December 15th, 2014

I received a call from BBC Radio Northampton on Tuesday: with effect from midnight Civil Partnerships (CP) could be converted legally into Same Sex Marriages (SSM), they said, so would I discuss the issue on Stuart Linnell at Breakfast in the morning? They had heard me on BBC Radio London and wanted me to make my case to their Northamptonshire audience.

benjamincohenIn the event and on behalf of our campaign group Because Children Matter, I followed Ben Cohen of Pink News  in the show (here, commencing at 1 hr 6 mins 53 secs into the programme). I’ve met Ben before in LBC studios and he’s a friendly articulate guy although this time inevitably he stumbled and struggled to identify any advantage of same-sex marriages over civil partnerships.

“(You make SSM) sound just symbolic really,” said Stuart Linnell (at 1:14:53). The presenter was trying to help his faltering interviewee, but also unwittingly he exposed the fact that while SSM may be an important issue for Pink News gay activists and their useful idiots in the LibLabCon political class, in reality and on the ground it is an empty – if destructive – charade.

Indeed Ben was forced to concede that the number of gay couples who have entered into SSMs since they became legal on 29th March “is not that high” (at 1:13:20). Thank-you-but-noOrdinary same-sex couples have seen through the pretence and said “No thanks”. Significantly, the in-touch leadership of Ukip like Nigel Farage and gay MEP David Coburn have seen through it too, to Ukip’s electoral advantage.

When it was my turn (this slot can be heard in full here) I pointed out that while CPs are what it says on the tin, SSMs are a fake and a counterfeit: while conventional marriage commits the participants to a faithful ‘til death us do part’ which brings stability and huge benefits for the nurture of children, SSMs were designed by the government  to accommodate what Brendon O’Neill calls the “flightiness and flexibility more commonly associated with gay relationships”.

So adultery is no ground for divorce with SSMs. High-profile gay couple Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow play the field and openly advertise for sex partners – “preferably firemen, married men, muscle men and rugby players” – on Gaydar. And BBC-duping Eric Anderson reckons to have had sex with over a thousand people other than his marriage partner Grant Tyler Peterson. Faithful monogamy SSM is not.

rageMy approach clearly hit the target as Ben Cohen was incensed. He contacted the programme producer and demanded further airtime. Rebuffed, he took to his website and gave vent to his spleen. There he quoted me at length and I’m grateful for the further coverage of my views.

But he also let slip his guard and laid bare the underlying intolerance for which triumphalist gay leaders have become renowned. “Everyone understands the BBC, like all broadcasters, must ensure that news reporting is balanced and impartial,” he burbled, “however when it comes to reporting on gay rights issues the BBC seems to step well off the mark… As the law has already been enacted, this issue is no longer up for debate… So quite why BBC Northampton felt the need to allow Alan Craig on the air to regurgitate the same old anti-gay diatribe, and for that to go unchallenged is beyond me.”

No doubt Ben was disappointed at his own confused contribution to the programme, and in his subsequent anger at my arguments he illustrated an almost universal truth: gay activists, having stormed and plundered the ancient marriage stronghold, now want to lift the drawbridge and shut down all further discussion.

It’s the Pink News definition of democracy: “The issue is no longer up for debate”.

November 29th, 2014

Over the past couple of decades the scale of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests and members of Catholic religious orders has shocked the world. Although it is reckoned that the prevalence of abuse in the church has now significantly declined the abuse and subsequent cover-up has massively damaged the moral authority of the church – and, by association, of Christianity itself.

abused boyIn the UK concern over child abuse has moved on to other infected institutions like the BBC and the NHS, and left the former’s reputation in tatters. In 2012 the nation was stunned when it emerged that Jimmy Savile, one of the BBC’s favourite children’s entertainers, and others had systematically abused children on a massive scale over many years on BBC and NHS premises and the BBC too had done a cover-up. And within two years BBC celebrities Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall and celebrity publicist Max Clifford had been jailed for similar sexual offences against minors.

Since 2012 also, when MP Tom Watson first raised the issue in Parliament, the Elm Guest House child abuse scandal has rarely been out of the headlines. In the 1980s, it seems government ministers, top policemen, senior civil servants, diplomats, barristers and other establishment figures were part of a powerful paedophile network linked to the hostel in south London where male orgies with boys took place and up to 100 victims were groomed and abused for sexual purposes. depressed adolescentThe trail of depravity leads even to Downing Street and, more recently, there have been accusations of child abduction and murder linked to the house.

Add to this evil the other child abuse scandals and the epidemic of Asian/Muslim grooming gangs such as those at Rotherham, Rochdale (and, separately, its former MP Cyril Smith), Oxford, Birmingham and Bristol, and it seems that predatory paedophiles operate in every area and level of society. Further it is clear that the state has little idea how to protect the vulnerable victims who almost always come from public care and/or grow up outside the security of the traditional family.

So I was concerned when a colleague drew my attention to the words, works and wisdom of American-born sociologist Professor Eric Anderson who currently teaches at Winchester University. In a lecture at Trinity College Oxford, which followed a similar address at Glasgow University, Professor Anderson claimed to have had sex with “easily over a thousand people”. When asked, he admitted with a laugh that he is a sexual predator.

