Hayek’s guidance for western politicians on MidEast

Freedom fighters

In his final book, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, Freidrich von Hayek wrote that: “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design”.

Few people are more in need of one of Hayek’s lessons than western politicians.

Nearly two and half years ago civil unrest broke out in a number of Middle Eastern countries. An excitable western media, this generation of journalists eager for its own Fall of the Berlin Wall, soon christened it the ‘Arab Spring’.

How misguided this characterisation was quickly became apparent. Whereas the Prague Spring of 1968 had actually been about freedom the ‘Arab Spring’ saw unpleasant secular regimes elbowed aside only to be replaced with at least as unpleasant Islamist regimes.

Every use of the phrase ‘Arab Spring’ became an insult to those Czechs and Slovaks who had risked their lives for freedom. Eventually even the credulous journalists who had coined the phrase stopped using it.

While the regimes in Libya and Egypt quickly collapsed, the one in Syria put up a fight. A civil war broke out and settled into a bloody stalemate. On one side are the relatively secular, bloodthirsty Ba’athists led by Bashar Assad, on the other are the equally bloodthirsty Islamist; Al Qaeda inspired rebels.

There are deeper currents swirling in Syria. Assad and his Shia followers (as well as the non-Muslims who back him fearing the fate of their co-religionists in places like Morsi’s Islamised Egypt) are on opposite sides from the Sunni rebels of a schism that divides the Muslim world as the Thirty Years War did the Christian world.

Behind them, on either side, stand the Muslim world’s great Sunni power, Saudi Arabia; and its leading Shia power, Iran.

Of these two contending sides in the civil war in Islam, it is not immediately clear that we should be celebrating the victory of militant Sunnis. It is even less clear that we ought to be intervening to ensure it. Nevertheless, that is what we now appear to be drifting towards in Syria.

It is happening with a notable lack of enthusiasm in the west. When Britain went to war with Russia in 1854 a song became popular in music halls which went:

We don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do,

We’ve got the ships,

We’ve got the men,

We’ve got the money too

There is no such excitement now. Jaundiced western electorates seem to have a clearer appreciation than their leaders of the fact that in 2013 we have neither the ships, men, nor money for this adventure.

But politicians in the west have incredible faith in their own power. They are constructivist rationalists in the tradition of Descartes, possessed of the belief that with the judicious application of their power they can construct an optimal social order.

Armed with this belief David Cameron and Barack Obama appear to believe they can topple Assad, replace him with Syria’s version of Herman van Rompuy, and watch the country turn into West Germany.

This was the central fallacy of neo-conservatism. Contrary to Hayek, who believed that successful social orders emerge, neo-cons believed that order could be imposed or consciously constructed.

Despite the evidence of the last few years, our leaders’ Cartesian faith appears unshaken. There is a very real danger that in striving for an unattainable optimal solution they end up landing us with a situation which is worse than we have now.

This article originally appeared at The Commentator

Norman Tebbit’s cricket test

Not cricket

You may or may not remember Norman Tebbit’s old cricket test. Back in 1990 Tebbit told the Los Angeles Times “A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test. Which side do they cheer for? It’s an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are?”

Predictably this caused outrage. Then Lib Dem leader Paddy Pantsdown condemned the “outrageous and damaging remarks” and Labour MP Jeff Rooker called for Tebbit to be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred, “(Tebbit) is a clever politician using soft language about cricket” Rooker claimed.

Yesterday a British soldier was literally butchered in the streets of London in broad daylight. The man who probably did it, who reports suggest was brought up in Britain, was filmed, still covered in the victims blood, saying

“The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.

“And this British soldier is one. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

“By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone.

“So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us?

“Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones that when you drop a bomb you think it hits one person?

“Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family?

“This is the reality. By Allah if I saw your mother today with a buggy I would help her up the stairs. This is my nature…

“Through many passages in the (Arabic) Koran we must fight them as they fight us.

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

“I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same.

You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you.

“You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns?

“You think politicians are going to die?

“No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children.

“So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so can all live in peace.

“So leave our lands and we can all live in peace.

“That’s all I have to say.

“Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you.”

