Home > General Politics, Labour Party News > Nothing “Labour” should have anything to do with the EDL

Nothing “Labour” should have anything to do with the EDL

In an interview with Robert Philpot recently, Maurice Glasman – blue labourite – said the solution to building a working class-friendly Labour party can be done by re-creating:

a party that brokers a common good, that involves those people who support the EDL within our party. Not dominant in the party, not setting the tone of the party, but just a reconnection with those people that we can represent a better life for them, because that’s what they want.

Firstly I can see what he means. During Labour’s Blairite years (as of yet not entirely shifted), the task was to capture the hearts and minds of Middle England, while taking support and votes from working class communities for granted (not expecting the far right fringe to cause as much fuss as they have).

For Glasman, trying to re-engage Labour back to those communities will not mean taking a typically left-of-centre approach. 

The “family, faith, flag” mantra of Glasman’s has obviously had some traction with Ed Miliband. In the Sun today can be found an interview with the Labour leader where apparently he declared ‘Red Ed is dead’ “in a bid to dump his left-wing image and win back Sun readers”.

But Glasman’s words are purposefully ambiguous. Are Labour supposed to engage in a battle of rhetoric, repeatedly saying the things that an academic has supposed working class communities want to hear? Or should Labour’s main task be to drop the liberal elitism of old and concentrate on restoring community cohesion in parts of the UK forgotten by metropolitan politicians?

If it’s the latter, and I hope it is, then Labour should have nothing to do with debates set on the EDL’s terms. The party of the working class should be promoting those things which make communities better and safer; creating social spaces where families feel better connected with each other and where mutual trust between all groups be allowed to flourish.

At the moment the EDL is a force that undermines this work. At home it presents itself as a necessary part of the argument on religious extremism. On the streets, their conflation of the moderate, non-violent Islam – that most Muslims in the UK subscribe to – and radicalist elements preached by Anjem Choudary and his small clan of jihadis, cause the very ruptures to society that community cohesion tries to mend.

The Labour party did make a pact with the devil in neglecting its traditional support base, the price of which will be paid for quite some time. But the EDL are no representation of today’s working class communities either.

Some of what Glasman is talking about is rather interesting, but he is in that early stage of influence, trying to capture headlines with bombastic statements. We can ignore a lot of it, and this is one case in point.

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  1. April 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    If Andy Choudary, and his small band of not so merry men, were all we had to worry about from Islam, the the EDL would have died a long time ago, rather than having mushroomed (88,000 strong Facebook Group).

    • April 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm

      You know, David, anybody can flog a dead horse. Just because the EDL has grown that doesn’t make them right – you’re not looking at this in the right way.

      In conflating all Islam with radical Islamism, the EDL are perpetuating a myth that does damage to communities and breeds suspicion between neighbours – no good, why support it?

    • Phil
      April 23, 2011 at 1:18 am

      “88,000 strong Facebook Group” is hardly votes at the ballot box or representative of the UK population. They easy be divided into 3 main groups;

      1. Chav kids
      2. (ex)Football hooligans
      3. Those that sit on their backside and do nothing productive other than to collect their dole cheque /sign on

      • Alex P
        April 23, 2011 at 4:02 am

        Yes keep on using that broad brush to smear what are often former traditional left wing Labour voters. Not difficult to see how far detached Labour have become from ordinary people. A journey into marginalised obscurity awaits.

      • Phil
        April 24, 2011 at 1:02 am

        Sorry Alex P, Clearly I’m wrong and Facebook Groups are a great indicator to how people vote.

        BNP has about 70,000 fans on facebook and Labour has about 100,000 and in the last election BNP got 7 vote for every 10 Labour got, right? err…mmm… WAIT, err

        hell with FACTS….err eee edl ee edl

  2. April 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    The dead horse in question is the notion that the EDL represent at this moment in time any sort of displaced class-based sentiment. Some of them may feel like that, sure enough, though from watching their more politically adept members weasel around, it’s quite apparent that the leadership at least couldn’t be less interested in basic public services and bread and butter issues. They want to have the Clash of Civilizations debate, and are linked with like-minded people on the continent. The other bit just comes out for some extra rhetoric. And most of it is lost on the EDL membership anyway; couple of friends of mine nearly joined but hadn’t a bloody clue what it was.

