Category Archives: Crime

Truth-telling About Rape Gang ‘Holocaust’, UKIP Conference 2018

In my capacity as UKIP Spokesperson for Families & Children, I gave a platform speech at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham on 21st/22nd September.

I focused on the largely unacknowledged and shameful rape gang scandal, which I referred to as a ‘holocaust of our daughters’.

The Daily Mirror said my comments were incendiary  while ITV’s report reckoned I was accused of being “alarmist“.

But in my view ‘holocaust’ is a valid description of the immense scale and violent depraved depths of the crime against under-age children across the country, and the UKIP audience seemed to agree.

If you wish you can make up your own mind by viewing the speech here .

Tommy Robinson At The Old Bailey Tomorrow

I have this morning sent this message to Tommy Robinson:

Hi Tommy,
 
I know you are not religious. However tomorrow when you stand in the dock at the Old Bailey, you will be God’s man standing for light, truth and free speech while the forces of darkness and control will be ranged against you.
 
This is a seminal moment in the life of our country. You are being given a world-famous platform to make the case for freedom, and the world will be watching. 
 
Occasionally one man making a stand can save a country. Tomorrow, Tommy, you are that man.
 
So be bold, strong and courageous, and do not be silenced. I will be praying that you hold your head high as a proud Englishman fighting for freedom, and that you receive true justice.
 
#IamTommy, and so are many thousands of others.
 
Your friend and admirer,
 
Alan Craig

CSA And Rape Gangs: Honour Survivors’ Courage

The two most electrifying speakers at the #SurvivorsFirst rally of child sexual abuse sufferers at Rochdale were both Scots.

Dave Sharp, one of the organisers, told how he had been raped, drugged, shut in coffins, hanged by the neck and trafficked to Ireland while at a Catholic boys’ residential school in Fife. After years of drug and alcohol abuse to numb the pain, he became a Christian, turned his life around and now seeks out and supports other victims of CSA through the organisation he founded, Seek And Find Everyone (SAFE).

I have heard Dave speak before. I was the more shocked when I heard Shazia Hobbs for the first time.

Shazia is the Glasgow-born daughter of a Pakistani immigrant father and a Scottish mother who was her father’s second wife. Brought up to go to mosque and, at 18, forced into marriage to a much older Muslim man who she met for the first time on her wedding night, she rebelled and left her Pakistani family and community to live amongst white Scottish Glaswegians.

Having seen the Pakistani Muslim community from the inside, she now speaks publicly about the physical and sexual abuse of women and children within it.

As she stood in the shadow of Rochdale’s renowned Victorian Gothic town hall with its massive clock tower, Shazia attacked Muslim female politicians Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, and former Tory party chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, for complaining loudly about Islamophobia in the white community while being mute about the oppression of women and children in their own where, Shazia says, CSA and FGM are rife.

Truth hurts. Through her exposures she has upset some Muslims and their useful idiots on the Left, so she now has a panic button installed in her home and is under police protection. She lives in fear for her own safety but refuses to be silenced.

I admired her courage; it was a privilege to listen to her. Her speech was also a useful balance to the dominant Rochdale narrative about white English girls being raped by gangs of Pakistani Muslim men, for which the town has become notorious.

It was because of these infamous rape gangs that #SurvivorsFirst chose Rochdale for its first CSA survivors’ rally.

The #SurvivorsFirst movement is an umbrella body that comprises a number of grassroots CSA organisations such as SAFE, Shatterboys UK and Parents Against Grooming UK. It was launched in Hyde Park at the end of July where we heard heart-felt stories from sexually abused people who, with help from the organisations, had bravely moved on from seeing themselves as damaged ‘victims’ to identifying themselves as more hopeful ‘survivors’. The launch was an emotional experience.

On Saturday we marched through Rochdale town centre holding #SurvivorsFirst banners aloft. We stopped at the location of the notorious Smith Street toilets where boys in Council care in the 80s had been sexually exploited by paedophiles directly under the watch of Council child care officers. We threw roses into the River Roch in memory of abused children and those who have subsequently taken their own lives.

And we heard more compelling speeches from survivors and their help organisations.

UKIP was strongly represented. Katie Fanning from the NEC was everywhere chatting to survivors and putting photos up on Facebook. Members of UKIP Rochdale branch helped steward the rally. And I was welcomed onto the speakers’ platform as UKIP’s Families & Children spokesperson.

