When will LibDems side with us?


2014-01-22It’s not surprising that the Liberal Democrats have again sided with Islamist values at the expense of Muslims, ex-Muslims and others.

Not surprising but frustrating nonetheless.

In the latest saga, they have decided to admonish their candidate Maajid Nawaz who has received death threats for merely stating the obvious: he – like many Muslims – is not offended by Jesus and Mo cartoons. Muslims are not a homogeneous bunch after all but are treated as such by the LibDem Party.  To them, Muslim values are considered one and the same with Islamist values: medieval, intolerant, and forever offended… Which is of course why they are more concerned with a cartoon causing “unnecessary offence” then death threats made against Nawaz by one of their own members, Mo Shafiq, who has effectively incited violence against Nawaz through his deliberate use of the term ‘Gustakh-e-Rasool’, which means ‘enemy of the prophet’. It’s the same lack of concern they have shown when another of their members Salah Al Bandar threatened Nahla Mahmoud with death by calling her a “Kafira” and “Murtada” who has offended Islam and brought “fitnah”.

After all, in the world according to the LibDems, death threats is what “Muslims” do. But saying a cartoon isn’t offensive to Muslims – as Nawaz did – well that just shows a lack of sensitivity…

In a statement, they write: “The Liberal Democrats are a party of respect, tolerance and individual liberty. We fundamentally believe in freedom of expression and as such defend Maajid’s right to express his views. But as a party we urge all candidates to be sensitive to cultural and religious feelings and to conduct debate without causing gratuitous or unnecessary offence.”

What the LibDems and many others keep forgetting is that respect, tolerance and even liberty is for people not beliefs, not cultures and not religions. We do not need to respect or tolerate beliefs but we must do so when it comes to people.

Plus why does the person who threatens and feels offence represent cultural and religious feelings but not the likes of Nawaz?

Algerian sociologist said it best in her recent interview with Fitnah’s Unveiled:

There are two underlying questions here: the first one is about the limits to respect for ‘The Other’s’ culture/religion…; the second is about who speaks for culture; who speaks for religion?

On respect, the real question is: should everything be respected? Is Female Genital Mutilation to be respected because old men think that is their culture – and even if some women also think it is their culture? Should forced marriage or child marriage be respected? Should public flogging for adultery be respected? Should stoning to death be respected? Or for that matter should the death penalty be respected at all?

There is a relativist culture of non commitment and neutrality that has been expanding – certainly in the West, under the influence of liberalism, of human rights organisations and of political correctness and the fear of appearing racist. Accordingly, everything is equal; everything has to be respected on par – the right of the capitalist and the right of the worker, the right of the one who holds the gun and the right of the one who runs for his life away from the gun… It is high time to admit that there are conflicting rights, antagonistic rights.

It seems to me that progressive people have forgotten the virtues of being partisan. I want to stand for the right of the worker, not that of the capitalist, for the right of the man who runs for his life, not for the right of the man who holds the gun, and for the right of women to live their lives without interference from extreme-Right religious people.

There can be a principled response regarding respect for ‘The Other’ and its limits, but this first question can also lead to another: who decides that THIS is The Culture of a group?

We could immediately produce, of course, hundreds and thousands and even millions of people, in each specific country, who would vouch that ‘this’ (be it stoning, FGM, child marriage, etc…) is by no means their culture/their religion, not the culture they feel they belong to, or the religion they believe in. 

Do we believe that those presently standing in their own countries or in the diaspora against FGM, public flogging, death penalty for atheists, etc… have less legitimacy in representing their people, their culture, their religion than those who stand for it?

Are we really saying that women fighting against sex segregation today in their own countries are alien to their culture? That they are illegitimate representatives of their cultures?

This stems from a definition of culture as fixed in the past, a-historical, not as a moving, living, permanently changing, social organisation. But then WHEN is a culture arrested in history, in which year? In the years of slavery, in the years when women did not vote, in the years when women did not have access to contraception, or could not open their own bank accounts? In which of these historical steps is a culture ‘arrested’ to be seen as authentic?

To me, the women who fight against FGM or stoning for sex outside marriage or for gender equality, etc are the representatives of today’s culture in their country.

It seems to me that cultural relativists are furiously and deeply racist since they exclusively promote as true and legitimate the worst possible opinions of extreme-Right Muslims. If anyone, white, European, would utter similar opinions about their white European co-citizens, these same cultural relativists would shrink in horror and refuse to shake their hand. One can only conclude that cultural relativists think that a Muslim must be a horrible reactionary, otherwise s/he is not a true Muslim. Isn’t that racist?

For me and many like me, Nawaz represents a majority of Muslims and ex-Muslims and just plain 21st century humans. When will the LibDems side with them, with us, and stop aiding and abetting the Islamists and their apologists?

Sign a petition to support Nawaz, Tweet #TeamNawaz and contact Liberal Democratic party members, counsellors and MPs though I can only say good luck with getting through to them. We are still waiting for justice for Nahla and an acknowledgement that death threats against people are more serious than offended sensibilities over a cartoon…

(Via Chris Moos)

Comments

  1. says

    I believe the issue is that Liberal Democrats have shifted away from the liberal and moved towards the democrat. There are votes in them there (Muslim) hills, and the Liberal Democrats don’t want to lose votes, especially after being involved in government for the first time in a very long while.

