Muslims in London: Challenge Boris Johnson tonight!

Boris Johnson will be answering questions on the BBC London (94.9FM) drive-time show at 5pm this evening. If it follows the same pattern as Ken Livingstone’s last week, the interview will happen at 6pm. The hosts are Eddie Nestor and Kath Melandri.

Boris Johnson has been challenged many times about his remarks about Africans (piccaninnies etc) and on one occasion told the interviewer he was sick of talking about it. However, nobody has challenged him about his record as editor of the Spectator. In response to the July 2005 bombings and to the riots in Paris and elsewhere later that year, he printed articles only from non-Muslims hostile to Islam: himself, Mark Steyn and Patrick Sookhdeo.

In particular, there was this one from Patrick Sookhdeo, on 30th July, this one, by the same author on 12th November 2005 after the riots, and this one by Johnson himself, published 16th July (the most offensive sections are on page 5):

Chief issues:

(1) “To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers. As the killer of Theo Van Gogh told his victim’s mother this week in a Dutch courtroom, he could not care for her, could not sympathise, because she was not a Muslim.” (Johnson, 16th July) So he generalises the extreme attitude of one murderer in Amsterdam and assumes that we all might think this way.

(2) In “The Myth of Moderate Islam”, Sookhdeo alleges that one can pick and mix from the Qur’an to find peaceful or bellicose verses depending on what suits one. He alleges that the bellicose verses abrogate the peaceful ones as they were revealed later. He also suggested that the bombers might have been following a mainstream version of Islam rather than an extreme one.

(3) Sookhdeo, in the November article, claimed:

“Islam is a territorial religion. Any space once gained is considered sacred and should belong to the umma for ever. Any lost space must be regained — even by force if necessary. Migrant Muslim communities in the West are constantly engaged in sacralising new areas — first the inner private spaces of their homes and mosques, and latterly whole neighbourhoods (e.g., Birmingham) by means of marches and processions. So the ultimate end of sacred space theology is autonomy for Muslims of the UK under Islamic law.”

The claim about marches and processions is a plain falsehood, since the streets marched on become normal streets within hours of the march ending. On top of this, only Bareilawis march for religious reasons, namely mawlid, which is not a central part of Islam. Only dedicated mosques are sacred space. So Boris allowed someone to print falsehoods about Muslims in order to incite alarm and hostility to the whole community.

This man must be challenged! The number for the station is 020 7224 2000; email eddieandkath at bbc.co.uk or text 07786 200 949.

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