In my speech I insisted that, to help survivors get closure, rigorous justice should be both done and seen to be done. Those at senior level in large organisations like the BBC, the church and local authorities who have a duty of care towards children in their charge and who had deliberately turned a blind eye to CSA taking place, should be sacked, prosecuted and if appropriate jailed.

I also pledged UKIP would ensure that offending institutions would fund programmes of therapy, mentoring and medical help for their CSA victims, in order to help them recover from their trauma.

The commitments were well received and UKIP will be invited to the next rally. The organisers reckon that 200,000 people watched the event live on social media, which they reckon will help get the public behind their new movement.

The courage of the survivors in speaking up in public and working to get their lives back is impressive. They deserve UKIP’s full support.

This report was first published by UKIP Daily on 28th August and a similar report was published by Kipper Central on 27th  August

Another night in Rochdale

It was a filthy wet evening in Rochdale.

I was concerned, as I had arranged for two key people in the growing grassroots anti-grooming movement to meet and to go out on patrol around the town centre.

One of them is Billy Howarth, Rochdale born and bred, a working class man and proud of it. When he discovered that his young daughter was being groomed and the authorities failed to act, he went ballistic. If they wouldn’t do something to protect his daughter and girls like her, he would; he promptly set up Parents Against Grooming UK.

One of PAGUK’s activities is to run parent patrols around the town to warn children and young teenagers about the sexual abusers that inhabit public places like the bus station. As I saw when he took me out on patrol before Christmas, he knows everyone in the town, has a good relationship with the youngsters, and on their behalf has become a sharp thorn in the side of authorities and perpetrators alike.

For instance former Islamic preacher Abdul Rauf is one of the nine infamous Rochdale groomers who were convicted in 2012. He has since been released from prison back into the community. When Billy saw Rauf waiting in a car outside a local school recently – the same school that two of Rauf’s victims had attended – he went up to the car, verbally accosted him, filmed him and forced him to move on.

The other is Mohan Singh, the formidable founder of the Sikh Awareness Society, which he set up to counter the grooming of Sikh girls who, like the English victims, are despised kuffar (non-believers) to the Muslim paedophiles. Mohan’s work was the subject of a BBC Inside Out documentary: “The hidden scandal of sexual grooming of young Sikh girls by Muslim men.” You can view it here.

I first met Mohan earlier this year at his Birmingham home. I straight away realised that he sees the grooming gang atrocities with a penetrating clarity. “It’s an Islamic issue that’s occurring on an industrial scale across the country,” he told me. “Politically-correct authorities won’t deal with it properly until middle England wakes up and forces them to.”

With his long beard, orange turban, chola (Sikh warrior dress) and kirpan (Sikh ceremonial knife), I knew Mohan would cut a colourful and imposing figure out on parent patrol around the grey wet streets of Rochdale. The purpose of the patrols is educational and peaceful so there is almost never trouble. But also, loitering paedophiles know not to mess with Billy. Neither, I knew, would they mess with Mohan.

I introduced the two men to each other in the car park of Rochdale’s world-renowned Victorian Gothic town hall under its massive clock tower. It was a first meeting between these key activists that should strengthen the growing grassroots anti-grooming movement and result in some fruitful cooperation.

As we sheltered from the sheeting rain in a nearby hostelry, others joined us: John Clynch from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance; Dan Wolstencroft from Shatter Boys UK, one of the few organisations that supports male sexual abuse survivors; Tricky Powell from the pioneering group Women Against Grooming; and Rob Mudd and Tommy Barnes from UKIP Rochdale branch who recently ran a hard-hitting local election campaign over Labour’s responsibility for the grooming scandal.

Vlogger Phil Davies, aka Red Pill Phil, came along to film the event too.

It was a useful gathering of grassroots anti-grooming groups; contacts were made and plans were laid for future initiatives together.

In the event, the foul weather was so bad that the street patrol itself was a damp squib. We set off around Rochdale’s empty streets, got wet, but saw few people.

But overall, participants were encouraged. “At last people are seeing through the political correctness that has hidden the grooming gang threat,” said UKIP’s Rob Mudd. “Parents and grandparents are increasingly worried about the safety of their children, but there’s hope for them in the growing grassroots movement here in Rochdale and across the country.”

This article was first published on 29th May by Kipper Central

Time To Make Labour Pay

I have recently been appointed UKIP’s first spokesperson for Families & Children and in this capacity I have been spending time in Rochdale where one of the most infamous grooming gang scandals took place. I wrote the article below for Kipper Central this week:

It is a national catastrophe.

