From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

March 30 marks the birthday of Moses Maimonides. As such, it seemed to be a good time to discuss two of his quotes that have been used in discussions of Islam and Islamophobia in part due to the range of views that seem to be expressed in them by the same author.

Original Guest Post

By JustStoppingBy

Recently, Robert Spencer tried to make a distinction between Allah and God, arguing that “even though they may share a name, any examination of the particulars of Christian and Islamic theology reveals that the deities in question are quite different in character.”

Note that Spencer does not say that Christians and Muslims have “different views of the same deity” but discusses “the deities in question.” In doing this, he invites the reader to reach the conclusion that the “Muslim Allah” is not the same as the “Christian God.” Danios has already provided a thorough explanation on the use of the term Allah by Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic times. As Danios points out, a common Islamophobic response is to claim that Muslims appropriated the term Allah while referring to a different entity, perhaps a moon god, but not to the god that Jews and Christians worship.

To further create a distinction between Allah and the Christian God, Spencer has asked whether the hajj is an act of apostasy based on his claims that the rites involved in the hajj are of Hindu origin. Of course, it is widely accepted that polytheists made pilgrimages to Mecca and that the Ka’bah was a pagan shrine that contained idols before the advent of Islam, including a belief that pre-Islamic pilgrims to Mecca, “[w]ith all their polytheism and idolatry, they too used to circle the Ka’bah and kiss the Black Stone.” So, even if Spencer were right, that would not seem to be a particularly Earth-shattering revelation.

Since many who propound this “deities” theory won’t listen to Danios perhaps they will listen to some other views. We can start by moving a little away from the Christian-Muslim deity distinction that Spencer wants to draw and referring to a statement by perhaps the most renowned post-Biblical Jewish scholar, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam). In Responsa #448, Maimonides writes as follows (ellipses in Wikipedia, bolding added; alternate translation also available):

The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to God a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us, and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son, is no reason for us to lie about them and say that they are idolaters … And should anyone say that the house that they honor [the Kaaba] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship,then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven … [Regarding] the Ishmaelites today – idolatry has been severed from the mouths of all of them [including] women and children. Their error and foolishness is in other things which cannot be put into writing because of the renegades and wicked among Israel [i.e., apostates]. But as regards the unity of God they have no error at all.

Maimonides’ life covered various phases of Muslim-Jewish relations. Maimonides was born in Córdoba in 1135, at the tail end of the longest potential extent of the “Golden Age” of Spanish Jewry, which saw the blossoming of Jewish culture and the attainment by individual Jews of high positions in commercial and public life. As a result of the Arab political dominance, Maimonides knew Arabic, read many texts in Arabic, and composed many of his most famous works in Arabic and referred to God as Allah in his Arabic writing.

In 1148, Córdoba was conquered by the Almohads, an Berber-Muslim dynasty that revoked the dhimmi status of Jews. There is, no doubt, much debate about the quality of the life of a dhimmi, but scholars have noted that “in any historical case, these relatively abstract and general provisions of the dhimma could and did materialize as either a tolerant and even liberating arrangement, or at the other extreme, a culturally repressive policy within which religious freedom is a hollow formality.” (María Rosa Monocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” p. 73. Garibaldi reviews the book here.) Life for Jews under the Almohads went from the previous tolerant and liberating arrangement to the other extreme, with the result that “[m]any Jews were forced to convert, but due to suspicion by the authorities of fake conversions, the new converts had to wear identifying clothing that set them apart and made them available to public scrutiny with many forced to convert or go into exile.” The point of this is not to dwell on history, but to put Maimonides’ responsa into context. It was written not by someone who had experienced only positive relations between Muslims and Jews, but who had also witnessed among the harshest of relations. And one should note that after fleeing Córdoba, Maimonides eventually again found himself in a place where he could establish good relations with Muslim authorities, becoming court physician to Saladin.

So, what does Maimonides have to say about how Muslims view God? Returning to the quote, we see that Maimonides says that “[idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts.” This, is in fact the same story told in Islam’s view of its own history: before Muhammad, the Ishmaelites (as Maimonides refers to them) in and around Mecca were idolaters. But, since the advent of Islam, “they attribute to God a proper unity.” The Islamic term for a “proper unity” istawhid, which, in essence, is not just a superficial form of “unity” but a “proper unity” that has an influence on Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. It is also possible that Maimonides was even distinguishing between the “proper” Jewish and Muslim view of God’s unity and what he would consider the “improper” Christian view of a trinitarian unity. Nowhere does Maimonides even suggest that Muslims are worshiping some different deity or that they do not share the Jewish view of God’s character.

Maimonides further argues that “should anyone say … [the Kaba’a] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship, then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven.” This can be read as a pre-rebuttal to arguments made by Robert Spencer about the Kaba’a and the hajj based on views, true or not, about their pre-Islamic origins. As Maimonides points out, if Muslims view Allah as the same god Jews view in Heaven and direct their prayers accordingly, pre-Islamic history does not affect their monotheism. Say what you want about any possible idol remnant in the Ka’bah or the etymology of the term Allah, it is clear that the “hearts of [Muslims] today are only toward Heaven.”

Now, why is Maimonides such an interesting person to quote from when countering Spencer’s Islamophobic rhetoric? For one thing, Spencer’s polemical partner Pamela Geller has also quoted from Maimonides, believing that it helps the position that she and Spencer take in general and in her fights about her ads about a choice “between the civilized man and the savage” in particular. Here is a quote she uses, from Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen:

Let Ye understand, my brothers, the Holy One Blessed HE through the trap created by our iniquities cast us amongst this nation, the people of Ishmael [Muslims] whose oppressiveness is firmly upon us and they connive to do us wrong and despicably downgrade us as the Almighty decreed against us (Deuteronomy 32:31, “Your enemies shall judge you”).

There never came against Israel a more antagonistic nation. They oppress us with the most oppressive measures to lessen our number, reduce us, and make us as despicable as they themselves are [Psalms 120:5].

Geller, misleadingly introduces this quote by saying that Maimonides “said this of Islam.” She further introduces the purely religious term Muslims in brackets where Maimonides referred to the “people of Ishmael,” a term that could have ethnic, political, and/or religious connotations.

On the religious aspect, while Maimonides did not accept Islam, it is clear from the earlier quote that he fully accepted that Muslims, or Ishmaelites, were monotheists whose hearts are directed only toward heaven in prayer. Instead, the conflict he describes is a political one, in particular with the Yemeni Shi’a of the time. Ultimately, “Maimonides interceded with Saladin in Egypt, and shortly thereafter the persecution came to an end.”

There are a few additional points worth noting in this quote from Maimonides. First, the reference to “the people of Ishmael” may sound like a form of generalization today, but no more so than the positive references to Ishmaelites in the first Maimonides quote or his reference to Jews as Israel in the second.

Second, unlike Geller, Maimonides does not attempt to create a picture in which one side is civilized and the other savage. Indeed, Maimonides describes Israel’s exile as a “trap created by our iniquities.” Traditionally, this referred to the “baseless hatred,” or the religious and political disputes, mistakes, violence, and venom that existed at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple and the onset of the Exile. Thus, Maimonides’ approach was not to turn a political dispute or suffering persecution into a basis for misrepresenting the religious views of others. Nor did he argue that those of his religion were pure and those of another religion were not; rather, he pointed out sinful behavior in both. In Maimonides’ view, monotheism was a good quality, and, from the first quote, we see that he was able to acknowledge what he saw as the good in his political opponents rather than feeling the need to suppress any of those qualities or actions as if his entire position would fall apart if his political adversaries had any good side. In addition, when Maimonides corresponded with a community of Jews who were being persecuted by a Muslim majority, he made a point of noting that even the Jews who then felt persecuted should not ignore their group’s own history of hatred and violence, including political mistakes that were part of the reason for their exile.