Professor Eric Anderson“I like sex with 16, 17, 18 year old boys particularly,” the gay Professor crowed, “it’s getting harder for me to get them but I’m still finding them… I hope between the age of 43 and the time I die I can have sex with another thousand, that would be awesome, even if I have to buy them…”

Why gay sex is better than straight sex’ was the proselytising title of his lecture and Professor Anderson opened his speech to the predominantly LGBT audience with a depraved flourish: “My intention is to offend you,” he said. “I’m going to cuss a lot and I’m going to break down all kinds of hegemonic structures. If you’re offended by discussions of anal sex, vaginal sex, rimming, cheating, having cum all over your face then you should probably leave.”

Incidentally, in addition to discussing these predominantly unhealthy harmful sex games as well as bestiality and incest, Winchester University’s eminent professor called the then Archbishop of Canterbury now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, Rowan Williams, an “arsehole”, “a total bigot” and “a fucking liar”.

In the midst of this obscenity Professor Anderson turned his attention to child abuse. He teaches in the University’s department of sports studies and in the US was a successful sports coach, but he claimed that team sports are more damaging to adolescents than sex. “The damage that’s caused by child molestation is socially constructed by the western world,” he opined, and contrasted this to other cultures where children engage in sex with adults as a rite of passage.

Sambian child abuseBy classifying child molestation as an artificial social construct rather than an absolute and profound evil, the professor was using his academic credentials to undermine society’s healthy hostility towards child abuse. And he is not alone; this misleading cultural comparison has been utilised by others too. In another context gay campaigner Peter Tatchell, for instance, cites man/boy sexual relations, often during manhood initiation rites, amongst remote tribes such as the Siwan of Egypt, Batak of Sumatra, Anga of Melanesia and Sambia of Papua New Guinea.

In a direct parallel, tribes and cultures outside the West also engage in female genital mutilation. It would be just as repulsive as well as untrue to suggest that the damage to girls caused by FGM is socially constructed by the western world and that consequently it can be tolerated, affirmed or even celebrated in cultures outside the West. FGM like child abuse is an absolute evil that should be universally opposed and proscribed.

university-of-winchester-bannerWinchester University continues to give a platform and cloak of respectability to Professor Anderson’s dangerous depraved views. So colleagues and I decided to campaign for his removal. “My prior university, the University of Bath… practically ran me out of town because they couldn’t stand my research,” he bragged to his audience during the lecture. We argue that the University of Winchester should follow suit.

Earlier this month our group Because Children Matter wrote to the University Vice-Chancellor and the Board of Governors as well as to outside stakeholders such as principals of feeder sixth form colleges, and we held a leafleting campaign in Winchester city centre. Our activities were covered by the Sunday Times , the Southern Daily Echo and on YouTube .

Watch this space for further developments.

October 30th, 2014

In my previous post  I told how I have applied to join UKIP. This simple democratic act seems to have caused some fluttering in some dovecotes.

I was contacted by a self-styled ‘business reporter’ from the HuffPost, left-liberals’ right-on answer to the Daily Express, who in his subsequent piece avoided business issues and instead attempted to generate a media puff by citing my three-year-old bullseye post about the gaystapo and claiming that my application had “sparked fury on Twitter”. ukip badgesFortunately UKIP would have none of it and dismissed this with the comment that the party is “very wary of joining in a witch-hunt against somebody who holds those views that the vast majority of the world would also hold” – which explains why UKIP is the popular and rising power in the land.

Another anti-UKIP political weblog, the gay-run PinkNews, also tried to climb on board but in its article it paid me the compliment of accurately quoting at length my views about gay marriage taken from two posts on this blog. I’m grateful for the further coverage.

And down amongst the minnows, here in east London a parochial blog called ForestGate.net ran the unimaginative headline ‘Alan Craig gets kippered’. It claimed that I have always been a bit mad and that I am not really that much of a Christian at all. “Just as Nigel Farage is a bigot who dresses his nasty prejudices up as ‘common sense’, Craig dresses his up in scripture and calls them religious convictions,” it snarled, desperately trying to create some local froth. But I don’t think Forest Gate was listening…

In the previous post ‘Matthew Parris’ Poison’, I highlighted a sniffy article by Times columnist Matthew Parris about Clacton and its residents (“Ten tattoo parlours, no Waterstones”) as a prime example of why UKIP is so popular, coming as it did right from the heart of the out-of-touch metropolitan political class where Matthew Parris resides. I now have another example, but this time from the Guardian:

Rev Giles FraserIn his day job The Revd Canon Giles Fraser was, until 2011, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is now parish priest at St Mary’s Newington just a few streets from Lambeth Palace, London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Revd Giles also has a regular Saturday column in the Guardian. Earlier this month he turned his attention to UKIP in a piece headlined “Jesus wasn’t much taken with biological kith and kin – he said we’re all one family”.

