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On the Offensive

The Muslim Council of Britain has demanded a public apology from the BBC over the broadcasting of a Panorama programme last night which they have castigated as a “travesty“. A quick glance at their statement throws light upon their concerns, namely, that the programme aims to undermine the Islamic faith by presenting imams as extremists and that it is designed to “sabotage” the political participation of Muslims in the British mainstream. The most telling quote is,

It seems that to qualify as so-called ‘moderates’ Muslims are required to remain silent about Israeli crimes in Palestine, otherwise they are automatically labelled as ‘extremists’.

The refutation of the MCB’s position is clear. In a society which values free debate, the Muslim Council of Britain should engage with the issues raised. Instead, they have imported the arguments prevalent in the Middle East, which damns all criticism as a Zionist conspiracy designed to undermine Islam. Muslims do not have to remain quiet about Israeli actions that they perceive as criminal. The problem lies with those who justify terror and the deaths of innocents by referring to Israeli actions and tarring every Jew and Israeli Arab with ‘collective guilt’.

This rhetoric is not new, but the platform that Muslim political institutions are gaining in the mainstream media provides a testament to the paradox that they are increasingly confident and increasingly defensive. The popular demonstrations of the anti-war movement and the dividends reaped from the flanking alliance that Muslim organisations arranged with the hard left has gained the political wing of Islam legislative promises such as the outlawing of statements that are deemed offensive. By rubbishing the Panorama programme, the Muslim Council of Britain wishes to build upon these achievements by narrowing the public discussion of Islam in the mainstream media and excising a ‘critical school’ that does not accept their arguments or values.

The terrorist attacks of July 7th have proved to be an opportunity for Muslim organisations regarded as ‘mainstream’. Their spokesmen have been co-opted into government programmes providing channels of communication and extra sources of patronage. However, the terrorist attacks have also raised the profile of these spokesmen. Buoyed by the popularity of the anti-war movement, they have overestimated the depth of support for their views in Middle Britain, confusing the liberals who marched against the Iraqi war with the hard left. That is why we hear the overconfidence of Muslim anti-Zionists in our midst and a growing realisation in certain parts of the Labour Party that members of the Muslim Council of Britain hold illiberal views.

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29 comments to On the Offensive

  • A good post. You hit the nub of the argument with:

    “The refutation of the MCB’s position is clear. In a society which values free debate, the Muslim Council of Britain should engage with the issues raised. Instead, they have imported the arguments prevalent in the Middle East, which damns all criticism as a Zionist conspiracy designed to undermine Islam”

    Until the MCB actually learn to engage in constructive argument and debate — and in particular are willing to at least consider the possibility that certain ancient strands of Islamic interpretation may be part of the problem (as Irshad Manji has observed), then many of Panorama’s criticisms hold up.


  • Verity

    That there is a Muslim Council of Britain and (I believe) a Muslim Parliament of Britain is divisive and insane. It is a declaration that they have no intention of living by our mores. I would like to see them disbanded as dangerous organisations, just as the Nazi party is disallowed.

    Imagine going to Indonesia and setting up a Christian Parliament. Hello? And Indonesia isn’t even one of the ultra-bonkers states.

    These people are creeping forward with huffy, supercilious, self-righteousness, inch by inch and they need to be cut off at the knees. It’s our country.

  • Damn Philip, you just beat me to doing an article on this! 🙂

  • GCooper

    More fawning sycophancy, I’m afraid. That was a really good article, Mr Chaston

  • X

    I’ve generally thought that Panorama had turned sloppy, basing journalism on “think of a premise and then find anything to back it up”.

    Last night’s program was brilliant, completely publicly discrediting the MCB. The part with Sir Iqbal Sacranie trying to justify his attendance at a memorial service for the spiritual leader of Hamas was priceless. Maybe some on the soft left will wake up to what the real views of some “moderates” are.

    There was one positive thing that came out. There was a meeting shown with a group of young muslims, people concerned about what is happening with muslims in the country. To quote from the transcript:-

    “We’re all part of one global Muslim family but I would argue that you can also look a it another way: if someone in my family screws up, you know, I’ll give them a good bollocking, er, in the nicest possible way. But that responsibility is not something that we’re always prepared to own up to.”

    More of this and a little less of the speech from those constantly declaring themselves as victims would be a good thing.

  • guy herbert


    That there is a Muslim Council of Britain and (I believe) a Muslim Parliament of Britain is divisive and insane.

    I look forward to your demand for the Government to disband the Board of Deputies, the Movement for Reform Judaism, the National Secular Society and the Buddhist Society. And expel all those Jesuits while we’re at it.