Predominantly Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs have flourished for decades up and down the country, while politically correct and self-interested Labour councils have turned a blind eye.

Thousands of young English girls have been groomed, raped, abused and trafficked as sex slaves, thanks to the Labour Party and its crime of omission.

Some Sikh girls and English boys too have had their lives wrecked by the groomers, while Labour looked the other way.

It’s right to hold Jeremy Corbyn’s party directly responsible. Rochdale, Rotherham, Oxford, Bradford, Keighley, Leicester, Telford, Oldham, Blackburn, Newcastle, Leeds, Ipswich, Birmingham, Slough, Blackpool, Preston, Hartlepool – these towns and others have two things in common:

First, every one of the town halls is run by Labour. And second, every one of these towns has provided public places – streets, shopping malls, school gates, curry houses, cab offices, car parks, even a car wash – for grooming gangs to operate freely, openly and with impunity.

It’s time to hold the Labour Party to account. Corrupted by political correctness so that it refused to acknowledge the abuse committed by members of ethnic and religious minority communities; and unwilling to upset these communities because of the volunteers, voting power and political support they supply to the party, Labour’s track record on the issue is shameful.

I have been investigating street grooming gangs for months and I first visited Billy Howarth, the founder of Rochdale’s Parents Against Grooming (PAGUK), in the autumn. As he showed me around the town centre where grooming takes place and told me about the corrupt Labour-dominated local council, I realised the issue is as much political as criminal. The gangs abused the girls because they knew the authorities would do nothing.

Whistle-blower Sara Rowbotham, who ran a sexual health centre for young people in Rochdale from 2004 until she was sacked in 2014, sent exact details of the street grooming to every relevant authority and agency in the town, but they sat on their hands.

More recently I met with the chairman of UKIP’s Rochdale branch, Lee Seville, and his committee. I took along leaders of both the Veterans Against Terrorism (VAT) and the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) who have expressed strong support for UKIP.

Together we drew up battle plans to take on the all-powerful Rochdale Labour party in the local elections on 3rd May in order to expose their failure to protect vulnerable girls.

The campaign is to be launched this Thursday 12th April. The DFLA are organising a peaceful protest march through Rochdale town centre, meeting at the Old Cricket Ground, Dane Street, OL12 6XT (by Asda Superstore) at 1.00pm and finishing at the old Town Hall opposite the police station on The Esplanade, OL16 1LB.

During the march we will be handing out UKIP campaign leaflets about the grooming gang scandal in the town. As well as DFLA and VAT platform speakers, UKIP leader Gerard Batten will address the marchers and the attending media. So too will branch chairman Lee Seville. I will be speaking as UKIP’s Families and Children spokesman.

When the rally is over, we will move to UKIP’s target wards and deliver UKIP leaflets through as many doors as possible.

All UKIP members are welcome to join us to hear Gerard speak, and to support UKIP Rochdale in this David-and-Goliath battle.

We’ve got the cause. We’re starting the campaign. Now let’s make Labour pay.

Grooming Gangs: UKIP’s Responsibility And Opportunity

My post here was first published on UKIP Daily:

One unfortunate by-product of Rotherham Labour MPs’ successful defamation case against UKIP’s Yorkshire MEP Jane Collins is that some members of our party are now less willing to tackle the national grooming gang scandal – the sexual exploitation and abuse of mainly young white English girls by mostly older Pakistani-heritage Muslim men.

Mind you, there always have been senior party members who insist that UKIP should not touch the issue. When I started investigating grooming gang activities in Hartlepool and Teesside, I was informed that UKIP’s former General Secretary and North East MEP Jonathan Arnott would not engage with the problem because it would be ‘anti-Muslim’ or ‘racist’ to do so.

This is the same sickening politically-correct excuse that the old parties and local authorities use. It has allowed the abuse of thousands of young girls – over 1,400 in Rotherham alone. And it was revealed just last week that men from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other Muslim backgrounds have openly abused “with arrogant persistence” over 700 girls in Mr Arnott’s own constituency of North East England.

It’s a total disappointment that UKIP’s elected representative for the area decided to pass by on the other side over this problem. We can be pleased he’s now left the party.

But Jane Collins is made of sterner stuff and was absolutely right to expose Labour’s culpability in the Rotherham scandal. Whistle-blower Jayne Senior’s book Broken and Betrayed, amongst others, provides clear evidence that the Labour-run local authority not only looked the other way but also was responsible for covering up the abuse.