For three paragraphs he paraded his professional compassion for a struggling parishioner – whereby, as Christ said, he like the hypocrites has received his reward in full. Then Canon Giles turned his journalistic cannons onto UKIP and, grandstanding for his Guardian readers, pigeonholed UKIP-supporting fellow citizens with a loathing and poison that out-Parrised Parris.

“I despise them (my italics),” he sneered sanctimoniously. “I despise them for their Little England mentality (my italics). I despise them for their total absence (my italics) of fellow-feeling towards vulnerable people who look and sound different. I despise them for the way they scapegoat (my italics) immigrants and whip up (my italics) the resentment of white working class. IDespiseYouBut I especially despise them (my italics) for the way they dress all this up (my italics) as the protection of something they call Christian England.”

This is such inaccurate dishonest hate-fuelled stereotyping that it is a parody of itself. Indeed the article would be laughable if it didn’t come from an establishment figure of the national church. As it is, it is unbelievable and unfair. “Physician, heal thyself,” Jesus might chide him for his inflammatory bigotry. “Take the log out of your own eye.”

The Lord also might remind him that it is not an option for a Christian, especially a Christian minister, to despise anyone whatever their views. “Love your neighbour” and “Love your enemy” are foundational for all Christ’s followers.

Justin WelbyAnd if he doesn’t want to follow Jesus, the Revd Giles should at least listen to his boss just down the road at Lambeth Palace. “The language we use must reflect the value of the human being,” said  Archbishop Justin Welby, rightly, about the recent immigration debate.

By ramping up his language and displaying his bigotry across the columns of the Guardian, the former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral works wonders for UKIP, just like Matthew Parris. But I’m not sure that’s what he intends. And I’m not sure heaven smiles on his article either.

If he continues to write such bile, for UKIP’s sake the Guardian should give him more frequent space and more column inches.

But for Christ’s sake the Archbishop should sack him from the church.

September 29th, 2014

yes-scotland-poster-dont-let-them-tell-us-we-cantGay marriage illustrated it; Brendon O’Neill exposed it; and more recently the #YesScotland campaign highlighted and traded upon it: the UK’s political class is a corrupt, elitist, irresponsible, disingenuous, patronising, self-serving cartel. It must be urgently broken up and closed down.

Whatever you think of the issue itself, the gay marriage legislation last year was a democratic disgrace. Faithful one man/one woman marriage has been a defining and enduring bedrock of our society and culture – and the preeminent place of nurture for the nation’s children – for a millennium and a half.

lemmingsYet without warning, electoral mandate, Green or White Paper consultation or intelligent debate, and egged on by media, the PR industry, Hollywood celebs and the all-powerful gay lobby on both sides of the Atlantic (the UK perennially follows where the US leads), our political leaders like lemmings rushed off the marriage cliff and into the gay sea while emoting loudly and stupidly that it is “all about love”. Overnight, unitedly and unnecessarily they redefined, enfeebled and wrecked a hugely beneficial social institution.

As a consequence procreation and child-rearing are no longer primary purposes of marriage and conjugal faithfulness is no longer a primary characteristic. Marriage is no longer marriage.

This was extraordinary and irresponsible social vandalism by the Tory Bullingdon boys, their ilk in all parties and their fawning followers on the issue across the political class. Short-sighted adult gay rights today were prioritised over the weighty matters of our children’s upbringing and our society’s tomorrow. And sexual activity, identity, licence and gratification were legislatively endorsed by the Mother of Parliaments as the rising public values of our time. So, like Roman civilisation before us, hereon it’s all downhill.

Brendon ONeillIn a series of biting articles Brendon O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online, excoriated the whole democratically-bankrupt process. The titles of his pieces indicate where he was coming from: ‘The iron fist in the velvet glove of gay marriage’;   ‘Congratulations, gay marriage campaigners – you have completely destroyed the meaning of social progress’; and ‘Gay marriage: a case study in conformism.

The articles are worth reading in full as he incisively challenges the top-down soft-authoritarian imposition of gay marriage by the select liberal metropolitan elite. One sentence exemplifies O’Neill’s thrust: “The push for gay marriage has taken place entirely at the level of respectable society, being spearheaded by tiny handfuls of sharp-suited gay lobbyists, lawyers, celebrities, commentators and the Notting Hill/Hampstead sections of the political class.”

This is the same political class that Alex Salmond railed against so roundly in his #YesScotland referendum campaign; he labelled and damned it as “Westminster” or “London”. An astute Scottish observer of my acquaintance reckons that when all three UK party leaders were forced to drop their above-the-fray aloof posture, leave the capital and make panicky visits north of the border during the last 10 days of the referendum, 5% of Scots promptly switched sides to vote Yes against them.

Clackton on SeaAnd early this month the same patronising arrogance received an airing in its most ugly expression – so ugly that it’s almost a parody of itself. Matthew Parris, columnist for The Times, took a day trip to the former Tory stronghold of Clacton-on-Sea in Essex where a by-election takes place on 9th October and wrote about the experience.