    It’s certainly not my ambition to live in a mirror-image of Indonesia.

    The Nazi Party is not “disallowed”, BTW. A British Nazi Party can be found here. They are rather limited in expressing themselves, however, because they’d like to incite some racial hatred.

  • Sorry, Perry! It was too tempting…

  • Ted

    This was an excellent Panorama. I was with a group of liberals who unanimously thought what they saw was ‘scary’.

    What is depressing is the whining coming from the muslim community. This is a community that makes up 3% of the population and is breeding suicide bombers. You would think that they are blameless victims, by their childish reactions to any form of criticism. It’s quite pathetic and now increasingly tiresome.

    Sir Iqbal’s performance was dire. I loved his total inability to see the hypocricy in attending the Hamas memorial, but not the Holocaust memorial, while at the same time stating that he is ‘against all formes of terrorism’. Sir Iqbal – the UK is becoming sick and tired of the ranting of the muslim community, who are causing far more trouble than they are worth. Clean up your house or move on.

    Basically, if you don’t like the values of a certain society, you are free to leave it and settle elsewhere. We live in a democracy, founded on the rule of law, which believes in certain values – for instance, equality of women. This is not compatible with an islamic based politico-legal system and never will be. Therefore, you are free to live in our society, but once you realise that you are not happy here, you should consider moving on.

  • Chris Harper


    “That there is a Muslim Council of Britain and (I believe) a Muslim Parliament of Britain is divisive and insane. ”

    There is also a Church of England Synod and a Jewish Board of Deputies. I think some of these people are a little barking as well, but they are so far harmless.

    I have no problem with these bodies as a concept, simply with the opinions which some of their members and spokesmen come out with. We, as a society, simply have to stop sucking up to people just because of their ethnicity and start judging their words in the context of what is acceptable in the wider society.

  • Why is it only Jews who are publicly questioning these statements about “Friends of Israel” and so on. Its nice that a Labour MP questions this man’s credentials but it would be nicer if someone else from the party joined in support.

  • Alas, I missed this episode of Panorama but seems to be unusually blunt for a BBC program when dealing with Islamists and so-called moderates. I have read some of the transcript and its not surprising really.

    I do notice that this program is not up on the web yet. Does anyone know how soon the Beeb get Panorama programs up?

  • Verity

    Guy Herbert – The Board of Deputies doesn’t try to make rules about how Britain should be run. It attends to its own business in a civilised manner, not the business of state. Also, the Jews have been tremendous contributors to Britain.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a mirror image of Indonesia, either, but this is just one more example of them grabbing special noisy privileges for themselves that they deny others with an iron hand in their own countries.

  • Rollo

    I saw this programme as well, and one thing that was crystal clear was the sheer duplicity of the MCB and MAB leaders involved, and indeed of the larger community of extremist Muslims as a whole. In public, they will whine and smile and make accomodating noises to placate the credulous and naive country of their adoption, yet behind closed doors, the mask comes off, and they reveal their true colours, and plot and seethe with self-righteous and indignant hatred. And yet they are inarticulate and evasive when challenged, as they are simply not used to being challenged. Indeed, even Irshad Manji, upon being threatened by a radical imam whom she had challenged in an interview on his knowledge of the Qu’aran, asked of the imam why he had agreed to the interview, to which he replied “because I thought you would be another stupid Westener”.

  • Verity

    It’s a tactic called taqqya and kitman, Rollo. A kind of Islamic bait and switch, wherein they start off with some (moderately) reasonable assertion and try to get you to agree to it, then they try to drum propaganda into your head. It’s mandated in their koran as a way to interact with Christians. That’s one reason Muslims are so excruciatingly boring: they’re always trying to tell you something.

    Susan knows much more about this subject than anyone else posting here. If she’s reading this, she might like to give a better definition of taqqya and kitman.

  • Steve

    What exactly does a Muslim Parliament do?

    Are they mandated to pass laws? Can they impose taxes on Muslims – or others? Where do they meet? Do I have a Member of the Muslim Parliament (MMP?) near me who I can see about my problems?

    Was a law passed by our Parliament to allow the setting up of a rival Parliament? What is the structure of this Parliament in terms of Opposition, Speaker, etc?

    Or are they just getting some practice for some future scenario?

    Perhaps someone can enlighten me about how all this works.

