Tory Candidates All Agree That “Islamophobia” In Their Party Must Be Investigated (Part One)

On June 17, the five Tory candidates then in  the running for prime minister — Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Savid Javid, Rory Stewart, and Michael Gove — appeared for a debate on the BBC. (The field has now been narrowed to two: Johnson and Hunt.) The format included questions from pre-vetted callers. Abdullah Patel, an imam in Bristol, called to say that he had seen firsthand the malign effects of “Islamophobia,” and asked if the candidates agreed that “words have consequences.” The host, Emily Maitlis, referred the question first to Boris Johnson, reminding him of comments he had made comparing Muslim women wearing the veil with “letterboxes” and “bank robbers.”

Johnson replied:

“In so far as my words have given offense over the last 20 or 30 years, when I have been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course I am sorry for the offense they have caused.”

An apology of sorts, in which Johnson did not directly discuss his “letterbox” remark, but referred to all his words in his articles over the past 20-30 years, and did not say he was sorry for the words themselves, which he implied were taken out of context and exaggerated (“escalated”) for effect,  but was “sorry for the offense” they may have caused others. That is a different thing.

“When my Muslim great-grandfather came to this country in fear of his life in 1912, he did so because he knew it was a place that was a beacon of hope and of generosity and openness, and a willingness to welcome people from around the world.”

Some of Johnson’s critics  felt that his reference to his “Muslim great-grandfather” was akin to the antisemite who defends himself with the claim that “some of my best friends are Jewish.” But Johnson was making a valid point, not about his own scarcely-discernible link to Islam, but about his great-grandfather, who in 1912 fled a barbaric Islamic land — Ottoman Turkey — and found sanctuary in the “hope and generosity and  openness” of Great Britain. His Muslim great-grandfather was a real person, not some fictional “best friend” made up to prove a point, and Johnson was right to cite that Turkish ancestor’s welcome in 1912 as a telling example, from his own family’s history, of British generosity and openness.

Johnson’s limited contrition over his “letterboxes” remark was disappointing; he might have stuck to his guns, explaining that he deplored the niqab (which he confessed with the similar “burka”) — though he would not ban it — both as a security threat, for it put him in mind not only of “letterboxes,” but of “bank robbers,” and as an article of clothing too often forced on Muslim women. He then might have asked his rivals to join him in condemning all such extreme cover — burka, niqab, chador — where it was not a matter of the woman’s free choice: “I am sure you agree that there is nothing anti-Islam about defending the rights of Muslim women to choose their clothing.” How many of them would have dared to disagree?

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, who had previously called for an independent investigation into “Islamophobia” in the Conservative Party, did so again in his reply to Mr. Patel, and asked his rivals to back his demand; they all nodded in seeming agreement. “It’s great that we all agree on that,” Javid said, noting that there was a “concern [about] growing anti-Muslim hatred in our country, certainly over the last few years, in all parts of society. And, wherever that is, including in political parties, it must be absolutely rooted out.”

He added: “We are, today, one of the most successful multiracial democracies in the world – whatever your race, whatever your religious background. And that is what we have got to remain.”

Just how “successful” has the U.K. been in creating a multi-religious democracy? The thousands of English girls who have been the victims of  Muslim grooming gangs in a dozen cities would not agree. Nor would the police, if they were allowed to speak their mind about “No-Go” areas created by Muslims in major cities — London, Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, Birmingham — where non-Muslims are made to feel unwelcome by the inhabitants, and even the police must watch their backs. Antisemitic hate crimes, almost all by Muslims, hit a record high in 2018. Sikh and Hindu girls have been the targets of attention from Muslim men, hoping to marry and convert these girls, thereby increasing Muslim numbers in what has been called a “Love Jihad.” All this suggests that things are not quite as rosy in the U.K.’s ‘multi-religious democracy” as Sajid Javid claims.

It is too bad that not one of the other candidates took issue with Javid, but of course to mention the grooming gangs, the No-Go areas, the “Love Jihad” would not have been politic. Instead, his claim about “anti-Muslim hatred” — part of the victimhood narrative that Muslims all over the West have constructed — went unchallenged. Why didn’t anyone ask him to compare the numbers of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.K. with the far greater number of hate crimes by Muslims? No Muslims are fleeing the country, but some Jews, reeling from Muslim attacks, have left for Israel. There are  No-Go areas where non-Muslims fear to tread, but despite this supposed increase of “anti-Muslim hatred,” there  appear to be no No-Go areas for Muslims. They are free to roam unconcernedly, while non-Muslims, especially Jews and women, must watch their backs in many Muslim areas.

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