Category Archives: Islam

Nigel Farage: Hero To Zero?

Nigel was my hero.

I loved him for how, almost singlehandedly, he had rescued the country from the controlling clutches of Jean-Claude Junker and the power-mad dead-hands in Brussels.

I respected him for how, single-mindedly, he had toured the country for 20 years speaking against our membership of the EU. I first heard him in a Tottenham backstreet ten years ago before I joined UKIP. The meeting had been organised by Winston McKenzie, then UKIP’s Commonwealth spokesman, but it was a cold wet night and only 10 people attended. Nevertheless Nigel was charismatic, passionate and funny. I was impressed.

I admired him for how he was so committed to the cause that he rolled with the punches, took insults, opprobrium and debilitating ‘racist’ accusations on the chin, and still came back for more – usually smiling and with a pint in his hand.

I even defended him when he resigned as party leader immediately after the 2016 referendum, leaving the party bereft and adrift. “Nigel has given his all,” I pointed out to his UKIP critics. “He has earned a holiday and a break from politics.”

The first inkling that Nigel wanted to stay involved in UKIP internal affairs despite his resignation came when he agreed to be Henry Bolton’s political referee during the September 2017 party leadership election. I was David Kurten’s campaign manager and was frustrated that Nigel should give this huge and unfair boost to Henry, alone of all the candidates.

My jaw also dropped with disappointment when, in January this year, Nigel argued that there possibly should be a second referendum to stop the whining and whingeing of Remoaners like Nick Clegg and Tony Blair. It seemed like betrayal. After all UKIP’s hard work, Nigel was now wobbling under pressure from lightweight busted flushes Clegg and Blair. My hero’s halo was beginning to slip.

But the show-stopper came in February when Nigel again publicly backed the incompetent lothario Henry Bolton. Bolton’s antics and arrogance were destroying UKIP before our eyes, yet Nigel fatuously compared him to Jeremy Corbyn and said Bolton could be the reforming saviour of the party.

Fortunately members ignored him and at the Birmingham EGM the same month they voted for Bolton to pack his bags. Nigel’s nominee was sacked after just five ineffective and embarrassing months in the job.

The party, though, was left a laughing-stock and nearly bankrupt. And Nigel’s halo was hanging by a thread.

Without personal ambition and from an honourable sense of duty, Gerard Batten stepped into the breach and promptly raised enough money to save the party and force London Mayor Sadiq Khan to eat his spite-fuelled words. He appointed a new chairman and treasurer and new deputy leaders, and started to clear up Henry’s mess and steady the ship.

And as the party’s former Brexit spokesman, he ensured exiting the EU remained the party’s core issue and his personal priority.

But Gerard is also known as a proponent of free speech and a critic of Islam, although he will never countenance any form of Muslim-bashing.

In this context former Islamic extremist and founder of the Quilliam Foundation, Majid Naawaz, draws  an important distinction between Muslimophobia (hating Muslims as people) which is not acceptable, and Islamophobia (hating Islam the religion) which is. It’s a distinction that is vital in a democracy, and one that I suspect Gerard strongly supports.

When Gerard tweeted recently that ‘Islam is a death cult’, his Twitter account was immediately suspended and his free speech curtailed. But it’s a valid if contentious view about Islam that ought to be open for free debate, not closed down.

And indeed, if Gerard had instead described Christianity or Communism as a death cult, nobody would have batted an eyelid. Read for instance the extraordinary abuse that celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins heaps on the Jewish and Christian God in his best-seller, ‘The God Delusion’- insults he repeats on stage and screen while chortling at his own cleverness. I’ve seen him.

And read the Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan stinging critiques of Communism.

The blasphemy laws that protect Islam alone from criticism and that prevail in official circles and the media as well as on Twitter, have caught others in their net too. Lauren Southern was banned from the UK as a result of the adjectives she applied to Islam’s Allah – adjectives that are much milder than those Dawkins applies to Christianity’s God.