The problem is that Jane Collins chose the wrong Labour target. Instead of attacking the local authority she instead cited the three Rotherham Labour MPs one of whom, Sarah Champion, has in fact campaigned hard since her election in 2012 to protect the girls and expose the scandal. Ms Champion was even sacked from Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench for publicly identifying the rapists as Pakistani men and the victims as white girls. It is therefore no surprise that Jane Collins lost the libel case.

But the issue remains and girls are still being abused, and the evidence is that this phenomenon has occurred particularly in Labour fiefdoms like Rochdale, Oldham, Bradford, Blackburn, Derby, Leicester, Oxford, Newcastle – and of course Rotherham.

The destructive effect of Labour’s PC attitudes is horribly illustrated by the devastation caused to the lives of over 1,400 young girls in Rotherham. This is what the government’s independent Casey Review says (p160):

“The case of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham was a catastrophic example of authorities turning a blind eye to harm in order to avoid the need to confront a particular community. The town saw upwards of 1,400 children sexually exploited over more than a decade; groomed by predominantly Pakistani-heritage men offering drugs, alcohol and attention followed by sexual abuse and mental and physical coercion. 

“Despite the widespread knowledge of this practice across the local authority, statutory partnerships and many local residents, those with the power to act chose to defend ‘community cohesion’ and political correctness over the vulnerable children in their care. Destroying evidence of perpetrator ethnicity and shutting down services was preferable to confronting criminals from a minority ethnic community; such was their fear of offending local cultural sensitivities.” 

UKIP is the only national party that opposes political correctness, combats the widespread refusal to see and name reality as it really is, and refuses to play the PC game. We did it over Brexit. We especially did it over mass immigration. Unilaterally we changed the political agenda and reset the political debate; this was because to UKIP it is more important to tell the truth than to avoid offending someone’s feelings or sensibilities.

This doesn’t make us popular with the political class or with some vocal minorities on the Left, but it does make us a radical anti-establishment party that ordinary people like and support.

We now have the electoral opportunity and moral responsibility to enter the fray over the issue. For the sake of the girls and their families who still suffer, we must campaign to terminate Labour Party domination of grooming gang towns across the North and Midlands, and put an end to their harmful political correctness.

Local elections on 3rd May are less than nine weeks away. Let’s start there.

Grooming Gangs: Kick Out Culpable Authorities

The article below was first published by Kipper Central ten days ago. It stands out as the most horrific UK issue I have yet written about:

The anger arose within me and I felt like throwing up.

I was sitting in a neat tidy home in small-town England last week listening to the parents and sibling of an English girl who, aged 15, had been groomed by a gang of Pakistani men from nearby large towns.

In the following years, they told me, she was abused, raped, gang-raped, beaten, forced into drug-taking, endlessly made drunk, made pregnant, had six abortions, was trafficked around as a sex-slave and had been continually violated by the men.

I felt sick, and the helpless anguish of the girl’s family compounded my nausea. They seemed such a normal decent people.

“They tried to get her to learn the Quran off by heart,” they continued, “and when she forgot it, they beat her again. Once they covered her head with a bag and all she could hear was them sharpening knives close by her throat. She was petrified.”

“They think they’re ISIS and they’re living in England,” I muttered to myself aghast.

But this has become the new normal in 21st century Britain.

Since the late 80s, girls up and down the country have been abused by Muslim grooming gangs on an industrial scale; in the first fifteen years of this century there were convictions in Rotherham, Rochdale, Leeds, Blackpool, Oldham, Blackburn, Manchester, Skipton, Nelson, Preston, Derby, Accrington, Telford, Bradford, Ipswich, Oxford, Keighley, Birmingham, Leicester, Peterborough, Burton, Bristol, Sheffield, Chesham, Slough, Banbury and Aylesbury amongst others.

Overwhelmingly the victims were white English girls, although some came from Asian Sikh background.

Most gang members were Pakistani men. But some were Somalian, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Kosovan, Afghan, Bangladeshi and other nationalities. The common characteristic is that almost to a man the groomers came from an Islamic background.

And the court successes above are just the tip of an appalling iceberg. An official report says in Rotherham alone (population 110,000) there may have been as many as 1,400 abused girls. In 2014 police chiefs reckoned that there were tens of thousands of victims every year across the UK. In 2015 Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, calculated that there could be as many as one million victims of child sexual exploitation gangs nationwide.

The other defining characteristics of the abuse have been its local nature and its brazenness.

