MEND STATEMENT: Nick Timothy & The Telegraph Using Gaza War to Fuel Islamophobia at Home
Categories: Latest News
Thursday November 02 2023
MEND strongly condemns former Downing Street Chief of Staff Nick Timothy’s hate-filled, Islamophobic tirade published in The Telegraph on October 29th.
In his article, Mr Timothy attempts to fallaciously frame the recent wave of Palestine solidarity protests as the work of rogue Islamists. Photos and videos of the protests, attended by hundreds of thousands, show that people from all backgrounds have been united by a shared sense of moral disgust at the wholesale massacre of nearly 10,000 Palestinians by the Israeli military. The marches have included many Jewish and LGBTQ+ groups, which are hardly known as being ‘Islamist supporters.’ Incitement to violence and support for terrorism should be punished by the law, but the presence of a minority of individuals engaged in such speech does not undermine the general legitimacy of support for the right of Palestinians to live free from military occupation and high-tech bombardment.
Most disturbing, is Mr Timothy’s apparent belief that support for Palestine among Britain’s Muslims is somehow indicative of a lack of social integration. This line of thought follows no clear logic, but that does not stop him from proposing a raft of oppressive, Islamophobic policies. He calls for the banning of the burqa and the hijab, the shuttering of charities and TV channels that promote “extremism,” although he never defines what he means by that term. In fact, it appears that for Mr Timothy, extremism is a byword for opposing government policy – such as unconditional support for Israel – which can be used as a justification for collectively punishing British Muslims for having a pro-Palestine position.
A significant component of the government’s definition of British values is “mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs,” which includes political beliefs. Its definition of extremism involves the opposition to such values. Thus, by essentially calling for a crackdown on Muslims over their pro-Palestine sentiments, articles like Mr Timothy’s clearly endorse a message that is opposed to the British values of tolerance for difference of opinion and the right to free expression (all of which are rights also supported by the Human Rights Act of 1998).
MEND therefore calls upon The Telegraph to strongly consider retracting this egregious, Islamophobic hate piece. We also call upon politicians to denounce the vilification of Muslims over their support for Palestine and to stand up for British values in the face of right-wing threats to them.