And when Tommy Robinson held up a Quran on Piers Morgan’s Good Morning Britain TV show and said it is a violent and accursed book – which is virtually exactly what Dawkins says about the Bible – Morgan went apoplectic, the media went into meltdown and the show was referred to Ofcom.

More recently Robinson was banned from Twitter too. Gerard decided therefore to join his ‘Day of Freedom’ protest outside Downing Street on 6th May to speak up for free speech and the right to criticise Islam freely as we do other religions and ideologies.

Robinson is no saint and certainly he has in the past strayed into Muslimophobia which is utterly unacceptable. Muslims are our fellow citizens and deserve respect like everyone else.

But the aim of the protest was right so Gerard spoke powerfully from the platform. He also spoke at last weekend’s massive (and global) #FreeTommy protest after Robinson was suddenly arrested, convicted and jailed all within five hours at Leeds Crown Court.

Some party members are wary of the UKIP association with Robinson and the apparent tilt of the party towards the free-speech Right. Jim Carver MEP quietly resigned. Other members have emailed Gerard their concerns and anxious senior colleagues have no doubt spoken to him in private. That’s the right route, and I have little doubt the leader will take on board what they say.

But Nigel does party allegiance differently. He has toured UKIP branches openly criticising the association with Robinson and objecting to any anti-Islam stance – views that were rapidly republished on social and old media .

Any private suggestions or quiet words of advice from the former leader to the current one? None. Instead it’s the Farage foghorn, sounded with the deliberate intention of stirring up party disunity.

Having nearly destroyed the party by foisting Henry Bolton on us, it looks like Nigel is having another go with his wrecking ball by publicly undermining the leader who rescued us from that disaster.

Yet he could instead do something really constructive and useful. Brexit is in crisis. He might follow the example of Gordon Brown during the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum. The former prime minister came out of political retirement, toured Scotland with a series of barnstorming speeches and, by various accounts, turned public opinion and saved the day. Nigel could do likewise for exiting the EU and we’d love him for it.

Meanwhile his halo now lies in the dust and my hero has made himself zero.

If Nigel cannot show some loyalty to the party and its present leader, he should renounce his party membership and butt out.

This article was first published by UKIP Daily and Kipper Central on 15th June

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.

Another Mosque Defeat For Tablighi Jamaat

Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) must be punch-drunk. The Islamic group that wishes to build a mega-mosque at the Riverine Centre in West Ham close to the London Olympic stadium – now home of West Ham United Football Club – has endured so many defeats and blows to the head that its judgement has become suspect.

Certainly, like infamous former boxing champion, rapist, law-breaker and Muslim convert Mike Tyson, TJ has shed-loads of money to burn; it has lashed out hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years on court fees, lawyers’ costs, legal expenses and advisers’ bills.

Last month I attended the High Court in The Strand where the group was once again trying to stop Newham Council from closing their illegal temporary Markaz (mosque) called Masjid-e-Ilyas on the West Ham site, and bulldozing the buildings.

But whereas TJ previously had fielded heavyweight teams of top QCs, prominent advisors and excellent professional back-up, this time their lawyers refused to appear in court on their behalf as, they claimed apparently, they hadn’t been given enough time to prepare. Instead TJ sent a lone spokesman to make their case, a pleasant but legally lightweight member of the Islamic group, Moiz-ur-Rahman.

Like a disorientated prize-fighter, Mr Rahman staggered all over the legal canvas of planning applications, regulations, injunctions, enforcement notices and deeds of undertakings without landing a single valid blow on Newham Council. It was embarrassing to watch. The only effective point he made was the non-legal one that the Muslim community would suffer hardship if the Markaz was demolished; he told the court ominously that there is the possibility of the return of street protests by Muslim-run Newham People’s Alliance that we had last seen in 2013.

On the other hand Douglas Edwards QC, Newham Council’s silk, was on his toes and ruthless in punching and jabbing at TJ’s baleful catalogue of criminal offences and unlawful activities at the site. He soon had them on the ropes: they’d blatantly broken binding pledges, breached planning controls and built unauthorised structures. Newham Council had tried to accommodate them but TJ simply ignored planning protocols and carried on their illegal activities regardless.

