. Obviously, any sane reader would immediately think that there was something more to this story because you don’t just get fined on the spot for upsetting a neighbour, even if they are Muslim – no matter how much the Daily Mail would like to think so.

Thankfully, another blogger has already taken the time to look into this and reports that in fact:

the fine was the result of a year-long campaign of disturbances by the OAP, and that he would time his Friday yodelling practice with the Muslims call to prayer. Apparently, according to the court papers submitted (although Kobuk is vague on the details), Griese also used other methods of disruption. Basically, it sounds like one man hassling his neighbours because he doesn’t like them and their call to prayers, and instead of talking to them or calling the police, he decides to torment them. Ah, neighbours, gotta love them.

Kobuk goes on to report that the Muslims tried to reason with Griese and stopped broadcasting the call to prayer over loudspeaker. When that didn’t stop Griese, they turned to the police, who, after repeatedly warning off Mr Griese, did not have a choice but to take the matter to court (something to do with Austrian law). The case was settled after Griese agreed to pay the €800 fine (so the court didn’t actually sentence him, but that’s nitpicking).

Whilst it is difficult to verify this information – given the language barrier, the Austrian newspaper – the Krone Zeitung – is not only described by this blogger as being:

to quality journalism what used toilet paper is to a napkin, and has a similar attitude to foreigners and anything that is different from pickety fency conservatism as the Daily Mail. Its stories thus cannot be taken at face value.

But it has also now removed the story.

However, as usual, the comments section of the Mail article makes for depressing reading and another distorted media report on Muslims has provided yet more fuel for the EDL – a group which the Daily Mail had the cheek to investigate the other day, as if they had played no part in creating and sustaining them with their diet of anti-Muslim stories based on complete distortions of the truth.

The Daily Star: Capable of blocking toilets

A dose of Youtube can sometimes be just as nauseating as browsing the Daily Mail website; and in many ways it is actually worse because Youtube is the place where all the tabloid reading dullards pick up a video camera and film themselves regurgitating their confused interpretation of the world around them. They are the sort of people who buy the Daily Star because they think it is a newspaper. They probably believed that councils were building hole-in-the-ground toilets WITH THEIR MONEY just for EVIL MUSLIMS to use, even though as pointed out by Jamie over at exclarotive the entire story was a complete lie: firstly, it was a privately run shopping centre and nothing to do with the council and secondly the toilets were not just for Muslims.

The trouble is with these stories is that although they are complete rubbish they have already been committed to paper and imprinted on the minds of the absolute simpletons who stare vacantly into a camera and claim that Britain is losing a war against immigrants imposing their culture and laws on us. The sad thing is almost their entire evidence base for these assertions is the absolute drivel printed by tabloid newspapers. People will now seriously believe that local councils are so scared of Muslims that they are using TAXPAYERS’ money to build them special toilets that only they are allowed to use.

Naturally the council responded and pointed out that ‘the installation of a particular type of toilet at the Rochdale Exchange shopping centre has had nothing whatsoever to do with the council’. But of course this will not ever be reported in the Daily Star, so the original front page will still be true:

And the Daily Star can then follow it up with another lie that makes it seem as if the original story was genuine:

The amount of excrement printed by the Daily Star is enough to block any toilet, although in this case the ‘blockage’ is rather uncertain as Jamie points out:

There never were going to be Muslim-only toilets, so they can’t be ‘blocked’. Even if you ignore the ‘Muslim-only’ bit, the article only says the toilets are being reconsidered – and that’s from an anonymous source who’s in neither the Manchester nor Rochdale local papers.

All in all, another Daily Star front page that is a complete lie and the PCC have never so much as raised an eyebrow, let alone got the brush out and forced this vile shit firmly around the u-bend.