His article reeks of racism, elitism and condescension. He reckons Clacton is peopled by the elderly, the ill, the has-beens and the anti-immigration English. “This is Britain on crutches,” he sneers. “This is tracksuit-and-trainers Britain, tattoo-parlour Britain, all-our-yesterday’s Britain.” “There are ten tattoo-parlours and no Waterstones,” he sniggers.  “Somebody has to represent the static caravans and holiday villages and the people and places that for no fault of their own are not getting where a 21st century Britain needs to be,” he sniffs.

I simply don’t see how a reputable newspaper in our modern egalitarian democracy can publish such neo-Nazi political eugenics. Parris advises the Tories that the residents of Clacton are not part of the metropolitan master race that inhabits Canary Wharf and other gilded, up-market neighbourhoods in the capital and that therefore they safely can be ignored. “The weak, the unlucky, the resentful, the old and the poor will always be the easiest to enlist as clients, for they have nowhere else to go,” he snorts cynically. Joseph Goebbels couldn’t have put it better.

Matthew ParrisOf course even Parris wouldn’t want to hasten their end by consigning the weak, the old and the poor to the gas chamber. But his logic tells the Tories that there is no point in applying the scarce resources of the NHS or the welfare state to such nobodies. Better to invest in the Canary Wharf future than prop up the Clacton past.

It is pure poison. Parris’ stomach-churning and profoundly unChristian attitude towards his fellow citizens is both beneath contempt and amply illustrative of today’s metropolitan political class.

Two weeks ago I spent my first day campaigning for UKIP in Clacton.

Last week I applied to join the party.

August 16th, 2014

Luke Tryl is an Oxford-educated young Tory-on-the-move. Luke-TrylHe was President of the Oxford Union in 2007; stood as a Conservative candidate for Lambeth Council in 2010 , a useful Tory precursor for a subsequent shot at Parliament; was appointed Head of Education at Stonewall after experience at various policy think-tanks ; and was elected chairman of Dulwich & West Norwood Conservative Association in March this year .

Still only in his late 20s, last month he was appointed Special Adviser to Nicky Morgan, the new Education Secretary. I wish him well personally as he continues his climb up politics’ greasy pole.

But Luke self-identifies as gay and Christian, and in an autobiographical piece for the Faith and Sexuality Project  he promotes the idea that because Christ never mentioned it directly, “Jesus… never condemned homosexuality.”

This is naïve and simplistic. The same for instance could be said about child brides. And incest. And FGM. And zoophilia. And cannibalism. And animal cruelty. And deforestation. And spitting on other people’s food. And a host of other activities, ills and evils.

Furthermore it’s a self-serving and untrue conclusion that cheapens the radical demands which Jesus lays on all his followers.

Luke has a personal agenda of course but regrettably he is not alone in his views. Soaking wet liberal clergy similarly misrepresent the issue. And last Christmas the tabloid news site HuffPost mockingly displayed a blank-paged Bible in response to its own headline, “What Jesus says about homosexuality” .

Candy-FlossFurther, with the doctrinal authority that accompanies celebrity, Elton John informs us that “if Jesus was alive today” (oops, fallen at the first fence; Elton clearly is not too strong on the most basic tenet of his religion) the Lord would be in favour of gay marriage for priests as “he was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together”. And fairies, Father Christmas and cuddly bunnies too, no doubt.

So, leaving aside the candy floss of pink theology we can turn instead to the challenges of reality and truth:

During his three-year ministry Jesus engaged almost entirely with Jews in the land of Israel whose religious and cultural background was the Hebrew scriptures – what Christians today call the ‘Old Testament’. As is well known, the ‘Law of Moses’ found in these scriptures is formidably firm about much sexual morality: for instance it specifically prohibits incest (Leviticus 18:6f), adultery (20:10) and bestiality (20:15) as well as homosexuality (18:22).

Did Jesus try to alter or amend this Law? Absolutely not; he told his followers specifically that he did not come to change even “a jot or tittle” of the Law.

raising the barNot only that, he raised the bar significantly and told us we are judged on our thoughts and attitudes as much as our outward actions. “You have heard that it was said (that is, in the Mosaic Law) ‘Do not commit adultery’, but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” he said in his Sermon on the Mount.

Time and again, using specific examples to illustrate the general principle, Jesus moves from the outward action proscribed by Mosaic Law to the deeper attitude of heart he requires of his followers. ‘Do not commit murder’ (outward) becomes ‘Do not even be angry’ (inward). ‘Take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ (outward) becomes ‘Do not even resist an evil person’ (inward).

So, although Jesus doesn’t mention incest, it is self-evident that if you are a follower of Christ you cannot copulate with your close family or even look at them sexually.

Similarly, although Jesus doesn’t mention bestiality, the man who proudly claims to have enjoyed “interspecies intercourse” with a dolphin and a dog  cannot – and hopefully does not – claim to be a committed Christian.

Therein lies the rub. Luke wants to have his cake and eat it. He wants both to follow Christ and to have sex with men.

Of course as a free citizen he is able to go to bed with whoever he chooses within the law. But if he joins the army he cannot fight for the enemy. If he signs for the local football club he cannot kick a rugby ball on the pitch. If he chooses to cycle to Birmingham he cannot travel via the motorways.