While there are aspects to the two quotes from Maimonides that one can agree or disagree with, they do reflect an overall attitude that contrasts sharply with those of Spencer and Geller.

While Maimonides had political differences with various Muslim groups, he did not seek to mischaracterize their religion or their religious beliefs. For there can be no true peace with the Other without recognition of the truth of their beliefs and behavior and honest dialogue based on those truths, a sharp contrast to the insidious Spencer/Geller policy of no peace, no truthful recognition, and no honest dialogue. Compare Maimonides’ recognition of Islam’s positive monotheistic quality, even when he disagreed politically with Muslims, with Spencer, who has argued that “the only good Muslim is a bad Muslim,” meaning that in his view, the only morally good Muslim is one who is not an Islamically good Muslim.

In terms of lessons for today, it may be helpful to see how Maimonides separated the political battles he faced from the opportunities to engage in religious prejudice against the beliefs of the Other. This did not mean that he refrained from political activity, as seen by his appeal to Saladin. But, neither did he refrain from standing up for the truth about another group’s religious beliefs. In viewing how Maimonides conducted these two fights, perhaps it can be said that the lesson is that we should fight our political battles as if there were no religious prejudice, and we should fight religious prejudice as if there were no political battles.

US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes

uscirf-vice-chair-zuhdi

(h/t: JD)

“Other Abstraction Fund-backed groups include Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim blog published by Robert Spencer.”

US religious freedom rep funded by Islamophobes

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the US’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, repeated its request to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to investigate one of its own members, this time for being funded by the same group that backs a notorious Islamophobe.

Earlier this year, CAIR asked for an investigation of USCIRF Vice Chair Zuhdi Jasser for apparently seeking to deny religious rights to Muslim military personnel.

In a letter sent to USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George, Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, wrote in part:

“We are writing today to expand upon the concerns regarding Dr. Zuhdi Jasser that were expressed on our letter to you dated January 24, 2014. Additional information has come to light regarding the financial dependence of Dr. Jasser’s American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) on groups known for promoting Islamophobia in the United States.

“Tax filings for the New York-based Abstraction Fund reveal that between 2010 and 2012, Jasser’s organization accepted $45,000 in grants and contributions. In 2012, 82 percent of the Fund’s total $1,982,930 contributions and grants went to groups known for their active role in spreading anti-Islam prejudice.”

The Center for Security Policy

Saylor’s letter cited funding of anti-Islam groups such as the Center for Security Policy, the head of which was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit against a mosque being built in Tennessee, where he promoted the notion that mosques want to “destroy western civilization from within.”

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Another group funded by the Abstraction Fund and cited in the letter is Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, which recently published an Islamophobic article stating: “Europe is still … captivated by the specious charms of the Arabs and Islam” and ” … pitiful Arab, whose inherent culture left him no shred of sincerity, creativity or courage.”

Jihad Watch

Other Abstraction Fund-backed groups include Jihad Watch, an anti-Muslim blog published by Robert Spencer. The Boston Globe has described Spencer as a man who “depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion.” Spencer has referred to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a “con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers.”

In June 2013, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento requested that the Kolbe Academy, a Catholic school, rescind a speaking invitation they extended to Spencer. The diocese referred to Spencer as a “key leader in the anti-Islam hate movement in the United States.”

Stop Islamization of America 

Spencer is a co-founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Spencer’s Jihad Watch blog is also designated as a hate group by the SPLC, which named Spencer as part of the nation’s “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”

The Middle East Forum 

The Middle East Forum (MEF), headed by Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, also received funds from the Abstraction Fund. Pipes is infamous for quotes such as: “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene. All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” [Jasser has accepted donations from Middle East Forum.]

In concluding his letter to USCIRF, Saylor wrote:

“CAIR values, advocates for and has pursued legal action to protect free speech and freedom of expression. Dr. Jasser has every right to advocate for the causes and organizations with which he chooses to align AIFD. At issue here is the reasonable concern that arises regarding Dr. Jasser accepting financial support from anti-Muslim groups while he is serving on a commission advocating for religious freedom.

“Given the expanding evidence of AFID’s financial dependency on groups funding anti-Muslim prejudice in the United States, we do not believe Dr. Jasser can act as an honest voice regarding religious freedom domestically or internationally.”

In 2013, CAIR published a major report, “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States,” which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims. The Islamophobia report is available on Kindle.

Jasser was featured in that report as an enabler of anti-Muslim bigotry. The report noted that Jasser heads a group that “applauded” an amendment to Oklahoma’s state Constitution that would have implemented state-sponsored discrimination against Islam.

Jasser also narrated “The Third Jihad,” a propaganda film created by the Clarion Fund, which depicts Muslims as inherently violent and seeking world domination. Following revelations that the film was shown as part of training at the New York Police Department, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called it “wacky” and “objectionable.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution

 

Tunisia_Constitution

The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution

By Garibaldi

Before the Arab Uprisings a narrative almost as well known as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was indoctrinated into the minds of many US and European citizens; the claim that Arabs and Muslims were inclined to tyranny and dictatorship. Columnist David Brooks of the New York Times encapsulated this frame of mind, about Egyptians he wrote, “they don’t have the mental ingredients for democracy.”

Islamophobes were appalled by the uprisings which saw their myths and prejudices regarding “subservient” Arabs and Muslims who either “only know dictatorship or theocracy” fall apart. Bigots such as Deacon Spencer were quick to claim that these nations would quickly be living inIranian-style theocracies.

While the uprisings and revolutions have faltered or are continuing at varied paces in most of the nations that have seen uprisings, the country that birthed the momentous wave of protest and upheaval, Tunisia, has achieved a tremendous milestone: a Constitution through consensus and hard, political work.

Tunisia was well placed for this achievement, considering its history of Constitutionalism,

Tunisia was the first Arab country ever to draft its own constitution – the qanoon al-dawla al-tunisiyya, or ‘law of the Tunisian state’ – which came into force in 1861.”

The process took two years, every jot and tittle was fought over and at times the impasse between the secularist opposition and the Ennahda led government seemed to be teetering on the brink of disaster and all out chaos: a happy prospect for those who have a seething hate for Arabs, Muslims and Islam and cheer on whenever they see disorder.

The naysayers were disappointed when the Ennahda led coalition and Nida Tounes negotiated a deal under the auspices of civil society organizations that paved the way for: a resignation of the government, a completion to the Constitution and an interim care-taker government of technocrats until fresh elections will be held later this year.

So what happened when Tunisia passed its constitution? Wallah! The praise has come in from all quarters: The New York TimesFrance24The EconomistThe Washington PostFox News, etc. had forgotten their age old prejudices and “congratulated” Tunisians.

Equally as important as the Constitution is to Tunisians it is also an example to the nations in the region. It shows that if one is ready to negotiate, compromise, to see beyond the simplistic demonizations of one’s opponent, you can overcome religious, ethnic, ideological and political divisions.

The outcome is a document that the vast majority of Tunisians have unanimously accepted and, crucially, has popular legitimacy.

The document isn’t perfect and contains some self-contradictions that highlight fissures and insecurities in Tunisian society. For instance what does it mean to protect ‘freedom of conscience and speech’ and at the same time outlaw takfir (declaring a Muslim to be a non-Muslim)? What does it mean for the state to ensure the “neutrality of mosques” and “protect sanctities?”

On the other hand it is a document that is confident in its identity, history and heritage, enshrines freedom of religion, conscience, individual rights, minority rights, gender parity, and a separation of powers.

It rivals any constitution in ambition and scope, and is more progressive in several ways than our own 226 year-old US Constitution that still contains outdated language stating for instance that slaves are the equivalent of “3/5ths” of a full vote. A few years ago the Congressional reading of the Constitution omitted this section which caused some right-wingers, like Glenn Beck, to throw a fit. Maybe it’s time we had another Constitutional convention ourselves?

