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June 21, 2007

Labour's Culture War against Muslims in Britain: a Matter of Honours and Honour Killings - A Personal Perspective by Christie Davies

Posted by Christie Davies

Christie Davies curses Mr Blair for first courting and appeasing the Muslims over immigration and multiculturalism - and now seriously offending them over Rushdie and honour killings. Needless to say, the views expressed here are those of Christie Davies, not those of the Social Affairs Unit, its Trustees, Advisors or Director. The Social Affairs Unit is not a party political organisation.

New Labour has opened two separate attacks on Britain's vulnerable and marginalised Muslim community. Salman Rushdie has been knighted and the police and the Crown Prosecution Service have formed special units to track down the perpetrators of honour crimes and to ensure they are all prosecuted and severely punished, including minor family conspirators as well as the actual hitman.

Salman Rushdie is without doubt a talented writer but can it really be said that his services to British literature are any more pretentious than those of other literary notables who have been passed over? So, he won the Booker of Bookers? Booker, schmucker! No, his literary merits were a necessary condition for his being dubbed but not a sufficient one. It is the political impact, the anti-Muslim and pro-secularist impact of his work that swung his knighthood. He is a literary knight different from all other literary knights.

Rushdie can hardly be described as a very British figure; he has been consistently rude about the country whose citizenship he holds and which spent millions of pounds protecting him from assassination by the Muslims as well as losing many more millions of pounds in trade with the Muslim world. It was much resented at the time, since everyone knew that that money could have provided hospitals, destroyers or tax cuts instead. The jokes and limericks of the time reflected this:

Who is six foot three, blonde, has big tits and lives in the Outer Hebrides.
Salman Rushdie.

What's the name of Salman Rushdie's next book?
Buddha, you fat bastard.

Or the limerick written by John Hughes of Llanon under the pseudonym Rebecca
Go surprise your old bank teller
Find a Rushdie, Salmonella
When he hollers
Claim your dollars
From the wealthy ayatollahs
There's a bounty on the feller.
The comic Viz even ran a cartoon series about Rushdie in which he went round in disguise with a cardboard box over his head but was instantly recognisable by his consistent rudeness to everyone.

Rushdie now spends most of his time in the United States with his new, young and beautiful Hindu wife. What is British about him? What does Britain owe him? What fealty to the Queen can we expect from him?

The Iranians and Pakistanis have already seen through the deception. Mohammed Ali Hosseini, of the Iranian Foreign Office has called the decision to knight Rushdie an act revealing Islamophobia by New Labour. He said:

Giving a medal to someone who is among the most detested figures in the Islamic community is…….a blatant example of the anti-Islamism of senior British officials.
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.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said:
Many will interpret the knighthood as a final contemptuous parting gift from Tony Blair to the Muslim world.
"We all say so, so it must be true"…. "What the Bandar-log think now the jungle will think later".

Indeed how will the British Muslims who control large parts of Blackburn, Oldham and Bradford to the point where the native people are leaving, respond to this? When the original fatwa was issued condemning Rushdie to death, they burned Rushdie's book and demonstrated. I can remember Muslim youths saying to the cameras in Yorkshire and Lancashire accents that they would be happy to kill Rushdie and, I think, they sincerely meant it. The local white working classes who were displeased at the de facto ethnic cleansing that had displaced them from their ancestral areas knew this. They would taunt their local Muslims by shouting "Rushdie" at them. Now New Labour has endorsed this racist antipathy by knighting him.

Today such Muslims are even more militant than they were then, as we know from their truculence and their ambivalence about those in their midst who plot terrorism. What will they, and come to that the Bangladeshis who have taken over much of the East End, do now? The government refuses to come to terms with the strongly held sentiments of those who live in these autonomous, independent and self-segregated Muslim communities, called into existence by its own deliberate policy of multiculturalism.

After the fatwa, Rushdie at first seemed to back off and apologise but recently he has again given offence with his militant secularism. At the time of the Danish cartoons controversy he further inflamed the Muslims by called Islam "totalitarian". Even more offensively he said that veils "suck". Whilst it is possible to suck a veil how can a veil suck its wearer? He has flouted all standards of Muslim decency by appearing in public with his own wife revealing the whole of her long silky hair and her beautiful bare shoulders. Whatever next?

