I've just reviewed the recently broadcast BBC "documentary" entitled "Quitting the English Defence League: When Tommy met Mo"
about Tommy Robinson, the ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), engaging with a Muslim from Luton, Mohamed Ansar (Mo), and eventually joining up with the Quilliam Foundation, that self-proclaimed "moderate Muslim" think tank set up by the Conservative Party as part of their Prevent strategy which would make Abdullah Quilliam, an early British Muslim convert with rather radical views, turn in his grave. I think Tommy found a suitable home, because he can continue undermining Islam there without having to be tainted with the brush of racism.
The BBC production was the typical set-up of false dialectics where you get two allegedly opposing views, in this case anti-Islam and "moderate", "reformed" half-baked apologetic Islam shadow boxing to confuse the viewer since it matters little who wins: both agree that Islamic extremism must be eradicated and then proceed to push all of mainstream Islam under that label unnoticed by the not-so-observant viewer. It reminds me of one of the broadsheet newspaper articles back in the late 1980s commenting on the campaign I then led for the recognition of Muslim schools, which stated that in the Yorkshire community the Muslim school in focus was located, most were "Muslim fundamentalists: they pray five times a day". In other words, to be a moderate Muslim, you must not be a practicing Muslim but renounce the validity of Islam as more than just a relic of inherited culture.
The only real Muslims in the film set were Mo Ansar and Salma Yaqoob (of the Respect Party), and sadly even Mo, a well-intended ordinary Muslim representing no-one but himself had been compromised during the programme to pay homage to the new religion of heterophobia by stating he had fought countless years for gay rights. I will come to that later.
To help Mo in informing Tommy about Islam and Muslim, the BBC engaged a number of so-called scholars. I won't waste my time talking much more about Tom Holland, brought to fame or disrepute, depending on how one looks at it, by his Channel 4 "documentary" (Islam: The untold story) where he managed to conclude that the historical Muhammad might not really have existed, because when he looked for him in all the places where he had never been, he could, unsurprisingly, find no evidence of him there. But I am utterly disappointed by the equally appalling display of ignorance of the Muslim apologists the BBC managed to include in its line-up of "scholars", amongst them Usama Hassan, Ibrahim Mogra, Maajid Nawaz and Mohammed Shafiq. Like sheep led to slaughter they all take the bait (or the pay cheque) of responding to the tired worn-out polemical questions by which Islam is intended to be discredited with a chorus of relativism, chiefly that Islam must be seen in its historical context, in other words, what was valid at the time of its revelation does no longer hold true today and must be "moderated" by the superior insights of modern Western secular "scientific" examination. The Qur'an, according to this view, is in need of re-interpretation in order to reform an Islam not fit for the modern age.
The key attack on Islam comes, as usual, from the Western obsession with sexuality which looks for deviant practices in the exotic Muslim societies for the gratification of its own wild phantasies. Nothing much has changed from when the first Western travellers to the Ottoman empire came back with imagined drawings of hammams or harems full of exaggerated libido. Until today, the veil is the one Islamic emblem which excites its Western adversaries the most.
So here is Tommy "competently" quoting from the Qur'an to make his point that Islam permits "sexual slaves" and thus encourages the grooming of white under-aged girls by Asian Muslims. The verse in question is verse 3 of Surah 4, An-Nisa' (Women): "And if you fear that you cannot do justice to the orphans, then marry from the women permitted to you, two, three and four, and if you fear that you cannot be fair, then one or one who is in your possession, that is closer to you avoiding transgression." (my own translation). And none of our alleged scholars seems to ever have bothered to either read the verse in full or consult any one of the classical books of Tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis). Yes, the verse mentions those "in your possession" or slave girls, but it does not give licence to have illicit sex with them, it merely permits to marry from amongst them (and thereby setting them free from slavery!). In other words, it advises Muslims that if they cannot afford to marry someone of their own status and do justice to them, there is nothing wrong with marrying from amongst those lower in status within society. Verse 25 of the same Surah gives a more detailed account of the same injunction, leaving absolutely no room for misinterpretation: "And who amongst you does not have the means to marry free believing women, then from amongst what is in your possession of the believing servants, and Allah knows your faith best, you all share a common origin, so marry them with the permission of their family and give them their marital gifts appropriately, as long as they are chaste, not given to prostitution nor fornication, so when they are married and then commit adultery, then their punishment is half that of free women; this if for him amongst you who fears hardship, but to have patience is better for you, and Allah is forgiving and merciful." (my own translation). Instead, our scholars perform mental and rhetorical somersaults to explain why historically this verse was not quite as bad as it may now appear, when really, there is nothing at all to apologise for.
