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.”

February 13th, 2014

HenryJacksonSocietyThe Henry Jackson Society (here) is an admirable Atlanticist think tank based in London that among other things gives home to the redoubtable Douglas Murray (here). But yesterday, for a robust and independently-minded organisation, HJS got it badly wrong.

Their bias was on the tin. They held a meeting in Parliament called ‘LGBT Rights In Russia, Sochi 2014 and Beyond’. The only speaker was Peter Tatchell and the event was chaired by sponsoring gay MP Chris Bryant.

What I see in the mirror: Peter TatchellThe director of HJS’s Russia Studies Centre, Andrew Foxall, tried to persuade us that the event was also about corruption and security issues at Sochi 2014, Russia’s current Winter Olympic Games, but Peter Tatchell put paid to that; “LGBT rights is our main focus” he stated firmly at the beginning.

There is nothing wrong with discussing the issue of course. Russia’s abuse of human rights is a matter of real concern. But there was no discussion. The audience were allowed only to listen and ask questions. It was a one-way platform for the promotion of international gay rights under the guise of attacking the fairly easy target of Vladimir Putin and his regime – with the added bonus of Bryant and Tatchell recounting juicy stories about their own experiences as gay men in Russia. The former apparently had to wait 20 minutes at the reception desk of the Moscow Marriot hotel while he patiently explained that, yes, he planned to share both his room and his bed with his male partner.

PutinInterestingly the MP also objected strongly if briefly to the “obscene” amounts of money that have been spent on Sochi 2014, with no reference at all to the many billions spent just down the road at London 2012. It’s not difficult to see why Putin is gaining global traction with his claims about ‘Western hypocrisy’.

The rest of the world listens to the Russian President but, despite him being named The Times’ International Person of the Year last year (here) partly for his brilliant out-manoeuvring of Obama and Cameron in order to stop their military adventurism in Syria, we don’t. So when Putin claims that his prime concerns are the protection of children and Russia’s traditional family structure (here), we are so deafened by the West’s gay rights discourse that we cannot or will not hear.

But he does have a point and ironically, as a prime anti-Putin protagonist, Tatchell’s sexual ideology also makes Putin’s point for him. It is foully anti-children and, as I told the HJS meeting, the ideology renders Tatchell utterly disqualified from addressing the issue:

wolf in sheeps clothingFrom the 80′s when Tatchell was part of a team of contributors to a depraved pro-paedophilia book Beyond Youth edited by former vice chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange (here) Warren Middleton  (Tatchell wrote a chapter about reducing the age of sexual consent), to the views on his website today that school children should be taught anal sex and sadomasochism (here), he has demonstrated that Putin is right. Our children do indeed need protecting from this sort of sexual propaganda.

The HJS meeting was set up to promote Tatchell’s LGBT line and my interventions – “What about children?” I asked loudly a number of times – were not welcomed by the chair. I was faced with being ejected or leaving. I chose the latter.

Before I did so I distributed my contact details and a flyer with the following text:

Fathers Against Child Sexualisation 

Putin is a fascist brute but maybe he also wants to protect his children from this Tatchell-promoted sexualisation:

1. Tatchell advocates teaching anal sex and sadomasochism to school children:

“Sex education has an obligation to give all the facts and tell the whole truth about every kind of sex and relationship. This includes… anal intercourse and sadomasochism… Nothing must be off limits.” (www.petertatchell.net/sex_education/schoolsex.htm)

2. Tatchell bewails robust punishment of pederasts:

“…any man who has sex with Lee (a 14 year old boy) could face a maximum sentence of 10 years for kissing, touching, sucking or wanking, and life imprisonment for anal sex.” (www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/age_of_consent/14-gay-boyfriend.htm)

3. Tatchell quotes sex abuse of 9-year-olds as “great joy”:

“Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of 9 to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy… It is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.” (The Guardian: 26th June, 1997)

4. Tatchell contributes chapter on reducing age of sexual consent to 1980′s paedophilia book about (inter alia) ‘Incest’, ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’, ‘Child Prostitution’ and ‘How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable’, edited by paedophilia advocate and former vice-chair of Paedophile Information Exchange, Warren Middleton:

“(I)n the realm of sexual ages of consent, we need to ask whether the law has any legitimate role to play in criminalising consenting, victimless sexual activity.” (The Betrayal of Youth, p 118)

So who offers the greater threat to our children’s welfare?

