I never used to pay much attention to the Guardian. Although I called myself a liberal I found the constant hand wringing and finger wagging tedious so I read other papers. It was only after Woolwich that I started to pay attention and noticed that in the pages of the Guardian Muslims appeared to have become a protected species. They never seemed to appear except as victims of right wing phobes, American oil grabbers or oppressing Israelis.
Here are three examples of the house style:
The author, Victoria Brittain, made much of the fact that Qatada’s home was full of books and he encouraged his children’s school work from prison but neglected to mention the blood curdling calls he has made for the killing of apostates, Egyptian police and army officers, and Jews plus their wives and children.
This was the final paragraph:
“If we are going to explore these kinds of questions then we need to make sure that we do it properly, with good data and in a way that does not inadvertently legitimise the narratives of extremists. This means building stronger bridges between journalists, editors and researchers, and also discussing whether some polls and their press releases should be subject to some kind of peer review. We need to take a more clever approach.”
What this means is that the author, Matthew Goodwin, is advocating censorship of data which does not support his partisan position. Clearly he is a culture wars foot soldier first and a social scientist second.
It has to be understood that the Levellers (the Civil War era proto-socialists) are to the Guardian roughly what the 12 disciples are to the Catholic Times. According to the author, Giles Fraser, they and the MB have quite a lot in common. Commenters took a different view, such as the following one:
“When will The Guardian grow up? Islam is NOT like Western movements for equality and justice… It’s time Guardian writers took time to read some serious books on Islam, including the works of the great MB ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, who would have had no time at all for the Levellers or any other non-Muslim organization. Islam is all about supremacy, the imposition of Islamic rule on the whole world. I’m not a ranting EDL idiot. I used to teach Islamic Studies at a British university and have written widely on the subject. Guardian writers are too obsessed with the poor downtrodden Muslims of the UK to see the wider picture. A lot of reading will help a lot.”
This poster raises two points. Firstly note how he feels the need to denigrate the EDL in order to enhance his credibility. It demonstrates the role which their chosen cast of scapegoats such as the Daily Mail, bankers, UKIP and the EDL play for Guardian readers.
More importantly he points out the need for Guardian writers to educate themselves about Islam. He is absolutely right and the same goes for Guardian readers. They are looking through the wrong end of the telescope, starting from their sacred values of equality, diversity and non-discrimination. From that viewpoint all cats are the same, even the one which is really a tiger cub. Those of us who have read the texts (and the Koran is not the worst), studied the history of Islam and are aware of its works around the world today, try to warn of the danger. We have to be suppressed, along with free speech, with cries of “Islamophobe”, “racist” (as though race has anything to do with religion – God give me strength!) “bigot”, “fascist” etc. You would have thought that this sort of thing was too puerile to find its way into public discourse, but it seems to work – for now.
How did this odd coupling of a liberal newspaper with the most illiberal of religious ideologies come about?
There are those who say it was foretold in the Koran, proving the marvellous perfection of the sacred text:
Others will say the references have been shamelessly taken out of context. Ok, guilty as charged, just my little theological joke. Back to the matter in hand…
At first sight there does not appear to be that much in common between a newspaper widely read by atheists, homosexuals and women, and a religion with a known distaste for all three. We know the Shariah penalty for atheism and homosexuality but who knew that female circumcision, although a pre-Islamic practice, is enshrined in Shariah? See the authoritative Shafi’i manual of Islamic Jurisprudence The Reliance of the Traveller (section E4.3) for details.
Is it a case of masochistic fascination? Are the Guardianistas suffering from “false consciousness”? Is it seen as “edgy” to hang around with the dangerous boys? Or is it just the case, as they say in Russia, that a leftist is like a backwards dog – it naturally wags its tail at a stranger and barks at its owner?
Whatever it is, there have been consequences to such wilful blindness. It has actually provided cover for some of the world’s nastiest practices to take root in Britain. The sexual mutilation of young girls, the obliteration of their identity behind a piece of black cloth, the occasional murder to protect a family’s honour, Muslim rape gangs preying on vulnerable Kafir girls – where were the Guardian feminists when these horrors started appearing? They were taking white males to task over relative trivia while averting their gaze from the real, vicious misogyny all around them.
Thankfully things are starting to change. Today’s edition of the Guardian leads with the story of a mutilated woman. Further down the page there is a campaign against FGM. Unsurprisingly the Guardian wrongly absolves Islam of any responsibility:
“Although the practice is mainly found in some Muslim societies, who believe, wrongly, that it is a religious requirement, it is also carried out by non-Muslim groups such as Coptic Christians in Egypt, and several Christian groups in Kenya.”
Perhaps Maggie O’Kane overlooked the relevant section in “The Reliance of the Traveller”.
From the current coverage you would think the Guardian discovered the issue all by itself but it did not. The truth is that the liberal establishment had to be forced to look at these things, primarily by the EDL who started raising awareness of the problem in 2009. By 2011 the broadsheets started to catch up, with the Guardian always lagging behind.
(Graph courtesy of 4Freedoms)
Now it is all over their front page. So the Guardian has taken their lead indirectly from the EDL yet still needs to dismiss them as bigots. But who cared about the girls? Not the Guardianistas, they were too busy being culturally sensitive. It was left to the EDL to make a noise, and very noisy they were. The Guardian will take the credit but it was the EDL who led the charge and the Guardian which merely followed when it was safe to do so.