And if he decides to follow Christ he cannot bed another man.

merciful JesusChristians sin and do wrong, Luke and yours truly included, and certainly Jesus’ commands are radical and demanding. But it is disloyal, unChristian even, for us actively to promote a morality that is flat against his teaching.

(It is significant that singer-theologian Vicky Beeching, in an interview with gay activist Patrick Strudwick that inevitably includes a hefty dose of his agenda-driven vitriol about the church, avoided any reference to the Faith’s founder when she came out as lesbian this week.)

So what would Jesus say to Luke? Probably the same as he said to the woman caught in the act of adultery: “I don’t condemn you, but go and sin no more.”

July 7th, 2014

twin towersThirteen years ago, on 11th September 2001, two airliners flew into the Twin Towers and the world changed for ever. The pictures and political shockwaves circled the world in milliseconds; Radical Islam had arrived, dramatically, on the global stage.

Three days ago, on 4th July 2014, the leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, dressed in black, stepped out of the shadows and onto the steps of the minbar (pulpit) at the Great Mosque in Mosul – the largest city his troops have captured so far – to announce himself as the long awaited Caliph, or global Islamic ruler, and successor to Muhammad the founder of Islam (here). He thereby detonated an Islamic earthquake, and reverberations of fascination and anticipation are now circulating the resurgent Ummah or worldwide Muslim community.Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Of course most Muslims reject al-Baghdadi’s claim and an American drone may ensure he personally does not last long. But after a single 90 year absence (1924 to date), the 1,400 year old Islamic Caliphate has returned to the global stage with a vengeance, backed and enforced by the victorious evil savagery of ISIS shock troops and instantly promoted across the world by small screens and social media.

The international significance of the event is huge and can be equated in evil and intent with Adolf Hitler appearing on the platform at the 1938 ‘Greater Germany’ Nuremberg Rally soon after Nazi storm troops had marched into and forcibly annexed Austria.

HitlerHalf a million were at Nuremberg to hear Hitler while maybe only a hundred were at the Mosul Great Mosque to hear al-Baghdadi. But with internet and instant communication the wide-spread electrifying effect is the same. Young German people flocked to enrol in the Hitler Youth. Young British Muslims are flying to Iraq and Syria to enrol as jihadis.

The purpose of both Hitler and al-Baghdadi was to exude total authority and create fear. Our response to Hitler was tardy, stuttering and appeasing.

It must not be the same with al-Baghdadi, as there will be no peace in our time as long as this evil, barbaric, resurrected Caliphate continues.

June 28th, 2014

MMNTdesign“You’re the bloke I’ve seen on the internet – you’re opposing the big Tablighi Jamaat mosque,” said the bearded man as I was about to climb the stairs at Custom House station adjacent to the massive ExCel Centre in Docklands. I was on my way to this month’s Public Inquiry (here) into plans to build a 9,000 capacity mosque, and my new companion – aged perhaps 40 – fell in beside me as we climbed the steps together.

“I’ve watched your videos and you’re right you know,” he continued. “I wish others would stand up against them like you do. I’m a Muslim and I know what they’re like. I don’t go near Tablighi Jamaat mosques.”

His name, he told me, is Ali. He came to the UK from Jamaica when he was nine and had accepted Islam. “Keep strong,” was his parting encouragement as he descended onto the station platform and I continued into ExCel. “I hope you are successful.”

MMNT logoIslamic opposition to the proposed massive mosque at West Ham – the architect claims it will be a big as Battersea Power Station (here) – is nothing new. I’ve lived less than two miles from the site for over 30 years and during our 8-year campaign of opposition (here) I’ve frequently worked with and cited prominent Muslims who oppose the project (eg here).

One of the most impressive Muslim opponents has been Tehmina Kazi, director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD – here). Able, articulate and progressive, she had been a Project Officer at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (here) and, through BMSD, is now committed to promoting an Islam that is about ‘social inclusion, co-existence and harmony’ and does not discriminate against women.

On our behalf she testified strongly against the mosque in a formal submission to a previous Public Inquiry in February 2011 (here) on the grounds of Tablighi Jamaat’s isolationism and the restricted role of Tablighi women, both of which are “not conducive to social cohesion and inclusion”. She made a similar formal submission to the present Inquiry two weeks before it opened on 3rd June. It was powerful courageous stuff and right on the button; she was our star opposition witness.

Newham-Peoples-AlliancePublic Inquiries are run by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate and, 10 minutes after close of business on the day before this Inquiry opened, the Planning Inspector’s office in Bristol received an email from cowboy mosque-supporters Newham Peoples Alliance (here) informing him that our witness Tehmina Kazi had withdrawn from the Inquiry.

NPA is the dubious Muslim-led outfit that last year held demos outside Newham town hall in favour of the mega-mosque and then invited George Galloway to Newham to lead the campaign for the mega-mosque during the 2014 local elections (here), (here) and (here). Despite the usual Galloway flatulence, the initiative fizzled out.