It’s a relevant question especially if you’re a parent. Putin or Tatchell: whose views do offer the greater threat to your children’s wellbeing?

January 31st, 2014

gatestone logoI helped put together a conference for indigenous and ethnic minorities in Jos, northern Nigeria, earlier this month. Gatestone Institute, who generously sponsored the event, today published a report I wrote (here and below).

The British Government‘s Responsibility for the Crisis in Northern Nigeria 

It is a truth not universally acknowledged in Western politically-correct circles that Christianity has become the most persecuted religion in the world and that most of the oppression comes from the hands of Islam and in Muslim-majority areas (here).

Nowhere is this more true than in northern Nigeria where, in 2012, 70% of all Christians murdered worldwide were slain (here). Not only death but discrimination, too, is rife across the country’s twelve northern Sharia states in which Christians and other minorities live with second-class dhimmi status, and with inferior rights to jobs, justice and worship.

stefanos foundation logoMuch of this inequity is Britain’s responsibility according to the keynote speaker at a recent human rights conference, a program of Gatestone Institute and organized by the Nigerian aid and advocacy charity Stefanos Foundation (here). 150 delegates from many minority groups met in Jos, a city on the fault-line between the mainly Christian south and the majority Muslim north, where, in September 2001, over a thousand people were reported killed in ethno-religious clashes (here). These clashes were followed by further major riots and fatalities in 2008 and 2010, and suicide-bomb attacks on Jos churches in February (here) and March 2012 (here).

The speaker was Dr. Yusufu Taraki, a mild-mannered academic who, given the keynote platform, talked with passion on the issues in which he has specialized. With a PhD in Social Ethics from Boston University, Massachusetts, and currently Professor of Theology and Social Ethics at Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS), he was given a warm reception as he delivered his speech about the place of ethnic minority groups in northern Nigeria.

Nigeria was a British colony until 1960 during which time, he argued, “the British colonial masters took our land and handed it over to Muslim rulers… They gave us [non-Muslim groups] an inferior social/political role in the colonial hierarchical system in northern Nigeria, and that is exactly where we are right now.”

When first published in his book The British Colonial Legacy In Northern Nigeria (here), this thesis earned Professor Turaki a British government ban from entering the UK.

Professor YusufuTurakiTruth hurts even hardened British authorities, but Professor Turaki was bold enough in his speech to spread around the honors: “The worst kind of slavery in Africa was conducted by Arabs and Muslims,” he said touching on another specialist subject. “The majority of African slaves went to the Middle East and Arab countries… not to the Caribbean, the US and Latin America.” He advised the audience, for further information, to look into his book, Tainted Legacy: Islam, Colonialism and Slavery in Northern Nigeria (here).

Later, privately, he pointed out that, once British troops had conquered the northern Muslim forces of the Sokoto Caliphate and Kanem-Bornu Sultanate in 1902/3 with the laudable objective of terminating their slave trade, the colonial administration and the defeated Fulani Muslim elite found they had much in common. They both had top-down authoritarian views of governance and an ordered elitist view of the world; they saw the many different non-Muslim groups (NMGs) across the north as pagan, uncivilized and inferior. “Read the memoir But Always As Friends by Sir Bryan Sharwood Smith, the last British governor of Northern Nigeria (here), to understand the British colonial outlook,” Dr. Turaki said.

Ahmadu BelloA corresponding Nigerian autobiography, My Life by Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna (traditional leader) of Sokoto and first Premier of the Northern Region after Independence (here), also tellingly shows the Sardauna playing English cricket and Eton Fives. The English and Muslim Nigerian upper classes became close.

Working with Fulani and Hausa Muslim elite, the colonialists instituted a system of Indirect Rule which was cheap and effective. A limited number of British administrators were placed at the top of the power structure; the educated Muslim elite were next; other Muslim groups were below them; and everyone else was at the bottom. Frequently the British would foist, say, a Fulani Muslim chief on a non-Muslim village or district thereby disempowering the locals and creating an alienated hostile underclass.