  • Alice

    Lucky Brits! They’re asking for apologies six weeks after terrorist murders while they aren’t enough Muslims and criminal money in the UK to block your democracy. It’s still time for the British people to ask their deputies to remove British citizenship to thousands of activists and their family, prevent children born from foreign parents in the UK to get British citizenship, forbid imports of spouses under 25 (in Denmark it’s 24), suppress family allowances (in the States they have more children without them), fight any form of affirmative action, modern slavery and tax evasion, traditional marriages, polygamy, constructions of mosques, “cultural activities” and mistreatments to all animals (especially lambs and pit-bulls), racist aggressions, pyromania, falsification of driving licences and other administrative documents, drug dealings, etc. Apply scrupulously all your regulation to all the foreigners, learn to criticize them accurately, fine them and tax them, to save your lifestyle.

    Thanks Philip for your wonderful article, but honestly, I didn’t read the ones you’re linking to: I’ve had years of French media brainwashing already, so I have developed an allergy to this form of stupid harassment. I think France, Belgium and Deutschland have been their wealthiest training lands (Champs de Mars), so I’d rather guess than read their English version, and keep fit. Once you’ve reached that level of instinctive repulsion, you must just catch the reflex to refuse any dialog with this type of perverts. And it seems, from some news items and the posts above, that the British population is far ahead of the French on this way. Good luck.

  • Itis simply about winning!

  • guy herbert


    “What exactly does a Muslim Parliament do?”

    Pace Verity it does precisely the same sort of thing that the Board of Deputies does. It purports to represent Muslims and to provide a forum for their concerns, just as the Board of Deputies purports to represent Jews, and all sorts of other “community leaders” put themselves forward on behalf of religious or ethnic groups. Dr Siddiqi, its speaker, is actually rather a genial old man, and has clearly moderated his own views over the last 20 years.

    The idea of consultative forums and pressure groups for any community or point of view is not inherently objectionable to me. (Though I imagine our dear leader has concerns about the expression of inappropriate views, and would prefer it were they regulated.) But one should take them for what they are.

    The Muslim Parliament’s and the Board of Deputies’ respective merits or lack thereof are their own. Neither ought to be treated, respected or despised, as if it is supported by all adherents of its faith, nor should its views reflect on any individual Muslim or Jew–who more likely than not will think differently. The same goes for the other bodies mentioned.

    Alice: “Apply scrupulously all your regulation to all the foreigners, learn to criticize them accurately, fine them and tax them, to save your lifestyle.”

    I’d quite like to treat foreigners–even French people–the same as the rest of us, and not do any of those things to anyone except maybe a bit of accurate criticism. Permissive pluralism is my lifestyle.

    Regardless of that, fostering “instinctive repulsion” and “refusing dialogue” seems the worst possible course of action, countersupporting as it does Islamic separatism. Do you think, as the Islamists claim to do, that Western liberalism is feeble?

  • Verity

    I said above that this Muslim Parliament – what a sly choice of name; I’m sure they had a whiny little giggle – and Muslim Council are divisive. Someone mentioned the Board of Deputies, and I made it clear thatI do not regard these organisations as equal. The Jews in Britain are as British as we are and they do not try to dictate British domestic and foreign policy. Same with the Hindus. They are content to live and let live, as are we.

    It is the Muslims who want to take over and force everyone to submit to their bizarre religion. In their dreams, of course, but they are going to cause many more problems until they are clipped back decisively.

  • roxssana

    Why am I reminded of Monty Python’s Life of Brian? Are not the MCB and the MPB the equivalent of the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front ?

    Those of us who follow these thing remember these various Moslem councils being set up as an attempt by their demagogic founders to gain pole position to be spokesman for UK Islamic community, even when it was clear there are many Islamic communities in the UK. Sadly the government fell for it.

    But anyone who has ever had any dealings with obtaining government funding for a charitable organisation will know that the authorities, particularly socialists who favour centralist models, are much more comfortable dealing with a central “head office” type body and the MCB etc clearly cottoned onto this early on.

    Meanwhile the way to get on if you are a third world extremist in the UK seems to be call yourself some sort of Human Rights organisation and claim to do charity work (pace Dr El Massari).

    I am thinking of setting up the Commission for the Promotion of Women’s Rights in the Middle East and getting myself some air time and funding to send out charity workers to support the local women and learn the language at the local university. We could even have a web site. On the other hand I quite like the ring of the Popular Women’s Front of Judea?