    Turning round to a lot of potential voters and saying “we think your religion is wrong to punish people who don’t get offended at cartoons of Mohammed” is probably a sure fire way to lose votes (to be fair). Maybe all parties need to make a joint statement of solidarity agains Islamic violence over cartoons and other sleights to religious sensibilities of all kinds? Maybe then religious groups of faith would start to realise that we actually value secularism and a largely secular society and don’t want to be dictated to by ‘people of faith’?

    I’d like to see political parties stand up for values that I can believe in and vote for, not parties that change their core values whenever the wind changes! Either I’ve missed something, or being liberal never meant sacrificing the freedom of the majority to appease the slightly illogical beliefs of the minority!

  2. exi5tentialist says

    Well, presumably if the LibDems really are “aiding and abetting the Islamists and their apologists” rather than the muslim majority, we’ll soon find out when LibDems all lose their deposits at the next general election in constituencies with high muslim populations… except they’re nearly all going lose their deposits anyway right across the country, so we’re never going to know, are we?

  3. says

    When I was a student in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the Young Liberals were a very radical political group. Organisers of protests against the Vietnam war, Apartheid or home grown racists like Enoch Powell always contained a fair number of YLs. So what happened to them? Some became members of the Labour Party and ended up as ministers in Blair’s government, some carried on in Liberal Party and eventually became LibDem politicians, one[1] became a member of the Green Party and is the only one I know of who unequivocally condemns gender apartheit. So what has happened? Does power corrupt or do principles become a luxury when you have your parliamentary majority to worry about?

    Footnotes:
    [1] I only know of one, maybe there are more.

  4. says

    Now! Nick Clegg has given a statement to the Independent and this time there is no “But as a party we urge all candidates to be sensitive to cultural and religious feelings and to conduct debate without causing gratuitous or unnecessary offence” part.

    Yes!!

  5. exi5tentialist says

    The underlying problem with Jesus and Mo is not and never has been any “offence”. The series deploys various muslim stereotypes and in our democracy muslims have the right to protest against a series that uses such stereotypes, I’m happy to support them, because I too think Jesus and Mo portrays muslim stereotypes.

    Maryam saying Nawaz “represents” the majority of British muslims is all very well, but he hasn’t been elected by them, has he? I’d have thought standing for election for the Liberal Democrats isn’t the best strategy to put that right.

  6. Stanley123 says

    Sheer stupidity. It is precisely these type of backwards appeasement politics that have driven me from the Left.

  7. exi5tentialist says

    Appeasement? Ah yes, that’s what the Tories did with Hitler, wasn’t it? And now you’re applying it to muslims? I see what you did there.

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  9. says

    Exi5tentialist, the term appeasement has been around since long before the Tories and Nazis. To hint that the term somehow means that anyone is calling Muslims ‘Nazis’ is ridiculous and disingenuous.

    • exi5tentialist says

      Oh right. Clearly any 1930s connotations of the word “appeasement” have no purchase here. If you say so.

      Suspicion dispelled ;-)

  10. says

    Little Britain pokes fun at British people in a way that many people might get upset about. It exaggerates some stereotypes and if someone wanted to complain about this, they would be perfectly entitled to do so. However, they would not be entitled to act in the way that many Muslims have acted and make death threats, etc. I’m not sure how much clearer anyone can make this, but I’m sure some Muslims still won’t get it and will claim that there’s some special dispensation that they’re entitled to.

    • exi5tentialist says

      I’d suggest the stereotypes Little Britain portrays are more narrowly and less crassly targeted. Sending up an upper class racist woman, for example, who projectile vomits whenever anything to do with a person not being white british crops up. The only gay in the village is a dig at the type of person who has completely missed the LGBTQ liberation going on under his nose. Even Vicky Pollard is a send-up of an stereotype of a working class woman. Yeah, people can protest… but they’d look a bit silly.

      The Jesus and Mo series isn’t multi-layered like that, it’s just a straightforward dig at a muslim.

      On the matter of how “many” muslims have acted (just how many are you talking about, by the way? 1%? 0.5%? 2?) Let us all work to make things a little clearer: British muslims have overwhelmingly acted in a democratic manner in response to the Nawaz incident. They are entitled to raise petitions in protest against Nawaz, they are entitled to ask for his deselection; they are entitled to express their disapproval of the stereotypes portrayed in cartoons just as LGBTQ people did against “The Gays” cartoons in Private Eye in the 1980s – and those protests succeeded because “The Gays” cartoo became discredited and no longer published. And yet huge numbers of freethinking are not up in arms telling gay people they do not have the right not to be offended and going around publishing “The Gays” all over the place. Why not? It’s the same principle?

      Muslims have acted completely democratically in protesting against Jesus and Mo. Yes there have been death threats – that’s criminal. How many? Do you know? And do you know what country they came from – was it even British muslims? And why does the behaviour of a tiny minority reflect on the majority.

