Monday, 3 May 2010

Since when did opposing Islamism require opposing religious freedom?

As regular readers of this blog will be aware, I have absolutely no truck with Islamism - the violent political doctrine derived from the religion of Islam. On here, I called for opposition to Islam4UK when they tried to organise marches in London and in Wootton Bassett. I also, very recently, defended the right of people such as South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone to take the piss out of the Prophet Muhammad.

I say this in the (vain) hope of pre-empting any comments from fascist idiots who would accuse me of appeasing militant Islam, or some other such bollocks. Because, whilst I am strongly opposed to Islamism as a doctrine, I am also strongly opposed to the fascists who play on the fear of Islam to further their agenda.

This condemnation applies equally to the British National Party and the English Defence League. Here, however, I am talking about the EDL's occupation of the proposed site for a new mosque in Dudley.

 According to the report in today's Daily Mail;
Four members of the far-right English Defence League scaled the roof of a derelict building in Dudley, West Midlands, yesterday waving anti-Muslim banners. 

Dozens of protesters gathered at the site on Sunday night after an internet campaign calling upon EDL supporters to attend a protest.

Around 30 masked protesters were ordered off the site as fights broke out. Several EDL members clambered onto the roof of the building earmarked for super mosque development.

A police officer and local teenager were taken to hospital for minor injuries after the clashes.


This morning, four men dressed in balaclavas and army fatiques remained on the roof of the old clothing factory where they unfurled banners reading 'No to the burka' and 'no mosque'.

The EDL's website claims the protesters 'have food and water to last them weeks, and a PA system to give speeches'. 

It adds: 'I believe they even have a Playstation. They will be playing the call to prayer to let those who are not bothered by this mosque know what to look forward to.' 

An eyewitness said: 'They're waving England flags and blaring out Islamic music from a loud speaker.'

Chief Inspector Matt Markham from West Midlands Police said: 'We have always facilitated peaceful protests by members of the EDL and other organisations, but we do not welcome this kind of protest.

'Our priorities are to minimise any disruption to the local community in Dudley and to prevent any further incidents of disorder from occurring.

'Our message to anyone thinking of turning up with the intention of causing disorder is not to, as we have police resources available and any such activity will be dealt with swiftly and robustly.'
This protest is redundant in the first instance because the Dudley Muslim Association announced today that the plans for the mosque have been scrapped. They were first rejected in 2007, and on the back of fairly reasonable objections - namely, that Muslims already had a mosque in the town and that the land was designated for employment use - the appeal was bound to be rejected as well.

The EDL are not opposing the mosque on the basis of such logical reasoning. Rather, they are against it on the grounds that it represents the "islamification" of the town and could be a breeding ground for "extremism." The merit of this argument is summed up by the opinion of locals that their protest is "racist" and a "waste of police time."

Extremism - or, more specifically, the doctrine of political Islam - isn't spread by the presence of minarets but by the presence of Islamist ideas. Slogans such as "no more mosques," perceived as an attack on Muslims rather than on Islamists, are only helping those with such ideas to propigate them to an increasingly alienated and beleaguered populace. Allowing people their places of worship, but secularising the school system, would be a much more effective response to this. Not to mention driving the fascists who deliberately confuse Muslims with Islamists as an excuse to riot or to spread their own, equally poisonous, ideology.

As for "Islamification," this is nothing more than a buzzword of the right which means little to nothing. I have previously dissected the paranoid frenzy over Muslim demographics, and it is also worth noting that mosques are not built where there are no Muslims. That is, if there is no demand for them they will not spring up. In the case of Dudley, the pre-existing mosque was not fit for purpose, and allowing them to renovate that made building a new one unneccesary - hence it's scrappage.

As long it is the believers who pay for them, and they do not encroach on homes or on green belt land, there is no reason to oppose the erection of any religious building. This is entirely separate from opposing the violent zealots from said religion, or defending the right to free speech in a secular society. As such, it shows up the EDL's claim to only oppose "militant Islam" as a bald lie.