  • Alice

    Guy Herbert : Moderation is takkia, perfectly explained by Verity.
    Yes, our Western societies look weak when they endlessly, discuss, justify and negotiate their numerous pillars, and it takes more than seven for my selfish comfort. It’s a long history but, since the Ten Commandments, my tribe has become intolerant to polygamy, theft of individuals, appropriation of public goods and tax evasion, slavery, rape, racism, aggressions, lies, etc. The catch-all social package proposed since the VIIth century by other tribes violently converted themselves is absolutely repulsive to me: slavery (nowadays spread all over Europe from the Middle-East and Africa), marriage at 9 (nowadays in Iran), flat Earth, ban on pork (nowadays in French state schools) and alcohol, penal code, tax on the non-Muslims and profusion of counterproductive and anti-scientific lies. I certainly won’t discuss it, no matter the interlocutor, the interpretation and the translator and the distinction of their blind and death friends.

    One has to be very well fed, entertained and self-centred to fell able to create an ambiance of “Permissiv liberalism” and not resent the mortal despise that the admirers of Mahomet have for us and the absolute incompatibly of the two systems.

    I love today’s quote of Mark Steyn (next post).

  • Verity

    roxssana – You’ve hit the nail of the head. Also, the “Parliament” has deliberately awarded itself a false legitimacy with the subliminal suggestion that it must be elected.

    I am certain the long term aim is to have separate laws and a separate parliament for islamics, who will be governed by their foul shariah. After that, start finagling shariah into genuine British law. It is mystifying to me that lawmakers (I mean elected British lawmakers) cannot project this far. Usually, they’re so alert to encroachments on their territory.

    Wherever you get islamics in the West, you get agenda-creep. Look at CAIR in the US. It is toxic.

    As Holland has found out, we need to stop this with heavy artillery. I still think a good start would have been a cold lockdown of all mosques for one month after the terrorist bombings in London. Just because we can.

  • guy herbert


    I mentioned the Board of Deputies because I think it is an exact parallel which exposes your communalist thinking, viz —

    The Jews in Britain are as British as we are and they do not try to dictate British domestic and foreign policy.

    Did you not get the bit where I pointed out that there is no identity between self-appointed “community leaders” and those they purport to represent? “Jews in Britain” are not members of some collective entity. It is not possible to say anything that is true of all of them. (Some do not even accept each other as being Jewish. And there is a proverb: two Jews, three opinions.) They are individual people with a vast range of different ideas, lifestyles, and degrees of political involvement. The same is true of Muslims.

    The Board of Deputies, entirely legitimately, does try to influence British domestic and foreign policy, as anyone who has stood for parliament, or read the political pages of the papers carefully, will know. It allows people to think it speaks for all Jews. It doesn’t.

    Likewise, the Muslim Parliament. It is entirely legitimate for it to attempt to influence policy. It purports to speak for all Muslims. It doesn’t.


    I’m fascinated by your assertion that any “moderation” in the views of a Muslim is subterfuge (and I note the rhetorical trick of adopting an Arabic term to make subterfuge seem more, and wickedly alien). I generally judge people’s views by what they say they are and what they do. That was the point of the Panorama programme and Philip’s original post: that Muslim preachers are in practice rather more separatist and intolerant in the mosque than they are at the press conference.

    You however have a superior insight and know everything about the secret intent of people you have never met, even though what they say is quite different, even though millions have never made any public utterance at all. And what’s more miraculous, every Muslim can be presumed to have precisely the same malignant views you attribute to them, despite your own examples of the “catch-all social package” being drawn from a wide range of societies and circumstances.

    If they deny it, and claim not to support any particular thing you claim is Islam, it is subterfuge, because that’s a Muslim technique. It couldn’t possibly be because varying people have varying views and a billion people contain a vast variety of culture, education and opinion. It couldn’t possibly be that any of them are happy to get on with their neighbours even though they think they are wrong, as Christians and Jews in most (but not all) cases are.

    This is the manual you are looking for, I think.

  • Verity

    Guy – Thanks for letting me know that Jews are individuals. I thought all my Jewish friends and acquaintances were all the same person! Silly me!

    Alice is capable of answering for herself, but I will just point out that lying to, and deceiving, the infidel is mandated in their koran They are not allowed to lie, except to the infidel. The job is to deceive/trick the infidel into becoming a Muslim because this is what allah has tasked them with. Then, of course, the penalty for leaving Islam, is death. The whole world must become dar-es-salaam by the sword, trickery and deceit if that’s what it takes. As very few people would touch Islam with a 10′ pole under normal circumstances, that is indeed what it will take.

    Yes, of course, the Board of Deputies is a lobbying organisation, as is everything else these days, but they are not trying to get Jewish law imposed on British people. Spot the difference.