This hasn’t been an online groomer alone in his bedroom passing videos of his secret conquests to predators and paedophiles via the dark web, nor has it been a solitary old man in a dirty raincoat waiting furtively up a dark alley.

This is in-your-face, on the street, in shopping malls, outside youth centres and above the local chicken shop. With impunity girls have been collected from their home or school by local Muslim taxi drivers and taken to flats or derelict buildings for drugs, sex and abuse by gangs of Muslim men.

It’s right to be utterly disgusted by these people, and to want them jailed with the key thrown away.

It’s also right for a political party like UKIP to attack, expose, hold to account, condemn and campaign for the removal of those in authority – the local council, social services, children’s services, the police – who have allowed this to happen.

Research shows that one reason for their inaction has been complacency, bureaucratic bumbling and inadequate cooperation between the relevant agencies.

But the main cause has been paralysing political correctness and the refusal to tackle the issue for fear of being branded ‘racist’ or ‘Islamophobic’ – or offending leaders of the local Muslim community some of whom may themselves be elected local councillors.

As a consequence young girls have suffered horrendously. And it is still happening. Today. Bigtime. Up and down the country.

A month ago I went out on the streets of Rochdale – home to the most infamous of the Muslim grooming gangs whose nine members collectively were jailed for 77 years in 2012. I was accompanied by courageous parents of rescued girls.

Dressed with anti-stab vests and body-worn cameras, they frequently run a night patrol around the town centre to try to protect girls from the predations of other grooming gangs. Despite the jail sentences, the issue is still very much alive in the town.

Political correctness and hostility has never deterred UKIP from doing the right thing. Brexit, mass immigration, opposition to gay marriage – the party has not been afraid to take on the political establishment.

For the sake of the girls, we should now campaign actively against those authorities up and down the country who are inert, stay silent or duckdive for cover when the grooming gang terror arises in their neighbourhood.

A recent report into the Rotherham grooming gang scandal found substantial failings, errors and missed opportunities by the local Labour council. But not one senior person has been sacked.

This is outrageous, and an opportunity for UKIP to do what it does best: expose the corrupt, venal, self-serving, mainstream politicians who run local councils and let young girls suffer across the country.

The next local elections are in May. Let’s campaign and kick out those responsible.

Of Fog And Boomerangs

Recently a favourite commentator of mine, Brendon O’Neill, wrote a striking article about Islam that “slices through the fog of confusion, obfuscation and sheers dishonesty of public debate” (as Melanie Phillips says in another context).

Actually, of course, there is very little proper public debate about Islam. It is a belief system privileged by our Islamophilic political establishment and protected by politically-correct but unwritten blasphemy laws in the media and elsewhere which ensure that criticism of Islam – except of its most violent versions of course – is immediately shut down as Islamophobic, racist and/or hate speech.

This protection is shown to no other religion. “Show some damn respect for people’s religious beliefs,” a pious Piers Morgan instructed Tommy Robinson last week when the latter held aloft a Quran and claimed that Islam’s holy book is “the reason why we are in such a mess” following the London Bridge and Finsbury Park Mosque attacks.

This is the same Piers Morgan who was venomous in his disrespect for Christians and others who held to traditional Biblical views of marriage during gay marriage debates.

Brendon O’Neill’s article ‘After London Bridge: let’s start talking about Islam’ points powerfully to the dangerous social consequences of protecting Islam from criticism. He writes:

“This… privilege is not extended to any other religion… Islam is ringfenced from tough discussion; phrases which at some level include the word Islam are tightly policed; criticism of Islam is deemed a mental illness: Islamophobia. 

“This is incredibly dangerous. This censorious flattery of Islam is, in my view, a key contributor to the violence we have seen in recent years. Because when you constantly tell people that any mockery of their religion is tantamount to a crime, is vile and racist and unacceptable, you actively invite them to be intolerant. You licence their intolerance. You inflame their violent contempt for anyone who questions their dogmas. You provide a moral justification for their desire to punish those who insult their religion.” 

Get that? The censorship of criticism of Islam contributes towards Islamic intolerance and violence. It’s a brilliant insight that ‘pierces the fog’ of a dishonest public debate and rightly boomerangs back onto the heads of our political class some of the responsibility for Islamic atrocities .

I’ve done my own bit to counter dishonesty in the public portrayal of Islam. In an article published on UKIP Daily following the Manchester Arena suicide bombing atrocity I argued that from its violent foundation in the 7th century it has been impossible to argue sensibly that Islam is a religion of peace.