The decision when it came was inevitable. Judge Walden-Smith told the mosque trustees that they had continued to procrastinate, their activities at the site were unlawful, the mosque had been in breach of planning control from the outset and that breaching an enforcement notice was a criminal offence. Having thereby shredded TJ’s reputation and exposed their dishonesty and lack of probity, she bluntly refused their application to suspend the demolition. It was a knock-out blow.

The Times and the Guardian carried reports, the former under the dramatic if misleading headline “Judge orders demolition of Abbey Mills mosque in Stratford, east London”: in fact the judge had, rather, refused to further delay Newham Council’s right to have the mosque demolished.

Continuing international interest in the mega-mosque issue was confirmed by the full-time attendance in court of a reporter from Pakistan’s The Dawn newspaper, who interviewed me and gave the case detailed and extensive coverage.

TJ are now out for the count as this is the end of the UK’s legal road for the trustees. They can make no more appeals and they have to demolish the illegal mosque buildings and vacate the site.

However, the trustees suddenly surprised the court by announcing that they are moving the fight to Strasbourg: on 5th January they had filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights for a restraining order. Planning lawyers advise that this is unlikely to succeed and the demolition will have to go ahead anyway. Others say the ECtHR is unpredictable.

Whatever, as always, it ain’t over ’til its over.

Islam And Freedom Of Speech In The Lords

As readers of this blog will know, I have sometimes sat in the gallery of the House of Lords listening to debates, and a couple of times I even sat in the Clerks’ Box on the floor of the House right by the Monarch’s throne which was cramped but enjoyable. This was usually in connection with my work with crossbench peer Baroness Cox on her private members bill that tackled gender discrimination in  sharia courts.

Recently I listened in on a debate about Islam initiated by UKIP peer Lord Pearson. My take on the debate, below, was first published by Kipper Central:

You’ve got to hand it to Lord Pearson of Rannoch. The former UKIP party leader doesn’t mind standing alone.

For years he has stood virtually solo in the House of Lords against hostile peers who are overwhelmingly pro-EU and Remain.

Now the Brexit referendum has been won he is turning his attention to Islam. And it’s clear that this too is unpopular amongst the political class who invariably mention the religion in hushed and deferential tones.

So once again his Lordship finds himself ploughing a lonely furrow and swimming against the politically-correct tide. In other words, Lord P is a true Kipper.

On Thursday he forced a Lords debate about some major tenets of the Islamic religion because, he said, no one is willing to talk openly about the nature of Islam. “You can say what you like about the virgin birth, the miracles and the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Lord Pearson said at the beginning of the debate. “But you get into serious trouble if you try to touch at all on the subject of Islam and what it really is.”

He mentioned the high Muslim birth rate and “the spread of sharia law whereby a Muslim man can have four wives.” Whenever people try to raise these issues, he continued, “we are told… we are spreading hate towards the Muslims”

Which is exactly what happened to him.

“The way Lord Pearson uses his ill-informed narrative to demonise the great religion of Islam and blame this religion for all the ills of the world actually fuels anti-Muslim sentiments that lead to hate crime,” railed Lord Hussain, illustrating Lord Pearson’s point.

“I begin by expressing my disquiet and resentment at the wording of (the debate motion),” protested Lord Sheikh. “I received numerous complaints from Muslims when it became known that this debate had been tabled. Islam is indeed a religion of peace… I feel that a debate such as this… can create discord and lead to further problems.” This peer proved Lord Pearson’s point too.

“The deliberate concept of the mischievous Muslims who can have four wives in the UK is nonsense,” remonstrated Lord Ahmed. “Nobody is allowed to have four wives.” His assertion flew in the face of recent Muslim research which found that 67% of Muslim women in the West Midlands say their husbands have more than one wife, and 7% claim their husbands have the full four wives permitted by Islam.