NPA, which is driven now by internationally-connected Muddassar Ahmed, the founding CEO of Unitas Communications, by his Chief Operating Officer, Shiraz Ahmad, and by his Chief Media Officer, Zahid Amanullah (all here), had formal representation at the Inquiry, and indeed Shiraz Ahmad was one of NPA’s spokesmen.

Muddassar Ahmed(Unitas Communications claims to be a “specialist public relations and reputation management agency” with offices in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as well as London and Washington; it specialises in “the communications interface between the Islamic and Western worlds” (here) and is well-connected at senior government levels in those countries. For instance in the UK Muddassar is known to be close to fellow religionist Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the Minister of State for Faith & Communities in Eric Pickles’ Department (here); ominously Pickles and his colleagues will be deciding the final fate of the mega-mosque later this year.)

While Tehmina’s withdrawal was a disappointment it was not a complete surprise. The previous Saturday afternoon she had called me, deeply distressed, from her holiday break abroad to tell me that Muddassar Ahmed was pressurising her (“intimidating” was her exact word) to withdraw. She said that Muddassar claimed he had obtained reassurances from Tablighi Jamaat that they would treat women better in future, and he promised Tehmina “they will continue to become more liberal under his influence.”

The reassurances, if made, are risible. Tablighi Jamaat, which has 80 million followers across 150 countries, has been promoting its ideologically-driven misogyny (here) and (here) to all its followers everywhere since its foundation in 1920s India.

But Tehmina was desperate. “Muddassar is not som1 u want as an enemy – he is 2 well connected in the community,” she texted me in messages that are still on my phone. “Really sorry Muddassar has put you under such pressure and intimidation,” I replied, to which she texted “I’m still shocked that hes supporting them as his wife N***** P***** (my asterisks) is a feminist.”

“It (Muddassar’s intervention) has ruined my break,” she texted further. “It’s always left to me to stick my head above the parapet – I wish others would do so 4 a change,” she added.

problem solvedI felt and feel sorry for Tehmina. Intimidation and interfering with witnesses is a dirty business; it not only indicates the depths to which Muddassar Ahmed will sink, it also illustrates the dark manoeuvring and coercion associated with Tablighi Jamaat and their mosque project. Six years ago my family and I received a death threat from another Tablighi Jamaat supporter linked to the project (here) so I know what mega-mosque intimidation is like.

Regrettably but understandably Tehmina has since denied she was intimidated and told the media that she has been “neither harried nor pressured but had accepted the reassurances she had been given about the place of women in the mega-mosque community” (here). The sneery knee-jerk Left such as IslamophobiaWatch (here), Liberal Conspiracy (here) and @NafeezAhmed were delighted of course. But fear has worked its effect, and her denial – subsequently repeated – is testimony to Muddassar Ahmed’s bullying control.

EricPicklesLord help us if the Planning Inspector recommends, and Eric Pickles decides, to allow the mega-mosque project go ahead. We can expect more, many more, such dirty tricks.

I can understand why my new friend Ali stays away from Tablighi Jamaat mosques.

May 19th, 2014

It has long interested me that orthodox Muslim belief reckons the Quran is the uncreated Word of God that existed in heaven before time and that – unlike the “inferior” Jewish and Christian scriptures which were written, edited, selected and, they say, despoiled by men – the Quran that we have today is the pure, perfect and unadulterated Word, exactly as revealed to Muhammad from heaven by the angel Gabriel, and since protected from corruption by man (here).

BibleborderThis is nonsense of course, and I’m grateful that orthodox Christian theologians make the more modest claim that the Bible was written by holy men who were inspired by God – “God-breathed” St Paul called it (2 Tim 3:16). This enabled the Christian scriptures to survive the onslaught of higher criticism, textual critism, historical critisism, source criticism, form criticism and all the other methodologies that put Holy Writ under the sceptical rationalist microscope and were expected by some to demythologise and destroy it. Unsurprisingly the Bible shrugged off the assault and flourishes still as the global best seller, even in parts of publicly godless Europe (here).

Recently I flew to the Revelation TV studios (here) in southern Spain, determined to challenge the Quran’s claims to direct divine authorship and scriptural superiority. I was invited there to debate a related topic, ‘Islam or Christianity – which is more relevant to 21st century Britain?’ and my opponent was the Islamist, Sharia judge and hate-figure Anjem Choudary. Even to our post-Christian rapidly-paganising society it shouldn’t be difficult to demonstrate how Biblical values have been the foundation of British culture, language, education, laws and parliamentary democracy, and how there are still Biblical echoes from the past impacting society today; the much-prized NHS, for instance, was firmly founded on Christian care and compassion and praised by its creator Nye Bevan – no believer – as a “bit of Christianity” (here).

AdebolajosnoteborderAnd the Quran is clearly impacting Britain too: an appropriate if appalling illustration is the case of terrorist Michael Adebolago, aka Mujahid Abu Hamza, who has been directly linked with Choudary (here). Adebolago quoted twenty-two Quranic verses in his hand-written justification of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich last year.