      • says

        I’m afraid I haven’t watched much of Little Britain, so I can’t comment in as much detail as you about all the characters, but you missed my point, I think. Maybe not by accident?

        Jesus and Mo isn’t a dig at Muslims. Let’s face it, there’s a character called Jesus and he’s usually not associated primarily with Muslims! The cartoons (I’ve not seen all of them) seem to be poking fun at religious people, primarily Muslims and Christians, but maybe more generally too at religious people who have some very strange morals and who make huge claims on behalf of all of us with little or no evidence. I think the cartoons I’ve seen do that pretty well.

        As for being ‘multi-layered’… it’s a cartoon for goodness sake. You’re comparing it to a TV series. How ‘multi-faceted’ do you expect it to be?

        Religion isn’t the same as gender, race, sexual orientation, age, etc. it’s an idea, and should be able to stand on it’s own two feet with other good ideas or not, as the case may be without special privileges and protection. Islam makes some pretty big claims, along with other religions. If Muslims and Islam can’t stand up yo a cartoon, then how robust is it?

        As for Muslims being political and democratic, that’s fine. However, they’re still a minority across the country as a whole and to try to have someone deselected from a party for religious reasons doesn’t seem very democratic. It seems to be a case of a minority group trying to wield more power than they deserve, which is one of the reasons people have objected. I wonder what Muslims would say if non-Muslims exerted their democratic rights and put pressure on political parties to deselect Muslim politicians? Personally I think they’d object and they’d be right to do so!

        • exi5tentialist says

          I did not miss your point, which I assumed was that Little Britain stereotypes British people. Well, having some knowledge of the series, I’d say no it doesn’t stereotype British people. Of course you can disagree – in which case, what stereotype are you talking about? Take that as Question 1.

          Question 2 is, if you can’t give an example of a British stereotype because you’re not familiar with the series, why did you bring it up?

          Now you could turn round and say that despite that, some people might think Little Britain is still stereotypical and people would have the right to protest about it, and I completely agree with you, and that people shouldn’t be allowed to make death threats, etc, like “many” (as you alleged) muslims have done. I agree people shouldn’t do that. But Question 3 for you is (I asked it above, you haven’t responded) is just how many muslims do you mean by “many”? And how many death threats do you know of?

          As far as I can see, several thousand muslims have signed a petition. That’s democracy though, isn’t it? They’re entitled to do that. Your use of the word “many” seems to ignore the actions of the majority of muslims which are peaceful and democratic.

          I’d also be interested to know if you understand where the death threats came from – were they British muslims? Or not? That was Question 4. Facts like this make a difference to whether the picture you’re presenting of “muslim” behaviour is accurate. It comes back to stereotypes.

          • says

            I’m really not sure it’s worth my time responding to your points as you’re obviously not open to truly open debate and to be convinced by another’s arguments.

            David Walliams stated in an interview a while back now that the series Little Britain that he co-wrote was based on British stereotypes. I’m willing to take his word for it without the need for further explanation. I think he should know.

            ‘Many’ Muslims have made death threats against many people, some have been carried out, some, thankfully, have not. Frankly I think one death threat is too many, so does it matter how many there have been exactly? And if some of these death threats have been made by non-British Muslims, does that make it all alright? I wonder how many non-British Muslims signed the online petition. Is it right that non-British individuals should interfere with the democratic process? If you believe in democracy then the online petition should be ignored and we should all wait to see what the ballot box produces when the relevant elections have taken place. Online petitions have their place, but not in influencing elections so directly.

            To jump to your 6th question about appeasement… Somebody used the word appeasement when talking about Muslims. The same word was used when talking about Tories back in the late 1930’s when they were described as ‘appeasing’ the Nazis. Therefore, the writer was calling Muslims ‘Nazis’. That’s a ‘Nellie the Elephant’ argument. Nellie is an elephant. Nellie is pink. Therefore, all elephants are pink. Now tell me again how every time someone uses the word ‘appeasement’ they’re obviously calling somebody or some group ‘Nazi’!

        • exi5tentialist says

          Another Question. Question 6. when a satirical cartoon depicts a muslim saying “if this doesn’t work, I say we start burning stuff” – isn’t that perpetuating the stereotype that muslims resort to terrorism if they can’t get their own way? Feel free to say no, I just think it is exactly that stereotype. People are entitled to object to it.

          How multi-layered do I expect a cartoon to be? Some of them can be pretty elaborate. Just look at Guardian ones sometimes. They have whole discussion threads sometimes where people debate ad nauseam what a single cartoon frame means.

          In some ways religion is not the same as gender, race or sexual orientation. In some ways it is. It is an identity, and muslims can suffer prejudice and disadvantage just for being muslims. For these reasons I see the parallel of the cartoon “The Gays” in 1980s Private Eye as holding up pretty well. Cartoons that reinforce stereotypes are open to be challenged, and it is ok to express disapproval.