And by playing the Nazi card, Lord Ahmed also accused Lord Pearson of using hate speech: “Saying that Muslims are breeding more children and will take over is using the language that Nazis used against Jewish communities.” This is the same Lord Ahmed who four years ago blamed a Jewish conspiracy for the jail term he received for a dangerous driving offence after a fatal accident.

The debate achieved what Lord Pearson wanted – it got their Lordships talking about Islam and in the event not all were completely hostile. A Labour peer even complimented him: “The thing about Lord Pearson is that everyone thinks he is wrong, but he wins in the end – as he did with Brexit – so we have to listen to him carefully.”

It was progress, and the UKIP peer was having a good week. The previous day, he had intervened forcefully in the Lords during a discussion about hate crime.

There is widespread concern that the bar for recording hate crime falls lower and lower. You can now be reported to the police for a hate crime if a person – or even a bystander – merely feels you are hostile to or prejudiced against them on grounds of their race, religion, ethnicity or other protected characteristic. No hard evidence of hostility or prejudice is required.

A few years ago a report by the independent think-tank Civitas argued that hate crime legislation is reducing freedom of speech and has effectively introduced by the back door a blasphemy law that protects Islam from animosity and robust criticism. Police and prosecutors, it further claimed, are unfairly singling out alleged hate crimes by the majority population – termed ‘white’ or ‘ Christian’ – while ignoring other similar offences by minority groups.

Lord Pearson grasped the religious bull by both horns. “Will the Government confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus is the only Son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offence, however much it may offend a Muslim or anyone else?”

The Government minister flatly refused to give any such assurance.

In the light of this, Lord Pearson indicated later that he is deeply concerned that Christians’ freedom of religion is being curtailed and that Christians in the UK can now be arrested for simply preaching the Gospel as they are in Saudi Arabia, Iran and China. He made it clear to colleagues that he intends vigorously to pursue the Government on the issue.

So watch this space…

Islam And The West: Irreconcilable Differences

My post here was first published by Kipper Central:

“If you compare Jesus Christ who had so much influence on the Western world, and Muhammad who has had so much influence on the Islamic world, and look at their teachings and their lives and lifestyles and so on, it’s game, set and match to Jesus.”

The audience at the celebrated Conway Hall, high temple of humanism and self-styled ‘landmark of London’s independent intellectual, political and cultural life’, erupted with clapping and cheers.

I was participating in a recent public debate entitled ‘This House believes Islam and the West have irreconcilable differences’ and, given the irreligious nature of the audience, the warm response to my comment about Christ was unexpected.

Alongside me as proposer of the motion was Anne Marie Waters, founder of ShariaWatch UK, former Council member of the National Secular Society, and lately a high-profile controversial candidate for the leadership of UKIP.

The opposition were Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al Husseini, Senior Fellow in Islamic Studies at the Westminster Institute; and Dr Michael Arnheim, practising Barrister, author of books on religion, law and government, and former Professor of Classics and Sometime Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge.

So the academic qualifications were clearly on the side of the opposition; but the audience and the weight of the argument were on ours. The full debate can be viewed here.

I have real differences with Anne Marie over how to respond to the rise of aggressive Islam but on the night she and I made a good team. She tackled Islam as a social and political force and critiqued it from a human rights, women’s rights and freedom of speech point of view, whereas I tackled it head-on as a religion.

I did so by comparing Islam with Christianity as the origin and cradle of our western civilisation.

I was free to undertake this exercise because, while the second half of the 20th century saw an increasingly aggressive secularisation of society and a growing hostility to Christianity, 9/11 changed the world. Since then we have found ourselves reaching for our religious identity both as an acknowledgement of our roots and as our distinctive against rising Islam.

Professional unbeliever Richard Dawkins today happily calls himself a Christian atheist or cultural Christian. Similarly political commentator and fellow atheist Douglas Murray told a Canadian interviewer recently that we are all Christians whether we like it or not, that rational secular atheists all “dream Christian dreams and have Christian thoughts” and that our universal human rights are derived directly from Christianity.