Nigerian Colonial StampIronically, during colonial rule many of the pagan tribes converted to Christianity and caused tension between British colonial authorities and British missionaries on the ground. The indigenous new Christians, actively supported by the missionaries, enjoyed “redemption lift” (here) and began to assert a moral vitality, ethnic identity and spiritual independence that sometimes challenged the cozy Anglo-Islamic status quo.

But Nigerian Independence in 1960 saw the British depart, leaving behind unamended the unjust governing structure and unfettered Muslim hegemony across the north, which Professor Turaki describes as “internal colonialism.” This was the seedbed of the crisis we see today.

Libya and – until thwarted by Parliament – Syria have amply demonstrated British Prime Minister David Cameron’s liberal interventionism and his desire to reassert British power on the international stage. And, when it comes to issues such as gay rights, he has Commonwealth and former colonial countries specifically in his sights. To the fury of African leaders who want to protect their traditional values and cultures, he insists they must dance to his liberal gay agenda or risk losing overseas aid (here).

But Mr Cameron might do well to replace colonial arrogance with Christian humility; and he could, and should, acknowledge some British responsibility for the Nigerian crisis.

The Gatestone-Stefanos conference gave unique voice to minorities who, after half a century, continue to be marginalized across the north. Among other projects to rectify residual colonial injustice, the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the British High Commission in Nigeria should consider giving strong moral and financial support to this exceptional grassroots initiative.

December 17th, 2013

Dear Tom,

I never knew your late father Rob of course, but through even the distorting prism of media reports and as a Dad myself I can appreciate his outstanding paternal commitment to you. Young diver Tom Daley going for gold for his father RobertHe clearly spotted and supported your talent on the diving boards well before your age was in double digits (here), he was rightly protective of you (here), he sacrificially gave up his business to mentor you, to accompany you to events and to support you when you were under the pressure of national and international competitions. He even gained the sympathy of hard-bitten journalists for fulfilling his difficult parental role in your developing teenage celebrity life (here).

The cost to him of your career was high, but his love for you was such that he will hardly have noticed. Instead he will have been full of fatherly pride in you and your achievements, and relished the close affectionate and bantering relationship between you. Your words “my best friend, sounding board, taxi driver and biggest champion” (here) would have meant the world to him.

When he finally succumbed to cancer aged 40 just a few days after your 17th birthday, the hole in your life no doubt was massive. Your anguished tweet “I love you so much Dad” moved many hearts. Your prime source of support and security had gone. He’d been solidly there for you for all your life and, away from the bright lights of your burgeoning celebrity and diving fame, your feelings of emptiness and vulnerability must have been gut-wrenching.

But nature abhors a vacuum and vultures pounce on the vulnerable. So, a matter of months later, onto your personal stage steps gay activist and glittering Oscar-winning Hollywood screen writer/film producer Dustin Lance Black aged 39, just about the same age as your father.

81st Annual Academy Awards - ShowYou’ll know by now that Black is obsessed with MSM (men who have sex with men) issues and has written the script for and/or produced a number of gay films including The Journey of Jared Price, Something Close To Heaven, On The Bus, Pedro and, famously, the award-winning Milk. He campaigns too; provocatively he wore the pro-gay marriage White Knot (here) on stage at the sumptuous 2009 Oscars awards where he won the Best Original Screenplay prize. He’s right up there with Tinseltown’s top glitterati although regrettably, Tom, all that glitters is not gold.

You’ll also acknowledge that even before your Dad died you had become a major gay icon and focus of sexual interest in the gay community. You have been named ‘Sexiest Man of the Year’ by Attitude gay mag, ahead even of David Beckham (here). And to your credit you took it in your stride; the award is “very cool“, you said amiably. “I’m not (gay) but I wouldn’t be ashamed if I was… I’d love to have a girlfriend.” (here). It was a warm and presumably honest response.

Certainly I’ll defend your right to choose whatever friendships and relationships you like – even when you are vulnerable on the rebound from the loss of your Dad.

But it is relevant for you – and, given your national sporting and celebrity status, for the rest of us too – to wonder about Black’s intentions. Does he, like your Dad, have your interests at heart?

Or let me put it less delicately. When daily you were strutting your stuff poolside in your skimpy Speedos, freshfaced, athletic and focussed, your father would have watched over you full of paternal pride, protection, concern and support.