The future for Tunisia is still wide open and by no means have Tunisians arrived at a moment in which the aims of their uprising have been fully realized,

Measured against the aims of the revolution, the constitution can be said to have met a number of key expectations. But for those in the marginalized parts of the country, seeking tangible improvement in their social and economic situation, the constitution is not going to do that-not immediately at least-and, in truth, does not guarantee it on the long-run. The state, in Article 12, promises no more than “striving to,” rather than the much demanded “commits to” achieve regional balance within the framework of positive discrimination.

The hope is that the spirit of negotiation, determination and compromise will continue until those aims are reached. However, what can be said is that despite tremendous pressures from the West, regional neighbors and fissures within Tunisian society, Tunisians have made it happen — and that is something not only to congratulate but to emulate.

Video: Tunisia Gets New Constitution

Quilliam suddenly backtracking from EDL ex-leader, but declassified UK Government records expose Quilliam’s real plans

Quilliam_HenryJacksonSociey

Quilliam suddenly backtracking from EDL ex-leader, but declassified UK Government records expose Quilliam’s real plans

Original guest article by Jai Singh

As previously discussed on Loonwatch, the Quilliam Foundation’s leadership have been exposed as directly involved with Douglas Murray’s neocon “Henry Jackson Society” think-tank. It turns out that senior figures from these two organisations have been working closely with each other for an extended period of time. As also heavily documented in the article, Douglas Murray himself has a considerable history of virulently anti-Muslim views (especially when the audience is not the British mainstream media), and he has also made further statements complaining about “white Britons abolishing themselves”. Like English Defence League ex-leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), Murray also has an extensive history of very close involvement with the anti-Muslim propagandist Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer, a high-profile foreign extremist whom the British Government’s Home Office has banned from entering the United Kingdom. Murray has recently become increasingly open about his support for Yaxley-Lennon too.

After the article was published, Quilliam co-founder/Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam’s “head of research” Ghaffar Hussain (who, it turns out, merely works for them in a freelance capacity and is actually a formal member of the Henry Jackson Society’s professional staff) both engaged in a lengthy Twitter argument with one of Loonwatch‘s editors on 30 December 2013. Hussain is clearly furious about being publicly exposed as working for Douglas Murray’s organisation. Nawaz’s own behaviour was a combination of bizarre, immature sneering, and blatant “psychological projection”. For example, see here andhere. There are numerous other examples visible if you scroll down to 30 December 2013 onLoonwatch’s Twitter account. Nawaz also engaged in his usual ridiculous tactic against his critics, labelling Loonwatch’s editors and writers as “Far-Left”, “Islamists”, and “Islamist apologists”.

Most striking of all was the fact that both Maajid Nawaz and Ghaffar Hussain completely avoided the main premise of the article, namely the fact that Quilliam’s leadership are directly involved with the Robert Spencer-allied Douglas Murray and the Henry Jackson Society. Nawaz and Hussain were unable to refute any of information highlighted in the article, including the details of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s statements admitting the real reasons for his involvement with Quilliam.

Neither Maajid Nawaz nor anyone else from Quilliam are publicly disclosing the aforementioned extremely incriminating facts to the British general public or the mainstream news media. It is presently unclear if they are revealing these facts to the British Government.

QUILLIAM CO-FOUNDER/LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE MAAJID NAWAZ, THE “CARTOONS CONTROVERSY”, AND THE JAILING OF EDL EX-LEADER STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON

Maajid Nawaz was recently at the center of a major controversy in the UK. I am not going to comment in detail on this issue; like Loonwatch’s editors, I think the subject is a distraction from the much bigger problems with Nawaz and Quilliam. However, it is worth noting Nawaz’s recent online statements to members of the British general public who had criticised his actions. Bear in mind that the following remarks are from someone who presents himself as a leading wannabe “reformer” of one of the world’s major religions:

Maajid Nawaz, writing on Twitter, 18 January 2014: “offence?? Get the F*^k off my timeline if you’re offended.”

Maajid Nawaz, writing on Twitter [subsequently deleted], January 2014: “If you dont like an inoffensive, rather polite cartoon, I don’t give a **** get the **** off my timeline. Why did I post it? Who gives a ****!”

Maajid Nawaz, writing on Twitter, 17 January 2014: “Ha ha!! As @IceCube once said in the intro skit to “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, while on death row. “F*** all y’all” #Radical”

Still writing on his Twitter account, Nawaz has subsequently taken to “piously” quoting various verses from the Quran.

It is interesting to note that this controversy coincides with the period of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s sentencing and jailing on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud. It is also interesting to note that Nawaz has (publicly) still said absolutely nothing about Yaxley-Lennon’s jailing.

Furthermore, although Quilliam’s leadership claim to be staunch believers in the concept of “freedom of speech”, and have recently been referring to this concept when justifying their own actions, it turns out that they actually have a history of threatening lawsuits against opponents who have used their own freedom of speech to criticise Quilliam.

QUILLIAM SUDDENLY DENYING CLOSE INVOLVEMENT WITH STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON/“TOMMY ROBINSON”

On 14 January 2014, approximately a week before Yaxley-Lennon’s jailing, Political Scrapbookreported the following developments:

Having lapped up the publicity from brokering his exit from the EDL, anti-extremism think tank Quilliam seem to be getting cold feet about Robinson after they were wrongly linked to the tour. A spokesman was at pains to deny they were paying him for anything and told Scrapbook:

“Tommy Robinson isn’t doing anything for Quilliam. He’s not a member of staff here … He’s his own man.”

“We do outreach work. Tommy Robinson does other things and he’s not working here.”

Quilliam claim that his involvement with them has so far been limited to “mentoring” — including attending classes on Islam and “theological reform”.

However, as previously discussed on Loonwatch, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon himself has been making some very different statements to various international outlets (especially a Far-Right source). He has even repeatedly confirmed his continuing support for Robert Spencer. In fact, Yaxley-Lennon has admitted the real reasons for his involvement with Quilliam, including the associated long-term gameplan. Key quotes:

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”Tommy Robinson]: “The fact is that I thought it would be a good idea to appear together with Quilliam in order to gain credibility. It is good to sit together with them and say: “We don’t hate Muslims but we have to solve our problems.”

- When I met the people from Quilliam, I realized that they could help me with a lot of things. I’m just a working class bloke from Luton. I don’t know how to set up and run a think tank and get donations. I asked if they would teach me and they said yes. They said: “You may have whatever opinions you like but you will get more out of expressing them in a more political way.”

[Dispatch International]: “Could one say that you are using them and they are using you?”

Tommy doesn’t answer but nods and grins

[…..]

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”Tommy Robinson”]: “Look at what has happened since I left the EDL. Look at my new platform.”

[…..]

“What I’m saying now is the same as I’ve been saying for four and a half years.”

[…..]

“There is a massive gap between what I can say and what the politicians can say. When I now sit with politicians in a TV studio, they may disagree with me but when the cameras are shut, they give me the thumbs up. So do many journalists who used to tear into me.”

[…..]

“We are thinking of a big launch where we will invite everybody and leaders of all kinds. This is what we are going to do and this is how we are going to do it. I think people are more willing to fund this than the EDL.”

[…..]

“Actually, my stance [towards Islam and Muslims] hasn’t dampened or softened at all – if people listen to what I say.”

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, writing on Twitter, 17 January 2014:

When have I slagged EDL off? Remember what I stood for? It’s what I stand for! Like I’ve forgot ! I live it every day.

This article includes nearly two dozen examples of Yaxley-Lennon’s extremely bigoted previous statements during his time with the EDL, including multiple examples clearly indicating that (a) Yaxley-Lennon’s agenda is actually racially-motivated, and (b) he is using the terms “Islam/Islamic” and “Muslim” as euphemisms for “South Asian”.

As highlighted by The Guardian in October 2013, there has been speculation that Quilliam’s actions are actually motivated by an agenda to secure new funding. Another Guardian articlefrom October 2013 quotes Maajid Nawaz himself:

Nawaz said he would work to introduce Robinson to his own contacts in government and the Home Office in an attempt to procure government funding.