    At the moment, the EDL are simply lagered up thugs. 88,000 people in a facebook group is tiny compared to the potential support available for a politically savvy right-wing operation; the readership of the Sun is a few million. They’re not joining the facebook group. Where are they? The ones who are told every day that Islam is coming for their kids and that the soft-touch government is letting it happen in the name of human rights and political correctness. Where are they?

    I suspect they are where we, the enlightened intellectual vanguard of the revolution *splutter, choke* hate them to be; sitting on their ever-expanding arses, in front of the telly, watching the wonderful specimens of Anglo-Saxon inbreeding parading with their St George’s Crosses, thinking “Oor these fuckin’ cunts ‘en?” (adjusted for regional dialect of course) and laughing at the shit they come off with, like the news bulletin is really an extension of The Only Way is Essex.

    Fucking hell. Dignifying this shit with political debate is just laughable. A few counter-marches fire up the local communities and chase the idiot football hooligans back to their stinking London shitholes. The bit about Ed Miliband just confirms how utterly depoliticised the Labour Party has become, and how thoroughly and utterly corrupt the leadership is, “Red Ed” his “mainstream majority” and the whole shitting caboodle.

  3. Alex P
    April 23, 2011 at 12:15 am

    88,000 supporters on facebook for the two year old EDL and growing rapidly versus 99,000 for Labour established 110 years ago – not hard to see why Red Ed is worried! Labour will be forever associated with mass uncontrolled Muslim immigration. There was no mandate from the British people for them to open the door and invite in the dregs of the third world to this country. The numbers were such that they have fractured UK society and given Islam such a power base in this country that will pose a threat for generations to come. Quite ironic that its great social engineering project has fuelled the overnight growth of the far right and I’m sure given time widespread militant Christianity!

    Labour should forget about reaching out to the white working class communities or stealing the clothes of the EDL. Their betrayal was total and as such they will never be trusted again. Labour should simply focus on retaining its core vote, the Islamists. The Labour red rose has had its day, time for another rebranding exercise, I think the red crescent would be perfectly appropriate!

    • Phil
      April 23, 2011 at 1:36 am

      “uncontrolled Muslim immigration”
      “fractured UK society and given Islam such a power base”
      “retaining its core vote, the Islamists”

      What are you smoking?? It must be some seriously good stuff.

      Muslims account for about 3% of the UK population. Hardly uncontrolled, enough to fracture a society and clearly not enough to be ‘core’ vote.

      paranoid.

      Say no to drugs.

      • Alex P
        April 23, 2011 at 3:44 am

        The 3% figure is wildly out of date and so much of the Islamic immigration has been illegal that a true figure will never be established. However people can see with their own eyes what is happening. BBC Midlands Today reported recently that in Birmingham white children are already a minority in the infant schools and the already sizeable Islamic Pakistani community is set to double in the next couple of decades. Birmingham will easily become a majority Islamic city by that point and countless more towns and cities like Bradford, Leicester, Blackburn, Leeds, Sheffield Oldham and large swathes of London are following closely behind.

        That’s not multiculturalism, but monoculturalism and more to the point Islam which is in many peoples eyes a truly backwards and evil ideology. I don’t really know what I fear more, the future dominance of Islam or the type of extreme corrective measures that will inevitably have to be taken to prevent that situation ever happening!

      • Phil
        April 24, 2011 at 1:05 am

        Alex P, What percentage of the UK population do you think are Muslims?

    • Edward Carlsson Browne
      April 24, 2011 at 12:40 am

      That could be an interesting argument if Labour’s membership was 99,000.

      As it is, it’s a huge stinking pile of bollocks, even before you get on to the usual tripe about “uncontrolled mass Muslim immigration”.

