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Friday 28 September 2012

Oldham and Bradford Mosques diverge on protest strategies

Whereas the Bradford Council for Mosques (BCM) has backed a call for a demonstration against the film 'Innocence of Muslims' which will take place this afternoon, the Oldham Mosques Council (OMC) which represents the 35 mosques in the town, has taken a different view, calling upon Muslims in Oldham not to take to the streets. The BBC reports that the OMC held "an emergency meeting" following a protest in Manchester last Saturday, during which Muslim groups called for the imposition of "new blasphemy laws". Although the OMC takes the same line as the BCM with respect to the film and blasphemy against Islam, it wishes its members to lobby MPs and MEPs to impose restrictions on freedom of speech and expression instead of appearing in strength on the streets. Will Oldham's practising Muslims follow this advice?

The OMC stated: "The video represents a new insult, provocation and incitement to religious hatred against Islam and Muslims, which could damage world peace." What the OMC omits to mention though, is that the only threat to world peace on this score would emanate from doctrinaire Muslims. Although Oldham may not witness an unwelcome street protest by Muslims today, it is sinister that the intent of the OMC, which represents the majority of practising Muslims in the town, is demanding that our freedom of speech and expression be done away with. Such views are not compatible with the survival of a free and civilised society, and we must make it clear that we reject their demands totally. If any MP or MEP should seek to pander to their demands, do not vote for them, and make your condemnation of their stance known.

Despite the OMC's recommendations, the video below shows that a few dozen Oldham Muslims decided to stage a demonstration anyway. As in Bradford, their language of choice was not English.

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