I wrote:

Why do politicians and other religious illiterates intone the vacuous mantra that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ every time there is an atrocity like the Manchester bombing last week? 

9/11 should have stopped such nonsense in its tracks sixteen years ago. But no, they continue to inform us that Islamic terrorism has nothing whatever to do with ‘peaceful’ Islam. 

Theresa May gave Donald Trump and the Republican Party the benefit of her witlessness in a speech during her January visit to the US. “We should always be careful to distinguish between this extreme and hateful ideology and the peaceful religion of Islam,” she lectured them. 

The Prime Minister is of course just the latest in a long line of dissembling Western leaders. It started with President George W Bush. Six days after the 9/11 atrocity he went to the Islamic Centre in Washington to assure traumatised Americans that “Islam is peace” and that the religion has nothing to do with the “acts of violence” perpetrated by the airline hijackers. 

The problem with this supposed division between violent extremists and the rest is that all forms of Islam – from the “twisted version” propagated by ISIS to the most moderate westernised version – have one factor and focus that unites them: they all revere Islam’s founder and prophet, Muhammad. 

For Muslims he is second only to Allah, and indeed occasionally the Quran even gives him equivalent authority: “Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad) that ye may obtain mercy” (3: 132). For every Muslim he is the greatest moral example in history, a mercy for the world and a model for all time. 

For centuries across Muslim lands it was impossible to raise objections to him as the objector would risk execution for apostasy. Glorified legends and sanitised stories about Islam’s prophet were able to flourish without contradiction, while outside the Muslim world there was minimal interest in the man or his religion. 

However, increasing post-WW2 immigration from Muslim countries and the dramatic 9/11 wake-up call has brought Islam into full engagement with the West for the first time. Therefore things have changed: the religion has become subject to our tradition of critical inquiry, Muhammad’s life and character have been put increasingly under the microscope and, particularly, the advent of the internet has enabled open scrutiny of both Islam’s founder and his religion like never before. 

Of course in the West it is our democratic duty to examine, challenge and debate any belief system that is impacting our society; that’s how a free society works. We’ve done it with Christianity and atheism. We’ve done it too with communism, fascism and even climate change. 

We are doing it now with Islam and, as this process is new to Muslims, it has made many defensive and over-sensitive to criticism. Nonetheless the job must be done if we are to remain an open society, and we must do it despite the efforts of the political class to protect Islam, of the liberal Left to damn critics as Islamophobic and racist, and of Islamic community leaders to play the victim card. We still have freedom of speech – just. 

For as long as Muhammad was a lone and persecuted prophet in Mecca, he cut a sympathetic Gandhi-type figure who simply preached his new religion to mostly deaf or hostile ears. But after his migration to Medina in 622 (significantly, the start-date of the Islamic era) he became the powerful warrior-governor of this desert community. 

It was here he resorted to violence if it was necessary to impose his (and, as he understood it, Allah’s) will and it was here at its foundation that Islam lost any claim to be a religion of peace. 

In his ten years as Medina’s governor Muhammad fought eight major battles, personally led eighteen military operations and oversaw thirty eight others. He himself was wounded twice. 

He had a poetess, Asma Bint Marwan, assassinated at night while she slept at home with her five children. She had been virulent in her criticism of him and called for rebellion against him so, apparently, she had to go. 

After one successful battle, Muhammad authorised and attended the slaughter of hundreds of prisoners; they were beheaded in batches and their bodies pitched into a trench he’d had dug in Medina’s market place. 

So it simply isn’t credible to sanitise Islam as a religion of peace. Even today Muhammad’s swords are proudly displayed at the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul for all to see, and until recently mainstream Islam gloried in its early history of military conquests and successful battles as a sign of Allah’s special grace towards believers. 

Muhammad was no peaceful religious leader like Jesus Christ or the Buddha, nor indeed was he a political pacifist like Gandhi or Martin Luther King. He used the sword frequently during the birth of his religion. 

Muslim community leaders may describe Salman Abedi’s massacre at Manchester Arena as “unIslamic” and politicians, media and police may explain that he was an ordinary young British Muslim radicalised by his regrettable links to Libya. 

But they cannot bolster their theories by arguing that true Islam has nothing to do with violence. At heart it is not a religion of peace and never has been.” 

Following Brendon O’Neill’s insight, perhaps I should add to my article a further conclusion: Political leaders who insist Islam is a religion of peace are deliberately promoting falsehood. This dishonesty boomerangs back onto their own heads through our increased mistrust of the political elite and increased doubts about the state’s willingness to protect us from the growing Islamic fundamentalism, militancy and violence – especially amongst young Muslim men – that they deny exists.