The chap wasn’t Asian but it certainly seems as though he considered himself ‘other’ than British. Seems old Norm might not have been quite so crackers after all.

When hate came to town

At quarter past two you could see the Police helicopter swinging wide loops in the sky over Whipps Cross at the far end of Hoe Street from Walthamstow. The grand old shell of Alexandra Palace to the left, the emerging shell of the Olympic Stadium to the right. Straight ahead, along the narrow spur of track, the helicopter and Walthamstow, my home.

Walthamstow Village gets its name from being the little acorn from which Walthamstow grew. It gets its reputation from events such as the Craft Guerillas Market which was being held this Saturday afternoon in the Orford House Social Club, a sprawling, slightly run down building set back from the tree lined road. The club, like all clubs from snooker to Conservative to Miners Welfare, is valiantly kept going in the face indifference for a dwindling band of patrons by one or two fanatically committed people. With its high ceilings, large sash windows and white paint job the place must be a money pit. Out back are the bowling greens, still immaculately manicured and overlooked by modest old houses. In the July sun you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a Britain of the past, a Britain that still cared about places like the Orford Road Social Club.

The people attracted by the craft market did. One seller had her hair pinned and curled like Lana Turner. A baby suit had a retro picture of a spaceman and on the stage was a stall selling lampshades made of old fashioned wallpaper. All of it was ‘crafted’, made by the people selling it who each had a specialty; one did soap, another pottery, another sleep masks. These people weren’t just harking back to the style of the 1940’s but its attitude too, one of make do and mend, of self-reliance from a previous age of austerity, when even Walthamstow could find a place for crown green bowls.

Walking out and down West Avenue the helicopter was buzzing much closer overhead now, perhaps over the junction with Lea Bridge Road? Its tinny drone was pimpled by the sound of an Ice Cream van making its rounds.

I turned left on to St Mary’s Road. It was on this road not long ago that I saw an old woman skittled by a young boy charging along the pavement. “Excuse me!” she complained “Fuck you!” had come the reply through a thick accent. On one side were railway cottages on the other a row of shops turned, rather inexpertly, into flats. Just visible through the faded white wash you could make out the words ‘Fish Bar’.

At the end of the road are some steps which take you up to the crossing by Walthamstow Central station. I could see several Asian guys stood around, arms folded, waiting. The helicopter was closer. Reaching the top of the steps you can see down Selborne Road. On a clear day you can see the twin spires of the Catholic church on Seven Sisters Road or, even further across north London, the green dome of the church next to Waterlow Park.

Today was a vista of one Police van after another punctuated by crowds of loitering Asian kids and bemused shoppers. Looking right the turn towards Chingford was also choked with Police vans. Looking left was a glut of buses cresting the bridge over the railway track trying to turn into the station. The helicopter was almost directly overhead.

I crossed the road to The Goose, once a hotel now a grotty pub which sells grotty beer to customers too wasted on other substances to notice. A cluster of Police were outside paying close attention to a group of about seven men and one woman standing outside where the smoking is usually done. The leader was a stout man in a West Ham shirt, his goatee the only hair on his egg like head. On his wrist was a gay rights bracelet. He was no racist; he was a concerned local resident he said. His claim to be an outraged ingénue could not be repeated by the man and woman (his wife?) next to him who had brought boards with slogans including “TRUE MUSLIMS DON’T PROMOTE MURDER AND HATRED TO THOSE THAT FEED THEM” The rumour had been of a counter protest by the English Defence League. Maybe these few people, all early middle aged, were it?

At 3pm on the button the protest that had provoked the counter protest came round the corner onto Selborne Road. It was 61 members of Muslims Against Crusades who had marched from Leyton tube station. The Police worked hard to keep the two groups apart. A young Asian with a full beard was ushered across the road away from The Goose and to the station side which was full of increasingly excited Asian youths.

This sort of thing is no longer unusual in what was once a bastion of the white working class represented in Parliament by Clement Atlee and made famous by E17. Back in 2006 then Home Secretary John Reid was confronted in Leyton by a man demanding to know “How dare you come to a Muslim area?” This last week reports came of stickers going up in Leyton declaring “You are now entering a Shariah controlled zone” where there would be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’ and threatening “Islamic rules enforced”. One of the men who put these posters up, a white convert with a striking ginger beard named Jamaal Uddin, was on the march.