Siding with the enemy

This is part one of ‘Richard Littlejohn: The cloaca series


In August 2006 Richard Littlejohn in an article about Muslims entitled ‘If they hate us so much, why don’t they leave?‘ wrote about Muslims that a:

sizeable minority… have no desire to adapt to Britain. They want Britain to adapt to them. For a large number of Muslims, their faith is incompatible with Western freedoms and democracy.

This being the case, Littlejohn argued, why don’t they simply bugger off?

In 2007 Littlejohn produced a short ‘cut-out-and-keep guide to the two dominant branches of Islam‘:

Sunnis are the peace-loving, Saudi-backed wing who brought you Al Qaeda. Shias are the peace-loving, Iranian-backed strain behind Hamas and Hezbollah. I hope that helps.

Very helpful and very tolerant towards Muslims I’m sure everyone would agree.

In 2006 Littlejohn in an article entitled ‘Is it any wonder Britons are leaving in droves?1 wrote that:

You don’t have to be a card-carrying BNP neanderthal to worry about the consequences of this sea-change in our society. It is simply impossible to absorb and assimilate this many people from a myriad of cultures in such a short space of time – that’s always assuming they want to assimilate, which in the case of many Muslims they don’t.

So the trend tends to imply that Muslims are bad, they don’t integrate in the UK, don’t like us and should really just bugger off back home.

Yet in spite of this, Littlejohn in 2009 wrote a column in support of the intolerance of some Muslims simply because those Muslims (and Christians – but Littlejohn doesn’t seem to hate them) were being intolerant of the right thing: gays.

However, do not think that Littlejohn is going soft as he slowly approaches his eagerly awaited death, he still finds time in the same column to laugh at a devout Muslim for having a funny beard.

Littlejohn’s primary column seems to argue that young people today are uneducated and ignorant2 (the majority ‘think Auschwitz is a brand of beer’) because they are having:

lessons ‘celebrating’ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month… smuggled in under the radar in the guise of ‘history’.

Some parents decided to withdraw their children from such lessons, and it is these parents Littlejohn bravely defends because:

these aren’t the usual feckless mothers and absentee fathers content to let their children bunk off school. They are deeply moral and religious people who object to their children being force-fed homosexual propaganda in the classroom.

One wonders if these ‘deeply moral and religious people’ were arguing for lessons on Islam Littlejohn might be screaming ‘PC gone mad’ or ‘to hell in a handcart’ before trying to force-feed those same parents his favourite word: ‘integration’ (‘or go back to your own country’, he sometimes adds).

Leaving aside Littlejohn siding with his traditional enemy against the gays, it is worth examining exactly what Littlejohn finds so abhorrent about the teaching of diversity. Littlejohn is obsessed with the idea that teaching diversity is actually a propaganda mission determined to turn all of our children gay:

Regular readers may remember these fairy stories from a couple of years ago, when they were part of a £600,000 government-sponsored project designed to peddle gay propaganda to children as young as five.

‘gay propaganda’? Littlejohn seems to have such a paranoid and warped mindset that he even states that ‘this isn’t education, it’s cultural fascism.’

He also does not seem to understand that being gay isn’t really a choice. Why a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender month, anyway?’ he argues, ‘Why not a Foot Fetishists, Spankers, Sadists and Masochists History Month?’. Littlejohn lists these fetishes for two main reasons: one; to make Gay, Bisexual or Transgender people sound as perverted as Mail readers assume those who practice those fetishes to be, and two; to make it seem as if being Gay is a behaviour that one can choose not to indulge in – with the implicit assumption that to indulge in such a behaviour is a perversion.

His arguments are linked to a basic ignorance of what it is to be ‘gay’ – it could of course be that I’m talking rubbish as I am not gay – but I understand that people are born with a predisposed sexual preference; therefore no amount of propaganda is going to make a gay person straight or a straight person gay. No doubt Littlejohn still believes that gay men could be turned straight if only they were made to play rugby or visit a lap-dancing club.