  11. says

    Exi5tentialist, I’m sure that the word appeasement has been used many times, both in politics and out, and not just with reference to Nazism/Fascism.

    You go back to the 1930’s and a pretty obscure use of the term, linking it to Nazism, implying that the writer was calling Muslims ‘Nazis’. Yes, I see what you did there.

    Like I said before, a bit disingenuous. It’s a pretty easy game to play, but a bit pathetic. I think you’re clutching at straws, and it shows.

    • exi5tentialist says

      What’s the problem? I already said I understood your explanation. Yes, the events leading up to World War 2 are pretty obscure. Not many people know about them any more.

      Now let’s forget this unnecessary little incident, and resolve boldly to use the word “appeasement” entirely unhindered by any connotations connecting it to some of the most notorious oppressors modern history can supply.

  12. says

    I think the problem is that you’re not being very genuine in your calls to move on and have yet again sought to underline your point that appeasement was used in connection with the British and German governments of the late 1930’s. Yes, I see what you did there. You said that you understood my point, ignored it, and then reiterated your original point.

    Disingenuous… again.

    • exi5tentialist says

      Talking about stereotypes, there’s the “islamofascist” stereotype that gets misused sometimes to depict “many” muslims. So can I comment about about the use of the word appeasement?

      If you’re being serious, that for anyone to read 1930s connotations into the above use of the word “appeasement” is completely unreasonable and inappropriate, then I suppose you are on strong moral high ground to accuse another participant of being disingenuous in not being wholeheartedly convinced of that bold assertion.

      Personally I think helps clarity a lot in discussion to avoid using derogatory terms about others in the discussion. So I won’t respond in kind to the accusation that I’m being disingenuous. However I would like to ask, when you argue that the 1930s allied-nazi connotations of the word “appeasement” are not relevant to the discussion – are you being serious?

      That was Question 5.

  13. exi5tentialist says

    In answer to Dave Day’s latest reply

    In my view, Little Britain does not stereotype marginalized or disadvantaged groups.

    If someone thinks it does, they are entitled to protest in a democracy, just as everybody is.

    Muslims are entitled to protest about a cartoon series which is contains stereotyping content against muslims.

    The stereotype of the muslim terrorist in the example I gave seems fairly obvious to me. (“If this doesn’t work, I say we start burning stuff”). If you disagree, or you just want to ignore it, then I’d say you are side-stepping something that is very obvious.

    People are entitled to express disapproval, as many gay men did of the homophobic 1970s cartoon series in Private Eye.

    If you are characterising the death threats over the Jesus and Mo cartoon as being an example of behaviour by the “many”, yes, it really does matter how many.

    It also matters where the death threats originated. If you are using them to reinforce an idea about a section of people in Britain, then you need to say whether the death threats come from Britain elsewhere.

    Muslims are different from each other in several ways. Nationality is one of them. To deny these differences is to treat muslims as a monolithic group. You need to be clearer so you do not give the appearance of falling into this rather unpleasant form of stereotyping.

    Democracy does not just happen at the ballot box. It also happens at candidate selection. It is legitimate for people to petition parties to remove candidates. If Maajid Nawaz is deselected as a Liberal Democrat, he is still free to stand as an independent. That’s democracy.

    Your example about “Nellie the Elephant”, though obviously amusing to you, lacks any context. The word “appeasement” has much context. You obviously do not agree. Fine. I have other views. Let us leave it at that.

    In any reply you choose to make, would it be possible for you to discuss the issues, rather than continue to make personal remarks about my genuineness etc?

  14. says

    Exi5tentialist, you do a fair amount of ‘side-stepping’ yourself, from what I’ve seen.

    ‘Nellie the Elephant’ can be used to show how absurd some arguments actually are. I applied it to your argument about ‘appeasement’ and I think I made it all quite clear. That’s one specific context, but it can be used in any number of situations (contexts) to show, as I’ve already stated, the veracity of an argument… or not. It has no other context of it’s own to speak of. Maybe you just don’t understand… or just don’t want to?

    The vast majority of ‘Muslims’ are not Islamists. So, maybe I should be more clear and say that I am talking more about Islamists than Muslims in general when I say that this significant minority seek to exert a disproportionate influence over daily life for many people, the majority of whom are not Muslims and the majority of non-Muslims have no religious beliefs at all.

    I’m not sure quite what your argument is… that it’s OK for death threats to be made, provided they come from outside Britain? Aren’t you worried that people outside the UK might be seeking to influence politics and political parties within the UK by claiming on the one hand that they’ve suffered some offence, whilst at the same time making death threats? Should we presume that you’re an apologist for Muslims and are quite happy for a minority group to seek to interfere with the democratic process by exerting disproportionate influence (un-democratically) over a political party?

    As I asked before, how would you feel if Christians, Jews, atheists, or any group organised themselves to have a Muslim deselected from a party. It might be democratic, but would it be moral? I have a feeling that many Muslims would (quite rightly) cry “foul”! How come Muslims can try to influence politics in an un-democratic way, and apparently it’s OK, because they feel some offence or other?