In the first half of the TV debate – you can view it in full (here) – Choudary advanced some of the standard Islamic claims why today’s Quran is the only flawless Word of God; it is “a miracle”; unlike the Jewish and Christian scriptures it was “written down contemporaneously in the time of the Messenger Muhammad”; there is “only one version in the world”; while there are “many many versions of the Bible, we don’t have many versions of the Quran”; and “we do still have the original of the Quran”.

This last point is central to mainstream Islamic belief about the Quran; “All Qurans available in the world today are exactly identical to the Uthmani version” they claim (here) which was the version selected and compiled by Caliph Uthman some twenty years after Muhammad’s death in 632 AD.

Leaving aside the extensive arguments then about what available Quranic texts should and should not be included (Muhammad’s preferred wife Aisha, for instance, complained that a favourite clause in her copy of the Quran was not included in the new official Uthman version, and that Surah/Chapter 33 had been reduced from 200 verses in her husband’s time to just 73 verses), it is a simple historical fact that we do not today have a copy of this Uthman version.

Further, the oldest versions we do have (the Summerkand and Topkapi manuscripts are the most comprehensive) date from the 8th century decades after Muhammad’s death, are incomplete, inconsistant and have significant variant readings; they have non-divine human editors’ fingerprints all over them.

Adebolajo michael.jpg-largeIn the light of this I pressed Choudary hard on his claim that we do still have the original and exact Muslim scriptures (about 25 minutes into the debate if you wish to check the video), and he was forced to concede that these “may or may not exist”.

It was worth flying to Spain just to hear a representative Islamic fundamentalist acknowledge this. Next we must persuade him and others publicly to concede the fact that extant versions of the Quran have significant, confused and contested variations. And then, logically, that today’s Quran as derived from them cannot be the pure, perfect and uniquely authoritative Word of God untouched and unspoiled by man, as they claim.

Then maybe – tragically too late of course – we need to tell Michael Adebolago.

April 10th, 2014

“I am writing to inform you of the gay wedding between Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow taking place this Saturday,” gushed the PR agent’s email from Essex that dropped into our GayMarriageNoThanks inbox a few days before the first gay marriage day on 29th March.

Drewitt-Barlows“We… actively invite protesters to turn up and be interviewed,” burbled the blurb. “The national press already confirmed are Sky TV, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Sun. A significant number of regional publications, radio stations and TV channels are also confirmed…

“Stars of The Only Way Is Essex are among the many celebrities set to make appearances at the wedding of the gay dads,” the puff piece went on. “Elton John has been invited,” they oozed.

Clearly the event was to be an exercise in spin, hype and mirrors. The Drewitt-Barlows were legally bound together in a massively publicised Civil Partnership ceremony in 2006; they cannot therefore legally be married until more laws are changed, probably later this year. So there was to be a celebration, a party and a booze-up, but no wedding. The event was a fake.

We decided to go anyway. Having confirmed with the PR agent that no children would be in the media zone outside the event, and that we came in peace to explain our opposition to gay marriage not to protest, we set off with our GMNT posters (one shown below: ‘I want my Mum’) and arrived just before it started.

Elton JohnSurprise, surprise: Sky TV was not there. Neither was The Daily Mail. Nor The Sun. Not even Elton John.

But we had half an hour in the sunshine with the media nonetheless. We were interviewed by eight or so journalists and cameramen; most of them were local and – like most people – had never considered the adverse effects of gay marriage on children.

The problem is that all gay marriages are a counterfeit. According to the government and unlike conventional marriages, gay marriages cannot be consummated and adultery cannot be reason for divorce. So same-sex partners in a gay marriage are free to play the field whereas husbands and wives in a real marriage promise to be faithful ’til death us do part’.

By firmly bolting a counterfeit on to the hallowed institution of marriage, parliament has diluted, distorted and, in the end, dismantled an invaluable social institution. And it is the nation’s children, who need stability, commitment and faithfulness at home to best flourish, who will suffer.

Furthermore all children are necessarily created by both a mother and a father, and they have an innate right to the people that gave them birth. This child’s right should trump all adult selfish interests and rights, straight or gay. But fifteen years ago gay dads Barrie and Tony led the UK field in legally obliterating mothers from their children’s personal history (here). No mother is mentioned on their children’s birth certificates but rather Parent 1 (Barrie) and Parent 2 (Tony). It is a legally-sanctioned form of child abuse and the documents are a physiological and legal lie.

GMNTIwantmymumFurther, the gay dads deliberately have allowed no mother figure in their children’s upbringing and they have stated clearly they want to keep it that way (here).

For anyone, including the state, to refuse or absolve a mum of her child-rearing obligations without good reason also is a form of child abuse; offspring have a right to their dad and mum partly because “both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child” (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; Article 18). Children should not be passed around like possessions or bought and sold like slaves.

What’s more the Drewitt-Barlow kids have suffered a further form of abuse. A few years ago Barrie and Tony displayed the children’s pictures on the gay-dating website Gaydar where it seems the two dads advertise for male sexual partners; apparently they prefer “firemen, married men, muscle men and rugby players” (here).