Tom Daley divingHow, in comparison, do you think Black viewed you on the diving boards? Was his interest in you selfless and sacrificial like your Dad’s? Was he concerned for your diving career and sporting development like your Dad? Was he motivated by self-giving love like your Dad?

Or rather was it by something altogether more self-centred, recognised universally as carnal desire?

One day you will discover for yourself the true answer: Despite protestations that he is besotted with you (here), his ‘love’ is not sacrificial like your Dad’s love. It’s much more sinister and selfish.

And now as you climb into his bed, note well that you are no longer just a gay icon; you’ve become Black’s gay trophy too. Not just a personal trophy as he delightedly deflowers your virginity and teaches you gay sex, but a massive trophy for gay ideologues and activists around the world.

You see, your diving success and fame have made you a role model for many ordinary teenage boys. This is an awesome responsibility that you have actively sought by publishing your autobiography (here) and promoting your personal TV series Splash! (here).

Cat mouseMany of these teenage boys too are subject to advances from older gay men; gay writers from Michelangelo Signorile (here) to Kirk and Madsen (here) indicate that gay men’s attraction to boys is intrinsic to the gay scene.

At a stroke you have both emboldened predatory gay men and encouraged many boys to submit to them. So we must have a look at the hedonistic unhealthy adult gay world which you yourself have now entered and into which, unwittingly, you are leading others:

First read what gay businessman Ivan Massow wrote with riveting honesty earlier this year (here)?: “Am I the only one to notice that the gay scene today seems obsessed with drugs? Obsessed with sex. Unable to take responsibility for its part in the spread of HIV. Inhabiting a soulless and empty world of hedonism… We the gay community are becoming a group of people who suddenly have everything and nothing, all at once… It’s a miserable way to live. Chemically-induced highs and kids addicted to ‘chem-sex’ is all fake b****cks. B****cks that leads to depression and, frequently, death. B****cks that is just plain boring and ultimately empty.”

AfterTheBallThen, to show things were just the same on the gay scene yesterday, read After The Ball published before you were born by gay authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen (here). With similar searing honesty they tell us “the gay lifestyle – not our sexuality but our lifestyle – is the pits” (p 276), and then for 60 pages give us chapter and verse exactly why – the pathological lying (p 280), the rejection of morality (p 289), the narcissism and self-centred behaviour (p 295), the HIV/AIDS-inducing contempt for ‘safe sex’ (p 299), the self-indulgence and self-destruction (p 302), the fear of aging and loss of youthful looks (p 317), the transience of relationships (p 318), the drugs and heavy drinking (p 336). “(T)he fast-lane lifestyle leads to exhaustion and dissatisfaction, loudly expressed, by gays who feel that ‘something is missing’, that their lives are ‘empty’ – as indeed they are: of health; of peace of mind; of contentment; of love; of genuine interconnection with others” (p 305).

Is this really the world into which you want to lead your young fans Tom?

With much concern for you and for other young people, and wishing you a really happy Christmas whether you are at home in Plymouth or with Dustin Lance Black in Hollywood,

Yours

Alan Craig

November 13th, 2013

Pakistani fundamentalists are at it again. Jamaat ud Dawa demoTheir favourite sport is threatening and menacing the vulnerable minority Christians, sometimes to the point of summarily executing them in cold blood (here).

This time it’s a young man in Lahore, Adnan Masih, who, while bored at work last month, wrote amendments in a book about the Bible and the Quran (here). His Muslim workmate shopped him to the police for defiling the Quran and defaming Islam’s prophet under Pakistan’ notorious blasphemy laws. He also informed the banned extremist group, Jamaat ud Dawah.

Rightly fearing for his life Masih went into hiding. Soon a bearded JuD mob was gathering outside the local police station. “The police had better arrest the blasphemer and hand him over to us,” demanded the group’s spokesman Hafiz Abdul Malik. “How dare someone use derogatory language about our beloved Prophet?” The protestors met every day to clamour for Masih’s arrest.

Last week hardline UK gay activists were at it too.

Valery Gergiev is a leading Russian conductor, musical reformer (here) and friend of Vladimir Putin. In London to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra for a series of works by Berlioz, the musician was compelled to issue a statement about his attitude to gay issues: “I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done…

“It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people. I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends.

