Search Donate

Show results for
  • News
  • Videos
  • Action Alerts
  • Events
  • Resources
  • MEND

Daily Express Commentary on Poppy-Burner's £50 Fine

Daily Express Commentary on Poppy-Burner's £50 Fine

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday March 09 2011

  The tabloid outrage over the £50 fine received by Emdadur Choudhury continues today via a comment piece by Chris Roycroft-Davis in the Daily Express. And, perhaps not surprisingly, his arguments are littered with the same inconsistencies and holes that one may have come to expect from a Daily Express article offering social commentary on things Muslim.

He starts by saying:

“His [Choudhury’s] bigotry appals me… But for all that I still defend his right to hold whatever religious beliefs he wishes because that freedom is what millions of men and women have died for. To say his mode of worship should have no place in our society would be to make worthless that ultimate sacrifice. I just wish this wicked man would stop spouting such offensive claptrap wrapped up in the cloak of Islam.”

The notion that Davis defends Choudhury’s freedom of religious belief is very heart-warming and he is right to say that persecuting someone for the religious beliefs would void the sacrifices that many have made for the sake of freedom, but let’s be clear: his views are not religious belief. Many Muslims would support Davis’ wish that this man and his ilk would stop spouting offensive claptrap ‘wrapped up in the cloak of Islam’ – sick as they are of such stunts and the disproportionate media attention which they receive (the Daily Star even has his leader, Anjem Choudary on speed-dial for just those occasions).

It should be clear that this man and his actions are not advancing or even propagating Islam. On the contrary, he is contributing towards its vilification.

Davis further registers his displeasure at the £50 fine which Choudhury received, describing it as “paltry”, and adds:

“Imagine if we had a group of militant Methodists preaching hatred against Muslims, invoking death and carnage in the name of Christ. They’d be locked up as a danger to society and the key would be thrown away.”

This parallel does not hold. However ridiculous the method and timing of their protest, Choudhury and his men were protesting against “illegal occupations and unjust wars” – as stated by the spokesman for their group on the day of the protests and ever since. They were not preaching hatred against Christians, nor invoking death or carnage. If they were, they would have been locked away (as anyone else) for incitement to violence or murder.

Davis continues:

“It is easy to dismiss these preachers of hate as illeducated boys from the back streets of Bangladesh who know no better but therein lies the real danger.”

“Britain’s cities are awash with militant extremists, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas and the men who lead them are prosperous young, middle-class professionals born here and educated at our best universities.”

“They brainwash the less well-off and the less well-educated into believing that the values of the West, which feeds and clothes them, are decadent and contrary to the teachings of the Koran. Their hatred of what we stand for is shown in the way they treat Western women, procuring under-age girls for sex, their disdain for Christian culture and their anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.

“And yet for several decades we have let them get away with it. A namby – pamby coalition of the Labour Party, the judiciary and the liberal Left media pursued a policy of appeasement with Muslim radicals.

“We had to engage with them to ensure multi-cultural harmony, anyone who dared speak up for the overwhelming majority and say immigrants should only be welcome if they’re prepared to be British was denounced as a racist bigot or Little Englander.”

Davis has made the classic mistake (or deliberate calculation, who knows?) of conflating the actions and beliefs of fringe groups and individuals with the tenets of Islam and the beliefs and actions of the wider British Muslim population. Furthermore, he has exposed the hypocrisy within his argument.

These attitudes aren’t representative of those found in the Muslim community, as much as the tabloids would have us believe. If Muslims are being taught by the said individuals that the ‘values of the West’ are contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an, their teachings aren’t having much impact. Take, for example, the Department for Communities and Local Government report on “Attitudes, values and perceptions – Muslims and the general population in 2007-08”, which highlighted the similarity in attitudes between Muslims and the wider population, including agreement on attitudes such as the need to obey and respect the law; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and trust in Parliament.

All Davis has done is to arrogantly imply that these values are the exclusive domain of ‘the West’.

In fact, studies have shown that it is the wider population which holds unfavourable views toward Muslims and Islam – see the British Council report on Muslim integration, which showed almost twice as many respondents agreed that the Christian religion is compatible with life in Scotland as agreed that the Islamic religion is compatible (80% compared with 42%). See also the recent findings from the Searchlight Educational Trust, which noted that over half of the respondents believed that Muslims “create problems in the UK.”

Would it be a wild stab in the dark to suggest that such attitudes stem from regular commentaries stating that the Muslims and their attitudes are in conflict with the West and its beliefs? Davis has merely added to the number of those commentaries (and not on the basis of any sound arguments).


Find out more about MEND, sign up to our email newsletter

Get all the latest news from MEND straight to your inbox. Sign up to our email newsletter for regular updates and events information