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Ken Livingstone- "Muslims' turn now" to be discriminated against

Ken Livingstone- "Muslims' turn now" to be discriminated against

Categories: Latest News

Monday April 16 2012

The BBC and London 24 report on the London mayoral hustings organised by Stonewall last week at which mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said “It is the Muslims’ turn now” to be discriminated against and that certain right wing politicians pander to bigotry.

From London 24:

“Ken Livingstone has called for Londoners to be united after claiming that it is “the Muslims’ turn now” to be discriminated against.

“Mr Livingstone said he would like to see Muslims depicted in a “better balance”.

“Labour’s London mayoral candidate, who is competing to take back City Hall from Conservative Boris Johnson, also claimed that right-wing politicians “pander to bigotry”.

“He said: “In 1906 the front page of the Daily Mail’s headline was ‘Jews bring crime and disease to Britain’.

““Then it was the blacks, then it was the Irish, then it was the lesbians and gays – there has always got to be an enemy.

““Right-wing politicians pander to bigotry.

““I remember the deputy leader of the Tory group at the GLC, when we launched our lesbian and gay policies, said to me ‘Every time I make a homophobic speech in Ruislip-Northwood I get an extra 1,000 votes’.

““It is the Muslims’ turn now. Don’t be divided.

““No Muslims ever came to me and said ‘I want homosexuality banned’. Muslims came to this city to flee oppressive culture. They came here so their children could have democracy, that they could achieve their best.”

In ‘Pointing the Finger’, edited by Julian Petley and Robin Richardson, the authors examined Islamophobia in the media. The book identifies Muslims as the “latest incarnation of folk devils which since the 1950s has included … teenage mothers, trendy teachers, asylum-seekers, Gypsies and travellers, and immigrants of many kinds”. The report partly drew on the 2007 report, ‘The Search for Common Ground: Muslims, non-Muslims and the UK media’, which was commissioned by the Greater London Assembly during Ken Livingstone’s mayorship.  In his foreword to the Common Ground report, Livingstone wrote:

“The rise of Islamophobia in Europe and the negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the media harm community relations in London.

“I commissioned this study to examine the role of the media in promoting or harming good community relations with London’s Muslim communities.

“One of the most startling findings of this report is that in one typical week in 2006, over 90 per cent of the media articles that referred to Islam and Muslims were negative. The overall picture presented by the media was that Islam is profoundly different from and a threat to the west.

“I hope this study will stimulate further debate and the development of policies to help foster and encourage responsible journalism.”

Livingstone recently praised the Prophet Muhammed’s last sermon as “an agenda for all humanity”, and stating his objective to educate non-Muslims about the message of Islam. If the comments of Rod Liddle on Spectator blogs to Livingstone’s remarks on the Prophet’s last sermon are anything to go by, it would seem pandering to bigotry is not the preserve of right wing politicians alone.


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