For a new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid did not take long to ditch the subtlety and diplomacy that one might expect a holder of one of the great offices of state to deploy, and go in with both feet on an organisation which has raised legitimate concerns about the Tory Party. Moreover, Javid chose his inquisition before the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning to make what looked like an ill-advised move - except it wasn’t.
Marr asked Javid about Islamophobia in the Tory Party, a reasonable question given the amount of it, and the apparent lack of action against it. He put Sayeeda Warsi’s comments, telling “there is a simmering anti-Muslim underbelly of Islamophobia within the party” to Javid. Did he agree with her? “Well, I’ve got a lot of time for Baroness Warsi, but I do not agree with her”. Why? “Just look at who the Home Secretary is”.
So the Tories said goodbye to sexism and misogyny when Mrs T won the leadership in the mid 1970s? Rubbish. Worse, Javid then suggested Islamophobia was not a Tory problem. “That said, there are issues with anti-Muslim hatred in the country, as there are issues for example with anti-Semitism, all types of hate crime are wrong at every level”. The thought enters that his Labour shadow would not have got away with saying that.
What, then, asked Marr, about the need for a new investigation? Javid suddenly became rather animated, and not a little defensive. “Who’s said this? It’s the Muslim Council of Britain. They’ve written recently to the chairman of the Conservative Party making these allegations. The Muslim Council of Britain doesn’t represent Muslims in this country. You find me a group of Muslims that thinks they’re represented by the MCB”.
There was more. “And secondly, I’d be very suspicious of anything that they’ve got to say, because under the last Labour Government and continued by us, we don’t deal with the MCB. We don’t deal with it because too many of their members have had favourable comments on extremism and that’s not acceptable”.
Well, I hate to bring bad news for Sajid Javid, but his attitude to the MCB does not mean all those instances of Islamophobia within his own party suddenly stop being Islamophobia. Moreover, as Miqdaad Versi of the MCB points out (see the Twitter thread HERE), both the Observer and Times have backed the call for an independent inquiry into Tory Islamophobia. And so has Conservative Home.
But what Miqdaad Versi is missing is that Sajid Javid did not just go into rant mode against the MCB. Those words were carefully and deliberately chosen. And they were chosen in order for Javid to address his intended target audience - the right-wing press. That was his signal to the Mail, Sun, Express and even Telegraph (plus the Spectator, no doubt) to obscure Tory Islamophobia by creating a fog of abuse directed at the MCB.
There will be editorial lines being sharpened, pundits like Kavanagh and Littlejohn being briefed. The Tories’ Islamophobia problem will be as nothing compared to the abuse and smears that will be thrown at the MCB. And the truly sick element of this carefully and deliberately choreographed move is that it is a Muslim who has fired the starting gun.
When confronted with the choice between doing the right thing and political expediency, Sajid Javid did not hesitate. And that’s why he’s part of the Nasty Party.
Of course the MCB doesn't represent all British muslims. No organisation can ever be said to represent all members of the faith it claims to represent.
Obviously, the Board of Deputies of British Jews clearly does represent all British jews, especially when it is claiming that Labour's anti-Zionist expansionism is actually anti-Semitism.
And he's in favour of deporting British criminals. Something that not even May and Rudd admitted to.
"'I don't want them back': Javid says 32 Windrush migrants who committed serious offences and were deported are NOT welcome to return to the UK"
I would just like to ask what people’s views are on the meaning of the word “Islamophobia”. The logical definition of the word doesn’t make much if a phobia is an irrational fear of something but the dictionary definition of the word is hard to get my head around too. If the word is defined as the dislike or prejudice of Islam OR Muslims then surely we have a problem here. I’m strongly opposed to the dislike or mistreatment of somebody just because they consider themselves a Muslim, as Muslims are people and we are all human beings at the end of the day. However, I also believe that any idea should be subject to criticism and criticism usually stems from the dislike of something. How well an idea stands up to criticism is a huge factor in deciding whether an idea is good or bad, as good ideas tend to stand up well to criticism without the need of protection by demonising anybody who dares to analyse or even tell the truth about it. As Islam is essentially an idea then surely there is a conflict of interest here.
If the Tories are being “Islamophobic” because they are discussing the nature of Islam in an honest way then good on them but they need to be doing it more openly to make progress. If they are being “Islamophobic” by deliberately discriminating against Muslims then that is unacceptable and the perpetrators should be exposed and shamed.
In my opinion it is this irresponsible brandishing of these kinds of buzzwords (that don’t really make any logical sense) that is causing major unrest in western society at the moment and inciting hatred. Surely if one group’s ideals are subject to scrutiny and another group’s aren’t, this is going to nurture bitterness and resentment and I don’t think it will be long before it reaches boiling point and we have serious problems. For this reason I think it is the Labour party under Mr Corbyn that is more deserved of the title “the Nasty Party”.
"Ex" banker Javid, fresh from privatising what's left of the housing association movement (coincidentally all to the advantage of bankers), now wants everyone to believe the tories are not anti-Islam.
Which is about as believable as his "commitment" to social housing provision.
And these suited up corrupt spivs and barrow boys expect us to take them seriously......
All one needs to do is replace Islamophobia in Anon's post with antisemitism and you can see how lop-sided the debate has become. Those who are offended by Islamophobia need just adopt the claim by the Board of Deputies: if you feel you have been the target of an antisemitic attack then you have been. End of story.
Unless someone can tell me why it's "honest" to discuss Islam and it's British followers but not discuss Jews and the plight of Palestinians and British Jews support for Israel's suppression of their rights.
It's why, as a Jew I am furious with the BoD's dishonest campaign to rev up the claims of antisemitism in Labour with the Board's chief demanding a meeting with Corbyn and then to falsely imply Corbyn is not interested in ridding Labour of antisemitism. Javid & the BoDs must think most British people are idiots and cannot see how they use appalling racism to benefit the Conservatives.
Javid the Tories common man done well is an apostle of Ayn Rand and former Detsche Banker sold out his fellow Muslims for a few pieces of silver.
A man from humble origins, could do so much to heal divisions in our society between the faiths and done a great deal to tackle poverty and social exclusion within the Muslim community, but like so many mercencaies within the Tory Party he has sold out sections of our society for the elixir of power to the right wing press for their toxic and fickle support.
What is fascinating is the muted response from the press on the Tories problem, not so long ago, the press including the so called leftwing press went studs in on Labour and Corbyn over allegations of Antisemitism which was handy as there was a little matter of May's local elections and with the Tories struggling to square the impossible boasts of the Brexiteers and the reality of Brexit.
How much of it labelled as Islamophobia is mistaken for what is actually general concern or disapproval of certain aspects?
Big words do not make an argument more valid.
@ Anonymous 13:34
Yes, we have all heard the bigot's favourite, 'my racism isn't irrational. You're just not interested in the truth.' It doesn't work and we don't fall for it.
Nobody posted @13.34 are you Diane Abbot?
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