EXPOSED: QUILLIAM CO-FOUNDER MAAJID NAWAZ REQUESTS TAXPAYER MONEY TO PAY STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON

An extensive amount of material newly released via FOI procedures has exposed the Quilliam leadership’s recent discussions with one of the British Government’s major departments.

Amongst other things, it turns out that Maajid Nawaz has been sending senior government officials begging letters requesting funding sourced from British taxpayers, in order to (a) finance Quilliam’s targeting of EDL members, and (b) especially to pay Stephen Yaxley-Lennon himself. Key extracts:

From: Maajid Nawaz
Sent: 08 October 2013 10:08
[…..]
Subject: Major development – READ now
Importance: High

[…..]

Quilliam has broken the news to the world that Quilliam has managed to facilitate the defection of the founder and leader of the EDL, Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley), and his right-hand man and co-founder Kevin Carroll from their movement. In other words, the UK’s largest right-wing street movement – the EDL – is being decapitated. By tomorrow, this will be major and probably global news.

Both men are keen to be guided by Quilliam in their transition away from this movement and towards a better way forward. In this case, Quilliam will act as a conduit.

[….]

We at Quilliam are immensely proud to have been able to help bring this transition about. We have offered to support these defections and are currently seeking to raise funds for the costs associated with supporting Tommy Robinson while he transitions away from his current financial dependency on the EDL, with a long term view of helping him reconsider his strategy and tactics under our long-term guidance.

Due to the nature of this unprecedented news, we have been coordinating this transition and all costs associated to it without a budget. Please let us know if you can urgently help us with a direct contribution so that we may fund Stephen’s transition and cut off his previous dependency on EDL donors.

Finally, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support for Quilliam as we make history in this way. Today we hope to make you proud!

Yours,
Maajid

From: Maajid Nawaz
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 4:52 PM

[…..]

Subject: RE: Major development – READ now

[…..]

Concerning our below announcement, here’s a news analysis that I believe sums it up well:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100241068/the-symbiotic-relationship-

between-the-edl-and-the-islamo-nutters-not-forgetting-the-anti-fascists/

I am keen to turning this into a project in which Tommy and I can start to reach out to his former members and pull them into the mainstream. Saturday’s Guardian will carry an apology by Tommy for the hurt he’s caused Muslims. Can we meet to discuss? Currently, this we have no funding in place to engage in this vital work.

Best,
Maajid

It is worth bearing in mind the following fact: British Government policy is that public money must not be used to fund extremist individuals and organisations.

QUILLIAM AND EDL CO-FOUNDER KEVIN CARROLL

Despite Maajid Nawaz’s claims in the first email quoted above, in reality Kevin Carroll has continued pushing virulently anti-Muslim views online. There have recently been two particularly glaring incidents, one of which included the endorsement of mass-murder. See here and here. As documented here, Kevin Carroll has also been openly promoting Far-Right conspiracy theories.

Maajid Nawaz and the rest of Quilliam’s leadership have (publicly) still said absolutely nothing to condemn Kevin Carroll’s latest actions, let alone preventing them in the first place.

QUILLIAM’S ATTEMPTED INFILTRATION OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT

Guardian article from 2010 discussed the fact that Quilliam drew up a secret list of individuals and groups they claimed were “Islamist extremists”, including one of Scotland Yard’s own counter-terrorism units, and sent this report directly to the director-general of the British Government’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a directorate of the Home Office. Quilliam’s report was rejected and condemned by a range of senior figures, including the co-founder of the aforementioned counter-terrorism unit along with the Chairman of the Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee.

The aforementioned declassified emails includes the following statements by Maajid Nawaz, in an email dated 11 June 2013, inviting “Secretary of State” [sic; his full title is actually “Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government”] Eric Pickles to a Quilliam anniversary event:

The Prime Minister has indeed been listening to us. Only a week before the Woolwich murder he called upon me to visit him and the Foreign Secretary at Chequers in order to advise officials on what our governments policy should be towards new Islamist regimes in the Middle-East.

It is presently unclear if the British Government is aware of the full scale of Quilliam’s actions and affiliations, particularly the incriminating facts highlighted in this article and the preceding associated articles. Considering the Quilliam leadership’s demonstrable history of gross dishonesty, it would therefore be appropriate to give Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague, and associated senior politicians and government officials the benefit of the doubt.

Court upholds UK ban on Geller and Spencer

Abhijit Pandya

Abhijit Pandya

Court upholds UK ban on Geller and Spencer

Over at Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller directs us to an article which she describes as a “thoughtful and stunning indictment of the latest tribulation in our legal battle against the de facto sharia ban on Robert Spencer and me in the UK”. The article, entitled “The end of free speech in Britain”, reveals the welcome news that last week a British court rejected Geller and Spencer’s appeal against the home secretary’s decision last June to ban them from entering the UK.

The name of the author, Abhijit Pandya – described by Geller as “one of our British solicitors” – may be familiar. That’s because Pandya has established his own reputation for frothing-at-the-mouth Islamophobia. Back in 2011, when he stood as the UK Independence Party candidate in the Leicester South parliamentary by-election, Pandya wrote a blog post in which he described Islam as “morally flawed and degenerate”and declared his agreement with Geert Wilders’ view of the faith as a “retarded ideology”. He added: “Islamic culture inherently rejects the Western way of life, more specifically the Protestant work ethic that has successfully built the economies of the West.”

The local paper, the Leicester Mercury, published an editorial condemning Pandya’s blog post as “a wildly inflammatory rant which boiled down to a crass and nasty characterisation of Muslims as lazy, intolerant spongers who are a threat to the British way of life. It was not part of a reasoned debate about multiculturalism, but a series of sweeping, unsubstantiated generalisations which demonise the Muslim community.”

So, clearly, Pandya was an entirely appropriate individual to act as Geller and Spencer’s legal representative in the UK.

A Refutation of Robert Spencer’s Attack on Prof. Akbar Ahmed

ahmed-head-1

A Refutation of Robert Spencer’s Attack on Prof. Akbar Ahmed

Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer‘s hatred of Islam and Muslims is quite evident by his consistent efforts to demonize every single Muslim who has some sort of impact on society.

His recent conspiratorial gaze and hatred has been directed at Prof. Akbar Ahmed, a well-regarded scholar and activist for peace and interfaith co-operation–anathema to Rev. Deacon Spencer.

A REFUTE OF ROBERT SPENCER’S POST ON PROFESSOR AKBAR AHMED

by Craig Considine

Robert Spencer, the administrator of the blog JihadWatch, is known for painting all Muslims as extremists. In a recent post titled “AKBAR AHMED, ADVOCATE OF ‘DIALOGUE,’ CLAIMS ‘ISLAMOPHOBES’ ARE ‘LINKING ISLAM TO VIOLENCE, TERRORISM AND INTOLERANCE,” Spencer argues that PROFESSOR AHMED, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC, is “disingenuous” in promoting interfaith dialogue and interested in converting non-Muslims to Islam. Spencer also calls him an “Islamic supremacist” and likens him to SAYYID QUTB, the 20th century Muslim extremist.

To refute Spencer’s accusations, I will look to the example of Professor Ahmed and his relationships with non-Muslims, through which he promotes interfaith dialogue. In doing so, I prove that he is a leading Muslim figure in the fight against religious extremism and that not all Muslims are extremists, as Spencer claims.

I am a Roman Catholic student and assistant to Professor Ahmed, who is like a father to me. He does not treat me differently for being Catholic because he sees Christians and Muslims as equal members of the Abrahamic family. In 2008, Professor Ahmed and his wife had dinner at our family home in suburban Boston. Over Italian food, he shared with my mother, a Roman Catholic and Italian American, several stories of his childhood days in Pakistan. He was educated by Christians at Forman Christian College in Lahore and at Burn Hall in Abbottabad, which was run by Roman Catholic priests. Touching upon these experiences in the recent New York Times article “PAKISTAN’S PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS,” Professor Ahmed wrote: “We loved and respected our Christian teachers, and they us. We never doubted that harmony and cooperation between faith groups were not only possible, but also completely normal. It was the reality of our lives.” Religious tolerance was built into Professor Ahmed’s life from his earliest days, which is why he is naturally inclined to speak and write about how Muslims and non-Muslims can coexist.