    Islamics simply ignore national laws that don’t jive with their religious laws. As in, “honour” (time out for helpless laughter) killings, thousands of FGM operations performed each year in Britain and in Europe and we have had two stonings to death for adultery in N France. Hirsi Ali, in Amsterdam, is under a death threat for aposty, Dutch legislator Geert Wilders is under a death threat for suggesting repatriating criminal Muslims.

    In other words, for Islamics, no matter which country they are fortunate enough to be living in, have absolutely no regard for national laws and continue to live under their primitive desert laws.

    Doubtless, Alice will also have something to add.

  • Samsung

    Just saw a survey done amongst ‘British’ Muslims that showed that nearly a QUARTER of those surveyed would NOT go to the police and inform on their fellow Muslims who were planning or conducting terrorists attacks in Britain. Apparently they would rather see their fellow British citizens killed in the name of Allah. A quarter would rather see us infidels get blown to pieces and have our brains splatter walls rather than go to the Law and try and stop such a thing happening.

    Nice people these Mohammedans. Would someone please point me in the direction of the nearest British Muslims so that I may hug and kiss them. I feel all warm and tingly inside for these people. They are so endearing… No really. I am SO glad they are living amongst us. They have so much to offer.

  • Samsung

    “As the figures in the chart show, almost three quarters of British Mulsims, 73 per cent, say they would inform the police if they believed that someone they knew or knew of might be planning a terrorist attack.” – The Telegraph.

    That means that over a quarter surveyed would NOT go to the police…. Nice.

    Here is the link:


  • Millie Woods

    Guy Herbert, did you actually read and understand Verity’s post or did your knee just jerk at the nasty poerson’s horrid criticism of beloved Islam.
    Verity’s subsequent post is exactly right and her analogy with Indonesia was nothing but an example. Perhaps you should hone your critical reading skills.
    Incidentally what she says is absolutely correct. Here in Canada there has been an influx of Muslim immigration since 1995 and guess what. There are now demands for Sharia law, regulations for public swimming pools banning mixed sex swimming and allowing Muslim women to wear burqah type swimwear in the pools.
    We all need to take the stand the Australians have and let it be known in no uncertain terms that if
    Muslims don’t like our mores, they should stay out of our countries since the only contribution of any significance they seem capable of is filling up our prisoons and taking over the welfare rolls.

  • Verity

    Thank you, Millie.

    I am afraid we cannot hold Oz out as a paragon of common sense any more. Melbourne is providing segregated swimming hours in its taxpayer-funded pools – for guess who.

    Wherever there are Muslims, there are attempts to take over. They got themselves the right in a town outside Dearborne, MI to play their calls to “prayer” (sychophancy to their deity) over loud speakers six times a day, beginning at 6 a.m. This was in the name, as the leader of the campaign was quick to note, of “diversity”. They also had the impertinence to say their long, whining calls to prayer are the equivalent of church bells. They always find one little point they can work on and work on and work on. Well, now the poor long-Catholic town of Hamtramck has calls to pray to an alien diety six times a day.

    I understand the Somalis, the most recent “asylum seekers”, in upstate MA are creating similar problems, refusing to go to hospital with ailments until the hospitals create a more modest gown with, get this, a sarong underneath. Needless to add, the hospital has slavishly commissioned a designer to design the new “Islamic” hospital gowns.

    Some schools in Britain are letting Muslims pray five times a day. Gosh, I wonder why they can’t pass their exams. Give these people an inch and they will take an underground system. They burrow in, and burrow in and burrow in, using taqqia and kitman and the strengths of the West against the West. And the lefty dhimmis just can’t see it because they are so bathed in the warm glow of tolerance and spiritual superiority that they are complicit in their own enslavement.

  • guy herbert

    Guy Herbert, did you actually read and understand Verity’s post or did your knee just jerk at the nasty poerson’s horrid criticism of beloved Islam.

    Yes, and I understood what she wrote too.

    Have you read any of my posts properly? If Verity were currently doing so (as she used to), and hadn’t joined the little gang of Samizdata commentators who lose their marbles whenever Islam is mentioned then I wouldn’t have to repeat myself so much.

    As people who have read and understood any significant part of what I’ve written here and elsewhere over the past couple of years will realise, I do not think Islam is a good thing. But I am neither so frightened of it, nor so uneducated about it, as to believe all the Salafist tripe about it being one thing unevolving, linking all those who call themselves Muslim in a gigantic war on the West.

    I’m not keen on any religion, and I think Islam in several of its forms takes a number of places near the top of the human evils chart before any of the others gets a look in. However that does not mean I am going to tolerate punishment of people, or state interference in their lives and beliefs, or restrictions of their civil and political rights, merely because they are Muslims, any more than I would allow them to do the same to me because I am not.