Religion

Rules for Radicals: UK Edition

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More shameful behavior in response to the "threat" of radical Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, this time from the increasingly illiberal government of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Yesterday I noted that a Foreign Office employee was arrested after denouncing the "fucking Jews" in his local gym; now the Home Department has forbidden Wilders from entering the UK because he would "threaten community harmony and therefore public security."

I have previously criticized Wilders monochromatic view of Islam here and here (while defending his free speech rights, obviously), but his opinions on religious extremism are rather beside the point. One wonders if Christopher Hitchens, a Briton who has typically describes the devout (Muslims, Christians and Jews) as cranks and charlatans, will be allowed back to the land of his birth.

But what really rankles is the kid gloves with which lunatic Islamists are treated, while radical anti-Muslims like Wilders are denounced as agents of intolerance. And again, I believe Wilders impressions of Islam to be reductionist and, I would imagine, deeply offensive to that great majority of Muslims who do not condone or engage in violence. But let us recall that London's former Mayor Ken Livingston invited—and publicly embraced—Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a "moderate" preacher who advocates the killing of pregnant Israeli women, gays, Americans, and all other sinister kafirs, to discuss how we can all just hold hands, sing "Up with People," and dance around rainbows. When human rights and gay rights groups protested, Livingstone sputtered that his critics were spreading "lies and Islamophobia." Al-Qawadari, he explained, desires the spread of mutual respect, such as when he recently told an audience that "Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler."

Or how about the producers of the television documentary Undercover Mosque, broadcast on Britain's independent Channel 4, who caught spittle-flecked religious leaders advising followers to "kill" the "animal" gays of Britain and to "Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain." As a result, the West Midlands Police ended up investigating the documentary producers, stating that it was "The priority for police has been to investigate the documentary and its making with as much rigour as the extremism the programme sought to portray." They found no evidence of malicious documentary-making. 

Here is the text of the letter Wilders received from Britain's ambassador to the Netherlands, via John Derbyshire (a Brit who rightly calls the decision to ban Wilders "a terrible defeat for liberty"):

Dear Mr. Wilders,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Secretary of State is of the view that your presence in the UK would pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society. The Secretary of State is satisfied that your statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.

You are advised that should you travel to the UK and seek admission an Immigration Officer will take into account the Secretary of State's view. If, in accordance with regulation 21 of the immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, the Immigration Officer is satisfied that your exclusion is justified on grounds of public policy and/or public security, you will be refused admission to the UK under regulation 19. You would have a right of appeal against any refusal of admission, exercisable from outside the UK.

Yours sincerely,

Irving N. Jones

On behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department

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  1. Why does DivaVillage.com show up on the ads? Damn algorithms!

  2. “[T]hreaten community harmony and therefore public security.”

    Huh. This sounds somehow familiar:

    You will be absorbed. Your individuality will merge into the unity of the good, and in your submergence into the common being of the Body, you will find contentment and fulfillment. You will experience the absolute good.

  3. I can’t remember where that quote came from. Is it from an Obama campaign speech?

  4. Disgusting.
    Is this the same country that Winston Churchill and Horatio Nelson came from?

  5. It’s the damned sword ban. They were holding on until that happened. Now the UK is becoming France.

  6. You know what’s really brave of Moynihan given the constituency he courts? Coming out for the rights of an anti-Muslim extremist. And in doing so saying that while he finds that guy’s views to be “reductive” that he is still really concerned about the very real threat from Islamic extremism. That’s a f*cking profile in courage for sure…

  7. Ugh, MNG annoys me almost as much as Geert Wilders and Michael Moynihan.

  8. The guardians of our Nation’s borders missed a trick. They could have refused the Dutch MP because he would not be exercising any known EU Treaty rights, arguing that Wilders is not a ‘worker’ or providing any kind of ‘service’ under EU law, by trying to come to Britain to show a film we could watch on dvd anyway. Or was Wilders going to actually turn on the dvd player for them because our MPs are too stupid to do it themselves.

    The “exclusion is justified on grounds of public policy and/or public security” ground is similar to the “non-conducive to the public good” clause which is supposed to apply to non-EU nationals, but for some strange reason it does not prevent a stream of convicted criminal sportsmen and unpleasant American rap artists from pursuing their “professions” in the UK in breach of the prohibition for US visitors on working.