My argument in the debate was straightforward: Islam and the West have irreconcilable differences because Islam and Christianity have irreconcilable differences.

Theologically, Islam flatly refutes the historical crucifixion of Christ which is at the heart of the Christian faith. And if, as Islam says, Christ was not crucified, then there is no true Christianity – which of course is Islam’s contention. The cross on our war memorials and in our graveyards, on our village church steeples and atop the Queen’s coronation crown – these all represent a fake event according to Islam, and consequently are a huge deception at the core of the UK’s heritage and culture.

From a political and social perspective too, the contrasting lives and teachings of the founders of the two religions are profound and irreconcilable.

Muhammad – the perfect role model for all mankind according to Islamic orthodoxy – was a religious leader, governor, lawmaker and military chief who slaughtered enemies of Islam as well as personal opponents, and who installed a state theocracy at Medina as a prototype for his followers. Even today Muhammad’s swords are proudly on display in the Topkapi museum, Istanbul.

Jesus, on the other hand, was interested in hearts and minds not physical territory, and in the power of persuasion not political power and military might.

From a rule-bound legalistic Judaism he inaugurated a new grace-fuelled spiritual religion (“the Kingdom of God is within you”), separated church and state (“render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”), taught that love is a prime ethic (“love your enemies”), and refused to allow his followers to use force to defend him or promote his new faith (“put away your sword for those who live by the sword will die by the sword”). The only violence during his ministry was that done to him not by him.

Consequently, I argued, Muhammad and his teachings in the Quran are irreconcilable with Jesus and his teachings in the New Testament.  And the values and cultures of Islamic societies based on the former are incompatible with western societies based on the latter.

Anne Marie is not religious so she, of course, took a different approach in the debate. For her the West is characterised by freedom: freedom of speech, expression and religion; equal rights before the law; and science and reason. The blasphemy laws with death penalties in Islam and the subjugation of women into second class status are, for her, ample illustrations of why the West and Islam are incompatible.

She is a persuasive speaker and she argued her case powerfully. I admired her cool too, as she knew that, late on the same evening after the debate finished, ITV were to broadcast a biased and brutal character assassination job on her led by the lefty hatchet men from Hope not Hate, Nick Lowles and Matthew Collins.

It was entitled Undercover: Inside Britain’s New Far Right www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IM4wtEr4No, and Lowles and Collins were paraded across the programme as neutral “experts”, and in the credits as “consultants”.

The analysis was incoherent and low-level which may explain why ITV scheduled it for a late time-slot. And, despite an undercover reporter following Anne Marie for months, there were no condemning new revelations.

In the end the programme could only resort to smearing her, and did so by including her in the same broadcast as an investigation into real militant extremists, the banned anti-Semitic Hitler-praising occasionally violent Nazi group, National Action.

It was damnation by slur, defamation by association.

Hope not Hatefunded by billionaire global financial market-manipulator George Soros – tries to silence anyone who refuses to dance to its regressive lefty political agenda. For years it has directed its bile against patriotic, anti-establishment, anti-EU, anti-globalist, pro-localism UKIP – including during this year’s general election.

And Lowles and Collins have regularly pilloried Nigel Farage personally too. Based on his experience with them, Farage reckons Hope not Hate “are among the most hateful people in modern Britain”.

Now vilified by them as well, Anne Marie is in good company.

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?

Another UKIP Christian Manifesto?

I published this piece on the UKIP Daily website recently. It resulted in some interesting online comment and discussion:

Nigel Farage caused a storm a couple of years ago when, against the prevailing political zeitgeist as always, he called for Britain to accept only Christian refugees from Syria. “They are a seriously persecuted minority… under attack on all sides… as Islamist elements seek to purge the (Middle East) of Christianity”, he argued.