Teaching diversity is important because it demonstrates to children that we live in a tolerant society where they can grow up and be accepted for who they are. The gay child in the classroom who is battling with desires he or she may not understand is relieved to find out that he or she is not alone, not perverted and won’t be ostracised or shunned by his or her fellow citizens for simply being whom he or she is. The straight child in the class will realise that being gay isn’t some horrific crime or perversion, something to be hidden or worse, scorned at by others. Teaching tolerance of others regardless of perceived differences is an important part of defeating fascist ideology; not – as Littlejohn stupidly argues – fascism in itself; nor is it ‘propaganda’.

That Littlejohn can pretend to understand the concerns (intolerance) of devout Muslims when those concerns (intolerance) align themselves; yet underneath in the very same column completely mock devout Muslim faith is astonishing – if it only highlights the moronic sycophancy of his readers.

PC Javid Iqbal (sub-heading: ‘Shiver me timbers – it’s Cut-Throat Pete’) is a PC who alleges racial abuse, from the routine mocking of his beard to being called a ‘fucking paki’ and left on patrols without a lift back to the police station. However, Littlejohn, as he makes clear in his sub-title is only interested in mocking the way that he looks:

I’ve never seen a dafter beard than the one sported by PC Javid Iqbal.It’s less a beard, more a privet hedge. If he entered it in a Best-Kept Village competition, he’d win a gold rosette.

It resembles those fake pirate beards we used to cut out of comics. PC Javid is a dead ringer for Captain Pugwash’s adversary, Cut-Throat Pete.

I wonder if it’s real, or comes off with his glasses, like one of those Groucho Marx masks. No wonder his colleagues couldn’t help poking fun at it.

Littlejohn, after this mocking introduction, mentions that ‘ PC Javid says the beard is part of his Islamic religion’ but mocks this reason immediately: ‘But surely a Jeremy Beadle or a Manfred Mann would have done the job just as well.’

For good measure Littlejohn makes a mockery of his claim for compensation:

Needless to say, PC Javid is suing for com-pen-say-shun and claims to be suffering from depression. In case that argument is laughed out of court, he also claims to have been called a ‘f***ing Paki’, which is usually worth about 50 grand.

Before using the magic but to imply that he is unlikely to have actually suffered racist abuse:

If he has genuinely been racially abused, fair enough. But Bedfordshire Police is one of the most ‘diversity-sensitive’ forces in Britain, especially when it comes to its large Muslim population.

And finally concluding that he was probably a rubbish policeman, and is better suited to being a ‘garden gnome':

And the official line is that PC Javid was sacked because he was ‘not cut out to be a police officer’. Sounds about right.

A garden gnome, maybe, just not a copper. Last time I saw a beard like that it was sitting on a toadstool, holding a fishing rod.

I find it difficult to comprehend how Littlejohn has the audacity to write a piece showing solidarity with  ‘deeply moral and religious people [Muslims – photographed next to article] who object to their children being force-fed homosexual propaganda in the classroom’ and immediately following it with a piece completely mocking a Muslim who is presumably just as ‘deeply moral and religious’.

I guess it is clear to see how Littlejohn picks those to vilify and those to support: intolerant of gays = support; growing a beard that looks a bit funny but for the same religious belief but no mention of intolerance towards gays = vilify and mock.

Perhaps I just can’t believe that such an utter cloaca exists.


1. The logic of Littlejohn’s argument (there are so many foreigners in the UK, Brits are being forced to emigrate) is hysterical. If people dislike other cultures and foreign people that much, how can moving abroad, to a different culture full of foreigners, possibly be the answer? The whole article is staggeringly hypocritical; on the one hand Littlejohn finds it ‘profoundly depressing that so many energetic, qualified young people feel they have no future in the country of their birth’ and therefore choose to move abroad for a ‘better life’. On the other hand, foreign people moving to the UK, many precisely for the same reason as those bright young things leaving the UK, are a terrible thing.

