- The BNP have posted a slideshow attacking the Conservative Muslim Forum.
- It relies upon innuendo and guilt by association.
- I regard being attacked by the BNP as a badge of honour.
BNP video: "British Conservatives Support Hard-Line Islam"
9 May 2010
The British National Party (BNP) appear to have posted their video, consisting of a slide show and music, on 23 February 2010. However I only became aware of it a few days ago when a friend drew it to my attention. The BNP video can be watched on YouTube.
As far as I am concerned, being attacked by the BNP is a badge of honour. The general approach of the video is "guilt by association", a pattern we have seen many times since Senator Joe McCarthy demonstrated it during his anti-communist witch hunt in the USA. I just want to mention the following points about the video.
- There was nothing secret about Lord Sheikh and I attending the event. The event which took place on 7 August 2009 was mentioned on the Conservative Muslim Forum website, and our website appears to have been the main source of the facts in the story.
- The video features a static picture of David Cameron, carefully positioned in front of a crescent moon to make him look like a devil with horns! He is quoted as saying "it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian (Muslim) way of life, not the other way around." This is of course a use of selective quotation by the BNP to frighten people. The quote is taken out of context from an article that David Cameron wrote in the Guardian after spending two days staying with an Asian Muslim family.
- The Brussels Journal website mentioned in the video describes itself as "The Voice of Conservatism in Europe." From a short inspection, it appears to be a blog espousing extreme right wing views.
- The recipient of the donation from Lord Sheikh, Al-Khair [Foundation], is accurately described as running schools, a prison visiting programme and interfaith events. It is a registered charity, and I was very impressed with them, and gave a small donation myself; my donation is not mentioned in the video as it was not mentioned on the CMF website.
- One of Al-Khair's alleged sins is that Dr Zakir Naik has spoken at one of their events in 2006. I have had the privilege of shaking hands with Dr Naik once, but more importantly I have watched him on TV a number of times, as he is a very impressive speaker. The BNP delight in pointing out that Dr Naik describes himself as an Islamic "fundamentalist." On TV Dr Naik makes it very clear that he describes himself as such because he believes in the fundamentals of Islam; so do I and with that same definition I am proud to be an Islamic fundamentalist. I would expect Pope Benedict to be a Roman Catholic fundamentalist, Archbishop Rowan Williams to be a Church of England fundamentalist, and the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks to be a Jewish fundamentalist. If they are not, they should consider tendering their resignations! However, the BNP hope to frighten people by the use of the word fundamentalist.
- Dr Naik is alleged to call for the banning of churches and synagogues. That is not the Dr Naik that I have seen speaking on TV, and I challenge the BNP to produce some evidence for this assertion.
- The video goes on to say "Lower down the page there is a flyer for Harun Yahya." I am not sure what page they are referring to. I have just visited Harun Yahya's website; as with most people there are some things there that I disagree with (such as his views on evolution) and other things I agree with (such as his abhorrence of anti-Semitism.) However, I fail to see how a Harun Yahya event being advertised somewhere can be used as evidence for Lord Sheikh and I suddenly becoming Islamic extremists!
- There is then more guilt by association because Dr Azaam Tamimi also spoke at the 2006 event organised by Al-Khair, and Yvonne Ridley is mentioned as having spoken at events organised by Al-Khair. The video goes on dragging in more names in a rather tiresome manner.
- The video is wrong when it states that the Conservative Muslim Forum has donated funds to Al-Khair. Lord Sheikh's donation was a personal one by him, and mine was a personal one by me. The BNP also need to remember that the recipient, Al-Khair, is a registered charity regulated by the Charities Commission.
- The BNP then assumes that it has uncovered a scandal, and asks why the Conservative Party continues to endorse the CMF, and goes on to mention our Eid event in December 2009 when David Cameron attended and spoke. There is no scandal, merely an attempt by the BNP to confuse people by throwing names together. The reason why the Conservative Party has the CMF as an interest group is of course that the CMF's members are Muslims who believe in representative democracy and support the Conservative Party! I personally have been a Conservative Party member for over 25 years.
- Finally, I am attacked personally. "It seems, though that hard-line Islam will go unchallenged, and may even get a substantial boost. In September, the CMF's Mohammed Amin - who also heads the UK Islamic Finance practice at Pricewaterhouse Coopers [sic, the BNP cannot spell!] - claimed that a "Conservative government would be very supportive of Islamic finance," but that the issue has been kept off the radar because it has "no political mileage." As with the David Cameron Guardian story, this is a somewhat selective quotation from a real news story that Ceclia Valente wrote on the Reuters website.
To summarise, you're nobody in politics until someone feels that you are worth attacking. Accordingly, it feels good to have arrived!
Each of us changes the world every day. We can choose to make it a better place.