  4. Alex P
    April 23, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Yes Dave, don’t engage and continue to look down your nose at the genuine concerns of a very large proportion of the British electorate.

    There was no widespread racial/religious tensions in the UK prior to Labour getting elected. If you don’t like the new terms of the debate perhaps ask yourself why this has now become such a mainstream issue? The days of brushing it under the carpet are long gone. This will be the primary issue upon which the next general election is fought and many more to come. Fail to engage with the issue and consign yourself to the status of a marginal fringe party for many decades to come!

    • April 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

      I’ll deal with the rest of your bullshit tomorrow, but let me just re-post what you said above:

      There was no widespread racial/religious tensions in the UK prior to Labour getting elected.

      Did you not do Henry VIII at your school?

      • Alex P
        April 23, 2011 at 3:53 am

        Exactly, you’ve had to go back 500 years to find a comparable example. Sort of illustrates the magnitude of the problem Labour have created!

        PS Shouting people down with racism doesn’t work any more. People are wise to the tactic and its seen as being rather old fashioned these days!

      • April 23, 2011 at 9:36 am

        You’re kidding right? I didn’t have to go back 500 years, I was just using that example to illustrate how short-sighted you’re being with your accusation.

  5. April 23, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Racial tension in the UK is entirely the product of a Labour government?

    Is Alex P some kind of wind-up troll or is s/he actually a genuine idiot?

    • April 23, 2011 at 1:06 am

      I hope for humanity’s sake that it’s a parody, but you can never be too sure with the racist ones

      • Serenus Zeitblom
        April 23, 2011 at 6:30 am

        But what Alex P is saying is not in substance very different from what Cameron said in his recent speech to Tory Party activists – when he claimed that he could remember a time when there was no racial tension in Britain (Cameron was born in 1966, two years before Enoch Powell made his “rivers of blood” speech).

        It’s drivel, but it’s the raw material of racist myth-making.

    • Alex P
      April 23, 2011 at 3:19 am

      MAINSTREAM racial/religious tension, yes very much a product of the last Labour government. As Newton himself explained – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!

      Extreme immigration policies have pushed a lot of moderate people into the hands of the far right simply for their own protection and future security. This was a complete game changer in UK politics and Labour will be left high and dry by its over reliance on the Islamic block vote. The UK is becoming highly polarised and very few people outside of this demographic will in future trust a group so heavily involved with Islam.

      • April 23, 2011 at 8:03 am

        “There was no widespread racial/religious tensions in the UK prior to Labour getting elected.”

        You are actually insane if you believe this. Or someone who knows nothing of the recent history of the country you claim to love. I suspect a bit of both.

        Self-hating paranoid far right nut jobs like you, picking on the latest or brownest arrivals to our immigrant-built island have been around forever. You’re nothing special, you don’t speak for working peopl and we’ll send you the same way we sent your mate Moseley

  6. Guano
    April 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I don’t see much difference between what Glasman is saying and traditional New Labour thinking. New Labour thinking was that it had to attract votes in marginal seats in middle England and throw a few bits of meat off the sledge for its core vote. The focus groups showed that the core Labour vote was very angry about a wide range of topics: job insecurity, unemployment, loss of TU rights. Immigration came a long way down the list. However it was considered taboo to mentioned the main concerns, so New Labour played up immigration. If Labour really wants to reconnect with its core vote it needs to address tricky subjects like the decline of manufacturing industries, the dependence of the UK on the ifnancial sector, the downside of globalisation.

    By the way, Middle England and the Metropoltan Elite are two very different phenomea, but that is another story.

  7. April 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Alex P,

    I’m the last person who wants to live under a sharia law, I don’t know of any Leftists who would want to live this way, but you’re grossly exaggerating the risk of the “Islamification of the UK”. Even if the figure of Muslims in the UK is plus 3%, what makes you think that sum wants to impose a set of measures appealed to by al-Qaeda? Certainly those extreme parties who do call for an Islamic law in the UK are being un-Islamic.