Professor Akbar Ahmed (right) celebrating Christmas with Christians in Pakistan.

Professor Akbar Ahmed (right) celebrating Christmas with Christians in Pakistan.

Professor Ahmed has also risked his own life in trying to build bridges between his Muslim and Christian friends in Pakistan. In December 2013, he gave a lecture at Forman Christian College, despite the police warning that the Pakistani Taliban had dispatched bombers to the city as an act of revenge for the killing of a former Pakistani Taliban leader. Professor Ahmed’s lecture titled “BUILDING BRIDGES OVER TROUBLED WATERS” demanded that Muslims be more tolerant of Christianity and other non-Muslim faiths in Pakistan. By supporting the rights of non-Muslims, he advocates for religious freedom and equality in a country which is rife with discrimination and persecution.

Developing friendships with Christian leaders has always been a priority for Professor Ahmed. After the events of September 11th, 2001, he befriended former BISHOP JOHN CHANE of the Washington National Cathedral, with whom he co-authored an article with him in 2010 titled “CHRISTIANS SENSELESSLY TORMENTED BY EXTREMISTS IN MUSLIM WORLD.” Professor Ahmed and Bishop Chane called for Muslims to “think of Jesus, so highly revered and loved by both Christians and Muslims,” as a way of building respect and harmony among followers of Christianity and Islam. Instead of supporting Muslims who attack Christians, Professor Ahmed challenges them on how persecuting non-Muslims is contrary to Prophet Muhammad’s philosophy on tolerance.

Professors Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed

Professors Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed

Alongside his relationships with Christian friends, Professor Ahmed has also developed a powerful friendship with PROFESSOR JUDEA PEARL, a Jew and father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street journalist who was murdered by Muslim extremists in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002. One year later, the American Jewish Committee invited Professors Ahmed and Pearl to lead a nation-wide public dialogue on the divisions between Muslims and Jews. In 2006, they were among the recipients of the first annual Purpose Prize “in recognition of [their] simple, yet innovative approach to solving one of society’s most pressing problems.” Professor Ahmed collaborated with Professor Pearl in order to carve the path for Jewish and Muslim understanding and to promote the dialogue between, and not the clash of, civilizations.

Read the rest…

Stoke EDL member stole chocolate bar from Marks and Spencers – before racially abusing and assaulting security guards

Anthony Forrester

Lovely lads, aren’t they?

Stoke EDL member stole chocolate bar from Marks and Spencers – before racially abusing and assaulting security guards

Alcoholic Anthony Forrester attacked two supermarket security guards – after they asked him to pay for a bar of chocolate he had stolen and eaten.

The 44-year-old was in the Marks and Spencer store, in Hanley, on October 17 when he picked up a 69p bar of chocolate and ate it without paying. North Staffordshire Magistrates Court heard yesterday how store security guards Ian Creed and Bekezela Ndlovu followed Forrester to Iceland, in Charles Street, to ask him to pay for the food.

Prosecuting, Giles Rowden said: “Mr Forrester picked up a bar of chocolate and ate it and threw the wrapper away. He was approached by the security guards and told them he would pay for it, but he then left the store. The security guards saw the defendant in the Iceland store where he became abusive.”

The court heard that he racially abused and swore at Mr Ndlovu claimed he was a member of the English Defence League.

Mr Rowden added: “He was using abusive language towards Mr Ndlovu, who was just trying to do his job. The other security guard was then punched in the head and bit on the hand. Forrester was then arrested, but on the way to custody he damaged a Perspex cage belonging to Staffordshire Police.”

Forrester, of St Luke’s Court, in Hanley, pleaded guilty to five charges which included theft, assault by beating, criminal damage and using racially abusive and offensive language.

 

Defending, Nicola Bell, said: “Mr Forrester has not appeared before the court in a long time. He has tried to tackle what is a very real alcohol problem which he has not been very successful at addressing. These are serious offences and they are in the context of the record of a man who is now 44 years of age.”

Miss Bell added: “There are two sides to Anthony Forrester. He can be extremely vile and unacceptable, but then there is the Anthony Forrester who wants to change and wants to address issues from the past. There are deep-rooted problems here, but the daily issue is the alcohol.”

Magistrates told Forrester: “This was a nasty, alcohol-fuelled incident.” He was handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months with 12 months supervision and an alcohol treatment requirement for using racially abusive language and the same punishment for the assault on Ian Creed, to run concurrently.

He was given no further penalty for the theft and criminal damage charges. However, he was told to pay £165 costs and £100 compensation to the victims as well as £20 for damage to Mr Creed’s watch and 69p to Marks and Spencer for the chocolate.

The Sentinel, 4 January 2014


Forrester’s Facebook page includes among his “likes” the far-right Britain First party (a splinter from the BNP) as well as the EDL. Given his previous convictions for assault (see here and here) it is surprising that he wasn’t jailed.

EDL ex-leader finally admits real reasons for involvement with Quilliam

Maajid Nawaz and Tommy Robinson

EDL ex-leader finally admits real reasons for involvement with Quilliam

Original Guest post by Jai Singh

As recently discussed on Loonwatch, the anti-Muslim propagandists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have now “wholeheartedly and unhesitatingly” re-endorsed their fellow “SION Presidents Council” member, English Defence League ex-leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”), and confirmed that they intend to continue working with him. During the summer, the British Government’s Home Secretary banned Spencer and Geller from entering the United Kingdom; they had intended to speak at a major EDL demonstration in London.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon himself has of course recently resigned from the EDL, a move publicly facilitated by Maajid Nawaz & Quilliam and covered in a high-profile BBC documentary. (Nawaz is the man sitting next to Yaxley-Lennon in the photo at the top of this article). According to the Guardian, there is speculation that Quilliam’s current actions are an attempt to secure funding; if this is indeed the case, it means that Quilliam are simultaneously working closely with an individual heavily involved with foreign extremists whom the British Government itself has banned from the UK.

An earlier Guardian article from 2010 discussed the fact that Quilliam drew up a secret list of individuals and groups they claimed were “Islamist extremists”, including one of Scotland Yard’s own counter-terrorism units, and sent this report directly to the director-general of the British Government’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a directorate of the Home Office. Quilliam’s report was rejected and condemned by a range of senior figures, including the co-founder of the aforementioned counter-terrorism unit along with the Chairman of the Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee.

Readers are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the information in the previous Loonwatch article, especially the extensive details on Robert Spencer’s inner circle and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s own views, actions and affiliations.

The article also included the following points:

1. What is Maajid Nawaz & Quilliam’s response ?

2. Do Maajid Nawaz & Quilliam still plan to continue working with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, considering (a) Yaxley-Lennon’s continuing alliance with foreign extremists banned from entering the UK, (b) the fact that Yaxley-Lennon has repeatedly declared that he has not changed any of his anti-Muslim views, (c) the fact that Yaxley-Lennon has no intention of working with Quilliam for the long-term, (d) the fact that Yaxley-Lennon is simply using Quilliam as a “stepping-stone” to a new anti-Muslim organisation, devoid of the stigma of the EDL and allied to the aforementioned banned foreign extremists ?

3. The BBC are currently involving Stephen Yaxley-Lennon in at least two more documentaries: One focusing on Quilliam, and one focusing specifically on Yaxley-Lennon (titled “What Tommy Does Next”). Considering the facts detailed above, will the BBC now terminate their involvement with Yaxley-Lennon, or do they intend to continue these projects with him ? If it is the latter, will the BBC disclose the aforementioned facts to the British viewing public, especially Yaxley-Lennon’s continuing alliance with foreign extremists banned from the UK ?