As bad as this is there is a still darker side. In 2005 Abdul Muhid was arrested for giving a speech at the end of the market calling for the killing of British soldiers and homosexuals. In 2006 two men from Walthamstow were among three later found guilty of plotting to blow up transatlantic flights. I was in the barbers on Forest Road the weekend after those arrests and the barber said to a waiting regular “Yeah, I knew ‘em. Nice lads, used to come in ‘ere”. It was odd to realize you lived so near people who were working to kill you.

Now, this Saturday afternoon, the two groups were now within shouting distance of each other, a fact they made full use of. “Muhammad was a pedophile!” chanted the man with the boards pleading for true Islam to win the day. “Keep St George in my heart keep me English” they sang, chanting “Scum, scum, scum” while they waited for one of their number to strike up the next song.

The response from the more numerous MAC protestors with the aid of a loudspeaker came back; “Shariah for UK” and “What do we want?” “Shariah!” “When do we want it?” “Now!”

As MAC passed the pub the crowd of Asian youths on the station side, which was about twice as big as the demonstration itself, began cheering wildly. Unlike the protestors who, this warm summer afternoon in east London were dressed in the long robes of medieval Arabia, the supportive youths were kitted out in all manner of designer gear. Apparently the hated infidels produce some natty threads.

“My old man fought a war for you to have freedom of speech” shouted the egg headed man, seemingly unaware that as rancid as the views expressed by MAC are his dad fought for their right to say it.

The response from the youths on the station side was to chant “EDL scum” to which egg head’s friend replied “Who’s EDL? We live here!”

And then the flash point was passed. It doesn’t take 61 people very long to file past seven people and they were led on past Tescos into the town square.

Walthamstow town square lies between the bus station, the market and the Mall. Often it hosts a farmers market or a French produce market. There is usually some entertainment, frequently the same Peruvian pan pipe players I heard coincidentally on consecutive weekends in Sheffield and Harlow playing El Condor Pasa both times. There is a large screen, erected at great expense by the council, which, today, was showing golf.

There are usually competing tables of left wingers, you can take your pick of Socialist Worker or Socialist Alliance but never the twain shall meet. They often protest about the west’s wars of aggression but they stayed home today. There was a small protest next to the Nat West by the McGuffin’s, the local cinephiles trying the get the cinema reopened, about ten members of the Apostolic Church singing hymns under a small marquee and a fun fair with a merry go round which was doing good business with the excited children of the afternoon shoppers.

Then MAC came advancing over the small carefully landscaped hills. The reaction reminded me of Jaws, when the boy gets munched in front of a crowded beach. People who had been watching their children play or queue for the fun fair shouted their kid’s names, stretched out their hands, and seized them. As the merry go round came to a stop a young girl looked with fear at the black clad, flag waving, chanting mob coming towards her before her mother scooped her up.

The problem was as much the crowd of teenage hangers on who had gathered round the hardcore MAC crowd. They were the same very western dressed ones from opposite the pub, I recognized one guy in a horrifically tacky shirt which had Manchester United’s badge on it in sequins. The trimmed grass of the town square often has people sitting, chatting, sunbathing or sobering up especially on a warm day like this. With the approach of the crowd, fired up by their exchange with the drinkers in The Goose, bags were packed, shoes slipped on and retreats beat. The Police seemed to struggle to keep up.

A steward brought MAC to a halt in front of the TV screen and the hangers on fanned out around them. A speech began but attention flashed back to the bus station where a group of Asian kids had decided to run back to the pub to confront the drinkers. The Police stopped them and a scuffle followed. People trying to get their shopping from the market or Mall to the bus station were scared out of their wits. As the fighting died down as quickly as it started one of the Police said that one of the Asians has been smoking a spliff and another on a march who’s ultimate aim is supposed to be modest behavior began shouting “Fuck your mum” at the Police. I wondered how long any of these kids would last under shariah law.