“I collaborate with and support all my colleagues in the endeavour for music and art. This is my focus as a conductor, musician (and) artist…”  (here).

Tatchell demoThis of course is not good enough for UK gay activists who brook no compromise, take no prisoners and delight in humiliating anyone who, they judge, doesn’t submit to their gay demands. Last Thursday Peter Tatchell and friends protested loudly outside the Barbican concert hall in order to hound and harass Gergiev. “He’s a friend of Putin,” thundered Tatchell. “He must suffer public condemnation. He must face the music.” (here).

So, spot the difference between the Lahore police station last month and the Barbican concert hall last week. The bullying and venom is the same. The nauseating hardline intolerance is the same. The claim to be judge and jury and the refusal to give any credence to the selected defendant is the same.

And, while it is true that the protestors didn’t threaten death at the media-driven event outside the Barbican, away from the spotlight gay activists in the UK are as up for criminal violence as any turbaned Muslim militant, as both the gentle unassuming B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull (here) and our reasonable reasoned GayMarriageNoThanks campaign (here) have discovered to our cost.Jamaatuddawa-banner

gay-flagBullying and barbarism are not the sole prerogative of Islamic fundamentalists.

October 25th, 2013

I’ve just finished Damien McBride’s controversial page-turner Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin (here), the launch of which put the cat among the Labour Party pigeons at their annual conference last month (here). McBride was Gordon Brown’s special adviser, attack dog, spin doctor and dirty tricks operator who was forced to resign from the Downing Street staff in 2009 in a scandal over plans to smear Tory MPs by leaked “lying-without-lying” stories about their private lives (here). As a proponent of political dark arts McBride is down there with Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson.

DamienMcBridesbookThe book is fascinating and foul in equal measure. Fascinating because McBride entertainingly lifts the lid on the state of politics today with humour, a good turn of phrase, telling anecdotes and buckets of self-deprecation. Foul because of the stench that arises from the decaying body politic that McBride exposes under the lid.

There are popular book reviews from varying standpoints, eg (here) and (here), and it’s not my purpose to add to them. Rather I was interested in McBride’s fulsome praise for one of our local Labour MPs, Stephen Timms, the member for East Ham and Financial Secretary to the Treasury under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. According to McBride, insiders call Timms ‘Ten-Foot’ because of his “legendary height”; he is 6’ 3½” tall (here).

Much more significant is McBride’s view that Timms is “the nicest and most morally upstanding MP and minister I’ve ever met” and that, despite all the in-your-face temptations of power, politics and a public profile, Timms remained “utterly grounded, moral and principled”.

The only other person in the book that McBride similarly eulogises is his boss, Gordon Brown, who he loyally cloaks in words like “greatness” and “genius”. But you can be an evil genius, and McBride’s book itself provides little to persuade us that Brown has the personal ‘moral compass’ that he famously claimed for himself.

But Timms does. Not only is he “morally upstanding” and “moral and principled” according to McBride, but he was also amongst the small group of MP’s who the Daily Telegraph categorised as ‘saints’ at the time of the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal (here).

Stephen-Timms MPI don’t know Stephen Timms well, but my limited experience of him confirms his integrity and his refusal to play the crude political games of his colleagues:

From 2002 to 2006 I was the sole opposition councillor – for the Christian Peoples Alliance party – on Newham Council, facing 59 Labour councillors and a Labour executive mayor. With relish I undertook my democratic duty of opposing some of the more crass decisions of the mayor and his colleagues, who were universally hostile to me for my pains. As a result at civic, council and other functions almost all Labour councillors would, amusingly, fulfil their party’s tribal demands and blank me.

But not so Stephen Timms. He would acknowledge me and usually stand with me publicly for a passing chat. It must have been unnerving for loyalist Labour councillors to see their Labour MP demean himself – as they would view it – by engaging very visibly with the loathed opposition councillor.

So why does Timms stand out from his party colleagues as “morally upstanding” and “moral and principled”? Is it his family backgound? Is it his grammar school and Cambridge University education? Only Stephen Timms himself can truly know.

But I’ll hazard a guess and it is Timms’ Wikipedia entry that blows the gaff (here).

He’s an evangelical Christian.