Huffington Post UK Political Director Mehdi Hasan’s team have subsequently published a detailed article discussing Yaxley-Lennon and Quilliam’s replies to some of the questions raised by these issues. The article also includes some further relevant information that will be of interest to readers.

During the past few weeks, Mehdi Hasan and Guardian / Liberal Conspiracy political journalist Sunny Hundal were also involved in a heated argument with Quilliam co-founder Maajid Nawaz on Twitter regarding this subject, particularly the issue of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s ongoing involvement with Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller (see: hereherehereherehere and here).

STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON AND QUILLIAM: THE MASK FINALLY DROPS

There have been some very revealing further developments. The Far-Right “online magazine”Dispatch International have now published several articles detailing transcripts of their interview with Yaxley-Lennon.

One article in particular details the real reasons for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s involvement with Quilliam. The article is very incriminating indeed. In fact, Yaxley-Lennon’s statements are hugely damaging for both himself and Quilliam. The relevant extract is quoted below, with the key points highlighted in bold:

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”Tommy Robinson]: “The fact is that I thought it would be a good idea to appear together with Quilliam in order to gain credibility. It is good to sit together with them and say: “We don’t hate Muslims but we have to solve our problems.”

- When I met the people from Quilliam, I realized that they could help me with a lot of things. I’m just a working class bloke from Luton. I don’t know how to set up and run a think tank and get donations. I asked if they would teach me and they said yes. They said: “You may have whatever opinions you like but you will get more out of expressing them in a more political way.”

[Dispatch International]: “Could one say that you are using them and they are using you?”

Tommy doesn’t answer but nods and grins

Mehdi Hasan has publicly confronted BBC anchor Adil Ray with Yaxley-Lennon’s statements; Adil Ray’s response and his defence of Yaxley-Lennon are worth reading (see herehere, and here, from 7 November 2013).

In any case, it is very good that Yaxley-Lennon’s statements are now a matter of public record.

In the same interview, Yaxley-Lennon also said:

“Look at what has happened since I left the EDL. Look at my new platform.”

[…..]

“What I’m saying now is the same as I’ve been saying for four and a half years.”

STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON REVEALS HIS LONG-TERM GAMEPLAN

According to another Dispatch International article, Yaxley-Lennon’s aim is to start a new, large-scale, so-called “working class” organisation allegedly intended to prevent what he ridiculously believes is an impending bloody civil war between Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK. Furthermore, Yaxley-Lennon also explicitly referred to “whites” and “Muslims”, demonstrating yet again that he is actually using the term “Muslim” as a codeword for “South Asian”. The same article includes the following claims by Yaxley-Lennon:

“There is a massive gap between what I can say and what the politicians can say. When I now sit with politicians in a TV studio, they may disagree with me but when the cameras are shut, they give me the thumbs up. So do many journalists who used to tear into me.”

Yaxley-Lennon also provided more details on the public launch of his new organisation, along with the financial motivations involved:

“We are thinking of a big launch where we will invite everybody and leaders of all kinds. This is what we are going to do and this is how we are going to do it. I think people are more willing to fund this than the EDL.”

Bear in mind that the BBC are currently involving Yaxley-Lennon in at least two more documentaries, one of which focuses specifically on Yaxley-Lennon’s activities to start his new organisation. The BBC are therefore providing Yaxley-Lennon with exactly the kind of high-profile platform that he was boasting about in the first Dispatch International article; Yaxley-Lennon has recently explicitly statedthat his aim is to take his agenda mainstream. However, it is currently unclear if the BBC are aware of the full scale of Yaxley-Lennon’s views, actions and affiliations.

Yaxley-Lennon has also recently given a lengthy interview to Russia’s RT news channel. The discussion included the topic of Anders Breivik. It is worth noting that Yaxley-Lennon himself is already on record as giving an interview to the Norwegian media in which he publicly praised Anders Breivik, promoted Breivik’s manifesto, and claimed Breivik’s mass-murdering terrorist attack would have been “easier to justify” if the people killed had been Muslims. Full details here and here.

QUILLIAM’S MAAJID NAWAZ CONTINUES DEFENDING STEPHEN YAXLEY-LENNON

On 8 November 2013, Maajid Nawaz stated on Twitter: “As a Muslim I don’t consider [Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”Tommy Robinson”] Islamophobic any longer.”

However, as mentioned previously, Yaxley-Lennon himself is now on record as making the following statement to Dispatch International:

“What I’m saying now is the same as I’ve been saying for four and a half years.”

Yaxley-Lennon is also on record as recently confirming this during the aforementioned interview with Russia’s RT news channel:

“Actually, my stance [towards Islam] hasn’t dampened or softened at all – if people listen to what I say.”

For Maajid Nawaz’s benefit and for the public record, examples of Yaxley-Lennon’s views are listed below:

1. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 22 May 2013: “Islam is not a religion of peace, it never has been and it never will be. Mohammad was a murderer, a rapist and a paedophile.”

2. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, EDL demonstration, Peterborough, 11 December 2010: “Islam…..Islam rules this country with fear. Islam rules this country with fear. Look around you: do you see any scared fucking faces ? No I fucking don’t ! I see faces ready and waiting for whatever Islam wants to throw at us ! Militant Islam and Islam’s days in this nation are numbered…..”

3. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, EDL demonstration, Peterborough, 11 December 2010: “Islam is a disease…..it is a disease…..”

4. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, EDL demonstration, Peterborough, 11 December 2010: “Islam has never been a religion of peace ! It never will be a religion of peace ! It never fucking will !”

5. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 18 June 2012: “Mohammad was a extremist. Islam is extreme”.

6. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, EDL demonstration, Luton, 5 May 2012: “The prophet Mohammad, the false prophet Mohammad…..”

7. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 18 June 2012: “Guns don’t kill people Islam does. Backward cult breeding hostility towards us. Stick that in ya Islamophobia meeting”.

8. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, video speech, May 2011: “I’ve got a problem with Islam and militant Islam. That’s where my problem is…..Because my motives are one thing: saving this country from the cesspit that is Islam.”

9. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, EDL demonstration, London, 3 September 2011 (full speech here): “And we are here today to tell you quite loud and clear, to every single Muslim watching this on Youtube, on 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens. You got away with it. You had better understand that we have built a network from one end of this country to the other end, and we will not tolerate it, and the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League if we see any of our citizens killed, maimed or hurt on British soil ever again.”

10. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, speech at the Far-Right “British Freedom Party’s” South West Regional Meeting, 21 June 2012: “The British National Party, yeah. The majority of British National Party supporters: decent people, fed up people…[...]…After three years of being English Defence League, everyone knows what we stand for. We’re anti-Islam; that’s it.”

11. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, EDL demonstration, Leicester, 4 February 2012: “There is a two-tier system [in the United Kingdom] okay, where Muslims are treated more favourably than non-Muslims. Now, we cannot have a master race…..Every man and woman, you are brave people who are standing here…[…]…to defeat a two-tier system, to defeat a master race, to stand equal. We want British rights for British people.”

12. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, interview, 27 January 2010: “Within 30 or 40 years in this country we are complete minority to Muslims, because of the Muslim demographics…..Our culture and our race will disappear in this country.”

13. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, interview with BBC Radio West Midlands, 22 October 2011: “The black community and the white community in Birmingham are treated with iron fists. The Islamic community are treated with kid gloves and that’s just the way it is. And it’s not on. You can’t have a two-tier policing system. There can be no master race. And I’m sorry, but there is a master race in certain areas of this country and it’s Islam !”

14. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 6 May 2013: “Other ethnic minorities are not exploding, it’s Muslim birth rate that’s exploding.”

15. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 20 June 2012: “I just saw someone planting a time bomb, or as the Muslim woman involved called it ‘having a baby’”.

16. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 24 May 2012: “Over half of all Muslims inbreed!”

17. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, referring to bacon being voted Britain’s favourite food, posting on Twitter, 26 May 2012: “The muzzers can stick that up their arse.”

18. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, May 2012: “You’re a nice muslim #shitnobodysays”.

19. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”“Tommy Robinson”, directing the anti-Semitic “hooknose” racial slur at a South Asian Muslim, posting on Twitter, 20 August 2012: “What have i failed at? #hooknose”.

20. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/”“Tommy Robinson”, directing the anti-Semitic “hooknose” racial slur at Muslims again, posting on Twitter, 10 June 2013: “I know I just wanted to prove how easy it is to bypass airport security! Imagine how many Muslims do it #hooknoses #beards ….. I’m just pointing out a lot of Muslim makes have hooknoses #fact due to inbreeding?”

21. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/“Tommy Robinson”, posting on Twitter, 24 May 2012: “Muslims giving themselves English nicknames really frustrates me”.

22. English Defence League leadership, posting on their official Twitter account, 1 March 2012: “ “Paki Bashing“ trending in United Kingdom, wonder if it will catch on world wide #EDL #makebradfordbritish”.

23. English Defence League leadership, posting on their official Facebook page, November 2011 (screenshot and transcript via the British Government’s Home Affairs Select Committee): “In the last 66 years we as a nation, as a race have had our national identity stolen from us by politicians who have forced us to accept multiculturalism. They have and still are practicing cultural genocide on their own people, despite warnings that we will not accept it. They have forced us to accept the dilution of our heritage and history by the implementation of laws which will stop us from rising up, even if that’s just to voice an opinion.

Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving us of our integrity as distinct peoples, or of our cultural values or ethnic identities. Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of the rights of the native or indigenous people. Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on us by legislative, administrative or other measures is cultural genocide.

And unless we find our backbone and stand up to the ones who are committing crimes against the English people we shall continue to be subjected to slavery by a British elite aided by outside influences whose only intention is to destroy us from within and wipe us out as a race.”

For interested readers, Maajid Nawaz’s Twitter address is @MaajidNawaz, and BBC anchor Adil Ray’s Twitter address is @adilray.

Crumbling “Counterjihad”? EDL, SION, SIOA and the Transatlantic Kerfuffle

Robert Spencer - Kevin Carroll - Pamela Geller - Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - Stockholm August 2012

Crumbling “Counterjihad”? EDL, SION, SIOA and the Transatlantic Kerfuffle

By Garibaldi

We have noted the unstable nature of the “counter-jihad” fascist movement since the day Loonwatch began. Cracks and fissures between various groups and websites were apparent from the start.

One of the first to depart the “counter-Jihad” was Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs (LGF) who has continued to expose the extremism of former allies Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.

It was Charles Johnson who first alerted us to the fact that Robert Spencer had joined a group calling for the extermination of Turks and the Reconquista of Anatolia. For this revelation Spencer and Geller have been relentless in their vitriolic demonization of Johnson, regarding him not only as an apostate but also– their favorite epithet– “dhimmi.”

The reasons for the inherent instability in the “counter-Jihad” reflects the fissures in ideological make up between the various personalities, as well as incongruities between their inflated egos.

A brief history of the internecine civil wars amongst the counter-Jihad on this point is informative: Debbie Schlussel vs.: Brigitte GabrielPamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Zuhdi JasserWalid Shoebat, etc. Logan’s Warning against Brigitte GabrielSpencer vs. Andrew BostomRoberta Moore of the JDL vs. the EDL and now the latest kerfuffle: Geller and Spencer vs. Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll.

All that binds them is Islamomisia and Islamophobia. On the surface their ideological backgrounds provide a motive: a belief in the need to preserve Christianity in the face of post-Modernity and a rise in Secular Humanism, a belief that it is good for Israel and Zionism, a desire to keep White Europe pure, the nostalgic belief that they are the vanguard “defenders of freedom” who will not only save the “West” from a resurgent Islam but harken in a golden age and if not–Armageddon.

When you dig a little deeper underneath the surface of ideology and identity politics one sees there is another more primitive motive at work; garnering dead presidents and Euros.

Recenlty, I have taken an interest in the famous medieval Muslim theologian Ghazali who it seems to me has identified, in universal terms, the reasons for the sickness that pervades the Islamophobia movement:

“The greatest of all desires is ravenousness, the source of all spiritual maladies, followed, in second order, by lasciviousness. Ardently seeking to fulfill these desires inevitably involves one in garnering wealth, in turn leading to indulgence in both spheres. It appears Ghazali posits a causal link between these two instincts, on the one hand, and the personal desire to acquire power and influence, on the other. To protect wealth and power, it is inevitable for the covetous individual to engage in competition and envy, which in turn engender greed, hypocrisy, arrogance, and hatred. And once these become habits of the soul, it is a short step for the individual to be implicated in morally repugnant acts.” (Hallaq, The Impossible State, p.131)

“Counter-Jihad” is a lucrative business as the reports by Fear, inc. and CAIR have made plain. The economy of Islamophobia isn’t going out of business anytime soon as long as wealthy Right-Wing foundations and individuals continue to support the industry.

Ex-EDL Tommy Robinson/Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Kevin Carroll Haven’t Changed

It has been two weeks since the announcement by former EDL chief Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll that they were leaving the organization. In that time there have been several major developments, including the supposed termination of an official relationship between Geller/Spencer and Robinson and even accusations that Robinson is a poster boy for “stealth Jihad.” (h/t: Jai Singh)

Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll’s closest international allies, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, have publicly terminated their involvement with them and thrown them off the board of their “SION Presidents Council”. Geller has announced this in an article published on her Atlas Shrugs website.

The reason is partly due to Robinson and Carroll’s current involvement with Quilliam and Mo Ansar(Geller’s full article provides further details), but apparently it also has a lot to do with some statements Robinson made to The Daily Beast, specifically the reasons that he has been refusing to publicly denounce Spencer & Geller. Furthermore, Geller herself makes some accusations about the real reasons for Robinson’s resignation from the EDL.

Pamela Geller: A month ago, Tommy Robinson called me…..Not being on the ground in the UK, and having worked with him at a distance for four years, I understood his concerns, and looked forward to a new organization — perhaps even SIO-England. I did not know when he was going to make his move away from the EDL, and he did not tell me. The only thing he told me was that he was going to make the break before his upcoming court case — perhaps to incur the sympathy of the court.

Then, the night before he made his announcement, Tommy tried to contact me numerous times on Skype and by phone while I was busy with other matters. It was clear that it was urgent. Finally, we spoke on the phone, and it was on that phone call that he told me that he would be resigning from the EDL the next day, and that the Quilliam Foundation was going to be at the press conference — but he made that a minor point. I had no idea that it was a Quilliam press conference, and certainly had no idea that Tommy and Kevin Carroll would be led around like dogs 0n a leash. It was after that phone call, and before I had any idea that Tommy would be closely allying with false moderate Muslim deceivers who would crow about “decapitating the EDL,” that Robert Spencer and I composed our first statement, supporting Tommy and his decision. We never would have come out in support of him if we had known that he would soon be parroting politically correct nonsense about “extremists on both sides.”

Tommy told me that his move would not be announced until 6PM London time the next day, and asked me to hold our statement until then, but when I woke up the next morning, it was already all over the international media. That was the first indication that he had not been entirely up front with me about what was happening. Then at the press conference, both he and Kevin Carroll were the showcases of a Quilliam victory dance.

…..I only subsequently learned, after releasing our initial statement of support, that he had been meeting with Islamic supremacist deceivers like Mo Ansar for 18 months, and was taking instruction on Islam from the false moderates of the Quilliam Foundation. And I didn’t hear about it from Tommy, who never gave me any hint of any of this — I read about it in the press along with everyone else.

…..He made a deal with the devil. He didn’t want to go back to jail, and this looks like his bid to stay out.

