Due to its propensity to churn out Muslim terrorists with startling regularity, Luton has become a town plagued by what are commonly referred to nowadays as “religious tensions”.
The Fertiliser Bomb Plotters, the perpetrators of 7/7, the Stockholm bomber, Al Muhajaroun and a great many other jihadist recruits and would-be terrorists have all used Luton as a base. This is unsurprising when you consider that Luton falls under the jurisdiction of a police force who have repeatedly demonstrated their total and utter incompetence in tackling Muslim extremism, and have otherwise proven their general illiteracy in all things Islamic.
In an episode of the fly-on-the-wall documentary series 24 Hours in Police Custody, broadcast in May this year, Bedfordshire Police attempted to prosecute a white English woman for a racially motivated hate crime, against another white English woman. Their justification for this was that the words “Muslim” and “terrorist” were used in a derogatory way to describe the victim’s brother – who incidentally is a convicted Muslim terrorist.
Not content with showcasing their inability to understand the difference between a race and a religion, Bedfordshire Police took it upon themselves to pose for photos with local Muslims as part of their We Stand Together campaign, whilst spectacularly failing to notice that many of these Muslims were what one might charitably refer to as members of the Islamic far-right. For example, here’s PCSO Dan McHugh posing alongside a Salafist named Abdul Qadeer Baksh who stated in a BBC radio discussion broadcast in 2013, that in an ideal Islamic State homosexuals should be put to death.
The briefest of glances at the website for Luton Islamic Centre, of which Mr Baksh is the Chairman, shows that it unapologetically promotes sermons by a proscribed Islamist named Bilal Phillips who was arrested for inciting terrorism in the Philippines and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.
The We Stand Together campaign describes itself as an initiative that “encourages people to come together as one and celebrate their differences in order to build a safer and stronger United Kingdom.” This is presumably why Bedfordshire Police posed for another fetching snap with former Equality and Diversity Adviser, Ashuk Ahmed, who encourages people to come together and celebrate their differences by publishing and circulating rabidly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on the internet.
It gets better. Apparently on a crusade to reiterate just how committed to oblivious, extremist endorsing buffoonery they are, Bedfordshire Police recently tweeted their intention to join the “campaign to raise awareness of Islamophobia”.
Unfortunately for them, this campaign to “raise awareness of Islamophobia” is an event named Islamophobia Awareness Month which uses as its logo, the one fingered salute of Tawheed. This is a gesture used by Muslims to signify their belief in the “oneness” of God, and the supremacy of Islam over other religions that they deem to be polytheistic. It’s a gesture that has gained notoriety in the last few years as the people that most often pose for photos performing this salute with one hand tend to be clutching a Kalashnikov or a decapitated head in the other.
In other words, it’s a symbol that has been co-opted by Islamic State and various other jihadist groups, and one which is well on its way to becoming an Islamic variant of the Nazi salute.
Amazingly, Bedfordshire Police had no idea about any of this. That’s right: a police force who control a borough which has been described as a “hotbed of extremism” and a “breeding ground for terrorists”, did not know that the one fingered salute is a symbol of ISIS. Simply gobsmacking.
Bedfordshire Police were swiftly derided on social media for legitimising the jihadist salute and quickly deleted their tweet as well as the article on their website promoting this initiative.
What they did not do, however, was to publically disassociate themselves from Islamic Awareness Month altogether. Rather, since deleting their initial article, they have republished it on their website (albeit without the embarrassing ISIS logo) and restated their support for Islamophobia Awareness Month. This is yet another catastrophic blunder in a long line of catastrophic blunders made by Bedfordshire Police.
As it happens, one of the founding members of Islamophobia Awareness Month is a “research and advocacy group” named MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development). The Head of Community Development & Engagement is listed as a man named Azad Ali. A quick Google search confirms that this is the same Azad Ali who has publically endorsed Hamas and Hezbollah, who was suspended from his position as a civil servant for praising Bin Laden’s mentor, who has fawned over a number of al Qaeda operatives and who made sinister, threatening remarks towards the undercover reporter who exposed his proclamation that Sharia takes precedence over democracy. In his extensive expose of MEND, Sunday Telegraph journalist Andrew Gilligan concluded that the organisation was nothing more than a “front group for Muslim extremists.”
The official Facebook page of Islamophobia Awareness Month has also promoted workshops by jihadist apologist group CAGE UK and conferences featuring spokesmen for the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic fascist organisation whose aim is the establishment of a global caliphate.
I’d suggest Bedfordshire Police could do with providing an explanation as to why they feel it is acceptable to team up with Islamic extremists for the purpose of promoting disingenuous Islamic euphemisms like “Islamophobia”.
The article published by Bedfordshire Police on their website mentions the importance of challenging Islamophobia, but it fails to either define Islamophobia, or to explain what would constitute an Islamophobic crime. The closest it actually comes to providing a definition is simply to say that it is a crime “based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate.”
As I have mentioned before, whilst a word like “anti-Semitism” refers solely to bigotry against people, multiple definitions of Islamophobia – including the Oxford Dictionary definition – deem Islamophobia to include a dislike of ideas. Curious to know whether aversion to Islam had become a crime in this country, I contacted Bedfordshire Police with some questions:
I received a reply from Assistant Communications Officer, Helen Hutchinson, which directed me to a page on Bedfordshire Police’s website which describes an Islamophobic crime as: “Unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims.”
Deeply unsatisfied with this muddled, semiliterate definition I responded:
Bedfordshire Police replied to advise that they would look into this and get back to me. I haven’t received any further responses as of yet.
The embarrassing selfies with extremists, the collusion with thinly-veiled fascists, the promotion of Islamist initiatives, the inability to differentiate religion from race, the legitimisation of Islamic propaganda terms, and the multiple displays of ineptitude notwithstanding, it is obvious that using a word without a definition to categorise a crime was always going to be a massive mistake. But then that seems to be par for the course with Bedfordshire Police.
The campaign that Bedfordshire Police have announced that they are joining is one whose mission statement is to “challenge misconceptions of Islam”. If I had even the faintest confidence in the ability of Bedfordshire Police to achieve that aim, or thought for a second that they were qualified in the slightest to even attempt to undertake it – it is simply not their place to do so.
The police are there to prevent crime and arrest the perpetrators, not to act as a PR machine for a religion. And maybe, just maybe, this kind of naïve, ham-fisted, preferential treatment of Islam is exactly the kind of thing that allows extremism to flourish within Luton whilst contributing detrimentally to the perception of Muslims in the town. Bigotry of any kind is shameful, but we should all reserve the right to criticise, ridicule, reject and yes, even hate any ideas we damn well please. And it is entirely reasonable to challenge and express contempt for the people that promote and endorse them. Can I say that? Or am I being Islamophobic?