The hangers on drifted back towards MAC where a very immodestly dressed girl in a tight, short green dress came over and said hello to some of them she appeared to know and stayed chatting. Some others jumped on the now closed merry go round and started kicking it. The promised enforcement of Islamic rules seemed rather arbitrary.

The speeches continued over by the big screen but were drowned out by the golf commentary. The first speaker, another white convert, gave a long, rambling speech which jumped without coherence from Iraq, to MP’s expenses, to the credit crunch, to the naked women who he apparently encountered on every street corner. His tone was more consistent than his content, resolutely hysterical, so much so that his voice gave way under the pressure and cracked, breaking into a high pitched squeak as though he was reverting to pre adolescence.

I scanned the signs held by the MAC protestors behind him; ‘Islamic Emirates for Britain’, ‘Democracy = Hypocrisy’, ‘Muslims Rise, Defend Islam’, ‘Establish Islamic Emirates’ and ‘Shariah: Solution to all problems’. I wondered if the man (and they were all men) holding that had ever heard of the hell of life under the Taliban? Another sign read ‘Jihad Against Christian Extremists’. A few feet away the members of the Apostolic Church, surrounded by febrile youths, held each other’s hands and prayed.

Then came the main event, a speech by self-styled bogeyman Anjem Choudary. He was mercifully brief in his remarks, he simply repeated what the previous speaker had said and what the speaker after him would say; Britain is, apparently, drowning under a deluge of drink, drugs, porn, gambling, prostitution, Hollywood movies, fashion and cosmetics. It was a rambling list of things he didn’t like the presence of which apparently means that we are worse off than Iran or Afghanistan under the Taliban. Indeed, public enemy number one was distinctly underwhelming. The only impressive thing about Choudary was his insistence on wearing such heavy clothing on a warm day.

The hangers on seemed to have found the speeches as dull as I did. As soon as Choudary had finished a group broke away back up to the station. It was 3:39. By the time I got up there a couple of Asian youths were being arrested. I asked a Policeman next to me how he felt it had all gone. “Peaceful” he replied as over his shoulder I saw a group of the hangers on abusing a lone cyclist.

I wandered back down to the town square toying with the idea of heading home. When I heard the same old prattle about drink and porn, which MAC seems as obsessed with as the most onanistic teenage boy, that settled it. But as I turned to leave I saw two of the younger MAC members, looking like something out of Star Wars in their flowing black robes, talking with two white guys and a girl in jeans and a headscarf. I edged over to listen.

The MAC guys were playing the same riffs, porn and its alleged ubiquity cropping up again. The younger of the two was spitting out words at machine gun speed and clearly not bothering to vet them mentally. The familiar words, corruption, prostitution, porn, drink, drugs, crime, Iraq, all fell out pell mell. But no attempt was made to explain how any one of these things was related another. Like Choudary, they simply assumed there was no problem for which Islam was not the solution, it was their silver bullet. As a result they see no need to think through any of it. Say the word Islam three times and click your heels and you’ll be in the Promised Land. But you might get stoned to death when you get there for wearing ruby slippers.

It was all less obvious to the listener. Every now and then he tried to ask the younger MAC man a question only to be told “You’re not letting me speak”, pretty rich coming from the kid whose inchoate ramblings had taken up 80% of the ‘conversation’. He launched back into another riff on the evils of western civilization then cited approvingly the NHS which, as his listener pointed out, was a product of the very western culture he claimed to hate. The younger MAC kid paused, appeared to consider this point, then said “You’re not letting me speak…” and launched back into something about pornography.

That was it for the guy who told his two friends he had had enough and wanted to leave. The younger man again complained “You’re not letting me speak” which was too much even for his older MAC colleague who told him to shut up. As the three walked away the girl in the headscarf was told that hanging out with two westerners was Haraam. She left with them anyway. The two MAC guys were left alone and the older one turned to his younger mate, exasperated, and said “What are you doing?” The other demonstrators were kneeling below the golf coverage and praying towards Leytonstone.

Likely bedfellows?

Nick Cohen wrote long ago about the weird relationship between the elements of the left and Muslims so extreme they could be called fascist (I even had a crack myself). For the perennially unpopular left the potential muscle offered by extremist Islam offered a tiger they could ride, if not all the way to power, certainly towards a bit of sought after relevance. This left were less Atlee, more Von Papen.

