Monday, 11 January 2010

Disrespect or Dystopia?

It came as no surprise today that the lunatic organisation of Islam4UK announced that they won’t be holding their inflammatory march in Wootton Bassett after all. What a bombshell it was to hear that swivel eyed moron, Anjem Choudary, after creating a storm of publicity, decided that trampling on the grief of the bereaved; as well as the wishes of a quiet little community was no longer necessary.

Let me share a little secret with you all – They were never going to hold a march.

Their only motivation was desperate publicity seeking: to gather as many of the conspiracy theorists; religious zealots; Islamist right-wingers; and misfits to their tawdry little club. Islam4UK is a pathetic organisation, full of grandiose plans to destroy Britain’s secular society, install Sharia Law and create a fundamentalist Islamic state. It is like an amalgamation of the BNP’s politics, spiced up with bible-belt faith creationist values, being ran by schizophrenic ex-pats.

"His (Choudary’s) attempt to demonstrate at Wootton Bassett was set out to provoke hatred between communities and is not welcomed in the Muslim communities," Mohammed Shafiq, from the Ramadhan Foundation is reported by the BBC to have said, before adding "He and his cronies have no support in the British Muslim communities."

In much the same way that Nick Griffin and Sarah Palin do not represent mine, or majority British opinion; Choudary and his band of bigots do not represent the views of British Muslims.

The problem for them now, is that they have boxed themselves into a corner after reaching publicity-stunt-critical-mass (as it were); for Islam4UK have played the “we are going to hold a controversial march” card before, to muted media attention. However after the furore this time, they in future will have to actually carry their threatened crassness through to its end in order to garner so much press attention.

As David Mitchell rightly pointed out in the Observer, the winners of this debacle are the press, who got to be outraged, whilst confirming the views of the little-Englanders; that Britain is going to hell in a Muslim hand cart. At the same time Islam4UK and their ilk get unfounded publicity and are able to claim confirmation that Britain is repressive towards Islam.

The loser in all this is free speech, for the general public reaction was to call for the proposed march to be banned. Whilst I totally sympathise with the sentiment, I don’t agree this would be the appropriate or desirable course of action. We, in theory at least, live in a free society, the foundation stone of which is freedom of expression and free speech. If we lose this right, then we are separated from the essence of being human and take another step towards an Orwellian dystopia.

The price of our freedom is that anyone can express their view, however ludicrous, unpleasant or disrespectful that view may be; it is their right. If someone wants to hold a march supporting the notion that the Moon is blue, so be it. I would think they were insane and it is my right to tell them they are idiots; or to ignore them; or as David Mitchell suggests, tell them to “fuck off”. The argument that ‘they wouldn’t allow you to do that in a Muslim country’ as is often spouted by right-wing bods is not really a particularly intelligent one - You can be stoned to death for adultery in some states, should we adopt that one too?

The next time Islam4UK threatens to march, (through the Normandy War Cemeteries or pissing on the Cenotaph are about the only options to up the ante I guess?), we could collectively ignore them and then the fuel of publicity would be extinguished. If we’d said “let the morons march then”, with no one acknowledging them, free speech and liberty could be served. If our 24 hour news media could control its desperate need for hype and controversy; see Islam4UK for what it is, and tell them to fuck off; then this whole episode could avoid being repeated. 

 I'm not going to hold my breath though.

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