    As I stated before, maybe the biggest point here is that some people don’t think that the great Islamic faith can withstand the incredibly powerful onslaught of a simple cartoon strip.

    By the way, you mentioned something about the cartoon and burning stuff. I can’t remember what it was exactly and can’t be bothered to trawl back over your posts to find it again, but I took it to mean burning books, flags, etc. I never thought of terrorism at all. Maybe I’m just aware of more fag-burning than outright terrorism, so didn’t draw the same link that you did.

    • exi5tentialist says

      Exi5tentialist, you do a fair amount of ‘side-stepping’ yourself, from what I’ve seen.

      Can you give us an example?

      ‘Nellie the Elephant’ can be used to show how absurd some arguments actually are. I applied it to your argument about ‘appeasement’ and I think I made it all quite clear. That’s one specific context, but it can be used in any number of situations (contexts) to show, as I’ve already stated, the veracity of an argument… or not. It has no other context of it’s own to speak of. Maybe you just don’t understand… or just don’t want to?

      No, “appeasement ” has a 1930s context. “Nellie the Elephant” has no context. You may not think that “appeasement” does have a 1930s context; you may not think that context matters. I understand that you are telling me that’s what you think. I just disagree.

      The vast majority of ‘Muslims’ are not Islamists. So, maybe I should be more clear and say that I am talking more about Islamists than Muslims in general when I say that this significant minority seek to exert a disproportionate influence over daily life for many people, the majority of whom are not Muslims and the majority of non-Muslims have no religious beliefs at all.

      Well, you did say “many muslims”. But if you want to go ahead and introduce the catch-all “islamist” word then I suppose we’ll just have to see where you take it next.

      I’m not sure quite what your argument is…

      Well my argument is that the Jesus and Mo cartoon contains anti-muslims stereotypes, I’m not surprised some muslims are angry about it, and I fully support their right to seek censure of any parliamentary candidates perpetuating the stereo type.

      My argument is not…

      that it’s OK for death threats to be made, provided they come from outside Britain?

      No. Why are you being silly?

      Aren’t you worried that people outside the UK might be seeking to influence politics and political parties within the UK by claiming on the one hand that they’ve suffered some offence, whilst at the same time making death threats?

      I think death threats should be stopped.

      Should we presume that you’re an apologist for Muslims and are quite happy for a minority group to seek to interfere with the democratic process by exerting disproportionate influence (un-democratically) over a political party?

      Presume what you want. I don’t see that the majority of people protesting are doing so outside the democratic system. And I am not happy about death threats – but how many of them are coming from within Britain? Any? I ask because Britain is the context of the democratic process that Nawaz is engaged in.

      As I asked before, how would you feel if Christians, Jews, atheists, or any group organised themselves to have a Muslim deselected from a party.

      Depends on their reason. If it was just because the candidate were a muslim, I would oppose them.

      It might be democratic, but would it be moral?

      Not if it were just because the candidate was a muslim, no.

      I have a feeling that many Muslims would (quite rightly) cry “foul”! How come Muslims can try to influence politics in an un-democratic way, and apparently it’s OK, because they feel some offence or other?

      So there you go again. You’re generalising about all muslims acting in an undemocratic way, and you’re minimising the islamophobic content of the Jesus and Mo cartoons to merely being an issue of “offence”.

      As I stated before, maybe the biggest point here is that some people don’t think that the great Islamic faith can withstand the incredibly powerful onslaught of a simple cartoon strip.

      Except it’s not about the survival of the Islamic faith, and it’s not about a “simple” cartoon strip. It’s about muslims being marginalised by a stereotyping process, and a cartoon strip, that stereotypes muslims, being perpetuated by a politician.

      By the way, you mentioned something about the cartoon and burning stuff. I can’t remember what it was exactly and can’t be bothered to trawl back over your posts to find it again, but I took it to mean burning books, flags, etc. I never thought of terrorism at all. Maybe I’m just aware of more fag-burning than outright terrorism, so didn’t draw the same link that you did.

      Burning stuff seems like quite a violent thing to do. Call it arson, call it violence, call it terrorism, it really doesn’t matter – it perpetuates the stereotype of the violent muslim doing harm to society, there’s no need to get picky about exactly what kind of violent harm is being postulated by the stereotype.

      • says

        You seem to think that appeasement only has to do with Britain/ Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and choose to ignore the fact that it was first used in the 15th Century in France. Your argument is still as false as it was originally and I showed that quite clearly, so won’t waste my time doing so again. You ignored what I said the first time, so why should you change now.

        Side-stepping? I’ve just given one example. You ignore the facts and just focus on your own points. What about appeasement? What about the fact that it’s not just about the 1930’s. You’re sidestepping the facts.

        Nellie the Elephant has a context. It still holds that your argument is flawed and ‘Nellie the Elephant’ explains why. That’s the context. It’s an ‘intuition pump’ to test the fallacies contained in certain arguments. Neville Chamberlain wasn’t the first or last person to use the word, but I think it serves your purpose to ignore the facts. Disingenuous of you, as I said before, and I’m quite happy to stand by what I’ve just said thanks very much

        By the way, I’m happy to avoid using personal insults and attacks if you are. And no, I’m not silly.

