The faint-hearted Fabians

Sunder Katwala of the Fabians is less than happy that I suggested that his organisation would not stand up to ultra reactionary forces in my piece for the Observer “It’s little wonder Liberal Muslims feel Betrayed.” (Actually I quoted a liberal British Muslim bursting out laughing when I wondered why he wasn’t working for a left-wing campaign group, but in truth I shared his contempt.)

Sunder writes

Would Nick Cohen – on reflection – accept any of this as evidence of at least some level of engagement with liberal Muslim voices in the interests of positive integration and anti-extremism? And I challenge Cohen, Husein or Maher to show me when we have platformed anybody who could sensibly be regarded as an anti-democrat? (The one exception is that we have platformed some reformed ex-anti-democrats – such as Husain himself, who has embarked on a welcome – if belated – journey towards liberal democracy).

Now I’m upset to have upset Sunder, as he is one of the more thoughtful voices in the Labour movement. But the idea that the Fabians or others on the left confront the far right is a hard one to swallow. All kinds of reasons hold them back fear of causing offence, fear of being accused racism, fear of losing Labour votes and the blind inability to see that there are worst things on earth than western democracy. Martin Amis summed up my contemporaries when he described

People of liberal sympathies, stupefied by relativism, have become the apologists for a creedal wave that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperialist, and genocidal. To put it another way, they are up the arse of those that want them dead.

Too harsh. Well, here’s an example. Last year in London there was the modern equivalent of a Mosleyite rally, the Global Peace & Unity conference.

I am grateful to David Toube of Harry’s Place for telling me that among the speakers were Imam Johari Abdul-Malik who believes

“People even under the pressures that you and I know about, the deen of Islam is growing because people see even within all of this struggle it is better to be a Muslim under these conditions than to be a kaffir under any conditions… before Allah closes our eyes for the last time you will see Islam move from being the second largest religion in America-that’s where we are now- to being the first religion in America.”

Sheikh Yasir Qadhi who believes that

All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out on this written by Christians, you should read them. The Hoax of the Holocaust, I advise you to read this book and write this down, the Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda and I know it sounds so far-fetched, but read it. The evidences [sic] are very strong. And they’re talking about newspaper articles, clippings, everything and look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do. We’re not defending Hitler, by the way, but the Jews, the way that they portray him, also is not correct.

William Rodriguez who in a lawsuit made

…hundreds of allegations, including – but not limited to – allegations that the Twin Towers were destroyed by means of “controlled demolitions”; that members of the FDNY were ordered, on instructions of the CIA, not to talk about it; that the FDNY conspired with Larry Silverstein to deliberately destroy 7WTC; that missiles were fired at the Twin Towers from “pods” affixed to the underside of the planes that struck them; that FEMA is working with the US government to create “American Gulag” concentration camps which FEMA will run once the government’s plan to impose martial law is in place; that phone calls made by some of the victims, as reported by their family members, were not actually made but were “faked” by the government using “voice morphing” technology; that a missile, not American Airlines Flight 77, struck the Pentagon; that United Airlines Flight 93 was shot down by the US military; that the defendants had foreknowledge of the attacks and actively conspired to bring them about; that the defendants engaged in kidnapping, arson, murder, treason, conspiracy, trafficking in narcotics, embezzlement, securities fraud, insider trading, identity and credit card theft, blackmail, trafficking in humans, and the abduction and sale of women and children for sex.

Sheikh Yusuf Estes of whom a student said

Last October, I listened to an online audio sermon by an American Muslim preacher, Sheik Yusuf Estes, who was scheduled to speak at West Virginia University as a guest of the Muslim Student Association. He soon moved to the subject of disobedient wives, and his recommendations mirrored the literal reading of 4:34. First, “tell them.” Second, “leave the bed.” Finally: “Roll up a newspaper and give her a crack. Or take a yardstick, something like this, and you can hit.”

When I telephoned Estes later to ask about the sermon, he said that he had been trying to limit how and when men could hit their wives. He realized that he had to revisit the issue, he told me, when some Canadian Muslim men asked him if they could use the Sunday newspaper to give their wives “a crack.”

And one Mohammad Ijaz ul Haq who said that

The award of a knighthood to the author Salman Rushdie justifies suicide attacks, a Pakistani government minister said today.
“This is an occasion for the 1.5 billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision,” Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, religious affairs minister, told the Pakistani parliament in Islamabad. “The west is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the ’sir’ title.”

(Links to all the quotes can be reached via the Harry’s Place report.)

Senior politicians joined this bunch at the rally. Dominic Grieve for the Tories took on the racists and the misogynists, warning that ‘such people have nothing positive to contribute and I don’t want to share a platform with them. We have no business giving madmen legitimacy.
‘Politicians like appealing to their audiences. The easy course is to come along today and avoid addressing the matter at all…[But] I have to say that the future participation of many mainstream politicians including mystelf will be difficult if not impossible if this issue is not addressed.’

The Labour MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, took to the stage and managed nothing but warm platitudes. He did not confront or distance himself from any of the speakers.

Sadiq Khan is the chairman of the executive of the Fabian Society and I rest my case.

2 thoughts on “The faint-hearted Fabians

  1. Re William Rodriguez. I can imagine someone making up the joke that that might have been the case under George W. Bush, but it might not be like that under Obama.

    The left has no bones in it, it seems. And what’s highlighted by Nick Cohen is saddening. Tough voices like his and others are absolutely neccesary for it, and yet they are challenged, rather than heeded. There is a battle to fight, and brains aren’t being used properly and guts not re-issued for it.
    When I look at the black and white pictures of the past voices of the left, champions of the causes of importance, whether dangerous, or enlightening even they are quiet, but more out of shame with the present mentality than extinction.

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