Then, after Muslim migrants from north Africa threw Christian fellow migrants out of their boat to drown in the Mediterranean, he proposed that Europe should accept only Christian African  refugees “as they have almost nowhere else to go”.
So it was welcome when UKIP deputy leader Peter Whittle recently weighed in too. “There needs to be a prioritisation of Christian refugees from Syria,” he contended ten days ago. He was echoing the concern of renegade former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, that the UK government is “institutionally biased” against Christian refugees and “politically-correct” officials are discriminating against Christian Syrians in the UK’s refugee programme.

The political class is at best embarrassed by Christianity as the nation’s traditional religion, and at worst actively hostile. It prefers to support the religions brought into Britain post-war by immigrant communities, especially from South Asia. Remember Boris Johnson fatuously proposing that we should all fast for a day during Ramadan and then break our fast at the local mosque? I don’t recall him ever asking us all to pray during Lent and visit the local church on Sunday.

And when the then director-general of the BBC was accused by Ben Elton of letting Vicar jokes pass but not Imam jokes, Mark Thompson admitted that the public service broadcaster – flagship of Britain’s global soft-power with a world-wide audience, but also at the heart of British culture and paid for by you and me – does give special treatment to Islam but not Christianity “because Muslims are from a religious minority and… often from ethnic minorities”. It was classic liberal twaddle that patronisingly plays the victim card on behalf of the world’s second largest and most aggressive religion, and flagrantly repudiates the Beeb’s own claims to neutrality and impartiality.

UKIP is never afraid to stand alone or challenge conventional wisdom, so it is both bold and typical of the party that it insists on standing up for the nation’s traditional religion against the prejudiced political establishment. Neither is it surprising that UKIP broke new ground at the May 2015 general election and was the first and only national party to publish a separate Christian manifesto.

Nigel Farage contended in his foreword to the manifesto – it was entitled Valuing Our Christian Heritage – that “we need a much more muscular defence of our Christian heritage and our Christian Constitution. Ours is fundamentally a Christian nation… UKIP is the only political party… that still cherishes our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

The manifesto contained common-sense stuff. It recognised that children are best brought up “within safe, secure, happy families”; said that “reasonable accommodation” should be made legally for those in the workplace who cannot accept same-sex marriage; and backed faith schools “provided they are open to the whole community, uphold British values, do not discriminate against any section of society and meet required educational standards”.

UKIP is a secular party and, as far as I know, neither Nigel Farage nor Peter Whittle are regular church-goers let alone committed Christians. But they, and UKIP’s 2015 Christian manifesto, acknowledge that Christianity has a particular place in the culture of our society that Islam and other religions do not have. And, as I have argued elsewhere, UKIP is and should be a defender of the Faith.

In the name of multi-cultural tolerance and good inter-faith relations, liberal Scottish clergy at Glasgow Cathedral recently invited a Muslim student to read verses from the Quran during a service marking Christianity’s Feast of the Epiphany. As a good Muslim and in honour of Allah no doubt, he read the key Quranic verses which specifically deny Christianity’s central tenet – that Jesus is the Son of God.

When a courageous Church of England clergyman, the Revd Gavin Ashenden, objected strongly to this denigration of Jesus within Christian worship, atheist commentator Douglas Murray memorably commenced an article proposing an award for the cleric thus:

“Very occasionally — even in contemporary Britain — some good news arrives. No single       piece of news has been more invigorating than the discovery that a member of the clergy of the Church of England has found a vertebra.”

In the event Reverend Ashenden was forced to step down from his post as Chaplain to the Queen for being controversial, so Murray finished his article with an equally memorable conclusion:

“For the time-being, Revd Ashenden is on the retreating side. But in the long run he may not be. In a nation much in need of heroes, an Anglican Reverend has stepped forward, putting his sincere and serious beliefs ahead of the unserious and insincere pieties of our time. Everybody — secular or religious — has cause to feel enormous gratitude.”

UKIP members – secular or religious – should be willing to support Britain’s traditional religion. After all, Winston Churchill was a disbeliever who reckoned himself a buttress of the church rather than a pillar, as “I support it from the outside”.

UKIP ought to continue its pioneering work and publish the party’s second Christian manifesto in time for the June general election.