A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Global Peace and Unity

There are lots of ways for the Labour Party and Government to engage with Britain's Muslim communities. Hardworking local MPs do it every week. Good councillors are in tune with their local communities. The Government engages with all faiths, including the various different leaders, groups and ethnically and religiously diverse Muslim community. As well as dealing with Islam as a faith, the Government also tackles violent extremism through a variety of means.

But our willingness to engage shouldn't mean that we talk to anyone and everyone just because they are a Muslim; we need to apply our own political judgements and principles, and ensure that no-one who supports violent extremism in whatever form is given a seat at the table.

At the weekend, the Excel Centre in London is host to a major event - Global Peace and Unity (GPU) - which promises a range of cultural and political sessions.

But a look at the invited speakers makes you wonder how much 'peace & unity' will be on the agenda.
  • One speaker Muhammed Ijaz ul-Haq, is a Pakistani MP. The Guardian reported on 18/6/2007 that he had reacted to the awarding of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie with the statement 'If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British Government apologies and withdraws the 'sir' title.'
  • William Rodriguez survived the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers; since then he has filed charges against the US Govt, the Vice President, and other agencies claiming that the attacks were not the work of Al-Qaeda, but in fact were a conspiracy by the US Government involving the use of controlled explosions and missiles.
  • Sheikh Muhammed Alshareef wrote an article 'Why the Jews were Cursed' which 'explains' why Muslims should shun Jews.
  • John Rees, from the Socialist Workers Party.
  • Salma Yaqoob from Respect.
  • The bloggers' favourite Robert Fisk.
  • And of course George Galloway.

There's an interesting debate about GPU over at Harry's Place.

I spent my younger years tackling Trots, so I am no stranger to the concept of 'frontism', the use of seemingly innocuous events to attract an audience, in order to expose them to ideas and messages they would otherwise never hear. In the SWP or Militant's case it might lead to a lifetime spent selling newspapers and going to political meetings. In the case of Islamism, it can lead to something much, much worse. But there's another political concept which I am reminded of when I see Vince Cable, Simon Hughes, and regrettably some Labour people on the speakers' list: Lenin's idea of the 'useful idiot'.


Blogger Shamik said...

One only need recall Kosovo to know the anti-war Left are the real enemies of Islam.

As for John Rees, George Galloway and the hideous Salma Yaqoob, well, quite frankly, words fail me.

1:55 pm, October 21, 2008

Blogger jdc said...

Oh wow, they've even got Neturei Karta, the frummer guys who believe Jewish exile is a punishment for ungodliness, and who attended Ahmedinhajad's Holocaust Conference. Nice.

2:56 pm, October 21, 2008

Anonymous David T said...


As far as I can tell, there are still two Labour ministers attending this event.

Why haven't they been pulled out, now its nature is known?

Jack Straw was invited last year, and agreed to attend, before pulling out at the last minute, as a result of some very similar speakers also participating.

Have you raised this with the Labour Party?

3:05 pm, October 21, 2008

Blogger faceless said...

You people are an embarassment to the ideals of true Labour - middle of the road wankery was never more repellent. I'd ask what happened to your balls, but I doubt any of you you ever had any.

4:11 pm, October 21, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

I tend to agree with you here, Luke. I have always found respect (or whatever they call themselves these days) and their uncritical acceptance of very conservative Islamic views disturbing.

Having said that, I find the extremes of all religions equally disturbing - some of the views of some ultra-orthodox Jews are equally dodgy. And as for evangelical Christians, well....

11:11 pm, October 21, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


this post has been noticed by a number of people in the Party structure.

I gather there is a very lively debate going on at a high level about the merits of participation.

10:08 am, October 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It depends what you mean by extremism. There is nothing wrong with having and expressing fundamential beliefs - but it's when it turns into violence, physical or verbal that it is wrong.

12:41 pm, October 22, 2008

Anonymous Dan said...

Anonymous, Luke is not suggesting that holding such beliefs is (or should be) a criminal offence, but that nobody with a conscience should be associating people who express such repugnant ideas.

3:03 pm, October 22, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

It's strange how some parts of the left are willing to accept Islamic fundamentalism, which is very evidently sexist, racist and right wing. Such open politics is not even allowed in some islamic states.

Let these people speak as to prevent them opening their foul mouths will only drive more support. It also shows the rest of the country what these vile people really believe.

9:19 pm, October 26, 2008

Anonymous no more boom or bust said...

Why are the idiots at the Home Office allowing scum like this into our country?

11:27 pm, October 26, 2008


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