Let them eat grass?

(Following the recent exchange with Shiv Malik, I’ve chosen to return this post to what is basically its original title. The “slug”, the coded name which appears in the URL, has been left intact in order to preserve the link.)

Shock horror headline of yesterday’s Independent: members of Hizbut-Tahreer earn a living! Yes! They don’t sponge off the state unlike some of the foreigners our press loves to hate; they are educated people who work as doctors, teachers, IT professionals and in the news industry. Shiv “Stalin said” Malik, the Independent’s in-house Muslim-basher, doesn’t like that; Melanie Phillips shares the outrage and mentions it at the top of a blog entry about Ahmad Thomson being consulted by the government on combating Muslim extremism, and the ongoing flap about Holocaust memorial day.

A number of bits of “old news” are mentioned to spice up this story. Among these is the fact that the Government has proposed banning it, for no apparent reason, at least none normally cited for banning organisations in this country; also mentioned is the fact that the Guardian recently sacked a trainee reporter for being a member. A paragraph about the Tel Aviv suicide bombings, not carried out by members of HT, is slipped into this piece after a mention of nasty things that have appeared in HT’s pamphlets about Jews in the past.

And what is the revelation anyway? That Hizbut-Tahreer consists of well-educated people who have jobs appropriate for their education. Nothing more or less than that. Several of them are doctors, including their spokesman Imran Waheed who is a psychiatrist; one of them works for IBM (Shiv doesn’t say in what capacity), and their women’s spokesman, Nazreen Nawaz, “is a qualified doctor who worked in cancer research”. Perhaps we should chase anyone out of cancer research whose opinions we don’t like, and just let people die of cancer instead.

“The group is also strong in the education sector, where a former member of the executive board lectures in IT in an east London college. The former headmistress of a prominent Islamic primary school in the same area is also a member of Hizb, as is the landlord of the building,” Shiv claims. So individual members of HT own bits of land in east London, and run Islamic schools - no doubt independent schools, as there are no state Islamic schools anywhere in east London. Like, why should this surprise anyone?

The bit about members of HT seeking military training from the Territorial Army may be true, but I’m not sure how significant it is. Muslims may have been motivated to seek such training after the Bosnian war in which Muslims were massacred by people who had been their friends and neighbours; it stands to reason that if this could happen there, it could happen anywhere.

Shiv also deliberately misquotes HT pamphlets, alleging that they posted a pamphet on the internet saying that “we saw an Immigrant [muhajir] from Quraysh drawing closer to Allah by killing his kaffir relative”, claiming that it was removed from the site on which he saw it days after the 7th July bombings. In fact, it is still present on several other websites, and “kaffir” is spelt “kaafir” in all of them. (Try Googling “killing his kaffir relative”; the only result I got was his article.) “Kaffir”, although sometimes mistakenly used by some Muslims, is in fact a South African derivative, via Malay, which is used as a derogatory term for a black African. So clearly Shiv has changed the spelling and lied in his article - not the first time, as in the past he has quoted words in the National Review in a way that gave the impression that the author said these things to him personally. Shiv made his name nailing Dilpazier Aslam for writing a piece on a HT-supported issue in the Guardian without declaring his interest. Isn’t it about time this dishonest man was impaled on the same sword of truth?

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