    Professor Shaheen Ali, an expert on law and Islam, said this regarding how a Muslim is to conduct oneself in a non-Muslim country:

    – there is already a code of practice on how a Muslim conducts themselves and what their obligations viz-a-viz the country to which they now call home

    – Britain affords a legal system to all its habitants and is therefore congruent with Islam and social justice

    – Britain does not put a curb on the practice of the 5 pillars of Islam (Shahada – the professing of oneself to be a Muslim; Salat – prayer; Zakat – to give to charity; Sawm – the ritual fasting; Hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca), therefore the laws here must be respected by Muslims, as stipulated by “Islamic law”.

    There are ways of opposing Islamism that do not put forward a clash of civilisations argument – and in this way I’m completely with Dave. The EDL do perpetuate this theory which is why they have a stake in community tensions. You may think they’re a legitimate response to it, but they are not.

    The clash of civilisations argument is, by the way, racist. This isn’t a term one should throw around lightly, but here it is justified.

    Again with immigration, I’ve never been one to shy away from the debate, but siding with the EDL as a means to a sensible debate on Islam and migration is ridiculous, for reasons mentioned above.

    • Alex P
      April 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Carl, you really need to educate yourself about Islam as Sharia is a central tenant to the whole ideology. A very large proportion of Muslims have a desire to live by the laws of Sharia and recent polls put that figure at 40%+ for UK Muslims, indeed higher than many more moderate Islamic countries.

      You also need to educate yourself about the concept of taqqiya, where Muslims will deny their faith to establish power and influence. When they reach sufficient numbers in the community such moderation will soon be left by the wayside.

      Have a look at the mission statement of the EDL, their argument is much more sophisticated than that of Black v White, hence why they are attracting a multi-cultural following. Wherever Islam has gained significant influence in a country such as Bosnia or the Lebanon, civil unrest and war has always followed. The response of the EDL is in my opinion measured and peaceful, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility given the fractures that now exist in certain areas that we are entering a Northern Ireland style phase of politics.

      • April 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

        You can’t patronise me mate! What do you think you mean by sharia? What do you mean by the laws of sharia? You treat it as though it were a monolithic fucking set of accepted principles, but they aren’t, they are disputed, and of the proportion of those who want to live by sharia, their opinion will be split a number of times reflecting moderate, traditional and extreme understandings. My contention is you, and the EDL, are over-exaggerating the amount of support fundamentalist Islamic law gets in order to stoke up community tension – which is itself a hazard over and above the hazard that extremists of all colours cause to a society.

        I was speaking to a Leftist Muslim friend of mine who told me that owing to his branch of radical politics, he has before been accused of seeking political demands outside his faith as a way of not accepting the laws of the land as stated in Islamic law (providing that land allows Muslims to practice the 5 pillars. It’s literally a stick to beat Muslims with and you’re doing it yourself. Radical Islamists are radical Islamists and ought to be condemned, but Muslim radicals, that is to say Muslims who are politically radical (say socialist or anarchist) are accused of trying to establish political power for Islamism in other ways. It’s dodgy territory Alex.

        I’ve had the pleasure of reading their mission statement, and true it’s not material you can expect to hear in your local pub, but essentially it does reduce all Islam to radical Islamism. But is an organisation really the sum of its mission statements? No one can deny that Guramit Singh is a high ranking member of the EDL, many people in the EDL like, respect and look up to him, and indeed he has been filmed “describing Islam as “evil”, along with publicly claiming that there is no difference between Islam in general and “militant Islam”.”

        I don’t want to see certain areas enter a NI style of politics, which means opposing and disrupting the advances of anyone who tries to throw us there. That goes for far right clerics whose job it is to segregate communities and cause tension, and far right organisations who stir up community tension by advancing a clash of civilisations argument.