Today at the Daily Beast, the gleeful reporter doesn’t quote Robinson, but says that he “distanced himself from some of Geller’s most egregious remarks.” I challenge the Daily Beast reporter to produce the quotes. What exactly did Tommy distance himself from? And then he quotes Tommy explaining why he won’t denounce me now: “I went to America to speak at one of their events. I feel indebted to Pamela. I have a great deal of respect for her personally because she helped my family when I was in custody. She provided a roof over our head.” This cop-out from Tommy — that he wouldn’t denounce me because I supported him financially — was the lowest blow of all. I was not supporting the EDL financially. We gave some money to his wife and kids when Tommy was in jail. And Tommy has said that before, implying that his loyalty was bought, and was not because of ideological agreement. He’s been using the quiet help I gave to his wife and kids as one mom to another. I didn’t do that for the organization. I did that as a human being.

It is clear what is happening. Now he is the poster boy for the stealth jihad. It seems they have taught Tommy well. His deception to friends and colleagues mirrors the Islamic teachings of kitman (lie by omission) and taqiyya. So Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll are no longer on the SION board.

According to the Huffington Post Robinson has claimed that the EDL’s publicly pro-Israel stance was to garnish support and “attract funding from Zionist organizations.” [which failed to materialize in the way that he had hoped]

Robinson also appeared as a guest on the BBC’s “Sunday Morning Live” program on October 13th, discussing “Does the English Defence League represent a view that needs to be heard?”:

– There is very little change in Robinson’s anti-Muslim views. He is simply expressing them more carefully.
– Throughout the discussion, Robinson essentially continues accusing the entire Muslim population of collective guilt and collective responsibility.
– 12m 30s: Robinson describes the Quran as “extremely evil”.
– 20m 08s: Robinson claims “There are two types of Muslims: Radicals/extremists and apologists”.
– 21m 10s onwards: Robinson enthusiastically praises the EDL, including its current demonstrations.
– Debate continues from 53m 40s onwards: Robinson claims that he will not give the Police any incriminating “inside information” on EDL members.

Robinson has not changed, he admits that he is only shifting tactics.:BWcKzlBCUAApM_S

Screenshot of Robinson’s comment on his new Twitter account on 12 October 2013, responding to a member of the EDL’s “Oldham Division”, stating “I’ll continue the fight, and wake up the nation”:

BWaeOCDCEAAJN3o

Spencer and Geller have co-authored a detailed statement, cross-published on their respective websites. They excoriate Robinson for being an ignorant, gullible lad who has facilitated the “decapitation of the EDL” and has capitulated to the government funded Quilliam which they laughably describe as representing the “forces of Jihad and Islamic supremacism.”

Richard Bartholomew has also published an excellent article highlighting Spencer & Geller’s other statements on the matter, including Spencer’s confirmation that Robinson “has repeatedly stated that he hasn’t changed his views.”

Robert Spencer himself has now written an article on these developments. Spencer’s indignant, confused and “betrayed” reaction is definitely worth reading. Seems that Robinson’s “secret” discussions with the popular British Muslim commentator Mo Ansar during the past 18 months are a particularly sore point.

Tommy Robinson is continuing to refuse to denounce Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.

TellMAMA’s new article documenting Robinson’s continuing behaviour on his new Twitter account. Take particular note of the recent screenshot where Robinson claims that his time with Mo Ansar has actually strengthened his opposition to Islam.

Note on the Quilliam Foundation:

The Guardian has an excellent summary of the plausible reasons for the organization’s new found involvement with Robinson and Carroll, specifically detailing the problems that Quilliam has recently been experiencing.

Another Guardian article includes revealing information about “the next steps” involving Quilliam and Robinson, including the fact that Robinson has contradicted his statements on the BBC regarding cooperation with the Police:

[Maajid] Nawaz said he would work to introduce [Tommy] Robinson to his own contacts in government and the Home Office in an attempt to procure government funding. Robinson said his future work would involve taking on radicalism on all fronts, although he could not support anti-fascist groups because they also subscribed to “communism” or were “anarchists”.

When pressed as to whether he would work with the police to root out criminal racists in the group he helped form four years ago, he agreed he would now talk to the authorities.

Robinson, whose financial assets have been frozen because of ongoing criminal proceedings for public order offences, said he did not doubt he would be successful again in any endeavour he pursued as long as he was passionate about it.

Tommy Robinson’s EDL Resignation was Disingenuous Nonsense

Tommy Robinson of the English Defense League (EDL)

Tommy Robinson

by Matthew Goodwin (Guardian)

On Tuesday, the resignation of two of the most senior English Defence League leaders, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) and Kevin Carroll, was remarkable because of what did not happen. There was no repudiation of the EDL’s beliefs, or goals. There was no criticism of EDL foot soldiers, who were held up by Lennon as “the best people in my life”. There was no sense of remorse for the impact and financial cost that EDL rallies have had on (already devastated) working-class communities up and down the country. There was no rejection of leading Islamophobes in Britain and elsewhere, whom the EDL have worked closely with. But most striking was that there was no shift whatsoever in Lennon’s own views. Asked by an extremely passive Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight whether he had changed his beliefs, Lennon dodged the question, saying, “I want people to listen to my views. I see this as a step forward”.

Instead, what did happen was a remarkable display of disingenuous nonsense, backed up by the counter-extremism thinktank the Quilliam foundation, itself founded by ex-extremists who have seen the light and – to be blunt – should know better. In just 24 hours we were told we were witnessing a huge success for community relations, but then learned that, actually, 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. We were told how this was about keeping extremists at bay, but then assured by Lennon that EDL activists are “decent people” and that this was the next phase in his group’s evolution. We were told this was about fighting extremism in Britain, then given a list of reasons by Lennon that were entirely self-interested: reflections on his life in prison; concern about his family’s safety; and an acknowledgment he had become powerless to control his own creation, which is now infested by rightwing extremists (the most interesting statement of the day, given the Metropolitan police’s refusal to view the EDL as an extreme rightwing group).

All of these are valid reasons, of course. Across Europe, we know that what is often the most effective at disengaging people from far-right groups is not challenging their ideological worldview but helping them to achieve something more mundane: a new relationship; moving to a new town; or a steadyjob. Practitioners from Germany to the Netherlands tell me how these practical changes play a stronger role than mythical “counter-narratives” in pushing disillusioned young men out of the arms of extremists. Such a transformation is not what we saw yesterday.

A useful distinction is between disengagement, where somebody leaves an extremist group while possibly still holding the beliefs that got them involved, and deradicalisation, a difficult term that implies at least some fundamental change in how people view and make sense of the world around them. Disengaging somebody from extremist activity is easier than the more complex process of overhauling one’s values and outlook. 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. And, as we saw yesterday, they often fail to comprehend personal responsibility. It’s not Lennon who is at fault, it’s the neo-Nazis who took over his group. It’s not the radical Islamist, it’s the foreign policy grievance, or the far-right extremists who attacked his mosque. And so on.

That both Lennon and Quilliam were so aggressive in advertising to the media the apparent conversion and celebrating their publicity on Twitter should speak volumes. The dignified and difficult work of counter-extremism was not really there, replaced by an uncomfortable descent into self-promotion with little evidence of substantive change. A cynic could point to the fact that both the EDL and Quilliam have had their own difficulties in recent months and that this is all a ruse to make Lennon’s warped view of Islam seem mainstream. After all, in the late 1990s one fairly prominent activist made a similar stand, complaining that demonstrations and violence were not the way forward. His name was Nick Griffin.

Serious answers to questions about how this came about, what change of views have occurred (if any) and why Lennon spent most of yesterday regurgitating his already well-known prejudices were absent. Was yesterday interesting? Perhaps, if only because it underscored what a strange place the counter-extremism industry can be. Was it a watershed moment, signifying the withdrawal of two men from a damaging movement and a poisonous set of beliefs? Not in my view.