Yep, they got bored over there at Islamophobe Central and so they thought they’d make up some nonsense. The mistake they made is that they thought I would ignore someone making up rubbish and that I wouldn’t respond. Aha, I did. A while back, and enjoyed every second. I love a long empty page to let the fingers flow. Apologies though to everyone for only publishing it now, frankly I kept forgetting.
So anyway, it came to my attention that I am being criticised for the content of this video I recorded during a fund-raiser for the people of Gaza during the Israeli military invasion of 2014 which led to the deaths of over 2220 Palestinians, and unspeakable suffering for many more hundreds of thousands.
The authors “Stand For Peace” under the directorship of Sam Westrop take particular umbrage with my statement with my description of the Israeli invading forces when I said: “They find it so easy and natural to do what they do….Look at them today, look at the way they massacre. They blow up babies like as if it’s a computer game. They have no humanity, no morality, no ethics…”
They claim me to be anti-Jewish, a charge which I completely and emphatically reject, although such an accusation is not altogether unsurprising from an organisation run by Westrop who is a well-known right wing Pro-Israeli activist. This is lazy my friend, you can do better. To be anti-Semite, I would have to be anti-Jew. That’s something which I cannot be, neither theologically, neither spiritually, and neither practically because I keep taking my kids to them for circumcision and boy are their scalpels sharp!
Anyway, it is understandable why such a person would feel offended by my statement, but that should not get in the way of the facts on the table, so let me say:
– As a scholar, it is my right to engage in exegesis of the Qur’an which contextualises the verse about killing wantonly and the verse being revealed to the Children of Israel for a reason (their frequent slaying of the Prophets) – I don’t need to apologise for explaining the provenance of the verse, its meaning, or its purpose, especially if it is based upon historical fact or current political reality.
This is similar to the way one doesn’t ask for an apology from those scholars who give exegesis on verses of the Bible and the Torah which could be construed as offensive or discomforting to others as well, yet through being granted freedom of speech preserve learning in an educational manner.
Speech may be offensive to some but causing offence is not illegal as long as it doesn’t call to violence or harm, something which I utterly agree with. What is illegal is the massacre of children, something which occurred at the hands of Israeli Defence Forces in their invasion of Gaza as attested to by all major international legal bodies. That’s harm by the way, and violence, just in case you were wondering.
– I mentioned that the “Children of Israel has a track record in the killing of Prophets and people” in order to contextualise their murder of so many people in Gaza. This claim is not something which is Qur’anic or Islamic in origin but actually Biblical, as stated in the following verses for example:
“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him…” (Acts 7:52)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)
For the record, just so that it is absolutely clear: I abhor anti-Semitism and as an academic and a teacher I fully reject any xenophobia or hate whether violent or not, against any faith or non-faith group, whether in this country or any other country in the world. I cannot possibly be more clearer than that on this pathetic, incredibly offensive and utterly false charge of being anti-Jewish.
And yes, scholars must be allowed to analyse theological and historical texts and realities in an academic and authentic manner without the lazy card of anti-Semitism or xenophobia being brandished against them every time.
– I mentioned that ‘it comes easy to them’ – this point should not be in doubt and is statistically supported by conservative UN figures which illustrate that thousands of Palestinians including women and children have been killed under occupation or in Gaza specifically which illustrates my point about mass murder without regard for sanctity of human life.
The figures of 2104, 167 and 1391 from each of the 3 Gaza wars in the last decade demonstrate the disproportionate number of Palestinian civilians killed to Israelis killed in either war or peacetime.
And to top off their glorious period, it has now been confirmed that Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than in any other year since 1967. And there’s been a lot of killing, believe me.
– Concerning my statement that they are ‘blowing up babies like it’s a computer game’ – anyone with half a brain should be able to see that this must be contextualised by the fact that it is a reference to the sophisticated armoury of the Israeli army, the most hi-tech in the world second only to the US Army. The mechanisation of warfare and its increasing remoteness – with the use of remote piloted aircraft and bombs – has removed the human being from the act of killing rendering them less sensitive to the loss of human life. Just like in a computer game (nope, don’t take MY word for it) – it seems virtual, not real.
As for the reference to “babies”, then UN figures horrifyingly state that 495 children were murdered in the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2014 – most of them by such game-like bombing raids and strikes from afar.
– Concerning my claim that such behaviour exhibits “no humanity, no morality, no ethics…” – then I would be shocked if many others didn’t agree with me that the merciless killing of a huge number of Palestinian civilians was indeed immoral and unethical (as far as ethics in warfare is concerned). Likewise the targeting of UN sites in Gaza is illegal and illustrative of ‘no morality and no ethics’. These sites are supposed to be protected under the Geneva Conventions.
