Saturday, 8 February 2014

Searchlight Takes on the Islamic Extremists?

First posted: 18th November, 2010

[The Jewish Chronicle article follows the comment; after the dotted line.]

Nick Lowles and Searchlight have a new strategy this Winter. Instead of only calling the English Defence League ‘extremist’, why not call extreme Muslim groups (such as Muslims Against Crusaders) ‘extremists’ too? That way they can say: "Plague be on both your houses"; "They’re as bad as each other"; "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum", etc.

Searchlight has cleverly decided to say that "we have extremists on both sides". That is, both the EDL and Muslims Against Crusaders are equally extreme. Thus if even the far-leftist Searchlight is willing to call at least one Muslim group ‘extreme’, then that must surely mean that more mainstream groups, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain and indeed Unite Against Fascism and Searchlight itself, must not be extreme – quite simply because they have opposed one extreme Muslim group.

Now, the only difference between these groups is that Muslims Against Crusades is more honest than these more formal groups. They more or less admit to wanting the deaths of British soldiers, full sharia law, etc. And, of course, they demonstrate in violent and provocative ways. The problem is that the MCB, MPACUK and the MAB believe in more or less the same things as Muslims Against Crusades. The only difference is that they don’t march that much under the headings of their organisations. But they do march; but not as violently and honestly. Indeed how can we call the MCB and MAB ‘moderate’ when both groups support Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as the Islamification of Britain through the slow introduction of sharia law? If anything, these groups are worse than Muslims Against Crusades because they are more insidious, ubiquitous and powerful. The former is just a silly little fringe group.

What about Unite Against Fascism and Searchlight? The former is run by hard-core Trotskyists, as we all know. The latter is run by hard-core Stalinists. The person who said ‘we have extremists on both sides’, Sonia Gable, is the deputy editor of Searchlight, ex-National Front and the fourth wife of the Stalinist founder and current publisher of Searchlight, Gerry Gable. He is, or was, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party. In Russia, the Communist Party was responsible for at least 50 million deaths. That is extreme. In addition, many competing leftist and anarchist groups have said that what really matters to Searchlight is not the fight against racism, but its ‘pursuit of a far-leftist agenda’.

In any case, the EDL is quite simply not extreme. It is fighting extremism - Islamist extremism. No one else is doing that job; so the EDL must do it.

The EDL believes in parliamentary democracy, free speech, equal rights for gays, blacks, etc. Muslims Against Crusaders (MAC) calls for the deaths of British soldiers, the ending of democracy and full sharia law. Indeed the people who run UAF and Searchlight don’t believe in parliamentary democracy or freedom of speech either. So which group, exactly, is really extreme?

It is just too convenient that Searchlight is saying that both Muslims Against Crusaders and the EDL are extreme. Who wants lessons in extremism from Trots and Stalinists? Not me!

So it is both a disgrace and a con that Searchlight is are saying that both Muslims Against Crusades and the EDL are ‘extremist groups’. It won’t wash. Name a policy of the EDL that is genuinely extreme. No, I don't mean the policies which only exist in the minds of Trots, Stalinists and Islamists. Name a genuine, written-down policy of the EDL which is extreme. And good luck!


By Martin Bright, November 18, From the Jewish Chronicle. [Martin Bright is a leftist journalist who used to be Political Editor of the New Statesman. He also writes for the Guardian.]The anti-fascist publication Searchlight, which was behind the "Hope Not Hate" campaign to stop the British National Party in east London, is to expand its operations to oppose the Islamophobic English Defence League and Islamic extremism itself.

The magazine, founded in the 1960s to monitor the rise of the extreme right, intends to set up a thinktank to investigate the phenomenon of the English Defence League, which has become a focus of ultra-nationalist opposition to the so-called "Islamification" of Britain. Writing on his blog last week, Searchlight editor Nick Lowles attacked both the EDL and the Islamic extremists of Muslims Against Crusades, who burned poppies, denied the Holocaust and called for a new Muslim fascism.

"For the MAC, the presence and activities of the EDL prove how white British society is the enemy. For the EDL, the Islamist extremists are proof of the violent nature of Islam," he wrote.

An online survey of Hope Not Hate supporters' reaction to Mr Lowles's words showed that over 95 per cent were in support of what he said. Around 40,000 people have viewed the post since it was written last Thursday.

Mr Lowles said that he felt a huge sense of relief that he was finally able to speak his mind.

"Islamist extremism has been the elephant in the room for too long," he said. "Everyone knows it is wrong and is actually part of the problem but people have either been bullied into silence or lack the confidence to speak out."He added: "Islamist extremism is no friend of a progressive society. Staying silent on attitudes and behaviour that is both wrong, offensive and downright dangerous is abandoning one's own progressive values and moral compass. Remaining silent and uncritical will be viewed by others as passive support or acceptance and that is not the basis to build a popular broadbased campaign against Islamophobia."Several Muslims posted supportive comments on the Hope Not Hate blog as a result of the intervention. Sameena from East London wrote: "It would be good to get some Muslim academics, and leftist leaders on board and being vocal. I would like to see some Muslim women sans hijab as well. There are plenty of us - but the media always wants to show the ones who fit a particular image."Bushra added: "MAC do not represent all British Muslims! I am a British Muslim and I wore my poppy proudly and observed the two-minute silence. I am sickened and offended that these people have no respect for those who fought and died, so that they could have freedom of speech."
*) Note:
What I expect may happen in the future. Since Nick Lowles, Searchlight, has called MAC 'extremists' too - the 'flip side of the EDL', it may happen that the police will ban MAC and then the EDL - to quell the outrage from Muslims/leftists if they only banned MAC.

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