      • April 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        In order for me to get a better, more nuanced understanding of the EDL, you asked me to look at the mission statement. As I noted I have had the pleasure, but to prove to you that it is, as you argue it isn’t, black & white, this is a very telling quote (from statement #3 Public Education: Ensuring That The Public Get A Balanced Picture Of Islam):

        Islam is not just a religious system, but a political and social ideology that seeks to dominate all non-believers and impose a harsh legal system that rejects the democratic process. It runs counter to all that we hold dear within our British liberal democracy.

        That’s the balanced picture, that’s what the EDL want to tell Britain’s communities about Islam, that all those committed to Islam are politically undemocratic. For shame.

        Perhaps I’m judging the EDL too far on the violent thugs who smash shit up on the streets, and not the real brains behind the operation. For that I’d have to investigate Tommy Robinson – the EDL leader – perhaps. Well, here he is (below) debating (or rather, trying to lecture) another Muslim on what sharia law is:

        Incidentally, have the EDL not thought about opposing Islamic extremism by debating radical Islamists, to tell them that the majority of British Muslims have no truck with their far right ideology? No of course not, they’ve gone for the intellectually simpler (truth is not always in Ockhams razor, as the yes2AV campaigners have recently found out) message of all Islam is bad. Now tell me again, Alex, this is not black and white, clash of civilisations argument.

  8. Alex P
    April 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    News from nowhere :
    “There was no widespread racial/religious tensions in the UK prior to Labour getting elected.”
    You are actually insane if you believe this. Or someone who knows nothing of the recent history of the country you claim to love. I suspect a bit of both.
    Self-hating paranoid far right nut jobs like you, picking on the latest or brownest arrivals to our immigrant-built island have been around forever. You’re nothing special, you don’t speak for working peopl and we’ll send you the same way we sent your mate Moseley

    You appear to still be living in a 1930’s white utopia, no doubt in some affluent middle class white ghetto like Dorset or the South West as does Billy Bragg. The argument unsurprisingly has moved on somewhat and you will find that a large proportion of the “brown” community as you so condescendingly describe them are actually very supportive of the EDL. Many of this “brown” community such as Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Pakistani and African Christians have actually fled to the UK to escape persecution from the barbaric influence of Islam in their home countries.

    The left should in theory be supporting the freedom of individuals, but for some perverse reason has decided to support Islam. Islam is now a toxic brand in the UK and Labour’s over reliance on their block vote will ensure they never achieve significant power again in the UK!

  9. April 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Alex P :

    News from nowhere :
    “There was no widespread racial/religious tensions in the UK prior to Labour getting elected.”
    You are actually insane if you believe this. Or someone who knows nothing of the recent history of the country you claim to love. I suspect a bit of both.
    Self-hating paranoid far right nut jobs like you, picking on the latest or brownest arrivals to our immigrant-built island have been around forever. You’re nothing special, you don’t speak for working peopl and we’ll send you the same way we sent your mate Moseley

    You appear to still be living in a 1930′s white utopia, no doubt in some affluent middle class white ghetto like Dorset or the South West as does Billy Bragg. The argument unsurprisingly has moved on somewhat and you will find that a large proportion of the “brown” community as you so condescendingly describe them are actually very supportive of the EDL. Many of this “brown” community such as Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Pakistani and African Christians have actually fled to the UK to escape persecution from the barbaric influence of Islam in their home countries.

    Bang on. How can the “open-minded” Left deny this?

    The left should in theory be supporting the freedom of individuals, but for some perverse reason has decided to support Islam. Islam is now a toxic brand in the UK and Labour’s over reliance on their block vote will ensure they never achieve significant power again in the UK!

    And why is this? Seriously, I haven’t a clue, but it is bewildering and annoying in equal measure….

    • Alex P
      April 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Mr Grey, I suggest you read up on Frankfurt School Marxism as I found it personally very enlightening. The specific aim is to break down European Christian civilisation by subversion and spreading division amongst groups, therefore hoping to enable Communism to enter via the back door amongst a divided community traditionally against it. Islam is just one of the many tools they promote to achieve this along with radical women’s rights, gay rights, multiculturalism and anti-Christian legislation.