Rushdie says that veils are a symbol of the "limitation of women" in Muslim communities. But surely in a multi-cultural society Muslims have an inalienable right to keep their women utterly limited in accordance with their religious traditions. Indeed British Muslims' unwillingness to emancipate their women is the great source of their strength for it both boosts their birth rate and their numbers and ensures that alien British ideas about freedom and autonomy do not infect their children. By knighting Salman Rushdie New Labour is, in effect, endorsing his criticisms.

Now that the trouble has started, Blair and his pals will try and blame it all on the cabinet office committee that formally made the recommendation but if that is the case why does he not release the names and addresses of its members to the Muslim press? Why not have them investigated to see if the publishing industry has been lending money to the Labour Party? If Blair disapproved why did he not ask the Queen to cross Rushdie's name off the list in the interests of public order?

The same points may be made in relation to the recent, politically determined, decision to create special units to crack down on honour killing, a largely Muslim phenomenon. Police and prosecutors will act together to target

hotspots in London, the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Lancashire
- a thinly disguised way of saying "where the Muslims live". For all I know there may be occasional honour killings amongst Britain's Christian Scientists, Hindus, Annibynwr, Sikhs, Strict and Particular Baptists and Roman Catholics but they must be very rare as all the ones reported in the newspapers involve Muslims. The press never explicitly refers to the perpetrators as Muslims but given that Parsees are rarely called Mohammed and Presbyterian mothers tend not to wear the hijab, it is fairly clear from the press accounts what their religious affiliation is.

Whether or not such murders are formally endorsed by or encouraged by specifically Muslim beliefs or teachings is entirely beside the point. It is "the Muslims what do it" and non-Muslims on the whole do not. No doubt many British Muslims disapprove - but they haven't exactly rushed forward to execrate the violent ones or to grass up families they suspect are plotting one. Nor can they see that there is a very close link inded between Islamic views concerning women's status and autonomy and the cult of honour killing.

It is this that makes the new move by the Chief Constables and the Home Office, with presumably strong government backing, a clear attempt to stigmatise and marginalise Muslims. Indeed it was for fear of doing this that the government abandoned its previous legislation making forced marriages a crime. The British Muslims protested that since most of those forced marriages involved Muslim victims the bill discriminated against them and so the government - mindful of its anti-racist multi-cultural credentials - dropped it.

One of my Muslim neighbours was just such a victim. She was living quietly under an assumed name and while she was walking down our street a gang hired by her relatives tried to bundle her into a car and kidnap her. Later she was tricked into going to Pakistan to see her supposedly dying father and on arrival her local cousins seized her passport and credit card and made her marry someone chosen for her. At the time I felt this was rather unfair treatment for an educated, intelligent woman making a good living in the financial services sector and proud to be independent and said so but - as my politically correct colleagues forcibly pointed out to me at the time - my attitude was discriminatory and patronising and my comments insensitive.

So why have our rulers suddenly changed tack? Can it really be right to focus police and prosecution time on crimes such as honour killings that are largely committed by members of a particular ethnic minority. The number of murders in Britain has more than doubled since 1964, the year when capital punishment was abolished and nearly all the increase in murder has happened to male not female victims. As a proportion of the total number of people murdered, women are a declining percentage. Why then are they focussing attention on the Muslim murder of women rather than, say, Scottish murders of men? The increase in murders in Scotland has been largely a result of the huge rise in public drunkenness there, of pissed Jocks with malkies saying "Who are you staring at, Jammie?" to a stranger in a bar. No-one ever praises Muslims for abstaining from alcohol and not being involved in this kind of, sometimes deadly, violence. No, they are unfairly singled out for the two kinds of murder that they specialise in.

The brutal murder of a young British Kurdish woman by her family is a tragedy but is it any worse than when an innocent passer-by is kicked to death in Glasgow by drunken louts who are then treated leniently by the criminal justice system? But then drunken killings are British, so we have to tolerate them as an unfortunate consequence of our hard-drinking culture. Never let it be said that cheap whisky is a key cause of domestic violence. Honour killings are different: alien, horrid, Muslim.