        You say that Muslims are acting democratically, but if they are influencing unduly the democratic process and making it un-democratic, then that surely isn’t right. You can’t argue that it’s ok because they’re a minority, or marginalise, or their religious sensibilities are being offended. As I said before, Islam is an idea, not a gender, sexual orientation, etc. It’s an idea and should be able to stand up to some criticism, or even having some fun poked at it. It shouldn’t get any special dispensation, just because it’s a religion, despite what you might think!

        • exi5tentialist says

          So your argument is that we should ignore the 1930s connotations of the word appeasement because of Nellie the Elephant and l’apaisement. And what was that you were saying about me side-stepping?

          “Muslims” aren’t “making the process undemocratic”. “Muslims” are doing many different things, some democratic, some undemocratic. Please stop lumping them all together.

          Sexual orientation, gender, disability – these really are just ideas. Human constructs that are used to marginalize people. Same with islam. I doubt that I will make any in-roads into your hyperconcrete world to convince you of this.

          And finally, yet again, yes we can all “poke fun” at religion. That’s not the problem. The idea of the Archbishop of Canterbury covering a Justin Timberlake stage show in full regalia is hilarious. The problem is not poking fun at religion, it’s promoting and perpetuating stereotypes of muslims that have the effect of reinforcing their marginalization. If I argue something, it would be better if you do not come back at me with a counter-argument about something completely different.

          • says

            I think you’re pretty fixated on a very short period of history where it comes to the word appeasement and ignore the other 5 centuries or so when it was in use, which leads you to draw conclusions that make you seem less intelligent than I think you are. It doesn’t do you any favours. I don’t think anybody meant to imply that Muslims are Nazis. I just think you made a pretty obscure link between a word and a rather sad period of political history that most people are unaware of.

            As I’ve stated before and tried to explain at some length, nobody is really talking about all Muslims. It’s difficult to name every person individually when talking about an issue like this. It would also be a little impractical to name everyone that lobbied the Liberal Democrats or made death threats anyway. For a start the internet can give anonymity and doesn’t make someone’s geographical location easily available. So, how do we describe the group of people in this case? I think it would be fair to say that many would probably be Muslims, or Muslim sympathisers or apologists. Some might be people who just sign petitions without having any major interest or indeed understanding of the underlying issue, but just like to feel that they’re getting involved in society, making a change, etc. I’m not sure, but I think it’s probably fair to say that few people, if any, from any other religious group got involved with lobbying the Liberal Democrats. I can’t imagine a large proportion of negative comments coming from the J’ain community, or death threats from Quakers, etc. So, how would you describe this group? ‘Predominantly Muslim, but not exclusively, and predominantly British, but not exclusively, with a few Liberal Democrat members, but not many, probably’? Not very catchy.

            Just so you’re clear, I personally have an issue with Muslims (and anyone else) interfering with the selection process of any political party. It’s for the political party to choose candidates. Candidates usually put themselves forward and members choose which candidates to put forward. To be clear, this is at party level and it’s a party decision to be taken by party members or a board (selection committee) made up of party members. It’s not a democratic election for everyone to take part in. That comes later.

            Then, at an election, everyone entitled to vote gets to choose which candidates they want to represent them, either in parliament or at council level. It’s really not for anyone to interfere with the selection process at party level, unless they’re party members and entitled to do so. So, as I pointed out before, lobbying by non-party members of a political party is un-democratic. Lobbying or voting in the policital system (wherever in the system that might occur) by non-nationals is also un-democratic. It’s why it wouldn’t be legal for me to vote in Peru, France! Germany, Japan, etc. I don’t live there. I don’t hold citizenship of those countries. I’m not entitled to vote!

            I can’t help but think that if ‘Muslims’ don’t like the stereotypes people have of them, then they need to create some new ones, but it’s not going to happen overnight. People still mention the crusades when talking about Christians, or the Spanish Inquisition, even though it’s been thousands of years. People aren’t going to change their attitudes towards Muslims as a whole until they hear of fewer wars, suicide bombings, death threats, burning of flags after Friday prays at the mosque, etc. Yes, you can blame the media for a distorted view of Muslims and Islam nationally (I’m not sure about worldwide) but even though these sorts of actions are carried out by a minority, maybe, that minority is quite significant in numbers. To be fair I think British Muslims Asa. Whole are beginning to be more vocal in distancing themselves from certain radicals and radical groups, and the media Asa. Whole are reporting this more, but I think there’s still a long way to go!

            Gender isn’t a human construct. It’s definitely not just an idea. I can’t change my mind about what sex I am when I get up tomorrow morning and decide I’ll wake up the opposite sex, any more than I could decide to be a dolphin or a petunia. Gender isn’t always used to descriminated against or marginalise people, and nor is religion. Islam doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to dealing with non-Muslims and people with different ideas, homosexuals, women, etc… even other Muslims sometims. I don’t think that Muslims should be treated any differently to anyone else, but it’s interesting to be preached at by an apologist for Muslims/Islam on the subject of marginalisation and even-handedness.

