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Monday 27 May 2013

Mad Mel Meets Moderation

Since the Woolwich killing, it has taken a while for the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to call on Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, but today the silence was broken, with another pointless and intemperate rant that concludes with the usual call to circumscribe civil liberties, although probably not for Herself Personally Now.
Not at all fair or balanced

And this isn’t her first utterance on the matter: last week she told anyone who would listen that the phrase “allahu akbar” was “a barbaric hallmark of Islamic terror”, rather than an integral part of prayer. In any case, one of the killers also freely quoted the words of Exodus and Leviticus, and as these books are part of the Old Testament, they are also present in the Torah.

Not, of course, that Mel will be accepting the barbaric hallmarks of both Judaism and Christianity. Instead, she waves away such thoughts by telling readers that the latter was subject to the Reformation, which made things better. What she doesn’t tell is that what followed the beginning of the Reformation was a series of routinely lethal conflicts that went on for around 130 years.

It’s the usual diet of initially reasoned discussion that progressively ratchets up to a stream of frothing hatred, accusing many Muslims of bigotry and intolerance while Mel dispenses her usual brand of, er, bigotry and intolerance. Where this kind of exercising power without responsibility ends up is not hard to deduce: for instance, a mosque in Grimsby was bricked and petrol-bombed over the weekend.

Fortunately, despite Mel’s incoherent and shaky reworking of history, and the predictable reaction from the likes of the EDL (another of their supposedly peaceful marches today has been punctuated by routinely heavy drinking, aggressive behaviour, and Nazi-style salutes), others have reached out across the cultural divide to bring moderation and calm to the situation.

When the EDL threatened to stage another of their demonstrations outside York Mosque, they were invited in for a cup of tea and a chat. Many locals turned up and were welcomed by members of the Mosque. A small number of EDL supporters remained outside and made their protest. Cups of tea were sent out to them. Some then ventured inside to talk. Raised voices were lowered.

This is not a difficult concept to grasp, and is vastly preferable to the aggressive and dishonest ranting from pundits who ought to be old and wise enough to know better. While the genuinely wise urge calm reconciliation, the likes of Mad Mel scream for hard-won human rights to be summarily removed, claiming knowledge of Islam which she clearly does not possess.

What was that about persuading hate preachers to stop their shouting? Just asking.

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