Littlejohn really makes it clear that he values British people above people of other nations. How can he understand emigration (living as he does, mostly in Florida, USA) but not understand immigration? They are the same thing.

2. The irony of Littlejohn complaining about education standards… whilst simultaneously writing absolute drivel for a specifically targeted audience of morons.

This article first appeared on Angry Mob back in March 2009.


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Stop me if you think you’ve heard this before

Richard Littlejohn must be the laziest columnist in the world, which is some feat considering the utter crap that the majority of tabloid columnist’s spout. Today’s column seems to be a parody of himself, he seems to cram in all of his repetitive nonsense into one badly written spoof of Dad’s Army as if he was purposely sending himself up. Littlejohn just cannot help himself, any excuse to shoehorn any topic into a ancient sitcom and he takes it – as usual backing away from any real issues like the coward that he is – no mention of Nick Griffin’s performance on Newsnight or any other big stories, just the same regurgitated and stupid points that only he and a handful of his moronic readers care about.

Still, it is hardly surprising that Littlejohn’s only mention on the BNP / Newsnight story was to try and distance himself from the BNP, as if his xenophobic, hate-filled articles aren’t actually racist. But of course they are, and his racism – and the lies he tells to justify his racism – are exactly the sort of thing that you’ll hear BNP members repeat and get worked up about (he used to be Nick Griffin’s favourite writer).

For the BNP Richard Littlejohn’s article are evidence that their worldview is correct, and he is supplying more evidence today ‘Who do you think you’re kidding, Mr Darling?‘:

This is treason, Wilson. Assemble the platoon immediately.

I’m afraid that won’t be possible, sir.

Why ever not?

The church hall has been converted into a mosque.

When did that happen?

Shortly after Mr Jones started selling only halal meat. And the police have advised the platoon not to march through Walmington-on-Sea because it might upset the local jihadists. One of them blew himself up on the top deck of the Green Line bus the other day. Made the most frightful mess.

This is monstrous, Wilson.

The message – as ever with Littlejohn – is clear: we are being invaded by foreigners (in this case he seems to be referring specifically to Muslims) and that this invasion is ‘monstrous’. The implication is that all churches have been coverted to mosques and all butchers supply only halal meat. I seem to recall that both halal butchers and non-halal butchers seem to exist side-by-side, but in Littlejohn’s world that is despicable ‘multiculturalism’ and he prefers to skip round this and simply declare that we’re being invaded.

The whole column is just hilarious because it is what you would write if you were write a satirical piece in the style of Littlejohn: ancient sitcom used as comedy vehicle: check; a conversation in which the naive is informed of the ‘truth’ by the all-knowing (the voice of Littlejohn): check; a dig about Gold reserves being sold for a pittance: check; a dig about Gordon Brown not being elected: check; a dig about quantitative easing: check; a hilarious ‘Hanki-panki’ name for an Icelandic bank: check; a dig at Muslims: check; mentioning suicide bombers: check; mentioning Mosques: check; mention fines and ‘slop buckets': check; mention spivs: check; Brown and the pension fund: check.

The whole thing has been written a hundred times before or more… by Richard Littlejohn. How he still thinks that any of this is topical, relevant, funny or accurate is beyond me, yet Dacre still coughs up the best part of a million pounds a year for this utter shite – which I think just about sums up Dacre’s commitment to reporting truth – he is more concerned with paying people to regurgitate this sort of crap because it supports his twisted view of the world. Tabloid Watch wrote a post a few weeks back that pointed out that Littlejohn had repeated the ‘flogging gold reserves at car-boot prices’ at least 8 times, and here he is making the same point again.

As someone has pointed out in the comments it seems that Richard has used Dad’s Army as his ‘comedy vehicle’ so many times his spoofs probably outnumber the original episodes. This column certainly feels like a repeat, and not a good one at that. Actually, look here, he has written it before, just two years ago: ‘Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Darling?‘. He even used the same title. Wow, what a columnist.