            I think any discussion of why you think anyone should be entitled to lobby in the way that was done to try to get a candidate deselected from the Liberal Democrats would be pretty pointless at this point. Religious reasons, some perceived insult, offence, or similar really isn’t an acceptable reason. If you don’t like the candidate for the Liberal Democrats at the next election, don’t vote for them. Same goes for any other candidate. You want to help decide who stands as a candidate, join the relevant party and use your membership rights. Same goes for anyone else.

  15. exi5tentialist says

    @ Dave Day. Just Google “appeasement”. On the basis of the results, would you say that Google is also fixated with the 1930s connotations of the word? Try Google images “appeasement” too. Come back and tell me with a straight face that the link between “appeasement” and the allies’ response to the Nazis is ‘obscure’. Seriously, tell me that the word “appeasement” used against muslims isn’t loaded.

    I’ve got a feeling you will anyway.

    It doesn’t really matter. I do not think many people will be voting Lib Dem in 2015 and I don’t think I need to worry too much about people saving Maajid Nawaz’s political career, because I very much doubt he’ll be having one.

    • Dave Day says

      Google results are listed in order of popularity. Thousands of students around the world studying 20th Century history and more specifically the Second World War will use keys words in their searches, bumping links to websites that link ‘appeasement’ and ‘Nazis’ straight to the top of the list. So, is there a link between ‘appeasement’, Nazis, and Muslims as you assert?

      Well, I searched for ‘appease’ and ‘Muslims’. I didn’t actually get any websites, just some message board comments (mostly) about universities ‘appeasing’ Muslims by allowing segregation of male and female students, a Tennessee school board taking pork off the menu to appease Muslims, but nothing to suggest that the term was being used to link anyone at all with Nazis.

      I then Googled ‘appease’ and ‘Islamists’, but nothing much there either. So, just to be contentious (potentially) I Googled ‘appease’ and ‘race campaigners’. I got some interesting hits, about HS2 campaigners and moves to appease them. A hit for a Roman Catholic bishop and a health minister and some issue over IVF or birth control. There was a hit from a history website talking about Richard Nixon appeasing Chinese Communists.

      If you Google a bit more intelligently, you get better search results. The original post, if I remember correctly, said ‘appease’, not ‘appeasement’. ‘Appease’ gives you different results on Google from ‘appeasement’ because appeasement’s used a lot when talking about the lead up to the Second World War. ‘Appease’ gives you lots of hits for online dictionaries and definitions. The last but one hit on the first page is for the BBC history website. No surprise there.

      Now, if there’d been some link with Muslims and Nazis at any stage at all, you’d have a point to argue. It’s pretty clear that the term ‘appease’ is used in a whole host of situations when talking about various people and issues. Mostly, NOT talking about Nazis, other than when studying WWII. The link between Nazis and Muslims seems to be all yours. Nothing on Google to suggest anyone else is linking Muslims with Nazism by using the word ‘appease’. Of course, as you suggested, I was looking for the most popular hits, so didn’t look beyond the first page of each search result, so maybe there would be some obscure link somewhere, but we weren’t looking for obscure, were we. So no, the term wasn’t loaded when it was used, any more than when it was used in reference to a health minister, a Catholic Bishop, Chinese Communists, rail campaigners, etc.

      Sometimes I think certain groups and individuals (not just Muslims, or even religious groups in general) go to great lengths to use tenuous links to ‘take offence’ for some reason or other where no offence was ever intended, nor indeed where any offence was even committed inadvertently.

  16. exi5tentialist says

    There you go again – a Jesus and Mo cartoon perpetuates the stereotype of the “violent muslim” and you’re straight back to reducing it to a matter of “offence”. Oh well. Anyway thanks for your 500-word account of your Google searching to expunge the inference of Naziism from the deployment of the word “appeasement”. It looks like you have convinced yourself.

    Just one question – last week, a councillor was suspended from UKIP after an online petition, which wasn’t confined to UKIP members, protested against him saying the floods are due to equal marriage. I presume you disapprove of that petition, since political parties must be left alone to decide who represents them without interference from mere members of the public, in your clean and tidy political world. If UKIP had done things your way, this homophobe would still be a UKIP councillor. I trust you therefore disapprove of his suspension from UKIP?

    • says

      I don’t think anything perpetuates the violent Muslim stereotype better than the violent Muslim. The cartoon is nothing alongside the 40,000 people killed in Pakistan over the last few years in terrorist attacks. No, this doesn’t mean that all Muslims are violent. Not all Muslims seem to care about a cartoon, either. Muslims who speak out about anything at all seem to speak out most loudly at times about various cartoons, rather than what some more secular societies and individuals would see as the big issues. Only a perception maybe, but a fairly strong one grounded in some pretty hard facts.

      As for my foray into Google… I thought you wanted me to stick to facts, avoid dodging any issues or questions, etc. it appears that following your advice I found compelling evidence that proved your assertion extremely biased and totally flawed. Don’t blame me because Google didn’t back you up. You shot yourself in the foot, all by yourself, with no help from me.