Of course, there were huge hurdles to overcome; issues of women’s rights, gay rights or even animal rights. The left avoided them by going quiet on these issues. The card of Anti-Americanism trumped all others. As Churchill said, “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons”. Well I’ve yet to see a production of Faustus where Mephistopheles doesn’t come to collect.

Well now the ‘left-right’ axis or ‘ideology horseshoe’ has been bent into a pretzel. Next Tuesday the University of Westminster will be playing host to an event called ‘Zionism, Jewishness and Israel’ which is billed as “A panel discussion examining Israeli Criminality in the wake of the Goldstone Retract”. Speakers include John Rose, a leading figure in the Socialist Workers Party, Alan Hart who, according to the post which brought this whole thing to my attention, has made up stories about Israel, notably that Israelis were behind 9/11, and Dr Ghada Karmi, an academic at Exeter University.

Also on the roster is Gilad Aztmon, a shameless anti Semite who was expelled from the SWP for calling the holocaust “a complete falsification invented by Zionists and Americans”. No wonder Stormfront, a leading neo Nazi website, are advertising the event. So are members of the Stop the War Coalition. The left are now making common cause, not just with Islamofascists, but with common or garden fascists.

However, it now appears that John Rose and Ghanda Karmi have pulled out of the event. That leaves just Alan Hart and the University of Westminster which is still, apparently, playing host to Aztmon’s noxious fantasies.

I tried to contact the University to find out who had booked the event and how I could get in touch with them. After a bit of passing around I spoke to a guy called Jordan who told me that though the event was indeed booked for next Tuesday, he knew nothing about it and neither did anyone he had been able to speak to. He did say, however, that the event could have been arranged via the Student Union. This would be the same student union which recently saw three activists from Hizb ut Tahrir elected.

Anyway, Jordan has told me that his director will be in touch with me. I’ll keep you posted.

Learning how to tolerate debate

Voltaire is reputed to have said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. The controversial barring from the UK of Dutch MP Geert Wilders shows that, among our leaders anyway, Voltaire’s attitude is now about as fashionable as shell suits.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband resorted to the old saw that opponents of free speech traditionally use, saying “We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre”. But Wilders isn’t planning to scare people in an Odeon. Besides, if the theatre in question was showing Wilders film Fitna Miliband is unlikely to be troubled. When asked whether he’d seen the film he described as full of “extreme anti-Muslim hate”, he said no.

Free speech is not simply a convenient cloak for the ‘far right’ to hide racism. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights defines freedom of speech as “the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression”. Left wing icon Noam Chomsky wrote “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all”.

I won’t address whether Wilders is right or wrong to call the Koran a “fascist” book. What will be addressed is whether Wilders is a racist. He may be, he may not, but his film isn’t for the simple reason that being anti Islam is not the same as being racist. Islam, after all, is not a race but a religion. You are born black or white, you are not born Muslim anymore than you are born Communist.

So if Islam is not a race but a religion is it still open to criticism? In a democracy, the answer has to be yes. For example, The Communist Manifesto has been accused of sending millions into gulags and killing fields but you don’t get communists in the UK clamoring for the people who say this to be banned or prosecuted.

Communism is an ideology, Islam is a religion. But if you don’t believe in God there isn’t a difference. Then Islam becomes, not a path to paradise, but a way of viewing the world just like Communism. And in a modern secular society the right to criticize competing ideologies is vital. Revealingly, when Communists did get the power to set the limits of debate they sent those that disagreed to the gulags and the killing fields.

Christianity has learned to live with democratic debate and, in some cases, simple abuse. In 1997 Cradle of Filth released T shirts declaring “Jesus is a Cunt”. In 2005 the BBC screened Jerry Springer – The Opera which depicted Jesus as a gay baby. In 2006 Richard Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion that “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction”. In none of these cases was action taken by the authorities worried that the Archbishop of Canterbury was about to declare a fatwa.