– I stated that such actions have ‘no guidance, no light, no religion’ which is of course a comparison of the actions of the Israeli state with what are well known Jewish teachings about the preservation of life, humanity etc.
Again, for absolute clarity, let me make an absolute distinction between Israel as a state that has breached international humanitarian law for its conduct in Gaza (which of course the Goldstone report also acknowledged) and the Jewish religious tradition that celebrates the sanctity of life just like Islam.
My criticism is clear and targeted: it is criticism of those who kill and murder in contravention of all principles of human sanctity. That is why my video continues to criticise a number of other actors and states that perpetrate crimes of violence and murder, including Muslims such as ISIS and other terrorists that affect innocent people around the world, all of course conveniently ignored and twisted by Islamophobes who lie against me.
Thus it is clearly disingenuous to attempt to make my video anti-Semitic when the focus is on the crimes of Israel and other Muslim terrorists and states that murder and oppress. Thus I started with the verse in the Qur’an about killing one person being akin to killing all of humanity, because our religious tradition should be clear about wantonly killing innocents whether the innocents are Palestinians attacked by Israel of Westerners attacked by Al-Qaeda and its offshoots.
– On the wider point of associates at the AlMaghrib Institute, firstly I have not seen any objective proof of any form of anti-Semitism or xenophobia other than manufactured and false claims similar to the one made against myself. As you can see from their track record in fabricating nonsense as I have illustrated above, don’t expect me to hold my breath waiting for the evidence. And just so that we’re clear, if that evidence comes, be sure that I’ll stand on the right side of justice and truth, regardless of whether I am associated with AlMaghrib or not. They’re not exactly my Dad are they? That’s a figure of speech by the way, just in case you do tell me Dad.
Secondly – and as a completely academic point – I am not responsible for the views of others and I should not be made to apologise or explain the views held by others. No one in the Labour party need explain what Tony Blair did when he fabricated evidence to take the country to war. Please insert one hundred other examples of this fact here, thanks.
Organisations comprise many people but the words and statements of any one individual in an organisation is the responsibility of that individual. It’s nothing to do with me.
The only thing which I should be responsible for is my own beliefs and statements. Do I share any discriminatory beliefs or views as claimed? Absolutely not. Will I support any discriminatory statements if proven from my colleagues, or acquaintances, or friends, or family, or those of the same faith as me? Absolutely not.
On the point about Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab attending AlMaghrib events, then this means nothing. As someone who regularly teaches for this Institute and the amount of time I personally invest in defeating the ideological basis from Islamic extremism around the world, and the support my colleagues and I receive from AlMaghrib in doing this, and the grateful thanks we receive from our students and their families for taking the bull by the horns and addressing these matters head on in a straight-forward and quite frankly dangerous manner, then I know exactly where AlMaghrib stand and that is on the right side of humanity.
Abdulmuttalab also attended the East London Mosque who themselves have utterly defeated challenges to the inference that they had any role in his radicalisation, which of course would be a nonsensical claim. These whimsical causal links have no basis in evidence or fact and I ask those who claim a causal relationship to prove it. It is not upon myself to exonerate a credible educational institution such as AlMaghrib, which has probably done more for the correct education of Muslims moving them away from both violent and non-violent extremism, far more than any other Muslim, or non-Muslim organisation that I know.
Those who make the allegation and infer any causal link should provide evidence to substantiate it or remain silent.
In closing, I am fully aware that Sam Westrop who is behind “Stand For Peace” was also the co-founder of the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy – with a certain Jonathan Sacerdoti as the other co-founder.
Such links give clear motive as to why my statements on Gaza would be misconstrued. Sacerdoti appeared on BBC News during the Gaza conflict trying to pass himself off as a ‘neutral commentator’ and the BBC complaints unit partly upheld complaints that this was a mistake.
Thus it is quite understandable why such falsehood would be manufactured from what was my clear criticism of all those who are involved in criminal and immoral activity regardless of their faith or political background.
Even though I love an ole’ write-up, I do not appreciate having to write this to explain any links I might have when I don’t cause an issue around “Stand For Peace” likewise having a proud association with people like Student Rights, the Henry Jackson Society outfit with Douglas Murray who called for “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board” and is directly linked to the US-based Islamophobe Robert Spencer. It seems no Muslim who disagrees with them can be safe from their ire.
However I did write this so for the sake of our community relations and to motivate all believers to return back to their authentic religious traditions to make us all proud followers of the great faiths that we all claim to belong to and love so much, and which promise so much for the future peace and stability of mankind.