Then there is the other favourite angle of attack, the Shariah law, those "barbaric punishments" Islam metes out which have no place in a civilised society, like cutting off the hand of the thief and stoning the adulterer. Once again, our scholars agree that the Qur'an and the teachings of the prophet are outdated. Now, I wonder what the parents of those young girls groomed by Pakistani predators would have to say about that. They most likely would like to have them flogged to death and tell you that a prison sentence is simply not good enough for them, and I am equally sure that Tommy and the rest of the EDL would have to agree with them. It's funny, how perspectives change when you replace the perpetrator's human rights with those of the victim. And would the McCann family weep if the abductor of their daughter lost a hand so that he could not steal another little girl? Of course, there are necessary safeguards, well established in Islam: a thief may not be punished for steeling out of necessity, an adulterer may not be stoned without actual evidence, available only if the act was performed in full public view, in other words, gross public indecency. Islam does not permit spying behind close doors, unlike the modern secular state obsessed with wanting to know every secret of every man, both out of fear and a desire to control, a fact easily demonstrable by the proliferation of surveillance cameras or the recent scandal of the United States intelligence services tapping into the private mobile phones of the leaders of their own allies. Nor does Islam permit the execution of a just punishment within an unjust society, only when society itself follows high standards can the individual be held to account in accordance with them.
And finally, I promised to come back to it, there is the litmus test of the modern axiom "You are either with us or against us": Do you support homosexuality? Here, the heterophobic lobby with support from members in all echelons of power is not contend with you saying that you cannot prevent adults from doing whatever they want in the privacy of their own homes but would rather not want them to push their devious sexual tastes down your throat or teach them to your children. No, you have to wholeheartedly pronounce that you acknowledge that their chosen lifestyle may well be superior to yours and that anybody not favouring their practices is in need of treatment. What has become of freedom of choice: Do we who choose to be heterosexual no longer have the right to consider our choice as preferable to that of others. Must we all be compelled to applaud something we distaste? But leaving aside the decadent insistence of all strata of Western society on elevating an unnatural practice to the level of the normative, does Islam discriminate against homosexuals? Not at all. Islam forbids sex outside marriage irrespective of your sexual orientation. So if we ask sexually active heterosexuals who have not been able to marry to abstain and control their desires, why is it so wrong to ask the same of those with homosexual inclinations? That Islam does not permit two people of the same sex to marry is not unique to our religion. To date there is still no European country permitting homosexual marriage; instead they have created that legal half-way house of civil partnership. Because they, too, recognise that marriage has as one of its purposes procreation, something two people of the same sex cannot possibly do, which is why I called it unnatural a few moments ago. Nor are homosexuals the only people to be precluded from marriage. The law does, for example, consider some adults unfit for marriage due to mental incompetency or legal incapacity. The reason, once again, is the sacredness of the family taking priority over sexual licence.
These few examples should suffice. I can understand that being subjected to endless propaganda large parts of ordinary Muslim men and women (and the same goes for ordinary non-Muslim men and women), whilst having a gut feeling that something isn't quite right, do not know how to counter the polemical and emotionally charged arguments thrown at them. But I can't understand why our "scholars" are so completely spineless. Unless it is a case of "follow the money".