    The Home Secretary, may not have taken the decision personally. She is currently distracted by fending off accusations that she has stolen a hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers’ money by fiddling her Parliamentary expenses.

  9. zoltan
    I’m guessing you didn’t get my post but just did a knee jerk “Moynihan defending something good in post, MNG critical, me mad at MNG” reaction.

    No shit these policies Moynihan is critical of are bullshit. But that doesn’t make what Moynihan is up to any less transparent man.

  10. You know what’s really brave of Moynihan given the constituency he courts? Coming out for the rights of an anti-Muslim extremist. And in doing so saying that while he finds that guy’s views to be “reductive” that he is still really concerned about the very real threat from Islamic extremism. That’s a f*cking profile in courage for sure…

    Yeah, if Moynihan had any balls, he’d argue that Wilders’s position on Islam is quite reasonable, anti-gay Islamic clerics are a-ok, and restricting people’s travel based on their political views is a good idea. Alas, he’s far to spineless to say really stupid things.

  11. You know what you have to love? People like MattXIV can actually read the words I wrote and come away that I’m 1. just fine with anti-gay Islamic clerics 2. am fine and dandy with this kind of travel restriction.

    Anti-gay Islamic clerics suck dick (intersting, no?). Travel restrictions based on someone’s political views are uncivilized nonsense. My point is that Moynihan, as usual, picks his chance to defens such positions in a way that will leave his right wing constituency plenty happy.

    This is what reading too few books and too many blogs does to a person!

  12. What if I made posts about defending academic freedom. In making these posts you noticed that I tended to only make such posts when conservative professors academic freedoms are threatened, but not when liberal professors academic freedom are threatened.

    Would you think I am a champion of academic freedom or a champion of conservatives?

  13. It’s the damned sword ban.

    top. aying ‘hit!’ in cotland not anctioned?

  14. This is the inevitable evolution of speech codes and other bullying behavior disguised as compassion and sensitivity. Once you give an authority the power to regulate any speech it will do so to its own advantage.

    The kind of tyranny exist on American college campuses where people who expose non-leftist beliefs end up in compulsory re-education seminars or expelled.

    I swear, its like we’re being enslaved by giant teddy bears with skeletons of iron.

  15. MNG,

    People like MattXIV can actually read the words I wrote and come away that I’m 1. just fine with anti-gay Islamic clerics 2. am fine and dandy with this kind of travel restriction.

    No, you dolt, I’m pointing out that being on the right side of the issue at hand doesn’t require any political courage. It doesn’t take any political courage around here to oppose the war on drugs either.

    Would you think I am a champion of academic freedom or a champion of conservatives?

    Unless the person actually opposed academic freedom for liberals, I’d assume BOTH, since they’re not mutually exclusive, which seems to be something you have trouble wrapping your head around.

  16. Did anyone edit this post? Sloppy.

  17. “The kind of tyranny exist on American college campuses where people who expose non-leftist beliefs end up in compulsory re-education seminars or expelled.”

    There was an article in Hustler magazine about that. Seriously. I’ll try to find it.

  18. No matter what Moynihan says and no matter how he says it, MNG is going to cry about it. What a fucking whiny little turd.

  19. Found it.

    “Concerning the future of free expression in this country, it is very troubling that college “speech codes” – punishing students for anything they say that might offend any other students on the basis of race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual preferences or political views – are enforced on so many campuses.”

    The War on Free Speech by Nat Hentoff

    October 2007 Hustler Magazine

    It was in their “Don Imus” issue

  20. MNG: You’re right. Moynihan really needs to come out in defense of Al-Qawadari. That would be courageous. Lord knows he’d really be risking his life at the hands of some Jewish extremists.

  21. But what really rankles is the kid gloves with which lunatic Islamists are treated, while radical anti-Muslims like Wilders are denounced as agents of intolerance.

    You know, what rankles me is that anyone is denounced by the government as an “agent of intolerance.” The problem isn’t that the government using “kid gloves” with the “lunatic islamists,” it’s that the government is chasing after anyone at all for speech issues.

    But, you know, maybe I just believe in freedom or something.

  22. One wonders if Christopher Hitchens, a Briton who has typically describes the devout (Muslims, Christians and Jews) as cranks and charlatans, will be allowed back to the land of his birth.

    I hate to say this, but since he attacks Christians all is probably forgiven. Dawkins hasn’t gotten into any trouble.

