One of the irksome aspects of the BBC radio ‘Listen again’ facility is the fact that recordings of broadcasts remain available for only a week after their initial airing. Nonetheless, here is the link should you wish to give it a try.
Having been in a rush this morning, I caught only part of John Humphrys’s report on Luton, and thus listened to it in full this evening. Indeed, I had earlier wondered if I had still been half asleep when I heard his conclusion to the piece, as it struck me that Humphrys seemed to be on the dawn of realising the reality of Islamisation and the threat that it poses to England and the English. Astonishingly, it seems that this may be the case. If so, this will mark a watershed moment for one of the country’s most influential political broadcasters.
The report was run as part of the BBC’s build up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and although entitled ‘9/11 ‘led to rise inIslamophobia’’, the airtime afforded to Tommy Robinson/Stephen Lennon meant that the EDL perspective had a chance to reach millions of listeners across the country. The EDL leader, currently under arrest and staging a hunger strike, acquitted himself with aplomb, and not once did the report refer to the EDL as ‘far-right’, which was a staggering achievement for the BBC given its record on this score.
Luton had been selected as the location for the report not only because that is where the EDL was born, but also because of the events that functioned as the catalyst to its formation: the barracking of the Royal Anglian Regiment by a group of Islamists during their homecoming parade in 2009 and the fact that the 7/7 bombers departed from the town on the morning that they unleashed wanton carnage in London in 2005. The report was set out in typical BBC style, seemingly posing a question whilst structuring the report in such a fashion as to make the answer implicit and predetermined, thus in this instance it was a case of contrasting Islamist views with those of the EDL, with the “Muslim community” being cast in the role of the moderate majority. The clear implication was that the Islamist and EDL perspectives ought to be perceived as equally ‘extreme’ and repugnant, and that those of the “Muslim community” should be applauded. Now, that of course means that the English view was structurally displaced and portrayed as by definition ‘extreme’. What a dreadful pass we have come to when our own country’s state broadcaster deliberately portrays our native population as beyond the pale! Nonetheless, as will be seen, the unpleasant reality of what has happened to Luton appears to have even made some impression upon Humphrys.
Thus, the report opened with references to halal butchers, sari shops and women wearing mostly full Islamic dress with faces covered – “Nothing unusual in Britain today”, dutifully noted Humphrys, before stating that Luton has “acquired a reputation as a breeding ground for Islamic extremism” which “the city fathers” think is “rubbish”. Before the interviews commence the scene is finally set with the comment: “But listen to these voices, all people born and bred in Luton, and you’ll hear the story of a town divided.”
Most of the report consisted of interviews with Farasat Latif (Imam at the Al Ghurabaa Mosque), Luton Islamist Sayful Islam and EDL Leader Tommy Robinson (Stephen Lennon). Humphrys seemed to be taken aback both by the positions of Sayful Islam and Tommy Robinson, but his concluding remarks are interesting, and perhaps suggests that Humphrys is awakening to the fact that the EDL is not an organisation of paranoid football hooligans, but a genuine English patriotic movement seeking to preserve the English way of life from an all-too-real Islamic threat. Below I provide a transcript of some of the key parts of the report. Note in particular the last three paragraphs that taken together seem to indicate Humphrys’s dawning realisation that all is not well with the BBC’s official line with respect to the ‘religion of peace’ (sic).
Sayful Islam (formerly of the banned organisation Al-Muhajiroun):
“What I would describe myself as is someone who doesn’t want to compromise in terms of Islam. If I believe in Islam, and if I practise Islam and if I’m called to Islam, I will not compromise on any aspect of that because obviously if I do then I might fall into falsehood, and when I do something like that, you see a clash of civilisations where you see the Islamic way of life does clash with the Western way of life: stuff like British values and British identity obviously is something that I will never adhere to or follow”
“But you live here?”
“Yeah, of course I do live here and I have lived here for many years. I’ve lived here all my life. Britain claims to be a place where you have freedom, where you have the right to practise whatever you want to. Then why don’t I have the right to practise Islam?”
Humphrys went on to note that 60% of the population in the area he was visiting was Muslim:
“The English Defence League is appalled by that. Set up and run by a Luton businessman Tommy Robinson, the EDL has been remarkably successful in a very short time at getting people around the country to come out onto the streets to protest against what they see as a growing threat from Islam.”
“Thirty years ago in this town there was 3,000 Muslims and one mosque yeah. If you’d have said to people thirty years ago, in thirty years time there will be 19 mosques, there’ll be 30, 40, 50,000 Muslims, they’ll be banning the emblem of St George in your school, they’ll be opening a prayer centre in the Arndale Centre, they’ll be attacking your troops when they’re walking home, they’ll have stalls set up promoting jihad and extremism every single week in the town, thirty years ago people would have said “never, that’s not going to happen in Luton”, but it’s happened. At the end of the day Islamic demographics are terrifying; the birth-rate and the statistics are terrifying.”
“Are you just racists?”
“I’m not racist at all, I completely hate racism. We’ve defeated Nazism yet we’re allowing Islamism to flourish because it goes under the banner of a religion.”
“But aren’t you promoting hatred against them?”
“We don’t do anything out of hate we do it out of love; love for Christianity, love for our culture, love for my kids’ futures.”
“At the heart of this conflict is obviously fear. But is it of fear of Islamic terrorism, another 9/11, or is it something else? Robinson says what his organisation fears is Sharia Law.”
“In 2003 the European Court of Human Rights outlawed Sharia Law in Europe and said that it’s incompatible with Western democracy because of their views on homosexuals, their views on women and their views on infidels – that’s all of us. It’s incompatible. It won’t work. And all we see now is a louder, louder voice and a louder call for Sharia Law, and aspects of Sharia Law to be implemented in the British legal system.”
“More moderate Muslims dismiss that out of hand. Sharia simply enables them to practise their religion they say, to observe their culture. It’s not law in any meaningful sense. But Sayful Islam delivers what sounds a rather chilling warning.”
“I believe that Sharia is the alternative. The fact that I am calling for [an] Islamic state, a state that would implement Sharia, it’s not just the Muslims that want an alternative, we can see even now non-Muslims are searching for an alternative, uh social fabric of this society even the economic, political are collapsing and this is where people like myself come along and we present this alternative which I believe is Islam.”
“That’s exactly what the English Defence League fears, or maybe we should call it the Englishness Defence League. What’s happened here in Luton over the past ten years suggests that it’s no longer a threat to the security of England that so many fear, it’s more a threat to the English way of life.”
Better late than never John, eh?
The link for your little quiz doesn't work.ReplyDelete
This is not the first time that Radio 4 have given the EDL a fair hearing. About 4 weeks ago, The Report (Thursday nights, 8pm) carried one of the only fair reports on EDL I've ever come across. Unfortunately, that is not still available on iPlayer (although I do have a tape recording of it).ReplyDelete
Really? That's interesting. Unfortunately, I missed the programme in question. Did it describe the EDL as 'far right', or was The Report more balanced in its terminology?ReplyDelete
For anyone who is interested, an edited version of the Radio 4 programme mentioned by Joe Bloggs is still available to hear at the following location: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jkr1q/episodes/playerReplyDelete
How long it was originally and what has been cut out, I don't know.