Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tommy Robinson's Change Of Heart Leads To... More Muslim Apologetics

I've never met Tommy Robinson, but I have a feeling we wouldn't get on. He's spent the last few years leading a bunch of thuggish, football hooligan-esqe malcontents from protest to protest and not saying much when they chant racist slogans. And I'm a unionist snob who dislikes outrageous displays of "Englishness" (you know, where they deface their own flags and treat them like rags... so patriotic!).

So, no, Tommy Robinson may have decided to stop supporting a bunch of yobs but I'd guess we'd still not have that much in common. And speaking of changes of heart... I've not got much hope for Quilliam Foundation when it is led by former Islamist extremists. I'm quite an unforgiving sort really I suppose...

However... Tommy Robinson's recent linking up with the Quilliam Foundation has not brought relief to Muslims it would seem. Far from it. Rather than being relieved Robinson has gravely injured the EDL (perhaps mortally, but I'll believe that when the deface St. George's flags are thrown in the bin) they are angry that he's linked up with a group that they see as opposing Islam generally (rather than just extremism).

Yvonne Ridley compares the tactics of the Quilliam Foundation to McCarthyism, because they keep a list of Muslims they feel are extreme. And Ridley queries their definition of extreme with a ready example of Salma Yaqoob (I can't argue there, Yaqoob seems like a rather decent and principled person) and... Haitham al Haddad. He's just some decent natured guy who wants to criminalise homosexuality. Yes, he would like to "punish" me for falling in love with another man. He's not extreme at all! And that is just one of his rather dodgy positions. So forgive me if I think that having a go at Quilliam Foundation for having a go at al Haddad is a bit like criticising the Stasi (to use a description from her article) for capturing a murderer. I'd say it was a fair cop, even if one disagrees with Quilliam, and it is a very poor attempt at making them seem evil.

Over at the Guardian, Matthew Goodwin engaged in another attempt to use this story to whitewash genuine concerns about Islam in general and especially its more extreme adherents. It stinks, as ever, of the strange way left leaning folk in this country have of putting Islam on a pedestal above the criticism that they they would see as perfectly legitimate when thrown at any other religion.

Lennon plans to establish a new anti-Islamist movement, which we assume will adhere to his slapdash generalisations of sharia law and misinterpretations of the Qur'an.

Goodwin doesn't elaborate on this. Is it really Robinson's (Lennon's) generalisations that are slapdash or al Haddad's? Because I'm pretty sure Robinson would oppose al Haddad's views... and I'm pretty sure al Haddad would claim to be quite in line with both sharia law and the Qur'an. Goodwin goes on to smear those who repent of their views as becoming equally radical in the opposite direction.

This helps explain why so many ex-terrorists and ex-extremists never manage the transition. Instead, they hurl themselves to the other side of the spectrum, becoming just as fanatically obsessed with the promotion of democracy, fighting their former extremist brethren – or selling their latest book.
You know what... I'd quite like more ex-terrorists to become obsessed with democracy, fighting terrorism and selling books. It sounds absolutely DELIGHTFUL. I'm not sure exactly what is wrong with any of those propositions. Apart from the selling books stuff I think Goodwin's just described Peter Tatchell.

Ultimately it seems that Goodwin just doesn't like the concept of anyone being anti-Islamist. He should avoid us secular atheists. We just like to extend our reach and be anti-extreme religious people of all descriptions. What will Goodwin dislike next? Anti-Scientology protesters?

It is quite possible to hate fascism, dislike the tactics of Quilliam, find Tommy Robinson repellant AND dislike Islamists. Unfortunately both Ridley (understandably) and Goodwin have bought into a strangely illogical position of thinking that ANY criticism of a Muslim or Islam is unacceptable and that to oppose racist yobs one must support allsorts of dodgy religious dogma.

Well I wouldn't accept a Christian supporting the stoning of adulterers or the locking up of homosexuals. And I won't be accepting that sort of stuff from any other religion either. All religions should be open to criticism and there should be no special protections for whichever one is flavour of the month with the left.

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