      This is also the only rational explanation I have seen for how the left can on one hand support militant gay rights and at the same time deeply conservative Islam, when everybody knows the two groups would more than happily kill each other!

      • April 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm

        hahahahahahaha you are a parody!

  10. Serenus Zeitblom
    April 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Alex P :
    Mr Grey, I suggest you read up on Frankfurt School Marxism as I found it personally very enlightening. The specific aim is to break down European Christian civilisation by subversion and spreading division amongst groups, therefore hoping to enable Communism to enter via the back door amongst a divided community traditionally against it. Islam is just one of the many tools they promote to achieve this along with radical women’s rights, gay rights, multiculturalism and anti-Christian legislation.
    This is also the only rational explanation I have seen for how the left can on one hand support militant gay rights and at the same time deeply conservative Islam, when everybody knows the two groups would more than happily kill each other!

    Could we have some specific references please? Name of work and chapter heading would do. Just to allay the impression that you’re bullshitting about work you haven’t read.

    • Alex P
      April 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Quaderni dal carcere by Antonio Gramsci certinly makes reference to the Catholic church being an obstacle to the communist revolution. Catholicism was also instumental in starting the downfall of Communism in Poland and the old Soviet Eastern Bloc, so hardly beyond the realms of possiblity that you commies have an axe to grind against Christianity and the Catholic church.

      Not really my cup of tea for bedtime reading though, communist propaganda really is just mind numbing nonsense.

  11. Alex P
    April 23, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Carl Packman :In order for me to get a better, more nuanced understanding of the EDL, you asked me to look at the mission statement. As I noted I have had the pleasure, but to prove to you that it is, as you argue it isn’t, black & white, this is a very telling quote (from statement #3 Public Education: Ensuring That The Public Get A Balanced Picture Of Islam):

    Islam is not just a religious system, but a political and social ideology that seeks to dominate all non-believers and impose a harsh legal system that rejects the democratic process. It runs counter to all that we hold dear within our British liberal democracy.

    That’s the balanced picture, that’s what the EDL want to tell Britain’s communities about Islam, that all those committed to Islam are politically undemocratic. For shame.
    Perhaps I’m judging the EDL too far on the violent thugs who smash shit up on the streets, and not the real brains behind the operation. For that I’d have to investigate Tommy Robinson – the EDL leader – perhaps. Well, here he is (below) debating (or rather, trying to lecture) another Muslim on what sharia law is:

    Incidentally, have the EDL not thought about opposing Islamic extremism by debating radical Islamists, to tell them that the majority of British Muslims have no truck with their far right ideology? No of course not, they’ve gone for the intellectually simpler (truth is not always in Ockhams razor, as the yes2AV campaigners have recently found out) message of all Islam is bad. Now tell me again, Alex, this is not black and white, clash of civilisations argument.

    No it is not a black Vs white argument, Muslims like Christians come in all colours shapes and sizes and the left’s continual obsession with painting it as such shows their inability to comprehend the much deeper argument now manifesting itself in the UK.

    However, yes it is a clash of civilisations argument, very much so! If you look at the symbolism of the EDL they borrow heavily from that of the Knights Templar, Tommy Robinson comes from the Irish Catholic community and Paul Ray one of the founders could be described as a Christian fundamentalist, describing his work in establishing the EDL as a calling from god!

    It is an inescapable fact that the UK is based heavily upon Christianity and even though people don’t go to church as they once did, it still holds true today. 70%+ of the UK identified themselves as Christian in the last cencus. Most of our laws and ethics are based upon Christian principles, the Queen is head of the Church of England and even our flag carries the Christian cross. This has served us well for hundreds of years and established us as one of the most advanced countries on the planet.

    Introducing widespead Islam into a Christian country was always likely to prove a major point of conflict and it was grossly irresponsible to do so in the first place. Fundamental Islam is an oppressive and deeply inferior belief system to Christianity and it is by no accident that Islam features heavily amongst many of the world’s most impoverished nations.

