Saturday, May 05, 2007

And you thought Melanie Phillips was nutty ...

Some readers may recall British tabloid columnist Melanie Phillips as author of a great work of conspiratorial fiction entitled Londonistan, which I reviewed here for the Canberra Times.

Last night, Phillips was interviewed on ABC's Lateline. Phillips was upto her nutty best again, accusing British intelligence authorities of compromising security by failing to adopt her pet prejudices.

I mean we have a very, very serious problem in Britain of domestic home-grown Muslim boys who are turning to terror. There are a lot of them.

Yes, Melanie, there are lots of Muslim boys in the UK. Apparently, MI5 and other security services haven't realised just how many Muslim boys there are in the UK. Hence her comments ...

But I have to say also, I think that, you know, they're on a very steep learning curve, our security service. And I don't think that they were up to speed at that stage.

Phillips then describes a classic mistake in how officials define "moderate" Muslims ...

I mean I think there is a great problem here in that there's a tendency in the British official class to define a moderate as somebody who doesn't actually believe or support, support the blowing up of British citizens.

So Melanie, where do you draw the line? Are you suggesting that people who don't believe in or support terrorism aren't moderate enough? Phillips then goes onto cite one study that suggests ...

... roughly around a third of British Muslims wish to live under Sharia law in Britain. Now that means that they don't wish to live under the conventions and laws of Western civilisation. Now to me, that is not moderate, that is extreme.

Yes, it is extreme if your knowledge of sharia is based on tabloid columnists. Phillips' problem is that she regards sharia as little more than allegedly sacred surgery, not acknowledging that for many Muslims, recognition of certain aspects of sharia is largely limited to equal treatment for non-interest financial products and commercial arbitration clauses.

Then again, Phillips has next-to-zero understanding of the law. In her book, she claims judges are undermining the common law system. How so? By developing new precedents and understandings in the interpretation of human rights legislation. So when judges make law, it undermines a system of judge-made law.

Phillips then effectively suggests the need to consider British Muslims being deported from Britain.

We have 2 million Muslims at a conservative estimate in Britain. In absolute terms that is a horrific number of individuals in Britain, British citizens who hold views that are, in my view, are demonstrably extreme. And the terrible thing is that those kind of views of hostility to Britain, to the West, conspiracy theories that say we are under attack, that provides, that swells the sea in which terrorism swims. And that's the real problem. We haven't begun to kind of hold back the tide of that sea, to kind of drain those poisoned waters.

I'm not quite sure what Virginia Trioli made of this diatribe of hatred. She certainly didn't challenge Phillips' assertions. I guess that's a reflection of the fact that we are living in an age when you can say things about Muslims that 65 years ago Europeans could also say about Jews.

The ABC does have a policy of avoiding bias at all costs. On that basis, Lateline should consider interviewing a more balanced and nuanced voice. Perhaps someone like Karen Armstrong or Robert Pape or Kaled Abou el Fadl.

Then again, if you though Phillips was nutty, check out this lawyer and blogger from the United States. I'm surprised she doesn't have Phillips on her blogroll.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007


PmR said...

"I guess that's a reflection of the fact that we are living in an age when you can say things about Muslims that 65 years ago Europeans could also say about Jews."

Interesting assertion...

Some questions:

(1) Did Jews terrorise and kill non-Jews 65 years ago?

(2) Did Jews terrorise and kill non-Jews 65 years ago using their faith as the justification for their savagery?

(3) If so how many such Jews were there?

(4) How many Muslims are there now in the world who kill others using their faith as the justification for their savagery?

(5)Who has (related) problems?

(6) What are those problems?

(7) Who is an ostrich?

Irfan Yusuf said...


I'll answer your questions with some rhetorical questions ...

1) Were Jews involved in any European colonial ventures?

2) Did Jews use any reason or excuse (religious or otherwise) to participate in these colonial ventures?

3) Does it really matter how many and why? And should that give me reason to condemn all Jews to perpetual guilt?