So if in the future people feel forced to take their personal security and defence into their own hands, who can blame them?

Respecting Muslims, Challenging Islam

Since the successful Brexit referendum in June last year UKIP has, inevitably, been struggling to find a new purpose and political identity.

There is much internal party debate, and one of the current hot topics is about how the party should respond to the rise of Islam as a religio-political force across the UK. My contribution was published last week on the blogsite ‘UKIP Daily’, and now here:

Recently UKIP Daily has hosted a number of articles about issues such as halal slaughter, Sharia courts and jihadi terrorism. It is good to see the party is beginning to get to grips with the rise of Islam in our society.

But it seems we are still tip-toeing around the topic and trying to avoid giving offence. One of the contributors even wrote that we should be careful about going too far when discussing Islam in case our political enemies “have us promptly branded as BNP-Lite, or similar” – as if it matters what our opponents say about us.

We cannot do policy by worrying about tomorrow’s headlines.

Islam now saturates our political landscape and dominates the public imagination in the way that, say, Communism/Marxism did fifty years ago, and the UK is being increasingly Islamised. UKIP must therefore develop a coherent approach to the issue if it wants to be a serious political party.

I offer two key principles to guide us:

First we must fully respect Muslims as our friends, neighbours and fellow British citizens who have the same rights and freedoms as the rest of us. Stupidly stereotyping them, insulting them or slagging them down as people is unacceptable.

But, second, we must insist that we are free to challenge all aspects of Islam, unconstrained by political correctness and with nothing off-limits. Nonsense accusations of racism and Islamophobia must not be allowed to shut down necessary debate.

I’ve tried these principles and they work:

In 2005 a fundamentalist Islamic group called Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) announced that they planned to construct one of the largest mosques in the world, with a capacity of between 45,000 and 70,000, at West Ham in east London just a mile from my home and half a mile from the London Olympic stadium. TJ intended to build this as a massive showcase mosque for the 2012 London Olympics and as a global centre to propagate their hostile form of Islam across Europe and North America.

I decided to oppose it without personal animosity towards the Muslims behind the project. Indeed I often subsequently defended their right to propose their mega-mosque just as I defended my absolute right to oppose it. That’s how democracy works in the UK even if not in Saudi Arabia.

Before I started the campaign I tried to meet with the TJ elders in order to explain my opposition. Although they refused, I regularly extended the right hand of neighbourliness to them to show I had nothing against them personally or as Muslims. However they continued to refuse to meet.

I was also ruthless in publicly exposing the political ideology of the group and their underlying hostility to British society, with no holds barred. In my view it would have been utter madness to allow them this huge platform to propagate their anti-social beliefs across the UK and wider.

I launched the campaign via BBC TV in July 2006 and immediately ran into a storm of vitriol and bile, mainly from the Left, with the inevitable accusations of race-hatred, bigotry and Islamophobia. Jonathan Bartley, now joint-leader of the Green Party and that party’s leading UKIP opponent, was one of the first out of the blocks with uninformed and typically knee-jerk comments.

Muslim mega-mosque supporters too attacked me. One even issued a death threat by publishing my obituary on social media.

But as I respect Muslims and am not Islamophobic, I was able to campaign together with moderate British Muslims who also opposed this monstrosity. Our campaign co-operation was telling and in due course the message got through. Newham Council, which previously had been 100% in favour of the mega-mosque, took note, changed its mind and in December 2012 it rejected the TJ planning application. The government followed when in November 2015 Secretary of State Greg Clark MP rejected TJ’s appeal.

A personal warmth towards Muslims, together with an iron determination to publish the unpalatable facts about Tablighi Jamaat and their mega-mosque no matter the cost, were both vital to the success of our campaign.

Islam is a theocratic religion, that is, both a political ideology and a religious belief system. Also, like Communism/Marxism, it wants to take over the world. In our democracy we primarily challenge such take-overs by disputing their ideas and contesting their policies. We must maintain therefore that we are completely free to dispute the Quran, to expose hypocrisy in the Hadith and to rubbish Sharia, for example.

Further, at the heart of Islam lies Islam’s prophet Muhammad whom every stream of Islam claims is the ‘Role Model for All Humanity’.

It is our democratic duty to put Muhammad under the microscope and see what he has to offer UK society.