    As for the argument about moderate Islam, the core problem is that Islam still relies upon a very literal interpretation of the 7th Century Koran whereas other religions such as Christianity have been through a reformation. This prevents any moderate interpretation of the Koran apart from perhaps that of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community that are widely persecuted for having rejected a literal interpretation. Your moderate Muslim friend would therefore be better described as a Muslim that has deviated from their faith rather than following a moderate code, as no such code exists. Much in the same way as for example a Catholic that chooses to have an abortion or use contraception. They may have been christened a Catholic but they are deviating from the teachings of their faith. Interesting for example you use the video of Tommy Robinson speaking to what appears to be a nice moderate muslim, but under close questioning insists upon the implementation of Sharia Law in the UK, which very much illustrates the problem the EDL are highlighting.

    The truth is that Christianity can peacefully coexist with all other mainstream religions, however all are totally incompatible with mainstream Islam. There is no middle ground to negotiate upon and they are simply best kept apart. We see this in the UK through the formation of Islamic ghettos in our towns and cities. Ultimately they both need territory apart as was the case with the break-up of India, Sudan, Israel, Kosovo etc. The question for the future is whether we are prepared to let this happen in the UK or choose to embark upon a different or more radical pathway. Interesting times ahead…

    • Edward Carlsson Browne
      April 24, 2011 at 12:48 am

      The truth is that Christianity can peacefully coexist with all other mainstream religions, however all are totally incompatible with mainstream Islam.

      Do you think pogrom is an Islamic word? Seriously, please try to disguise your obvious ignorance of religious history.

      • Alex P
        April 24, 2011 at 2:20 am

        I’m not aware of any pogroms having taken place in the UK recently. Do you have a point?

    • April 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      I don’t mean to be facetious, but is an Irish Catholic telling Islam that it could do with a reformation?

      Theologically you’re indulging in the biggest sin, or faux pas, of them all; assuming that the word reformation when talking about a religion means a modernisation of it, or making it more friendly. If by reform you mean making it wooly and tolerant like the CoE, then you’re using the word wrongly. Islam, if anything, has had its reformation with Wahhab – whose name was eventually lent to tenet of Islam Wahhabism.

      As Ali Eteraz put it in his article on reformation:

      Wahhab was a rebel; his ideology was intolerance, patriarchy and violence. It coloured what kind of ideological direction Muslim dissenters of the future would take.

      Wahhab was clearly a very unpalatable subject, theologically and politically, but you’d have to read very much between the lines to find anything in his texts justifying crashing planes into the side of two US buildings, or blowing oneself up on a train. But it should be remembered that for those individuals who suggest doing these heinous acts has justification in the Qur’an – which presumably the EDL believe too – that Wahhab was not pretending any orthodoxy in his messages.

      Reformation is not a word that has a single, friendly, compassionate, meaning or outcome- unlike how you’ve suggested it. In fact Calvin was a theocrat in Geneva, and Luther called for the slaying of the Peasants Revolt – are these sympathies you have Alex?

      Compare, however, Wahhab with another reform figure: Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. He was a Sudanese socialist Muslim who, in his book “The Second Message of Islam”, said that the Koran had been revealed in two locations, firstly in Mecca where Muhammad and his followers were minorities, and in Medina where the city was brimming with Jews and Pagans. During his verses in Mecca, Muhammad promulgated a “peaceful persuasion,” whereas in Medina the verses are filled with rules and intimidations. The Medinan verses, the first message(s) of Islam, were directed to a whole community of early believers and not Muhammad alone, according to Taha. It was the Meccan verses, the second message of Islam that would represent, for Taha in his revisionism, the perfect religion, an acceptance of equality and freedom that, in seventh-century Arabia, Muslims were ready for.

      (I’ve written more about that for anyone who is interested)

      Extremists, unsurprisingly, believe they find justification for their acts in the Medina verses, where it is filled with rules and regulations, before appealing to rebels like Wahhab or even the founding Fathers of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – for whom Islam is a recipe book for hostile rules.