Considering the lengths which our leaders go to to say that Islam is a peaceful religion it certainly seems odd that free speech has to be curtailed so as not to provoke violence. Indeed, the majority of Muslims, like most people right now, are probably more worried about their jobs and homes than a previously obscure documentary made by an extravagantly coiffured Dutchman.

Miliband and others have demonstrated in this episode not just contempt for free speech but a singular lack of faith in Muslims to take part in a plural democracy. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said “Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself”. In this case the real lack of confidence is that of our leaders in their Muslim constituents.

Printed in London Student Issue 10, 02/03/09

The New Left

An idiot, but useful?

As I was walking through Walthamstow last week I heard a familiar voice over a bull horn. It was the sound of the Socialist Worker Party ranting about the evil of Israel, the immorality of the war in Iraq and a plea not to attack Iran. Why should all this bother a British socialist party?

On the surface, and the reason they would no doubt give, would be their feeling of brotherhood with their fellow man. Indeed, I’m sure we all feel bad as an Israeli jet smashes another Beirut tower block to smithereens or another group of Iraqis are found executed in a ditch. They would also, no doubt, rope in a few arguments about oil, imperialism and global capitalism, the lefts equivalents of Jews, gypsies and Freemasons for explaining the evils of the world.

But it is hard not to believe that there is a more sinister calculation at work here. Walthamstow, like many parts of east London, has a large and growing Muslim community. Furthermore, it is not clear how many of them belong to the peaceful creed of Islam that we are told about after every September 11th, Bali, Beslan, Madrid, 7/7, Mumbai… East 17 is home to Anjem Choudary, a man who earned the reputation as a “fanatic” for claiming that he wouldn’t pass prior knowledge of another tube bombing onto the Police because “I don’t think Muslims can co-operate with police” Just a year ago Abdul Muhid was arrested for giving a speech on Walthamstow Market in which he called for British soldiers in Iraq to be killed and homosexuals to be thrown from cliff tops. At the end of last year the banned Islamist group Al Muhajiroun had a meeting in Walthamstow cancelled at the last minute when Police deemed it to be a security threat. The meeting had been publicised by leaflets proclaiming “Islamic State for Britain. There can be no negotiations.” In July 2006, CNN reported on a meeting in Walthamstow where young Muslims watched videos supporting terrorist acts with one claiming that “The people who are to blame for the 7th of July, are number one, the British government. No doubt about that. The British public are responsible and are to blame for what happened on the 7th of July because they voted for that government”. It is into this environment that the idiotic lefties bring posters branding George W. Bush “Worlds #1 Terrorist”.

It is an odd marriage in many ways. For example, one of the core beliefs of the left always used to be a fairly radical brand of feminism and women’s rights. One might wonder then how they feel about the status of Islamic women as second class citizens. In 2000 Human Rights Watch reported on human rights in the middle east and north Africa and found that “in all these countries as in others in the region, women continued to suffer from severe forms of institutional and societal discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, particularly in the form of unequal personal status laws and the lack of legal redress in cases of domestic violence. Despite some positive initiatives, tens of millions of women throughout the region continued to be denied full equality, a fact that was reflected in high rates of illiteracy and maternal mortality and low rates of political participation and was justified in terms of religion, culture, and tradition”. Azam Kamguianhas has written that “Few would argue that the status of women in the Middle East can be understood without reference to Islam. Although the legal-religious systems of no two Middle Eastern countries are identical, women are second-class citizens in all of them. But neither can the position of women in the region be understood without an appreciation of the economic and political contexts in which they live, and of the influence of Political Islam”. This is no longer the preserve of backward countries in the Middle East, the main east London Mosque has separate doors for men and women. Once again, for every claim that Islam is actually enlightened on issues of gender politics, there is a hadith such as this; An-Nisa 4: 34 “As to those women On whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill -conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share beds, (and Last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): For God is Most High, Great (above you all)” or a Koranic verse such as this; “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because men spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those among you who fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.” Sura 4:34