For instance, he had nine wives, the youngest of whom was aged six when they wed and with whom he consummated the marriage when she was just nine. If our increasingly Islamised society begins to accept Muhammad as a role model for the UK, will this necessarily change our collective view (and, ultimately, our legislation) about polygamy, paedophilia and child brides to a more Islamic approach?

UKIP is a bold radical party that rejects the soggy truth-denying political correctness of the political class. We must be willing, if necessary alone, to raise tough issues, ask hard questions and champion unpopular causes.

And from now on Islam, but not Muslims, must be on UKIP’s agenda and in our political sights.

More Brutality – And More Grace

A couple of weeks ago I made my seventh visit in as many years to the persecuted church in northern Nigeria, this time accompanied by a British writer and commentator who wanted to see for himself what is happening there. (I’ve blogged my previous visits, for instance here, here and here.)

Together we talked with many people, and it was as distressing as ever to hear the stories of Christians and other minorities who are being crushed by the iron fist of Islam – a fist wielded in the north east corner of Nigeria by the madmen of Boko Haram, and across the north and ‘middle-belt’ of the country by murderous Fulani cattle herders.

Nonetheless some of the stories were inspirational.

In one IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp we met a woman who, together with her husband and a 30-strong group of others, tried to escape Boko Haram violence by crossing into neighbouring Cameroon in early 2014. They were caught by the militants at a river bank. All the men were slaughtered and the women and children were carted off to the now infamous former game-reserve, Sambisa Forest, where the Chibok girls are believed to be held.

During a captivity that lasted two years she was forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a young Boko Haram fighter, with whom, she says, she quarrelled incessantly. Once she received 80 lashes across her back when she and other women tried to escape. In the end they were rescued by Cameroon soldiers who defeated the Boko Haram militants in a fire-fight; the militants ran away and the abducted women were left free to return home.

At eight months pregnant by her Boko Haram ‘husband’, she in due course gave birth to a baby boy whom she breast-fed as she told us her story. When asked how she felt about the boy, she told us quietly that she had been taught by her Pastor to love even in the most difficult circumstances; she felt nothing but love towards her son despite his brutal Islamist father.

We were profoundly moved by her dignity and courage.

Other people’s stories were informative.

We met with the elderly wife of a Pastor who had ministered for decades in and around Gwoza which borders on Sambisa. Boko Haram has decimated the thriving Christian community there, killed or injured many believers, destroyed dozens of churches and, in August 2014, declared Gwoza town the headquarters of their Caliphate in Nigeria along the lines of the  Mosul headquarters of the Islamic State Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

The causes of the rapid rise of Boko Haram have been much debated. Although Boko Haram’s official Arabic name when translated means ‘People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad’, most authorities refuse to blame any form of Islam. Some, like the US State Department, prefer to cite poverty, bad education and “poor government service delivery”. Others reckon it is the malign influence of armed Islamists crossing the border from West African states such as Mali, Chad and Niger. Yet others identify locals’ adverse reaction to foreign influences such as decadent Western secular lifestyles and to the residual impact of British colonialism (Nigeria gained its Independence in 1960).

We asked the Pastor’s wife what she thought. She was clear: fifteen years ago or so Afghan men dressed like the Taliban arrived unexpectedly in Gwoza and started taking young Muslim men away for education and training. That is when local Muslims became radicalised, she said, and previously good relations between many Muslims and Christians cooled noticeably.

So at the territorial centre of its operations, Gwoza, Boko Haram arose out of a radical Islam imported from a country nearly 4,000 miles away. I haven’t read that in the mainstream media.

Yet other interviewees were insightful and prophetic.

“I said it would happen,” explained the charismatic if diminutive Archbishop of Jos, Ben Kwashi. We were discussing the recent slaughter of Christians by armed Fulani herdsmen in southern Kaduna. “This persecution of Christians came from the north and started here in and around Jos in Plateau State,” said the Archbishop. “I forecast then that the Fulani violence would spread south, as it has done now into southern Kaduna. I further forecast that Niger State will be next. They will not stop, you mark my words.”

The Archbishop also pointed out that in 2015 many Christians voted for Muhammadu Buhari for Federal President even though he is a committed Muslim; he had a reputation as a former military hardman and he said he would be tough on terrorism. They have been disappointed, the senior cleric told us, as government inaction over the slaughter of Christians is difficult to explain apart from the fact that Buhari himself is Fulani.

I returned to the UK sickened once again by the Islamic and Islamist violence and inspired by many Christians’ grace under pressure and persecution.