There are two reasons – firstly, there have been developments since those three articles were written and, secondly, I feel bound to draw an obvious, yet everywhere undrawn, conclusion from the whole process.
1. Later Developments:
On 16th May 2019 the House of Commons debated the APPG definition and the British Government formally declined to adopt it.
During the debate Communities Secretary James Brokenshire characterised the APPG definition as a “backdoor blasphemy law” and rejected it on the grounds that it is too vague and has “potential consequences for freedom of speech”.
He also made it clear that the definition is “not in conformity with the Equality Act 2010, which defines ‘race’ as comprising color, nationality and national or ethnic origins — not religious practice”.
Prior to this a flurry of critical responses had already appeared from people who matter, not just humble bloggers. For instance:
A group of British academics, writers and public officials signed this open letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Richard Walton, former Head of Counter-Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police warned here that:
“…this deeply flawed definition – which wrongly conflates the religion of Islam with a racial group –
could over time cripple the UK’s successful counter-terrorism strategy and counter-terrorism
Sir John Jenkins produced this comprehensive demolition of the definition. If I had come across it earlier I probably wouldn’t have bothered delving into the subject myself.
My efforts added only one thing to Sir John’s report. Although he points to the “radical chic of critical theory, derived from a particular reading of the Frankfurt School and largely French postmodern theorists” he does not examine the core of the definition, the bogus sociological concept of cultural racism. You can only find that in the aforementioned Part 3.
In response, Wes Streeting (that’s him, centre front row, seated between Anna Soubry and Baroness Warsi) responded in the Guardian:
”…it is particularly disappointing to see a noisy chorus of vocal opposition making arguments in
bad faith that accuse us of trying to use the term Islamophobia to shut down criticism of Islam
and introduce blasphemy laws by the back door. In fact, our report makes it crystal clear that
our definition does not preclude criticism of Islam or Islamic theology”.
Yes, the report does make it crystal clear, in the introduction, that ”our definition does not preclude criticism of Islam or Islamic theology”. But towards the end it also makes it crystal clear that many things that we had thought came under the heading of Islam or Islamic theology, now come under the heading of Muslimness, a splendidly vague neologism which the APPG have added to the already vague enough concept of Islamophobia.
As an example of the difference, if the APPG get their way it will become an offence to call Islam an aggressively supremacist cult, which it is and has been for 1400 years.
2. Drawing an obvious conlusion:
In the House of Commons James Brokenshire said:
”It is vital that we get this right, that any definition reflects the experience of those who have
experienced hatred because they are Muslims, and that we can be satisfied it will have a positive
effect…With the best of intent, the APPG definition does not yet meet this and further work and
consideration is needed”.
Why would anyone assume that a “backdoor blasphemy law” had been proposed “with the best of intent”?
In his report Sir John Jenkins wrote:
“There is no doubt that the MPs involved had – and have – the best of intentions”.
Why does he think there is no doubt?
Elsewhere in his report he shows that he is fully aware of the malign influence on the report of the sinister Islamist organisation MEND but merely asks:
“Were members of the APPG and other MPs who appeared at the launch of the report fully
informed about the connections of those who helped write this report and contribute evidence?“
I suggest that anyone with the best of intentions should have informed themselves about who was presenting information to them, and about their possible agendas. Even if the members were totally duped by MEND and their ideologically aligned academics, they were soon enlightened after the publication by the criticisms from Sir John and others but they still stand by the report.
The APPG report does not at all reflect the best of intentions. Rather, it is a determined and deceptive attempt to claim special protection from criticism for one religion, Islam, just as Sharia demands. The individual members must have been either astonishingly naive, or complicit in what can only be described as enemy action against our society. It is just the proportions which are in doubt.
Lizzie Dearden reported in the Independent:
”It [the APPG definition] has been adopted by parties including Labour, the Liberal Democrats,
Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party and Scottish Conservatives, and backed by 750 Muslim
organistions and institutions”.
That is an awful lot of Muslim organisations, isn’t it? Do they all understand cultural racism and Muslimness? I doubt it. I contend that all they see is the demand for special treatment, which equals Sharia, which equals power. Their immediate response of “Yes, we’ll have some of that” demonstrates more clearly than any poll what a great many Muslims actually want, and who and what they identify with above all else.
The expected response to hearing that the APPG definition is supported by 750 Muslim organisations is that it must therefore be good. Having examined the definition in detail, and found it bad, my conclusion is that a great many Muslims, beyond the ranks of the usual suspects, must wish to see Sharia trump the British values of free speech and equal treatment for all.
My “Islamophobia” has in fact been confirmed and even strengthened by this alarming report and by the whole unedifying process of its production. I wonder how many other people it has affected in the same way.