4) Who are the greater number of victims of Islamist terror? Is it non-Muslims? Or is it Muslims? Or don't Muslim victims matter?

5) Was Israel founded in the name of any religion? Have Jews ever committed any injustice in the modern state of Israel?

6) Is it possible to defend all actions of all Jews inside Israel?

7) Are we all a bunch of ostriches?

Irfan Yusuf said...

Oh, and one final question. Can we attribute any and every injustice carried out by Jews toward gentiles inside the Jewish state as being carried out in the name of all Jews and therefore attributable to Judaism itself?

PmR said...


In response to your final question: All, even, semi-intelligent and semiliterate know that the answer is NO.

You asked
1) Were Jews involved in any European colonial ventures?

Yes. So what? Were those (very few) Jews primarily and really responsible for the Europeans' colonial ventures?

Were others involved colonial ventures? The Ottoman's for example? And how did they treat conquered people? Better, than for example the British or the Romans?

What is your point? That not all Jews are nice (which is obvious about any group) or is it that their influence was decisive and substantial!

Colonialism is NOT new. Nor was it invented by Jews. The Jewish nation too was colonised and many of its people were (forcefully) converted to Islam.

Remember that it can also be (reasonably) said is that Israel has finally been liberated again after 2000 years of FOREIGN occupation and enforced assimilation. Many who now call themselves "Palestinians" are probably the genetic descendants of those Jews.

For now I won't really respond to your other questions.

- How many people do (some) Jews threaten NOW in the name of Judaism?

- How many people do (some) Muslims Jews threaten NOW in the name of ISLAM?

We both know that substantial majority of victims of Islamist terror are Muslims!

You asked "Or don't Muslim victims matter?"

Those millions of souls obviously matter to you and me. But they DO NOT SEEM TO MATTER to most ordinary Muslims (for they say nothing) and to the bleeding left. Did you not know that expressing sympathy for them publicly involves you in just another Jewish Plot (according to respected leaders of ...)


Irfan Yusuf said...


Given that most victims of Islamist terror are Muslims, how could one seriously claim that most Muslims don't care about Islamist terrorism?

In my experience, people who believe (or at least promote) such tripe are often those who subscribe to the types of conpsiratorial thinking that inspires the likes of Ms Phillips, Mr Lyndon La Roche or Mr Raphael Israeli.

I suggest you learn a little about Muslim societies and their attitudes by reading the final 2 chapters of Professor Ira Lapidus' seminal work, "The History of Muslim Societies" (I'm pretty sure that's the title).

Those who attribute certain characteristics to an entire group of people might find themselves succumbing to the kind of prejudice which inspires massacres and genocides.

How do you know most Muslims say nothing about terrorism? Do you read the many languages in which newspapers read in Muslim countries are published?

And what evidence do you have that I sympathise with terrorists? You of all people know that I have spent so much of my writing sticking my neck out attacking not just terrorists but the kinds of hatred that they spread. That includes anti-Semitism.

On the other hand, many Islamist terrorists are quite happy to see divisions in our society, and to ensure that people like me suspect that people like you are my enemy. I don't believe them, and don't ever wish to be tempted to believe them. I suggest you cease engaging in rhetoric which only serves their purposes.

Anonymous said...

I agree we need a muslim awareness month that ends in a blood bath every Anzac Day. A jew awareness month that starts each Good Friday on the anniversay of the murder of Jesus and ends in a bloodbath. An Abo awareness month that begins on Australia Day. Yet another muslim awareness month that begins on 911. Every Ramadan the muslims should be dragged into camps and starved and beaten. So that's three muslim awareness months. It should be government legislation that every time petrol goes over $1 a muslim gets hung outside every petrol station.

Anonymous said...

Melanie Phillips must be a nut because the London bombings never happened and muslims aren't destroying english suburbs and muslims don't engage in diatribes against jews or the West. Pigs Fly. Islam is a religion of Peace. Elvis runs the CIA.

Irfan your hatred of all white people including Melanie Phillips is quite boring. Everyone can get on Lateline except for poor Irfan.