What of the struggle for gay rights, once so cherished by the left? Dr. Muhammad M. Abu Laylah, professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religions at Al-Azhar University, is on record as saying that “this act is an ugly sin which Allah forbids in all religions, even in the most primitive ones. It is against the ordinances of Allah and against the law of nature. I wonder how in this age of advanced knowledge, science, technology, we allow such things to take place in our human society, how someone allows or gives a legal sanction to such a widespread act that poses a threat to the whole human race and destroys our fabric of society like cancer”. Back in August 2005, Sheik Khalid Yasin went on Australian television to declare that “If you prefer the name of somebody on your clothes other than the name of the Muslims, if you prefer the clothing of the Kaffers (sic) other than the clothing of the Muslims, most of the names that’s on most of those clothing is faggots, homosexuals and lesbians. God is very straightforward about this – not we Muslims, not subjective, the Sharia is very clear about it, the punishment for homosexuality, bestiality or anything like that is death. We don’t make any excuses about that, it’s not our law – it’s the Koran”.

So how does the left wing react to this? In an effort to appease their new found fundamentalist friends, the Socialist Review castigated the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association for calling Islam a “barmy doctrine”. But when the Koran clearly states that “If two men among you commit indecency, punish them both.” (Koran 4:16), is the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association really being that out of line?

Then we come to animal rights. Many on the political left who had the tremendous bravery to stand up to the stuffy old fox hunters find that their courage deserts them when faced with Islamic practices of animal slaughter. In actual fact the Koran contains many instructions to Muslims to treat animals well and has the usual blood curdling penalties for those who don’t. But few people who live in east London will have failed to notice the fast food places which have the word ‘Halal’ in the window. Halal butchery involves “slitting the throats of fully conscious animals so they bleed to death, which can take up to three minutes”. The moderate Muslim Council of Britain says that “It’s a sudden and quick haemorrhage. A quick loss of blood pressure and the brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain” but a spokesperson for the Farm Animal Welfare Council said that “This is a major incision into the animal and to say that it doesn’t suffer is quite ridiculous”. When one thinks of the fuss the left wing kicked up about the 13,000 foxes killed by hunters each year, it seems odd that they have remained silent over the 600,000 farm animals killed in this unnecessarily cruel way.

It would be interesting to hear the left wing anti Israelis share their views on women’s lib, gay rights and animal welfare with wider Walthamstow, but such is their craven, cynical cowardice that they keep quiet for fear of alienating their new found Islamist friends. They are hoping to harness the electoral power of Islam, as Big Brother star George Galloway has done in his Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. This isn’t without historical precedent. Back in 1933, German Chancellor Franz Von Papen thought he could shore up his dwindling popularity by bringing the National Socialists on side and getting some of Hitler’s support for himself. The disastrous results should be known even to those ignorant fools on the left.

But perhaps there is more to this unlikely marriage of left wing politics and Islamo-fascism than a cynical political calculation. Of course, on the issues above, feminism, gay rights and animal rights, there would appear to be a wide divergence but the two groups do share one very important thing; an opposition to the modern world. An open world of trade and integration, of falling borders and the free movement of people and ideas is anathema to the left. When we look back to the countries of the old communist block, they cast off Communism as quickly as they could when they saw the wealth and opportunity that can be had with Capitalism. For the mullahs too there is the awareness that the freedom to live your life as you see fit which we enjoy in liberal democracies will soon leave their mosques empty. In the face of this, the modern world, the left wing and Islamic puritans are bound together in a rancid alliance of aggression and denial.

Bad Faith?

Koran 4.89 “They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back [to their homes], then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.”

The anniversary of the July tube bombings gave plenty of opportunity to reflect on how Britain had reached a point where some of its citizens were willing to blow up other citizens while they were simply on their way to work. Sadly, it was not an opportunity taken by many and once again we heard a chorus of voices telling us that British foreign policy was to blame for the deaths of the 57 commuters who were killed by four British Muslims.