The Drewitt-Barlows are well-connected media-savvy millionaires who run surrogacy businesses in Essex and California. Tony runs seminars on same-sex parenting and promotes himself as a public speaker. Barrie claims he an expert in same-sex parenting too.  Barrie also informs us that he is a social worker whose “aim at all times is the welfare of all children born through surrogacy” (here).

What a masterclass in falsehood and hypocrisy!

March 10th, 2014

I was back in Nigeria again last month for the second Stefanos Foundation conference for  minorities sponsored by Gatestone Institute, which I helped to put together. Media interest was even greater than for the January conference (here) and I found myself again calling on the British government to rectify colonial wrongs on NTA (Nigeria Television Authority) and AIT (Africa Independent Television) news programmes as well as elsewhere (here). 

boko_haram_logoMy report on the conference was published last week by Gatestone (here  and below):

The security situation across northern Nigeria is unstable-to-terrible. Islamists Boko Haram have threatened to eradicate Christianity through a campaign of violence against Christians and churches (here) and have killed 2,000 people including moderate Muslims in four years (here).

Further, the next Federal elections are planned for just twelve months’ time; during the last ballot in 2011 the re-election of Christian presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, resulted in the death of 800 Christians and other minorities and the destruction of up to 300 churches at the hand of rioting Muslim protestors in the twelve northern Sharia states (here). 

Nonetheless, Dr. Bala Takaya, vice-president of Nigeria’s Middle Belt Forum, former head of the Department of Political Science at Jos University and alumni of the London School of Economics, is hopeful. Speaking to the media outside the second Stefanos Foundation conference for the country’s northern ethnic minorities – an initiative of Gatestone Institute held in Abuja recently – he claimed that the northern minorities are becoming stronger and more united. “We have come of age,” he said.

Bala-TakayaInside, he had reminded the gathering how for a hundred years the minorities in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria had been oppressed and held back both by the Fulani Islamic elite and, until independence in 1960, by the British colonial masters.  But now better education, increasing consciousness and hard-won political experience has resulted in the grass-roots growth of a “Middle Belt” identity separate from the dominant Fulani-Hausa Muslim culture. “The yoke is broken. The shackles are being thrown off. The time is now,” he told delegates.

In line with the governance structure imposed by colonial administrators, Nigeria – at 170 million, Africa’s most populated country — is frequently recognized as two separate regions with a common border and a joint Federal government: and the larger but more dispersed mainly-Muslim North, and the geographically smaller but more intensely populated Christian-majority South.

Ethnically the North is dominated by Hausa tribal language and culture, while the South is identified with the main Yoruba and Igbo tribes.

But these political and ethnic monoliths betray an on-the-ground diversity that is politically inconvenient and therefore regularly ignored. It has been calculated that there are over 800 different tribal and linguistic groups across the country. A recent book by the journalist Rima Shawulu Kwewum, for instance, calculates that Bauchi — the seventh largest of Nigeria’s 37 states – has ninety ethnic groups and nationalities, while Adamawa and Taraba States have over a hundred. For many Nigerians the local tribe is a prime source of identity.

Nigerian Sharia MapNowhere is tribal attachment stronger than in the polyglot southern areas of Northern Nigeria – the “Middle Belt” of the country which was first tentatively claimed as a separate collective entity as long ago as the 1930s. Comprising mainly Christian and Traditional African (British administrators called them “Pagan”) tribes, ‘Middle Belters’ – who are found indigenous in even the most northerly Sharia states of Borno, Yobe and Kebbi – have increasingly asserted their ethnic distinctives, and rejected northern Fulani/Hausa hegemony with its second class dhimmi status for non-Muslims.

“(We have) historically found solidarity and expression in feelings of alienation and deprivation based on (our) crude and systematic subordination, oppression, suppression and exploitation,” explained a Middle Belt Forum leaflet some years ago. MBF counters the oppression today by “promoting freedom…, respect for human rights, human dignity and the sanctity of human lives” (here).

But ethnic diversity can be a weakness: tribes frequently have a history of local disagreement and even fighting among them. Unity may be strength but cooperation is not necessarily easy.

This is why, according to many delegates, the Gatestone-Stefanos conferences have been important, unique and timely. The events are the first grass-roots initiative for local people rather than state politicians, although some key public figures have attended too. The aim is to find common interest and facilitate local collaboration between minority groups in fifteen of the nineteen northern states. The emphasis is on training: appointing local co-ordinators, drawing up action plans, planning networking opportunities and setting time-lines.

Despite the tension, the conferences have been calm and focused. During a priority-setting session, “equal opportunity for all tribes and groups,” “job creation,” “better education,” and “recognition of excellence” were rated significantly higher than “defeat of Boko Haram,” perhaps because that is seen primarily as the job of the military.

Although the events were about asserting minorities’ human rights in the Muslim north, the mood was conciliatory; the organizers anticipate that some marginalized Muslim tribes will join the initiative too in due course. National unity and “One Nigeria” were, informally, the conference strapline; peace-making and nation-building at the local level were the task in hand.

“Middle Belt is in the middle of the country,” said Dr. Takaya. “We are the glue that holds north and south Nigeria together.”