      But that is flatly not the case; what we call moderate Islam has existed since the day Muhammed jotted down what he thought were messages from God on his scroll. Wahhab nailed his thesis to the door, as did Taha – both have two differing understandings of what Islam is and is that not the case for all religions? Yes I think it is.

      Islam in itself is not evil, unlike how the EDL – and its glorious leaders – ignorantly try to paint it. It is multidimensional, and like all religions has huge numbers trying to interpret it in several directions. Wahhab was clearly politically inclined to a very conservative way of life which might help understand his “reformation”. Taha sought historical analysis to show how Islam is inherently multidimensional, and in doing so noted how Islam – when not confronted with hostility – is a peaceful religion at heart.

      Extremists, as many Muslims will tell you, are not being Muslim – they are appealing to a set of politics that most Muslims find unappealing.

      And yet the fucking EDL want to shut their eyes and ears to this, instead tarring all Muslims with the same brush which says they’re all evil and violent and can’t integrate into society with others. This is nonsense of the highest order and a symptom of the problem it pretends to want to correct.

  12. Phil
    April 24, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Edward Carlsson Browne :

    The truth is that Christianity can peacefully coexist with all other mainstream religions, however all are totally incompatible with mainstream Islam.

    SIMPLY NOT TRUE. If anything Judaism/Christianity and Islam are the MOST compatible more so than say Christianity and Hinduism as they the main Abrahamic religions and share a lot in common even speak some in their holy books……

    • Phil
      April 24, 2011 at 1:21 am

      Phil :

      Edward Carlsson Browne :

      The truth is that Christianity can peacefully coexist with all other mainstream religions, however all are totally incompatible with mainstream Islam.

      SIMPLY NOT TRUE. If anything Judaism/Christianity and Islam are the MOST compatible more so than say Christianity and Hinduism as they the main Abrahamic religions and share a lot in common even speak some in their holy books……

      SORRY THE ABOVE IS A REPLY TO ALEX P NOT EDWARD

    • Alex P
      April 24, 2011 at 2:36 am

      You would think so in theory, however the desire of Islam to spread its vile ideology by agression and violent means sets it apart in the modern world.

      Christianity, Hinduism etc are simply more advanced, civilised religions.

      • April 24, 2011 at 9:05 am

        What utter rubbish. “Islam” has no existence independent of the minds of man. Neither does Christianity or Hinduism, and if you think those are uniformly civilised, talk to a few of the more extreme Indian Nationalists or half the US House of Representatives.

        Do some fundamentalist Muslims want to spread their ideology? Of course, but so do some Christians; the war in Iraq stirred up the Christian nutjobs just as it inspired the Muslim nutjobs – and it should be telling that both leaders, Blair and Bush, frequently gave their justifications in religious terms. But the real motivations lay elsewhere and are much more complex.

        That’s the problem with this racist drivel about Islam; it’s reductionist to the point of absurdity, much in the same way that in right-wing mythology, the Jews became responsible for every ill, during the heydey of anti-semitism. That’s why these fine people arguing with you are wasting their breath; your arguments aren’t based on logic, they are based on an uneducated fanaticism which doesn’t need facts; it works on semiotics of a more basic kind, to establish social solidarities and so forth.

        Ultimately this is why socialism will win in the end; not because our arguments are better (though they are) or because we’re smarter (though we are) but because the social solidarity socialism offers is more comprehensive, and because it solves the very social, economic and political problems which motivate people like you.

        The sort of authoritarian right-wing State you people instinctively believe in, on the other hand, will suppress the religious “Other” and leave the actual problems untouched, as they have at every point of emergence in the last hundred years.

  13. Duncan
    April 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    There was no widespread racial/religious tensions in the UK prior to Labour getting elected.

    Northern Ireland.

    • April 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      Exactly – it’s too obvious for some people isn’t it

  1. April 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm
  2. September 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm
  3. April 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

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