The usual Islamic nutters were out in force to blame the invasion of Iraq for pushing young Muslim men to murder innocent civilians. At the time, Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, popped out of his cave to claim that “Blair has brought you destruction to the heart of London, and he will bring more destruction, God willing”. That filtered through to other Muslim groups, not sheltering in caves in Pakistan, but in semi detached houses in London. Al-Ghurabaa, a home grown Muslim group, claim that “If anything the situation has deteriorated one year on from 7/7” and make the chilling prediction that “Another 7/7 is more likely in the climate in which we live today than it was a year ago.” Who is to blame for the fact that a Muslim might blow up more train travelers? “The government seems to always detract from the foreign policy thing, they don’t want to make it an issue”. Hizb ut-Tahrir said “It is very clear that the problem of global terrorism is a problem borne out of Western foreign policy”

But what is really disgusting is the way that this view has infiltrated mainstream politics. Sir Iqubal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, has also suggested that the tube bombings would not have taken place had Britain not engaged in military action against Iraq. Mayor of London Ken Livingstone mused that western foreign policy was to blame for the fact that four Muslims decided to slaughter 56 people in his city. It was a view which was reflected in the wider Labour Party with John McDonnell, chairman of the 500-strong Labour Representation Committee, asserting “Please do not try to tell us that the war in Iraq played no part. This assertion is simply intellectually unsustainable”.

That the war in Iraq was controversial is not in doubt by anybody, even Tony Blair. That is was wrong is a view shared by a great many British people including at least 750,000 who demonstrated against the invasion in February 2003, it is a view I share myself. But it has never occurred to me to blow up the other passengers on my train to work to make the point. The peace activist Milan Rai says that “In other words, if you are against terrorism, you should tell British Muslims: ‘You are wrong to be furious about the invasion of Iraq’; ‘You are wrong to be angry about the occupation of Afghanistan’; and ‘You are wrong to rage against the West’s support for the oppression of the Palestinians’”. No one is saying that, what we should be saying to British Muslims is that blowing up innocent people is a totally and utterly unacceptable way to register your protest.

So we return to the question; why did some British Muslims decide to kill other British people? Having established that opposition to the war doesn’t automatically make you a killer, perhaps there is another reason? Perhaps, quite controversially, it is the faith of Islam itself which is to blame? To put this to the test lets look at some verses from the book by which a billion Muslims worldwide, including 3 million Britains, live their lives by;

Koran 17:16-17 When we decide to destroy a population, we send a definite order to them who have the good things in life and yet transgress; so that Allah’s word is proved true against them: then we destroy them utterly. How many generations have we destroyed after Noah? And enough is thy Lord to note and see the Sins of his servants

Koran 8:37 In order that Allah may separate the impure from the pure, Put All the impure ones (Non-Muslim), one on top of the another in a Heap and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost

Koran 21:11 How many were the populations we utterly destroyed because of their inequities, setting up in their place other peoples

Koran 2:8-10 In their (Non-Muslims) hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease and grievous is the penalty they will incur, because they are false.

Koran 58:5 Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be crumbled to dust, as were those before them: for we have already sent down Clear Signs and the Unbelievers will have a humiliating Penalty

Koran 44:43-50 Verily the Tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinful. Like molten brass it will boil in their insides, Like the boiling of scalding water Seize Ye Him and drag him into the midst of the blazing Fire Then pour over his head the penalty of Boiling Water

Koran 2:39 Those who reject faith (Islam) and belie our signs, They shall be Companions of the Fire and abide in it.

Koran 2:89-90The Curse of Allah is on those without faith (in Islam) Thus have they drawn wrath upon wrath on themselves and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject faith (Islam)

Koran 5:33 The Punishment for those who oppose Allah and his messenger is : Execution or Crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land

Koran 9:35 On the day when Heat will be produced out of the wealth in the Fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their sides and their backs- “This is the treasure that ye buried for yourselves, taste ye then the treasures that ye buried.”

Koran 8:50 If you could see when the angels take the souls of the Unbelievers at death. How they smite their faces and backs saying “Taste the penalty of the blazing Fire”

All I have done is pick some of the bad stuff out of the Koran. There is much good, but if I can pull out all these passages which unequivocally advocate the murder of non Muslims, then it stands to reason that others will pull them out and use them in that way as well. Surely, if a young man dedicates himself to live his life by this book, containing these verses, it is “intellectually unsustainable” to believe that the faith of Islam itself played no part in motivating four young Muslims to slaughter what they saw as infidels on July 7th 2005.