The government has signalled clearly through Sir Salman and its Falstaffian undermining of honour that Britain's Muslims are beyond the limits of its respect. Bang goes the Muslim vote. It will not go to Big R Respect which is as much big R for Reds as for respect but to new parties for Muslims only, much as it did in much of India during the years of Congress dominance. Only the rise of Hindu militancy scared them into voting for secular parties. The same will happen in Britain in those areas in West Yorkshire, South Lancashire and East London with sizeable segregated Muslim populations, areas that are now comparable to, say, Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh. The Muslims will abandon Labour, the party that now gets most of their votes because it is the unpatriotic party and the one that provides multiculturalism and generous hand-outs to the useless. Such are the consequences of Rushdie and sex equality.

This is Mr Blair's legacy. In 1997 mainland Britain was a reasonably peaceful and homogenous society with a common identity. Now Scotland is about to secede and England is a violent and divided country. Blair first encouraged the Muslims by scrapping immigration restrictions they disliked, such as the eminently fair and sensible primary purpose rule, which stopped women becoming part of some dubious land for British passports deal. The change led to a large increase in the number of illiterate, fundamentalist, immigrants unable to speak and unwilling to learn English - at that time Labour voting fodder as well as swelling the numbers of unassimilating Muslims.

Blair further encouraged them with his endorsement of multiculturalism, a policy guaranteed to exacerbate social divisions. He dangled in front of them the prospect of faith schools as benighted as any mad-rassah. So far so bad. Then it got worse with his escapades in Iraq which led to an enhanced risk of Muslim terrorism. Now he has grievously and gratuitously insulted them because he is unwilling to stand up to the chattering classes over honours and honour, leaving poor Mr Brown to pump the blood out of the brimming Tiber.

Generations to come will curse Mr Blair in the way Englishmen in 1940 cursed Stanley Baldwin. Mr Blair's politics - all of it, the Human Rights Act, Iraq, immigration, multiculturalism, Rushdie - was the politics of instant moral gesture without any consideration of the consequences. Curse you, Mr Blair.

Dr Christie Davies is the author of The Strange Death of Moral Britain. He has been a visiting scholar at universities in Gujarat and the Punjab.

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Is this for real - or are you having a laugh?

Posted by: Anon at June 21, 2007 02:53 PM

"vulnerable and marginalised"

Be fair. British Muslims are in fact by far the most successful community in the UK, if success is measured demographically.

For example, in the early 80s I can remember Bradford City supporters singing "Rushdie is our leader" at Valley Parade. According to Charles Husband of Bradford University :

"Following initial migration and settlement in the 1960’s, Bradford has, over the last three decades, established a significant Pakistani population: in 1981 this community numbered 34,116 persons, in 1991, 38,059 persons and it is estimated that in the year 2011 this population will number 104,000 persons or approximately a quarter of the city’s population."

"Fifty per cent of this Pakistani population are under 18 years old."

That doesn't sound like vulnerability to me. Sounds like success.

Posted by: Laban Tall at June 22, 2007 12:02 AM

You do seem to be frothing a bit. I can't help thinking that your obvious hatred of the Blair Government has clouded your judgement. Are you pleased that they are taking on honour killing and forsaking multiculturalism or not? Would you really rather they didn't? You're clearly a thoughtful writer so I can't believe you're genuinely convinced by your own argument about pub violence. Dealing with honour killing and drunken thugs are not mutually exclusive; we already devote considerable police resources to the latter, without much success. It may be that the extra resources directed towards freeing women from the fear of honour killing turn out to be just as ineffective, but isn't it worth trying?

Posted by: Steve at June 23, 2007 09:26 PM

I will skip over the main article, where it appears that our resident Malleus Scotorum has come out with another of his pieces of intricate irony.

But the demographics referred to by Laban Tall deserve serious consideration. It is ironic that the marginalization of faith, brought about by Darwin’s theory, has left this Island Race vulnerable to this Darwinian nemesis.

As for morality, the Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft has written:

“Evolution is their new dogma because they need to justify acting like dogs. They ape the apes they think they are.”

Indeed, Richard Dawkins has said “we ARE apes”. The observation that we peel bananas from the stalk, while monkeys peel them from the flower end, suggests that maybe, just maybe, we have left the Evolutionary Union.

Posted by: Robert H. Olley at June 24, 2007 03:23 PM
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