  23. Make that “…since he attacks Christianity….”

    Although when he is drunk I wouldn’t be surprised if he attacks Christians by slobbering all over them.

  24. Is it just me, or does MM come across as whiny in his articles? This isn’t the first time his writing has given me that impression.

  25. To get back to the subject at hand… it’s really pretty horrifying that this can happen in the UK. This is Britain we’re talking about … where someone gets sent a letter telling them they aren’t welcome in the country because they have controversial political views.

    That’s really horrible. It’s like the entire UK is acting like some girls sorority house, where they get to “black ball” someone and ban them from the clique … only, it’s an ENTIRE COUNTRY. And one that at least presumably prides itself on being a beacon of freedom and tolerance.

  26. First, the best response to hate speach is to denouce it, not bann it. Second, I have no problem with nonviolent Muslims, but I oppose the subset of Muslims that spead and conduct violence.

    Q: Why so officials treat hate mongering Imams with kid gloves?

    A: Because they don’t want their civilians bombed by Muslim terrorists.

    Q: Why do Muslim terrorists bomb civilians?

    A: Because it keeps working.

  27. Michael, when are you going to write about this guy or he does not fit the profile?

    Javed Iqbal operated a satellite television business out of his home in Staten Island, New York, and out of a storefront in Brooklyn. In August 2006, Iqbal’s home was raided by the FBI after it was alleged that he provided satellite broadcasts from a television station controlled by Hezbollah. Iqbal’s satellite company, HDTV Corp., was registered with the Federal Communications Commission.1 The case was prosecuted under the Patriot Act.2

    On December 23, 2008, Iqbal pleaded guilty and agreed to serve up to six and a half years in prison. He will be sentenced on March 24, 2009.

  28. anon,

    As far as the Patriot Act, they can shove it straight up their asses. I’m not willing to sacrifice any of my freedoms for the guise of safety.

    Is Al Jazeera on that list?

  29. When I was at Stevens Institute, someone was always getting popped by the FCC for an illegal radio broadcast.

  30. “that at least presumably prides itself on being a beacon of freedom and tolerance.”

    No, you’re thinking of The Netherlands.

  31. “kill” the “animal” gays of Britain

    Hedgehogs are gay? I always thought they looked a bit fruity, but I never suspected they were gay.

  32. The west continues its steady descent into dhimmitude…

  33. That’s swords. Next category is “The Penis Mightier.”

  34. What the hell’s up with all the Moynihan hate?

    Anyone who doesn’t understand what fundamentalist Islam has done and is currently doing to Europe probably hasn’t lived there. The political landscape is completely changing, and it’s not for the more libertarian.

    Fiscally socialist policies are progressing (rich, white, college kids and poor immigrants of every color can at least agree there), and socially liberal policies (speech, etc.) are getting kicked to shit.

  35. And I’m speaking in terms of classic liberalism.

    Takin’ it back!

  36. Shorter Moynihan:

    Euro speech sanctions suck. Euro speech sanctions imposed selectively on non-Muslims really suck.

    Shorter MNG:

    There’s that damn Moynihan again, picking on Muslims.

  37. I’d hasten to add that the speech sanctions imposed on non-Muslims are being done explicitly BECASUE the Muslims threaten violence.

    I.e. You aren’t welcome in our country because we’re afraid the Muslims will riot.

    It’s insidious.

  38. I.e. You aren’t welcome in our country because we’re afraid the Muslims will riot.

    It’s kind of funny when you put it that way. Sad it’s also true…

  39. Actually, Wilders never called for banning the Quran outright. What he did was point out that if Dutch hate-speech laws were applied across the board, the Quran would fall under the category of “banned speech” for the hateful, inciteful stuff in there – simply a matter of applying the law equally across the board. He cited

    I notice this has been distorted repeatedly in the media, in an attempt to make him look more unreasonable than he is. Click my link; there’s loads of stuff about this issue there.

  40. In other news, the Brits are planning to run ads in Pakistan begging Pakistanis not to attack them.

    http://www.dawn.com/2009/02/11/top5.htm

  41. I notice this has been distorted repeatedly in the media, in an attempt to make him look more unreasonable than he is.

    This happens to critics of Islam across the board. The MSM are afraid of appearing anti-Muslim, for various reasons, so they go out of their way to disparage anyone that can be thus pidgeonholed.

    It’s a form of social signalling. Ritual ostracism of the person that breaks a taboo.

    In this case the taboo subject is Islam and violence.

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