      As for the politician who made the remarks about same sex marriage, or whatever it was. I heard about it, but don’t know many details. If UKIP keep him, that’s up to them. I don’t think a petition was necessary. UKIP have been clearing out some of their members who have more extreme ideas in an effort to become more mainstream. That’s their business. If they keep him, they’ll probably lose votes, but I don’t think Britain will be worse off for having fewer UKIP politicians. I actually think having a few racists, sexists, etc. around is a good thing. It reminds us that we need to protect some of the rights and freedoms we have fought so hard for in the past. It wouldn’t do to give them up easily.

      • exi5tentialist says

        Well ok I’ll tell you what I think. I think it’s a good thing that the intolerance of homophobia is so strong that not even UKIP can keep be represented by homophobic councillors.

        I actually think having a few racists … around is a good thing.

        I give up. This is beyond shocking.

        • says

          Personally I think it would be good if you did give up. You’re apparently not up to debating with someone without quoting them, but only in a heavily edited way in what seems like an under-handed attempt to misrepresent them and their views. Has it not occurred to you that my original post is there for all to see right above yours, so everyone can see exactly what you’ve done?

          You mention homophobic comments by a UKIP councillor, but you don’t have much to say about the examples I raised of deaths in Pakistan over the last few years (40,000, approx.) or any of the other points I raised. The UKIP member we’ve mentioned probably has no career in politics as Britain is generally a liberal, tolerant, secular society, which I think is generally a very good thing. Homophobia, like racism and sexism before it has become increasingly less tolerated and seen as less than enlightened thinking.

          It’s a bit of a divergence from the main issues we were originally discussing, but I have been wondering, if you were to choose any place in the world to live, where would it be? You seem to like Islam quite a lot. You seem to be very vocal in it’s defence, so I assume you’d choose to live in an Islamic state, so which one would it be and why?

  17. exi5tentialist says

    Sorry I replaced your support for sexists with three dots. Now please continue to entertain your vast readership here. The floor is yours.

  18. opposablethumbs says

    It reminds us that we need to protect some of the rights and freedoms we have fought so hard for in the past. It wouldn’t do to give them up easily.

    The context is right there, exi5tentialist, right above your reply. Just as well, too, considering how you wrote it.
    So you think Nawaz “perpetuated” the cartoon? Funny, all I saw was someone saying that he personally did not find it offensive.
    I agree with you that a candidate should not be deselected just for being muslim. I don’t think a candidate should be deselected just for saying he doesn’t find a cartoon offensive, either.

    • Dave Day says

      Erm… the quote is actually mine, in all fairness, not existentialists, but I agree that a candidate shouldn’t be deselected for being a Muslim, or for not finding a cartoon offensive. I also think that Liberal Democrats should be left alone to choose their own candidates without interference from non-party members, but it seems not everyone agrees.

      • opposablethumbs says

        Sorry I wasn’t clear, Dave Day, I meant to refer to the fact that exi5tentialist was egregiously cherry-picking you and trying to make it look as if you’d written in favour of racists when the fact that you hadn’t was right there – just a cm away on the screen.

        • exi5tentialist says

          If somebody says that they actually think having a few racists, sexists, etc. around is a good thing because X, then it doesn’t matter to me what X is, I’m not going to waste any time on such a person. There is nothing good about having racists. Nothing. End of conversation.

          • Dave Day says

            Exi5tentialist, now I understand why you said what you did… but if you’d asked for clarity rather than throwing a tantrum I’d have explained sooner!

            I never meant to imply that I supported sexism, or racism, or any other immoral attitudes, but I can see why I was misunderstood and take full responsibility for the confusion, and apologise for upsetting you.

            My point was that we’re unlikely to ever get rid of every racist, sexist, etc. So, better to have them speak openly (without promoting them), know their views and arguments, then challenge and rebut them at every opportunity. Whilst it would be great to live in a world without prejudice or unfairness of any kind, we’re not there yet. Until we are, it’s good to be reminded of some of the freedoms we’ve achieved and why they’re important, and why we shouldn’t give them up or even allow them to be eroded. Hopefully I’m a bit clearer to you now?

            At the time when I originally posted I was also thinking that the Liberal Democrats were unused to defending their principles, and nearly gave them up under pressure from a relatively small group of determined lobbyists. It seems that it took another group of equally determined lobbyists to remind the Liberal Democrats of their principles and to encourage them to stand up for them. It would seem to me that they are unused to and ill-prepared for such lobbying.

        • Dave Day says

          Opposablethumbs… to be fair to exi5tentialist, I wasn’t as clear as. I might have been, so had a second, hopefully better shot at explaining my position and why I said what I did.

          However, to be fair to you, exi5tentialist has done a fair amount of ‘cherry-picking’ of what I’ve said, misquoting/quoting in a heavily edit way to try to misrepresent me, etc. It neither surprises nor bothers me. Having rebutted most if not all of exi5tentialists points, it’s now gone very quiet. Probably for the best.

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